"It seems to me that to organize on the basis of feeding people or righting social injustice and all that is very valuable. But to rally people around the idea of modernism, modernity, or something is simply silly. I mean, I don't know what kind of a cause that is, to be up to date. I think it ultimately leads to fashion and snobbery and I'm against it."
Jack Levine: January 3, 1915 – November 8, 2010
When I found this play online last Wednesday my electricity was flickering and they were forecasting strong winds, so, instead of taking the chance of another four-day + outage, such as we had last week, I decided to post it right away. If you didn't get a chance to hear it then or only come here for the radio drama on Saturdays, here it is again. I've listened to it again since posting it and have to say it's about the best thing I've posted for radio drama. I have great respect for Gordon Pengilly and wish some of his other, many, radio plays were posted. If anyone knows him or whoever has the rights to those, I guarantee you that I'd post links to them all.
As it says in the introduction, the jury that gave it a top prize in the BBC International Radio Drama Contest included Doris Lessing who said that it was "Cruel and beautiful". I'd add heartbreaking. I've read several of his other plays and, for the life of me, I can't understand why he isn't far better known.
The first thing I ever heard by Mr. Pengilly were his 13 half-hour CBC Mystery Project episodes, Bailey's Way, when they were first broadcast. I've already posted a number of those, I'll probably end up posting all of them, eventually. I'd love to have clean copies of them but, then, I wish the CBC still produced radio drama. The talent they helped develop and produce was quite incredible.. Here are two of the episodes I haven't posted yet.
Esther Purvis-Smith, David LeReaney, Grant Linneberg, Barbara Gates Wilson, Shauna Burnett, Frank Zotter I'll point out, again, that these are a lot clearer than I first heard them on short-wave way back when.
Some boob started going on and on about "Hamilton" the musical fiction that is the rage of broadway in my presence. No doubt this person, who holds a degree from a prestigious New England university, believes the crap is "based on history". It's the sad fact that holding a degree from a prestigious university is probably, in many cases, less of an indication of knowledge or even a knowledge of the means of obtaining knowledge than having graduated from high school was a couple of generations ago. This boob isn't that much younger than I am, though I know people my age who are as stupid and aggravatingly certain of their smattering of show biz based ignorance is certain knowledge.
I wouldn't have gone off on this again just now except that the estimable Charles Pierce had a piece up in which he says, mostly rightly, that Roy Moore the bible thumping pedophile who will almost certainly be elected the next Senator from Alabama, to replace the white supremacist Jeff Sessions, - or the poltroon who was appointed by the criminal governor who said poltroon let off on criminal charges to fill out the white supremacist's term - was not some aberration but was typical of today's Republican Party. Do read it, it is well worth considering, even though I believe some of Pierce's emphasis is slightly off - both in terms of regionalism and in terms of the focus he thinks real religious belief instead of mere hypocritical profession plays in this. He dwells too much on the South, forgetting that these days Wisconsin and Michigan and other states as Northern as any dont have much to feel proud of in that regard. What has been done in places like Flint, in which black voters were poisoned after their elected local government was usurped by Republican-fascism is as bad as anything that has happened anywhere. And there are plenty of Northern Senators and House members who are in thick as thieves with the worst of them. Paul Ryan for a start.
Article 1, Sect. 2, provides --- "Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other persons," Here, as in the clause we have already examined, veiled beneath a form of words as deceitful as it is unmeaning. in a truly democratic government, is a provision for the safety, perpetuity and augmentation of the slaveholding power a provision scarcely less atrocious than that which related to the African slave trade, and almost as afflictive in its operation, a provision still in force, with no possibility of its alteration, so long as a majority of the slave States choose to maintain their slave system a provision which, at the present time, enables the South to have twenty-five additional representatives in Congress on the score of property, while the North is not allowed to have one, a provision which concedes to the oppressed three fifths of the political power which is granted to all others, and then puts this power into the hands of their oppressors, to be wielded by them for the more perfect security of their tyrannous authority, and the complete subjugation of the non-slaveholding States. Referring to this atrocious bargain, Alexander Hamilton remarked in the New York Convention " The first thing objected to, is that clause which allows a representation for three fifths of the negros. Much has been said of the impropriety of representing men who have no will of their own. Whether this be reasoning or declamation (!) I will not presume to say. It is the unfortunate situation of the Southern States to have a great part of their population, as well as property in blacks. The regulation complained of was one result of the spirit of accommodation which governed the Convention ; and without this indulgence, NO UNION COULD POSSIBLY HAVE BEEN FORMED. But. sir, considering some peculiar advantages which we derive from them, it is entirely JUST that they should be gratified. The Southern States posses certain staples --tobacco, rice, indigo, &c., – which must be capital objects in treaties of commerce with foreign nations ; and the advantage which they necessarily procure in these treaties will be felt throughout all the States." If such was the patriotism, such the love of liberty, such the morality of Alexander Hamilton, what can be said of the character of those who were far less conspicuous than himself in securing American independence, and in framing the American Constitution?
So, fuck all with abolition, there was indigo and tobacco to trade. Which anyone who wants to groove on and boogie to "Hamilton" might want to consider before they buy the Broadway tripe as accurate history. I, somehow, doubt it's going to keep Rosie O'Donnell from buying her 32nd ticket to the thing It's got about the same intellectual status as Star Wars, so why not?
I will address this more later, but not far on from that in the book Wendell Phillips rightly contrasts the requirement that slaves that escaped to free states were not, thus, freed in Article 4, section 2 of the Constitution with The Law of Moses which did, in fact, free such escaped slaves and enjoined that they were to be treated equally with other members of the community. Phillips also reinforced that point with arguments from Isaiah and Obadiah. I have pointed out before that when escaped slaves such as David Walker agitated for abolition, they didn't go to the Constitution, they went to the Bible for their arguments. Such people as Hamilton and that patron saint of disestablishment, Madison, would have made sure such arguments were no where there to be found and that the promises of the Declaration of Independence, which the Constitutional Convention was convened to renege on, set aside. Another point which John Quincy Adams and Wendell Phillips made.
* I erred. The copy I read was from 1856, the book was first published in 1844.
I'm so glad my mother lived long enough to see Pope Francis. With all due respect, I can't remember John Paul II ever suggesting people stop taking pictures of him. If someone can point out to me where he did, I'll revise.
I'm thinking of spending at least one day a week totally unconnected to media. As Walter Brueggemann said not long ago, that's one of the hardest things for us to do, these days.
The objection is made that I, as a gay man, have been the beneficiary of the overturning of Christian morality by secularism. I reject that analysis on a number of bases.
First, there is nothing in a materialist, scientistic, atheist ideological framework that identifies rights and the moral obligation to respect rights. An ideology which not only can't produce an assertion of the reality of rights and the obligation to respect them but which, in many of its forms, logically attacks the absolute, real as atoms and subatomic particles and gravity, reality of rights and moral obligations cannot secure rights for anyone. Materialist-scientistic atheism is a means of making those far more insecure than an imperfect belief that those are an endowment of all of us by God which falls short of the religious concepts of equality and justice.
Second, it is a matter of historical fact that, from the beginning, the modern gay rights movement had major participation of religious people. The fact is that the first American gay rights group had a Christian minister as its first president. The first institution to recognize lesbian and gay marriages in the United States was The United Church of Christ.
Third, there are vastly different things meant by "freedom". If by LGBT rights and freedom you mean the right of everyone to equal decent treatment and political, legal, social and economic equality, the right to have our committed marriage choices have the full status that straight marriages are supposed to aspire to, yeah, that's what I'm for.
If you mean the ability of gay men with money, power and no moral restraints to do the kind of stuff to those who don't promoted by Hollywood and the porn industry, to have "marriages" based on screwing around, picking up STDs, using other people as objects, such as the worst Hollywood moguls and TV "reality" stars do, internalizing the hatred and devaluation of my people, then I'd rather go back to being fully oppressed by straight people, thank you. At least the enemy wasn't us, back then, at least the oppression wasn't internalized and voluntarily maintained. The freedom to debase LGBT people through porn and sex advice celebrities isn't any freedom I'd buy and the only practical use for it by LGBT people with a sense of decency is that it's more likely to debase your spouse or your children or your friends. Gay men who are willing to replace that old system of oppression with one mimicking the worst of straight inequality, in which men got to use women, only, in our case, men with power using men without power, aren't in favor of rights, they're as depraved as a Trump or a pornographer. I don't trust any secular concept of "freedom" to not turn into that.
Note: It happened, again. My first draft got posted before I got around to revising it and I don't have time right now. That having happened, I will leave this up and go back to it later this morning,
If, at the turn of the millennium, someone had told me that by 2017 I would be getting some of my most important information from Esquire and GQ and that I'd consider The Nation an unreliable asset of a multi-billionaire crime boss dictator, a former communist from Russia, I'd have told them they were nuts. But such is this world we are living in.
Charles Pierce isn't the only bright light practicing valuable journalism in unexpected venues today, Jack Holmes, also at Esquire, is coming up with some of the most important information. And speaking of unexpected avenues of truth, there is the man who perhaps pissed me off more than anyone who isn't a Republicanfascist last year, Bill Clinton putting his finger on several its in pointing out something I've mentioned several times, we aren't being screwed around with by people with any kind of political or religious ideology, we are being screwed by a series of international multi-billionaire oligarchs who have no religion or ideology (atheist-materialist religion) other than their own enrichment.
It's still anniversary time, as we take stock of Donald Trump's election and all that's happened in the year since. President Bill Clinton, whom Trump denied the chance of becoming America's first First Man, is doing his own reflecting—some of it on Conan Wednesday night. Clinton ticked through a number of factors fueling Trump's rise and the deep divisions in the country, including the economic stagnancy of the nation's rural areas and the urge to blame immigrants for the results of macroeconomic developments on a massive scale. But he also tackled perhaps the most basic threat of Trumpism: the War on Truth. Clinton referenced "The Dictators' Club" of autocratic world leaders, and explained how each and every one of them is invested in one thing: "They want to abolish the line between fact and fiction and truth and lie," Clinton explained, as the Putins and Erdogans came to mind, "because they figure if you don't know what's true, and you don't think you can ever know, that pretty soon everybody will accept that democracy is no longer possible."
Though I am certain that Bill Clinton and the likes of Jack Holmes don't read this blog, this is so close to my own thinking of the past year that it makes me feel kind of spooked. And it gets spookier. The role that media amplified lies have played in the subversion of democracy, of using the mass media to effectively alter history has reached the crisis point here as it did long ago in such places as Russia.
It's hard not to immediately think of Kellyanne Conway's "alternative facts," or what Dan Rather and others call the "post-truth" politics of the present. The president, certainly, has almost no regard for whether or not something is true. It is largely irrelevant, in his view, what actually happened, so long as enough people will believe his version of events. His blow-up with a Gold Star family over a condolence call last month actually began when he made the wild claim out of thin air that previous presidents did not make condolence calls. That was completely untrue, but this is basically routine at this point. Fact-checking services like Politifact have scored as much as 69 percent of what the president says as some degree of false. His forays into history are frequently disastrous, because he knows nothing of what actually happened and, rather than learn before speaking, simply makes something up. That's how he got the River of Blood on his golf course, and how he described Frederick Douglass—an African-American icon who died in 1895—as "someone who has done a terrific job that is being recognized by more and more people." With the implosion of Marxism, the dictators who used to exert control over hundreds of millions if not billions of people in places such as Russia are now a class of billionaire gangsters who are making common cause with billionaire gangsters from around the world. American gangsters such as man the Trump cabinet and are having their assets inserted throughout the American government, some of them such as Rex Tillerson, de facto Putonian assets, have no intention of serving the interests of the American People, they are as dedicated to enslaving and turning us into economic assets and if selling out the United States to the Putonian crime bosses pays better for them and their corporations, we will get sold down the river.
There is no human institution, no human political or legal theory that isn't vulnerable to the intuition and ingenuity of evil intent and the ideologies present in the 20th century were some of the most vulnerable of human inventions. Those built on the slogans of 18th century enlightenment as found in the Constitution which turn out to be as vulnerable to those evils, indeed, the idolized founders intentionally put much of that vulnerability into the thing*. The desire to be free of moral restraints, the intellectual and academic whoring after the reputability of a science that those doing that seldom understood except in so far as they knew it had attained a status their studies didn't have and a myriad of other things - including actual selling out to anti-democratic ideologies and the thugs who gained power through them - have perverted the secular faith in America's Bill of Rights and the provisions in it. That was the venue through which our media gained total impunity for lying, such as the lies that were told to sandbag Hillary Clinton in last years elections but which have done so much more than that to destroy the aspirations of democracy. The empty dreams of absolute freedom to say and do the most outrageous things, the rock-and-roll ethics of wild man DJs, out of control musicians, gonzo journalists, drugged out, semi-automatic weapons and doing shock jock to gather radio and cabloid audiences through appeals to their strongest and worst weaknesses are just a symptom of the kind of thing that the total freedom of the media to serve itself through promoting the amoral worst as a means of getting our money and enslaving us. There are less gaudy and less entertaining means of doing that, as well. Absolute, gonzo freedom might be tolerable in a brainless movie plot when it's someone without power, a village nutcase or charming eccentric, but only when such people aren't actually in charge of things or leading the town meeting.
Temporarily breaking my moratorium on the use of the over-used term, the irony of American freedom is that we are finding that when it is freedom from even the simplest of moral restraints, the freedom to lie in the most audience pleasing way, from stage, from the page, from the mic and from the camera, the absolute freedom of the press to lie will enslave us. That is no novel concept, the lies of racism enslaved Black people, murdered others, subjugated women all along. The idiocy of the founding slave owners and men of commerce to rely on gentlemens' ethics to protect THEIR interests and their desire to not be inconvenienced by a dictatorial, in their imaginings, monarchal government instead of a morality that depended and mostly still does depend on religion has encoded weaknesses in the Constitution that, through the thinking and practices of the legal establishment have made us totally vulnerable to the studied manipulation and control of the billionaire oligarchs.
The superstitions of Anglo-American materialism aren't any less productive of depravity than the old, religio-political superstitions, those that existed in reality and those made up by the ideologues of the atheist Enlightenment**. The pretense that they have more reliability or, in the worst cased, the actual reliability that science is supposed to have make them as or more dangerous than the superstitions of witch burners and Brit pantomime inquisitors. When you sell people their enslavement with slogans of freedom, when you tell them that their most depraved desires are "natural" if not biologically beneficial, when you tell the privileged that their privilege identifies them as the crown of creation and your legal system is dedicated to the amassing of money and, therefore, power, you will get what's happening to us, when someone who embodies so much of the worst of that regime of amoral freedom, Donald Trump, can get "the evangelical vote" and a minor pervert of the same system, a Roy Moore can prosper and, likely, will become a U.S. Senator though proven to be a pedophile pervert. Donald Trump became president even as his bragging on the Hollywood Access tape was a fact and the possibility of the Moscow fun with prostitutes was already known.
Democracy isn't a thing that can just happen, it depends on the right conditions being present and opponents of democracy can, especially through the mass media, produce the conditions under which it is impossible even as the empty form of it, something called elections, still happen. That is what happened in the United States. That is not news to those American democracy, under the Constitution, was set up to shaft from the beginning, White people of the middle-class and even some of those in the upper class are just finding that we, as well, can be victimized even under the forms of the Constitution. We can even be sold out by our billionaire oligarchs when they get a good enough offer from the dictator of Russia and the great "free press" will be in on the deal. Why expect anything else when such as Australian porn and lie moguls are admitted in the country to do to us here what he did in Britain?
Billionaire fortunes will prove to be incompatible with democracy, the legal-economic features of our own Constitutional government which have enabled the amassing of those fortunes will be proven to have allowed that. Instead of identifying and abolishing the means of our enslavement, the slogans of 20th century the civil liberties industry have helped them destroy democracy. The overriding fact remains, Donald Trump is a product of the media, of the "free press" freed to lie and to serve its owners purposes. Democracy is not possible in a people who refuse to know the truth because lies are so much more entertaining and it's what's on TV tonight.
The fact is, democracy depends on an absolute belief that it is immoral to lie and that lies allowed will produce pain, disaster and death. With modern media, it depends on the prohibition of broadcast lies and their punishment when broadcast, on air, by cable, by internet transmission. The materialist-atheist systems and ideologies can't come up with any way to assert that*** which is more than a flaccid gentleman's agreement. I don't think there's anything except a suspicion that God made that a feature of reality can have the generalized effect which is productive of and compatible with government of, by and for The People. When The People have been corrupted with lies, democracy is impossible. When they believe it's a sin to tell a lie, democracy is at least possible.
* The very things which put a series of our worst politicians and presidents and, lest it be forgotten, Supreme Court justices in power are the slave owner - commercial interest enhancing features of the Constitution. The Electoral College, the unproportional representation that is a mockery of democracy, etc. Even the feeble afterthoughts of the Bill of Rights, successfully turned into manipulable and aimless aphorisms in the manipulations of the drafting and adoption process have been successfully turned into weapons against The People and the possibility of democracy. There has been no more successful weapons than lies and the exploitation of methodically identified and enhanced weakness of character.
** Talking of pervasively and fervently believed in lies, an encyclopedia of those could be complied.
*** I don't think it's any accident that our billionaire oligarchs have sold us out to the billionaire oligarchs of the Putonian mobsters. Putin might have figured that Moscow is worth buying off the Patriarch of Moscow and even going to a Divine Liturgy, but his background is what really informs his moral depravity and that is as vulgarly materialistic as Trumps'. It just spoke a different language.
You go out to an appointment and come back to news that Simple Simels has attributed something you not only have never said but never talked about or knew of and the morons at Eschaton apparently believe him. I never heard of those two gals Simps is pimping for but I fail to hear anything to do with Herrmann's music in their stuff. Simps would never have heard of Bernard Hermann if he hadn't been a movie music composer. Simps doesn't know anything except the ass end of pop culcha and his taste in that generally runs to the lower end. If he hadn't written movie music I probably would have heard of Hermann (I believe he spelled it with two r's back then) because of his association with two of the Jewish composers Simps ignorantly loves to hate on , Arthur Berger and one of his teachers who Hermann expressed great gratitude for, Stefan Wolpe, who was, as well, disliked by the Nazis, being designated an official "entartete" composer. I've pointed this out to the attention deficient, memory challenged, eternally vulgar and stupid pop music typler. He has never, though, let a lie corrected go unrepeated. He's got so much in common with his fellow vulgarian, Donald Trump other than vulgarity.
Charles Pierce who is fast becoming an icon of journalistic response to Trumpzi fascism had two related posts yesterday, though I'm not sure he appreciates how closely they are related.
The first was a bell tolling on the impending fatal results of the obscure provision in the Constitution wherein state legislatures - in all of their corrupt stupidity - can ignite a Constitutional Convention to revise or throw out or totally fuck up the current Constitutional government on behalf or the billionaire oligarchs and plutocrats and fascists who have conceived and bankrolled this effort, at our expense and to their own benefit and enrichment.
He noted that the Republicanfascist Wisconsin billionaire fascist controlled legislature has become the 28th to call for such a likely disaster and that only six more of them idiotically doing so would almost certainly cause something bad to happen. I share Pierce's worry that such a thing could end up with the total destruction of anything like egalitarian democracy - which is among the goals of the billionaire traitor class and the imposition of a nightmare of inequality and injustice, which is their ultimate goal and the obvious goal of the Republican Party which serves whatever their purpose is.
That said I think one of the most effective counters to that is a movement to destroy the obscene imposition of past oligarchic insertion into the Constitution of such things as corporate personhood, the doctrine that money equals speech and that lies by the mass media have constitutional protection. Those three provisions, insisted on as conditions of the adoption of any proposed Constitutional change by a billionaire boys club bought Con-Con would be enough to take the ginger out of the boys clubers. And they are three changes which are, anyway, vital if we are to keep anything like egalitarian democracy and equal justice under the law AND SUPREME COURTS GOING BACK A CENTURY AND A HALF HAVE ALREADY BEEN AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION TO PROVIDE THE MULTI-MILLIONAIRE, CURRENT BILLIONAIRE CLASS AND THEIR PROPAGANDISTS THAT WITHOUT BENEFIT OF A CON-CON.
The second piece that Pierce posted yesterday is directly related to that, a piece decrying how successfully propagandized a dangerously large fraction of the country is in that it is impossible to argue them out of their Trumpzi delusions with facts and reason and even an appeal to their better natures. Though I have enormous affection and respect for Charles Pierce and many other journalists, their profession is what brought us to Trump through the ability of newspapers like the august whore, the New York Times and, far more so, cabloid TV and hate talk radio through exactly that distortion of the First Amendment by the "liberal" Warren Court in 1964. I have noted before that in 1960 the padrone of our current Republican-fascism, Richard Nixon narrowly lost to John Kennedy, then, in 1964, in the wake of Kennedy's assassination, the Warren Court in its ACLU pleasing mode permitted the media to lie about political and public figures with impunity and the very next election after that saw Nixon lie his way into office with the support of the electronic and much of the print media the installation of some of the most malignant members in the history of the Supreme Court, the adoption of the racist, neo-Confederate attracting Southern Strategy and so much else that finds its apotheosis (or whatever its Satanic equivalent of one is) in Donald Trump and de-facto billionaire oligarchic rule.
It was the free press freed to lie which created the Trump electorate, it was the august oligarchic whores of the New York Times who, through regionalist, class and personal animus lied about Hillary Clinton for the past quarter century and during the election. Trump, himself, is a total creation of the media class, you can't blame him, his phony lie of a legend and his rise to the presidency on the political class. He is a media creation, the very media which informs the Trump voters, those who deifies him as a fully propagandized Nazi did Hitler or a dutifully propagandized Japanese subject regarded the Emperor in the rise to World War II.
When a lie is regarded as a trivial matter, when telling the truth is an inconvenient option is a personal matter, it might become a matter of legal correction, when the media under the idiotic interpretation of the First Amendment which holds the media is to be free to lie with impunity does that and when the resulting lies are broadcast, it is as big a danger to democracy as anything Charles Pierce rightly worries about in a billionaire instigated Con Con. I will remind him that the original Constitutional Convention was a result of the rich, once revolutionaries, confronted with the possibility that the common rabble might want those liberties, freedoms and goods they were promised, decided they had to prevent that happening. The resultant Constitutional Convention was dominated by the slave class to whom the Northern commercial class, such as Alexander Hamilton really was, were all too willing to allow them to insert even the most putrid and immoral substance into the thing which was successfully sold and adopted and which resulted, among other things, in the Civil War, the carnage of conquest and imperialism, the evils of Jim Crow and lynch law, the anti-democratic structure of the Senate and even the Electoral College which, as well, produced Trump just as it produced Rutherford Hayes and George W. Bush.
Get rid of those three hateful ideas in the Constitution, get rid of the Electoral College and make the Senate proportionally representative of the country - do so by popular movement and an effective legislative veto of any results of a constitutional convention - by whatever means are necessary, including insurrection if made necessary, and I can guarantee you the billionaire oligarchs won't like the results.
Update: If they are successful in conning the United States into a Constitutional Convention I say all bets are off and any state which chooses not to adopt their provisions should be considered free to leave the resulting disaster without any liabilities. If they choose to dissolve the union which exists then the results should have to depend on 100% consent by The People of the various states. If they break the contract then they should have to have the full consent of all parties. This would be uncharted waters and it should be appreciated that it is uncharted. It would make all the difference in the world from the last time the Confederates tried to do that because this time it would be done within the existing Constitution. A new contract would have to be contingent on the agreement of the parties to that contract agreeing to the results or no deal. I would certainly agitate for my state and region to leave anything that wasn't along the lines mentioned above, taking up arms if necessary. This would be deadly dangerous and the idiot legislators who set it off should realize that now before it's too late.
This play won the International Radio Drama Prize from the BBC in 2007, it is radio drama at its best. As I just found it was posted online and Gordon Pengilly is one of my favorite playwrights and I love this play, I'm posting it right now. Who knows what might happen between now and Saturday? And I want you to get a chance to hear it.
The Louisville Orchestra
Robert Whitney, conductor
I don't know why I thought of this piece this morning, maybe the election had something to do with it. Though I'm not especially enthusiastic about neo-classicism, I do like Shapero's music. I'm not sure if he's related to the Shaperos my great aunt Julia was a cook for and there's no one around who would know that. They lived in the same town as them. I think it's how caraway seeds might have gotten into the soda bread tradition of my family.
I was so excited over Medicaid expansion being voted in by the popular vote in my state and other election results that I didn't sleep much last night. I shouldn't stay up to listen to election results anymore, I get too worked up. But, luckily, RMJ wrote a very fine piece. I wonder what the word for a human equivalent of "the question of evil" "theodicy" would be, the word that puts responsibility for human-created evil and suffering on the ones who choose to do it on those who not only make the choice but who either present it as religion or good administrative practice. I'm not sure which is worse, the example of the Lutheran "minister" who spouts anti-Christian depravity or the medical industry whore of the Republican party who presents cold-blooded, life ending bean counting as some kind of ethical position. Though I know it's the later who has the actual power to kill people. As always, RMJ is worth reading, as are the comments.
We do need a word for it, especially the kind of cold-blooded evil as ethics that Seema Verma embodies. There's so much of that cold-blooded businessman style "ethics" about. It's not at all unrelated to the kind of "ethics" that so many media-figure "ethicists" promote, which always seems to get around to writing up a list of those whose murders are presented as an "ethical" good.
Maine is the first state to override the Republican governor and legislature to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act by direct vote. And it was by a large margin close to 60% to 40% and even in the Northern, more Republican part of the state. And we also voted down the abysmal casino proposal in York County. As if we need another of those frauds. I know a lot of people who might benefit, whose lives might be saved by this vote. It's not single-payer, yet, but it's a huge repudiation of the stinking Paul LePage and the Republicans in the legislature who kept poor Mainers from getting insurance, no doubt killing some of them. I hope they wasted a lot of money hiring the old white bucks slime ball to make that robo-call I mentioned yesterday. What a skunk. Update: I apologize to skunks, they are innocent and only use their stink as a defense, Pat Boone is a total asshole and it's by purely human greed and intention.
I can't tell you how angry I am since Sunday, coming so quickly on the heels of Las Vegas and the approximately one thousand gun deaths, largely unnoticed and under reported in between.
The act of public mourning and memorial of the victims of gun violence turns into expropriation of their lives when the people going through the motions, the politicians, the public figures the media figures are dedicated to the conditions that enabled their murders. It turns what would, otherwise, be a dignified act of decency into an outrage.
And it has gotten worse than that in the United States where people like Alex Jones are free to broadcast the most incredibly evil lies, the victims of the Las Vegas mass gun murder get threats of murder from people who think it was a "false flag" event or who knows what other species of right-wing lunacy that we are told we must tolerate because "First Amendment". That Alex Jones is still doing it after the outrage of claiming that the parents of murdered first-graders were part of an attack on "The Second Amendment" means that Trump unwittingly told the truth, in one sense, all of this is insane, it is insane that people have been suckered by the gun industry, the ACLU*, the Supreme Court, the Republican Party, etc. into thinking that it is not only possible to protect ourselves from guns and the lies that arm the insane, but to talk us out of the obvious fact that it is an absolute right to protect ourselves and our country from broadcast, billionaire financed liars and from gun industry Murder Inc. propaganda.
The fact is that under the present regime that enables the Alex Jones, the NRA, Republican-fascist, billionaire oligarch rule has declared war on decency, on the vast majority of those in the United States. It has turned the United States into something way, way too much the Putonian regime that has done the same thing to the Russian people. And it's a fact that even the allegedly liberal "free press" allegedly liberal "civil liberties" groups are thick as thieves with them.
The call for prayers and sympathy to the victims of gun violence by such people as do nothing to counter serial mass murders as everyday occurrence is a blasphemy. But so is the support for the lies and insanity that has brought about the system of Constitutional superstitions, slogans and perverted civil liberties pieties, of coercion to not raise an effective cry against the criminal insanity of our legal system, our politics and our media that has created the impotent libertarianism we suffer and die under.
If the United States Constitution worked insane people with criminal records wouldn't be able to buy guns, Alex Jones wouldn't have a show. It does not provide for our common defense, provide us with the rule of law, does not produce the blessings of domestic tranquility. Under the current legal regime and dominant legal theories, it actively works against all of the already truncated promises of the preamble of the Constitution. It is a failure, it kills us in large numbers, it is an active declaration of war against us. The Republican Part, the "civil liberties" industry, the American media that promotes insanity. the billionaire oligarchs who run and own all of those is the most effective front against the American People today and in our history. Its only competition is the slave power of the past, it is, in fact, a continuation of it.
* As recently as last February as the Republican congress and Trump were changing the law, the ACLU was putting out bull shit about how preventing the mentally ill from owning guns was a matter of "stigmatizing" people who are mentally ill. The ACLU is no kind of liberal group, it is an ideological brothel that puts up a measly front of supporting a few decent things while enabling and championing the conditions that have brought about the catastrophe we live in, now. The actual history of the ACLU, when known, discredits its PR image. It is largely dedicated to amoral depravity and determined unreality as a governing legal principle and has been for a long time. It should have been replaced by something else at least from the time of Skokie and Buckley v Valeo, if not before then. They do have such a habit of being on the side of enablement of the worst on the basis of pretending that judges and justices and everyone else are powerless to make basic moral and rational distinctions. Apparently they teach that in the elite law schools of America.
I don't know why I started thinking of Hyman Bloom this afternoon, specifically his Seance pictures. But, there you go. Maybe he's talking to me from the beyond. I love the Boston School artists, Bloom and Jack Levine, especially (see the quote on my masthead).
Here's a site where you can watch a movie about him.
At this point I'm not interested in what anyone who might be stupid enough to believe anything Simps says thinks about me, or thinks they think about me on the basis of his misrepresentations. He's as habitual a liar as Trump, just they lie about different things. I think their level of illiteracy is probably pretty close - happens when someone gets most of their information from TV. The dead giveaway is that he's an habitual distorter of things other people have said, too. The truth isn't his friend. Update: Well, it's always possible that at least sometimes he's not intentionally lying, he's such a lazy, sloppy thinker with the typical TV trained non-rigorous thinker's habits that he can't understand anything except the simplest things, a level of thought that isn't sufficient to understand much. He's not going to change. Seventy year old white men with his habits and without any meaningful contact with young people almost never change to any significant extent, they just decay.
I just heard from my sister who is seething because the 50s Little Richard rip-off cover, Pat Boone, just gave her a robo-call against Medicaid expansion on tomorrow's ballot here in Maine. I hope he burns in hell. I always hated him, I always though he sucked and now I know he sucks even bigger. Update: In my opinion he's an 83-year-old man-whore of Mammon whose whoring for Republicans depriving people of Medicaid is of a piece with his pimple cream scam.
Well, we know one thing, God hasn't answered the prayers that people have pretended to offer up in the wake of all of these mass shootings going on for decades, centuries, the shootings that aren't classified as "mass shootings" and the individual gun murders with an end to them. I think the obvious will of God is that we do something in the way of making laws to stop it. I'm so fed up with the hypocrisy of people who oppose doing something pretending to pray about mass slaughter. Since so many of them pretend to believe in scripture, here's something from Proverbs in their favored King James translation: 27When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: 30They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil. It's a hard teaching today but no where near as hard as the mass murders we accept without doing a fucking thing about it because "2nd Amendment". You can choose life or you can choose the "2nd Amendment" you can't choose both because the 2nd Amendment as it exists under Supreme Court rulings and political cowardice and as promoted by the free media kills.
There may have been a time when it might have been understandable to say "it's too early" to talk about serious gun control in the United States, I'm not sure when that was but it was certainly over on August 1, 1966, the day of the University of Texas tower slaughter. That, today, more than a half century after that we have people in power saying today is "too early" and others talking "founding fathers" "2nd Amendment" as a means of stopping the discussion of how fucking insane the United States has been made by a combination of Constitutional lawyer blather, criminally insane Supreme Courts, fascists doing the bidding of Murder Inc. 2, the NRA, etc. shows that the United States, its mass media, its legal and political class and all others are too insane to not enable the gunmen who slaughter us in ways that ISIS, Al Qaeda, North Korea and all of our other combined enemies could only dream of doing.
It is the 2nd Amendment nutcases and those who use them to gain power who killed the people in that church yesterday, who murdered the children at Sandy Hook, who murdered the people at the music festival in Las Vegas and all of the rest of the tens of thousands murdered every year for the last half century after the University of Texas tower shootings.
There is a cold civil war that has been going on in this country ever since the end of the hot one, the body count from it dwarfs the one in the 1860s. Yet we don't scrap the causes of it because those are embedded in our awful 18th century Constitution and in our collective mythology about that. The United States has been rendered non compos mentis by its legal establishment and its media, both entertainment and alleged news. I have come to doubt anything will change until the guns are turned on them and the billionaire oligarchs. I've had more than a half century to watch things not changing except for the worst to lead me to that conclusion.
If Greens and independents want to have a say in who gets the Democratic nomination they should join the Democratic Party and so stop being Greens and independents. Any of them wanting the Democratic nomination for president should join at least a decade before trying to get it and gain credibility as a DEMOCRATIC candidate. Donna Brazile should never have any future role in the Democratic Party, not after this for-profit publicity turn that reopened that healing wound blown in the party. Neither should many of the people in both the Clinton and Sanders campaign. Jeff Weaver should just go to hell, so should the rest of the non-Democrats who tried to hijack the party nomination for a non-Democrat. They are Republican enablers. The Greens are Republican surrogates. Sanders should tell them to shut up and whatever he does he should make it clear he is not going to pull a stunt candidacy in the future. A lifetime total of one of those helping to put a Republican-fascist in the presidency is more than enough.
I started listening to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's two part series about the centennial of the Russian Revolution and it is quite good. Since last night's comments proved that a holder of a college degree in the United States can have an incredible ignorance of that event and its aftermath, one informed by the stupidest of pop culture, movies, TV, the idiocy of quasi-Marxist propaganda - and it was ubiquitous among the allegedly educated Americans of my generation - I'd recommend listening to it, so I'll post a link to it.
Now that the actual contracts between the Hillary For America campaign and the Democratic National Committee have been made public and we are finding that Donna Brazile lied about what they said, setting off the Bernie Sanders dead-enders and their de facto Republican-fascist allies, it's clearer than ever that things have been screwed up at the DNC pretty much since Howard Dean stopped being the head of it. If Tom Perez can unscrew things, along with Keith Ellison, the deputy chair, remains to be seen. I think that both should use the occasion of the blow up over Brazile's book as a reason to cut ties with those who supported them but whose factions insist on doing damage to the Democratic Party in ways that will only benefit Republicans.
The rules and practices of the DNC have to specifically bar people in positions such as the one Brazile had from misrepresenting what happened during their period in the leadership. That should be in the contract with substantial penalties to be paid if they do that. They should also be changed to give the DNC more independence from campaigns and, sadly enough, sitting presidents. What Barack Obama did to the DNC during his tenure as the nominal head of the Democratic Party should be enough to prevent that happening again. For anyone like that slimy worm, Rahm Emanuel, to have had any influence in that shows that so enabling such people should be avoided.
With what Brazile left out of the book excerpt I read, important facts that the contract specifically stated that nothing in it impinged on the impartiality of the DNC during the nominations process, that other candidates could make similar agreements with the DNC, etc. it is plain as the nose on Rupert Murdoch's face that she's cashing in at the ol' Hillary hatin' gravy train. Someone who does that has made themselves entirely untrustworthy. I don't trust anything she says without verification, from now on.
Here is a summary of things I'd propose as ways to prevent this happening again and possible benefits:
- Bar participation of non-Democrats in decisions of the Democratic Party, barring people who have not been members of the Democratic Party for at least a decade or two from being eligible for the nomination for President, taking control of our nominations process through a by-mail vote restricted to people registered as Democrats on the last day of the year before the election for which the nomination is made, would go far in solving most of the problems with the nominations process.
- Insulate the choice from Republicans who want to screw with our elections in open primaries - and when I say "Republicans" you can read that to include Greens and other non-Democrats. It would ensure that only registered Democrats made that decision, bypassing state open primary laws and laws that effectively open our party up to ratfucking.
- It would shield the choice from Republican-fascist attempts to prevent legitimate voters from voting and would likely produce a higher turnout than traditional primaries and the anti-democratic caucuses. It would have that great benefit of getting rid of the caucuses altogether, removing one of the greatest travesties of the current system.
- It would fix the calender, making the Iowa and New Hampshire domination of the process moot and would give an entirely more representative sample of registered Democrats a determination in the process. I don't know when the process should start but there should be a time limit of when the ballots are sent to registered Democrats and when those would have to be post marked to be counted.
While it would be expensive and would have to be overseen by a disinterested entity known for its integrity (Elections Canada, for example?) if it were done with transparency and with integrity it might even quash the conspiracy mongering of assholes like Jeff Weaver and the pseudo-Democrats of 2016, many of whom were Greens trying to screw the Democratic Party. I doubt it would be as expensive, in the end, as what we've got now.
It certainly wouldn't be as bad as the insane Nevada system or any of the insane but less insane caucus insanity. It wouldn't be as insane as what happened in Washington State in which the far higher participation primary was discounted in favor of the pathetic turn out at the caucus.
For the life of me, I don't know anyone who thinks that caucuses aren't a travesty but obviously people who want to manipulate the system like them and have the power to retain them. Anyone who would do it out of "tradition" is an idiot who shouldn't be listened to. It's a tradition that like Jim Crow should never have been, to start with. Anyone who thinks caucuses are useful in organizing a local or state party is even stupider. There are better ways to do that than to screw with the party nomination for President.