Saturday, December 9, 2017

Saturday Night Radio Drama - John Morton - 100 Everyday Menaces

100 Everyday Menaces tells the story of Joe, a man suffering from OCD and anxiety, returning to his home town to see his son. A dark incident from a year earlier threatens to overshadow his arrival as he struggles to stay positive, stay healthy and stay in control.

starring Gus Mc Donagh, Peter Daly, Janet Moran, Enda Oates, Eva Bartley and Aisling O'Neill.

As always, when it's from RTÉ, you've got to download the mp3 to listen to it.

Second Feature - Peter Sheridan - Forty-Seven Roses 

"Is that what we got the television for?", Peter Sheridan's mother asked in 1960 as she watched Queen Elizabeth on the box. That woman coming into my kitchen on a horse?".  Last March, Dublin theatre-goers got to see Peter Sheridan deliver his celebrated monologue, based on his memoir, "Forty-Seven Roses" at Bewleys Cafe Theatre. This Sunday we present the radio version, performed by the author himself.

It's not exactly a play, not a monodrama but here it is.

Again, you'll have to download the mp3.

You Didn't Hear The Good News?

Oh, you didn't know? 

We can tell the truth about those thing now, we don't have to be nice, 1960s style liberalish anti-anti-communists, anymore.  We don't have to let the scum who ran Red Channels, Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn or the like determine what we say, they're all dead. 

We can oppose communism because it killed tens of millions of people and oppressed many hundreds of millions more.  We can do that because Marxism is an anti-democratic ideology.  We can oppose it for exactly the same reason we oppose Nazism and fascism and Republican-fascism.   We can do that now. 



The Imagination You Scorn Is The Same Imagination You Deny Using To Do It

In the second chapter of The Bible Makes Sense, Walter Brueggemann gives a list of things that have to be considered to come to even a pedestrian knowledge of the events, people and places contained in the Bible, names of peoples, countries, rulers, geography, etc.  And he gives a short bibliography of resources that would be helpful in gaining such knowledge and to use as references when knowledge or memory fails.

Then he does something really interesting, especially considering what he said in the first chapter about how a biblical understanding of reality is at odds with the "modern-industrial-scientific" view of reality, he says that even with all of that, you can't get the point of the Bible and what its purposes are without reliance on the use of creative imagination and, especially, recreative imagination*.  Being raised a Catholic, I would think what he advocates as a means of comprehending what the Bible is saying is close to the practice of  lectio divina, but I'm not going to go into that just now.  Here is the beginning of Brueggemann's section about the need of imagination to understand the Bible.

Such understanding is indispensable for serious study of the Bible.  But it will not make one an insider.  I suggest that the key to becoming an insider (which presumes the above dimensions of knowledge) and therefore a participant in this covenantal/historical understanding of reality is the nurturing of an historical imagination.  By imagination I mean an openness and sensitivity to the pulses of meaning that can be discerned in reflection upon historical experience preserved in an historical community.  The imagination of the biblical community plays primarily with images which have come from this particular history.  thus “Pharaoh” comes to be a symbolic reference to every form of oppression.  “Bread” comes to refer to the strange gift of nourishment which happens in the desert.  And the stories cluster around these images, so that every oppression-liberation event is a new dealing with Pharaoh.  Every surpassing gift of nourishment is another miracle in the wilderness where starvation is wondrously avoided.   This community, like every vital community, has its own energizing repertoire of images which give life and direction.

Such imagination of course opposes that kind of preoccupation with “facts” and “history” which believes only what can be proven and which limits belief to what is empirically demonstrable.  Imagination is the gift of vitality which enables the believing community to discern possibility and promise, to receive newness and healing where others only measure and count and analyze.  (The Pastoral letter of Roman Catholic Bishops on Powerlessness in Appalachia” is an example of such imaginative activity.  That those Bishops departed from tightly reasoned prose and utilized free verse which opens itself to impressionistic reception, was an exceedingly important event.  Perhaps the greatest impact of the letter was its use of a bold medium of expression.)  From generation to generation the transmission of the Bible in all its power and vitality has been possible because people with imagination have been sensitive to fresh dimensions of meaning, to new interconnections perceived for the first time, to new glimpses of holiness that lie within the text.  Conventionally this openness to new interconnections perceived for the first time, to new glimpses of holiness that lie within the text.  Conventionally this openness to fresh nuances in the text has been located in the discussion of “inspiration and revelation” and I do not wish to deny those dimensions.  But the need for imagination may also suggest that the handling of the text as an insider requires of us energy and boldness if its new pertinence is to be perceived and received among us.

As luck would have it, the pastoral letter he refers to is available online, This Land Is Home To Me, and while it addressed the poverty in the Appalachian region, it is certainly something that could have been written about just about anywhere, even in the neighborhoods of poverty close by the homes of the millionaires and billionaires, or, rather, their second or third or ninth homes.  While I read it last night I couldn't help but contrast the conceptions of the people, the region and the reasons for The Peoples' oppressive poverty contained in it, its ideas of how to remedy that, with the various programs of Marxists, the songs, the slogans, etc. over the last century and that the Bishops' approach was far more likely to have done something about it.  Considering that most of the Marxists who were involved in, or, rather, in most cases, romantically balladeered about poverty in that land were likely to be Stalinists and considering the living conditions of miners and the poor under Communism, there was never any reason to believe their approach would produce here what it didn't in the Soviet Union or other Marxist countries.

I added that because I read some idiot would-be lefty yearning for a revival of Marxism.  Considering what they produced by way of mass murder, genocide and mountains of corpses, and, I will add, the Putinesque model in Russia and Chinese Victorian capitalism on steroids, any would-be lefty who wants to revive it is as dementedly appalling as anyone who would want to revive the Nazi government.   To hell with the Hollywood 10 and the movies made about them.

* Anticipating the snark of the atheists, caught up in exactly the "modern-industrial-scientific" model to the extent they haven't thought much about what it is they do, every single act of intellect relies on imagination, even the most exacting of the sciences, physics and chemistry, rely, constantly on the imaginations of scientists about the simplest of objects and as those join to become more complex objects.  As I've pointed out before, René Thom, noted how a rigorous mathematical description rapidly becomes ineffective even in the relatively exact science of chemistry.

The excellent beginning made by quantum mechanics with the hydrogen atom peters out slowly in the sands of approximations in as much as we move toward more complex situations…. This decline in the efficiency of mathematical algorithms accelerates when we go into chemistry.   The interactions between two molecules of any degree of complexity evades precise mathematical description … In biology, if we make exceptions of the theory of population and of formal genetics, the use of mathematics is confined to modeling a few local situations (transmission of nerve impulses, blood flow in the arteries, etc.)  of slight theoretical interest and limited practical value… The relatively rapid degeneration of the possible use of mathematics when one moves from physics to biology is certainly known among specialists, but there is a reluctance to reveal it to the public at large … The feeling of security given by the reductionist approach is in fact illusory.

If scientists must rely on their imaginations to do even the hard sciences, the belief you can avoid using imagination to address the entirely more complex reality of human life and societies is rank superstition.  It is exactly the kind of superstition that the "modern-industrial-scientific" model of reality is based in, it can't withstand even that level of investigation, even as it destroys us all.

Hate Mail - OK, You Want To Play Rough, I'm Up To It - An Explanation

Oddly, enough, I didn't even know it was the anniversary of the murder of John Lennon, yesterday.  There were more important things about important things to be paying attention to.  I wasn't a fan of his music while he was alive and I'm not now.   Do you call to mind the date when Lee Morgan was murdered?  Or Bobby Timmons died?  Or Clifford Brown?  Do I send you snarky comments when you don't do that?  There is nothing stronger than the insistence of the phony non-conformists insistence that you conform to their thinking.

You know, considering you guys being such big fat First Amendment Absolutists, that it is known to an absolute certainty that icon of free speecyness, Salinger's "Catcher In The Rye" was what inspired Mark David Chapman to kill him, we know that from his own admission that he was obsessed with the book, he carried a copy of it with him as he killed Lennon, bought that day, for the occasion, as I recall now,  and he recited from it as his great statement explaining himself.   "More speech" didn't shield Lennon just as it hasn't against other movie and media inspired murderers.  Two words, baby,  "Helter Skelter".

As to your snark, all I can say is, "Imagine, no John Lennon." 

Update:  Imagine that, I know more about the actual event, the murder of John Lennon than his A #1 fanboy.   It's not debatable except in the realm that climate change denial, 9-11 conspiracy theory and the belief that movies are real reside that Chapman said he was inspired to murder Lennon by The Catcher In The Rye, that icon of free speecy, free pressy orthodoxy.  It's a matter of the court record and the official record as well as contemporary reportage, where I read about it decades ago.


Oh, so it's unmentionable that Mark Chapman was inspired to murder John Lennon by "Catcher In The Rye" because it's a violation of free speechyness to say something that is completely backed up in the court record, the official police records and contemporary reporting because Salinger's shitty, boring, vastly overrated novel - what one woman brilliantly said was "like the longest date with a boy who can't stop talking about himself" - is an icon of free speechyness.  You're supposed to lie about that, I guess.  

Update 3:  Hecate can bite herself, with all three of her mouths. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Joshua Redman - The Deserving Many

Joshua Redman, Sax
Pat Metheny, Guitar
Charlie Haden, Bass
Billy Higgins, Drums

An Answer - Here's What I Have To Say - See if You Can Figure It Out

Lee Morgan, trumpet
Benny Golson, sax
Bobby Timmons, piano
Jymie Merritt, bass
Art Blakey, drums

Why Atheists Have Never Laid A Finger On God - David Bentley Hart - God, gods, and fairies

I listen to things like this while I'm doing housework, this one made me smile.  Knowing it's going to go miles over the head of the trolls who troll me is making me smile as I post it.

I'm typing out something to post later but I've got more woodwork to scrub down.

Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 25 in G Major, Op. 79:I. Presto alla tedesca

Russel Sherman, piano

Arthur Schnabel, piano

Wilhelm Backhaus

Hate Mail

I have no idea what that little brace of Duncan's Dunces were talking about, I didn't even know Duncan took piano lessons and if they think I'd be against someone trying to learn even one page of Beethoven's Sonatas - well, that's the kind of stuff that makes Duncan's Dunces dunces.

Why Duncan, who confesses he learned only part of a page of one of the Sonatas (I hope it was at least from Op. 10, not Op 49) feels like he could play them, well, we all have our fantasies.  Beethoven's Sonatas, even when they are relatively easy technically, are some of the most challenging in the repertoire.  As one of their greatest interpreters, Arthur Schnabel said,  it was music that was greater than could be played.  I have studied them and taught some of them, there are lots of them that I wouldn't have attempted in my best years and these days there aren't many of them that I'd even think of playing in a private recital. I don't have any problem with Duncan having his fantasy life over music but what he said is silly.  And I wouldn't have even read it if someone didn't flag what the dopes said about me concerning it.

I'm not that impressed with Ashkenazy's Beethoven playing.  Schnabel, of course was great, so have been Pariah, Kempf, Brendel, and so many others.  Rudolf Serkin is still my favorite Beethoven player though Russell Sherman's cycle has had a more profound influence on how I conceive of them than anything since hearing Serkin.  As always, even the things I thought were kind of nutty in his approach when I first heard him, he backed up with scholarship in the record of contemporary description of Beethoven's own playing.  I'm not sure that even Serkin and Schnable read those. 

Maybe the Sonatas are the hermitage I've been thinking of retiring to.  Though I'm still considering finding a cave someplace.  Can't keep a piano in one of those. 

As to the snark from the snobs about my state, read what I said about snobs yesterday.    It was New York's Senator who threw Franken under the bus as part of her presidential hopes.  I suspect Duncan has more of a chance of playing the Hammerklavier.

I'd give Duncan a lesson, if he paid me my full fee.  I only waive that for students too poor to pay or who are interesting to teach.  He can do one and I doubt he'd be the other.

Update:  I have to confess that they should never have let me know now much that bugs them.  Having wasted too many hours among them, before following the other adults who fled, leaving Eschaton to the perpetual jr. high population, I got their number. 

Update 2:  Geesh, I'd forgotten just how histrionic they are over there.  Happens with a bunch of attention seeking children, all that sturm und drang, they should be careful of that at their ages.  They might harsh Duncan's mellow.

American Liberalism In The Age Of Lies And Why They Are Only Able To Surrender

If yesterday was the stupidest day in American politics or not is debatable, that it was among the stupidest is not.   We will soon know if the bet that Democratic Senators who hounded one of the best of them out of office paid off, that Leanne Tweeden and Stephanie Kemplin* et al were not part of a Republican ratfucking op  and I doubt it will show they bet well.   The huge pending if of whether or not this will inspire Alabama voters to reject a serial child molester in favor of a prosecutor who took on the Klan and got a measure of justice for four young girls who they murdered.... We'll see.  As we will also see if, on the other end of the country Minnesota will be able to produce someone even nearly as good at being a Senator as Al Franken has been. That is, I'm afraid to say it, an even less sure thing.

I understand full well what happened, Democrats were responding to the double standard that means cable TV, these days primarily FOX and CNN but also hate-talk radio, the internet and the print media up to and including the New York Times, will turn any Democrat with the treatment they gave to Richard Jewell in which no lie or lying speculation will be too baseless to not air.  That is what all that free speechy, free pressy stuff has bought the American left, not the wet dream of the Marxists who developed it expecting that it would lead to Americans being suckered into voting them into power.  It means that normal moderate to moderately liberal Democrats hold office under a reign of gossip and that it has turned too many of them into cowards.  That none of them seems to have faced the reality that Joel Gora and the ACLU played us for suckers with that stuff doesn't seem to be sinking in, not even a little bit.

But, in the Age of Lies which the media did, in fact, create, with the help of the legal theorists and Judicial branch of government, we now have the spectacle of idiot dauphins such as Donald Trump JR. creating privileges to prevent his law breaking being exposed by congressional committees and, most repulsively of all, the women whose lies on behalf of Republican-fascism makes Sean Spicer to be merely the court jester of little white lies,  Sarah Huckabee Sanders had to fucking gall, in her full Arkansas white person persona, her Southern Strategy Republican-ness to lecture John Lewis about the true meaning of the Civil Rights Movement which her kind were on the wielding side of clubs, dogs, horses, guns and ropes as they attacked and murdered peaceful protesters who were fighting against the kind of lies that the Joel Goras and ACLU were not under attack as the filed briefs and made arguments before courts to allow for other white people in the media.

The use of the Civil Rights movement in their efforts on behalf of paying media barons and freeing the mass media to lie will have to wait for another day.  It's a longer argument than I'm prepared to make right now.

Liberals have been idiots to fall for this stuff that has led to their serial defeats.  In this Civil War, they've stuck with McClellan who can only think of letting the slave power win as a strategy.

*  Yeah, there's a photo of the incident of waist grabbing that she ratfucked Al Franken with, too and she looks real traumatized in it.   Just how high can a waist claimed to be?

Image result for Stephanie Kemplin

Update:  I haven't been looking at a lot of news the past 24 hours, apparently the estimable Charles Pierce was thinking along similar lines.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Olivier Messiaen - 20 Views Of The Infant Jesus - 1 The View of the Father

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

I needed this tonight.

Messiaen put citations at the heading of  pieces in the set, the one from this is taken from Matthew's telling of the Transfiguration, after Jesus is transfigured the voice of God said, This is my Son in him I am well pleased.  An interesting text to start off the meditations on the Infant Jesus with. 

The Second Oldest Profession

I think what Don jr. was doing is setting things up so that if the Russian enuresis artistes are forced to testify before a  congressional committee they can cite watery-client privilege 

Update:  Well, it would be about as valid as what he claimed.  The Republicans would let him do it, he's gotten away with it so far. 

An Answer - What Happened To That Piece You Promised Us?

The saying is that this country was founded by geniuses so it could be run by idiots (and it often seems we've reached that pass).

Molly Ivins, November 11, 1999

Molly Ivins died in 2007, while George W. Bush was in office, she wrote that while Bill Clinton was president and Newt Gingrich was succeeded by Denny Hastert as Speaker of the House.  What she'd make of 2017 isn't hard to guess.

During her lifetime I wouldn't have stood second to anyone in my admiration of her but I think her faith in the ability to maintain democracy in the face of modern methods of lying in the modern media and with the fascists having access to computer technology and sophisticated data was entirely misplaced.  The fact is, democracy dies when the media lies and gets away with lying, it was already how we came to that pass in 1999, it has only gotten worse.   Somewhere, I can't locate it just now, I wrote a piece disagreeing with her on her faith in "free speech absolutism" because I'd already come to believe that democracy can't happen when billionaires can flood the nation's collective attention span with lies.  I believe I pointed out that, as a professional writer, Molly Ivins' and other journalists' affection for the right to lie, to print untruths (either believed or almost certainly known to be lies) had more than a bit of sacrificing the need of The People to know the truth to cast an informed vote to their professional advantage.  It's not as if seeing Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I and II elected on the power of lies, of seeing Newt Gingrich prosper on lies, of seeing Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes and hate talk radio doing the same thing and their elevation to power which all of the "more speech" that could be mustered didn't prevent wasn't obvious.

We have breached the limits of tolerance in which democracy can exist, those weren't set by the "genius" founders, they were largely a bunch of slaveholder crooks in the South and commerce crooks in the North and under the central group represented by such people as Madison and Hamilton, they set up the country so it could be rigged to favor them.   I'm still planning on getting back to that because the central mythology of the country, of the Constitution and, yes, the Bill of Rights - under which, I'll point out, genocide against the native people of North America happened, the enslavement and de facto enslavement under Jim Crow flourished and, with the attacks on the Voting Rights and Civil Rights acts, Republican fascists, the crook class of today, are trying their best to revive everything that was wrong with the original Constitution and the slave dominated country that document set up.   As one of the Black abolitionists pointed out at the time of the Civil War,  Black people had been slaves the entire time the Constitution and the Bill of Rights had been law.  Within ten years of the Emancipation Proclamation and as the Civil War amendments were in place, American Apartheid flourished for almost another century and those are being reinstalled by Republicans in the wake of Brown vs. Board and the long ago Supreme Court rulings that are being gutted. 

I have of late - and wherefore I know damned well—lost all my mirth

The folksy, jokey view of lies, as a minor fertilizer of humor, the kind of thing that Mark Twain wrote in his "My First Lie And How I Got Out Of It" one of his many pieces that don't stand up to time  isn't really very funny.  I've got a hard time believing anyone really thought it was ever funny.  I've stopped finding it amusing.   I still love Molly Ivins and frequently go back and read her columns, collected and those not in collections.   But this year I'm finding the humor about mendacity,  corruption and racism and bigotry pretty hard to take.  I don't know how people ever figured that kind of thing damaged the fascists, because if humor could overturn them, Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert and Seth Myers would have sent them packing by March.   Any week they tell more good jokes than the entire stand up community of the 50-and 60s told during those two decades and it's only getting worse.  If anyone is going to stop it, it's going to be the very unfunny Robert Mueller. 

What I want now isn't jokes, it's him with witnesses under oath and under threat of prison being compelled to tell the truth.  Only, the media will probably do their best to limit the effect of the truth with Constitutionally protected lies.

Hate Mail - Not Surprised, Not Interested

I'm not interested.  I'm not surprised that Duncan would mix up the distinct categories of the Apocrypha and apocryphal gospels, while claiming he knows more about it than most evangelical Christians.   He's a snob as are his regulars. 

I don't think that kind of snobbery is helpful, while a lot of evangelicals are ignorant, so are a lot of college credentialed atheists.   While I disagree with evangelicals a lot, their scholarship is often quite good.  

A Sad Day For Equality And The Rest Of The Agenda Of Real American Liberalism

Whatever else you can say about it, and there's lots that should be,  Al Franken's resignation speech is the classiest one I've ever heard.   I doubt the reaction to it will be. 

This is one of the stupidest tragedies in recent political history, an indictment of trial by cable TV and internet gossip leading to a disaster.  

I hope that his replacement is someone who is great and who can hold the seat.  I hope it isn't as stupid a choice as when Duval Patrick chose Paul Kirk jr. as a place holder when Edward Kennedy died, to have the seat go to the sleazy Ken Doll, Scott Brown.  I hope they thought of that in the process. 

How Many People Will Die Over Jerusalem Is The Question, Not If People Will Die: The Disaster That Fascism Is

I heard one of the pundits note that Trump gave away the Jerusalem issue to the Israeli government for free, but, actually, I think he gave it away to the likes of Sheldon Adelson for the millions he gave his and other Republicans' campaigns.  Or he gave it away to his son-in-law or someone else. The mentally deficient Trump is a chump of anyone who can get to him but when it comes to this disaster which is guaranteed to come with a body count, likely a very big one, it was one of his business deals.

This was always bound to happen, eventually, that the American system would throw up a president as bad as Trump who could be chumped by the fascists who have pretty much cemented their control of Israel in place. That has been an ongoing process since the beginning of Israel, it's way past time that anyone should be allowed to lie about that, it was something that in this week in 1948, the likes of Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt and Sidney Hook noted that the political faction that has, in fact, ruled Israel for much of its history has roots in fascism. 

I looked at the famous letter which was published by the New York Times 69 years and two days before Trump made his stunningly irresponsible and homicidal announcement, that it carries a warning to us, in the United States and a description of the Trump regime, the passage near the end of a "Leader State" as the goal of fascism made me think it was worth typing out the text from the original letter as published.  Also, re the likes of Adelson, note what it says about American conservative supporters of Zionism and their relationship with Begin's fascist party.   Also note, that the text as published in the Times consistently refers to him as "Menachen Begin"  which I copied.  I will, of course, correct any errors in my copy if you can point those out to me.


New Palestine Party

Visit of Menachen Begin and Aims of Political Movement Discussed

 To the Editor of The New York Times:

Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our time is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the “Freedom Party” (Tnuat Harerut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties.  It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine. 

The current visit of Menachen Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States.  Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit.  It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin's political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents.

Before irreparable damage is done by way of financial contributions, public manifestations in Begin's behalf, and the creation in Palestine of the impression that a large segent of America supports Fascist elements in Israel,  the American public must be informed as to the record and objectives of Mr. Begin and his movement.

The public avowals of Begin's party are no guide whatever to its actual character.  Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state.  It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character;  from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future.

Attack on Arab Village

A shocking example was their behavior in the Arab village of Deir Yassin.  This village, off the main roads and surrounded by Jewish lands, had taken no part in the war, and had even fought off Arab bands who wanted to use the village as their base.  On April 9 (The New York Times), terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants – 240 men, women and children – and kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through the streets of Jerusalem.  Most of the Jewish community was horrified by the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of apology to King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan.  But the terrorists, far from being ashamed of their act, were proud of the massacre, publicized it widely, and invited all of the foreign correspondents present in the country to view the heaped corpses and the the general havoc at Deir Yassin. 

The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character and actions of the Freedom Party

Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultra-nationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority.   Like other Fascist parties they have been used to break strikes and have themselves pressed for the destruction of free trade unions.  In their stead they have proposed corporate unions on the Italian Fascist model.

During the last years of sporadic anti-British violence, the IZL and Stern groups inaugurated a reign of terror in the Palestine Jewish community.   Teachers were beaten for speaking against them, adults were shot for not letting their children join them.  By gangster methods, beatings, window-smashing, and wide-spread robberies, the terrorists intimidated the population and exacted a heavy tribute

The people of the Freedom Party have had no part in the constructive achievements in Palestine.  They have reclaimed no land, built no settlements, and only detracted from the Jewish defense activity.  Their much-publicized immigration endeavors were minute and devoted mainly to bringing in Fascist compatriots.

Discrepancies Seen

The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made by Begin and his party, and their record of past performance in Palestine bear the imprint of no ordinary political party.  This is the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs and British alike), and misrepresentation are means and a “Leader State” is the goal.

In the light of the foregoing considerations, it is imperative that the truth about Mr. Begin and his movement be made known in this country  It is all the more tragic that the top leadership of American Zionism has refused to campaign against Begin's efforts, or even to expose to its own constituents
the dangers to Israel from support to Begin.

The undersigned therefore take this means of publicly presenting a few salient facts concerning Begin and his party;  and of urging all concerned not to support this latest manifestation of fascism.

Isadore Abramowitz,  Hannah Arendt,  Abraham Brick, Rabbi Jessurun Cardozo,  Albert Einstein,  Herman Eisen, M.D.  Hayim Fineman, M. Gallen, M.D., H. H. Harris,  Zelig S. Harris, Sidney Hook, Fred Karush, Briuria Kaufman, Irma L. Lindheim,  Nachman Majesl,  Seymour Melman,  Myer D Mendelson, M.D.,  Harry M. Orlinsky,  Samuel Pitlick,  Fritz Rohrlich,  Louis P. Rocker Ruth Sager,
Itzhak Sankowsky,  I. J. Schoenberg, Samuel Schuman, M Znger, Irma Wolpe, Stefan Wolpe

New York, Dec 2 1948


It's a disaster when a country is ruled by fascist thugs like Netanyahu and Trump, lots of people end up dying.   Israel might have the excuse of continual violence and the treat of violence for producing fascist rule there, though, as this letter proves, they were warned, as we were.  We don't have that excuse, it was imposed by TV and radio without any attacks.  Our Constitutional system finally demonstrated that it is quite capable of allowing disasters, if not over North Korea, over the powderkeg that the Middle East has been since the 1940s. 

I Wouldn't Advise Holding Your Breath For The Media To Hold Republicans To The Same Standard They Are Democrats On Sexual Harassment

We don't know if Al Franken is going to be forced out of the Senate by the allegations that he did a mild version of what Donald Trump bragged of doing by Billy Bush.  Well, actually, since Trump bragged about grabbing women's genitals as a privilege of being the kind of degraded royalty that show biz creates this day, I think what Franken has been accused of isn't, actually the same thing.  He's accused of touching women's back side while having a picture taken with him, taking a boorishly naughty picture in which it would appear no touching happened and for having a stage kiss go bad during a rehearsal.

I will stop here and say that the reliance on anonymous accusations in the case of Al Franken is also a difference in how he is being treated as opposed to others who have had similar accusations made against them.  There should be an absolute rule in the press, on the internet that unless someone is willing to put their name and their identity on this kind of accusation, those accusations shouldn't be treated as if they are credible.  While there are good reasons for anonymity if the accusation is against an organized criminal, a billionaire oligarch, or someone else who might reasonably destroy an accuser, Al Franken is none of those.  The accusers of Donald Trump and Roy Moore haven't hidden behind anonymity but the treatment of the cases are being handled by different rules.   Is anyone surprised that the rules favor the Republicans and definitely do not favor the Democrat?

The presence of Al Franken in the Senate is, of course, a less important public affair than what the results will be in legislation and laws and in who the Senate confirms.   Holding a public office isn't a right, it is the acceptance of a job to serve The People.   The job that gets done, in the end, is what matters in this and if Franken is replaced by someone who will do as good a job as he would in the Senate, his Democratic colleagues calling for him to resign, that might be a justification for them doing what so many of them did yesterday.

I wouldn't make such a call unless I knew that which ever entity in Minnesota will fill that seat had someone who was as excellent in the job as Al Franken has been ready to hit the ground running.  I would want to know who was going to replace him and that they were worth the price that will be paid for one of the most effective current sitting senators leaving.   I would also want something that can't be had, a guarantee that the media and the voters of Alabama will hold their own Senators to the same rules and defeat Roy Moore.  In the end, if Minnesota and Democrats can feel proud that they have higher morals than Republicans and Alabamans, that's useless unless the political results were worth it.   A warm self-regarding feeling of moral superiority is no replacement for Civil Rights, Social Security, the ACA, CHIP, and the full range of things that Republican-fascism will destroy even as Democrats feel morally superior.   There is nothing more useless than the feeling of your own moral rectitude as the Republicans trash everything decent.

If Roy Moore is elected, there will be a lot more to say on that and what it will show in terms of who voted for him.

Whoever replaces Franken, I would hope it is not someone from the world of show biz where what Franken is accused of would be considered a minor instance of amusing naughtiness, backstage hijinks.  You can tell that from the pictures and footage of Leanne Tweeden groping, kissing and twerking at men onstage, to put it plainly, she did a lot more of what she accused Franken of in public and no one is calling for her to pay any price for it.  She has also had ties with Republican ratfucking operations and FOX sleazes which should have been held up as discrediting her.  As you can see the double standards would always seem to favor even the sleaziest Republicans and to disfavor Democrats.  Leanne Tweeden is a sleaze.  If she were a male sleaze the pictures of her groping men etc. would have gotten her fired from the media and show biz in the last six weeks.  And she's a political sleaze, which is far worse.

If I were Al Franken and I knew there was more that I'd done that could be used by Republican ratfucker operations, FOX, hate-talk radio, I would resign.  If I were Al Franken and knew most of what I was accused of was a lie, I would only resign if there was an official investigation of the accusations that would include the identification of anonymous accusers and which held the likes of Leanne Tweeden to her own pretended standards of behavior.  I would also insist that such an investigation held Republicans to the same rules.  If I didn't have a reason to think those were going to happen, I would be disinclined to leave until the ethics investigation is completed and a promising replacement ready to go.  What he'll say, who knows?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

it is of course a shock and an affront to us to notice how the power of the Bible is especially received among the powerless. But we can not avoid the evidence that it was especially the poor and powerless who responded to Jesus and who were able to trust God's promises

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters.  Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?   But you have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court?  Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

Letter of James 2:5-7

Since I'm typing out so much of Brueggemann's The Bible Makes Sense, I've decided to make it a sort of Advent meditation.  Here's another section of the First Chapter, The Possibility of a Fresh Perspective.  He's talking about the nature of the Covenantal-Historical model of life that comes from and provides a particularly potent reading of the Bible.  It is especially relevant in our current political situation in which egalitarian democracy, justice and decency are under full attack through the lies of the free press as told on behalf of billionaire oligarchs, American as much as in Putin's crime regime.

Moreover, this future, which staggers us by envisioning what we think not possible, offers the dynamic of a Promise-Maker and a Promise-Keeper, God himself.  That is what is covenantal about this tradition.  We are not in covenant with a good idea which is simply there or with our best intentions which depend on us.  We are in covenant with an active. caring, intervening God who keeps his promise.  Thus the Bible strangely  affirms that we are to embrace the promise of a quite different society which God himself initiates.  Yet this future to which we look forward is peculiarly historical,  which is to say the future is breaking in now, and when it breaks in, it does so peculiarly among the powerless, despised, and weak.  Bible reading is for the sake of remembering where we peculiarly come from and what is not peculiarly promised by this God who is graciously committed especially to those who have lot their utility and who have been written off by the world.  The future here envisioned is not a withdrawal from history,  but a renewal of humanness in history, so that the new humanness may emerge especially among those whom we treat with disdain.  It is of course a shock and an affront to us to notice how the power of the Bible is especially received among the powerless.  But we can not avoid the evidence that it was especially the poor and powerless who responded to Jesus and who were able to trust God's promises  It may give us pause to wonder that the poor may be strangely open to such promises, and perhaps in our affluence, it becomes more difficult and problematic to let God's promises have power among us.

Brueggemann's last clause is, of course, entirely consistent with the prophesy of the scriptures, from the earliest books, certainly from Exodus right through to the very last words of the second testament.  I wonder how that insight would stack up against the predictions of economics and sociology, only my wondering is about how much more impressive the imagined "bronze age goat herders" ideas were than the affluent members of university faculties have been.  I can't recall anything as clueless in the Scriptures as Alan Dershowitz's current line of bilge.

Hate Mail - The Strange Obsession Of Atheists With Calvin's Theory Of Predestination.

To start with, I'll remind you I don't believe in predestination but am inclined to be convinced by the arguments of the Orthodox universalists.  Just so I'll have said it before you misrepresent what I'm about to say.

The only practical reason that anyone, especially an atheist,  would get worked up over Calvin-Augustinian style predestination, in which God creates people who he, from before their creation, knew he would later condemn to eternal suffering, is that those holding that belief would be believed to act differently in the here-and-now to those they figured were among the damned and those who they believe were the ones elected by God to eternal bliss in heaven.

Atheists, such as yourself, would certainly not care about an eternal damnation you don't believe in and you don't care that the consequences of believing in predestination is to believe in a god who is a monster, the most evil of all conceivable entities who created those unfortunate creatures who, through whatever accidental life history or intended plan, would fail to avoid eternal agony.  Well, why would you care about that since you don't believe in God or any god? 

The idea that you could expect people who held such predestinarian views to act monstrously or indifferently to those they figured were destined for eternal suffering, assumes that their belief in the final destiny of people should determine how you view them in the here-and-now. 

Well, if that's true for Calvinists and other predestinarians, why isn't it also true of atheists who, a I pointed out, believe in a far bleaker, far more depressing view of the ultimate destiny of obliteration for all, regardless of their goodness in life?  I pointed out that the materialism that is the basis of atheist faith did, in fact, lead many atheist thinkers to discount all aspects of human consciousness, human thought, human life as being either a nonexistent illusion, our very consciousness disdained as primitive, stupid "folk psychology*"  And, in a practical demonstration in the here-and-now, the officially atheist regimes have been uniformly blood baths exceeding anything in the age when theocracy was alleged (by some pretty biased and pretty bad historical assertion) to dominate. 

Atheism leads to habits of indifference towards other people** and contains no prohibition on treating anyone you want to harm or destroy that is in any sense ultimate.   The worst of the preaching of predestinarian Calvinists was at least done with a theoretical prospect of leading to a true repentance which would have to follow sin in order to keep the possibility of salvation open, atheism has no such prospect of salvation.  The worst of the actions of the Puritans, those who participated in genocidal campaigns against Indians, who hanged witches, went against Biblical prohibitions on murder and the words of Jesus.  Some of those involved came to see what they did as a serious sin that they had to repent of, an atheist might have some regrets for what they did but they'd find no basis for doing that in their scientistic materialism.  They'd have to do so through habits of thought, a remainder of the same kind of "folk" thinking that atheists love to deride.

The logical view of this is that the anti-predestinarian view where people can be saved through their own efforts by the grace of  God, since, if it were truly believed, it would necessitate the preservation of the lives of even the worst among us so that they would remain open to the possibility of repentance and redemption and so salvation.  If predestination is alleged to produce depravity in its believers - and there is no system of belief more bleakly predestinarian than atheist materialism - then those who did not believe in that could be expected to be less depraved than those who do.  And if the assumption is that a belief in the ultimate disposition of a person will tend to produce better treatment of those bound for glory, then, surely, the belief most likely to produce good treatment of all is the belief that all are, eventually, destined for salvation. 

All I've done here is to look at your claim and its logical consequences.  It's a widely held claim among the middle-brow college trained secularists, these days, and not a few of those with higher brows.  That doesn't mean it isn't total bull shit.   I think it is.

*  If you haven't read the Churchlands and the other, currently stylish, eliminativists on that and the total absurdity and irrationality of their "cognitive-philosophy" it is truly ridiculous.  We live in an age that has produced academic darkness and delusion far more insane than that of the middle-ages in the name of enlightenment and science. 

**  Reading the dismissal of the mass murders of Stalin, and Mao by Marxists of most of the 20th century and into today, of even people I used to revere demoting the murders of millions by Mao, Pol Pot to a lesser status than their ideological dogma has led me to believe that atheists do, in fact, have a far greater tendency to devalue human lives because they view them as material objects.  I've come to see that so many of those held up as some kind of figures of moral rectitude were far from what they were sold as being. 

You can say the same, of course, about many a religious figure but, while the religious figures were at odds with the moral content of religion - that they demonstrated less than decisive and effective belief in what they claimed to - you can't say that the atheists were at odds with a materialist view of people.  There is nothing inconsistent with atheism about participating in or overseeing genocide, there is with Christianity, even of the predestinarian kind.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Robin Eubanks - House of Jade

a solo electric trombone performance of Wayne Shorter's ballad, "House of Jade"

Robin Eubanks is one of the most sophisticated users of electronic music technology in the history of the medium, one of the ones who goes way beyond experimental music making.  This is genius level music.

And The Composer's Own Genius Abounds

Wayne Shorter — tenor saxophone
McCoy Tyner — piano
Reggie Workman — bass
Elvin Jones — drums

Update:  When I said his use of electronics was sophisticated, I didn't necessarily mean that he used lots of gear, it was that his MUSICAL USE OF THEM WAS MUSICALLY SOPHISTICATED, which depends on intelligence, and a great musical ear.  Which Robin Eubanks has.  So many others depend on flashy equipment which impresses those without intelligence or ears, instead

Things I'd Really Like To Know Before I Die #47

Why is Alan Dershowitz spouting such a load of bull shit in defense of Trump?    Is he being blackmailed?  Is he under orders from some foreign government?  Is he farther along in his senility than Trump?  Is he so hard up for getting his snotty, sour puss on cable TV that he'll say literally anything to get on FOX?  

His latest line of shit is so stupid and so obviously wrong that even if his brain has largely atrophied and died it would be hard to explain it. 


Jacob Handl - Egredietur Virga de Radic Jesse - Isaiah 11

Merbecke Choir of Southwark Cathedral
directed by Huw Morgan

1  A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
2  The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
A spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
3 and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
4 But he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide fairly for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
5 Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
6  Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze,
together their young shall lie down;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
8 The baby shall play by the viper’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
9 They shall not harm or destroy on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.

As luck would have it, today's liturgy has one of the texts that leads me to hope that the reconciliation will include animals and that we'll all be vegetarians in heaven   Handl didn't set the entire text.  

Luigi Dallapiccola - Parole di San Paolo

Someone didn't like me saying that Christianity, as compared to the gloom of classical paganism was seen as a religion of light and optimism.   Some of the classical pagan writers thought that made it intellectually lightweight and frivolous as compared to the pessimistic, fatalism and cruel determinacy of classical paganism.

Luigi Dallapiccola was a composer who had one inability, he was not able to choose a wrong note, a wrong rhythm, a wrong tone color a wrong expressive indication.  He is also famous for the sophistication of his choice of texts to set, having a real intellectual's knowledge of a huge range of literature.

This is his mature setting  of verses from the famous 13th Chapter of Paul's First Letter To The Corinthians, which some scholars think is among the earliest, extant writing in the New Testament, the kind of message with which he started the evangelization of the pagan gentiles around the Mediterranean.

Si linguis hominum loquar et angelorum, caritatem autem non habeam, factus sum velut aes sonans, aut cymbalum tinniens.

-  If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

Et si habuero prophetiam, et noverim mysteria omnia, et omnem scientiam: et si habuero omnem fidem ita ut montes transferam, caritatem autem non habuero, nihil sum.

- And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

Et si distribuero in cibos pauperum omnes facultates meas, et si tradidero corpus meum ita ut ardeam, caritatem autem non habuero, nihil mihi prodest.

- And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing.

Caritas patiens est, benigna est:... Non gaudet super iniquitate, congaudet autem veritati:... Omnia suffert, omnia credit, omnia sperat, omnia sustinet.

- Charity is patient, is kind: charity envies not, ... Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; ... Bears all, believes all, hopes all, endures all things.

Nunc autem manent fides, spes, caritas, tria haec: major autem horum est caritas.

- And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.

Latin Vulgate and  The Douay-Rheims with a few archaic words modernized.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Palestrina - Ad Te Levavi Oculos Meos

Sistine Choir
Conductor: Massimo Palombella

Can't find a score that looks reliable. Sorry.

A motet for the first week of Advent

Answer To A Question: Why Are You Going Over That Stuff?

Among other things, this series I stumbled into doing about a section of The Bible Makes Sense could be considered a long ad for the book or, really, for reading it and using it as suggested, as a sort of at-home course on The Bible, in lieu of going to the recently open Bible Museum.  It was the first of Brueggemann's book I read, one of the most striking things about it was how he could seem to get inside my own experience, how he knew what things had influenced me in life, a much different life, in some ways, than the one he had led.  I wouldn't be surprised if his study of the Bible and other things ( Brueggemann, in his writing and talks references an amazing range of scholarship and thinking ) didn't give him those insights that secular scholars miss on account of the nature of what they read and study. 

I have given a long part of the first chapter here before, going over the various models or frames of considering life that he gave in it.  But even before then, from the first paragraphs of the book, it was clear that he was not your usual kind of narrowly focused, scholar but someone whose knowledge of people was wide and deep.  Perhaps I should have started with his suggestion of why studying the Bible, taking it seriously, is important.  How that  could produce a real, authentic counter-cultural, counter-political, etc. mindset that that official, "radical" "secularist" eventually commercialized "counter-culture" which the more easily attractive and easily taken for sophisticated framings produced.

It is strange that the Bible is our most treasured book,  and yet it seems so difficult that we don't find it very helpful.   Perhaps we have expected the wrong things of it;  we have asked of it what it cannot do  We have expected the Bible to keep promises it has never made to us.  The Bible cannot be a good luck piece to bring us Gods blessing.  Nor can it be an answer book to solve our problems or to give us right belief.  So the first question about reading the Bible is what we can indeed expect of it. 

I suggest that the Bible is precious to us because it offers us a way of understanding the world in a fresh perspective, a perspective that leads to life, joy, and wholeness.  It offers us a model, a pattern, through which we may think about, perceive, and live life differently.  Each of us has adopted one or more models for living our lives, even though we didn't do it consciously.  We learned a certain perspective by living in certain contexts and listening to certain voices.  Those might have been the voices of fearful parents of of calculating peers.  They might have been the voices of grudging tradition or euphoric dreams.  Among the voices of many of us listened to were the smooth seductive voice of television commercials.  Each of these shaped our consciousness and urged us to a particular notion of life.  They gripped our lives and shaped our experience, and we didn't know it was happening.  Yet over a period of time they came to have great power over us and finally to define our identity and destiny for us. 

The model which I regard as central to the Bible and which I will present here, is what I call a covenantal-historical way of understanding our life and faith. By covenantal I mean an enduring commitment by God and his people based on mutual vows of loyalty and mutual obligation through which both parties have their lives radically affected and empowered By historical I mean that these covenant partners, God and his people, have a vast deposit of precious memories of decisive interactions. These interactions, which run the gamut of love and hate, affirm to us that our whole existence depends on staying seriously and faithfully involved with the covenant partner, even at some risk. 

To bring out the uniqueness of this model, I will first sketch out several ways of understanding life which are shaping people in our society. In some respects they have points of contact with the model here proposed and are reflected in the Bible. But on the whole it is clear, as I will try to show, that the biblical view is quite distinctive from the others. The reading of the Bible can offer to us ways of understanding our life which are quite different from our own ways and perhaps seen in contradiction. Exposure to this literature may challenge our imagination and present to us ways of thinking and perceiving and knowing that have been denied to us by other lenses of perception. 

Brueggemann not only got my many decades of experience in that description, especially during my conventional secularist, agnostic decades - he also got my parallel track of transcendent thinking nailed down later in the chapter - he also got what would come about thirty years later as I did start to take The Bible, theology, more seriously, which, oddly enough, I date from my reading of John Dominic Crossan's, The Historical Jesus (which I find myself to largely be at odds with, now).   In my case, it came directly from a political consideration of the effects of higher-brow materialism and scientism and the catastrophic results those had for traditional American Liberalism.  That's where it started, but consideration of the texts, considerations of the kind that are taught by this book, the kind of way it advocates reading and understanding those produced real faith in a central kernel for me, a belief in how we are to act towards each other because that is what God wants.

I can't stand with Paul in making the truth of the Gospel contingent on a belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus, though I certainly believe that the apostles were reporting their real experience of those,  Different people will have different reasons to believe.  I don't believe that the truth of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you,"  "remember the Lord your God is one and you are to love God with everything you are and your neighbor as yourself" "What you do to the least among you you do to God" "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" and the commandment of Jesus,  "love one another as I have loved you" would have been different if the crucifixion and resurrection didn't happen.  They were true before Jesus was born, indeed, some of those sayings are taken from or based on the Hebrew scriptures.   I don't think those are true because Jesus said it, I believe Jesus said it because it is true.  That is a continuing job, to try to do those things better and to push for them to be made real in human societies and human governance and among that collection of self-regarding, self-serving, would be demi-gods in the judiciary and in academia.  I've known store clerks, and home makers and dirt poor bums who were better at it than people with academic credentials and a big income. I think a lot of them know more about it than I'm ever going to read from even a great scholar, keeping in mind I'm not including Brueggemann and some others in that.

Susan Collins Showed Mainers What She Really Is Last Week

Susan Collin's went on the Sunday Talk Shows, apparently, instead of coming back to face the people of Maine over the weekend.  She's hoping that her betrayal of them last week will be forgotten by next November, putting 50,000 of them off of health insurance (at a minimum) raising the rates for most of the rest of Mainers who have insurance and, most obvious in her many betrayals in voting for the Republican billionaire bonanza bill, making the election day vote of Mainers to expand Medicaid under the ACA a dead letter.

Collins did what she did so that she and her party can still reap the rewards of serving the billionaire class, she did it because she wants that money for her planned run for governor and so that they won't fund her challengers for the Republican nomination, a group that already includes the putid Mary Mayhew who did so much to shaft Maine's poor and lower middle class on behalf of Paul LePage.  It shouldn't be forgotten that the "moderate" Collins endorsed the paleo-fascist Paul LePage for governor, the "Trump before Trump" as he bragged of being.  She also provided cover for the installation of the ultra-racist, ultra-bigot, perjurer and likely colluder with the Putin regime, Jeff Sessions, playing a prominent role in his installation as Attorney General, lying about his long history of racism to do that.

Collins has always been the beneficiary of the habits Mainers have of treating Republican women with kid gloves, a habit developed during the political career of the legendary Margaret Chase Smith.  But she should be reminded that Margaret Chase Smith's legend wasn't enough to win her last reelection bid when she was defeated by Bill Hathaway.  One of the issues in that election was that she had lost touch with the people of Maine while enjoying being a national celebrity.  One of the issues was that she didn't maintain an office in the state.  What Collins did, after how Mainers voted on Medicaid expansion is far worse than what defeated Smith in 1972.  The ACA betrayal was only the tip of the iceberg, as she also voted to shaft the majority of the people of Maine who don't belong to the leisure class of wealthy coastal residents and other oligarchs.

Susan Collins deserves to be retired for what she did Friday night, she doesn't deserve to be governor of a state for whose voters she demonstrated such total disregard as she did in her vote to thwart their will.  She deserves to have her past career opened up for the first real and clear-eyed assessment for what has been a typical Republican career of service to the rich.  For the first time, she should get a real look, without the legendary treatment.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Things To Never Forget About Trump And The Media

A. Donald Trump as a public persona - not as a person, necessarily, but as the product that his voters bought - is 100% a creation of, by and through the American media, the "free press" unregulated, the product of decades worth of intention by the media which could have either exposed him for what he is or ignored him.  And he was a creation FOR the owners of the media.

B. That the same media, over the same decades, turned Hillary Clinton into a cartoon villain, cooking up one phony scandal after another, in cahoots with the Republicans of the worst kind, the Newt Gingrich, Ken Starr kind.

C. That is what the regime of free speech, free press absolutism has led to in reality, in real history, in the real world instead of "more speech" fantasy.  It turns out that when the freedom to lie is mixed with the corporate mass media, the results are fascistic, as anyone who looked at the regimes of the Soviet Union, the various fascist countries and Nazism, Mao's China and the other Marxist red-fascisms should have known. Especially those which centered around a cult of personality.  If you reproduce that kind of thing here, the goddamned Bill of Rights isn't going to save you from the consequences of civil libertarian rejection of the basic prerequisites of egalitarian democracy, equal justice and common decency.

D.  That's what we've gotten, it all started with the permission given for the mass media to lie about liberals with impunity.  It was predictable because we saw it happen in other places. 

E.   It won't end until that permission of the media to lie with impunity is overturned and they can be held accountable for lying about people like Hillary Clinton through civil actions and by regulatory actions against the mass media.  Print media is largely irrelevant, though the fucking New York Times is as malignant as ever, as seen by its attempt to normalize Naziism.  I don't give the Sulzberger family sole responsibility for this but they played an oversized role in it.

Can't Think Of A Better Way To Start Advent Than By Continuing On With This

In the chapter of his book, The Bible Makes Sense, which I've been excerpting and commenting on, Walter Brueggemann gives a diagram of the structure of The Bible in concentric circles around a central circle,  I can't reproduce the diagram but starting from the central circle, the parts of the bible, growing out of the primal narrative are given:

- Primal narrative,

- Expanded narrative,

- Derivative narratives (built on both the primal and extended narratives) 

- And in the outer most circle are:
Mature theological reflections, Instruction and vocation and, Institutionalization.

I mentioned last week that the footnotes and commentary found in the Geneva Bible, the product of the much maligned Calvinists* to be interesting and at times surprising.  The Geneva Bible was the most commonly used Bible in the English speaking world in the late Elizabethan period and it was the Bible that was brought to New England by the pilgrims and early Puritans.  Marilynne Robinson implies in some of her essays that it is the origin for much of traditional American liberalism.  I hadn't known until fairly recently that the motive of James the First to commission the King James Version of the Bible was because he didn't like things like the footnotes saying that people were not bound to obey the authority of kings when those conflicted with the morality of the Gospels and other Scriptures, he wanted a Bible that put his authority over that of the Scriptures.  I wonder at the historical effects of that might have been in subsequent English culture and in other English speaking countries, especially in places where the KJV seems to be believed to be the only authentic scripture, even over the original language texts, a thing of idolatry instead of revelation.

Rereading Brueggemann's book, I can see that I've got to give you more of it than I'd originally planned on, and it's a pleasure to do it.

So, to continue on with the passage about the expanded narrative:

The expanded narrative is a collection of all the ways in which the primal narrative has been perceived and handled.  So with the other themes in the credo of Israel:

The assertion of deliverance from Egypt [Deuteronomy, 6:21-22, 26:6-8. Joshua 24:5-7) is expanded into the fulsome tory of Exodus 1-15.

The memory of wilderness sojourn is now extended into Exodus 16-18, Numbers 10-24.

The affirmation of the gift of the land is elaborated in Joshua 1-12.

The brief confessional statement has become a longer statement with many curious components, each of which asserts Israel's basic faith.  Some scholars have called the extended form an epic derived from the credo.

In the New Testament, the primal narrative has been extended to become the whole gospel narrative of the birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection ascension of Jesus.  The primal narrative focuses rather exclusively on the last events and the fuller gospel narrative is fulfilled out of memories of his life and ministry.  But even that is not mere biography.  It consists rather of memories seen through the prism of the dominant theme of crucifixion and resurrection, so that many stores in the gospels are episodes where, by Jesus' presence, action and words, a deathly situation was turned to life (cf.  Mark 5: 24-34. Luke 7:36-50, Luke 19:1-10).  Thus for an insider, even these narratives, seemingly removed from the primal narrative, do present the same faith.  The narratives of the Hexateuch (Genesis - Joshua) and the gospels embody many attempts by many persons and groups over a long period of time to define the basic credo-kerygma, given their particular understandings. 

*  For the record, and because I've come to expect to be misrepresented, I'm no Calvinist, I'm not even a proper Western Christian, anymore, having found the universalist tradition of Gregory of Nyssa and other Orthodox fathers and his sister, Macrina The Younger, to be more convincing than the Western darkness and gloom growing out of Augustine.

Though, I have realized that universalism is, actually,  a kind of predestinarianism.  Only instead of some people being predestined to spend eternity in hell, all people, or in my take on it, all creatures are predestined to be reconciled with God.  I think God can wait us all out and win us all over no matter how resistant we might be for how many ages.

Atheist materialism is also predestinarian of an even darker form than Calvin is maligned for holding to, they figure we're all predestined to obliteration and, in the process, they have to reduce us to total insignificance in the here and now to make it work.