Saturday, October 13, 2018

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Paul Bae - The Big Loop

The Big Loop is an anthology of recent audio dramas written by Paul Bae.  I just came across it yesterday and I've listened to a couple of them, more short stories in the form of monodramas with audio effects.  And they have the transcripts.  I don't usually recommend a series of unrelated pieces on the basis of two but those two are pretty good and disturbing.  The Promise and Goodbye Mr. Adams, they are intense and transgress a lot of conventions.  Mr. Adams, especially is bound to be seen as transgressive, a sort of gay anti-superhero who I think any gay kid who has been beaten up or terrorized will like.  I'll be listening to the rest of them and am sure there will be a lot in them that makes me feel uneasy.   I think good fiction should make you feel uneasy, make you question why what you like about it makes you like it and if that's right.  

The Quality of Harshness: Kavanaugh And His Self-Serving Double Standard On The Age Of A Criminal Accusation

The idiocy that "justice" is and should be impartial instead of always in service of the right of people to cast a free and informed vote is poison to legitimate government and is, itself, illegitimate.  The result always has to be egalitarian and that the arc of justice which doesn't bend in the direction of equality, good will and a decent life for all is bent in the wrong direction   Our justices are bent in that wrong direction, certainly five of them and I would keep a close eye on the other four, at times.

I thought I would start where I left off the other day because, Brett Kavanaugh has already had the effect of bending the arc farther in the wrong direction, even worse in this instance than Neil Gorsuch:

A Supreme Court argument on Wednesday over the detention of immigrants during deportation proceedings seemed to expose a divide between President Trump’s two appointees, Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh.

The question in the case was whether the federal authorities must detain immigrants who had committed crimes, often minor ones, no matter how long ago they were released from criminal custody. Justice Kavanaugh said a 1996 federal law required detention even years later, without an opportunity for a bail hearing.

“What was really going through Congress’s mind in 1996 was harshness on this topic,” he said.

But Justice Gorsuch suggested that mandatory detentions of immigrants long after they completed their sentences could be problematic. “Is there any limit on the government’s power?” he asked.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer pressed the point, asking a lawyer for the federal government whether it could detain “a person 50 years later, who is on his death bed, after stealing some bus transfers” without a bail hearing “even though in this country a triple ax murderer is given a bail hearing.”

The report in the Times notes that Gorsuch, in what I assume will be a rare departure from Republican-fascist jurisprudence sided with the four "liberals" on the court instead of the four who thought as Kavanaugh will on such matters.  It took Breyer some doing to get the Trump lawyer to answer the question and if Gorsuch hadn't intervened to say that Breyers' question was also his question, I'll bet he wouldn't have.

“Mr. Tripp, we’re quibbling,” Justice Gorsuch said. “Justice Breyer’s question is my question, and I really wish you’d answer it.”

Mr. Tripp eventually responded, “This applies regardless of time.” He added that Congress had intended that harsh result.

Brett Kavanaugh wasn't hesitant to say that Breyer's theoretical about someone who had stolen bus transfers a half a century ago should be given the maximum possible interpretation of the statute, no matter what the crime was or how old it was.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, concluded that the law requires mandatory detention only if the federal authorities take immigrants into custody soon after they are released.

“Because Congress’s use of the word ‘when’ conveys immediacy,” Jacqueline H. Nguyen wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel, “we conclude that the immigration detention must occur promptly upon the aliens’ release from criminal custody.”

Justice Kavanaugh disagreed, saying the 1996 law put no time limits on the detentions it required.

“That raises a real question for me whether we should be superimposing a time limit into the statute when Congress, at least as I read it, did not itself do so,” he said.

Justice Breyer said the solution was to allow immigrants detained long after release from criminal custody to have bail hearings. He said those would allow immigrants who were not dangerous and who posed no flight risk to return to their communities. “The baddies will be in jail,” he said, “and the ones who are no risk won’t be.”

Justice Kavanaugh disagreed. “The problem is that Congress did not trust those hearings,” he said. “Congress was concerned that those hearings were not working in the way that Congress wanted and, therefore, for a certain class of criminal or terrorist aliens said, ‘No more.’”

I am no lawyer but I seem to remember less than two weeks ago the question of the age of a  criminal complaint and whether or not it should impinge on, not criminal penalties but in a job interview came up and Kavanaugh and his supporters thought that the age of the crime should lead to even refusing to really look into it.  I fail to see how this isn't him taking advantage, for himself, of a position which he is now, on the Supreme Court he is ready to impose the opposite on untold numbers of people, certainly most of whom where not born with a silver spoon or who have had credible claims of sexual assault and attempted rape made against them. 

No doubt, in the unlikely event that the authorities in Maryland prosecute him, Kavanaugh will insist that the age of the crime matters entirely in whether or not he is held to account for them. 

The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew, 
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.

But Portia never met the Republicans on the Supreme Court or in the Senate. 

Portia, I need to point out, never went to Yale Law School.  She wasn't steeped in the legal tradition built up under Justices under the American Constitution, she never worked as a Republican operative, she never rose under the American system of privilege in which such mercy is rained on the elite that Kavanaugh is part of and which he serves.  Kavanaugh might have had to read The Merchant of Venice when he went to Georgetown Prep, he might have seen a production of it somewhere, but you need to invert just about everything in that famous speech to get to where the United States Supreme Court is and has been most of its existence.  Not that the British English law which the author was, certainly deeply steeped in was any better.  Judges and certainly "Justices" have never had much of a problem of making a mockery of that part of the law.   "In the course of justice, none of us should see salvation: we do pray for mercy."  Mercy is not what the Kavanaughs are about, I'll bet it's rarely what Gorsuch is about.  It certainly wasn't what he was about in the famous case in which he said a company could fire a trucker whose only choices were disobeying orders from a dispatcher or freezing to death.  Maybe he's had a change of heart upon his elevation?  I've seen it happen.  Exactly once.  If he has, he'll be the one the Republicans say "never again" over, not Souter. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Mark Blyth - Why People Vote for Those Who Work Against Their Best Interests

I had never listened to or read the anti-austerity scholar Mark Blyth before yesterday, he has a lot to say that is interesting.  It's important to understand that it's not all a matter of people being suckered by FOX and Sinclair and Breitbart, a lot of the problem is the failure of the supposed alternative. 

His passage about the analysis of the locations mentioned in the stolen John Podesta e-mails, in which Martha's Vinyard is the most often mentioned location, followed by the Hamptons,  New York City, San Francisco, LA and DC as an indication about where and which people such people as Podesta really think about is a good nutshell presentation of why our political system has failed the large majority of the American People. 

His beginning point, that the title Why People Vote for Those Who Work Against Their Best Interests being a title chosen for him but which he rejected as condescending and typically presumptuous by those of us who figure we can determine better than "People" what their best interest is is worth taking seriously even as I don't think it's entirely wrong.  The problem isn't that they would be better served by better policies, it's that since the 1970s even the presented alternative has bought into the system that screws them.   I have found it ridiculous for, for example, a bunch of affluent blog rats on allegedly lefty blogs gassing on about stupid people who don't know what's good for them to stink a bit too much of the Fabian archives and, at the very least, is exactly the kind of thing that keeps people from voting for people who such blog rats favor.  You don't have to know a lot to tell the difference from people who pay you at least the compliment of trying to openly gull you and people who totally dismiss you with conceited, condescending disdain and derision.   At least the hucksters and cheats are paying them the compliment of trying to gull them.   I think a lot of the problem is based on exactly that kind of thing, not unrelated to the problem exposed by the John  Podesta e-mails.   Podesta should be retired from Democratic campaigns of the future, I'd have said that on the basis of his brother's business and his record if I'd never heard about his obsession for places like The Vinyard and the Hamptoms. 

I had a call to take care of a sick family member this morning so I haven't been able to write a full post.  I might be able to write one later.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Just Because He's Nuts Doesn't Mean He's Not A Scumbag

Kanye West is a reminder that even someone who is seriously mentally ill can also be a flaming asshole.  I didn't know much about him until this year, I'm not surprised to find out he was a faculty brat.  To hell with him, there are poor people with mental illness who no one feels sorry for.  I wonder if he heard some nonsense about the 13th amendment from idiot radicals in his childhood and that's what he's regurgitating in his manic phases.  He should be ignored, though he won't be. 

Stupid Mail - What Do You Get From A Glut Of TV?

Image result for mike teavee

Rule # 1 to remember if you want to follow the war between Simps and myself is that Simps is incapable of understanding anything more nuanced than the simplest black-white, heads-tails, moderately complicated - "but that's haaaarrrrrrd!" relationships.  That last one, by the way, accounts for why he has never gotten the point of anything I've written.  My discussion with the politician in question (who is one of my oldest and closest friends) wasn't merely about "television" it was more nuanced than that and more complex than that.

Rule #2 to remember is that for about the past six or more years there are about three adults who go to Eschaton and they only go there to slum.  The rest of them think like 12-year-olds.  And I don't mean mature 12-year-olds, more like Mike Teavee.   If you want an example, read a week of Duncan's posts.  Go ahead, read them.  It's a sure bet most of his devoted regulars haven't.  That's too haaaarrrrrrd!  As to them reading what I said,  they could just not bear to look.

Update:  Two Comments

"American democracy has been killed by TV, by Hollywood"

Absolutely. Trump got elected because of MURPHY BROWN and Spike Lee's BLACKkKLANSMAN.

  1. Murphy Brown, you mean the original? Or do you mean the re-boot? I have to ask because, as you have demonstrated so often that you don't really get how time works, that some things come before others and that the things that come after didn't cause the things that came before, I have to point out that both the M.B. reboot and Blackklanssman CAME AFTER TRUMP WAS MADE PRESIDENT.

    Geeessshh! Simps, you are so stupid.

Update 2: Two More Comments

 steve simelsOctober 11, 2018 at 7:50 PM
" I have to point out that both the M.B. reboot and Blackklanssman CAME AFTER TRUMP WAS MADE PRESIDENT."

Which changes your idiotic point exactly how?

 The Thought CriminalOctober 11, 2018 at 7:59 PM
When I invited you to prove my point that you are a total idiot the other day, I didn't expect you to do it so floridly.

There's Nothing Hard About This: When People Are Swayed By Propaganda They See On TV THAT Is Where It Comes From

I have been volunteering for a campaign for a Democratic candidate to a state office, a couple of weeks ago, as I might have mentioned, he told me that going door to door, knocking on doors and talking to his prospective constituents he can always tell if someone watched FOX "news" almost as soon as they start talking.  That their obsessions are identical, that they use the same language to talk about them, that their anger and fear is identical.  He said that crosses party affiliations, that, especially elderly people will start by saying,  "I'm a Democrat but . . " and begin spouting the FOXspeak lines that Republicans will spout.

When I listened to that interview with Marilynne Robinson yesterday, this passage jumped out at me as particularly interesting.   I will give my transcription of the passage then I'll comment on it.

Nam Kiwanuka:  I'd like to read a part of a part of an essay you wrote for this book and it's from an essay that you gave last year at a lecture at Trinity Cathedral in Little Rock and you write:

"My mother lived to be ninety-two . . . She was a sharp-minded woman, aware of her intelligence to the end of her life.  She was complicated, and my relationship with her was never easy, but it was interesting, which was probably better for me, all in all.  With a little difficulty we finally reached an accommodation, an adult friendship.  Then she started watching Fox News. "

So pick up where that sentence ends,  She started watching Fox News, and that means what for you?

Marilynne Robinson:  Simply that she adopted a great many attitudes and fears, anxieties of various kinds, even resentments that came to her through media and had no basis in her life experience.  You know?   And I find this is something that has occurred in lots of families in the United States.  That there's a genius of polarization at work that can make people identify very passionately with attitudes that they could not really justify . . . I think that there's a kind of a hobby of fear, a sort of fear fad that makes people who are as historically secure as human beings ever are, feel as if they, nevertheless, have to be ready to defend themselves in extreme situations and so on.  It's very irrational, very unattractive, very undignified 

Nam Kiwanuka: I find that interesting, a hobby of fear.  And, so, is that being presented to us by corporations or within our own circles?

Marilynne Robinson:  I would like to know.  I would not have thought that it could assume the importance that it has assumed.  There are the sort of house-bound elderly, there are . . .  I'm afraid, especially vulnerable to this.  And then there are also men with paramilitary fantasies.  And these two populations being of one mind, I think,  is quite extraordinary.   But, there it is.  I'm surprised by it.  I would have to do a lot of reasoning to do a lot of exploring to be able to reason back to its sources.  

While I have the highest respect for Marilynne Robinson and that passage contains some impressive insights, she doesn't have to go through a lot of thinking to get back to its source, she gave the source of it in the passage from her essay.  It comes from FOX, it comes from an American cabloid 24-7-365 propaganda source that does what the Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda could only dream of being able to do, what George Orwell imagined would be done in his most famous novel and the results are not far off from what Orwell imagined.

I used to hold that Aldous Huxley got the future under modernism and mass media more right than Orwell but the past two decades made me realize that Huxley only got it right for the college credentialed side who I dealt with far too much.  Orwell had his finger on the real future which we are living right now.

That college credentialed group who dutifully took in the nice, liberalish view of the noble profession of journalism and the lie of that the media that people absorb for more hours a day than they attend school or church was of no possible harm have had more of a hand than almost any other group in leaving those who are vulnerable to the kind of manipulation that Rupert Murdoch and his thugs have practiced with far more success than the entire history of the liberalish-leftish media.  The leftish, liberalish media with their pathetic little low-circulation magazines, their even more impotent journals and the ridiculously inadequate Pacifica-podcast electronic version of it.  Even when you add in the liberal ghetto hours on MSNBC the result in real life is unimpressive in the extreme.  I listen to Majority Report which is good, for the most part, then Jamie Peck and even the more jargon resistant Michael Brooks and Sam Seder go off into the absurd cul de sac of no-destiny lefty history and ideological futility.

FOX is successful because, having no intention of being true but being ideologically useful to its billionaire owners and patrons, it has no need to have a  basis in life experience or fact or anything any more real than a movie or even science fiction.  It is a pure manipulation of peoples' worst parts, their weakest, least reasonable, least rational, least generous and trusting, their most paranoid and envious and selfish, resentful sides.  That is exactly how most American entertainment and all of American advertising (as if those are different) does what it does.  It is exactly how the Nazis, the Stalinists, and Maoists did what they did.  And a big part of that is ginning up the kind of fear of others within your group to create a pack mentality in which they will target others outside that group.

This is exactly the thing that has gotten what I write the most mockery because it goes against the common received wisdom of the nice, polite, college credentialed, liberalish American of the post-war period, something about which no amount of obvious evidence in "life experience" seems to be able to shatter, not even the most obvious manifestation of Orwellian nightmare manifesting itself right before our very eyes and in that all too real life experience.  The very same politician whose campaign I'm working on, when I had a discussion of this in depth, looked at me and said,  "I don't care, I like to watch fiction" which is the most discouraging sentence anyone has said to me all year.

American democracy has been killed by TV, by Hollywood,  the things which take up the most hours of the minds of Americans and which have replaced reading and school and church - religion in America being, itself, far too much "as seen on TV".   I don't think it's looking good that we are going to have the maturity or strength of character or even the moral sense to understand that if you allow the likes of Rupert Murdoch to own TV stations and other media, they will succeed in doing what the advertising industry has done.  The hire experts in telling them how to lie effectively, they do some of the most rigorous social science that is done to tell them how they might lie more succesfully, they study the results to see what worked in real life and what hasn't and they have honed their methods of how to lie with maximum success.  There's nothing hard or secret about that.  What is hard is overcoming the lies told by the civil liberties industry that prevents us from admitting what's right there before our own eyes.

I think if there is an aftermath in which democracy is salvaged, one of the hardest lessons will be that the legal theories that permitted FOX and hate-talk radio and other media to propagandize us into fascism cannot be allowed because it is successful in destroying democracy.  Democracy has no obligation to allow those bent on destroying it free reign to lie people out of democracy and into facism.  The free speech dogma that denies that democracy has a moral responsibility to suppress what destroys it is one of the most fascist friendly frauds sold under a false front.  The dangers inherent in suppressing anti-democratic, fascist lies are dangers we have to face because not facing them has produced what we have now.  We are the ones who should decide how best to avoid them, refusing to do that is total abdication of responsibility.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Hate Mail - But We Can't Be Bored

I have no interest in getting drawn into a discussion of the boring, nihilism of VU.  That an allegedly lefty blog apparently was only reinforces what a waste of time it is.  You'd think the various dissipated lives and deaths of its members would make smart people realize that isn't unrelated to their music and their nihilism.  And those around its mentor, Andy Whorewol.  Nihilism is the opposite of liberalism, it's more like Kavanaugh's beery boy pack only with drugs instead of beer and pointless pop music instead of sports and no prospects or ambitions. Now they don't even have to go out of their computer chair, it's all Lord of the blog flies

When I was exposed to disco, it didn't take me but a few seconds to know I'd hate it because I'd heard VU.   You should learn from mistakes, not repeat them, certainly not drool on nostalgically about them in your senectitude.

Update:  Velvet Underground, pretentious tripe.

Update 2:  I said I had no interest.  No interest means none.  And I won't get drawn into a discussion of the boring nihilism of VU.

The Lying, Duplicitous Fraud, Susan Collins Is To Blame For The Boycotts, Blame Her

Just on the off hand chance that Susan Collins or one of her staff might have looked here to wonder if people are already forgetting her lies and exposure as having been a life-long fraud by voting to put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, they won't lack for reminders as long as I'm alive, Sue. 

Some here in Maine are dismayed because there are those who are calling for and enforcing a boycott of my state over our having Susan Collins, one of the most cowardly attackers against Christine Blasey Ford (who, on last reading and unlike her attempted rapist, Kavanaugh, can't return home in safety) who called her a liar and deluded while hiding that behind less obvious words. 

Well, my thinking on boycotts is that people have a right to spend their money and vacation time where they choose to and it's pretty pointless to tell them that they can't choose not to spend those here because Susan Collins has defined Maine as the kind of state that has someone like her as a Senator.  It's unfortunate that that targets not only the entirely innocent but those who despise Collins and have never voted for her such as myself, as well as those who support her.  If you want an example of that kind of thing, L.L. Bean has supported as bad as Collins despite their protestations to the contrary. 

The matter of boycotts hurting the innocent is as true in a boycott of Arizona when they opposed observing Martin Luther King's Birthday or South Carolina when (despite them keeping the little fascist faggot Lindsay Graham in the Senate) they oppose marriage equality or, the boycotting of the buses in Montgomery Alabama or people opposed to Stalinism staying away from movies made by or written by supporters of Stalin or those who stay away from anything to do with Rupert Murdoch.   I don't see how you can support the right of people on the left to boycott if you complain about it when you don't like the result.  That is when the reason they are boycotting is based on a true understanding of the situation and not on lies.  Which, unfortunately, can happen.

If Maine companies and businesses want to, they are entirely free to declare themselves opponents of Susan Collins and donate money to those who want to remove her from office and to send her into a retirement that will be ever more ignominious as her boy Brett takes a sledge hammer to Women's rights, to equality and rights and the environment for the billionaire boys club that he and Susan Collins are most devoted to.   Of course, as my experience over the past several days shows, even if you've spent your entire time online telling what a phony and creep Susan Collins is, some lying idiot like "JeffCo" at Eschaton will accuse you of supporting her because Eschaton is the home of that kind of lying.  But I anticipate a post I haven't finished yet.   In the case of Susan Collins, she's the one who provoked the boycott with her lying and deceit and betrayal of those whose support she got by lying and deceit.  Blame her, not the ones who are reacting to it in anger. 

Christianity, Liberalism, and America - With Commentary

Nam Kiwanuka talks to celebrated novelist and essayist Marilynne Robinson about her latest collection of essays, "What Are We Doing Here?" On the agenda: America's political polarization, the Christian right's embrace of Donald Trump, and whether Christianity has a place on the left.

I have come to the firm belief that in the United States the only prospect there is for the continuation of what traditionally has been liberalism in America is the propagation of The Law, the Prophets, the Gospel and the Epistles that are the basis of Christianity among the American people.  That is, of course, and as is touched on in the discussion, not the same thing as what is generally called "Christianity" especially by the secular media who have a stake in the discrediting of genuine Christianity as they do discrediting the American liberal tradition because American media serves Mammon.  That is as true of the "liberal" media that Marilynne Robinson says is kind to her,  The New York Times, The Nation, because of their various financial and ideological inclinations.  Among other things forced by the manifestation over the past several decades of  political-supposedly religious life in America it is my conclusion that the quietism of American liberal Christianity  Marilynne Robinson mentions, the delicate, polite reluctance to condemn the pseudo-Christianity of "evangelical" Christianity* which is in total and complete opposition to The Gospel of Jesus, the Epistles, is heretical and must be fought, has been a big part of the problem.  I think one of the biggest things we need right now is for Christian liberals to attack that heresy with all their might.  If they don't stand for that, they will not only suffer the decline we're always told those churches are in, they'll have made it inevitable.

It was reading larger numbers of atheists online, their thinking, their claims, and thinking about the logical and practical results of what they said that convinced me that atheism is inevitably, to one extent or another, materialistic, and materialism is inevitably opposed to that traditional American form of liberalism, out of which the concept of the commonwealth, the abolition of slavery, the rights of Women and workers and minorities and, yes, everything up to and including LGBT rights comes.

I mentioned in a comment the other day a discussion I'd had with an atheist who brought up the great and all consuming "Question of Evil" why bad things happen to the innocent, why there is suffering, why the evil prosper, etc. if there is a God who is good.  I've got no more of an answer for that than the one that is given in the Book of Job, no one does.  But the answer to an atheist raising it is more basic, how does an atheist find a basis for defining something, including the suffering of innocents, why the depraved and cruel prosper as being evil out of the basis of their materialism and atheism and there isn't even as much of an answer to that as the person who wrote Job down had for the Question of Evil.  Atheism as a means of even defining something as being wrong and why people should not do evil if it benefits them or even if they feel like doing something evil shouldn't do it if they figure they can get away with it.

American style liberalism, the commonwealth, the rights of people to, as Abraham Lincoln so perfectly put it, the "natural right to eat the bread she earns with her own hands without asking leave of any one else" to the common concern for children, the impoverished elderly, members of minority groups "the orphan, the widow, the stranger among you,"  depends absolutely on a full and actual and effective belief that those things are commanded by God or The Creator, if you want to put it in the 18th century fashion that Jefferson and his drafting committee came up with as excuses for why they were leaving Britain.  In the United States, that articulation will be Christian or it will not happen.  Elsewhere it might be found in Judaism or Islam or some forms of Hinduism or other religious articulations of human experience and tradition but it is going to have to be founded outside of human consciousness because, minus that component, it can't be found there in any durable and reliable form sufficient to produce egalitarian democracy.  As I have pointed out, that conclusion was long in developing for me but I can name the incident which started the crystallization process, it was when I read a barroom style atheist on Eschaton claim that "science has proved that free will doesn't exist".  So, if someone wants to know what to blame my development of this theme on, it was an atheist who started it.

*  There are liberal Evangelicals who are as liberal as any other Christians, some of whom put some of those officially called "liberals" to shame in their work of liberalism.  Such Evangelicals are never mentioned in the Mammonist media, the last thing they want to do is call attention to such liberal Evangelicals who might attract those Evangelicals who find the official, media promoted version of "Evangelicals" morally wanting.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Democracy Has Had To Be Carved Out Of The Oppression Of The Original Constitution

Image result for michelangelo unfinished sculpture

As I've upset some people by saying, the presence of the so-called liberals on the Supreme Court at the swearing in of Brett Kavanaugh is their endorsement of putting a known perjurer, a judge who has lied under oath on multiple occasions on the court.   For anyone looking for that crisis of credibility for the Court we were all warned of, that's it in full view.  And I'm not the only one who was disgusted at that and, even worse, all eight of the other members of the Court showing up at Trump's phony pantomime swearing in of the perjurer and sexual assaulter on the court.  For me, that means anything any of them say against the Democrats trying to save democracy and the vestiges of it from what the Court has been and will continue to do to destroy it, if they don't like it, they can go fly a brief.

As so often, Charles Pierce said it very well.  Here's the whole thing:

If there ever was a give-up moment in this whole sorry business of the American republic, it was that revolting puppet show at the White House Monday night, at which Justice Brett Kavanaugh was "sworn in" as part of the Republican effort in the 2018 midterm elections. It wasn't the new Justice himself, although he's still pretty revolting. It wasn't the half-mad ghoul "apologizing" to him, and declaring him "cleared" of the charges brought by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford—who still can't go home, by the way—although that was pretty revolting, too.

The Saturday end was the presence of the rest of the justices of the Supreme Court. (RBG, how could you?) Chief Justice John Roberts is often referred to as an "institutionalist," which in turn is often cited by people who now believe John Roberts—the man who's dedicated his life to demolishing the achievements of the civil rights movement—as the new "swing" vote on the Court. His presence at the puppet show blows that theory to smithereens.

Imagine what a strong image for judicial independence it would have been had Roberts and the other seven justices declined to attend. Given the self-evident fact that Kavanaugh is a safe one in the bag for the next 30 years, it would've been reassuring to note that the other eight justices still maintain a minimal self-respect in their jobs. This was just a terrible moment.

I am not hoping for that "image of judicial independence" to mask an actual reality of judicial independence, certainly not from the Federalist fascist Society or the American Enterprise Institute that has chosen so many of its members or from the billionaires and millionaires who staff those groups dedicated to making sure the Supreme Court is a ratfucking operation on behalf of their pet Republican Party.  I am expecting that all of the members of the court will express dislike for the necessary remedies whether that is diluting the fascists with Court members who aren't in the pocket of the Federalists and their patrons.  They certainly would be furious if a Democrats in the other two branches pointed out that there are nine of them, there are Five Hundred Thirty Eight plus whoever is involved in the Executive Branch and if the nine UNELECTED of them want to overturn the will of the ELECTED congress and executive THEN THEY SHOULD BE UNANIMOUS IN WHAT THEY'RE DOING.  It is absurd to assert that five unelected members of the court, all in the pocket of the billionaires, should be able to thwart Congresses such as those who adopted campaign fiance reforms in a desperate attempt to prevent crimes such as those Nixon committed against democracy.

Egalitarian democracy is the only legitimate form of government, government by the just consent of the governed.  There is egalitarian democracy and there is coercive or violent governance by gangsters, those are the only two categories of government.

Government under the 1787 Constitution was not legitimate even by the formulation of those Founders as given in their Declaration of Independence.  American history has, among other things, been one long struggle by people to insist on chiseling a democracy out of the stone of oppression that enslaves us, otherwise.

If the original Constitution, idolized, deified by conservatives and originalists had not been a web of anti-democratic oppression for so many, the United States would not have had the history that it has had.  That history is all the proof anyone needs to know that any "originalism" under any name is a call to reimpose inequality, oppression and slavery. 

The present Supreme Court is bent on reimposing that original oppression by, to the best of their abilities, destroying all of the progress wrung out of the established order by enormous struggle, untold numbers of lives, untold lives spent in struggling against oppression.  We have no moral obligation on the basis of the traditions surrounding the Supreme Court, almost none of them even based in the Constitution they will cite to oppress us, including that which says that they get to do things like overturn campaign fiance laws.  There is no number set for how many members of the court there will be, there is nothing in the Constitution that says that a holding by five unelected judges not agreed to by all nine should be able to overturn laws ambiguously asserted to be unconstitutional.  If they want to do something as destructive of democracy as their recent rulings, they should have to have unanimous agreement to do it.

Someone I was talking to this afternoon said,  "Well, if Democrats "pack the court" what's to keep Republicans from packing it even more when they can."  The answer to that is they already have packed the court, they held the number of Justices to eight for more than a year in order to pack it so their asserted devotion to the number nine is a clear and obvious lie.  They've already packed the Court and it's not the first time it's been packed.  After the display of support by even the liberal justices for the installation of Kavanaugh, I'd say the court is already packed against democracy, what do we have to lose?

I am under no illusions that whatever we come up with, lawyers and law professors and judges and - using the word now makes my gorge rise - "justices" will try to rig it in favor of the billionaires they so often work for and favor.  I'm not under any illusion that the same people who used the "free speech" language of the 50s and 60s porn magnate lawyers and ACLU to drive us ever farther into fascism won't set to work, immediately, to ratfuck any new things we devise to thwart them.  I think this is going to be a constant struggle, one which will have to force the conclusion that anything that thwarts democracy, whether it is the peddling of broadcast lies and libel or that violates what should be set into stone, one person, one vote, must effectively nullify any interpretation that has those effects.   The idiocy that "justice" is and should be impartial instead of always in service of the right of people to cast a free and informed vote is poison to legitimate government and is, itself, illegitimate.  The result always has to be egalitarian and that the arch of justice which doesn't bend in the direction of equality, good will and a decent life for all is bent in the wrong direction   Our justices are bent in that wrong direction, certainly five of them and I would keep a close eye on the other four, at times.

Michael Brooks Is Right, If By A Slim Chance Democrats Retake The Senate We Will Have To Prevent Them From Going Back To Their Cherished Traditions

Last week, after his great questioning of the lying scumbag, Brett Kavanaugh, I was dismayed to hear Senator Richard Durbin giving an interview in which he expressed his hope that if Democrats retake the Senate they could get back to 60 votes required to confirm a Supreme Court nominee and I was tearing my hair out.

No, Senator Durbin, the gentlemanly traditions and rules of the Senate you started out in aren't ever, ever coming back because your opponent's aren't gentlemen, they are ruthless fascists.  They broke the rules by acting as a uniform force who blocked Democratic appointments to the judiciary by plan in order to cite those traditions and rules when it suited them and to run through them when it suited them.  You're never going to get them to unlearn that behavior BECAUSE IT WORKED FOR THEM.

I respect you for your effective questioning of Brett Kavanaugh but even that proves the point.  You reasonably  called for a real FBI investigation.  And something called that happened, due only to those two heroic women who humiliated - temporarily - Jeff Flake into calling for a truncated FBI investigation.  And that would not have happened if Flake didn't know the Trump regime would have run that FBI investigation into the sham that it was.  His vaunted moment of conscience was nothing more than an attempt to get him and his fellow yes-votes, Susan Collins foremost among them, some cover for what they were always going to do anyway. 

Mitch McConnell got his fascist court by using the rules of the Senate and using them to break them, a big part of that was relying on the fussy scrupulosity of Democratic Senators who enjoyed the courtly traditions of that body.   He played you guys for complete and total suckers, taking full advantage of your hesitation to admit that the old rules and traditions only worked when the Republicans weren't fascists and did abide by those rules.   Face that fact, you are never going to undo what Mitch McConnell did in order to destroy anything like democracy.  That's where you should expend your concern and effort, in protecting democracy.  One of the things it always has needed to be protected from was the Senate that you belong to. The thing is an anti-democratic danger but it's entirely more so when Democrats allow themselves to get played for suckers by fascists.

Himpathy As The Trumpublican Election Strategy Is A Reward Given To An Entitled Sex Criminal

The family of Brett Kavanaugh had HIS bad behavior become national news because of Brett Kavanaugh's bad behavior.  But, of course, Donald Trump and Republicans, men and woman, are not admitting that, instead they are eliciting one of the benefits of male supremacy, the automatic assignment of sympathy to men who get caught doing bad things to women.

For Trump, the self professed, serial sexual assaulter of women to hold a phony "swearing in ceremony" for Kavanaugh in which he apologized to him for how the poor, powerless judge had to almost have to face his accusers in a process rigged so he'd never face any other consequences for what he did is one of the most revolting spectacles in the long list of revolting spectacles that have come from the Trump regime.

What they are doing is reinforcing the privilege given to white men who assault, rape, humiliate, degraded and use women and girls by ginning up sympathy for him when caught.   And one of the easiest ways for them to do that is to use their wives, daughters, mothers, etc. as cover for them being rewarded for exercising the sense of entitlement such men as Kavanaugh are brought up with.  That his family, his schools, his training in the law didn't expunge but, rather, and on his own testimony, give him an enhanced sense of entitlement including to be let off the hook if caught, shows that they deserve no sympathy.  Perhaps his daughters have a right to our sympathy, no one chooses their father or is responsible for their behavior before they were born, but their right is to our sympathy for having to face what Brett Kavanaugh has done and is because of him, not his accusers or those who point out that a perjuring sex criminal doesn't belong on the Supreme Court where he can inflict his will on women and girls.  We don't owe them any other sympathy than that their father is a creep.

No Himpathy For Kavanaugh 

That would make a good bumpersticker, maybe.  Trump doesn't get to extend my apology to him.  Trump's the last person in the world who gets to do that on behalf of women, or us.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Marilynne Robinson - Many Ways To Lead A Good Life

I listened to this interview with Marilynne Robinson as an antidote to my rage at the depravity of the Republicans in the Senate, the Trump regime and the Supreme Court, though it's no antidote, it's a reminder of the struggle we have always had against the established Constitutional order.   It has more ideas of how to move forward than all of the secular stuff I've heard in the past month. 

A Response

I can't recall who it was I read over the weekend, some member of both the Clinton and Obama administrations shunning the idea that Democrats should play as hard hard ball as the Republican fascists are playing because it's just not nice.  It was pointed out that it was another way of saying what Michelle Obama said so loftily, that when they take the low road we'll take the high road.  She said that not long before Trump was installed by lies, by the actions of James Comey, the New York Times and the Electoral College. 

Just look where that niceness has gotten us.  

The idea that because the segregationists and the Republians who were already in the process of taking them in during the 1964 presidential campaign were saying mean things about Earl Warren that we should let the Roberts-Kavanaugh court have free reign without pushback strong enough to thwart them and their masters' power grab is absurd.  It's the kind of lofty, high-toned scrupulosity that is a lot easier for affluent white people with degrees from elite schools and high paid careers love to strike a pose over as it costs those without money, without credentialing, without prospects who pay the price of their preening self-righteousness.  

Anyone who thinks that that pose of scrupulosity is going to shame Republican-fascists into giving up their power plays and that they would not revert to calling for the impeachment or lynching of a Democratic Chief Justice (which, by the way, we have not had since September of 1953 and Earl Warren Republicans being as extinct as he is so we'll never see his like again) is an aristocratic idiot who should be shoved aside, politely if that will do it, rudely if necessary.   So many of those who cover the court beat or who bloviate about it in the media as "liberals" are such aristocratic idiots. 

People like to pretend the Supreme Court isn't political when it has been political all along.  It has, even under most of the minority of Democrats who have been on it, been an institution that has favored the wealthy, the powerful, the established order.  The most basic divide in our politics is not partisan, it is a class divide, even as the Republicans sucker so many of the lower class to vote against their own interest and the Democrats contain those whose real devotion is to maintaining class inequality in service of the elite, such as Eric Holder and, yes, Barack Obama.   

We have got to stop falling for them and the phony civic piety they spout and have to demand radical change such as the ones I advocated this morning.  I think as the Roberts-Kavanaugh court destroys the mitigations adopted to correct Gilded Age and antebellum inequality and depravity we are going to find that such radical measures will become the only thing that saves us from serfdom and slavery.  
They've already managed to destroy the post-war middle class, to negate the conditions that created and nurtured the most radical redistribution of wealth through the G.I. Bill, the expansion of labor rights, and the radicalism of the FDR and Truman administrations.  They're working on destroying everything else that has been won by Civil War, by the blood shed by the martyrs of the Civil Rights struggle, the struggle for the rights of workers, the rights of Women, etc. which were the only things that made life under the U. S. Constitution tolerable. 

We Have Every Right To Demand Our Elected Officials Protect Us From The Unelected Ones On The Court

The doctrine that Supreme Courts can over turn laws duly adopted by the Congress and either signed into law by a president or by the Congress overcoming a presidential veto is not a power granted to the Court by the Constitution, it's a power that Supreme Court justices created for themselves out of nothing more than their ability to strong arm the Congress and Executive branches into accepting it.  And it's not an ability that has been uniformly acknowledged by presidents when they had the power of oligarchs, crooks and racists behind them to ignore those.  Andrew Jackson did in his genocidal removals of Native Americans so he and his cronies could steal their land in the East, as we've been reminded recently.  That power or, rather, the willingness to attempt to ignore Supreme Court pronouncements has not, to my knowledge, ever been attempted on the behalf of the downtrodden and disadvantaged.

And a lot of what the Supreme Court consists of such as the number of members it contains is, as well, not spelled out in the Constitution and is a matter of tradition and what Presidents and Senates have either dared not to transgress or have found would not be deemed acceptable.  I think as was pointed out here recently, an analysis at FiveThirtyEight said that the glaring mathematical and scientific ignorance among the present members of the Supreme Court mixed with arrogant dismissal of the importance of them understanding such issues in their rulings, from Scalia and Roberts to Breyer,  will force an expansion on the Court with seats requiring demonstrated knowledge of statistics as well as the arcana of Constitutional Law.  Their rulings made in proud and blatant ignorance of the facts means that those rulings are a fraud.  It is disgusting and appalling for members of the Court such as Scalia  to airily dismiss the importance of them understanding the very matters before them because some math-free royal road to discernment is available to them just because.

A lot about the Supreme Court even at its best is a con job.  Stephen Bryer in that quote mentioned in a post over the weekend called the acceptance of it's authority over and not infrequently annulling the democratic process a "miracle" but it's not really miraculous, it is a con job and a game of chicken.  The sitting members of the Court, even the relative liberals among them have some stake in the maintenance of that con job, Kagan and Sotomayor gave their demonstrated support for placing a perjurer, liar, very likely a sex predator and drunken gambling addict on the Court by being present at his swearing in.  They did so knowing that he is only on the court due to the thuggery of Mitch McConnell and the massive cover-up of his record, a cover up which would only be necessary BECAUSE THERE IS SOMETHING IN THE RECORD THEY WANTED HIDDEN.   So I don't expect that they are going to be enthusiastic for what's necessary to keep their fellow court members from wrecking democracy.  Ruth Bader Ginsberg was best pals with Antonin Scalia even as he was enthusiastic about such things as executing likely innnocent people, depriving people of their voting rights and Women the rights of basic ownership of their bodies.  The extent to which that is a manifestation of all of the members of the Court being Ivy Leaguers - who tend to have each others's back - is of only secondary importance.

We have to start pressing Democrats in the Congress and who run for president to consider some radical measures such as the expansion of the Court - which I would favor only if there were Math-Science requirements for them.   I think short of that it is well worth considering that in matters of basic civil rights, voting rights, rights to personal ownership of our bodies, and other such things that it will take a unanimous vote of all members of the court to overturn duly adopted laws and that if a 5-4 or 6-3 or even 8-1 didn't like it then that was too bad.  I think one effect of that would be to force the de-radicalization of the members of the Supreme Court who, out of a desire to maintain their power would have to be more judicious in their ambitions as to the scope of that power.  The Court is and always has been an anti-democratic institution, under the present formulation and with the Republican ratfucking of the process, it has become as dangerous as it was during the reign of Taney, which took the horrible Civil War to correct.   The Supreme Court overturning Civil Rights, Voting Rights, Abortion Rights, Rights to healthcare, safe food, drinking water, clean air, kills people.  It is the most basic right, the first one that any Congress purporting to act on our behalf asserted, to life, that the Supreme Court violates when it acts as it does.  We have every right to demand that our elected officials protect us from the unelected ones on the Court.  I don't give a damn about the comity on and the traditions surrounding the Supreme Court, they're just hirelings that have been allowed to get entirely out of hand, most of them bad hires.

Two Days After Kavanaugh Was Put On The Court

Susan Collins is on her damage control tour, starting with the hours with the highest density of lying in the week, the church of mendacity and prevarication, the Sunday morning talk shows.  And the media is cooperating with her effort to cover her shame with a clearly false counter-narrative at the expense of Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, not to mention all of the women whose lives and bodies Susan Collins put into the hands of Brett Kavanaugh on behalf of the same Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell who played the set up men for her Susan the Sucker act over their attacks on the Affordable Care Act.  Susan Collins is a shameless liar who is used to having the media carry her water and they probably will.

I would like to say I know it won't work but I know the power of lying in the American media and the determination of the billionaires who control it to bury the truth about what they've done.  This is only the beginning of them trying to maintain control of all branches of the government by their minions and thugs and, if by chance the electoral branches fall to - or rather rise to democracy then they can maintain goverment by judicial fiat in their safely controlled Supreme Court.  Mitch McConnell is, no doubt, anticipating the end of Ruth Bader Ginsberg's time so he can put a safely Republican-fascist sixth vote on the Court and unless the Senate goes to the Democrats, he'll do it. 

That it is a racist, segregationist cabal of people like McConnell and Graham and the rest of the Senate who are going to press government by Supreme Court is, of course, ironic, though since Americans are kept in ignorance of an accurate knowledge of history by their underfunded, locally botched educations and the lying of Hollywood, TV and "historical" ficttion, most of them won't now the real depths of hypocrisy they are witnessing. 

I said the other day that a real and clear view of the history of the Supreme Court isn't what the sickeningly sentimental and false narrative of pious sanctity shows, it shows that it has been, with the rarest of instances, a tool for racists, oppressors, crooks, oligarchs, the wealthy elite.   The outrage at conservatives over the very brief years of the Warren Court was due to it, once in a while, not acting in accord with that almost uniform history of service to the wealthy and powerful.  The fatal weakness of the American People, racism,  having been one of their foremost tools of exercising and enhancing that wealth and power over the racists as well as the victims of racism, the Supreme Court rulings extending a small measure of equality was the major focus of that outrage and a means of harnessing that racism to further their ends. 

The next time you hear Nina Totenberg gassing piously about the court you should remember that she and the others who wax eloquent about the Supreme Court are a part of the plan of the Mitch McConnell's as surely as those who wax eloquent about "the founders" and "originalism" and the whole litany of civic superstition that is the common received wisdom have been a part of it all along.

We have to overcome that and encourage people to imagine what it would be like to have a real democracy, real equality, real economic justice, a chance to live a dignified life having their children have a chance of a life of decency instead of one in line with the 80s boy pack film life that Kavanaugh and his posse lived for themselves and inflicted on those they victimized for fun.  And that is going to be hard to overcome  I wouldn't expect any  help from the media, including Hollywood.  I wouldn't expect it from the secular left either, to tell you the truth.  They'll botch it like they always do.  Probably on the basis of some asinine theory or ideological position.

The best hope is to appeal to peoples' own lives, Women, Black People, Latinos, members of other groups who have been victimized by things as they are.  As the Roberts-Kavanaugh court starts destroying the modest advances in equality, rallying those groups most clearly harmed by them will be the best chance we have.  But we can't do it if they are being suckered by the old lefty laziness of depending on the Courts. 

As the Court reaches ever lower depths of depravity I think we are going to find that things like demanding that only a unanimous court can overturn duly adopted and signed laws is going to be a necessity for protecting and extending democracy.  As I pointed out, if that were the case all of those provisions protecting our elections adopted after the full depravity of Republican attacks on it during the Nixon years would have been in place and it is a virtual certainty that the Republicans sitting on the Court now wouldn't be there.  The Court rulings that permit the media to lie on behalf of billionaires and fascists and destroy the careers of liberal and progressive politicians wouldn't be there and the media would not be the lie machine it is.  Who knows, maybe the hours that used to be associated with Christian piety wouldn't have turned into the hours with the highest density of lies in the week that it has under such Supreme Court rulings.  Those have  obviously done nothing to enhance democracy in the fifty-four years since they started, if they worked for that we and our democracy wouldn't be in the dire straights we are in.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Dusan Bogdanovic - Ricercar for Clarinet and Guitar

Douglas Masek, Clarinet
James Smith, Guitar

I Am Only Cruel To Be Mean - Hate Mail

If I'd wanted to be mean I'd have posted it under what I'd first thought of, calling it "Duncan Black's School for Sciolism"

Only I didn't think they'd know what "sciolism" meant. 

I mean, someone accusing me of voting for Susan Collins?  Look for "Susan Collins" at this or Echidne's or my previous blog to see if I ever said anything good about her.  If the comment threads were still up at Duncan's you could see I've never said a good word for the skank, even back when I was wasting time there. 

Update: Here's the first thing I ever said about her on just this blog, years after I said it at several others:
There are many states who have a lot to be ashamed of in terms of what they vote into office.  My state which has inflicted such scum as Paul LePage, Susan Collins - Lieberman's regular TV date, Bob Emery and many others, certainly has lots to blush about.  But in recent times the state that imposed Lieberman on the world, electing him to that last term well after his real nature had been on display for years,  has a unique burden of guilt.

Update 2:  I could have remarked on the hilarity of a bunch of old white geezers pretending to be all kew-el and hip by pretending they listen to reggae at Duncan Black's white boy blog but decided on another tack.   I went to Simp's blog and word searched "reggae," the results looked almost as white as Woody Allen's filmography.  About the only black face to be seen was Bo Diddley.   Didn't bother to read what that was about. 

Just brought to my attention from Duncan Black's Brain Trust

    • Avatar
      "that tireless little monitor of little matters and misser of enormous ones, Simps, missed something that I didn't notice till this morning, that I reversed the nouns in Gore Vidal's most widely known dirty novel, "The City and the Pillar,"
      Mea culpa, Sparkles. But the day you scrambled Vidal, I was too busy making fun of you for getting the title of Jimmy Cliff's THE HARDER THEY COME wrong, thus proving you know less than dick about reggae.

      Harvard Should Formally Sue To Keep Dershowitz From Associating Himself With It Or It Should Suffer The Consequences Of Having Employed Him

      Dershowitz the ambulance chaser for wife murderers and, I've got to conclude, total phony and habitual liar of legalistic whoppers is claiming that there is some kind of Constitutional bar to Democrats in the Congress investigating the purjurering serial-sex assaulter Kavanaugh in FOX drivel so stupid and obviously false that it might be a new low even for the bottom feeding Dershowitz:

      Alan Dershowitz, the retired Harvard Law professor who has become Trump’s chief legal apologist, writing a book about why the president cannot be prosecuted even if he colluded with Russian intelligence to steal the 2016 election, has now taken up Kavanaugh’s preemptive defense in a Fox News op-ed.

      Dershoqitz, who identifies himself as a “liberal Democrat,” nevertheless says that the “damage” to our country will continue if Democrats win control of the House of Representatives and “conduct a revenge inquisition” of Kavanaugh’s alleged wrongs.

      “What I don’t want to see is a Democratic House abuse its authority by conducting vengeful impeachment proceedings against Kavanaugh,” he writes. “Such an investigation would simply be partisan payback for Kavanaugh’s confirmation.”

      Democrats also couldn’t legally do it, Dershowitz argues.

      “It is unlikely that Congress has the power to impeach a sitting justice for alleged offenses he may or may not have committed while a private citizen and a teenager,” he writes.

      But what about lying to Congress? Also no, says the former Harvard professor.

      “Democrats may try to move it forward by alleging that the grounds for impeachment include perjury committed by nominee Kavanaugh in his testimony at his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing… But that would be a ploy, somewhat akin to the phony perjury grounds used to impeach President Clinton.”

      The Trump-supporting “liberal Democrat” then says that Democrats should give up and let Kavanaugh do what he wants.

      “The time has come to move forward and not look backward,” Dershowitz writes.

      Just how much of an idiot does someone have to be to take anything that lying old legal mountebank says seriously?