Saturday, August 4, 2018

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Emil Sher - Mourning Dove

This is a play about the real case of a Saskatchewan farmer who killed his severely disabled daughter.  

Inspired by the story of Robert Latimer, the Saskatchewan farmer who made headlines when he was convicted for the death of his severely handicapped daughter, Mourning Dove explores the highly-charged issues involving mercy killings. Doug Ramsay watches as his daughter, who is stricken with severe cerebral palsy, declines daily. He resolves to put an end to her suffering, but will he commit an act of cold-blooded murder or will he be responsible for the ultimate act of parental love for a helpless child? Doug Ramsay believes he is acting in his daughter's best interests when he takes her life. What he doesn't anticipate is the fallout from his decision. 

With R H Thompson, Martha Burns, David MacFarlane and Ken James  

Director Gregory J Sinclair 

Mourning Dove won a gold medal at the New York Festivals International Radio Competition.

I don't have any brilliant insight into how to think about the real life event behind the play, I don't think anyone does.  The case is called The Robert Latimer Case, notably, not "The Tracy Latimer Case," I'd guess hardly anyone remembers the name of the daughter.   I'd  guess it's still controversial because there isn't any way to know what's right. I think most of the people who think about cases like this find it a lot more easy to imagine how they might be driven to do what Robert Latimer did than can understand it from the point of view of his daughter.  None of us can hear her side of it.   I don't think any of us can really know much more than we can imagine about it.   Certainly not for someone who isn't involved in it.  Thinking about all of the different points of view possible don't seem to get you any farther.  I'm not even sure what the play can tell you that you don't start out with.  I don't think a play necessarily comes to a resolution.   I don't know how I'd have voted if I was on the jury though I don't think he was evil but I don't think it's right to have people killing other people, either.

It's a hard play to listen to but I think it's a good play.

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Gordon Pengilly - Bailey's Way - Three Episodes

Esther Purves Smith as Tanis Bailey 
David LeReaney as Sergeant Mann
Grant Linneberg as Detective Donaldson.

Other cast for Logan's Lost Herd:  Thomas Hauff; John Wright; 
Heather Lea McCallum; Christian Goutsis; Tiffany Thomas; Joyce Doolittle; Brian Smith; Tim Koetting

for The Hood:   Kevin Kruchkywich;Joe Norman shaw; Natasha Girgis; 
Jack Ackroyd;Douglas McLeod; Aziza Sindu; Douglas McKeog

for Exit Candy Forest:  Donna Belleville; Russell Moore; Paul Coeur;
Lindsay Burns; Mark Bellamy; John Wright

Exit Candy Forest is the last of the series.  It's always sad when you come to the end of a series you really like,  it inevitably leaves you wanting more but it's even worse when a series goes on too long and the quality declines.   This is the kind of series that left me wanting more.  That's good. 

Stupid Mail

Oh, I don't know.  I don't recall ever coming across anyone else comparing stale jokes to the idea of canned scrambled eggs before I said it the other day.  I think that might be a new idea.   If someone already came up with the idea of canned scrambled eggs . . . I'm not sure I want to know about it. 

Matt Dunlap Exposes the lies of Chris Kobach, Mike Pence and Donald Trump's Regime

Having several months ago slammed Maine's Secretary of State, Matt Dunlap for his wild over-estimate at the cost of running a ranked-choice election, I feel obligated to say that with his exposing the lies of the Trump Administrations and the Kansas Republican-fascists' tool, Chris Kobach, over their voter suppression efforts, almost everything is forgiven.

Matt Dunlap agreed to be part of the phony Trump regime "election integrity commission" only to find that Kobach and others, including Mike Pence, wouldn't let him see the official documents that they lied about to claim they'd documented more than 8,000 instances of things like double voting.

After Dunlap sued to get access to those records, he reviewed all of them and published them, proving that the whole thing was a lie. 

It is related to yesterday's post in that if you have to corrupt a putative democracy, one of the ways to do that is by making sure that people who might vote against you never get to vote.   That's been the basis of the slave-power-Northern-financial establishment preventing democracy since the founding of the country, the entire history of the country since then could be written as the struggle for people who weren't allowed to vote to be represented.

There is a direct line from the infamous 3/5th provision to empower slave-holders to these efforts by Republican-fascists to suppress the votes of Black People, Latinos, poor People, and others who aren't as likely to vote for Republican-fascists.  The Trump regime is using the same lies that were used by D.W. Griffith in Birth of a Nation, the movie that revived the terror group, the KKK.   When you see Chris Kobach's round face, when you see Mike Pence, you're seeing people who are doing the same thing as is always done, telling the same old lies that worked to disenfranchise and oppress people for going on 250 years. 

ICE Is A Gang Of Fascist Thugs Right Here, Right Now, Abducting People From Courthouses

What Makes Us Worse

Though still drowsy, I really woke up this morning on hearing Ari Melber saying that we might find out when Barack Obama learned about the Russian attack that installed his successor in the presidency.   It is certainly going to determine how his legacy should be judged in history, whether or not he protected and defended the country against what has happened or if he knowingly did little to sound an alarm that didn't go off.  If, as I suspect, we learn that he knew a lot more a lot earlier and didn't sound that alarm, I'm going to wonder what part the thinking he learned at Harvard Law played in that.   I think it's where he learned how to personally get ahead by making nice with Republicans and shafting Democrats, or, rather liberals.  It is reported that's how he became the president of the Harvard Law Review.  I doubt it's the only bad habit he learned at the university that made the clownish, incompetent, professional liar, Sean Spicer an honored Fellow along with so many others who should have been on trial for everything from political corruption to crimes against humanity over the years.   I really have to say that, with few exceptions here and there, I really don't like Harvard, much.  Nor Columbia, where he got his undergrad degree.  I don't like the Ivys much, nor the may-as-well-be Ivy class of institution.  They are training grounds for crooks and thugs like the "liberals" who want to get their buddy Brett Kavanaugh's ass on the Supreme Court Bench, just as so many testified in favor of other thugs like Alito.  Such liberals are liars. 

I'm not writing a full piece today, having corrected a few things in yesterday's post, I want to keep it at the top of the page.  I think it gets to the central issue in how American democracy was killed, largely through the efforts of people who went to Harvard with others from Yale and Stanford and the other elite training grounds of the servants of oligarchy today.  That line of training stretches back to the legendary founding, Princeton seems to have produced more of them than the others that were around back then, producing the major voice for slave-holders, James Madison.  What would become Columbia University trained his partner in preventing egalitarian democracy and equal justice, representing the northern financier class, Alexander Hamilton. 

I don't think we can ever save democracy without changing the Constitution that is full of dangerous features that prevent democracy.  The billionaire crooks and their thugs have gotten too good at exploiting its weaknesses through computer technology.  And those were intentionally put there for the use of the posterity of the slave holders and the financier class, the American millionaires and billionaires of today, their servants on the Supreme Court and those they gull the American People into electing through lies of the kind yesterday's post was all about.   That's why I write about this so often.  I think egalitarian democracy and justice are too important to just figure people want their TV and movie stories and that we should just figure the plebs want to be deceived as we preen in our pretense that knowing that as we do nothing, make no effort at all,  marks us as their superiors.  It doesn't. That makes us worse. 

Friday, August 3, 2018

American Democracy Is Being Killed By Courts Turning Liberties Into Opportunities For Corruption

I don't think much of any of the coverage of the Putin mob's ratfucking of our political system, of our elections has gone to the central issue.  If the American People, if American Voters didn't buy political lies in the same way they buy any crap they see advertised or product-placed in TV shows and movies, no one would try to do what the foreign mafia bosses of the Putin crime mob have done so successfully and which the Republicans are allowing them to continue doing because they are doing nothing to stop even the known means they used to do that. 

But that's not the world we live in.

The whole thing hinges on the marketing of lies, something the American media is very practiced in doing, they do it in several pods of commercials several times every half hour of every day of every year, whole industries including social science research - probably some of the most stringent testing ever done under that umbrella - to tell them how to more successfully sell stuff to their audiences. 

The media that is largely powered by the money that comes from marketing products was one of the main vehicles of the corruption that Putin and his crime mob used to put their puppet into the American presidency, to put Republican-fascists in office to enable the Putonian president in his betrayal of the oath he made a pose of taking, to "faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

The media, certainly FOX, owned and controlled by an Australian-Brit billionaire porn merchant, has been in as thick as thieves with the Putin mafia crime spree, but also Sinclair, also many other broadcast, cabloid and print sources who are, a year and a half into the implementation of the Putin plan, still more than just enabling it, they are fully on board in that implementation of it,  THE AMERICAN MEDIA IS A PART OF THE PUTIN PLAN.  AND I'M CERTAIN THAT PART OF THE PUTIN GANG'S PLANS WERE HOW TO WORK THE AMERICAN MEDIA TO SERVE THEIR PURPOSE.

And the American media, even the less than fully on board parts of it behaved predictably through out the whole thing, everything from the quasi-entertainment-soi-disant news media, such as Joe and Mika who had on Trump the candidate for his entertainment, and so audience attracting value, giving him a good part of the reported billions of dollars of free campaign publicity the media gave him, from that to the New York Times who reported false stories that Hillary Clinton was going likely to be indicted for crimes, they all have played their part in producing the most serious crisis in American democracy, perhaps in its existence. 

Vladimir Putin is one thing that Donald Trump, most of the members of the American federal government (especially the members of the Supreme Court) and most of the people in charge of the American media are not, certainly something A. G. Sulzberger is nothing close to being, he's very intelligent.  And he is smart enough and a smart enough manager that he knows if he doesn't know something he should listen to people who know what they're talking about.   He certainly saw every weakness in our culture, in our politics in our Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court.  And he and his people understood the nature of all of those weaknesses. 

Almost all of the of the weaknesses in our laws, in our regulations are there to allow American millionaires and billionaires to do everything that Putin and his mafia have done to us from Moscow and small Eastern European countries, no doubt what the Chinese oligarchs are doing or planning to do along with all of the other mafias, governmental and NGO now that they can see what the Putin mafia have done so successfully AND WHICH THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL SYSTEM IS SO OBVIOUSLY NOT OBSTRUCTING IN ANY WAY. 

It is the Constitution and the Courts which have so often served the wealthy class in the United States in their efforts to prevent a real government of, by and, most of all, FOR THE PEOPLE, from becoming a reality.  Of using the "free speech-free press" doctrine that allows the same media that was the medium of Putin's ratfucking including its most recently developed part, social media, to successfully market lies to the American People, to sucker them into believing lies, marketed like beer or i-phones or any sci-fi delusion that is current.  By enabling the domestic millionaires and billionaires, the same ones who participated in Richard Nixon's crime spree by enabling the media they own to lie with impunity, the United States Supreme Court is the key to how the Putin mafia attacked American democracy, installing their property, a stupid, egomaniacle, criminal baby-man as president of the United States and his thuggish co-conspirators, the traditional servants of American millionaires and billionaires, in the Congress.

The United States Supreme Court, the part of the government totally insulated from democratic processes, chosen, not elected, are the center in the corruption and rotting out of American democracy.  They have done it by using the language of the Bill of Rights to enable the enemies of democracy and the common good, to enable the people bent on corrupting the country for their own profit.   Earlier this week, someone pointed out that the Russians have used our own supposed strengths against us, comparing it to the Japanese martial art of jiu-jitsu.  It is one of the things we know about Vladimir Putin that he has some training in jiu-jitsu*.  That is what the Putin crime family has used against us as the American system, especially the Supreme Court and the legal system seem to be playing some board game simulation, pretending the rules of that are the real reality.   I don't think even the Democratic appointees to the court, the only ones who aren't openly in on the corruption, appreciate the role that past rulings of the Court, the very "free press" rulings so beloved of myth and media,  have been used by the Putin mafia.  That reality is totally alien to the thinking of the traditional American mind.  But that is exactly how American democracy has been attacked, how it is dying.

America's elite law schools, the ones which trained all of the members of the Supreme Court, are churning out graduates indoctrinated in the same doctrines and dogmas the Supreme Court has issued which empowered Putin.  They did so, originally, on behalf of American millionaires and billionaires so they could do, domestically, what they opened the door to Putin doing with the clear collusion of American billionaires.  They don't seem to be in any hurry to see the error of their ways.  As can be seen in the Senate rubber stamping of Trump-Putin appointed judges and justices, the Senate under Republican fascism has been no kind of impediment to that. 

If we have to write the book on how American democracy died, that's how, they did it by turning liberties into opportunities for corruption.

*  I don't know if Ben Wittes is right that the videos of Putin flipping opponents are phonies, that might be as phony as any American political PR but Putin certainly understands how to use what we believe are our strengths against us under the rules of American law and politics.

Up against that sophisticated, informed attack, saying "The First Amendment" as if that's a magical protection against what has Putin has accomplished through using "The First Amendment" privileges given the media, as interpreted by the Court is as loony as Q-anon.  The Supreme Court under Sullivan v New York Times, Buckley v Valeo, Citizens United, enabled the American billionaires to profit from peddling lies, including those who are obviously working with his Putin and his criminal associates are what paved the way for Putin to do what he did, I know that in Citizens United, there were warnings that the Court was opening up our system to manipulations by foreign players, though the earlier ones did nothing to protect us from U.S. billionaires acting in concert with anyone they could get away with colluding with.  The continuing of the regime those rulings set up should be considered criminal malfeasance on the part of the Supreme Court.  They take an oath, too.

“I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

It stupidly doesn't include an oath to defend democracy or The People of the United States, the very thing that makes anything they do, the very Constitution they swear to defend legitimate.  I don't believe any of the current Federalist-Society, Republican members of the court were honest when they took that oath, I think they never had any intention to do any such thing.  In office, they've certainly done the opposite of what they promised.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

And Now For Some Good News, For A Change

Confession time, again.  I sometimes get involved in comment tread duels on Youtube.  I didn't used to but I figure if someone doesn't let them know they don't agree with them they'll figure no one doesn't agree with them.  The one I'm thinking of happened last week on the comment thread of a Sam Seder video, an argument with an atheist who wanted to blame everything under the sun on religion, specifically in the Vatican.  One of my arguments was to ask if the Vatican was so powerful and to blame for ever wrong done to Women and LGBT People, why do the very politicians, courts and governments that do those wrongs totally ignore the Pope when he tells them that economic injustice, racism, religious discrimination and the death penalty are wrong.  

Well, I just read that Good Pope Francis has given that argument a charge by changing the official Catholic Catechism to say that the death penalty is inadmissible in all cases

Pope Francis has approved a change to the official teachings of the Catholic Church, calling for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty. The pope has frequently spoken out against the death penalty; in a speech in Rome last year, for example, Francis called the punishment “inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” The new change to the Catechism, which is the official body of the Church’s teachings, formalizes that opposition based on “an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost, even after the commission of very serious crimes.”

In approving this change, Francis has sent a signal about his priorities—and his posture toward change. The Church has underscored its opposition to the destruction of any kind of life, even when that means defying the state. And Francis is willing to alter Church teaching to make that clear.

The Church has not always been a clear opponent of the death penalty. As Francis pointed out in his 2017 address, past popes presided over executions when they governed the Papal States, the territory in present-day Italy that was controlled by the Church until the late-19th century. Some of these killings were particularly gruesome: When Pope Clement VIII declared Giordano Bruno a heretic in 1600, the philosopher was tied to a stake, burned alive, and dumped in the Tiber.

Francis rebuked his predecessors: “Let us take responsibility for the past and recognize that the imposition of the death penalty was dictated by a mentality more legalistic than Christian.”

Every once in a while, when I'm not brawling in the comments, I like to look at the video of the announcement that Pope Francis was the one who was elected Pope, something I saw live because it was one of the days I was sitting with my very old mother who was glued to the TV when they announced it.  As I've said, as soon as he came out and he was wearing a simple white alb instead of one of the three fancy papal vestments in different sizes that had been in the news as being what the new pope would wear, and as soon as they said he'd chosen the name "Francis" I knew he was going to be a different pope than his two immediate, imperial pope predecessors.  

Now, let's see how fast the politicians who are anti-choice and anti-LGBT rights adopt this latest teaching of the Pope, since he's to blame for everything else they do.  I think it's likely they'll adopt that stand before they have the positions he's got in common with even those two imperial popes that came right before him, economic justice, environmental justice, etc.   Compared to any current United States politician I can think of, even they were radicals on those other positions.  But, just in case you start holding your breath on them outlawing the death penalty anytime at all, don't.  I really can't afford to lose readers. 

An Answer To The Stupidest Blog Question Of Them All

"How much money did Soros give you?"

That's easy to figure out.  Choose any number and multiply it by the square root of -1.  They call them "imaginary" numbers for other reasons but it works for this, too. 

Whiny Hate Mail

It's not true that I've never said a good word about Duncan Black, I've often noted that he sometimes writes well on problems of infrastructure and I've even recommended what he says about idiocy like driverless cars and Elon Musk's idiotic idea (we will probably be paying for as it turns out to be a billionaire playing geek's delusion) of a so-called hyperloop.  That is, when he writes anything, generally of less than the length of a short obituary.  

That changes nothing about him being a disgrace to the memory of Media Whores Online and a guy who publishes libel and other lies just about every day.  Really, he's going for low hanging fruit.  If the media were not staffed and run by people who are total idiots, so many of them with degrees in "communications" instead of real topics or there for their resembling underwear models, what he does would be commonplace. 

We Need A Word For This Phenomeon And An Explanation Of Why They Do It

I've pointed this out before, the obvious placement of a black or other person of color behind Trump, almost always on the same side in the frame when he holds one of his otherwise lily white fascist rallies.

Image result for trump florida rally

Where do they find these people?   Acting cattle calls?  Do they bribe prisoners?  From mental institutions?   Or do they just get the next Black person they find dumped on the street who is obviously off their meds drugged up and smiling?

This is obviously done on purpose and for a specific reason, this couldn't happen so often by chance.   I have to ask, who do they think they're fooling?  It's like the racist rent-boy trolls who use a black-face grav to post their racist Republican-fascist comments.

Roma locuta; causa finita est, Replace The First Word With "Curia" And That's How Things Are

In the hearings into the confirmation of William Rehnquist to the Supreme court,  the eminent civil rights lawyer Joseph L. Rauh and Clarence A. Mitchell from the NAACP testified that not that long before the hearings in 1971, Rehnquist was involved in a voter intimidation operation aimed at keeping Black People and Latinos from voting.*  Rehnquist lied about that under oath and went on to do on the court pretty much what he was doing in 1960 when he was in charge of a Republican voting suppression operation in Arizona.   And Republicans on the Supreme Court have increasingly been part of a similar effort, nationwide.  Neil Gorsuch will be a key part in it, anyone the Federalist Society chooses for Trump to put on the court will.

The democratic remedy for a corrupt and unjust court, through some of the worst decisions of the far from purely motivated amateurs who set up the government, is extremely slow, unacceptably slow, and extremely awkward.  It depends on voters who are fed up with an outrageously out of control court voting people into the Senate and a person as president who might get the chance, through death or retirement, appoint new members of the court.  Which turns out to be hardly a sure thing or anything anyone can really rely on happening.**  The fictitious remedy of impeachment has been used exactly once, exactly for political corruption in action on the court by Samuel Chase.  The Senate refused to convict him and he remained on the court.   In that one case it was used, it turned out to be no remedy at all.

The Republican-fascist strategy, going back almost sixty-years, has been to prevent even the possibility of that most difficult and far from certain remedy from happening by preventing Black People, Latinos, and others from voting, blocking the possibility of a remedy for even the most outrageous injustice and abuse of power from happening.  Black People certainly are familar with that, it is exactly the same strategy that Southern AND OTHERS IN OTHER STATES used to prevent them from voting and having representation in the government in the entire period after slavery and in many places before.

It has been documented that The Republican Party has been practicing slave-holder tactics to maintain their power for the past fifty-eight years, the faction that did that now runs the entire Republican Party, the tiny handful who have managed to avoid direct participation in that, people like Susan Collins, are entirely complicit in the effort and they benefit from it.

The power that the Supreme Court gave itself, to overturn legislation duly adopted and signed into law, to overturn the emergency anti-corruption legislation such as that adopted after the crimes of Nixon's administration were engaged in with some of the richest and most powerful Americans,   to overturn some of the hardest won laws such as the Voting Rights Act, literally bought with the blood of people demanding equal justice under the law, equal justice which the Supreme Court has proved throughout its history it is generally hostile to, makes the widespread acceptance often mute acceptance, of their expansive powers extremely dangerous.  I have come to the conclusion that the Supreme Court we were all taught was the last, final hope of those who sought justice, you know, all of that Gideon's Trumpet romanticism, has, actually, for most of its history, including our present, has been exactly the opposite of that.

It is extremely ironic that a country in which the separation of church and state is embedded into our founding has come to have a reality that is far worse than the real history of clerical abuse of absolute power.   Roma locuta; causa finita est, (Rome has spoken, the case is settled), was seldom the actual case in medieval and Renaissance Europe.  But in the United States when a corrupt court, such as the one we have now and which is about to become far worse, has assumed essentially the same power that medieval Popes seldom actually had.   And in the United States, the reality of that is a lot more real because there is no countering secular authority BECAUSE THE COURT IS THE SECULAR AUTHORITY.

The hesitation of the Senate Judiciary committee to not only question the honesty of nominees to the supreme court and to make such things as voting suppression an absolute disqualification for membership on the Supreme Court has been criminally irresponsible.   So should be the form of lying under oath that virtually all of recent nominees have engaged in, the claim that they don't know how they will vote on specific issues.  They almost always know how they will vote on things such as legalized abortion, civil rights cases, voting rights cases.

We are at the very limit of how we can maintain the fatal flaws contained in the Constitution and the exacerbations of those through things like the self-assumed powers of the Supreme Court.  Every sign is that it is about to get a lot worse with Trump putting another Federalist Society Republican-fascist on the court.  The line of rulings enabling and empowering slave holders under courts from John Marshall's to Roger Taney's led directly to the flames of the Civil War.   The fire next time will be worse.

*  Here is how it was reported in the New York Times

An Arizona Republican leader confirmed today that William. H. Rehnquist one of President Nixon's nominees to the Supreme Court, was an official in 1960 and 1964 of a Republican program to challenge voters at polling places in Phoenix.

Wayne E. Legg, a Phoenix lawyer who is a liaison man between the state and county Republican units in Arizona, said in a telephone interview that Mr. Rehnquist had directed a “ballot security” program that sent challengers into heavily Democratic precincts.

During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on his nomination last week, civil rights spokesmen charged that the challenging program had been a tactic of “harassment and intimidation” desiged to delay and prevent voting in Negro and Mexican‐American precincts.

Mr. Rehnquist testified that he had never personally challenged anyone at the polls, as the Arizona chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People asserted in a resolution opposing his nomination.

His testimony was not clear as to whether he had ever had any role in training and directing the challengers, and some persons understood him to be saying that his only connection with the challenging operation had been to act as head of a “lawers committee” that advised challengers of their legal rights.

Mr. Rehnquist testified, “My responsibilities, as I recall them, were never those of a challenger, but as one of a group of lawyers working for the Republican party in Maricopa County who attempted to supply legal advice to persons who were challengers, and I was chairman of what was called the Lawyers Committee in a couple of elections, biennial elections, which I believe were in the early sixties.”

Today the offices of Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana and Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Democrats who have questioned Mr. Rehnquist closely about his civil rights views, released copies of news clippings from Phoenix newspapers saying that Mr. Rehnquist was head of the Lawyers Committee in 1962 but was an official of the challenging program in 1960 and 1964.

The Arizona Republic on Oct. 21, 1964, carried an announcement by Mr. Legg, then chairman of the Maricopa County Republican party, that Mr. Rehnquist had been named “chief ballot security officer” for the upcoming election. Mr. Legg said that in 1960 Mr. Rehnquist was co‐chairman of the ballot security program, which Mr. Legg describes as a program to “challenge voters in some of the precincts in which claimed irregularities have occurred in the past.”.

As can be seen, the strategy of Republicans trying to suppress the vote among Black and Latino People started a long time before Nixon launched his Southern Strategy of appealing to racists who were furious with the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.  Those are who are now in control of the Republican Party.  As history shows, the almost always useless Senate Judiciary Committee were too chicken or too dainty to really deal with the issue and Rehnquist went on the court and, later, to become one of the worst Chief Justices in a long line of bad ones.

The court has become a machine for disenfranchising Black People, Latino People, poor People, and others who poll as more likely to vote for Democrats.

** Actually, in the original Constitution it was worse, they had to elect members of state legislatures who would then appoint Senators.  Anyone who claims that the friggin' founders' ideas for the protection of democracy from a partisan, even despotic court were brilliant is a goddamned idiot and a liar.  It was one of the worst features of the Constitution, among many others which have proved to be very useful for Courts bent on preventing democracy, to prevent us from ever having that ability to oust such Court members.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

This one took about 12 minutes - Stupid Mail

He's saying second hand lines, 
Strikes second hand pose, 
He even reaches second hand lows
When he says a pithy witticism, 
it's somebody elses' it's not hism, 
Second hand jests, way past their long ago best, 
He never says a single thing that's new. 
Even when he's said something you haven't once heard, 
Someone else sure has, on that you'll have to just take my word. 
Everyone knows he copies head to his  toes,  
At Duncan's baby blue, at Duncan's baby blue. 

Book Review - Dusan Bogdanovic's Counterpoint For Guitar

A friend of mine who plays guitar has lent me his copy of Dusan Bogdanovic's book Counterpoint for Guitar.  It looks like a very good, practical introduction to species counterpoint, in sound instead of as an exercise of drawing circles and lines on staff paper, and much more going into actual music making.

I won't go into too many technical details of why I think the book is important but if someone went through it, doing the exercises carefully,  the species counterpoint exercises and then the extension into making that knowledge into real music, they would learn everything more than the traditional note-drawing futility.

One thing that is a huge drawback would be that the price of the book is extremely high, this edition cost about seventy dollars for a book of rather modest size.  Another is that that edition seems to be unavailable, perhaps out of print.  I think if Bogdanovic or someone authorized by him produced a far less expensive edition it might be a best seller.  Though I have to confess what little knowledge of the publishing industry I used to have seems to be way out of date.

I would recommend consulting the books that Bogdanovic mentions as the basis of his study, especially Arnold Schoenberg's Counterpoint.  He recommends Fux's classic study,  but better might be Knud Jeppesen's, Counterpoint: The Polyphonic Vocal Style of the Sixteenth Century (which unlike the others except Fux seems to be in the public domain and can be downloaded on non-dodgy sites).  Though it's one of the strongest points in Bogdanovic's study that while he nods to vocal style, he teaches in idiomatically instrumental style based in lute and guitar music.   If I had the time I'd adapt his idea to the keyboard using the music written for organ and the other keyed instruments of the period.

This Not Only Dishonorable Court But Incompetent As Well Is A Danger To Democracy

Bush v Gore should have been considered the final straw that broke business as usual in the corrupt, partisan Supreme Court, it was one of the most outrageous usurpations of power by a clearly partisan 5 member majority of the court, one of whom, Sandra Day O'Connor,  was heard to express dismay when the election was called for Gore because it was known she wanted to retire and she wanted a fellow Republican to name her successor.  The result was the presidency of George W. Bush who was not only incompetent, running an administration that ignored warnings of an attack which came, 9-11, but whose administration, having gone to war against Afghanistan, lied to promote the invasion of Iraq, one of the most criminal and disastrous wars the United States has ever been involved in, perhaps the worst foreign policy decision in the history of the United States up to that time.

The court, reinforced by the Bush II members, Roberts and Alito, issued further cases such as the infamous Citizens United which paved the way for the further corruption of our country for political purposes, the warnings about that, including the Court having opened the way for corruption from foreign countries having a major and decisive hand in ratfucking our elections.   Their judicial hands are all over the Putin crime family working with American billionaires to install Trump.

The Supreme Court is in a spiral of partisan corruption and incompetence mixed with the arrogance that has been typical of so many of the members of the Court over the centuries.  It's a bad combination, especially in the branch of the government most corrupted by being insulated from democracy.  I'm going to give you an example from the Five-Thirty-Eight blog, not one of their speculative pieces based on polling, one of their frequently very good pieces that aren't speculative.

The piece goes over the mathematical incompetence on the Court when an issue they have chosen to review hinges on mathematical issues, how they sometimes fail to understand the math, sometimes misinterpret it, sometimes, in the way of arrogant lawyers who are incompetent about an issue, by arrogantly ignoring the math, figuring they can divine it by some kind of High Court haruspexy, judicial entrail reading.  And it wasn't just the Republican-fascists on the court.

For decades, the court has struggled with quantitative evidence of all kinds in a wide variety of cases. Sometimes justices ignore this evidence. Sometimes they misinterpret it. And sometimes they cast it aside in order to hold on to more traditional legal arguments. (And, yes, sometimes they also listen to the numbers.) Yet the world itself is becoming more computationally driven, and some of those computations will need to be adjudicated before long. Some major artificial intelligence case will likely come across the court’s desk in the next decade, for example. By voicing an unwillingness to engage with data-driven empiricism, justices — and thus the court — are at risk of making decisions without fully grappling with the evidence.

This problem was on full display earlier this month, when the Supreme Court heard arguments in Gill v. Whitford, a case that will determine the future of partisan gerrymandering — and the contours of American democracy along with it. As my colleague Galen Druke has reported, the case hinges on math: Is there a way to measure a map’s partisan bias and to create a standard for when a gerrymandered map infringes on voters’ rights?  

The metric at the heart of the Wisconsin case is called the efficiency gap. To calculate it, you take the difference between each party’s “wasted” votes — votes for losing candidates and votes for winning candidates beyond what the candidate needed to win — and divide that by the total number of votes cast. It’s mathematical, yes, but quite simple, and aims to measure the extent of partisan gerrymandering.

Four of the eight justices who regularly speak during oral arguments1 voiced anxiety about using calculations to answer questions about bias and partisanship. Some said the math was unwieldy, complicated, and newfangled. One justice called it “baloney” and argued that the difficulty the public would have in understanding the test would ultimately erode the legitimacy of the court.

Justice Neil Gorsuch balked at the multifaceted empirical approach that the Democratic team bringing the suit is proposing be used to calculate when partisan gerrymandering has gone too far, comparing the metric to a secret recipe: “It reminds me a little bit of my steak rub. I like some turmeric, I like a few other little ingredients, but I’m not going to tell you how much of each. And so what’s this court supposed to do? A pinch of this, a pinch of that?”

Justice Stephen Breyer said, “I think the hard issue in this case is are there standards manageable by a court, not by some group of social science political ex … you know, computer experts? I understand that, and I am quite sympathetic to that.”

And Chief Justice John Roberts, most of all, dismissed the modern attempts to quantify partisan gerrymandering: “It may be simply my educational background, but I can only describe it as sociological gobbledygook.” This was tough talk — justices had only uttered the g-word a few times before in the court’s 230-year history.2 Keep in mind that Roberts is a man with two degrees from Harvard and that this case isn’t really about sociology. (Although he did earn a rebuke from the American Sociological Association for his comments.) Roberts later added, “Predicting on the basis of the statistics that are before us has been a very hazardous enterprise.” FiveThirtyEight will apparently not be arguing any cases before the Supreme Court anytime soon.

The justices, apparently, didn't read the mathematical issues and decide they didn't agree with the conclusions, apparently they found the math too hard and they chose to ignore it on the theory that handling the issues according to the lore of the law could come out with some kind of more predictably secure decision on the basis of legal lore.  Considering the willingness of the Roberts Court to push aside even long standing precedent with a 5/4, partisan majority, something which is expected to become worse when the Republicans rubber stamp the replacement for Kennedy, asserting the reliability of such methods is contradicted by the very actions of the court.  Oh, yes, and the case, the court decided not to deal with the math, throwing the case out on the basis of no-standing by the plaintiffs.  The part that a phobia for math played in that is unknowable but as someone who has tutored in math, I know the tactic.

Obviously, we need a court with justices who can do the math.  We don't have one.  I wouldn't be upset if, as one lawyer-blogger proposed a while back, that the next time a Democrat had a Democratic Senate that they do what Franklin Roosevelt did when he was faced with a court as partisan and arrogant as the ones we have now, pack the court.   I would use the issue of mathematical and technical incompetence of many, if not most of the members of the court who can't, possibly understand the issues before them as one of the reasons justifying the decision.  Unlike the powers the court created for itself, there is nothing in the Constitution that would make such an act by the president of questionable legitimacy.  The whining of justices about the workload they face is a justification for expanding the court which could have panels of nine justices hear cases, though the mathematically incompetent shouldn't ever be allowed to hear issues that hinge on mathematical questions.

The Supreme Court as it is now is an anachronistic early 19th century institution that obtained much of its role extra-Constitutionally, through their own fiat.  The doctrine that the Court can throw out legislation on the basis of it being unconstitutional, the reason that we mere plebs who paid attention in American History sort of know that Marbury v Madison is a thing, appears nowhere in the Constitution.   That self-assumed power of the Court might have been tolerable in a court that knew the legitimacy of the court could be brought into question by the outrageous further usurpation of power.   Under the Rehnquist and now Roberts Courts, we've reached that point.  As I said, it should have been considered when Republicans who had the lack of honor, of honesty that the Bush v Gore majority proved they had should have been the majority that was the last straw.  If liberals hadn't been so gulled into falling for an unjustifiable and unrealistic cult of Court sanctimony, something they learned from history as phony as it comes, they would have started playing hardball with a court which had become what it has been most of the years of its existence, a thoroughly political institution that, as Louis Boudin said, favors the rich over the poor, the established power over the People in most of its actions.

That lack of push-back by liberals has lulled the members of the court into feeling too secure that they can take the most outrageous actions and that people will just figure that they have to go along with it because THE COURT HAS SPOKEN!  The members of the Supreme Court need to feel a lot more insecure than they do,  one way to do that would be to impeach and remove members of it more often.  I have no doubt that a Republican-fascist congress would do such a thing so there would be little to lose from a Democratic congress doing the same.   I would make the rampant and arrogantly demonstrated conflicts of interest on cases they heard the issue.  Scalia would have had his fat ass impeached, and Alito, Thomas and Gorsuch have certainly taken actions that stink of it.   I wouldn't be at all upset if they started impeaching them for lying to th Senate during their confirmations, those lies they tell so baldly when everyone in the room knows they're lying through their teeth.

Earl Warren died a long, long time ago.  And those rulings that comprise his legendary legacy, as with John Marshall, a lot of those were a lot less great than their publicity leads suckers to believe.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

An Answer

Oh, it's no great mystery, I read a bit in my spare time.  I've done a lot more of that since I gave up TV.  

Maybe We Should Have It A Rule That 5/4 Court Decisions Are Invalid That Isn't A New Idea

When I read the writings of lawyers, especially when they deal with the esoteric aspects of Supreme and other court rulings I almost always find something said that leaves a sour taste in my mouth.  That's something that happens even when I agree with them.   There is often something inhumanly expedient in such legal writing, something that values some theory of law or far from obviously moral principle that is put above even life, as can be seen in some of the most recent rulings of the Rehnquist and Roberts courts on such things as the death penalty and other basic aspects of injustice for real People.

While there are lawyers I really like - off the top of my head, just now, Jill Wine-Banks who I really like a lot - even a lot who I respect leave me a little cold.

I can not say that I deeply admire the Marxist, later just radical lawyer and scholar of the law, Louis Boudin, who I first knew as the guy who, as the John Reed faction of communists were destroying the Eugene Debs Socialist Party, went into Reed's break-away meeting only to leave it in disgust saying he "had not quit a band of crooks to join a band of lunatics."  Which was, in itself an ambiguous act which destroyed the only successful Socialist Party in United States history (almost certainly as a result of orders from Lenin and Trotsky) but which Boudin obviously saw, immediately was disastrously stupid.  As I once said here, no one should watch the movie Reds without understanding what duplicitous idiots and asses John Reed and his faction were.

I didn't first look into Louis Boudin's massive, critical study, Government By Judiciary expecting to like it or its author.  I didn't but that's entirely beside the point.  Boudin's work is something that I think has become more important as the corruption of the Rehnquist and Roberts Courts play out what he was warning about more than eighty years ago. It's a work in which he raised the same conclusions about the danger the Supreme Court was to democracy I came to conclude watching how the Courts have wittingly undermined democracy, in the case of the Rehnquist and Roberts courts, and unwittingly in the case of the Warren and even the Berger courts.  And I have come to the conclusion that they have used even admirable examples of  judicial activism (the Warren Court) to attack the rule of law - if you believe that legitimate law is a product of the legislative process - and an inevitably conservative (I would say almost always inherently corrupt) branch of government under the United States Constitution has usurped that power to the destruction of both democracy and legitimacy.   Most critically, after the Sullivan Decision that stupidly gave the media the ability to lie on behalf of the millionaires and billionires who had control of the sources of information people rely on to vote, the rulings using the "free speech - free press" language of the civil liberties industry to destroy the emergency legislation to distance our elections from that very influence in media spending and the outright system of bribery that predictably and inevitably grew up in the wake of those decisions.

I have wanted to do a long series going through some of Louis Boudin's points more thoroughly but I doubt I'd be able to do his arguments justice.  Time is growing short.   I have, though, recently re-read this thesis by Sarah Ballinger, “Government by a Few Conservative Men”: An Examination of Louis Boudin’s Understanding of the Abuse of the Judicial Power and the Decline of Judicial Restraint by the Supreme Court, and will probably be going through it in posts as the nomination of a Federalist Society fascist comes more into the news.

When I first started posting criticism of the decisions of the Warren court that have been mostly useful to Republicans to thwart the right to an effective and informed vote, of a government of, by and for The People, instead of one bought by billionaires foreign and domestic (look at the stories in the news about the Koch brothers shopping for a Democratic senator because they hope she'll make them richer, right out in the open) lefties online got the heebie jeebies tut-tutting about earlier fascists putting up bill boards calling for the impeachment of Earl Warren and bleating about Brown v. Board of Education and the such. 

Well, in real life we now have a fascist nominee who has called into question the legitimacy of Brown, who will lie about that when he's questioned about that in the Senate, who has already done a two-step around his claims about first the rightness of a Democratic President being hauled into court but, later, said it wouldn't be all right if the same were done to a Republican and pretty much saying he thought that a Republican president had the equivalent of a divine right to break laws and get away with it (he didn't say "Republican" but given his habits, that is merely a tacit adjective).  He will answer the hypocritical calls by Republicans in opposition to "judicial activism" by saying he opposes that, as have liars like Rehnquist, Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Kennedy and Gorsuch, even as they practice the most expansive of judicial activism with the approval of the same Senators who badmouthed it, even overturning long standing decisions of the court.   They have overturned much of that small body of liberal judicial activism by such as the Warren court using the same judicial activism that the Warren court was accused of using to come to those decisions.

Louis Boudin noted that in the past it was liberals who were critical of the judicial activism of conservatives, noting that some of the most horrendous decisions in the past have been conservative judicial activism.  Liberals didn't get into that act in a big way until two decades after he wrote the book.   And that window of liberal activism didn't work out so well, as things developed.

I think that one of the ideas in Louis Boudin's book, that is worth considering is that the Court's power to overturn legislation is only legitimate when it is the case that no reasonable case can be made that the legislation is constitutional, as the author of the thesis notes, that would call into question all of the putrid 5/4 decisions such as the Rehnquist and Roberts courts have issued to do things like destroy the attempts by the Congress and previous presidents to prevent domestic billionaires from buying Senators and entire parties and, as was warned in the Citizens United decision, opening up the Court instituted market for the American government to the bids of foreign billionaires, such as the Putin crime mob has, in fact, achieved. 

Things can't go on the way they have been and the primary vehicle for the destruction of American democracy has been the Supreme Court, either through unintended idiocy like the Sullivan decision or the openly corrupt decisions such as Buckley v. Valeo, Citizens United and virtually all of the court decisions opening up our entire democratic process to corruption.   And that's getting right to the source of it, ultimately the corruption and death of democracy starts with allowing the American People to be lied to with all of the methods PR has developed to sell them junk and poison, wielded of, by and for those with the wealth to buy the media.   While that's an even deeper problem, all of that became worse through the constitutional high priests of the Supreme Court.

I talked to my brother about something impinging on this earlier today.   He's extremely skeptical that anything can be done about it.   I don't know if he's right or if I am that something can be found that will enable the continuation of democracy.  But if there isn't, then you can kiss anything but oligarchy and, in the fullness of time, autocracy good bye.

Answer To The Generic Whine Of The Darwin Cultists

If you want to fight it out in defense of Darwin, bring me some points using his own words, the words of people who are known to have known him as closely and intimately as his children, his scientific colleagues who met him at least once and who corresponded with him in available letters.  

I've produced all of that, if you can't produce evidence of equal strength, you have no more case than Rudy Giuliani presents in defense of Trump.  

“The church shouldn’t be a taillight behind progress,” she adds, paraphrasing King, “but a headlight leading civilization to higher levels of understanding.”

If you want to find out more about Elizabeth A. Johnson and her theological writing and how important that is, you should first read an article from four years ago at Buzz Feed

Feminism In Faith: Sister Elizabeth Johnson's Challenge To The Vatican
Widely considered one of the architects of Catholic feminist theology, the 72-year-old nun and professor has often clashed with institutional leaders — including the future pope — in her fight for equality in the clergy.

If you want a motive for looking at it, it presents the criminal Cardinal, Bernard Law, being typically awful and why the inquisitorial campaign against Elizabeth A. Johnson was a fittingly emblematic event of the two worst papacies of the 20th and early 21st centuries, the one of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.   

“You say Mary is too passive. Isn’t obedience the greatest virtue?”

This was one of 40 questions sent to Elizabeth Johnson by a cardinal when she was up for a tenure-track position at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in September 1987. A respected scholar for decades, Johnson found her application rubber-stamped by every committee within the school, yet still needed approval from the Vatican's powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Given that she had written an article questioning the traditional view of Mary as humble and obedient, further rubber-stamping was not guaranteed.

The cardinal interrogating her was Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI.

Though Johnson dutifully answered each query, Ratzinger was still not satisfied. He proceeded to take the extraordinary measure of calling every cardinal in the United States to come to Washington to interrogate her on the content of the article. Johnson was the first female faculty member to come up for tenure at CUA, and the first to be subjected to an examination by the cardinals.

At the initial meeting, the hall was filled with men in black garb, gold chains across their chests, and priests at each of their sides. Johnson was the only woman in the room. “There were these men and they had all the power. I was vulnerable and at their mercy,” Johnson remembers. “There was patriarchy using its power against me, to deprive me of what, in fairness, I should have been given." Twenty-five years later, the recollection still brings waves of sadness and anger across her face.

“I kept thinking that in another century, they would be lighting the fires outside."

I don't have time to go through the entire piece, which includes the passage that I used as a title, but this part at the very end, giving her reason for remaining in the Catholic Church which has been guilty of so much injustice to women and others is worth thinking about.

After 30 years of advocating for reforms in the church’s teachings on women, how does Johnson remain patient with the hierarchy? “Partly by blocking it out! You’ll go crazy if you don’t."

She picks up a small picture frame from her desk, and shows me a photo she took while teaching in South Africa in the late 1980s. Apartheid was still the law of the land, Nelson Mandela sat in prison, and army tanks were positioned on every street corner.

Walking by a pastel-colored building in Cape Town, Johnson noticed that it had been defaced with very thick, black paint. “Hang Mandela,” the wall read. Johnson invites me to look closer at the photo. Someone had used a pencil to add a small, but mighty preposition, transforming the graffiti to read “Hang On Mandela.”

“Someone took and turned that message in the darkest of days,” Johnson says, tearing up at the memory. She saw this sign just before returning to the United States to be interrogated by the cardinals. “That picture has become my answer to why I stay in the church.”

Monday, July 30, 2018

Why does that guy keep accusing you of Antisemitism?

You remember the Geico commercial that was on, the one with the pissy caveman?

I thought it was hilarious because I've known gay men who obviously liked to make straight people feel uncomfortable by blowing up totally innocuous statements into a chance to turn on the diva bit, even making offenses up to do it.  While, on occasion, it might be called for, if someone's an asshole as well as a gay man they'll take advantage of it just to try to game something out of it or just because they're assholes.  Looking at it now, it's still a bit amusing but humor gets stale fast.

Considering the guy who does it is an obvious asshole who must be known as an asshole among those who encounter him, I think it's that he doesn't want to face that it's a response to his own assholishness.

He started it when I responded to his assholish racist joke about Roma People by turning it around on in a positive way.   Here's his joke, told to someone who proposed Florida as a site for a Jewish homeland made by
"R.McGeddon," one of his fellow wits at Eschaton.

Steve Simels:
R. McGeddon, futilitarian  My solution has always been to move Israel to Florida. 
And while we're at it, the Gypsies need a homeland too.
I think there's an abandoned shopping mall in Jersey they could have.

You can read what I said at the link.

I wonder if someone in the Trump regime got the idea of turning a former Walmart into a baby concentration camp from his . . . um, joke.  I used to figure it was that, now it's obvious it's his deflection mechanism so he won't face the fact that first, foremost and always, he's an asshole and assholes evoke the kind of reaction that people give to assholes.

Duncan Black, being another asshole, has let him make that accusation on his for-profit blog for going on a decade.   I don't think he cares as long as those regulars don't use Ad Block so he can still make money out of it.

Another Follow Up

In the brief period after the fall of the Communist party in the late Soviet Union and its breakup, when the archives were opened up, we found out that one of the lies told by the American Communists was that they weren't being funded by the Soviet government.   There were payments, notably to the long-time head of the Communist Party, someone idiotically promoted as some kind of hero by the play-left, Gus Hall.  I was stupid enough to "out of principle" sign a petition to have his name put on the ballot once or twice.  If I'd known he was a paid foreign agent I think that fact would have overcome any flaky principle of that kind.  Generalized "principles" that divorced from reality might count as the original sin of the play-left.  I am against allowing fascists, red or otherwise, of being given any chance, however remote, of reproducing the murderous oppression here that their history consists of elsewhere.

It's telling that the neo-Soviet mafia led by Putin isn't putting their money behind the would-be Marxists now, probably because the fascists and Nazis are more in line with the interests of the crime bosses and now that they've given up any pretense of socialism, Republican-fascists, the servants of the American domestic billionaires have no hesitation to make common cause with them.  Another reason is certainly the history of the "real left" which is a uniform story of sleazy, incompetent con-men conning everyone from their fellow sleazes (so many of who preceded the Russians to support the fascists here during the Soviet period) to the most idiotic of idealists who either had or got suckered into being a "real lefty" because of things like materialism and buying the phony history that became the common currency in secularist circles. 

I've never denied one thing, that Putin is smarter than the old-line Soviets were.  He's certainly not going to back a Democratic Party that favors egalitarian democracy and, worse from the mafioso point of view, economic justice and he's certainly not going to continue putting good money after bad in supporting the American play-left except to act as a foil to the fascists and Nazis he really backs.

On The Incompetent Idiocy of the "Real Left" - An answer

Anyone on the alleged left who would not have traded any of the congresses of the past fifty years for the one that was in office in the summer of 1965 when they passed Medicare, Medicaid and the Voting Rights Acts into law is a fool.  I doubt that there were many members of that congress who would pass a lefty litmus test of acceptability today, even if they hadn't gotten lied and pressured into supporting the war into Vietnam by the generals and the media.  If the anti-war movement had followed the same principles that pressured the congress into adopting those revolutionary acts instead of getting hijacked by the immature play left play-revolutionaries, it would probably have ended a lot sooner.

It wasn't until after I went on line and had a year or two to observe the unedited, unfiltered thinking of lots of lefties of my age cohort and younger that I realized our self-told, self-created PR about ourselves was as much a load of crap as all PR is.  The left is as full of jerks and idiots and assholes as the right, it's just that their jerks, idiots and assholes have the backing of domestic, and now foreign,  billionaires and the media to enhance their power.  That ability to lie themselves into power in the media was handed to them by a bunch of jerks on the alleged left out of "principle".

The history of the American left is a pathetic tale of repeated suckering by self-appointed "real lefts" with a few periods of progress, generally when the "real left" was pushed aside out of necessity.  I wonder if one of the reasons for the success of the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and early 60s was due to the temporary suppression of the Marxists who had their hands too full to screw it up.  Maybe it was in 1956 when Khrushchev as the official head of communism told all of them that a lot of what they'd been assured were anti-Stalinist lies had been true all along.  Who knows?  At any rate, it was the largely religious civil rights movement that got those laws passed, not those dear old commies.  Their only role in the struggle for things such as Medicare and the ACA have been as useful foils for the opponents of them, going back to when the American Medical Association, the doctors cartel, hired Ronald Reagan to call universal healthcare a commie plot.  And, guess what, kids, that worked.

In the time I've been online I've seen a lot of idiocy of the kind I saw in the late 1960s and read about in earlier decades,  The secular, college educated left doesn't seem to be prone to learn from mistakes or even admit to them.  In other words, it is not all that different from any other degree of the non-pathological political scale.  And it has its own weakness for the depraved left that the conservatives have for the depraved right.  As I said, the only difference in the whole thing is who gets funded and who gets on TV and the radio and the left, other than the embarrassing, discrediting part of it, was pretty much disappeared from those by intent.   You could always get some idiot like Ward Churchill or . . . well, name them, who would mouth off to their piddling minute of fame and the wider discrediting of the entire left.  Last week, I noticed on a blog deputed to be on the left, where the geezers were gassing on about the injustices done to Ward Churchill, I didn't bother reading why.  No doubt they posed appropriately when Trumbo (the movie)  was briefly in focus before their attention was drawn to the next thing presented by the media.

If, as expected, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is elected to congress, I predict that even with all her skills and intelligence she will be the focus of the fascists in their attacks on all Democrats.   She will also come under attack from factions of the left because she won't be able to single-handedly do anything and, like all politicians, she will have to determine what can be done and what can't, which is as important a consideration in real politics as what you'd like to see done.  That is something the play-left-"real left" will never learn because they never seem to learn a thing.  She won't be "moving right" she'll have faced the reality that her district isn't characteristic of the entire country.  I remember the flack that one of my greatest heroes of the left took in that regard,  Shirley Chisholm.  If she hasn't read her yet, I would recommend that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez read Shirley Chisholm's books and speeches.  She'll get a lot more out of that than anything I've read at the Democratic Socialists of America website.

Update:  Look at how today's current, ephemeral, right-wing conman, Jordan Peterson is using the "Marxism" label as a button to push with his cult, today when all of the formerly Marxist communist parties are pretty much giving up any pretense of socialism in favor of mafia-state capitalism, when anyone who is holding a candle for dear old Marx and Engels (who weren't all that dear, when you look at them closely) is committing an act of supremely anachronistic romanticism.   Marxism had its real-life test of time and that's what it produced, terror-mafia state capitalism followed by oligarchic mafia state capitalism that stopped pretending to be socialistic and never have had any intention of egalitarian democracy and the just rule of law.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Reading Out From Injustice And Into Justice

It's one of their great contributions to reading that theologians have developed is the understanding of the relationship of readers to texts.   The theologians I read aren't only aware of the fact that we can't read a text as if we were some imaginary objective source who will see what the text says in some imaginary objective purity (one of the more obvious superstitions of modernism and scientism)* but that we all come to texts with various predispositions and even methodologies.  The frameworks through which we read texts is called  "hermeneutics" and the study of that practice are called the same thing.  And, furthermore, that every reading of every text, every understanding of it becomes more secure instead of less only when we admit to and take into account our heremeneutical process as we read them.

Several modern hermeneutical methods are especially convincing, various liberation theologies, feminist theologies I find to be entirely more convincing than the old patriarchal reading of the Scriptures and the history of those readings, afterward.  I think The Bible is so varied, over many authors over many different centuries, so complex in the points of view present in the scriptures, not to mention their interpreters, but most of all so valuable for the insights into life and to promote moral behavior and justice that you should expect you'd need more than one method of understanding it.   One of the disasters of the history of Christian churches is their claim that one of those can be a kind of royal road to enlightenment - I think that was done mostly out of a desire to have uniformity within any specific church and within their realm of influence.  A lot of it was done primarily to ensure uniformity in line with the wishes of the secular rulers within that realm of influence.  That happened from the time of the early Church councils called by various emperors through till the point where governments stopped maintaining state religions but was only secure in even the secular sphere when the governments stopped butting into such matters.

Right now the heremeneutical method I find most interesting is the feminist one, a good example of which was given in this talk by Elizabeth A. Johnson.  I can't see any point in her reasoning to be wrong and I think all of her points are more than amply justified.  It's one of the more unfortunate aspects of the enforced secularism of the would-be left that so many people are entirely unaware of the current attempts to get control of such important and powerful texts, wresting them out of the hands of those who use them to promote inequality and injustice.  When they are read in a way that is a. justified by reason and the nature of the texts, b. motivated by equality and justice, c. honest, they do a lot more to advocate for justice and equality than any secular document that will be written from a materialistic or scientific framework.  Equality and justice are the products of the intentional will of God, you won't find them in looking at atoms and molecules or while pretending you're doing science while looking at behaviors and making up just-so stories about the lost and unknowable past.   You aren't going to find them by accepting the Constitution as written by slaveholders and crooks under any fraudulent hermeneutic of pretending those are anything but guaranteed to produce the inequality and injustice characteristic of the United States before Abraham Lincoln's presidency.

*  Physics in the 20th century found it was inevitable that the observer's point of view would have everything to do with the act of observation and the conclusions come to about what was being observed, though that seems to be something that even a lot of physicists who certainly are aware of that don't practice in their pontifications.  Even the rare biologist admits that, though it's rarest of all, in my experience, in the very areas called science that should start out with that realization.

I'll Break A Resolution For A Good Reason - The Never-ending Need To Refute The Post-War Darwin Cult

The claim that what is called in some legal systems first degree murder, the intentional killing of human beings by other human beings for specific motives isn't presented by Darwin and by most if not virtually all of conventionally accepted scientists in the pre-Nazi era as an aspect of natural selection, producing benefits for the killers, is absolutely false.   That can be seen all through The Descent of Man, for example, if you look at all of the times he included the intentional murder of infants as having an effect he considered beneficial for the survivors, especially as a group.  Here's just one of the early examples in the book, in the manner that Darwin typically makes such claims, tucked into what seems number of less depraved claims.

Some savage races, such as the Australians, are not exposed to more diversified conditions than are many species which have a wide range. In another and much more important respect, man differs widely from any strictly domesticated animal; for his breeding has never long been controlled, either by methodical or unconscious selection. No race or body of men has been so completely subjugated by other men, as that certain individuals should be preserved, and thus unconsciously selected, from somehow excelling in utility to their masters. Nor have certain male and female individuals been intentionally picked out and matched, except in the well-known case of the Prussian grenadiers; and in this case man obeyed, as might have been expected, the law of methodical selection; for it is asserted that many tall men were reared in the villages inhabited by the grenadiers and their tall wives. In Sparta, also, a form of selection was followed, for it was enacted that all children should be examined shortly after birth; the well-formed and vigorous being preserved, the others left to perish.  .

The Descent of Man:

That certainly fits exactly in with what he presented as much of his primary evidence of natural selection taken from the commercial husbandry of farm animals and other domesticated animals.  The distinction he makes between the two is fraught with double-speak and logical disconnects.   For a city person who is unfamiliar with how that always, inevitably works, the agricultural breeding of animals is intrinsically the selection for animals to be killed, early, before they produce offspring and choosing which ones you will keep for breeding.  Choosing animals to be killed is an inevitable part of the animal husbandry which Darwin made the model of natural selection when it suited him and claimed differences when those suited him.

And Charles Darwin, having grown up in the country, being a  sharp observer of animal husbandry, as is seen in On the Origin of Species, would have known that even those animals chosen to breed only rarely got to live to die of natural causes, they would be chosen to be slaughtered when their economic utility was considered to be over.

He introduced that into the biological science in ideas which very rapidly came to dominate science and almost immediately, within the very weeks and months after Origin of Species was first published, excited the imagination of scientists but also politicians, lawyers, sociologists, etc. in trying to figure out ways of improving the "human stock" through an application of Darwinian principles.  Those ideas they came up with, as I proved even in the socialist mind of Karl Pearson, are indistinguishable from the same ideas that the Nazis came up with to do things such as drowning the new born infants born in Auschwitz while keeping their mothers alive to be used as slave labor.

If you want to read about that, you should read the primary material available about Stanisława Leszczyńska  the Polish midwife who refused orders to drown them, risking her life in what she knew was a futile act of conscience that wouldn't keep them alive.  Though I will warn you that a lot of what is online, including the Wikipedia page on her, seems to be the subject of embroidering and what I think is likely ideological tampering.   I never trust an online source which has been demonstrated to have been tampered with by ideological groups, including neo-Nazis.

How the Nazis thought of their murdering of newborn infants - drowning them where their mothers could hear their burbling cries -  differed from the infanticide Darwin endorsed as producing alleged Spartan superiority or a breeder in a commercial operation is nugatory.  I will point out that in support of his claims about the benefits of murdering babies, Darwin cited the father of German Darwinism, probably his follower who Darwin praised most highly, Ernst Haeckel who, in the very book Darwin gave his highest praise, advocated the murder of babies, using the exact same claim about its crucial relationship to Spartan superiority.  We also know that Hitler believed a lot of the same thing about the Spartans as he marveled at how a small class of Spartans lorded it over their slaves, the Helots.  No doubt he was aware of the annual slaughter of Helots by the Spartans as part of their means of controlling them.

Charles Darwin repeatedly, specifically and in no uncertain terms included human beings killing other human beings, who he denominated as inferior as a part of natural selection and that that killing produced and proved "superiority".    I think it is likely that he only considered it artificial selection if it was humans breeding other animals.  Why he didn't consider that as the same thing as animals killing other animals, I don't know.  Darwinism is full of double-speak and logical incoherence.  Probably that some of them were kept alive and that all of it it was with the intended purpose of economic efficiency and utility or maybe it was because it was an activity engaged in by his fellow aristocrats and what he, no doubt, saw as the superior class of English yeomen lucky enough to have a bit of land under the abysmal and totally artificial English legal system, the real force in producing the inequality that Darwin attributed to biology.

Darwinian selection differs not in the slightest from the selections that were made when the cattle cars were opened at Auschwitz.  Look at that paragraph quoted above to see how he fits intentional murder into his scheme of natural selection and what he terms artificial selection in animal breeding.  I think I might go so far as to say that Nazi eugenics was first written in Victorian English by an elegant English aristocratic scientist.