Saturday, November 3, 2018

Meet Jacob Wohl, The Absolute Dumbest Republican Operative of ALL Time

The Republican-Nazi phenomenon would seem to be a sheltered workshop for the total idiot children of Republican-Nazi scumbags (his father, maybe his mom whose media he's using) who are just so incredibly stupid that you can't believe anyone isn't calling about an adult in danger when they are at large.   The last question of this news conference that asked if these two schmucks are ready to go to federal prison is no joke, these guys should be in some form of custodial care.

Though, as is pointed out, James O'Keefe is still around, a guy who should have been sued for libel and slander into the flames of hell - along with his backers - years ago.

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Sam Dann - Hung Jury

Howard da Silva
Robert Dryden
Guy Sorel
Joan Shay
Catherine Byers

This is a pretty old-fashioned style of radio drama more or less chosen at random from the 1970s-80s CBS Mystery Theater, some of which is collected at Archive dot org as Himan Brown's Mystery Theater.  Himan Brown, the announcer, apparently was the primary force behind it.  It's a large collection of well produced dramas, a lot of them originally written for the series, some of them adaptations.

I have to say that it's not my favorite style - too much like TV -  but it is popular, the program was on commercial radio for a number of years well after the "golden age" of radio drama.  You might like to sample it.

Post Script To This Morning's Post - Betting In The Stuck Market

If you go through the article on Eliminative Materialism you should note that the whole, large academic ideology of EM rests on a promissory note of materialism which is of rather dubious reliability.

Eliminative materialists claim that an ontologically radical theory change of this sort awaits the theoretical posits of folk psychology. Just as we came to understand that there are no such things as demons (because nothing at all like demons appear in modern accounts of strange behavior), so too, eliminative materialists argue that various folk psychological concepts—like our concept of belief—will eventually be recognized as empty posits that fail to correspond with anything that actually exists. Since there is nothing that has the causal and semantic properties we attribute to beliefs (and many other mental states) it will turn out that there really are no such things.

A somewhat similar framework for understanding eliminative materialism is provided by David Lewis's discussion of functional definitions in psychology (1972) (see the entry on functionalism). In Lewis's account, our commonsense mental notions can be treated as functionally defined theoretical terms that appear in a chain of Ramsey-sentences. The Ramsey-sentences are a formal reconstruction of the platitudes of commonsense psychology. They provide a set of roles or conditions that more or less must be met for the instantiation of any given state. If nothing comes close to actually filling the roles specified by this framework for a certain state, then we are warranted in saying that the theoretical posit in question doesn't refer and there is no such thing. Eliminative materialists claim that this is precisely what will happen with at least some of our folk mental notions.

I'll point out two things in that.

. . . eliminative materialists argue that various folk psychological concepts—like our concept of belief—will eventually be recognized as empty posits that fail to correspond with anything that actually exists

They can argue that all they want but until that eventuality is reached, there is no reason to believe their fondest wish will be consummated.  There are reasons to doubt the validity of it on many levels, NOT LEAST OF WHICH IS THAT THIS FUTURE EVENTUALITY IS A FOND BELIEF OF THESE MATERIALISTS. It is a particular kind of question begging in which the entire thing depends on the conclusion being not only contained in the premises, it is the whole reason for the whole thing and the only reason for any of it to be declared to work.  The whole thing is peddling a pig in a poke in which there doesn't seem to be anything in the bag and the bag may well never, I'll assert will never, ever be opened.  You even have to believe that the bag will be opened at some unspecifiable future for it to work.

It is astounding the extent to which,  eliminative materialism as a philosophical exercise depends on debunking belief when it is riddled with beliefs, not only beliefs but fondest wishes.   It is made of beliefs and wishes.

To go on:

If nothing comes close to actually filling the roles specified by this framework for a certain state, then we are warranted in saying that the theoretical posit in question doesn't refer and there is no such thing.

That seems to me to be an extension of the old positivist trick of, on the basis of ideological declarations, trying to declare things they don't like to be "meaningless" even in those cases when everyone - including the materialists - knows the meaning of what they don't like and declare, by fiat, to be meaningless.

It, as well, is a sort of negative promissory note, a hedged bet against the market of ideas in which the materialists' desire is based on nothing coming "close to actually fulfilling the role specified by this framework" when everything about it, including the insisted on framing, is not even of  known relevance to the problem.

It, as well, is dependent on a guaranteed future which is in no way guaranteed and about which there is ample grounds for skepticism.   Only in this case, if you want to bet on eliminative materialism, you buy yourself a whole host of other consequences which are of value only to those who buy into the ideology before the entire thing starts.  Not least of which is that it debunks all intellectual behavior, including the one you engage in as an eleminative materialist.  The only thing anyone needs to do to defeat their argument is to say that you don't buy into any of their starting premises.

Update:  Believing beliefs are invalid is a belief.  Believing that beliefs don't exist is a belief.  Believing any of the parts of their arguments requires there to be beliefs.  Believing in the validity of the structure of arguments as a means of finding meaning or, yes, truth, is a belief.   I wonder if there has ever been a more absurd series of statements made within academic philosophy than those resorted to by materialists of this kind which are more obviously invalid due to their double-talking foundation.

This, friends, is the very substance of the rankest of academic decadence.

Chattering of Ignorance

Another cog in the unreliable watch of Duncan's "Brain Trust" (they really do call themselves a "Brain Trust") asks:

Skɛptək Sædərəst  Stëve Sïmels, blog malignancy • an hour ago
Who's denying that animals have consciousness?

And this is a guy who I believe pretends he's a scientist.  Though I expect it's something like computer science.  A jumped up programmer.

It was a very widely asserted belief among biologists and behavioral scientists up till quite recently that animals are not conscious or where not conscious in any significant meaning of the word. I would say when I was in college it was the official, enforced and taught position of academic scientists on the issue. I'll mention the widespread atheist-materialist-scientistic assertion that human consciousness is, also, illusion, a remnant of "folk lore". 

In fact  it was so wide spread an orthodoxy that a number of scientists in 2012, knowing that even by their own claims that recent science can't support the old line felt it necessary to issue  a Declaration on the topic, a declaration against the previous orthodoxy on that point.

ARE animals conscious? This question has a long and venerable history. Charles Darwin asked it when pondering the evolution of consciousness. His ideas about evolutionary continuity – that differences between species are differences in degree rather than kind – lead to a firm conclusion that if we have something, “they” (other animals) have it too.

In July of this year, the question was discussed in detail by a group of scientists gathered at the University of Cambridge for the first annual Francis Crick Memorial Conference. Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, spent the latter part of his career studying consciousness and in 1994 published a book about it, The Astonishing Hypothesis: The scientific search for the soul. 

The upshot of the meeting was the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness, which was publicly proclaimed by three eminent neuroscientists, David Edelman of the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California, Philip Low of Stanford University and Christof Koch of the California Institute of Technology.

The declaration concludes that “non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”

My first take on the declaration was incredulity. Did we really need this statement of the obvious? Many renowned researchers reached the same conclusion years ago.

The declaration also contains some omissions. All but one of the signatories are lab researchers; the declaration would have benefited from perspectives from researchers who have done long-term studies of wild animals, including nonhuman primates, social carnivores, cetaceans, rodents and birds.

I was also disappointed that the declaration did not include fish, because the evidence supporting consciousness in this group of vertebrates is also compelling.

There are still scientific sceptics about animal consciousness. In his book, Crick wrote “it is sentimental to idealize animals” and that for many animals life in captivity is better, longer and less brutal than life in the wild.

Similar views still prevail in some quarters. In her recent book Why Animals Matter: Animal consciousness, animal welfare, and human well-being, Marian Stamp Dawkins  at the University of Oxford claims we still don’t really know if other animals are conscious and that we should “remain skeptical and agnostic… Militantly agnostic if necessary.” [Yeah, she was married to Richard Dawkins before he married Lalla, sort of not surprising]

Dawkins inexplicably ignores the data that those at the meeting used to formulate their declaration, and goes so far as to claim that it is actually harmful to animals to base welfare decisions on their being conscious.

I consider this irresponsible. Those who choose to harm animals can easily use Dawkins’s position to justify their actions. Perhaps given the conclusions of the Cambridge gathering, what I call “Dawkins’s Dangerous Idea” will finally be shelved. I don’t see how anyone who keeps abreast of the literature on animal pain, sentience and consciousness – and has worked closely with any of a wide array of animals – could remain sceptical and agnostic about whether they are conscious.

You have to wonder why someone as smart as Marian Stamps Dawkins wouldn't realize that it's far easier to not care about the welfare of animals if they're unconcious automata (see Descartes and his live and no doubt agonizingly painful vivisection of his wife's pet dog*) than if they are acknowledged to be conscious. Some of the smartest people can also be the most monumentally stupid ones.

You also have to wonder at scientists who, witnessing obvious purposeful behavior in even single cell creatures, including such activity as hunting, parasitism, migration, the exchange of bodily fluids, etc. who explain those as something other than a result of consciousness, of self awareness.   I know when I was in college we were taught those were unconscious behaviors which were supposed to, somehow, arise out of "DNA."  That is still the basic dodge that materialists will go to to deny the obvious existence of such basic aspects of consciousness as choice, for no better reason that freedom cannot be shoehorned into their material deterministic ideology, or faith, really.

And since I also mentioned the philosophical denial of animal consciousness,  something which came into mainstream scientific thought by one of the founders of modern, mechanistic science, Descartes,  I'll include this from the article on its extreme consequence, Eliminative Materialism from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosphy.

Nevertheless, contemporary eliminative materialism—the sort of eliminativism that denies the existence of specific types of mental states—is a relatively new theory with a very short history. The term was first introduced by James Cornman in a 1968 article entitled “On the Elimination of ‘Sensations’ and Sensations” (Cornman, 1968). However, the basic idea goes back at least as far as C.D. Broad's classic, The Mind and its Place in Nature (Broad, 1925). Here Broad discusses, and quickly rejects, a type of “pure materialism” that treats mental states as attributes that apply to nothing in the world (pp. 607–611). Like many future writers (see section 4.1 below), Broad argued that such a view is self-contradictory since it (presumably) presupposes the reality of misjudgments which are themselves a type of mental state.

Apart from Broad's discussion, the main roots of eliminative materialism can be found in the writings of a number of mid-20th century philosophers, most notably Wilfred Sellars, W.V.O. Quine, Paul Feyerabend, and Richard Rorty. In his important 1956 article, “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind”, Sellars introduced the idea that our conception of mentality may be derived not from direct access to the inner workings of our own minds, but instead from a primitive theoretical framework that we inherit from our culture. While Sellars himself regarded this theoretical framework as empirically correct, his claim that our conception of the mind is theory-based, and at least in principle falsifiable, would be influential to later supporters of eliminativism.

In articles such as “Mental Events and the Brain” (1963), Paul Feyerabend explicitly endorsed the idea that common-sense psychology might prove to be radically false. Indeed, Feyerabend held that practically any version of materialism would severely undermine common-sense psychology. Like many of his contemporaries, Feyerabend argued that common-sense mental notions are essentially non-physical in character. Thus, for him, any form of physicalism would entail that there are no mental processes or states as understood by common-sense (1963, p. 295).

Like Feyerabend, Quine also endorsed the idea that mental notions like belief or sensation could simply be abandoned in favor of a more accurate physiological account. In a brief passage in Word and Object (1960), Quine suggests that terms denoting the physical correlates of mental states will be more useful and, as he puts it, “[t]he bodily states exist anyway; why add the others?” (p. 264). However, Quine goes on to question just how radical an eliminativist form of materialism would actually be, implying no significant difference between explicating mental states as physiological states, and eliminating mental state terms in favor of physical state terms. He asks, “Is physicalism a repudiation of mental objects after all, or a theory of them? Does it repudiate the mental state of pain or anger in favor of its physical concomitant, or does it identify the mental state with a state of the physical organism (and so a state of the physical organism with the mental state)” (p. 265)? Quine answers this question by rejecting it, suggesting there is no interesting difference between the two cases: “Some may therefore find comfort in reflecting that the distinction between an eliminative and an explicative physicalism is unreal” (p. 265).

One thing is certain, if these giants of atheist-materialist-scientism wanted to discredit consciousness in human beings, they certainly did in animals.  I will advise you to go look up Paul and Patricia Churchland (cited in the article) to see the circular rat hole that junk will get you into.

Geesh, Ducan, considering your "Brain Trust" consists of pretty much all college grads, it combines extreme conceit with extreme ignorance in a really impressive way.  Only it doesn't impress the way you'd want it to.  It's more of a symptom of what happened to education in the late 20th century than anything to be proud of.    But it's not my fault if they don't bother reading about stuff before they bloviate on it.  You should know that, their refusal to read your old 300-400 word posts was the reason you gave up writing, isn't it?

*  You have to wonder if it wasn't an act of cruel hatred against the poor dog's keeper.  The more I find out about Descartes the more of a sociopathic monster he seems, though he was hardly alone in that. Regarding life in mechanistic terms is probably a guarantee to produce various forms of recreational and vocational cruelty of the most vicious kind.   I don't think his attitude towards animals was unrelated to his worship of mathematics as the key to absolute knowledge about the physical universe but that's a longer piece.   I don't think it's unrelated to the psychotic thinking of people like the Churchlands.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Stupid Mail

Simels is a pathological liar who posts his lies at Duncan Black's Eschaton because Duncan doesn't care if people lie about other people on his blog.  That is as long as he gets ad revenue from it.   If Media Whores Online were still going his onetime mentor would have to do posts about the dishonesty of his blog.  

Jeff Sessions Doesn't Know What To Say To Protester - Watch the Federalist (Fascist) Society Expell A Clergyman Reciting Gospel To Jeff Sessions At A "Freedom of Religion" Propaganda Event

It being the Federalist (Fascist) Society in Boston you can bet that the big fat fans of "freedom of religion" in the audience, booing a Methodist Pastor who confronted Jeff Sessions with the Gospel of Matthew were elite lawyers, likely most of them grads from elite law schools such as the ones at Harvard or Boston University or Boston College (I'm amazed how much of the crap of that sort comes out of Jesuit Institutions these days) or faculty at the same. 

The "Christianity" of the likes of Jeff Sessions and the Federalist (Fascists) Society can't abide listening to the Gospel of Jesus, it is an Americanized form of the state paganism of the Rome which killed Jesus because he was saying things like that passage in Matthew that Jeff Sessions couldn't bear hearing.

Netanyahu Spreading Soros Conspiracy Theories Isn't Helping - Was Einstein An Antismite?

This piece of Majority Report that started with a phone call from a recent Israeli immigrant to the United States pointing out that the Israeli-fascist government is doing exactly the same kind of appeal to anti-Jewish paranoia that the Republican-Nazis are doing here.  It is something that I've been watching develop for the past three decades, starting in the 1980s but which, clearly, some Israelis saw coming as early as 1967.

Amos Oz got it wrong again. It’s not neo-Nazis. It’s Judeo-Nazis. Scions of a unique group which Yeshayahu Leibowitz Prophesized so well immediately after the great victory of 1967. Racism, murderousness and profound hatred originating in a religious-messianic worldview that is fueled by the occupation and settlement enterprise.

Of course at this stage, they’re on the margins. But history has proven that the question is how the center responds to the margins. In the wake of the most recent outbreaks of Kristallnacht-inspired rioting, the settler right hastened to label the rioters disdainfully as “graffiti-scribbling youth.” In the buses, more and more stickers are cropping up in Hebrew and Arabic with the warning: “Don’t even dare think about a Jewish woman!” Posters and articles warn not only against “assimilation” but also against Arab employment and housing. Behind this perception there are people, arbiters of halakha or Jewish religious law, organizations, and political movements. Is anyone bothering to investigate, to arrest, to judge? Israel will never be the Germany of 1942, but there is a moral obligation to prevent it from becoming like the Germany of 1932.

The caller talks about Yeshayahu Leibowitz's prediction of the rise of "Judeo-Nazism" and how the American-fascist billionaire pimp Sheldon Adelson is a figure in the rise of that bizarre Judeo-Nazism in both countries.  As can be seen from the examples given in Haaretz, the language of these Zionists is almost identical to that the Nazis used against Jews, the ideas are merely translations into another form of ethnic supremacy against a different group of Semites, and Christians.

It is one of the reasons I didn't cite the figures that the Anti-Defamation League and others gave for the indisputable rise in antisemitic incidents in the United States because the definition of "antisemitism" being pushed by many Zionist groups an individuals would turn such observations into acts of "antisemitism".  The relevant text as given by the Holocaust Remembrance Alliance lists as such an act:

Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis

Well, as can be seen, that's something which Jewish intellectuals IN ISRAEL have been doing for fifty-one years, something which Jewish intellectuals in the United States have been doing since 1948, specifically around the political movement that now and has long governed Israel noting the relationship between Israeli-"Judeo-Nazis" and conservative American Zionists. 

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

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

Unless the people who track antisemitic incidents in the United States specifically reject those parts of the "definition" of antisemitism that act as a cover-up for what Liebowitz, not me, called Judeo-Nazism, I can't trust their figures as accurate.  As I pointed out several months back, the ultra-Zionist sentences in that new definition of "antisemitism" have to be removed before anyone can trust the use of the term.  And as the events of last week prove, we really need to be able to trust it because the term is needed.  Desperately needed.

As for that immigrant who called the show, Israel's loss is our gain.  I wouldn't mind having a few million more Americans like him.

All Souls Day

One of the funniest things in modernism, especially in scientistic modernism is the often made accusation that someone is "anthropomorphizing" when they do something that the accuser doesn't like.   One of the most common uses I've heard of the accusation is in the rather absurd argument and assertion that animals lack consciousness or other mental attributes by scientists whose ideological predilection leads them to deny that as even a possibility.   I think anyone of minimal observational skills and who isn't totally self-centered who has ever had a dog or cat or any of the other animals I've kept as pets or farm animals would  realize that rigid belief that does, in fact, rule a good part of official biological science is total and complete nonsense.

But the accusation that someone who does something like attribute human-like consciousness and human-like emotions to animials they observe are "anthopomorphizing" them is clueless in a more basic way.  Humans,  being human beings, it is absolutely inescapable that EVERYTHING they think about creatures and things non-human will be thought of in human terms.  It is impossible for human beings to transcend human perceptions, human experiences, human mental equipment, human habits, etc. in order to come up with some non-human view of those.  In the conceit of such scientistic dolts, their claim is that they can achieve some"objective" point of view.   Their non-attribution of consciousness is as much an act of imagining animals from a human point of view as those who believe that animals minds and souls are exactly like humans' minds and souls.  And it is as much based in their emotional preference as those who humanize animals.   I think their conceit that they can transcend their humanness due to their great sciencyness (ignoring the fact that science, itself is a human invention which exists in no known place except within human minds) leads to a compounded or meta-anthropomorphic superstition that comprises a higher ignorance than the derided "folk lore" which doesn't carry that enhanced level of denial as to what is being done.

The Jewish Bible is not so presumptuous, as early as Genesis, Chapter 9 animals are included in the great Covenant God made with Noah:

8 Later, God told Noah and his sons, 9 “Pay attention! I’m establishing my covenant with you and with your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you—the flying creatures, the livestock, and all the wildlife of the earth that are with you—all the earth’s animals that came out of the ark. 11 I will establish my covenant with you: No living beings will ever be cut off again by flood waters, and there will never again be a flood that destroys the earth.”

12 God also said, “Here’s the symbol that represents the covenant that I’m making between me and you and every living being with you, for all future generations: 13 I’ve set my rainbow in the sky to symbolize the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow becomes visible in the clouds, 15 I’ll remember my covenant between me and you and every living creature, so that water will never again become a flood to destroy all living beings. 16 When the rainbow is in the clouds, I will observe it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living beings on the earth.”

If those who date the book of Job even earlier than the text of Genesis are right, that far broader, far more generous, far less anthropocentric view of reality is even older than that.  In Chapter 12, in Job's examination of what has become known as The Question of Evil, it says: 

7 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
    or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
    or let the fish in the sea inform you.
9 Which of all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every creature
    and the breath of all mankind.

Job attributes knowledge that seems to surpass the common sense of human beings to animals, even fish, even the earth.  I have to say that last one reminds me of nothing more than the Buddhist story of the enlightenment as the Buddha is getting ready to take his final step into enlightenment and is challenged as to his right to do that, he touches the Earth to ask it to testify as to his right to do so and it answers.  Though that's an entirely different tradition.  I know that an atheist will use that to ridicule the idea, which is about the only case I know of where multiple attestation of an idea is used to discredit instead of support it. 

My old cat who I buried the other day was one of the most unceasingly affectionate creatures I've ever known, including human beings, right up to her last hours when she was in considerable distress over her sudden paralysis.  She seems to me to have had a very cat like wisdom and an indiscriminate love.  I certainly could learn a few things from her and I think I have.  And not only from her but from all of the animals I've known intimately, even some I haven't known intimately.  I can imagine God making a covenant with their kind, though one that human beings wouldn't be able to articulate.  What they teach is certainly not as foolish as cognitive eliminationism believed by so many humans who hold advanced degrees and university posts in science and other supposedly rigorous academic fields.  I have as much faith that they possess a soul as I do, though I don't for a second believe I could comprehend what their soul is like.  I'd have to ask them and I can't except in human terms. 

I've been struggling with just a little of the theology of Karl Rahner this year.  And I mean just a little of it.  He wrote more than 3000 books and papers and articles of very, very tough reading, some of which I don't think has been translated into English.  I am interested in his ideas about the soul because it is a radical departure from the Platonist view of the soul that predominates in much of the history of Western Christianity, the conception of the soul that atheists deride and to which many problems are attributed.  It's not that easy a conception, being intrinsically (if that's even the right word) connected with the body but which doesn't seem to be to be identical with a materialistic view of the soul.  I have to say I don't think even all Rahner scholars agree as to what he meant.   This is the last paper on it I read (by a scholar of, NOT by Rahner) which might point to some of the complexities and problems of it.  I do think that one of the problems that is unstated is the one about science which I started with, it is inevitably a human conception of a soul inevitably caught up in human conceptions and very specific human intellectual history, Western, Catholic, Christian, 20th century modernistic, scientific, and other aspects of human culture comprise the point of view which Rahner talks about something which, to start with, science is likely irrelevant and even profound human thought expressed in language can't reach. 

It's one of the stupider things that those who scoff at theology don't realize,  the purpose of doing theology isn't to find out what you're supposed to think, it's to think hard and seriously. 

I do have to say that I find a lot of theology, not just modern theology, is far more of an intellectual challenge than much of philosophy because theologians, knowing their work will inevitably be opposed, can be far more rigorous thinkers.  The intellectual level of the theology I'm reading right now is a much greater challenge than anything I've read in philosophy and it is far more relevant to life.  And it is far, far more interesting than most of philosophy because of that. 

I do think that what I just said about theology should be said of science, that it doesn't tell you what to think but forces thought.  And that is related to the alleged claim that science is always open to falsification, though even some very famous scientists hold the more simplistic and fundamentalist view of it as the presenter of hard fact. 

No view of science is more absurdly doctrinaire and simplistic than that of atheist-materialists of the legion of "skeptics" and sci-rangers, informed by the likes of Carl Sagan and his imitators.   Heaven help them, the intellectuals among them are informed by that bull shit artist puzzle maven and sleaze Martin Gardner.  

It's All Souls Day.  Apparently the Google doodle about it reduces it to an Anglo-version of the Latin American Dia de los muertos.   Having just experienced American style Halloween c. 2018, I'd rather avoid that too.  I'd rather ask the animals or at least to think about them and their souls. 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Leo Brouwer - Sonata for Guitar

José Antonio Escobar, guitar

I've posted two or three different people playing this masterpiece but someone posted it with the score which I always find helps me to hear more of the music.  I did find this one a little confusing because of the way the harmonics are notated, with the string and the fret at which it is touched instead of the heard pitch, but once I realized that it wasn't hard to follow.   It was especially helpful to see how Leo Brouwer marked sections of the movements, I understood a lot more of what he was getting at than I had before.

Orlando di Lasso - Justorum Animæ - Offertory for All Saints Day

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and the torment of death shall not touch them.
In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die;
but they are in peace.
Wisdom 3:1

Saving "Western Civilization" Is Moot Because I Just Realized It Fell A While Back

I was just reading about the big flop of a press conference that, quote:

Internet personalities and conspiracy theorists Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl

end-quote, held today.  When I saw that phrase I realized that Western Civilization is dead, killed by the media that creates such "personalities".  Really, Jacob Wohl, a man whose greatest achievement is that he was banned from securities trading as a teenager and that he creates phony spy agencies off of his mom's social media is a "personality" in the United States in 2018.  Well, I suppose that's what you get to when you make corporations "persons". 

When Your Research Methodology Automatically Excludes Those Who Won't Stereotype Your Science Inevitably Supports Stereotpying

The piece I posted a week ago today about the Pew study in which they asked people to evaluate different religious identities for how warm or cold they felt about them, I ended by pointing out that if someone asked me to evaluate entire groups, sometimes not even actual groups but a collection of groups on the basis of whether I liked them or not, I'd have to refuse because all of those groups are comprised of individuals who might or might not be as I thought about the artificial "typical" member of that group.  There are individuals who match that artificial identity or those who deviate and even dissent from it but who are contained in that grouping by their own identification or the rules of the group.  And those are the Pew groupings that are, themselves, an artificial amalgamation of distinctly different bodies, "white Evangelicals" "Mainline Protestant" "Black Protestant".

You can't pretend that the members of different churches, each having their own range of viewpoints and beliefs within them, are of some uniform character that can morally or rationally be identified in terms of preference or dislike. It's even true of the identities in the study which, in fact, are uniform in membership of one church.

There are Roman Catholics who match the most insanely rigid old-line pseudo-medieval, Piux X era Integralists (a Catholic version of the worst of Fundamentalists) and there are those who the Integralists would love to kick out of the Church, excommunicate and destroy.  Something which even very conservative Catholics have been trying to recover from for the past century - literally.   I wouldn't be surprised if there are Integralists who are at war with other Integralists over the most obscure points of loyalty to what Pius X or other Vatican hacks of his term wrote.  There are even pre-Pius X style Integralists who are, if anything, worse.

One of the things I've been reading about recently was the reported feud between two of the greatest Catholic theologians of the 20th century who agreed with each other about much.  When Hans Kung wrote Infallible? An Inquiry,  his exhaustive and, from my perspective, entirely convincing refutation of the Vatican I dogma of Papal Infallibility,  perhaps the most eminent Catholic theologian of the 20th century, Karl Rahner publicly and fulsomely opposed his book.  They shared an interesting exchange between those two giants which I'm still in the process of teasing out.  As much as I admire Rahner in some things, in this disagreement Kung had the goods to make his case.  There is enormous diversity even within the most informed of intellectuals in the Catholic Church, even within those licensed to teach Catholic theology at Catholic institutions.  Even among those who are later canonized as saints.

But the reason I'm giving these examples is that it occurred to me this morning that  I would refuse to participate in the Pew survey because I refuse to characterize people I didn't know and people within a group who I knew didn't match the "typical" character of that group, there must be other people like me who would refuse to do what the surveyors asked.   I would refuse to stereotype for what is purported to be science.

I don't have any idea how big that group of non-cooperators on that basis would be though if it occurred to me, I'm sure it's occurred to other people, too.  But I can be pretty sure those who would participate in such a survey were either people who had no qualms about stereotyping to the degree they'd give a ranking for a group because they didn't care about diversity within that group or those who would participate never thought about it seriously enough so they wouldn't even realize that was what they were doing.

Whatever else you can say about that Pew study or so many like it presented as "science" it would exclude people whose thinking on it was much closer to real, lived reality than the people who would participate in such an exercise in stereotyping and evaluation based on stereotyping.   That seems to me to be an insurmountable obstacle that people wanting to do such surveys cannot overcome by the very nature of what they want to do.  If they tried to cover every possible or even a good range of possible variations represented among groups, their data would probably become a generalized mush of points with no reasonable, general, claims made about them.  I doubt that the confidence levels given for any of this stuff is honest, not because what their respondents say isn't what they said but because what they said is meaningless due to it being divorced from complex reality.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween Night Radio Drama - James W. Nichol - Midnight Cab - The Mystery of the Silver Rings And other studies of fear

RMJ has a really good article about the urban legend about the panic that Orson Welles supposedly whipped up with his War of the Worlds broadcast.  Turns out that the legend is mostly a bunch of journalistic hype with little behind it.  RMJ also points out something to really be afraid of. 

I've been thinking about what Marilynne Robinson called "a kind of a hobby of fear, a sort of fear fad," that is ginned up by the media, which is what Orson Welles supposedly did on one Halloween night when radio was young, every day all day of every year.  I remembered this scene in the movie The Seventh Seal, which is particularly appropriate for the month that FOX has been trying to whip up fears of the plague from the South.

Waves of heat envelop the gray stone church in a strange white mist. The KNIGHT dismounts and enters. After tying up the horses, JONS slowly follows him in. When he comes onto the church porch he stops in surprise. To the right of the entrance there is a large fresco on the wall, not quite finished. Perched on a crude scaffolding is a PAINTER wearing a red cap and paint-stained clothes. He has one brush in his mouth, while with another in his hand he outlines a small, terrified human face amidst a sea of other faces.

JONS: What is this supposed to represent?

PAINTER: The Dance of Death.

JONS: And that one is Death?

PAINTER: Yes, he dances off with all of them

JONS: Why do you paint such nonsense?

PAINTER: I thought it would serve to remind people that they must die.

JONS: Well, it's not going to make them feel any happier.

PAINTER: Why should one always make people happy? It might not be a
bad idea to scare them a little once in a while.

JONS: Then they'll close their eyes and refuse to look at your painting.

PAINTER: Oh, they'll look. A skull is almost more interesting than a naked

JONS: If you do scare them ...

PAINTER: They'll think.

JONS: And if they think ...

PAINTER: They'll become still more scared.

JONS: And then they'll run right into the arms of the priests.

PAINTER: That's not my business.

JONS: You're only painting your Dance of Death.

PAINTER: I'm only painting things as they are. Everyone else can do as he

JONS: Just think how some people will curse you.

PAINTER: Maybe. But then I'll paint something amusing for them to look
at. I have to make a living  at least until the plague takes me.

JONS: The plague. That sounds horrible

PAINTER: You should see the boils on a diseased man's throat. You should
see how his body shrivels up so that his legs look like knotted strings # like the
man I've painted over there.

The PAINTER points with his brush. JONS sees a small human form writhing in the grass, its eyes turned upwards in a frenzied look of horror and pain.

JONS: That looks terrible.

PAINTER: It certainly does. He tries to rip out the boil, he bites his hands,
tears his veins open with his fingernails and his screams can be heard everywhere.
Does that scare you?

JONS: Scare? Me? You don't know me. What are the horrors you've painted
over there?
AINTER: The remarkable thing is that the poor creatures think the pestilence
is the Lord's punishment. Mobs of people who call themselves Slaves of
Sin are swarming over the country, flagellating themselves and others, all for
the glory of God.

JONS: Do they really whip themselves?

PAINTER: Yes, it's a terrible sight. I crawl into a ditch and hide when they
pass by.

JONS: Do you have any brandy? I've been drinking water all day and it's
made me as thirsty as a camel in the desert.

PAINTER: I think I frightened you after all.  

Only I can't see the FOX viewers blaming themselves for their imaginary calamity.  And Bergman, being a good, moderny 20th century European blamed everything on religion when there was plenty of blame that rightly belonged in other places.  It was easier to blame because it was safer.  That doesn't make his insights into the human fascination for being scared and the power of that fear any less impressive.  In the end of the movie the Knight, Jons' master, Antonius Block won over death by saving the actor, his wife and their baby by losing his chess game with death knowing he would die.  His act of self sacrifice on behalf of those who were about the least of those in the movie was his triumph.  That's the only real victory over death and it involves dying. 

Franz Schubert - Grab und Mond


Peter, Christian, Michael, Uli

Silver-blue moonlight falls down,
Lowers many beams down into the grave.
Friend of slumber, dear moon, don't be silent,
if in the grave, darkness lives, or light.

All is quiet? Now, silent Grave, speak,
You drew so many beams down into the stillness,
You hold so many glances of the moon, silver-blue,
Just give one beam back. Come and see!

translation by Annegret Boge

I'm not as interested in Halloween as I was, another holiday ruined by commercialism.   I'm coming to prefer All Saints Day. 

Stupid Mail - What I Found In My E-Mail Just Now

Stëve Sïmels, blog malignancy  Cynicus • 3 hours ago
Have I mentioned how That Idiot From Maine© believes in telepathy and precognition because God?

Actually, Stupy, I believe in them because science.

The key phrase in the abstract reads:

"The paper reports a meta-analysis of 90 experiments from 33 laboratories in 14 different countries which yielded an overall positive effect in excess of 6 sigma with an effect size (Hedges’ g) of 0.09, combined z = 6.33, p = 1.2 × 10e-10. A Bayesian analysis yielded a Bayes Factor of 7.4 × 10e9, greatly exceeding the criterion value of 100 for “decisive evidence” in favor of the experimental hypothesis."

In layman terms this means that according to the same standards used to evaluate evidence throughout the psychological sciences that implicit precognition is a genuine effect. This outcome, combined with a meta-analysis of presentiment effects, provides additional evidence indicating that what bothers critics is their belief about how Nature should behave, rather than how it actually does. 

We do not need precognition to predict that the new meta-analysis will not influence the critics' beliefs. Their beliefs, like those of most people, rest upon a naive realist (i.e., common sense) view of nature. 

While common sense is good enough for most basic activities of daily life (not including an understanding of how television, smartphones, GPSs, and computers work), it is not sufficient to account for the larger reality revealed by science. Nor is it capable of perceiving the far stranger and vaster realities that patiently wait for us far beyond the reach of today's science.

Update:  Well, if I knew making jokes about his lack of virility would have scared Simels away from here I'd have done it years ago.   Do you know "Simels" is an anagram for "I'm less"?  

Liszt - Nuages gris - Richter Moscow 1957

In Memory Of Stormy who I just buried.  She was a good cat to the end of her long life.  (I didn't name her.)

Fascists and Nazis Have To Destroy Christianity To Use It To Their Ends

The article by Tara Isabella Burton at Vox yesterday, The Bible says to welcome immigrants. So why don’t white evangelicals? made me think of another article, just a year ago by the great scholar Susannah Heschel  Aryan Jesus, on the Reformation’s Troubling Legacy, in which she points to some of the features of Protestant tradition and culture, its central focus on the test of The Bible and the history of historicism in Protestantism that began in the 18th century has made it vulnerable to similar political interpretations that the "Evangelicals" in the quickly congealing and not at all Nazi-unfriendly, American fascism.  First Vox:

The Bible contains numerous passages that seem to straightforwardly exhort care for the poor, immigrants, and refugees. Isaiah 10, for example, sees God excoriating those who “turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right.” In Matthew 25 (which a Methodist pastor quoted to Jeff Sessions Monday while protesting his speech), Jesus warns his followers that those who withhold care from the poor or the refugee — “the least of these” — are seen as having done it to Jesus himself. Plenty of other verses — Leviticus 19:33–34, Jeremiah 7:5–7, Ezekiel 47:22, Zechariah 7:9–10 — express similar sentiments.

[Note that that is a teaching which Christianity took from the Jewish tradition because Christianity IS INESCAPABLY JEWISH and that goes to the very substance of it and not as a mere act of adopting the Jewish Scriptures which Jesus and Paul and James cite and quote.  When the Nazis cut everything they deemed to be Jewish, to produce Die Botschaft Gottes (sometimes called "Hitler's Bible")they had to cut out about 60% of the contents of the hardly Jewish friendly Martin Luther's translation of the Second Testament.  I would say that pretty much shows that the major part of Christianity is Jewish. ]

Generally speaking, white American evangelicals have, at least since the 1970s, been wary of counting nonwhites or non-Americans among this “least.” As historian Randall Balmer has frequently argued, the rise of the Moral Majority and the Reagan-era political evangelical religious right in America was due as much to objections to desegregation as to more obvious contentious issues like LGBTQ rights and abortion. For as long as white evangelicals have been a politically robust force, white American identity, GOP party politics, and evangelical theology have been all but inextricable.

That said, the age of Trump — and the Christian nationalism he has frequently evoked as a rhetorical campaign strategy — has seen white evangelical nativist rhetoric take on a more politicized role. As Messiah College professor and historian John Fea told Vox in September, white evangelical pastors — and thus their parishioners — are increasingly willing to take their sermon talking points and “marching orders” from an administration buoyed, in part, by its embrace of nativism.

And Susannah Heschel on the insane attempt by Lutheran theologians and pastors to do the impossible, remove the Jewish content of Christianity:

Various theological strategies were employed during the nineteenth century to distance Jesus from Judaism, but with the rise of racial theory suggestions began to circulate that Jesus was not a Jew, but rather an Aryan, born in the Galilee, where an ethnically mixed population lived. Pastors and theologians called for a Germanic Christianity, with some arguing that each race and nationality should have its own, separate church. A large and powerful pro-Nazi faction within the Protestant church of Germany, called the “Deutsche Christen,” arose in 1932 and developed a Christianity that was manly, antisemitic, and anti-doctrinal, as the historian Doris Bergen has shown. In Germany some of the most prestigious professors of theology joined the effort during the Third Reich, including Paul Althaus, Emanuel Hirsch, and Gerhard Kittel.

Despite protests from other theologians, these efforts did not disappear during the first years of the Third Reich, but reached a climax in 1939 with the establishment of an “Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence on German Religious Life.” At the forefront of the Institute was the eradication of Judaism: the Old Testament was eliminated from the Christian Bible, Jesus was declared to have been Aryan not a Jew, and the Epistles of Paul (himself a Jew) were reduced to a few hortatory lessons.

The effort to dejudaize Christianity was not simply a response to a theological problem, but to Nazi antisemitism, using its language and images. Grundmann, who joined the Nazi party in 1930, warned in 1933 of “the syphilization of our Volk though sexual relations, miscegenation, and the hybridization of races” that was destroying its cultural-building capacities. He lauded Hitler’s recognition that racial mixing was a “sin against nature and an injustice against the Creator.” The aim, in other words, was not only to shape a pure, un-Jewish Christianity, but to create a Germany free of Jews. Ridding Germany of Jews was not only a goal serving the German people, but also Germany’s world-historical mission.

At a rally in 1936, Grundmann declared, “there is an assault against the West, unleashed by the Bolsheviks of the world, behind whom stands the Jew, and the Germans are once again the Reich Volk. . . . Our Volk has been chosen to halt the avalanche of the Bolsheviks and the Jews on behalf of the entire West – and therefore in its deepest sense the word receives its meaning: the German Volk are the Anti-Jews [Gegenvolk der Juden]!” With the outbreak of the war, the Institute viewed itself as essential to victory: “the struggle against the Jews has been irrevocably turned over to the German Volk.” The war against the Jews was not simply a military battle, but a spiritual battle: “Jewish influence on all areas of German life, including on religious-church life, must be exposed and broken.”

The Institute’s goals were stated forthrightly at its opening by Grundmann, who delivered the keynote lecture on “The Dejudaization of the Religious Life as the Task of German Theology and Church.” The present era, he declared, was similar to the Reformation: Protestants had to overcome Judaism just as Luther had overcome Catholicism. “The elimination of Jewish influence on German life is the urgent and fundamental question of the present German religious situation.” Yes, Grundmann noted, people in Luther’s day could not imagine Christianity without the Pope, just as today they could not imagine salvation without the Old Testament, but the goal could be realized. Modern New Testament scholarship had made apparent the “deformation of New Testament ideas into Old Testament preconceptions, so that now angry recognition of the Jewishness in the Old Testament and in parts of the New Testament has arisen, obstructing access to the Bible for innumerable German people.”

It is incredibly ironic that the very thing that the Reformation was based in, at least on an intellectual basis, the text of The Bible, made it necessary for those who wanted to have Protestantism without Judaism shred the very text, bastardize it, distort it and twist it in the very same ways that American "Evangelicals" have in order to make Evangelical "Christianity" conform to the worst of American racist tradition.

It's no coincidence that both verses in the Saga of Depravity rhyme and even repeat, that is always necessary when the pretense is that you are going to take the religion of Jesus and turn it into everything that he, Paul, James, and all of those through whom his substance is translated rejected.

In the fourth chapter of Luke, he begins with Jesus after his baptism, having gone into the desert fasting and praying for 40 days, Satan, not knowing just what kind of man he's watching,  comes to tempt him.  First he tempts him through his hunger, no doubt aided by the pangs of hunger Jesus would have been feeling, to break his fast. He tells him that he can turn stones into bread.  Jesus answers, "Scripture says, People cannot live on bread alone."  Then Satan tempts him by taking him up to a high place and presenting him a vision of the entire world, promising it to Jesus if he would worship him he would give him all of the power and wealth of the world.  Jesus again answers from scripture, "You shall worship the Lord your God and serve God alone".   Then Satan brings him center of official Jewish worship, The Temple and sets him on a high wall and challenges him to throw himself off - which I interpret to be his challenge to Jesus to prove he is not mortal - But this time unlike the other two, Satan quotes scripture to make his challenge, "For it is written that "God will order his angels to take care of you," and "they will hold you in their hands for fear you'll hurt your foot on a stone".   Satan was tempting Jesus through fear of mortality, perhaps the most basic of human fears, to prove to himself what Satan believed was his greatest vulnerability.  Jesus used Scripture to answer that, noting that Scripture forbids testing God.

The people who have monopolized the term "Evangelicals" do the same thing that Satan does in that story and, since one thing is true about all of us, whatever else we are, we ain't no Jesus, they have a lot more success with doing that than Satan did in that story.

These issues deserve a lot more time than I can give them here and now.  Please do read both articles.  Susannah Heschel, especially, is always worth reading and listening to.

NOTE: There are a significant number of people who accept the label "Evangelical" who don't do that, though they are certainly a minority in the American evangelical wing of Protestantism.  There are liberal Evangelicals who organized against Trump and for Hillary Clinton in the election, though they, like all Christian liberals in the United States are disappeared by the media.  I certainly don't include them in this anymore than Susannah Heschel included all German Protestants in her brilliant article.

The "white Evangelicals" who comprise the group referred to as that are not any more Christian than the Nazis who shredded the Bible into Die Botschaft Gottes to make it conform to their politics and economic convenience.  They are just another group of European baptized pagans whose politics and economics have always been as destructive of Christianity no matter what the framing and naming of it has been over the centuries.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

I Don't Know How To Write About This

Since Saturday afternoon I have started many and been unable to finish any pieces about the Republican-Nazi mass murder in Pittsburgh.  In one of the pieces I wrote that I hoped it was the crime so horrible, so terrible that would open the eyes of the media, talking heads, lawyers, judges, politicians, even any allegedly reachable Republicans to what has been wrought in the United States in the past fifty years and I couldn't bring myself to even suggest that as a possibility.

I don't have much if any faith that this will be the event that does it, I'm beginning to think we don't have what it takes to get that kind of a lesson.    I certainly doubt that those who support Trump in the days after this latest series of attacks will change.  I am certain FOX won't change except to try to figure how to spin it for their own use.  From what I've seen, that's already the case.

There have been so many such incidents, mass murders, attacks on Black churches and groups, mass gun murders of the youngest school students, students in high schools and universities, other churches and those have not changed anything, things have become steadily worse.  If this, what is being called the largest attack against Jews in the history of the United States does change things, I will be glad to know something can make an impact on the monstrous indifference that the Republican-Nazi machine is.   But I'll have to see that first.   I think the only thing that would change the law is if there is a mass shooting at the Supreme Court that kills justices.  Just as it is the Supreme Court of the United States which has made certain that our elections systems are optimally corrupt in favor of the Republican Party, it has armed the mass murderers against even bi-partisan attempts to disarm the haters and lunatics such as murdered the worshipers last Saturday.

Nothing has changed those stubborn, hardest of hard-hearted Pharaohs robed in black and comfortable in the protection of their lives as Supreme Court members and smarmy in their legal jargon with which they permit this depravity and prevent its prevention.  They certainly don't mind the body count their permissions have racked up over decades.  Maybe the corpses should be buried on the grounds of the Supreme Court so they'll have to pass by them when they enter the building.

Any technical feature of this that can be used to deny the transformation of the Republican-fascist into the Republican-Nazi party will be grasped onto to exempt those who inspired the American Nazi whipped up into an irrational and stupid frenzy by the FOX-Trump "Caravan" election gimmick into attacking Jews - one thing said there was a six-pointed star in one of the photos the Nazi saw - but when it gets eleven people murdered and others wounded, both physically and in permanently damaged lives, those legalistic technicalities are genocide enabling bull shit.


Since the Republican-Nazi installation of Brett Kavanaugh I have made it my practice to point out that one of the Senate architects of that is the hypocritical, lying, fat little Republican-Nazi faggot from South Carolina, Lindsay Graham is, in fact, a gay man posing as a not-gay man so he can get elected by Republican-Nazis in South Carolina, a state with a long history of electing such men that goes back into the ante-bellum period.  I carry a particular hatred - and I confess the word is not too strong - for gay Republicans who have personally profited from promoting  a racist, bigoted, anti-equality, anti-LGBTQ party.   I can only put my feelings in the words Tony Kushner wrote for Ethel Rosenberg's ghost to tell Roy Cohn as he lay on his deathbed  "It's the star of Ethel Rosenberg's Hatred, and it burns every year for one night only, June Nineteen. It burns acid green,".   Only mine burns every time I see Lindsay Graham or the other Republican-Nazi faggots like him.  It disgusts me that I share a sexual orientation with them.

If the Republican-Nazi Party had not benefited from harnessing anti-LGBTQ hatred, I would still despise such men because as members of a much discriminated against group they have no right to overlook the violent and grinding oppression that the Republican-Nazi Party has harnessed to gain power in the past, their racism, their anti-Latino bigotry and also their use of antisemitism.  I still find it jarring that there are Irish Republicans though the history of significant and anti-Irish discrimination in the United States ended long before I was born.   All through the Jewish scriptures, whenever God is commanding equal treatment of the poor, the destitute, the orphan, the widow, the worker, the stranger among us with the reminder "for you were once slaves in the land of Egypt".  It is one of the central moral principles common to Judaism and Christianity that that history of our peoples demands that we don't oppress.   That principle seems to me to be the only safe basis for the promulgation of group identity,  "for remember that you were once discriminated against and attacked by the Know Nothings, the British aristocratic landlords,"  "For you were murdered by, enslaved by, oppressed, discriminated against by whoever oppressed "our" people".

The only glimmer of light I have seen in this has been in the solidarity expressed with the victims of the permitted and enabled mass murder.  But I don't dare allow myself to be comforted by that.  I'm too worried about the next one to allow myself to be comforted.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Kurt Rosenwinkel - Star of Jupiter

Kurt Rosenwinkel - Guitar
Eric Revis - Double bass
Aaron Parks - Piano and keyboards
Justin Faulkner - Drums

What Was Too Much For The CBC To Post

So, you want to know what I said at the CBC which was over the top.  It appears to still be as just now when I checked it shows up on my screen with a pink bar that says "Content Disabled" over it. :  Here it is, verbatim, with the comment I was answering.

Peter Bolivar
I don' t know why people are so afraid to hear opposing views. Its sad that so many people who supposedly believe in the freedom of speech are so willing to try to take it away from others. It is one thing to ban speech that is inciting violence or include death threats. It is entirely another when someone is spouting nonsense or even vile thoughts. 

Anyone wanting to ban speech should realize that, if they are able to do so, then someone else is just as capable of doing it to them as well. 

Lastly, few really know what liberal means anymore... What oft passes for liberalism on university campuses is anything but

Anthony McCarthy
@Peter Bolivar  This is nonsense, there is a lot of speech that is banned and not just banned, banned by law. Libel and slander, perjury, various levels of plagiarism, . . . and it is ironic that if you want to comment on Michael Enright's facile and entirely predictable posture as a champion of the rights of fascists and crypto-Nazis with billionaire funders and who have held political power, you will be subject to an enhanced level of speech control by the CBC. Speech is and always has been regulated - when it comes to its commercial value - but it is considered to be terrible to do so in defense of the basic level of equal rights and the only legitimate form of government, egalitarian democracy. We have a right to defend egalitarian democracy against its ideological enemies who, taking power, destroy equality and restrict rights. To claim on some allegedly high moral plane - one which is far easier for affluent, straight, white men to take in the United States and Canada - is absurd, especially if it is claimed that we are unable to disginguish between lies and the truth and the difference between those who support equal rights and those who want to destroy them.

Considering another comment which they put up slammed democracy as a terrible idea, it's amazing they found what I said too much to allow.

Doug Barr
The debate between Frum and Bannon is good for Democracy but tragically Democracy has been disastrous for humanity. Democracy was given birth and is sustained by divisions in humanity and as Aesop apparently first said 2600 years ago, "divided we fall." So Michael, while you're cheering on Frum and Bannon as they give life to democracy you'll be cheering the death of humanity. The tragedy is if, but as seems more likely when, we hit bottom it will have been for nothing. . .

As Democracy Drowns In A Sea Of Empty Platitudes

I checked and double-checked to see that the comment I made on Michael Enright's cookie-cutter condemnation of those who wanted to keep Steve Bannon's quite successful PR campaign for fascism out of Canada fell within the posted CBC standards for comments, the last time I looked it had been removed from the comments on Michael Enright's entirely predictable, 1960's style torch-song speech for "free speech - free press" absolutism. 

Which, I have always held is the perfect right of the CBC or any other organ of the media to do.  I remember back when it used to be worth going to for the exchange with the adults who eventually fled Duncan Black's Eschaton, that I defended his right to remove comments when someone whined about him having excluded comments on the basis of it "violating the First Amendment"  which it, of course, in no way did, Duncan Black not being the U. S. Government, the only entity covered by even a rational reading of the First Amendment instead of the fundamentalist reading which is so disastrously fashionable today.

But it is interesting that media corporations, individual editors, individual writers claim for themselves the goods that come with choosing to exclude some voices from their properties, their newspapers, their magazines, their blogs and websites, and podcasts,  their radio and TV shows, of refusing to suffer the certain ill-effects to the content of their properties, their intentions and their reputations of allowing just anyone to say just anything while they are more than prepared to leave the collective mind of The People, the electorate, REAL LIFE  entirely vulnerable to suffer the effects that they refuse to suffer for their own little corner of virtual reality.

What Enright said was a string of the predictable cookie-cutter rote phrases.  For example:

It was atop a double byline op-ed that argued Steve Bannon should not be allowed to debate writer and renegade Republican David Frum at a Munk Debate in Toronto next week. The resolution: "The future of western politics is populist not liberal."

Sounds tame enough, but the authors of the op-ed argue that if Bannon is given any kind of public forum, Canada is risking its Charter of Rights and Freedoms, threatens what they call "our sense of belongingness in society, and undermines the mutual trust on which the sharing of public space rests."

That's an awful lot of social damage to be caused by the mutterings of a lone, right-wing American gas bag.

They wind up the piece by declaring that Bannon has no respect for liberal democracy.

Which misses the entire point. I don't care if Bannon has no respect for democracy, but I do care if Canadians do.

"Banning Bannon is good for democracy" is so Orwellian in concept, I wonder if the duo was paraphrasing him.

"War is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength."

They certainly weren't channelling the George Orwell who said; "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

Orwell, thou shouldst be living at this hour.

That stuff might have been believable back when  the kinds of  Western "conservative parties" that won elections and formed governments in places like Canada and the United States  were merely pro-rich and not overtly fascist,  the kind of governments which lies with the abandon that the one that Steve Bannon helped bring to the United States does, that is led by a degenerate and lying criminal who has a large following, who, after two years of the most overtly fascistic governance the United States has had still is not a certainty to lose the mid-term election and whose re-election is not guaranteed to not happen.  But that's no longer the "the West" that we live in.

The least deniable thing about Donald Trump is that he, as a public persona and a politician is 100% a creation of the American free press, if you include television and American hate-talk radio as press.  And the U. S. Supreme Court does.

Bannon is in the business of using the corruption of elections through the corruption of  voters vulnerable to lies to promote fascism AND HE IS SUCCESSFUL IN DOING IT.  He is hardly the only one who has done it, he has had enormous help by billionaires, domestic as well as foreign who use the media, in the United States FOX, Sinclair, Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, other various and smaller fascist propagandists and spreaders of poison through the free speech of the free press AND IT WORKS TO DESTROY DEMOCRACY.

The central idiocy of Enright's line is that it equates the ability of fascists to lie themselves into power through lies designed by PR methods for easy sale and the lying appeal to the worst in their audience with the ability of people who want egalitarian democracy to tell the often far less enticing and often harder to accept truth.

The central idiocy of Enright's style of free-speech, free-press absolutism is that it refuses to acknowledge that there is everything different between the truth and lies and that lies are poison to democracy, they are poison to freedom, they are far easier to sell because they don't have to acknowledge the often difficult, often unpleasant and often merely boring qualities of reality, they can be shaped to be pleasing and easy to sell.

If Orwell's nightmare government told the truth with the ruthlessness that it told its lies, Orwell wouldn't have had a scary novel to sell because it would have been as boring and unenticing and unfascinating as good government tends to be.  It would have been even more boring than Michel Enright's cookie-cutter torch song to free-speech absolutism is because good government doesn't tend to carry the theatricality of such torch songs.  Good government is more boringly honest than that.

Enright's line has something more in common with Steve Bannon's line than he would like anyone to notice and that is deceptive simplicity and a stubborn refusal to acknowledge that real life has largely refuted the easy slogans of free speech absolutism.  Egalitarian democracy is not 100% the same thing as "free speech - free press".  Freedoms such as that are secondary rights, they are dependent on equality and the right of The People to elect their government ON THE BASIS OF A TRUE AND ACCURATE VIEW OF REALITY.  You would think that a professional journalist would appreciate that their own ability to tell the truth is dependent on the very things that Steve Bannon not only intendeds to destroy but has come very close to doing so in the United States,  "the land of the free and the home of the brave" by whipping up racist paranoia through the very media which Enright works in.

The inability of free speech absolutists to learn from history, even the history they are living through is one of the most extraordinary things I've witnessed in the past twenty years.  They have their lines and they will repeat them as democracy is undermined, as it cracks, as it falls into ruin.  They will mouth the same platitudes about free speech and free press even as the only ones who are free are those who support fascism and the oligarchs who mount fascist government on their behalf.   The media that agrees with the most brutal and oppressive governments in history and the world was always free to support the brutal establishments, lying on their behalf as FOX does, as Sinclair does, as CNN and ABC and NPR will repeat while posing as their alternatives.

Enright's lines are good, they are PR products and have been honed for easy sale to people who like to think well of themselves.   The experience of seeing democracy destroyed by lies in the modern, post WWII, post Soviet world proves that it is wrong.  Steve Bannon understands how to use those lines, today the greatest champions of "free speech" are American fascists, Nazis, white supremacists and the media professionals who are enabling them.   They are wrong, if we don't realize that it's more complicated than that now, we will in the aftermath of the disaster they bring.   If there is anyone to pick up the pieces.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Stupid Mail

Steve Simels is the kind of jerk who would use the murders of 11 people and the wounding of many others to try to score a point in his personal vendetta against someone with the kind of people who would grant him that point so scored.  Eschaton is the kind of place where he could do that and get it upvoted by someone who calls themselves, and I kid you not, "Shared Humanity". 

Sunday Night Radio (Drama?) The Great Eastern

Thousands of postcards and letters labeled and stamped for Democratic candidates later, I'm told that I'm done for a while.  So I thought I'd celebrate by posting the Oct. 31, 1998 Halloween edition of one of my favorite radio shows of all time, 

I loved the wonderfully strange and odd The Great Eastern when it was on radio (full archive of shows, clips, some scripts and much more can be found here) another one of those shows I listened to on fading in and out, static ridden short wave, a Sangean portable almost big enough to be a desktop.  The sound wasn't as rich as a tube set but I never worried I'd burn down the house with it.