Saturday, June 9, 2018

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Danielle McLaughlin - The Art of Foot Binding

A radio version of Danielle McLaughlin’s short story, first published in her collection, Dinosaurs On Other Planets, published by The Stinging Fly press.The Art of Foot-Binding tells the story of Janice, her husband Philip, and their teenage daughter, Becky. Inspired by a classroom discussion of foot-binding, Becky experiments with the ancient practice at home. Her re-purposing of expensive pillow cases is a torment to her mother, while other ties - between husband, wife and child – are stretched to breaking point.

Donna Anita Nikolaisen (Narrator)
Peter Daly (Voice of the Foot-binding manual)
Fiona Bell (Janice)
Caitriona Ennis (Becky)
Arthur Riordan (Philip)
Kathy Rose O’Brien (Ms Matthews).

This is more of a dramatized reading of the short story but it's harrowing enough to make it worth hearing.   Parts of it are pretty hard to listen to.

For once you can hear it at the RTÉ website without having to download it.  

Also Note:

The Hear Now Festival of audio drama is underway, I'll try to post links to any of the dramas associated with it or you can look for them at their website.

Also note, I was asked a while back why I usually post the Saturday Night Radio Drama in what is early afternoon Eastern (Western hemisphere) time, it's because by then a lot of places it's already Saturday Night or soon will be.  I do get readers outside of North America. 

The Absolutely Best Apology Ever

Samantha Bee is the adult in the discussion.

I'll Bet This Is The Post That's Considered Outrageous

If I had heard of Anthony Bourdain before his suicide was reported, I don't remember it.   

Great Post, Charles Pierce, Too Bad You Reached For That Old Lie To Support Your Argument

Having had been a life-long reader of the Boston Globe* I knew who Charles Pierce was long before he became nationally famous as the almost always excellent political writer for Esquire.   And I have almost always admired his work and his insights.

Someone who, apparently, has monitored this blog for past things I wrote tells me that he brought up the Tuam orphanage yesterday.   It's a shame he did because like virtually every other journalist who has brought it up, the things he cites while doing it are dodgy at best and totally crappy journalism most typically based on incompetent amateur history.   And it's a shame he did so, attaching that to the enormous ongoing national scandal of the Trump-Sessions child abuse scandal.   Which I will address after I deal with the really awful misrepresentation of the long ago issue of institutional care of children.   I do think that his other resort to finding an appalling parallel, the infamous "Magdalene laundries" is more appropriate.

The link Pierce gives in regard to the Tuam orphanage is to a typically bad  Irish CentralNews article from last year, complete with the world-wide reported lie about " how up to 800 children were allowed to die and their bodies stuffed in a septic tank by the Bon Secours sisters in Tuam, County Galway,"  which was debunked long ago.  I wrote about that at the time the "scandal" broke.

This article carries a newer accusation based on the same local amateur historian who, as I recall, tried to distance herself from the septic tank reports, claiming she never made that accusation.   But she makes another one that shows how easy it is for a combination of inadequate research and news scribblers on the make to take off when it feeds an appetite for the salacious  and scandalous with the prevailing prejudices of the allegedly educated class.

Catherine Corless tracked down death certificates for nearly 800 children. Eighteen she discovered died of starvation; yes, they were starved to death.

There was a link to the death records at the at the Tuam home, I went through them to look for evidence that children were starved to death and found that there was absolutely nothing to support that claim.

First, the definition of the term used for starvation found in the records,  marasmus has to be understood.  The dictionary definition, how it is used today is,

malnutrition occurring in infants and young children, caused by insufficient intake of calories or protein and characterized by thinness, dry skin, poor muscle development, and irritability.

But in medical language  for the period the records were made, "infantile marasmus" was a widespread cause of death and it was known to have many medical causes unrelated to actual failure to try to provide nutrition to an infant or child.  It could be caused by any number of things and could be a result of allergies, illness, a complication of other health problems in a time when infant mortality was very high and something a doctor could be expected to see often, inside and outside of an institution.   A number of medical papers were written on the topic.  This paper, by Dr. Fritz Talbot, MD,  written five years before the first of the Tuam deaths attributed to marasmus says

Severe infantile malnutrition has received many names, such as infantile atrophy, marasmus, atrophy, athrepsia and decomposition.  It does not represent a definite disease entity nor is there any clear description of exactly what the condition is.  It is found in all degrees of severity and it is often difficult to state just when it commences.  It is usually associated with symptoms of indigestion, either vomiting or diarrhea, or both, and a loss of weight.  Some infections, such as pyelitis or bronchitis often complicates the condition.  When most pronounced the infant is very much wasted, the skin hangs in folds and is of a gray pallor, the hands and feet tend to be cold, and toward the end the temperature becomes subnormal and has to be maintained by external heat.  Metabolism experiments show that the infant is frequently unable to absorb the food given him.  There is no common pathologic basis for the symptoms found in this condition.  Marriott has drawn attention to the fact that there is a decrease of blood volume coincident with the malnutrition. 

Most methods of study of this condition do not give results which explain what is going on in the body. . .  

So, that's what a doctor writing a death certificate would probably mean when he or she attributed a death to "marasmus" or starvation, most often a result of some known or unknown medical condition.   And when you look at the records you find that all of the deaths with that attribution at the Tuam home were of infants, in some cases with indications of a known underlying condition that caused it.  Here from the spreadsheet of all of the deaths at the Tuam home linked to by the article.

January 5, 1926, 
Anthony Cooke,  1 month, convulsions (7 days) Marasmus

June 5, 1926
Patricia Dunne, 2 months  Measles (9 days)  Marasmus

August 26 1926
Peter McNamara 7 weeks Congenital malformation of colon Marasmus

September 1, 1926.   
Mary Murphy 2 months pneumonia (3 days)  Marsmus Pneumonia

December 27, 1929
Patrick Kelly 2 1/2 months Marasmus from Birth

I will note this phrase "marasmus from birth" could mean the doctor concluded there was some congenital condition that caused the baby to be unable to get adequate nutrition but used the general term which a person, now, would read and conclude the baby was intentionally or negligently starved to death.

May 7, 1932, 
Patricia Judge 1 year,  Marsmus certified 

June 5, 1933
Mary Fiona Cunniffe  6 months, Marsmus 3 months, Certified

August 22, 1933
John Kilmartin 2 months, Marsmus 2 months Whooping cough, cardiac failure

September 9, 1933,  2 months Marsmus.  Asthema.  Cardiac failure, Certified 

September 28,  1933
Mary Brennan, 4 months  Marasmus 3 months, Certified

May 3, 1937
John Patrick Loftus  10 months,  Marasmus, Certified

January 23, 1937
Margaret Linnane 3 1/2 months Marasmus certified

January 1, 1938
Teresa Heneghan 3 months,  Marasmus, certified 

June 6, 1947
Bridget Agatha Kenny 2 months  Mental defective, Marasmus, Certified 

It's possible I missed some of the "18 deaths by starvation" claimed by Ms. Corless but I did read through all of the stated causes of death and found these fourteen.

If there were something like routine starvation of children - such as in the infamous Canadian "butter box" babies scandal -  in an institution as large as that at Tuam,  I'd imagine you would expect to see such deaths listed, not in isolation, but in blocks, such as those where childhood illnesses swept through the institution, whooping cough, measles, chicken pox.  There are no such blocks of deaths close in time.  And to attribute any blame for such negligence, you would need more information than the death certificates provide, such as how long the children were in the institution before they died.  It would also be necessary to know to what extent the institution might have acted as a hospital of last resort.  I don't know that and I haven't seen any kind of analysis that took a full picture into account.

When I looked into this, when the "scandal" first broke I asked a question that I didn't see any journalist consider, whether the percentage of children who died in the Tuam home was unusual for institutions of the time or, in fact, if those numbers were high for the general, uninstitutionalized population in the care of their parents.  I concluded the numbers, especially in the period before modern antibiotics were known, were not unusually high.   If you look at the other deaths at Tuam, they read like a list of common reasons young children died at the time.

The Irish Central article starts with an inflammatory quote from Doctor Ella Webb in the Irish Times of June 1924

 “A great many people are always asking what is the good of keeping these children alive? I quite agree that it would be a great deal kinder to strangle these children at birth than to put them out to nurse.”  speaking about illegitimate children in care in Ireland at the time.

The use of the quote is deceptive and dishonest as it doesn't identify who the "great many people" who were asking that question were.  It doesn't sound like contemporary Catholic rhetoric, though it is typical of the secular, especially Darwinist point of view* of the time.  I strongly suspect that, despite what the clip said, it misrepresented Dr. Webb's point of view, from the little I've read about her this morning.  This description of her seems to be the common consensus of her real character:

It has been argued that St Ultan’s Hospital, established in 1919 served the same functions.  However, it appears that the main women doctors involved in its foundation, such as Kathleen Lynn, Katharine Maguire and Ella Webb (née Ovenden) were concerned primarily with improving the health and sanitary conditions of Dublin’s poor, as was evident from their earlier involvement in organisations such as the Women’s National Health Association, rather than the promotion of the professional interests of women doctors.

And this:

Webb is also reputed to have appointed the first Medical Social Worker (or Almoner as they were then known) in Ireland. She had made a request in 1919 at a meeting of the Red Cross Society in Dublin for a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) to help in the dispensary for sick children that she had established in the Adelaide Hospital in Dublin the previous year. Miss Winifred Alcock, who had been training as an Almoner in London, responded to the request and started voluntary work with Dr Webb. After three years Miss Alcock put in a request for a full time salaried assistant  resulting in the appointment of Miss Olive Crawford as the first qualified almoner. This was the beginning of social work in the Irish hospital system.  

Dr. Webb studied mortality among children in Dublin under one year old, which was abnormally high in 1915  and did pioneering work in preventative medicine with children.  She became famous for prescribing a teaspoonful of Guinness for infants recovering from gastroenteritis.  She was also the founder of the Children's Sunshine Home in Stillorgan, Dublin which was originally a convalescent home for children suffering from rickets in the early 1920s.

I will admit that when I saw the name "Webb" I associated it with the enemies of the poor, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, it's something I have no problem imagining might be said at one of their meetings - read the literature of the Fabian Society for confirmation of that - especially such stuff as Karl Pearson wrote and George Bernard Shaw said in Fabian literature.   But Dr. Webb doesn't appear to have conducted her career in that manner.

Understanding history isn't as easy as the amateur historian who became famous through this "scandal" and, obviously, even fine, not to mention crap journalists would take it to be.  You have to look at the meanings of words for the time they were used, you have to look at things like what children commonly died of and try to understand what it all means instead of looking for support for your preferred prejudices.  But that's the typical use of history instead of using it to understand reality.  And once a lie like the "babies in the septic tank" are spread, they take on a false sense of fact when they are, in fact, lies. 

Anger and outrage, all too easily ginned up, is no substitute for looking behind the articles.

*  I don't see any deaths attributed to small pox in the data of the death records.  No doubt that was due to vaccination, something that many a Darwinist, including Charles and his son Leonard said shouldn't be done because it kept too many poor children alive who would have otherwise died of it.  I wonder who was vaccinating Irish children and others which might have resulted in the absence of such deaths.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Damn it

I injured myself this morning trying to fix my sister's automatic garage door opener.  No, Stups, it was my back that got hurt, not my head.  Writing will resume shortly.   The frickin' door isn't fixed. 

Hate Mail

You obviously believe your disapprobation has a direct effect in the world, I've never operated under that delusion.   I don't even believe that I have the power to persuade people, just the obligation to make the attempt.  And an obligation to try to make sense of things.   Telling you to bite me isn't part of that, I tell you that for free. 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Missing Migrant Children Update

Hate Mail

Simps, I've answered all of that stuff a number of times, it's not my fault if you're too attention deficient, or just too stupid,  to remember it.  Come up with something new and I might post it.  Though I think the brick holding my door open is likely to do that before you do.  

On "Cultural Appropriation" - Yours and "Theirs"

I have gathered from talking to my college junior niece, home for summer break,  and from what I've heard on the CBC and read that what's being called "cultural appropriation" has become a big thing with the college age crowd.  I hadn't thought about writing about it until the other day, posting the unusually fine performance of Robert Schumann's Fantasiestucke played by Sabine Meyer and Alexander Lonquich, I remembered Sabine Meyer was the clarinetist who was the center of a huge story when the all-male Berlin Philharmonic was horrified to find that Herbert von Karajan, of all people!, had hired Sabine Meyer to play in the clarinet section of the orchestra.  The all-male orchestra acted like a total and complete bunch of pigs, with very few exceptions, forced her to withdraw and hastened von Karajan's retirement by their reaction.  She has gone on to have a long and distinguished career as a soloist and chamber musician, probably becoming better known than most of the males who didn't want a girl playing in their orchestra.*

The reason that made me decide to write about "cultural appropriation" is that that was one of the reasons given by many male musicians and music directors and conductors to exclude women from orchestras:

Since the top conductors work internationally, correlations are found between their views and the patriarchy of these international orchestras.  For example, Lorin Maazel, a frequent guest of the Vienna Philharmonic, has openly defended their categorical exclusion of women.  In an interview in the widely read German magazine Bunte, he was asked why there are only men in the Vienna Philharmonic: 

"Because it is a guild like the Meistersaenger.  Only the sons or male students of the musicians were allowed to enter.  It is, therefu ore, the only orchestra in the world that has held on to its own style for over 150 years.  The members decide who directs each new years concert.  In 1996 I will do this for the ninth time."

The orchestra maintains its style and uniformity through the continuity of a male hierarchy that passes on special knowledge that women cannot know.  For Mr. Maazel the tradition is something sons can maintain, but not daughters.

You should read the article at the link because the quotes from conductors and male orchestral players are shockingly awful. 

Before Wolfgang Sawallish became GMD of the Philadelphia Orchestra he held the same position at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, where discriminatory views can be more openly expressed.  For example, Hans Pizka, the opera´s first horn, has rigorously defended the Vienna Philharmonic´s gender discrimination on both the Orchestra-list and International Horn Society-list of the internet.  He elaborates on the importance of uniformity:

"Again a word about the Vienna Philharmonic: the same educational, musical, and ethical background, together with the same male feeling created this unique body of music, or is there any doubt?  An all women orchestra with all having the same educational, musical, and ethical background will sound fantastically harmonic also, no doubt, but how about all the intrigues?  Men used to have intrigues also, but seem to handle them easier." 

We see again the perceived importance of "the same male feeling" which creates a "unique body of music".  Mr. Pizka attributes the lack of uniformity caused by gender integration to physical and psychological differences between men and women: 

"And be fair to me, isn't the general spectrum of feelings (psychic sensations, enthusiasm, sadness, etc.) different between man and woman?  Isn't the same the case between nationals and no-nationals [sic]?  It is, believe me.  And because of this particular uniformity, the Vienna Philharmonic has this very particular sound and expression and success and success as the best selling recording orchestra.  This is the success secret of the Vienna Philharmonic.

In short, they were claiming that women playing "men's music" was a form of cultural appropriation,  that the music really only belonged to men who were the composers and, explicitly, in racist language, to the nationalities to which those composers belonged.

As the article points out, that was an argument which the Nazis had made.

An obvious implication of these ideologies is that the most authentic performance of western classical music can only be created by the ethnic group or nation of the composer.  This was advocated by the Kampfbund der deutsche Kuenstler (Fighting Group for German Artists) during the Third Reich: 

"Since we do not value, that a watered down internationalism is identified with German artistic genius, we must require, that in the future German art is represented abroad only by German artists, that carry in their person and their attitude of mind the seal of the purest Germaness."

t was, even before the Nazi period, the reason that the infamous incident in the  career of  the great Tenor,  Roland Hayes, happened when he first performed German Lieder in Germany.  Even before he sang he was condemned in the press because as a Black Person, he was stealing the cultural heritage of the White German People.  Hayes proved them wrong as, facing boos when he first appeared, he changed his program and began with Schubert's Du Bist Die Ruh so well that they couldn't deny his right to sing it (as he still demonstrated decades afterwards, well after his prime singing days).

The idea that male composers wrote "male music" is best shown to be absurd by the fact that so many of them wrote music that could be sung only by women.  I never heard any man claim that Mahler's writing for women's voices was some kind of aberration.   And it's especially absurd for someone in the Vienna Symphony to make such claims.   If their claims were true, then they are guilty of cultural appropriation every time they play non-Viennese composers, including Beethoven, Brahms, Bach, . . .

All it is is an excuse for excluding women and people who aren't in their tight, ethnic and racially exclusive groups.  It's men being sexist, racist pigs.  It's a lame excuse with no intellectual basis and, certainly, every moral objection to it.   Sabine Meyer certainly didn't violate Robert Schumann (who wrote so much of his music for the performance of a woman, HIS WIFE CLARA!) and her performances of Mozart and every other composer who was the pride of the German-Austrian tradition, not to mention music composed by people outside of that tradition proves that she has every right to play that music.

The issue of "cultural appropriation" is more complicated than that, of course, but the emphasis should be on respect for the artistic, intellectual and moral integrity of performances than it is on the racial, gender, national and cultural identity of those who are performing.  That's as true for making music or acting or cooking or anything.   Artists who don't learn and imitate and borrow and, sometimes, steal from outside of their own experience are boring as hell and don't produce anything interesting. 

But it's a lot easier to deal in the superficial and easy than it is the substance of things and, whatever else can be said, college aged people are so prone to be swayed by what's easy and to go along with the coercion to conform to the common-recieved  and always facile, way of thinking.   It's hardly something that ends then, just look at most blogs where geezer college-grads hang out.

Were these two guilty of "cultural appropriation", because all I hear is a fine performance. 

Robert Schumann - Fantasiestucke, Op. 73

En-Chi Cheng, viola
Fuyuka Kusa, piano

* The German Greens hardly covered themselves with glory over that issue.  In Germany orchestral politics are related to political politics. 

Note On The Missed Days

I have come to the conclusion that what's going on with me is what people call writer's block.   I figured non-writers like me were immune to that, I've never had any trouble writing before now.  Maybe I'm just getting old and tired.  There are so many outrages to choose from that it's hard to know where to start.   Somewhere I read a writer who said the best thing to do with writer's block was to just write and eventually it would pass.  As has been mentioned here before, Virgil Thomson gave similar advice to composers who were stuck, that they should write a piece a day until they found the music they wanted to write.   I'll try that, at least it's doing something.

And, I can always just respond to the hate mail.  That's a never ending source of material, though they never come up with anything new to answer to.  For example, there's my response to "General Zod" who may or may not be a sock puppet, though he's about as sharp as a sock full of soup.

Since There Was More Hate Mail In Relation To The Recent Irish Referendum

Recent hate-mail had another angry message complaining that I said I wasn't "for abortion" but am for abortion to be legal, safe and available to women decide to end a pregnancy.   I am, for the record and because of the record, opposed to the people who harass women who are going to a clinic that performs abortions because such groups and such manifestations have such a record of attracting violent lunatics who commit murder. 

The recent referendum in Ireland, still massively Catholic, voting to allow abortion presents a challenge for those who would like to stop abortions.  They should face the fact that making abortion illegal never stopped women from having unsafe deadly abortions or trying to poison or injure themselves to cause an abortion.  That is the real "pro-life" outcome that is the stated goal of the anti-choice political movement and, I'll point out, the position that anti-abortion religious leaders take.  Their position is not different from the 19th, early 20th century prohibition movement to make alcohol illegal and as fraught with disaster as that national experiment proved to be. 

At this point, they should realize that any standing or future prohibitions on legal abortion will not end abortions and their campaign to do that will only expose their hypocrisy.   There is no reason for anyone to believe that preventing or ending abortions is their real goal since they refuse to face reality on what that would require.  They should also face the fact that you can make the most brutal laws against it but that won't stop abortions from happening.   There will always be abortions.   But they don't want to prevent as many abortions as they can, they want to control women, their bodies, their lives. 

Instead of trying to achieve a world where there will be no abortions through legal prohibition they should, instead, try to change peoples' minds about having sex which puts women at risk of becoming pregnant when they don't want to be or can't afford to be or shouldn't because the health risks or other factors make it a really bad idea to be pregnant. 

That would be harder to do, it's easy to get people to vote against the freedom of choice for other people, it's harder to get them to change their own behavior, especially the men.   It's hard to say that the men who produce unwanted pregnancy are the primary cause for abortion but I think it's clear that they have as much, no, more power to prevent abortions than women do.  Men are the ones who coerce women into having sex that leads them to have unwanted, unwise or dangerous pregnancies, the kinds of pregnancies that lead to abortions. 

I, of course, don't believe the US Catholic Conference of Bishops, the "pro-life" leaders, the Southern Baptists, or Mormons or Republican Party really care enough about preventing abortions to do that hardest of things, PRESSURE MEN INTO NOT PRODUCING SUCH PREGNANCIES.   I doubt it's ever occurred to most of them that men have any responsibility in the matter, they put it all on women.  For most of them, including the Catholic Bishops, especially those appointed by John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the issue of abortion has been a political tool for them to put right-wing politicians and judges and justices in place to prevent things like social-justice and economic justice and basic decency.  Opposition to abortion in the United States has served the fascists in pretty much the same way that racism and hatred of poor people has, it's just a question of tweaking the messaging to make it optimally useful.

That is the real reason that the anti-abortion movement in the United States is also an anti-contraception movement, that's why their goal isn't the prevention of abortions, just legal, safe abortions.  Their goal would re-introduce the widespread trade in dangerous, horrific illegal abortions, something I'm old enough to remember resulted in the routine treatment of miscarriages as a potential felony, which even the smallest rural hospitals suspected was a possibility.   It also led to me knowing women who had been permanently injured by an illegal abortion or, in one case, a woman I went to school with dying from one.  It also led to a trade in infanticide, organized criminals who specialized in "baby snuffing," including that masked as adoption rackets. 

The only real thing that has ever worked to prevent abortion was the promotion of scientifically sound, safe contraception, of instructing people of the age when they have sex in how to use it, to encourage its use, to discourage its non-use and to make it universally available to everyone who uses it.  I would, of course, include the vitally important issue of preventing the transmission of sexually transmitted disease, the use of contraception does have the possibility of increasing promiscuity and promiscuity is, by far, the leading cause of STDs.  As my critic also whined about, I'm as opposed to the transmission of STDs through anal and oral sex as I am unwanted pregnancies and for the same reasons, they lead to human misery and disability and death.  That's what I'm really opposed to, which is why I am also against prohibition on safe, medically sound abortion. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Robert Schumann: Drei Fantasiestücke Op. 73

Sabine Meyer, clarinet.
Alexander Lonquich, piano

First, it's too bad the recording isn't cleaner because the performance is really interesting.  With Schumann it's always hard to know how far to go beyond the notated rhythm, because you can fail by not going far enough.  This performance is pretty free and, in my opinion, does an excellent job of being true to what would usually be called the tempo marking but which is more an indication of the nature of Schumann's conception of the pieces.  The two instruments play the music far more contrapuntally and more as a collaboration than most performances - being a piano player I'm always interested in the piano getting due justice and it does here.

Bill Clinton Won't You Please Go Home

and shut up and never give another interview for the remainder of your life!

I still say what I said about Bill back in November of 2016

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are the past, Hillary Clinton is the future we can't have, it's time for all of them to step aside.   I'm not even interested in defending Bill and Barack, anymore.  With his idiotic visit to Loretta Lynch, I'm so disgusted with Bill Clinton that it would suit me if I never heard his name again.

Bill Clinton squandered his legacy, he should face that fact and stop rehashing it.  His attention seeking at this point is useful for nothing and harmful.   

His presidency was eight years of lost opportunity due to his own weakness and lack of any real higher convictions.  It damaged not only the Democratic Party but cost Hillary Clinton what I still believe would have been a far more promising presidency.  I'm tempted  to make an naughty pun about him blowing it, himself.  

Well, he did. 

Why It's Important For The Actual Left To Expose The Fraud Of The Play-Left

Well, the, arguably, 52nd iteration of the Left Forum ended on Sunday, how much more lefty do you feel the country and world to be? 

About the only things I learned from paying attention to it is that the Left-Forum - Nation Magazine - etc. "left" is as fixed on doing what's been going really badly for the left for going on a century and expecting the results are going to be different than what those things have gotten for that century, year after year of countless gatherings of the "real left" at countless conventions, meetings, seminars, forums, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. . . Their empty slogan for the 2018 was "Towards A New Strategy For The Left".   These jerks, staffed to the top with PhDs and what passes as big, deep thinkers of the friggin' play-left have had more than half a century to get to a winning strategy for the left.   It's time for them to admit defeat and withdraw from the field.

I learned that and that Jane Sanders is apparently planning on turning Bernie Sanders into an ongoing family industry by mounting another spoiler campaign in 2020.  I have read talk of a "third-party" or independent run.   I don't know how big her legal bills are from that spot of trouble she's in over her maladministration of the now defunct Burlington College but I think only a huge egoist with no notable moral probity would consider raising money by enabling the Republican-fascists, again instead of some other means of bailing herself out.

Oh, and with this I'm officially over Richard D. Wolff as well, though he's not someone I believe I've voluntarily brought to mind without prompting ever before.  He's one of those Marxists whose name pops up in publishing announcements for the kind of books that never get read by more than a handful of people, one or two will be reviewers for magazines of the "real left" which, as well, go unread.

And, then, there are the dynasty building candidacies of Bernie Sanders' Trump scion- level stupid son, Levi, and his step-daughter, Carina Driscoll, * Clearly piggy-backing on Bernie Sanders' fame [see note for details]

After twice, in two decades in this still new century, these assholes have acted as spoilers putting the indisputably worst president of the United States in office, Trump and what used to be the indisputably worst president of the United States in office, George W. Bush, these assholes are also idiots who are incapable of learning, it's not wonder they've been doing what doesn't and will never work for a century, they are crack-pots who are incapable of learning, they are as resistant to reality as Donald Trump.

These people are total and complete jerks, they have been mounting exactly that kind of spoiler operation since pretty much forever and not a few of them have done exactly what I just accused Jane Sanders of doing, profiting off of the kinds of idiots who will give money and support to those series of spoiler campaigns.

What they do is important only because they have been so useful to Republicans, to the Putin crime organization and who knows how many other anti-democratic funders, supporters and those who can encourage them in their idiocy.  And their historical ability to discredit the real left.   They really are the enemies of the actual American left, the left that can win elections in the numbers to influence legislation and to make law to put the legitimate egalitarian democratic agenda into law.  They are the real enemies of the real left.  With Bernie Sanders' wife announcing another certain disaster of a spoiler campaign in 2020 it's time for the only left that will ever succeed to dump them, to isolate them, to expose them and to destroy their ability to do that. 

This article points out problems with the candidacies of the Sanders' kids.

During the long and sometimes fractious 2016 Democratic presidential nominating contest, many of Bernie Sanders’ passionate fans depicted themselves as fighting not just Hillary Clinton, but a Clintonian dynasty of corrupt centrists who had betrayed progressivism into the hands of its corporate enemies. One California Berniecrat said this to Politico after Sanders conceded defeat and endorsed Clinton:

When I see the Clintonian dynastic corruption which seems to compromise everything and everyone it touches, the Democratic Party is not a party I can support at this time.

Less than two years later, it’s not Chelsea Clinton who’s running for office to build on her family’s legacy, but two from Bernie’s clan. His son Levi has announced his candidacy for a congressional seat in New Hampshire. And his step-daughter (Jane Sanders’ daughter) is running for his old position as mayor of Burlington.

Levi Sanders has never held elected office (he ran unsuccessfully for city council in the small town where he lives), though he was identified as a “senior policy strategist” in his father’s presidential campaign. Carina Driscoll has been a state legislator and city councilmember in Vermont.

The problem Levi Sanders is immediately encountering (other than a large and more experienced field of rivals for the Democratic nomination) is a history of utterances on Twitter (curated this week by New Hampshire Democratic activist Dean Barker) that will not go over well with a lot of primary voters. . . 

. . . While Driscoll is a more conventional political figure than her step-brother (despite her independent status), and so far as we know is not in the habit of saying dumb things on Twitter, she raises another problem for herself and her family: she’s been linked to the controversy over her mother’s financial stewardship of Burlington College, which closed under a massive load of debt five years after the end of Jane Sanders’ presidency of the school, during which the small private college expanded its campus significantly.

Turns out Driscoll’s own Vermont Woodworking School formed a partnership with Burlington College during Jane Sanders’ presidency that funneled about a half a million dollars to the off-site facility where Burlington students took classes. Sanders’ successor as president at Burlington and chief critic of her tenure, Carol Moore called the partnership a “sweetheart deal” for Driscoll that ended up “gouging the college.”

I will point out that the most likely venue for such a spoiler candidacy is the Green Party which will do what they've done before in that regard.  It's important to expose that fraud as well.   The Green Party had a presence at the Left Forum.  Lots of those who supported the candidacy of Bernie Sanders during the catastrophic and futile primary season in 2016 were Greens or the kind of idiots who declared they would vote for Jill Stein if Bernie Sanders didn't get the nomination.  I heard them at our caucus, especially among those who did same-day party declaration so they could vote for Sanders. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Stupid Mail

Know Nothing, he's stupidly unequipped,
And comes empty headed, facilely hipped
For Simels, conspicuous
And always so vacuous.
Comes making his comments, all numbly quipped,

Reality Is Real, Only What Can Be Made Real Is Radical, Lots of Asserted Radicalism Will Never And Should Never Be Real

Consider the long history of the American left and compare that history to the extent to which any American liberals have had the power to deliver any of the claimed program of that left and it's clear that there is a left which has been acceptable to the American People and there is a left which not only has never been acceptable but which has had its greatest effect in history as thwarting the ability of the acceptable left to gain office in the numbers to make any change.  The relatively conservative Lyndon Johnson in his Great Society, in his appointments to the Supreme Court made more radical change in reality than the entire history of the "real left" which is, in fact, the play-left.  He did that even as he got sucked into expanding the Vietnam war that he inherited from that darling of 1960s romanticism, the romanticized figure of John Kennedy, who was far more reluctant to make the kind of change that the vulgar Johnson was more eager to make.

The left I wrote about yesterday,  as represented in the Left Forum and in such publications as The Nation has been a millstone around the neck of the real left, the left which is real by virtue of its ability to gain office and deliver equality, justice and a better life for people and the protection of the environment on which we all depend.   Its real role in discrediting traditional American liberals and liberalism, its role in being a tool of fascism to wield against the real and effective left is the reason that I have attacked them using their real history, which is what gets me hate mail.

The glamour of the play-left, the left which has been impotently asserting its right to be considered the real left which would in some glorious future rule and deliver its program was in its asserted radicalism, its devotion to the old testament of Marx-Engels or the various new testaments of Lenin or Mao or some other would be messiah, or, more naively wacky, the anarchism as proclaimed by Emma Goldman or some other romantic figure.   That the subsequent century shows what they produce is holding up some of the most viciously murderous, anti-egalitarian, anti-democratic regimes in the history of the human species as good and desirable and good models to follow and, with that, the discrediting of the entire left.  That is what is real about them.

The most radical of politics find its only real existence in the proof that it can attain power through acceptance by The People and, so, make good on the goals of more equality, more democracy, a better material and spiritual existence for all of The People and the environment.   The record of those heroes of the play-left, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and all of the lesser gods of the pantheon of dialectical materialism which held power proves that literally everything claimed by that part of the old left was a complete and total lie.  The record of anarchism is of the predictable and total impotence of that most delusional of all somewhat popular political ideologies.   Anarchism is and was always a total delusion, it would have done what Marxism has proven to do about as quickly, usher in a rule by organized criminals in a system of violence in which the least moral, and most viciously, amorally violent would rule.  That has been the record of almost every revolution since the 1790s.   I would include that which produced the United States because its Constitution enabled and enhanced the power of the slave owners and Northern commercial interests and the genocidal conquerors, I reject the romantic nostalgia of the all too real American right as much as I do that of the idiots of the play left. 

America, to name only one place, needs a revival of the real left and it will take the active rejection of the anti-democratic pseudo-left, an abandonment of the nostalgia for the cinematic and academic figures of the history of the pseudo-left, a clear eyed, hard assessment of the groups which have produced nothing that was not counter-productive when it wasn't a  self-discrediting distraction for the real left which is electable - rightly electable on the basis of its devotion to producing equality, democracy and freedom in the context of mutual moral obligation. 

The Left Forum - Nation magazine left is a fraud which will never produce more in the way of results than it has produced now.   After a century of their promotion of their ideologies they have never been farther from being credible with more than a rump of largely campus based radicals who I doubt are even a significant minority at City College or the other venues where they congregate. 

The next time they try to peddle their Hollywood 10 bull shit, look at the real ideology of people like Lester Cole, Lillian Hellman who were enormous admirers of Stalin as he was murdering tens of millions, invading countries and thwarting every freedom. doing the romantically raised up French Revolution  in a reign of terror decades instead of merely years long.  I can't but believe that their real allegiance was to the kind of red-fascism that Stalin made real because they remained loyal true believers as that red-fascism was exposed, fully.  There has to be more than the mere fact that the members of the House Un-American Activities Committee, Senator McCarthy and Roy Cohn were morally repugnant to make Stalinists figures deserving respectful remembrance.   It is as morally repugnant to hold Stalinists up as figures of respectful remembrance as it is Nazis.

Let me repeat that despite what the manipulative movie plot asserts or moldy folkie sings,  you're not obliged to take one of those two sides, you can reject them both because both of those sides deserve to be rejected. 

Thinking of the presence of unreconstructed Stalinism in the 2018 Left Forum I realized it's not really surprising that the Marxist left never had much trouble with Stalin because their ideology is basically anti-democratic, anti-egalitarian, opposed to freedom and amoral in the way that materialism always will be in the end.  Their use of the language of democracy, of the First Amendment was always tactical, a daffy, unrealistic scheme of getting their propaganda heard and duping The People into adopting what they could see on display in the Soviet Union, Mao's China and in the lesser communist states.   If they gained power they would as quickly as Lenin and his thugs did, make sure that there was no opposition to them, as violently and as ruthlessly.   And the American People knew it and they weren't buying it. 

I think today the most obvious binding force of the Left Forum left is a deep and snobbish hatred of America.  A lot of that was as true of the British and French left immediately after the United States saved their asses from Hitler.  These days, reading The Nation, looking through the program of the Left Forum, it's clear they have more affection and toleration of the Russian strong-man Putin than they do for any figure in the Democratic Party.  That is what I think is the real basis of the objection of some of the staff writers at The Nation to the line being pushed by Katrina Vanden Heuvel and her husband, Stephen Cohen in their support for Putin's subversion of American democracy.  There is so much to legitimately condemn and criticize about the United States, especially its ruling class, its corporate media, its racists and military imperialists but everything you can say on that goes ever so much more for every single Communist state and the Putin crime family.

The American People will never buy that bull shit, anyone who claims to be in favor of equality and civil rights who gets sucked into the play-left is delaying the time when those become real, that suckering of the real left of the potentially real left has been going on since the "real left" broke the old Socialist Party in 1919.  Every year the Left Forum includes marginal figures in pop-music, movie-making, comedy, which they claim is the vanguard of some kind of radical change and every year that radical change fails to take hold.  The marginal figures remain marginal and they always will, if one of them managed to advance in their career, they'd dump that shtick, fast.   The Left Forum is the fever dream of the impotent, the obscure and the never to happen.  It isn't real.  It never will be.  It is a delusion.