Thursday, November 15, 2018

Buffy Sainte Marie - Summer Boy

This song's been going through my head for the past several days.  I have no idea why.  I really like some of Buffy Sainte Marie's songs, a lot of them have more in common with Latin American nueva canción than American style singer-songwriter style.  I think she was one of the best of the group she was often put in with, like Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. 

As The Republican-Fascists Are Stealing Even More Elections

The current effort by Republican-fascists to steal elections in Florida, Georgia and elsewhere by the same kind of Brooks Brothers riot tactics which they stole the 2000 election proves that one of the biggest acts of malfeasance by Democrats during the brief years they controlled the federal government under Barack Obama was that they didn't adopt laws to prevent the stealing of federal elections*.

Here are some ideas I proposed in June 2006 that I think are still worth considering.

- We need one national ballot form for the national constitutional offices, President, Vice-President, Senator, Congressman. These are the only four offices that have a direct impact on us all. The citizens of the entire country have a right to these four offices being filled in a completely honest way. Everyone has a right to know that every congressman was chosen honestly, even in the district farthest from where they live. There is an overriding interest in the citizens of the entire country having an honestly chosen government strong enough to overcome constitutional objections. This is THE question of national integrity, not a detail of petty federalism.

- We need one form of ballot for those offices, no butterflies, no esthetic tampering. One form that a child learns in fourth grade and that doesn't change for as long as our form of government doesn't change. President, Vice-President, Congressman, Senator. One ballot for each office if there are that many candidates in a district but one form that is as familiar to a voter as a Lincoln penny.

- We need those ballots to be on paper, marked clearly by hand with an X or a check mark, either a valid mark. One ballot form, one thing for the voter to do. Both have worked for decades and there is no reason to fool with it.

- We need them to be counted by hand with observers from all parties. Those ballots are to be counted honestly, everywhere, every time. If local officials can't run a clean election it will be run by a higher level of government. If you don't like that, look at those clean, honest, simple and quick elections they've got in Canada run by Elections Canada. You can go to their web site and see how those practical people have managed simple methods for dealing with problems of disabled voters. Look now before the Conservative government starts trying to copy cat the United States to steal elections for themselves.

No electronic voting for the federal constitutional offices is to be tolerated. We have seen that electronic voting and vote tabulation is certain to give an inaccurate count and that's even when it isn't rigged to steal the election.

The results of two stolen presidential elections in a row are all the proof anyone needs that a crooked election gives us a crooked government. We might get a crook in an honest election, we are certain to get one from a crooked election. The elections of 2000 and 2004 have given us the disaster of Iraq and will produce at least one more disaster, probably in Iran. The Republicans who stole these elections are costing us in blood, in honor and in money. We cannot afford to nickel and dime democracy, the cost is staggeringly high if we continue to cheat ourselves out of honest elections.

Computers and modern research have allowed the Republican Party to destroy the last and best hope for a free people to govern themselves. We aren't living in an age where genteel comity and a bit of indulgence of petty theft can be smiled at. If the DC-NY scribblers and the law professors had the blood of their children and themselves at risk they might see it more clearly. There is nothing ironically amusing about it.

I should add that the kind of billionaire, domestic and foreign, funded thuggery that we've seen them both plan and conduct should be added to the fascist tactics of stealing elections.   A big part of that is meant to be carried in Republican-fascist media and the range of Republican-fascist friendly to the willing dupes of then.  I would put pretty much the entire corporate media in one or another of those categories.  Since 2000's edition of the Florida elections stealing by Republicans succeeded, it's been clear that one of the things we have to protect our elections, our government from is the corruption of much of the media and the lazy indifference of more of it.

Another thing we need to protect it from is the negligence of even Democrats on those increasingly rare occasions that Democrats hold office.  I remember pushing this again in 2009 but got the feeling that the Obama administration would think it was beneath them to do such unremarkable things while doing things like courting Republicans like love sick teenagers.

*  I don't know if the corrupted Republican dominated courts would allow them to force states to run clean elections from the federal government but it is indisputable that the entire country has an interest in having the federal government run by the actual winners of elections.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Dukas, La plainte, au loin, du faune...

Lazare Levy, piano

The other day I came across the less often heard piano original of Manuel de Falla - Homenaje "Pour Le tombeau de Claude Debussy". and decided to look for the other pieces from the memorial project which a number of composers alive at the time Debussy died were asked to contribute a piece for.  This one by Paul Dukas is wonderful and it is played by one of the greatest little remembered pianists of the young generation of that time, Lazare Levy.   I consider his too few recordings of Debussy some of the greatest performances of that music I've ever heard, his recording of Masques strikes me as the single greatest performance of a piece of Debussy's music I've ever heard. 

Anyway, here it is.


Stupid Mail

Don't know much of anything about Stan Lee, I'm not interested in comic books.  I could name many authors, composers, artists, musicians, actors, etc. who died and no one seems to much have noticed.   My very fondly remembered teacher the distinguished American composer Marilyn J. Ziffrin died in April and I don't recall anyone being faulted for not mentioning that.  I'm sure she'd much rather have been remembered for her life than for her death.

I see that not everyone is unanimous in the, I assure you, very temporary deification of Lee. I would remind you of how everyone at Baby Blue went on when Steve Jobs kicked the socket, his deification lasted about a week until his official biography came out and you were all horrified that he'd indulged in alternative medicine, to be angrily demoted from i-god (as I teased you guys at the time) to a devotee of "woo".   Sic transit gloria schlocki

This frequently mounted ritual of pretended grief on the part of you guys is kind of disgusting.  It's like you're all auditioning to be hired as professional mourners.

Update:  Not to mention that I just found out that the eminent composer George Walker died in August and I didn't know it till just now.  Considering he's the first African American winner of a Pulitzer for composition, not to mention numerous other accomplishments derived from his own work, not by claiming that of others, I'm pretty pissed off that this is how I found out about it.

If You Need To Be Convinced We Are In Big Trouble - Yes, This Insane 'Trumpy Bear' Ad Is 100% Real

The discussion among the Majority Report crew as to whether or not it's a joke from the marketers - mentioning that real ads for it have run on FOX "News" indicates it's something that some opportunistic hucksters are marketing to the audience driven to psychosis by FOX, but that only makes it more real.   How many of the ads in sleazy publications do you think are put there by people who really believe in their products? 

Why We Have To Crush The Cult Of The Founders Out Of Our Future

I heard while sitting at my brother's yesterday evening something that points out the danger of the pseudo-historical idiocy of Hamilton, the musical,  On Ari Melber's show last night Republican-fascist hack lawyer Guy Lewis humorously  cited the musical to point out that Alexander Hamilton's view of the presidency has a lot more in common with Donald Trump's imperial view of it than Lin Manuel-Miranda and the idiots who like to recite and jiggle around to the cast recording would ever like anyone to know, to more than just imply that Donald Trump should be above the law as applied by the courts.  He was seriously arguing that the president, certainly in his case a Republican-fascist president not a Democratic one, should be above the law.

It's not a huge point in itself but it does point out the danger of the cult of the Founders as some kinds of gods or at least prophets whose words should trump the aspirations of the people who the Founders kept in slavery, disadvantaged economically and otherwise robbed in perpetuity just because those slaver-holders and crooks said so. 

It should be a rule of life that everything that happens in musicals is taken as escapist make believe, not to be taken as anything you should base anything on in real life.   If I had the power to do so, I'd ban the use of real historical figures and events from musicals because it's obvious that even college-credentialed people don't seem to be able to navigate the difference between show-biz bull-shit make believe and actual history.  That's something I learned from interacting with college-credentialed people online.  A big part of why I don't generally use the term "college-educated" anymore because people like that aren't educated no matter how many letters you put after their names.   It's pretty discouraging.  If you want to know how discouraging, look at how many people who graduated from college voted for Trump and the Republican-fascists.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Speaking Up As A Commandment And As A Necessity In Many Other Ways

As felicitous an instance of futile classicism as can well be found, outside of the Far East, is the conventional spelling of the English language. A breach of the proprieties in spelling is extremely annoying and will discredit any writer in the eyes of all persons who are possessed of a developed sense of the true and beautiful. English orthography satisfies all the requirements of the canons of reputability under the law of conspicuous waste. It is archaic, cumbrous, and ineffective; its acquisition consumes much time and effort; failure to acquire it is easy of detection. Therefore it is the first and readiest test of reputability in learning, and conformity to its ritual is indispensable to a blameless scholastic life.

Thorstein Veblen 

I have only read as much of Interrupting Silence: God's Command to Speak OutWalter Brueggemann's latest (*) book as can be read free online, I'm considering doing something I seldom do, buy the book new at full price so I can read it now.  From what I can see it is Brueggemann's prophetic attempt to rattle awake the kind of Christians who have fallen into a sort of middle-class comfortable quietism so as not to make anyone feel uncomfortable with what they are supposed to take as the truth.  That truth being the basis of American liberalism, the polite quiescence of such as should be liberal activists is a social and economic and political catastrophe, a vacuum which fascism has eagerly occupied.  Quiescence inescapably leads to acquiescence.  That's certainly the substance of much of Brueggemann's series of prophetic lectures as can be heard for free on Youtubes and other places, if I posted one a day it would take months to exhaust them.  

In other works Brueggemann has pointed out that the entire Bible revolves around the Exodus narrative, in which the Pharaoh's enslaving economy of extraction grows to the point where the Children of Israel, enslaved and oppressed ever more severely, cry out against their oppression.  He points out that that crying out is the actual initiation of the story, that God comes into the story in Exodus several pages into it when God hears the cries of the slaves and - using the agency of Moses - God frees them from their slavery.  As I pointed out over a course of months a year ago, in his early book The Bible Makes Sense, Brueggemann makes a very good case that literally everything in the Bible revolves around and refers to and comments on that narrative of slaves crying out and become free in speaking out against and struggling against slavery.   

A large part of the Bible, such as the tales of the kings and kingdoms that the Mosaic alternative decayed into, is a story of what happens when people forget that they too were slaves in Egypt and in the Prophetic books, the cry of the slaves who started it all, is taken up in protest to the now domestic Pharoah style oppression of the Kings of Israel and Judah.   In many of his lectures Walter Brueggemann notes how the Prophets were "non-credentialed poets who have no pedigree", some of them country bumpkins, hillbillies.  He notes that they open up space in the imagination so that people, entrenched in a well-established habit of life, as part of a well-established social order, so that they can imagine that life might be better than that, that life can be just, that it can be based in neighborliness and generosity instead of commercial transaction.  That is something which you're still far more likley to get from non-credentialed poets, hillbillies, bumpkins, than you're going to get from the college-credentialed, those who have been either staff or feature writers, the kind of writers and scribblers who seem to spend most of their time on talk-shows and giving awards to each other.   I think a lot of, especially the First Testament, can be read as a juxtaposition of the official, approved, credentialed, educated classes of people and the unofficial, unapproved, non-credentialed, un-educated classes of people.  I will note that when the First Testament is most useful to the enemies of God and morality, it's generally the credentialed, educated writings that are useful to them, not the country-bumpkin and déclassé poet-Prophets. 


You might wonder why I started this with that quote by Thorstein Veblen, one of my favorite quotes from him.  I suppose it's a self-indulgence but I wondered how many times various people have complained that I'm not a writer yet I still persist in writing.  As if the written form of the language, by right, was the property of some kind of self-defined guild of writers, those who have some kind of proprietary right to write words, or type words, as is the case.   

My usual response is that I've never claimed to be "a writer" that is someone who tries to produce piss elegant phrases and clauses and sentences and paragraphs and compositions in official proper style so as to be printed (for so many cents a word) and that might be read through and forgotten by the ever diminishing number of people who read in the electronics polluted world to be talked about by them and have no impact on the wider world.  Or that would risk writing the kind of thing that would upset things and risk having an impact on the wider world.  

That first one was never my purpose in writing the pieces I post online or in any other part of life, I don't want the respect of people who would be impressed with those kinds of impotent repetitions of the common received POV so as to claim team-fandom (right-left, conservative-lefty, etc.) and find a tiny little but comfortable niche, in reality probably no bigger than their imagination.  

Thinking about that last night, I decided I've been giving the wrong answer.  A writer is anyone who writes something.  Someone who speaks a language has as much right to write it as to say it.   So I'm owning up to it, I'm a writer and am proclaiming the right of any other speaker of English to the right of being an English writer if they choose to write something.   I mean, they've got as much of a right to do that to their abilities as some bull-shit pop guitar-strummer and intoner has to be a musician. 

One of the things I wrote a long time ago, which pissed off a lot of the kinds of nice people who read the blog where I posted it, used Veblen's quote to answer someone who complained that I used a variant spelling for a word, I don't remember which one it was, but which I was able to point out is given in Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.   It was a slightly less 1st grade level brawl than the one I instigated when I used the spelling "cooky" here a few months back.   I noted that some of the best writers in the English language never much had any use for standardized spelling, some such as Jefferson disdained the novel introduction of standardized spelling, others, like Emily Dickinson, didn't much publish but seem to be either unaware of it or unconcerned in what they did write.   I didn't know that ol' Em was one of us till I read some idiot English prof who criticized her spelling in a paper which I wouldn't be surprised if I was one of tens who read it indifferently as opposed to the millions who read and love Dickinson's poetry and letters. 

What is the motive of the tireless little meter-maids of the kind who police other peoples' writing?  Those who set themselves up as judges of writing and who are always giving out their unasked for and non-authoritative judgments on it?  

Is it a demand of silence?  Of course it is.  It is a demand that people not credentialed (by, them, or someone they choose to acknowledge has that power) not speak, not present their ideas, not express them.   To which anyone has a perfect right to ask, who died and made them God?  

One of the huge problems with Americans, probably with way too many people in the English speaking people and, no doubt, others, is that they are inhibited from writing their own language by such tin-pot, bullshitting speech police.   

I am in favor of people writing every day, for themselves or for posting or publication because writing is such a useful way of taking a good hard look at your own thinking.   

One of the best things that could be done with the superfluity of computers that are in the hands of American students would be to set aside twenty minutes or so, every school day to require them to type whatever they thought on whatever topic with whatever spelling and punctuation and requiring them to read it, to themselves or have the teacher read it (maybe they could read one of them a day at random to make sure the brats were doing it).   If students did that every day for 180 days a year, I think most of them would come out of the experience more articulate, more critical of their own thinking, more open to changing their thinking, than they'll ever get from writing the kind of dreary compositions in approved form, with approved sentence structure and approved spelling.   The written form of language is too important for too many things, learning how to think, inspiring conscience, on whether or not you're being an asshole to let the assholes who want to stop that have their way.   

One of the greatest lessons I've found from making my writing public is to find that other people have other lives and even things that I care deeply about, they might not.  The world isn't necessarily holding their breath waiting for what opinion I hold.   That's clearly something the writing police have yet to learn.  Maybe they should write more and read in their own words what assholes they're being.   There's the world of difference between speaking up against injustice and just being an asshole.  The American left, especially those with college-credentials, has too many of the latter. 

*  I wouldn't be surprised if Brueggemann, who writes as much as he writes with excellence and, most importantly, relevance , has another one about to come out. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

A Century On It's Not Even Past

An unanticipated effect of my research into Darwinism as it really has been instead of according to the post-war plaster St. Darwin lie was that the scientific and general culture which included Darwinism, the belief that natural selection was the supreme law of biology made World War I and World War II inevitable.  That those were products of a belief in natural selection as a supreme law of biology, including that which governed the human species is undeniable to any honest evaluation of the evidence.   I'll get to the evidence of that about the Darwinian character of WWI.  But even before that, in the widely forgotten, unknown German military-scientific genocide against the Herero and Nama people in what is now Namibia in 1904-1908 served as a template for the Nazi genocides of 1939-1945.  I read things like the Germans driving the women and children they didn't summarily murder into the desert to die of thirst and remember the disgusting brother-in-law of Eva Braun, Hermann Fegelein* murdering Polish women and children by driving them into swamps to drown.  That it was a template is obvious since, other than the use of gas to murder large numbers of people**, virtually every feature of the later genocide was present in the earlier one, even some of the same people, such as the mainstream figure of science, Eugen Fischer, were participants and figures in both, many of whom escaped ever having to answer for their genocidal murders.

But this is about World War I, the end of which a hundred years ago is commemorated this long weekend.  About the Darwinian aspects of that war, we have the documentation and testimony of the eminent American biologist Vernon Kellogg, who went to Germany as an American pacifist on a peace mission to try to stop the war.  He spoke German, having gotten a good part of his education in Germany and he knew a number of German scientists, some of them from when he was in school and a number of whom were members of the German military as well as being scientists.  Vernon Kellogg was an expert and proponent of Darwinism as it was known in his day** so when he identified the Darwinian nature of the German scientist-soldiers thinking about the war they were conducting, he was entirely qualified to make that assessment.  And he did.  Here is a post I wrote about that.

Vernon Kellogg was a distinguished American biologist of the early 20th century.  He is most remembered today for "Headquarters Nights,"  his memoir of a sort of peace mission-fact finding trip he made before the United States entered the First World War, especially for what he found out about the beliefs of the German military.  What he discovered about their motives and beliefs shocked him so much that he abandoned his fully believed in pacifism and came back advocating that the United States enter the war because he became convinced that Germany, under the influence of prevailing thinking, was extremely dangerous.

Of course, with what I've been posting lately, Darwinism figured into that.  Kellogg was no opponent of evolution or of Darwin, he cited Darwin very favorably in a number of his books and papers and wrote what was probably one of the more serious texts on evolutionary biology at the time.  There is no way to paint his horror of what he already called "neo-Darwinism," as being opposed to either evolution or even natural selection.  Though, as can be seen, since both Darwin and Huxley gave their full endorsement of Haeckel's and other originators of the ideas that shocked Kellogg, there was nothing "neo" about it.   All of the things Kellogg recounts as having been said by his pseudonymous colonel-professor von Flussen were present in Haeckel by 1870, certainly by the time of Haeckel's somewhat ironically named,  "Freedom in Science and Teaching" which both Darwin and Huxley gave their fullest endorsement.

Haeckel was still alive at the time of Kellog's trip and, from what I've read, still the most influential voice in matters Darwinian, in Germany.  By this time the influence of his students, such as Plotze and Rudin and also such people as Schallmeyer were also important.  I believe both Haeckel and Schallmeyer died in 1919.   Any "neo-Darwinism" that Kellogg encountered in the German establishment would certainly have been influenced by them, though Darwin was also widely read and his natural selection was the basis all of it, directly taken from him or not.

Well, I say it dispassionately but with conviction: if I understand theirs, it is a point of view that will never allow any land or people controlled by it to exist peacefully by the side of a people governed by our point of view. For their point of view does not permit of a live-and-let-live kind of carrying on. It is a point of view that justifies itself by a whole-hearted acceptance of the worst of Neo-Darwinism, the Allmacht of natural selection applied rigorously to human life and society and Kultur. 

Professor von Flussen — that is not his name — is a biologist. So am I. So we talked out the biological argument for war, and especially for this war. The captain-professor has a logically constructed argument why, for the good of the world, there should be this war, and why, for the good of the world, the Germans should win it, win it completely and terribly. Perhaps I can state his argument clearly enough, so that others may see and accept his reasons, too. Unfortunately for the peace of our evenings, I was never convinced. That is, never convinced that for the good of the world the Germans should win this war, completely and terribly. I was convinced, however, that this war, once begun, must be fought to a finish of decision — a finish that will determine whether or not Germany's point of view is to rule the world. And this conviction, thus gained, meant the conversion of a pacifist to an ardent supporter, not of War, but of this war; of fighting this war to a definitive end — that end to be Germany's conversion to be a good Germany, or not much of any Germany at all. My 'Headquarters Nights' are the confessions of a converted pacifist. 

In talking it out biologically, we agreed that the human race is subject to the influence of the fundamental biologic laws of variation, heredity, selection, and so forth, just as are all other animal — and plant — kinds. The factors of organic evolution, generally, are factors in human natural evolution. Man has risen from his primitive bestial stage of glacial time, a hundred or several hundred thousand years ago, when he was animal among animals, to the stage of to-day, always under the influence of these great evolutionary factors, and partly by virtue of them. 

But he does not owe all of his progress to these factors, or, least of all, to any one of them, as natural selection, a thesis Professor von Flussen seemed ready to maintain. 

Natural selection depends for its working on a rigorous and ruthless struggle for existence. Yet this struggle has its ameliorations, even as regards the lower animals, let alone man. 

There are three general phases of this struggle: — 

1. An inter-specific struggle, or the lethal competition among different animal kinds for food, space, and opportunity to increase; 

2. An intra-specific struggle, or lethal competition among the individuals of a single species, resultant on the over-production due to natural multiplication by geometric progression; and, 

3. The constant struggle of individuals and species against the rigors of climate, the danger of storm, flood, drought, cold, and heat. 

Now any animal kind and its individuals may be continually exposed to all of these phases of the struggle for existence, or, on the other hand, any one or more of these phases may be largely ameliorated or even abolished for a given species and its individuals. This amelioration may come about through a happy accident of time or place, or because of the adoption by the species of a habit or mode of life that continually protects it from a certain phase of the struggle. 

For example, the voluntary or involuntary migration of representatives of a species hard pressed to exist in its native habitat, may release it from the too severe rigors of a destructive climate, or take it beyond the habitat of its most dangerous enemies, or give it the needed space and food for the support of a numerous progeny. Thus, such a single phenomenon as migration might ameliorate any one or more of the several phases of the struggle for existence. 

Again, the adoption by two widely distinct and perhaps antagonistic species of a commensal or symbiotic life, based on the mutual-aid principle — thousands of such cases are familiar to naturalists — would ameliorate or abolish the interspecific struggle between these two species. Even more effective in the modification of the influence due to a bitter struggle for existence, is the adoption by a species of an altruistic or communistic mode of existence so far as its own individuals are concerned. This, of course, would largely ameliorate for that species the intra-specific phase of its struggle for life. Such animal altruism, and the biological success of the species exhibiting it, is familiarly exemplified by the social insects (ants, bees, and wasps). 

As a matter of fact, this reliance by animal kinds for success in the world upon a more or less extreme adoption of the mutual-aid principle, as contrasted with the mutual-fight principle, is much more widely spread among the lower animals than familiarly recognized, while in the case of man, it has been the greatest single factor in the achievement of his proud biological position as king of living creatures. 

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

Professor von Flussen is Neo-Darwinian, as are most German biologists and natural philosophers. The creed of the Allmacht of a natural selection based on violent and fatal competitive struggle is the gospel of the German intellectuals; all else is illusion and anathema. The mutual-aid principle is recognized only as restricted to its application within limited groups. For instance, it may and does exist, and to positive biological benefit, within single ant communities, but the different ant kinds fight desperately with each other, the stronger destroying or enslaving the weaker. Similarly, it may exist to advantage within the limits of organized human groups — as those which are ethnographically, nationally, or otherwise variously delimited. But as with the different ant species, struggle — bitter, ruthless struggle — is the rule among the different human groups. This struggle not only must go on, for that is the natural law, but it should go on, so that this natural law may work out in its cruel, inevitable way the salvation of the human species. By its salvation is meant its desirable natural evolution. That human group which is in the most advanced evolutionary stage as regards internal organization and form of social relationship is best, and should, for the sake of the species, be preserved at the expense of the less advanced, the less effective. It should win in the struggle for existence, and this struggle should occur precisely that the various types may be tested, and the best not only preserved, but put in position to impose its kind of social organization — its Kultur — on the others, or, alternatively, to destroy and replace them. 

This is the disheartening kind of argument that I faced at Headquarters - argument logically constructed on premises chosen by the other fellow. Add to these assumed premises of the Allmacht of struggle and selection based on it, and the contemplation of mankind as a congeries of different, mutually irreconcilable kinds, like the different ant species, the additional assumption that the Germans are the chosen race, and German social and political organization the chosen type of human community life, and you have a wall of logic and conviction that you can break your head against but can never shatter — by headwork. You long for the muscles of Samson.

Of course, Kellogg's hope that Germany could be defeated and converted to giving up neo-Darwinism was shattered by the falling of the Weimar government***, the rise of the Nazis, the adoption of eugenics and its extension into industrial scale murder of the kind that what can only be called degenerate intellectuals had been fantasizing about since the beginning of the century.  All of that began in the imaginations of people, the belief in a biological elite, the danger to it of a biological underclass, both defined by class and ethnicity, and the right of the superior to keep them from, first breeding, and then living.  All of that was present in Darwinian terms by the turn of the century, beginning with Haeckel in Germany and much of it even in such Darwinians as Galton and Huxley by the 1870s.  Darwin added his voice with the publication of The Descent of Man in 1872.   Whatever excellence Kellogg found in the papers of Darwin on entomology and other topics - he seems to cite mostly Darwin's papers - he must have been aware of his second most important book.  Why he overlooked that, I don't know but scientists and intellectuals who don't agree with it have been overlooking it consistently since, now, the 1910s.

Update:  From Haeckel's Freedom in Science and Teaching: English translation, 1879

"Darwinism, I say, is anything rather than socialist! If this English hypothesis is to be compared to any definite political tendency—as is, no doubt, possible—that tendency can only be aristocratic, certainly not democratic, and least of all socialist. The theory of selection teaches that in human life, as in animal and plant life everywhere, and at all times, only a small and chosen minority can exist and flourish, while the enormous majority starve and perish miserably and more or less prematurely. The germs of every species of animal and plant and the young individuals which spring from them are innumerable, while the number of those fortunate individuals which develop to maturity and actually reach their hardly-won life's goal is out of all proportion trifling. The cruel and merciless struggle for existence which rages throughout all living nature, and in the course of nature must rage, this unceasing and inexorable competition of all living creatures, is an incontestable fact; only the picked minority of the qualified "fittest" is in a position to resist it successfully, while the great majority of the competitors must necessarily perish miserably. We may profoundly lament this tragical state of things, but we can neither controvert it nor alter it. "Many are called but few are chosen." The selection, the picking out of these "chosen ones," is inevitably connected with the arrest and destruction of the remaining majority. Another English naturalist, therefore, designates the kernel of Darwinism very frankly as the "survival of the fittest," as the "victory of the best." At any rate, this principle of selection is nothing less than democratic, on the contrary, it is aristocratic in the strictest sense of the word. If, therefore, Darwinism, logically carried out, has, according to Virchow, "an uncommonly suspicious aspect," this can only be found in the idea that it offers a helping hand to the efforts of the aristocrats. 

"That tendency can only be aristocratic, certainly not democratic, and least of all socialist."   And this was a book that Thomas Huxley wrote a preface and Darwin wrote to Haeckel, praising it and saying that he agreed with all of it.   Note Haeckel's pretty disgusting turn around of the concepts democracy and aristocracy at the end of the paragraph.  It's no wonder that by the time of Kellogg's trip the German elite was already giving people reason to worry in this way.

I despise war and think it's generally the worst idea for solving problems, as I've said a number of times, the fetish for fantasizing about revolutions on the left is one of the stupidest ideas that is prevalent on the left, Revolutions have seldom if ever worked to do anything but make things as bad after as before.  If they solve some problems, they either substitute others or merely put off the day when a real reckoning with those has to happen.

Reading the history of Darwinism has, in fact, convinced me that the Darwinism of European and American culture by that time had made World War I an inevitability.  I was taught in my high school classes that World War II was one of the consequences of WWI, which is true in so far as the Anglo-French settlement of it led to German resentments.  But if that treaty had been better, less stupidly and counter-productively recriminatory and opportunistic, a subsequent war would have been inevitable due to the currents of European-American thought.

Since imagining a world in which a major war might not have happened is an exercise in rather free fantasy, I wonder what a world in which the exposure of the crimes of the Nazis hadn't discredited eugenics would be like.  I doubt that the eugenics which was to be discredited wouldn't have developed as even some of the major figures in science, such as Karl Pearson, asserted without mass murder being more general, if not by the means the Nazis employed then by other means.  I think we are still living with the results of that view of human beings, both in resurgent neo-eugenics and in scientific and quasi-para-scientific assertions of it.

Just as I came to realize in reading about the Genocides of 1904-1908 that the later genocides were not an isolated phenomenon in history but were part of what Vernon Kellogg found out about, I came to realize both that the forces that produced those by speakers of German were rampant in the intelligentsia who spoke English and other languages.  And those forces are not basically altered now, though their expressions might be modified.

*  It is one of the few bad things I can say about the otherwise excellent movie Der Untergang, as excerpted to humorous effect in so many "Hitler finds out . . . " videos, that it has led a lot of people to see Fegelein as a figure of fun, as less of an amoral and disgusting murderer than he certainly was.  He was disgusting enough that Albert Speer called him the most disgusting and immoral member of the Hitler inner circle.  It is credible that the other disgusting and immoral members of that inner circle who hunted him down and shot him two days before Hitler killed himself got some satisfaction out of doing so.  He was truly vile even by Nazi standards.

** Though poisoning wells was a means of killing large numbers in the arid, desert region.

*** I'm not so sure I'd think that even if the Weimar Republic had stood that some form of Darwinian atrocity would have been avoided.  American and British politicians, jurists, scientists, social thinkers, even social workers were all set on eliminating entire groups of people from the future, the Nazis learned a lot from American eugenicists, Winston Churchill was just one of those held to be heroes of Britain who advocated mass gassing as a means of extermination of named ethnic groups.  His words, even those given as part of official documents sound genocidal in ways that Hitler hasn't been documented as sounding.  And there are Americans who are held up as heroes who said things about as bad as that.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

A Small War Cemetery In Music - Ravel's Tombeau de Couperin

Vlado Perlemutter

Prelude: In memory of First Lieutenant Jacques Charlot
Fugue: In memory of Second Lieutenant Jean Cruppi
Forlane: In memory of First Lieutenant Gabriel Deluc
Rigaudon: In memory of Pierre and Pascal Gaudin
Minuet: In memory of Jean Dreyfus
Toccata: In memory of Captain Joseph de Marliave

When I first came round to studying Ravel's often played Tombeau de Couperin, I was young enough so I hadn't learned that it wasn't the light breezy bit of musical prettiness, as it is usually played as being.  It is a  collection of memorial pieces written during the First World War by Ravel to commemorate young men he knew who died during the war.   It had a deep effect on how I played the several of the pieces I played in recital, I've never played them as a whole set and doubt I will.  as is usual with Ravel there is an underlying sadness beneath the surface but knowing that the pieces were dedicated to young men who died in a terrible war has to have an effect on how you think of them.

Vlado Perlemutter studied Ravel's music with him and played what I believe is the first complete performances of Ravel's piano music in two concerts BEFORE THE COMPOSER.  Though Ravel could be extremely critical of his students he must have liked the way Perlemutter played his music because he asked him to perform Ma mère l'Oye with him.  I like this recording because it's sort of a mix of the harpsichord like clarity of Monique Haas and the more romantic treatment these pieces are often given.  It's always interesting to hear how someone who studied with a composer plays their music, wondering if this or that point you don't think you'd imitate and which isn't indicated in the score is something they got directly from the composer or not.   For me in these pieces it's always the contrast between the slower part of the Rigaudon and the return to the first theme of it, between those who prepare that and those who spring it on you.  If I were going to play it again I'd have to reconsider the way I played it before having heard this recording.


Someone Doesn't Like Me Using The Term "Britatheist"

As Britain is an artificial collection of a number of different ethnicities, regions and groups, none of them uniform, as all national groupings are, it would be rather stupid of me to maintain a blanket dislike of all of them.   I don't dislike "the British" in the same way that so many Brits dislike the Irish, I have a lot of sympathy for a lot of Brits, especially one of the largest groups of victims of the all too real British class system, the poor living in Britain.  I am especially sympathetic because the elite here would like to set things up to mimic their idea of a class ridden society, including the snobbery of it. 

When I dope-slap specific Brits it's a response to several things, the anti-Irish bigotry, the anti-Catholic bigotry, the snobbery of the British elites or the many who would like to either join or at least be taken as a part of the British elite or a Brit-style elite - something apparently especially common among the snootier ex-pats living in Canada, which is funny seeing as how they couldn't make it in Britland - and the such.  And I think it's valuable for Brits to understand that they don't get a carte blanche from the kind of stereotyping they insist on imposing on others.  If there's something funny, it's a Brit bigot who is given a bit of their own back - for educational purposes, only.   They tend to froth in fury. 

There is a group of especially snobbish Brits who tend to be university grads and who use their atheism as another excuse for them to feel superior to other people.  It's often an empty pose of sciency erudition on the bargain-basement cheap, no maths required.  As that's something that's easier to maintain than an actual education and far easier to obtain than membership of an old family or a favored ethnic group,it's one of the more often encountered type of Brit snobs.   Though that is hardly confined to British atheists.  Atheists all round tend to do that. 

I have never met an actual Scot who I disliked though I've disliked a number of New England yankees who had Scottish names.  But, then, I've disliked a lot of New Englanders who have Irish names, too.   And I've met English-Brits who I really like, though they've almost always been distinctly from the lower economic class.  I detest the affected sound of the British received  accent, something which I've talked about before.  I've heard Brits who make fun of it rather well. 

If you want to annoy me, accuse me of being a "Yankee" which here means a white-Protestant (though lots of them are either atheists or nothings* these days) of English or Scottish ancestry whose ancestors either came here and murdered Indians to steal their land or who were brought here in bondage after one of the failed Scottish rebellions in chains but who assimilated over the centuries, creating a sort of elite.  Especially those of the prep-school to Ivy class.   Though there are people of Irish ancestry who aren't far behind in that, people who like most white people benefit from the American form of indigenous evil, racism to assimilate to a higher status. 

* Don't get me started on Unitarians. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Two Up Productions - Limetown Season 2


About This Show Ten years ago, over three hundred men, women and children disappeared from a small town in Tennessee, never to be heard from again. In this podcast, American Public Radio reporter Lia Haddock asks the question once more, "What happened to the people of Limetown?" 

I posted a link to the first season of the very popular currently produced audio drama Limetown and now the second season is being posted. The series is written and directed by Zack Akers and produced by Skip Bronkie.

Stupid Mail - Don't Worry JR, As Long As Simps Is Breathing You're Not The Stupidest Liar At Duncan's

Freki, rich person  Mike E • an hour ago
it's very important to bring you to God /Sparky

I mean, after someone hurts themselves doing something stupid I will help them, but I reserve "I told you so" rights

Simp's calls me "Sparky" at Duncan's, for those who might not know that.  Being as unoriginal as he is stupid.  Being a locus of stupid unoriginality, it's what Duncan's more doltish dolts call me.

Of course, I've never said anything remotely like that.  Considering the use of "The Question of Suffering" in atheist propaganda, considering that it's one of their favorite tools to bring people to atheism, it's a pretty stupid thing to attribute to me when the lying skank is doing something like that in her very comment.

"Freki" is a Britatheist liar  who hates the Irish, and is there any other kind?    She is as big a liar as Simels but she's somewhat less stupid, though she's no mental giant, either.

Update:  Oh, I should have mentioned "JR" is another of "Freki"'s online identities.  I caught her using it on the old Scienceblogs when she was trolling me there.  She used to use it at Duncan's and got pissed off when someone noted that.

Scrap The Green Party By Exposing Its Relationship With The Fascist Right

I was involved enough in lefty politics in Maine, which has the dishonor of having been the place where the fraudulent Green Party first took hold in the United States, that I remember how it was first sold to suckers of the left.  It was sold as a party which, if it didn't overtake the Democratic Party and become the alternative to Republicans that it would be a third party that could push the Democrats leftward. 

It was an interesting enough idea that I followed the early days of the Green Party but soon came to the conclusion that it was going to be the typical secular-lefty screw-up as things like the pudding-headed idea of consensus decision making were asserted by people whose self-righteousness and attention seeking towered over their actual desire to do any work, take office and make law. 

It's far more fun to be Prima Donnas of the future than to actually put in the work and learning enough to DO something,  That has been and will, I've come to conclude, always be the actual character of secular leftism in the United States.  I hear the younger generation of secular lefties and hear the discouraging sound of them repeating the same idiotic mistakes of the old-"new left" of my generation, looking to the total and absolute futility of the extinct groups and movements and the defunct figures of that discouraging sixty years of counter productive stupidity.  And those are the smart ones among them I'm hearing, the ones who can actually name the groups and barren champions of the left, c. 1968.  If they've sold that line of bullshit to even ten kids who don't know better, that's ten too many.

The history of the secular left in the United States is a history of total ineptitude mixed with dishonesty and duplicity, of leaders whose real concern wasn't making actual change by taking office and power in the government but by winning leadership of the mole hill of whatever group they were leaders of, fending off challengers to that position.  It is such a stupid history that total and absolute futilities like the I.W.W. various cults of anarchism and the total disaster that the Marxists have been the substances of its heroic lore and lying mythology.  All of which have one thing in common, they never produced a single thing that had any enduring effect except the discrediting of the left that had a proven ability to take office, to win majorities and to make change. 

The Green Party does those historical actual enemies of actual change better by matching that with actual collusion with Republicans to put the worse of them in our history in office while attacking Democrats for not being lefty enough.   The Green Party is a total fraud whose most recognizable figure is the shady, shifty false front, Jill Stein who is reasonably suspected of being a Putin asset, as the infamous photo of her at the RT dinner shows. 

The head table of a gala celebrating the tenth anniversary of Russia Today in December of 2015 included Russian President Vladimir Putin and American retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

As an aside, and to Jill Stein's right side, if you don't know, Willy Wimmer is a far-right German political hack who has been a major figure in the "Querfront"  a coalition of right-wing and pro-Putin fascists and "leftists" in Germany whose major feature is that they hate the United States.*   I won't link to one of the few English language sources of his actual words, an interview with the Putin propaganda outfit "Sputnick" but one of the more hilariously hypocritical parts of it accuses the United States of murdering journalists, one of Putin's more obvious means of maintaining his terror state.   In my opinion,  Wimmer is most easily understood as a sort of revival of the Nazi "left" that Hitler dispatched during the Night of the Long Knives, in which he had rival leaders in the Nazi party murdered, along with a lot of other people. 

The superficial coverage of the Green Party in the United States, part of the broader, international Green Party movement, has been short on noting one of the things I early on found disturbing about it, the presence of actual facists in Green Parties in Europe and the willingness of Green Parties to make common cause with fascists and white supremacists.  If you want details of that you could look up "Third Position" "Third Way", the "Red-Green-Brown" phenomenon in France, . . If you look into it, seeing Jill Stein sitting next to Willy Wimmer at a table with Mike Flynn, Vlad Putin and a bunch of other anti-democratic, fascist scum won't surprise you anymore.  It also doesn't surprise me to see Mike Flynn sitting down across the table from a major hater of the United States, even with him actually being a sworn American general with a long career in the military.  But that's another post.

I have grown to understand that that is not a surprising thing but, actually, so often something that happens among figures of the secular left, that it betrays an actual similarity between the secular, alleged left, and the far right.  It accounts for how so many Marxists, especially in the United States, Trotskyites, turn into fascists and crypto-fascists.  That has been a feature of the "real left" in the United States from the 1920s certainly up till now, Christopher Hitchens being, perhaps, the most famous example in the memories of most people.   I think that, itself, leads to one not being surprised by the long history of the persuit of and praise of the ineffectiveness of the "real left" the secular-left.  That indifference to the futility and the failure to learn a single thing from failure proves that they never really believed in the goals they claimed to, to start with.  I looked at In These Times magazine right before this, its mixture of claiming to champion "labor" as they discredit the only party with the power to do much of anything for actual labor, the Democrats and look at their romantic presentation of the history of the secular left and it makes me want to throw up.

The Green Party does have an effect in American politics, it regularly acts as or threatens to be Republican-fascist spoilers, defeating moderate and even liberal Democrats, putting some of the worst Republicans in the history of that corrupt party into office.  That has been its only accomplishment, it continues to be its obvious reason for being.  The thing and, in fact, the entire secular left should be exposed for the fraud it is and its phony romantic presentation torn down and scrapped before it dupes one more kid into buying into it. 

*  Along with its hostility to religion, Christianity most of all, one of the most common features of the American secular left which is serious ballot box poison is too little taken into account, the snobbish, reflexive anti-Americanism of that American "left".  Virtually everything in that "American left" is an expression of disdain for even the least bad if not best of American history.  Marilynne Robinson has asked:

Why do the Land Grant Act, the Homestead Act, and the G.I. Bill, three distributions of wealth to the public on a scale never contemplated in Britain, have no status among political events, when the dreary traffic in pittances institutionalized as the British Welfare State is hailed as an advance of socialism?

I think it's due to that habit of academic, secular-left disdain for the vulgar, aspiring to be democratic and egalitarian, United States as opposed to foreign,  more aristocratic societies.  Though it could be ignorance on the part of those snobs, figuring that British "socialism" of that kind lends it some kind of Marxist cachet.  I can tell them that even as it was being adopted in the Parliament the architect of the British Welfare State William Beveridge, reported to the Eugenics Society he was a member of that he was dismayed that the pittances doled out by the final bill that created the Welfare State didn't give more money to people higher up in income, he hoped that it would encourage them to have more children.  He held the typical Brit position, held by those on the "left" as well as the right, that the poor of Britain and the world needed to be harried out of existence through eugenics policies, holding that wealth was a sign of natural superiority.   Quite frankly, when you get down to it, I think a majority of secular lefties also feel that way, though they might never admit to it.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Jill Stein Is Propagandizing For The Republicans Apparently Retweeting Seth Rich Truthers In The Process

I'm reading that Jill Stein is accusing Democrats in Florida of trying to steal the election from Republicans, just in case anyone was still stupid enough to think the Green Party isn't a Republican-spoiler scam.  Not my regular readers, obviously. 

I'd say Democrats should spend a lot of time discrediting the Greens and the media that carries dirty water for them.  But I've been saying that for the past twelve or eighteen years.  

The Greens should be exposed for the fraud on the left that they are.  Magazines and media of the pseudo-left, In These Times, The Nation, etc. that promote the Greens to the kinds of suckers who trust them should be discredited, too.  

I  hate the Green Party. 

Watch For Saghdad Sarah Huckabee Sanders To Tweet This One Next

On Listening To Michael Moore Spouting Off On TV

I am at a point in life where I would prefer to never hear what Michael Moore has to say ever again. 

Stupid Mail - Simps, You And Dennis Miller Have The Same Schick - He's Stuck In The 80s, You're Stuck In The Early 60s

Thursday, November 8, 2018

I would think if preventing the billionaires' wet-dream of a constitutional convention were desired, either New York or California or some other large, rich state, in their legislatures could say, before that appalling threshold of risk is reached that they won't guarantee to enter into union with such a new nation formed under one.   And that any such decision is so momentous they wouldn't agree to it unless it was the choice of a popular vote of the Voters, not the various state legislatures, there is no reason in the diverse 21st century to go along with that 18th century, world of property owning, white, Christain men means of adopting a new constitution.  I would think that would limpen the wick of the billionaire boys club. 

If I were a member of either legislative assembly, I'd introduce a bill to that effect as soon as possible.  Since I think a horrific civil war would be the likely result of such a con-con, someone should look into doing that, not to mention the desired results of its patrons, corporate feudal oppression.  

Panpsychism Isn't An Advance On Old Line Materialists Attacking Their "Hard Problem" Panpsychism Doesn't Make A Dent In It Either - A Response

One of the most often heard slogans among atheists is the likely apocryphal line attributed to the mathematician and physicist, Laplace,  Je n'avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là, which atheists say meant he had no need of the idea that God was the origin of the natural phenomena that Laplace described.  "Having no need of God" in studying an aspect of physical universe is supposed to mean God disappears.  Which makes about as much sense as saying that having no need of chocolate when making pickles requires the belief that chocolate doesn't exist.  "Having no need of" something has never made it disappear.

Apparently there is no actual witness to the conversation between Laplace and Napoleon who attributed that line to Laplace, those who place it in his mouth all had an ideological motive in doing so.  And one of his younger colleagues and eulogist, François Arago, said that when Laplace was made aware that something like that statement was going to be attributed to him, he wanted the claim he'd ever said that refuted.  Like other ideologues, atheists seldom let the truth get in the way of their cherished myths.

The idea that atoms are conscious as a means of atheist-materialists trying to rescue their ideology from the ever more apparent fact that the human experience of consciousness cannot be convincingly explained as a material effect by attributing consciousness to atoms and molecules and larger physical structures is a nifty way to bypass that hard problem*.   It is not, it doesn't even get you past the problems of the vulgar materialism of the most benighted kind being unable to explain the consciousness which enables us to experience and observe the material universe, the very consciousness which, in a way that even our own physical bodies don't seem to be ARE WHAT WE ARE.

As I said this proposed atomic consciousness, whatever else you can say about it, would not appear to be nearly like human consciousness.  It doesn't result in the same range of variable behavior that human consciousness does, even any statistical account of variation in behavior is far more predictable than human behavior is in reality - though the corner cutting, dismissal of outliers, willful narrowing of focus, and everything up to and including the widespread file drawer effect of sociology and psychology produce an academically accepted illusion of a manageable statistical range.  That is it's acceptable until its methodology is rigorously challenged, then it crumbles.  The same can happen when the experiment is run again.

The human experience of consciousness - at least my experience of it - is that it is singular, not that it is built of components, any supposed component parts of it are aspects of that same unity which can change.  The same consciousness can change its ideas, those things which it holds and it will still be experienced as the same unity.  I would  have to say that looking at videos of bacteria responding to light by moving towards it seems to me to demonstrate the same experience of a unified sense of self which is what consciousness, at bottom, or at least any foundation of it we can access, seems to consist of. It is my experience of consciousness, despite the many changes in me over decades of experience.

Just how this "atomic consciousness" gives rise to any unified "higher consciousness" which would be proposed for molecules and crystals and, heaven help us, as found in human beings and whatever other creatures the atheist-materialist wants to attribute consciousness to, is no real advance on merely insisting that what is genuinely called consciousness in human beings is a mere epiphenomenon of physical causation. Though it is superior to eliminative materialism, than which I think there are few ideas inferior.

For materialism to fail, you don't need to create consciousness for atoms and adding it only confirms that materialism can't account for consciousness.  Panpsychism as a means of explaining human consciousness is just a short-term, illusory gain, buying time for the denial of the failure of materialism.  For anyone to deny the material nature of consciousness, that consciousness is a material object, they have no need to refute that hypothesis because its necessity can't be demonstrated.  It looks like a desperate move to me.

* It's only hard if you insist, beforehand on making it come out as a prop for materialism.  If you accept that consciousness isn't a material thing then it ceases to be a problem though it remains what it is, a mystery that can't be solved out of out experience of material substance.

Update:  It's easy.  If you're going to claim that not needing to reference God to explain the interactions of the planets with the sun and each other means that God doesn't exist, what physical relationship that is observable in atoms necessitates reference to their alleged consciousness?

I do find it hilarious that atheists think that because they can't discern the hand of God intervening to alter the "laws of science" in the motions of physical objects that means God isn't there.   According to Genesis, the very first sentence in the Bible, God created the entire universe including whatever forces those "laws of science" describe.  If that's true then those "laws of science" they can't observe God tinkering with are laws God made, they would be God's laws.  So there would be just as much reason for a believer to expect that since, as it says in Genesis, God found his creation good that he wouldn't see any reason to tinker with them on a regular basis.  I mean, if the order of nature is impressive it's certainly a better made "machine" than any that human beings can come up with.  They're thinking too much like human beings in expecting that God would tinker with the work that God did well, we're the ones who screw up.  That doesn't, though, preclude that God might intervene, rarely, as miracles, by definition, are rare, in ways that would not be amenable to statistical analysis or even common experience.  It does mean you couldn't necessarily do science about them.

Calling A New Constitutional Convention Would Mean All Bets Are Off On What Results Having The Same Map

The billionaire oligarchs who have been hell-bent on reopening the Constitution by buying state legislatures to vote for that are, I think, overly optimistic that it would go their way, that they could get a majority of their bought state legislatures, often the cheaper to buy ones in those same tiny states that I mentioned yesterday, and they'd be able to destroy even the vestiges of democracy hard won through two centuries and more struggle against the original, anti-democratic slave-owner-Northern financier class written Constitution.

Well, to that I say if you rip up the old one or even open it up for rebuilding again, that old deal is entirely off. States could go their own ways if they didn't like the results of such a con-con of, by and for the cons. Those large population states who are so disadvantaged by the anti-democratic Senate,  New York, Massachusetts, other East Coast states - which would probably be able to take the small states in their regions along, certainly California and Oregon, maybe Washington State get to opt out of whatever atrocity the billionaire con-con would come up with.  And I'm betting what they came up with would be so much more unattractive than the too often abominable thing we've got now is that even lots of the bought states wouldn't want to be a part of it.

The original Constitutional Convention was a rigged thing to start with made worse by the blackmail of the slave power well represented by James Madison (who Charles Pierce worships rather counterfactually) and their allies in the corrupt Northern mercantile and financial interests who are, actually, well embodied in the real Alexander Hamilton (not the rap war and dance fiction figure of the Broadway musical).   It could have failed, it probably would have been a good thing if it had and they had been forced to try again.

But no matter what those groups did in 1787, 100% of whom were affluent white males, all nominally Christian (though more like baptized pagans), from a very narrow range of ethnic backgrounds,  THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO REASON FOR US TO BE BOUND TO MAKE THOSE SAME MISTAKES TODAY.   They weren't wiser, they weren't smarter   They most certainly didn't have better morals, certainly not when it comes to the most vital of those moral convictions necessary for the prevention of political and legal evil, the firm belief in an equal right to a decent life, including economic justice and an equal voice in making an informed choice for the people and laws that will govern usThey were almost to a white, rich male among them SLAVE OWNERS AND INDIAN MURDERERS.

A new constitutional convention should be a total non-starter if it doesn't start with  the possibility of states and regions opting out of what results.   It should not depend on the adoption by state legislatures - that would give far too much power to those who exercise it in a tyranny of the tiny states in the Senate now.  I wouldn't find it tolerable for several states even smaller than the small state I live in being able to vote my family into a billionaire-financed corporate fascism.  If New York and Massachusetts opted out of such a rigged deal, I'm sure the three Northern New England states and the other two would go it alone with them, I can imagine New Jersey might go with such a new nation and, coming up with our own Constitution, we would be in a position to make it more attractive than what states more remote from us would come up with.  I strongly think that many of the Eastern states would be in a position to negotiate on an Eastern States Constitution that could be made far more attractive.

Heck, if it came to that I'd imagine there might be a serious consideration of joining Canada floating around here.  Its more modern Constitution* has a lot of things in it that are quite attractive as compared to the 1787-slaver-written one we've got now.

A new constitutional convention would carry no legal obligation of the various states to go along with what even a majority of the ones adopting it would choose.  As soon as one is called, any legal obligations a state might be under under the previously agreed-to federalism of the present Constitution would be null and void.  There would be no question of keeping a union together that was dissolved to write a different constitution, it would have been dissolved by the action of calling the convention.   Even if no seriously awful changes were adopted, just opening it up would probably be a catastrophic temptation for state and regional nullification.

Any attempt to force a state to remain within such a new, unacceptable Constitution by military means would be an international crime in a way that opposing the unilateral choice of the 100%, mostly affluent or aspiring to be affluent, white males in state legislatures of Confederate states to break the Constitution on their own,  was not.  It would be opening the whole thing up in a totally different way for the first time. I have not the slightest doubt in the world that it would lead to bloodshed, most likely a bloodbath.  I think the people who chose that route, or got stupidly suckered into doing it, would have ample reason to regret having done it.

*Though that Notwithstanding Clause as so recently invoked by the American style fascist pig Doug Ford would be a problem.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

If The United States Doesn't Democratize The Senate The Country Will Not Stay Together, I'm Not Expecting It Will

So the great Blue Wave failed, in so many cases, to reach the shore, as the great Charles Pierce put it.  I'm not surprised it didn't in Florida where, as he or someone else said, DeSantis won the governorship on the power of not being Black, which can be said of Georgia if it were not that the Republican-Nazi winner was also ratfucking the election to his own advantage.  That such things were not stopped by judges proves that the law is not only an ass, it's a cowardly ass when it isn't as crooked as Kemp was.

The House will be under Democratic rule, including all of those committees that have enabled Trump but who now are in the hands of people who will be able to issue subpoenas.  We will see how that works, though the media is already trying to sandbag their efforts even before the results of the election are confirmed.

The increasing margin of Republican-Nazi control of the Senate is not good, there is no other way to put that.  Trump will almost certainly get to put another Nazi on the court and there won't be any question of them not getting through, the same for lower courts.

The great struggle against gerrymandering of House and state government districts is made a hard fact nationwide through the intent of the slave-holding framers of the Constitution in the Senate.  That there are mid-sized cities in the United States larger than the population of North Dakota and Wyoming whose citizens have vastly more power than most other citizens.  That is an anti-democratic abomination.   I've seen figures which say by 2040 75% of the voters in the country will be represented by 20 or fewer Senators while the remnant hold the power to rule, thought the Senate and through appointing judges and members of the Supreme Court.  I've seen other ways of measuring it that makes the case that it is far worse than that now.  And that is and has been a hard fact of the idolized Constitution.   That ensures that democracy is increasingly endangered as that difference becomes greater, added into that are the various voter suppression efforts on the part of Republican-Nazis, which their appointed judges and members of the Supreme Court rubber stamp and approve.   And it wasn't only Republican appointees who did that this time, at least one of those who refused to intervene in one of the most egregious cases, the one in Dodge City Kansas was an Obama appointee.  What happened in North Dakota was as disgusting as anything done during the Jim Crow era.

The United States Senate is in a state of permanent gerrymander, it is, under the slave-owner drafted Constitution, a guaranteed prevention of democracy.   Short of amending the goddamned Constitution, itself made next to impossible by the same slave-owners' design since it would depend on small-state legislators giving up their unequally held power, the only means of effecting that imbalance is through the House of Representatives, the delegates from larger states and any cooperating smaller states banding together to hold out against the interests of the reactionary small population states.  I don't know of anyone who has proposed that strategy but I'll bet something like that is found to be the only means of defending democracy against the increasingly anti-democratic Senate. 

I know a lot of people, rightly, fear a Constitutional convention, the one being pushed by the billionaire-oligarchs would be a disaster.  But there will have to be one as this situation grows ever worse.  The tyranny of tiny states will be found increasingly intolerable for the majority of people and the collusion of the corrupt judiciary will only make that worse.  The part that the slave-power on the Supreme Court played in bringing the country to the Civil War and refusing to prevent it is too seldom considered.   As the country grows increasingly "minority-majority" and urban the crisis we are moving towards will be as bad as the one then, in fact, it is merely a continuation of it. .

I think the United States will either blow apart or there will be a major, basic constitutional change.  If the small states in various regions won't allow reform, and I doubt they will, I don't see the coastal regions disadvantaged by the Constitution putting up with their tyranny forever or wanting to continue to  live under it.  I think the country is headed for inevitable break up and it's not going to be good.  And a lot of individual states will also be houses divided.  For example,  I can't see things in Floirida continuing the way they are, non-whites living under a renewal of American apartheid.  Not with anything like democracy being the result.

"How do you know atoms aren't conscious?" A Response

I didn't claim to know that they weren't, I merely pointed out that panpsychism (the belief that matter is "conscious") is a matter of ideological faith, not science.  I would never claim that there is any possibility of scientifically disposing of that rising article of atheist faith, I would hold that will never be possible.  I also hold that science is incapable of confirming it, either.

Since, whatever else you can say about it, this proposed "consciousness" in atoms is not like human consciousness.  So, right there, you have the problem of how that "consciouness" turns into the human experience of consciousness.  It will be rather difficult to settle how the "consciousness" of atoms gives rise to human consciousness - the only consciousness to which any human being has direct experience of and access to, the very thing which defines the word - since there is no definition of what it is. 

And any definition of atomic "consciousness" is most likely one of those illusions that science so often has given rise to.  I don't think there's any way to measure such stuff but my guess is that any such "consciousness" is more likely to be an illusion than God by a very high probability. Whatever else you can say about God, no theologian of the same status as the panpsychists mistakes the mind of God as mere consciousness.  I think, as it is, the current fad of panpsychism among atheist philosophers and scientists is a product of their own ideological preferences only they will, in the hard-bitten cases, pretend it is something which science can access or that philosophical methods can discern with some degree, any degree, of reliability.   And what you can say about the "consciousness" of atoms under panpsychism, applies to the proposed consciousness of non-living larger structures and accumulations of matter. To claim that an igneous rock the size of a human being is "conscious" in some way as a conglomeration of molecules forces the question of why they wouldn't have the same kind of consciousness as a person does. 

The installation of "consciousness" into atoms and larger structures of non-living matter seems to me to be the same kind of thing as attributing consciousness to the entirely human created entities proposed to have "artificial intelligence."   It looks to me to be most related to the installation of human like personalities into teddy bears and dolls and pet rocks.  And to old fashioned idol worship of the most primitive kind.

I have come to think of these things, these kinds of theories, especially those in and around questions of consciousness, minds, behavior, as like hour glasses that are filled quickly from the top as the former devotees of other schemes of materialism flock to them but which run down gradually or rapidly never to be flipped over again.   The problems with them accumulate as they are tested and all of them seem to carry basic defects that insure their discontinuance.

The greatest likelihood is that this is all a desperation move by those increasing numbers of hold-over 19th century materialists who have had to face the fact that atheist-materialist-scientistic ideology will not convince people that they do not experience the reality of their own consciousness, the thing about them that makes all experience and knowledge of any kind possible.  The current resurgence of panpsychism is just another in an atheist dance of the veils in which they keep adding one more as the last one is in danger of falling apart.  It is just the latest attempt for them to keep their leaking, floundering ideology afloat. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Greens And If He Runs For President Again, Sanders Are Thick As Thieves With Republican Ratfuckers And How Democrats Must Take Control Of Their Nominations System

The news accounts of the clear Republican use of Green Party candidates in today's election to ratfuck on their behalf says that the various politicians being used in phony ads,  Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or the six Green Party candidates those Facebook ads are supposedly endorsing has any relation to the fake organization which has put out the ads.

A Facebook page for a group called “America Progress Now” is running ads online urging progressives to vote for Green Party candidates in seven competitive races in the Midwest.

“People of Color NEED Marcia Squier in the Senate to represent them,” one of the ads says, promoting a Green Party candidate in Michigan. “Americans don’t have control over our government anymore. We’ve lost it to greedy, corporate capitalists,” says another, calling for voters to support Ohio Green Party candidate Joe Manchik.

The page features ads with images of prominent progressive politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Problem is, America Progress Now hasn’t registered with the Federal Election Commission, as all groups making independent political expenditures are required to do. Six of the Green Party candidates being promoted by America Progress Now say they have no affiliation with the Facebook page, and most say they’ve never heard of the group.

You can read the story and the details of how Facebook has refused to take down the ads, though it's clear they violate their own claimed standards - Facebook can stand in as the quintessential example of how the tech companies are as bad as any in the past when it comes to destroying democracy.  I'm going to make two points about the story.

First, note that when they say "Bernie Sanders" they, correctly, say Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.  Bernie Sanders, after running for the Democratic Party nomination for president in 2016, he, his campaign operation and his cult of followers causing no end of trouble for the Democratic Party and likely participating in creating the catastrophic results of that election didn't stay in the Democratic Party,.  As soon as it was over he changed his registration back to Independent.  BERNIE SANDERS IS NOT A DEMOCRAT yet he and his people and his cult are talking about mounting a second, and this time, absurd run for the DEMOCRATIC PARTY nomination for president in 2020.

On election day in 2020 Bernie Sanders will be 79 years old, in September the next year he will be 80.  On that ground alone Sanders should cut the bullshit that he's running to win the presidency, he'd never get it, he's not stupid so he knows he's not going to get it.  Even some of his inner circle are that smart, so they're not doing this in order for someone running as a DEMOCRAT will be president in 2021, he's running it with every chance that him doing so will be doing exactly what these Republican ratfuckers are doing with the ad that's using his image and name are doing, guaranteeing a Republican will hold the office. 

Bernie Sanders, someone I agree with on many things and have expressed deep admiration for in the past is a hairs width away from turning into the same kind of Republican ratfucker that Ralph Nader, Eugene McCarthy and Jill Stein have been, ratfucking for Republicans from the alleged left.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who, in contrast to Sanders in the twilight of his career, is at the beginning of hers.  She embodies a lot of promise, she should start cutting her ties to Sanders and other such Republican ratfuckers now.   She deserves to become her own woman, to forge her own basis of credibility and repute apart from any of the people who will try to use her.  We will see if she does that or if she turns into the same kind of figure that Denis Kucinich (is he still at FOX?) has become.  I hope she chooses wisely and doesn't become the captive of whoever among her circle is most like Bernie Sanders' putrid campaign manager, Jeff Weaver.

The six Green Party phonies being used in this Republican ratfucking operation are, in fact, Republican ratfuckers, themselves. They can pretend to whine about being so used all they want, by running as Greens they made themselves what they are whining about now.   The Green Party has long been suspected of being one big Republican ratfucking fraud and with Jill Stein, that isn't something you have to suspect anymore, not with her various connections with Putin, the patron of Republican ratfuckery.   They can disclaim the effort all they want, even if this hadn't happened that's what their running as Greens is.  The Green Party should be swamped by Democrats and obliterated, it is a fraud that has been used to help Republicans - the actual opponents of everything the Greens claim to stand for - for decades now.  It is a fraud.   That has been the nature of these groups and candidates "from the real left" for a long time.  On the basis of the idiotic Marxist superstition that things going to the extreme right will force the dialectic to make a sharp left swing, they have attacked the only "left" that has a chance of actually winning an election and governing, the Democrats.  That is so obvious that even in office Bernie Sanders has acted in concert with the Democratic coalition, in both the House and Senate - and, yeah, I'm even more pissed off at Sanders now because he should know that better than anyone.  He further proved that because he didn't run an independent campaign for president, he tried to hijack the Democratic Party to do that, using the Democratic Party he was never a sincere member of to promote himself in the process.

The Green Party is a fraud that should have been ended decades ago, it is a fraud kept alive mostly through such idiocy as pushed by the lefty magazines, on paper and pixilated, and some of the flakier perennial professional lefty figures of the "real left".   Any magazine that was carrying water for the Green Party in the past twenty years could probably have ceased publication and the results would be anything but negative, if there were any results.

To some extent I think that this has been a result of the folly of trying to base a left on the power of youth, something which arose with my generation because the cohort of young, new voters was so abnormally large.  The young, those in the process of gaining college credentials, most of all, are inevitably callow, that's the nature of being young and inexperienced and not having seen enough of how things are.  Their vulnerability has been something which dishonest politicians have long taken advantage of.  In the case of the right (see the idiocy of Jacob Wohl) it works for them because their entire thing is based on lies and deceit and using that.  It doesn't work for the left, at all.  The excitement of the old-left, old-new-left revolutionary clap trap, the allure and fun of self-righteousness, and other such follies of youth, the unwelcome news that actual governance is not fun and exciting and will inevitably become hard and dirty and, on occasion, sordid makes young people particularly vulnerable to such con men and hucksters as can be represented by the Greens.  I used to think Bernie Sanders wasn't one of those, I am a hairs width of concluding I was wrong about that.  I know it about the Greens and such rags as In These Times and, yes, The Nation.


I am going to again say that the Democratic Party needs to take over the mechanism of its presidential nominations and conduct its own national primary based on the actual membership of the Democratic Party.  It has to get rid of the disgusting, anti-democratic, 19th century anachronism of caucuses - the source of Bernie Sanders' illusory strength in 2016, the source of endless squabbles REMEMBER  NEVADA! should be the rallying cry for scrapping the caucuses.

The Democratic Party should adopt the strictly by-mail elections system to choose its nominees, sending secure paper ballots through the U. S. Mail to all voters registered as Democrats to be mailed back to a central location where they could be counted - with independent oversight - and tabulated in order to choose a Democratic candidate guaranteed to be chosen by registered Democrats.   No more same-day Green Party ratfucking operations, no non-enrolled screwing with the choice of Democrats, none of the various bull shit of regional advantage for states like Iowa and New Hampshire, no non-Democrats trying to hijack the party.  It would get rid of Republicans on the state level trying to screw us through various laws - it would be entirely extra-governmental AND IT WOULD COST THE TAXPAYER NOTHING TO IMPLEMENT.  The ballot could be standardized in a form which was uniform and simple to understand, the order of names on ballots could be varied on a random basis so there would be no "top of the ticket" advantage (which is a matter of fairness, not necessarily a test of integrity or honesty).   It could institute ranked-choice in which people got to vote for their first AND THEIR SECOND CHOICE.  Having experienced rank-choice voting twice here in Maine, I love it.

Best of all, on the basis of those places in the world which conduct elections on the basis of the mail, it would certainly drive up participation and the choice would be made by a far larger number of voters who would, then, have a far higher chance of turning up to vote in November - that is assuming they wouldn't have the far more democratic and honest option of voting on a paper ballot by mail.

I can't see any downside to such a radical change and those, as they come up, could be corrected, internally, by the Party without interference from Republican in legislaturess or Greens (I repeat myself) - they could put those changes up to a mail-in vote of registered Democrats.

It would be a radical change and would, no doubt, lead to criticism but the present day patchwork of bull shit that the nominations process is leads to more.  It would end the kind of bull shit discussed above and much more.