Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Carol Channing Once Said She Wanted This On Her Tombstone So Here It Is

She lifted Peoples Lives 

I loved Carol Channing, a great performer an endlessly entertaining raconteur and a humanitarian.   Hope she's where she belongs. 

Girolamo Frescobaldi - Cento partite sopra Passacagli

This is one of the most remarkable pieces of instrumental music written in the 17th century, an early example of the keyboard passacaglia which would be taken up and modified to have less fantastic variety by the Couperins and J.S. Bach and others who came after. The interspersing of long and fantastic variations that clearly follow the passacaglia form with, first what is recogizable as a courante (corrente) and then with contrasting cicconas and sections in contrasting tonality is pretty remarkable and presents a performer with all kinds of interpretive problems of how fast to play the contrasting sections.  I wonder if it is a written out attempt at reproducing the original passacaglia which was improvised by a musician - probably a guitar player - on the streets.   Needless to say, the performances of it available on Youtube are hardly uniform in how they approach these.  I'll give you two.

Yoanne Moulin, virginal

Harpsichord player is unidentified.

There are other performances at Youtube.

The score can be found beginning on page 77 here.

Randon Thoughts On RUR and People As RAM

One of my young relatives asked me the other week if I'd ever read Karel Čapek's play, R.U.R. the play he invented the word "robot" for, something which someone said was the only memorable thing about the play.   I had read it a long time ago, in Esperanto, as it was.  A fact I mention only to push a button.  I found it online in English translation and read it again and was struck with not only how dumb the play was in terms of plot such as the way that Helena Glory ends up getting, I don't know, coerced into marriage, in the first act is downright bizarre. It's something the @metoo would have a field day with, but I don't think it really represents the author's thinking on women.   I think it's unfortunate that it's what most people seem to think of when they think of Čapek's work because I think his stories are better.  Since reading the play in English I went back to read a bit of his journalistic writing and it's a lot better than his fiction, if what I read is representative, that's what he should be remembered for.  But I'll get to that in a later post.

The biggest thing that struck me about R.U.R. was that the expected reaction of the humanitarian stereotype in the play, Helen Glory, to consider the masses of humanoid robots as oppressed workers, imagining them to have human personalities and minds and rights isn't what I see in real life.  What I see is not that it is people, especially those of some credentials and, allegedly, sophistication, making people metaphors for machines and imagining human beings in the limited terms appropriate for machines. 

When I first thought about this I immediately thought of the exception of the reaction of even scientists and others with educational credentials who took Joseph Weizenbaum's pretty obviously brainless bot ELIZA as having the ability to give psychotherapy to human beings, something that, at first, seems to be something like Helen Glory's silly attribution of qualities of human beings, of human minds and personalities and souls to machines.  But it was the opposite that was being demonstrated, even by the very psychiatrists, psychologists whose perceived role in life they imagined a 1964 era computer program could perform with good results.  They had already, before the first convincing human-like robot was possible, demoted human beings to mindless machines.  I wrote about that in 2013.

If anything, people are far more impressed with the far more powerful computers and sophisticated programs and far, far less impressed with people, even in their own minds.   The extent to which that is due to their casual experience with using computers and what influence that has had on the language people use to talk about our minds, I don't know.  I do know that what was commonly believed by people during that time, that people were really thinking, freely choosing, living beings seems to have given way to exactly the mechanical view that Weizenbaum warned about.    As he was surprised to find, it was among scientists who he, and earlier, Polanyi, believed should have known better that the mechanical view of humanity was already more common.   That it was, apparently, acceptable among psychotherapists and psychologists should tell us that there was something seriously wrong with the scientific identity of those academic fields.  I would say that the subsequent decades, as Behaviorism was succeeded by evolutionary psychology, the beliefs, assumptions and attitudes on display, have almost entirely dominated those and other "sciences" dealing with our minds.

You have to get people pretty young or pretty naive to get them to do the opposite, to imagine a really human like mind into a machine, but what these scientists and science-trained people do is really no different*.  The very idea that machines can achieve intelligence is based on the materialist assumption that minds are material entities that could be reproduced like robots.  As soon as you realize that it is not possible for minds to be material, you can see how absurd it is to think that any machine could have a mind. 

But our universities are staffed by such idiots, not only in the sciences but, also, perhaps even more so, the sadly demoted wreck of what used to be called "the humanities".  Perhaps that's what happens when you try to make man the measure of all things, you figure man can get the measure of ourselves and square us all away into a series of equations.  Or, at least, that's what you imagine if you didn't have the math and physics classes that apparently don't get the job done, either.

I started this thinking about following up a link at RMJ's blog, through Raw Story to a bit of academic atheist bullshit by one John G. Messerly to an earlier article he wrote for the often stupid Salon promoting the idiot fantasy of millionaire and billionaire geeks, "transhumanism" as a means of gaining immortality.  The idea is pretty daffy in details but it is also daffy in that it insists that we know that human minds are material and, as such, capable of being turned into bits and bytes of computer code and, so, we can all be downloaded to some kind of storage system to be eternally resurrected by reading devices and RAM or whatever.  It's an incredibly stupid idea but the kind of idea that comes with science geekery these days.  I might get around to dissecting the article but this is already getting long.


Only here's one point on  from the article which showed how stupid the guys who think like that are, a quote from the great thinkers of transhumanism with a list of Great Thinkers:

The conduct of life and the wisdom of the heart are based upon time; in the last quartets of Beethoven, the last words and works of "old men" like Sophocles and Russell and Shaw, we see glimpses of a maturity and substance, an experience and understanding, a grace and a humanity, that isn’t present in children or in teenagers. They attained it because they lived long; because they had time to experience and develop and reflect; time that we might all have. Imagine such individuals -- a Benjamin Franklin, a Lincoln, a Newton, a Shakespeare, a Goethe, an Einstein  -- enriching our world not for a few decades but for centuries. Imagine a world made of such individuals. It would truly be what Arthur C. Clarke called "Childhood’s End" -- the beginning of the adulthood of humanity.

Having, unlike whatever idiot who said that, read the late product of several of those thinkers, the ones who, unlike Beethoven**, lived to actually get very old, it's a mixed bag.  Russell and Shaw decayed as they aged, Shaw, in particular was on the cusp of Nazism in the 1930s if he hadn't, like so many heroes of sciency modernism, already crossed that line. The product of his last years was shit.  His prefaces and speeches from that period make this weeks infamy, Steve King, sound pretty watered down.  I've heard Russell in debate, I believe in the late 1940s or the 1950s, it was cleverness and resting on his reputation, not impressive, much of it striking me as uninformed. I don't think you can make the case that Newton's best work was from his later years or Einstein's (physicists like mathematicians hardly ever produce great work in their old age, something Russell commented on). 

Sophocles reportedly had to write Oedipus at Colonus to keep his kids from getting the courts to declare him incompetent so they could take over his financial affairs.  Since the central theme of the play depends on Oedipus dying, the gods having decided that his grave will be lucky for the place it is located in, to use his only late work to have come down to us for such an argument for "eternal life"*** is rather clueless.  And, for Pete's sake , Arthur C. Clarke?  They're resting on the wisdom of that two-bit dime-store, pulp magazine mystic?  This is a laundry list of middle-brow, unread icons, not anything anyone should base any kind of serious argument in.  I'll bet none of those who subscribed to it ever read much of anything any of them wrote.  And that's not getting into the common received credulity about the one on that list who is just about certainly a pseudonym. 

Ain't sciency modernistic modernism great or what?

*  I remember, now, the story about the attempt to ban robot brothels in some Texas city from late last year and think it, also, is not really an exception to the rule.  Men who would have sex with an animated human doll are merely demonstrating that they demote women into objects, probably why they have to resort to having sex with robots in a business that caters to men like them.  The angry proud-boys of "incel" are like that too, only they're too lazy and stupid to get up from their screens to go out.  That is until one of them gets a gun and kills women, demonstrating the same dehumanization of women that their more active co-jerks who get out more do.

**  Beethoven was 56 when he died, his last quartet was from the year before then. Using Beethoven in such a list is rather stupid.

***  I always wonder what they figure is going to happen to their cyberminds as the atoms and molecules and, eventually, the protons decay. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

On Tulsi Gabbard

I'm asked what I think of Tulsi Gabbard annoucning that she, at the age of 37 is announcing a presidential run, 15 years after she made vicious anti-LGBT speeches.  

First, she might overcome that with 20 years of hard work, in office favoring equality, not just for LGBT people but for everyone.

Second, she's too young, 57 is a credible age for a presidential candidate, one with decades of experience in office and with a long track record of service in political office.  Announcing at 37 is a publicity stunt, not a candidacy.  See what I said about Sanders, Keyes and Cain below. 

I don't have any problem with people seeing the light and leaving the hate behind, I believe in redemption and growth.  But when it comes to voting for a president, I've got to see it for a long time.   I've also heard things about her dissing Mazie Hirono.  You don't diss Mazie Hirono and expect to get my vote. 

Nope That Won't Rope Me Into It

Nope, I already said my last word about that crap. 

Bernie Sanders Running Can Only Defeat His Agenda He's Smart Enough To Know That His Staff And Cult Aren't

I agree with most of what Will Bunch says today about a 2020 Bernie Sanders presidential run doing more harm to his legacy and, with entirely more importance, the lives of millions of people who could benefit from what he can do and has done.  Bernie Sanders can, still, as a Senator start the formation of legislation that, when the Republican-fascists don't control the government, could quickly win approval and be made law*. 

Bernie Sanders may have loved being a cult figure, I think he obviously enjoyed it as much as any politician who becomes one tends to.  His current cult of devoted followers aren't the brightest pebbles on the left shore of American politics, they are the devotees of the unrealistic and impossible and never will be.  He will never be president of the United States, his run in 2016 was damaging to the one and only candidate who had a chance to keep Trump from office.   The role that his right-hand-man Jeff Weaver and, frankly, his far from above-board wife and others high up and in the mid ranks of his campaign staff played in driving down the Democratic vote in November should never be forgotten**.  Apparently many of those people are involved in the push for him to run again in 2020, no doubt they'll still crank up the whiney sirens of crank conspiracy when Bernie Sanders fails to win the nomination again, LEST IT BE FORGOTTEN, FAILING TO WIN THE NOMINATION OF A PARTY HE IS NOT A MEMBER OF.

It is beyond outrageous that Bernie Sanders is even talking about AGAIN running for the nomination of a party he didn't belong to until well after he decided to run for its nomination AND WHICH HE QUIT AS SOON AS THE ELECTION WAS OVER.   The Democratic Party must adopt rules to prevent even well-meaning carpetbaggers and attempted hijackers like Sanders from being eligible for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.  It should adopt rules that prevent non-Democrats from running the kind of destructive, counter-productive campaigns that his was in 2016.   It should, as well, learn from the disaster of having a cult figure whose cult can get turnouts for the always low-turnout caucuses BY ABOLISHING CAUCUSES!   Caucuses are an anti-democratic abomination that should have ended in the 19th century with the invention of the telegraph and rail road travel.  There is no good excuse to put the choice of any state's delegates in the hands of a small number of people when it is always the case that a primary will have far higher participation than caucuses.

I will be campaigning for the Democratic Party to take total control of its nominations processes by adopting such rules WITH AN EYE TO GETTING THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF VOTERS PARTICIPATING IN THE CHOICE.  A national primary done entirely by the Democratic Party with the participants being only real, declared members of the Democratic Party, by secure mail-in ballots would seem to be the best choice for having that choice be made by the largest number of people.   Either the Democratic Party reforms itself in the most democratic way possible, or it should change its name.  The idiots who have allowed the disgusting, disgraceful caucus ridden mish-mash that has had such bad results for us to go on this long proves they are incompetent to come up with anything that will fix it, too many of them have ulterior motives, often on behalf of some faction or other.  I've been on enough boards and committees to know how that works.  We should learn from the experience of states which conduct their elections by mail in designing that system, NOT ON THE MACHINATIONS OF SELF-INTERESTED IDIOTS ON SUB COMMITTEES.  We should entirely ignore what the pundit class says, they're mostly such idiots, themselves.

*  It is going to be necessary for Democrats to refuse to abide by Republican-fascist Supreme Court nullification of duly adopted laws, whether by radically altering the makeup of the court - which I think is a good idea, and/or by refusing to abide by court rulings that have less than unanimous agreement by the justices that the laws violate the Constitution.  As my wise friend RMJ pointed out, the Supreme Court has radically altered the Constitution by 5- 4 rulings that the large majority of the people in the country would have to do through the arduous, cumbersome process of amendment.  It is sheerest idiocy to allow five political hacks or 6 or even 8 to exercise that kind of power.  And no one should be under any illusion that the present court, where most of the members are chosen by the Federalist-fascists and the American Enterprise Institute are anything more than ideological hacks who were put on the court to do the bidding of the billionaires that finance those engines of dainty, clean language, clean finger-nailed fascism.  With Kavanaugh they've pretty well broken open the door to his kind of vulgar fascism on the court, we don't need to pretend they're anything more than they have been since the thugish voter-intimidator Rehnquist was put on it.

**  I think a lot of them, including those named, have too much of a financial interest in Sanders running again.  It would be sad to see him end his days as the Herman Cain or Alan Keyes of Democratic Socialism.  Him running in 2020 would put him in that category, only Cain and Keyes didn't do it while they weren't Republicans and who didn't hurt the Republican Party.

The Genealogy of American Fascist Evil

As I'm typing this NPR's Morning Edition has Newt Gingrinch on lying his fat face off about the Trump - McConnell shutdown and the one he caused during the Clinton administration.   Why they talk to Republican-fascists who they know are liars, who they know will lie on them and deceive their listeners is a good example of one of the worst aspects of the practice of journalism in the United States.  Especially the broadcast and cabloid media.

They don't seem to be about to correct what he said by talking to the reporters who he whined to about the slights and snubs he said were the reason for his self-destructive shut-down, so, in reality, when the media has on known liars, they are the vehicle through which they peddle their lies.

Democracy in the United States is being destroyed by lies.  Putin's entire campaign was based on targeting the peddling of lies to those deemed by social, computer and other scientists to be the most vulnerable to believing those lies.  What he was doing, what those rightly alarmed by it is something that the American media does every day, on behalf of their owners, their sponsors, other members of the super-rich elites, on behalf of their own careers which they know will not be harmed by carrying dirty water for them.   Now, as can be heard on NPR this morning as David Greene lobs soft-ball challenges to Newt Gingrich and they don't have on those who could correct his lying, they're carrying such filth when they know it is in support of Putin's puppet in the White House.

The American free press, the media are the problem, they are the messengers of lies, the corruption of our politics might not start there but they are close to the start.   Where it starts is with the Supreme Court giving them permission to lie with impunity.   There is a reason that things have steadily gotten worse, with a stream of terrible presidencies and Republican-fascist congresses in the period after 1964, the date of the first of those criminally irresponsible rulings made on behalf of the New York Times.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Denise Mina- The Dead Hour

The Dead Hour by Denise Mina and adapted by Chris Dolan was broadcast on 9th October 2009.

Glasgow, 1984 - Cub reporter "Paddy" Meehan follows the police to a domestic dispute in which a female lawyer has been beaten up. 
Her partner at the house slips £50 into Paddy's hand and shuts the door. 
Next day the lawyer is found murdered.

Paddy: Amy Manson
Billy: Stevie Hannan
Neilson: Simon Donaldson
Trisha: Cara Kelly
Gourlay: Laurie Ventry
Sean: Paul Thomas Hickey
JT: Finlay McLean
Kate: Patricia Kavanagh
Sullivan: Andrew Clark
Burns: Grant O'Rourke
Ramage: Mark McDonnell

Director: Bruce Young

Another adaptation, but a superior one.  It's based on a novel which I haven't read but it's well done on its own terms.

I've got lingering symptoms of what's going around.  Low energy for a while I'd guess.

Friday, January 11, 2019

William Bolcom - 3 Dance Portraits: No. 1, The Dead Moth Tango

Ursula Oppens, piano

I posted a different recording of these a few years back, it's good to hear another performance from such a fine artist.

No. 2, Knock-Stück

No. 3, Abbacadabra

I'm Officially Over Bernie Sanders And His Possee Of Grifters

OK, I know it's the AP but with this:

Sanders’ loyalists expect him to launch a second campaign in the coming weeks, and his network of die-hard supporters is hosting hundreds of events across the nation this weekend encouraging him to run.

I am officially over Bernie Sanders, I've even removed his name from the sidebar of my blog as someone I respect.

Bernie Sanders joined the Democratic Party, briefly, so he could run for the Democratic nomination for President in 2016, then he left the party.  A second nomination fight for the nomination of a party he is not a member of makes him a troll and a carpetbagger.  If he had remained in the Democratic Party after his last run, I wouldn't make that accusation but now he's a troll and carpetbagger using the Democratic Party for a stunt run out of ego and the desire for him and his money-making staff and his cult of adoring cultists to further their own ends.  I would argue that he is too old to be a credible candidate, I would make the same case against Joe Biden. 

What, after the disaster of Trump being put in the office with the help of his fans, Bernie imagines  he's going to get out of it except more attention for himself, at his age, I couldn't possibly guess.  Maybe my ego isn't big enough to get it.  I suspect there are those around him who expect to make money out of, what this time would be merely a stunt run, ginning up the same anger that his last run did to no good purpose.



Hate Mail

"I know quite a lot of traditionalist Catholics who hate the current Pope [Francis] largely because of his perverse desire to be a Christian."

David Bentley Hart 

Don't count my comment about what I think will happen if Pope Francis fails to open up the Catholic priesthood to people who are married as opposing him.  I think he's still got the potential to be one of the best of the modern Popes.  The abysmal quality of his opponents (Vignano, Burke, etc.*), many of whom are among those most responsible for dragging the Catholic church into its present crisis, are an indication of his potential greatness.  His pastoral letters are some of the best I've read. 

* See: BALTIMORE — The most important takeaway from the U.S. bishops' plenary meeting this week in Baltimore is that they as a group remain determined to resist the pastoral impulse and approach to which Pope Francis is calling the church. Just as it took Pope John Paul II years to take the conference in a more conservative direction, it will take the bishops who champion Francis a few more years before they have the votes to take the conference in a new direction.

This was seen most obviously in their precedent-breaking decision to select Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, as chair of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities over Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich. At the coffee break after the vote, one bishop said, "This was like electing Donald Trump. Naumann will say things that will embarrass all of us."

Yet, the bishops voted for him, not Cupich, knowing they would be sending a clear message to Francis.

And, also. 

Too many were selected as bishops because they have been promoted by a powerful patron. For example, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo became a cardinal because he had Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re as his patron, as did Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. Such patronage explains why DiNardo, whose incompetence in his dealings with Rome have been recently revealed, became a cardinal. The large number of mediocre bishops produced by the Re and Sodano networks will stalk the church for years.

Hearing Trump Whining About The House Freshmen Class Made Me Think Paul Lynde Sang It Better

I didn't remember how much of it fit Trump, the bottle blonde daughter, telling his son he didn't value him.  Uncanny.

American Democracy Is About To Die On The Say So of FOX, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh

The Republican Party has certainly already indicated that they are a fascist party in the first two years of the Trump regime, they are about to prove it absolutely as he starts to assume dictatorial power in a declaration of "national emergency" where it's obvious none exists.  Hitler had them start a fire in the Reichstag, under American Constitutional government it apparently doesn't even take that, it takes FOX and Rush Limbaugh to say mean things about Republicans being pussies if they don't violate the Constitution to do it.

This is how far American democracy has degenerated under the present cultural milieu created by the mass media, the mass media has, in fact been the engine of demolition of American democracy.   It exacerbated the racism already there through the movies and TV, it denigrated traditional American liberalism, it targeted specific individuals whenever they seemed capable of challenging the ever more fascistic Republicans on a national and often on a state level.  This is how far American democracy has degenerated since the Sullivan Decision of the Supreme Court in 1964 started us down this slide with an ill reasoned decision that could have merely told the New York Times to issue a correction and suggest a lower court could have told them to pay the court costs of the plaintiff in the lawsuit.  Instead, justices addicted to issuing landmarks issued the stupidest one given out by the Warren Court.  American fascism succeeded under a regime that empowers lies in the mass media.

Even if there are some Republicans horrified enough by the prospect of the baby-man tyrant issuing a phony emergency declaration to get his way, their leadership,  Mitch McConnell, the others in charge in the Senate and the House Republican caucus are as degenerate as Trump, as ruled by FOX and Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, as afraid that the fascist media will say mean things about them and get their devoted cult of listeners to vote them out of power.  Well, in office, their own cowardice and lack of character has disempowered them as much as it has the baby-man dictator.

Republicans looking for the destruction of the American Constitutional system as an off-ramp for the Trump shutdown instead of them voting to reopen government by a veto-proof margin shows that they already have given Trump that victory among Republicans.  If the Republican-corrupted courts go along with this, American democracy is dead, killed by the First Amendment as interpreted by the Supreme Court.  I don't know if this kind of thing would exactly match any of the predicted disasters of rule by court which the radical lawyer Louis Boudin predicted in the 1930s but it certainly fits as a disaster brought about by the idiocy of judicial governance.  If the Supreme Court goes along with this instead of stopping it,  a radical change in its status and its power will be necessary if democracy is ever to reemerge.  If the Warren Court brought disaster by folly, the Republican-fascists from the Federalist-fascist Society can be expected do worse by intent.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Dusan Bogdanovic - A Fairytale with Variations

Dusan Bogdanovic, guitar

Wheels and Walls

We now know what it would be like 

to have a mentally defective 


And yet the Constitutional system 

hasn't relieved us of him. 


Blah, blah, blah - The End of Spam

During yesterday's sick day - the reason I didn't post - I went back and emptied out the Spam file of this blog, I don't know how many thousands of rejected attempted posts that was, I'd guess at least 10,000, most of them from self-identified lefties of one kind or another, but I did get it emptied.   I went back and read some of them and my posts some of them were attached to.  It was mildly interesting to see how often I've answered questions from right wingers and pseudo-lefties and how similar they are when you go to the bother of fact-checking and critiquing them.  The secular (you can almost always safely read that "atheist") pseudo-left has way more in common with the vulgar materialist based right than they'd ever want to know.  In fact I used to not know it, myself.

One of the things you will hear such atheists trumpet is that the internet has made the triumph of atheism inevitable.  Well, that's not my experience.  When I started out online I was a fairly wishy-washy, semi-agnostic lefty who had bought into the lines about the character of the atheist left which was a product of generations of secondary writers, journalists, opinion scribblers, academics, doing a massive cover-up on the actual character of Marxists and anarchists, of people like Bertrand Russell and the other materialist pantheon which, for me, reading them in more than the clipped and cleansed snatches available outside of a university library were what I knew of such thinking.   I mean, if you took the atheist saint Emma Goldman on the basis of what she was quoted as saying you would never guess she was an elitist snob who disdained the very working class she claimed to represent, she wasn't especially interested in womens' suffrage - she was a friggin' anarchist, she wasn't interested in anything which would improve womens' lives if it involved something as realistic as voting.  At bottom she was an amoralist who loved the exciting and degenerate violence of "propaganda of the deed," someone who read Nietzsche and loved him as much as any depraved proto-Nazi of her time did because he destroyed morality. She was, in a word, a self-indulgent asshole who never did a thing that benefited anyone but those who used her to discredit the real left.  As I found out, in her old age, in the 1930s, as she watched the rise of fascism and Nazism, she plaintively asked people if she'd wasted her life on anarchism, something that only a total idiot wouldn't have figured out about fifteen minutes into thinking about anarchism.   And she was far from the only one.

Virtually every atheist hero I had seen touted in the lefty media, in academic scribbling, especially when it got to the tertiary and more remote regions from the primary sources turned out to either be jerks or to have feet of clay or, in many an instance, not to have been the atheists or opponents of Christianity the atheist establishment claimed they were.  Lots of those "atheists" who atheist non-profits list and clip were not atheists at all and said they weren't.  Though you've got to read them to know that because atheists have no inhibition about lying about such things.

Having enormously more abundant primary documentation available in free, easily searched online form, from places like Archive.org, from Project Gutenberg, in often more truncated versions from Googlebooks, even that is more than you got from the filters of the atheist propaganda of the print era,  has been an enormous education in what the actual character of the atheist - so-called "secular" sector is.  I can directly attribute my early and now complete skepticism as to the reformative power of cultural secularism to reading the primary documentation available online.  That and having to face the complete and utter failure of the secular legal regime which the Supreme Court put into place during the 20th century has driven me way, way farther to the left than reading lefty propaganda ever did.  I mean, I don't think I'd have ever really realized that one modestly leftish bill which become law and improves lives is entirely more radical than the fevered dreams of the Nation, Progressive magazine, In These Times play lefties if I hadn't been so thoroughly disillusioned by reading the Great Thinkers of the officially secular left online and been so disgusted at what they really said and thought.

I have decided to stop sending stuff to the Spam file, it gets deleted.  I'm tired of answering the same lines over and over again.  They never learn, they don't want to.

Update:  Oooh, I just deleted one, it was fun.

I Don't Have Any Problem Answering "The Question Of Evil" When It's Raised By An Atheist

I did answer "the question of evil" in the form of raping children as it was raised to me by an anti-religious, anti-Christian atheist.  Christianity has the ability to define the rape of children as a serious evil - the words of Jesus in Luke 17:2 and Matthew 18:6 have been used, to my knowledge, to define the sexual - and other - abuse of children as a very serious sin, what I grew up knowing as a mortal sin.  The infamous, scandalous situation in the Catholic Church is a situation in which priests, bishops, cardinals, even Popes have either committed such sins or have for administrative exigencies and other, equally disgusting reasons, covered up the sins of priests and bishops, they are violating clearly stated, clearly set down moral stands that they, themselves have accepted and promulgated.   But at least those are contained within Catholicism.  The same can be said of virtually all churches calling themselves "Christian," those which don't forbid the sexual abuse of children are considered heretical sects.

Atheism not only contains nothing that can tell someone who wants to sexually abuse children why it is absolutely forbidden, its substance, in the matter of holdings of morality is only good for leading people to deny the existence of durable moral truths that are knowable to be moral truths.  There is no clear atheist holding that it is wrong to rape children or anyone none that an atheist would have the slightest problem in denying applied to them or even existed.  

I looked around the internet yesterday.  Though, apparently,  the Tumblr platform is engaged in an effort to expel the images of overt and announced child rape, sex tourists who film and want to share their vacation rape of Thai and other children, sadistic sexual abuse, fascistic bondage, overt white supremacy and misogyny and overt sexualized Nazism* but apparently those who want to post those photographic and video images and gifs have opened up new internet platforms for which children are raped or through the rapists who film their rape of children share those images with their colleagues in child rape.  It's still there, I looked, it is right there for law enforcement to go after, secular law enforcement - that is if the Courts haven't, tacitly, given their permission to it under those only virtues widely held by such secularists, "free speech - free press" which under American secular culture are the only virtues, against which all other holdings of morality must bend and break and fall and fold. 

Since so many of the great fans of that regime of "free speech absolutism", so many of the champions of the "civil liberties" industry, lawyers, scholars, journalists, scribblers who have been the exact and overtenablers of this situation have been atheists, where is the atheist opposition to all of that?   I've got pretty good hearing and I don't hear it, I looked for it and I didn't find it. 

Oddly, you never hear anything about that in the media, corporate or lefty.  The corporate media is all in on anything they can make money from, the scribbling class, largely, is mostly in favor of their privilege to scribble or print whatever they want to.  You never hear that much discussed on lefty blogs there isn't even much of it talked about among conservatives.  The cult of "The First Amendment" the slightly more genteel form of what the cult of "The Second Amendment" is has destroyed any effective suppression of the commercial packaging of child rape.  It has become just another "form of expression" under what was,  in fact, a framing constructed by atheists, many of whom have an expressed hostility to Christianity.  That was the background of what I wrote the other day.  We're so used to it, thanks in no small part to the self-interested media, that we don't notice its role in this. 

The question of evil, when raised by an atheist, couldn't possibly have an easier answer, atheism can't identify something as evil, Christianity can and does.  Christians who do evil aren't acting as Christians, they are in every context I can think of in violation of the Gospel and the teachings of the Second Testament when they do it.  THEY ARE VIOLATING ABSOLUTELY NO MORAL HOLDING OF ATHEISM, they are being perfectly proper atheists in doing it, they are being thoroughly bad Christians.   Atheism enables immorality, it contains no inhibitions to it.  Christianity may not be entirely successful in inhibiting immorality but it's more successful than atheism for that purpose. 


I am convinced that unless Pope Francis ends priestly celibacy the sexual abuse scandal and the conditions that caused it will not end.  Having enough priests to remove the temptation of retaining those who should be kicked out and referred for prosecution because it would decimate the number of those ordained is one of the reasons bishops and cardinals made what was terrible so much worse.  If he doesn't do that this spring, I don't think the terrible scandal will end and the Catholic Church's credibility will not be rebuilt. 

The fascist establishment within the Catholic Church is what is keeping that from happening, the establishment which is comprised of everything from actual fascists, billionaires and other, less prosperous gangsters,  neo-medievalist lovers of the Latin liturgy, lunatic romantics for French and other monarchies of the remote past and others of marginal sanity.   

The question for Pope Francis and others who want to stop the sexual abuse that lies at the bottom of the scandal is if they will, finally,  take Luke and Matthew as being more serious than avoiding the schism that the billionaire gangsters will finance and which has figures in the right wing of the College of Cardinals and among bishops who already openly oppose Pope Francis.  I don't think that schism is avoidable, it's only a question of whether those who have created the conditions that led to this scandal go or the ones who are scandalized by it leave.  Taking into account the part that the celibate priesthood has played in the creation of the scandal is unavoidable in preventing it.  That's more a question of numbers than it is in even men of loose morals and mental problems being those willing to become priests.  

*  It's in no way astonishing that porn promotes those, it is all about the oppression of women, children, and men who are presented as objects for the use of, in almost every single case, men who are both able and willing to harm and destroy them.   I think the legalistic formula that makes something they can call "consent" the one and only moral condition that makes all of that OK is part of the same effort that has given permission to child rapists to show the images of raping children that they love.  We are no better than the degenerate Romans and others who did the exact same thing, the thing that was mostly suppressed when Christianity rose in Europe, though that force in patriarchal culture has always been, at best, suppressed.  

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

In Fairness To Seth

I should have pointed out on that Seth Myers video I posted this morning, at about 7:38, after he posts Trump calling minority leader Kevin McCarthy "Steve" Seth says:

Now, now.  In fairness to Trump, if you forget an old white guy's name you've got a decent chance if you throw out a "Steve". 

Yeah, I'd agree with that. 

I've Answered "The Question Of Evil" Over And Over Again. Atheism Contains No Way To Identify Something As Evil

“. . . [Nietzsche] had the good manners to despise Christianity, in large part, for what it actually was--above all, for its devotion to an ethics of compassion--rather than allow himself the soothing, self-righteous fantasy that Christianity’s history had been nothing but an interminable pageant of violence, tyranny, and sexual neurosis. He may have hated many Christians for their hypocrisy, but he hated Christianity itself principally on account of its enfeebling solicitude for the weak, the outcast, the infirm, and the diseased; and, because he was conscious of the historical contingency of all cultural values, he never deluded himself that humanity could do away with Christian faith while simply retaining Christian morality in some diluted form, such as liberal social conscience or innate human sympathy.”

David Bentley Hart

Last year, while I was going through the great Swiss theologian Hans Küng's book Does God Exist for the first time* I was tempted to do a long series on only the very long 4th section of the book in which he discussed the emergence of romantic era philosophy, itself a development out of "enlightenment" thinking, into its farthest logical consequences in Nietzsche's nihilism, but it would have been impossible to do Küng's comprehensive brilliance justice in even a series of blog posts.  There are also, especially for an English language audience, too many secondary figures in Continental, especially German thought of the time to make sense of much of it.  I've hardly gone through it to the extent of even adequate familiarity.   I doubt I will in my lifetime.

The encounters in the long essay, of the young Nietzsche with a range of thinkers,  Schopenhauer, F. A. Lange, David Friedrich Strauss, Darwin, Haeckel, etc. his close friendship with Wagner which was smashed definitively when Wagner wrote Parsifal - Nietzsche was scandalized by its quite medieval Christian subject matter - and his subsequent push past all of it to admit the logical result of atheism and materialism documenting what David Bentley Hart wrote more than two decades later.

And Nietzsche didn't just stop with that logical conclusion in moral nihilism that is inevitable when atheism is the basis of thinking, he admitted that without the moral content which is contained in the Christianity (and other religion) things won't stand at an innocuous amorality, it will become might makes right, a Hobbesian struggle of all against all** in which the strongest and most unrestrained will, in fact, rise to the top where the most able of them will impose their desires and will on those they can.  Hobbes, Mandeville, . . . many other thinkers in the line of those who reject religion, who reject Christianity and who, for whatever reason, bring that to a state of logical integrity will end up accepting, if not joyously approving the violent, aristocratic enslavement of most people by those who can and will do that.  Though I think those who praise Nietzsche for his rejection of Strauss's style of bourgeois rejection of the results of their atheism overlook that he, himself, couldn't face the inevitable result of his own nihilism.  He imagined Supermen who would have lives of art appreciation along with their amoral ruthlessness.  That was a delusion, I don't think that Nietzsche was enough of an observer of art that he realized that what would degenerate wouldn't stop at morality and intellectual distinction, even science but would also dissolve art into a market-driven drivel which the Superman class he correctly predicted would rule the world would be indifferent to except on a basis of fashion.

Donald Trump,  Vladimir Putin, other epic vulgarians of the ruthless billionaire oligarchy are what comes from the rejection of God, of The Gospel, of The Law, of the Prophets and their equivalent in other religious traditions.  Trump Tower, Putin's pleasure palace, in which, perhaps, a few pieces of art might collect as status symbols for the vulgarian Supermen is the real result of nihilism.

To answer the claim, Atheism dissolves everything, including all intellectual holdings, including all holdings of morality, it replaces only what someone figures they can't get away with in its place.  And, so often, especially when there is a difference in power between two people, there isn't any prospect of there being a consequence for the powerful***.  It can't even, in the end, come up with a holding that raping children is wrong.   In Europe it took Christianity to introduce the idea that the sexual enslavement of children was wrong.  It was ubiquitous before then.
Any atheist who opposes the rape of children has to leave atheism to hold that moral stand.  It is intrinsic to Judaism and Christianity.

*  The more comprehensive habits of German language scholarship ensures that if you've read one of his books only once, you haven't really read it.

** That Nietzsche had Hobbes and other thinkers from earlier centuries to support that point shows that the rejection of religion, especially in the context of European-Western thinking, Christianity, the pattern is for violent, ruthless amorality to rise as a tacitly stated virtue seems irresistible.  It is only by those who refuse to carry things to their logical conclusion that that is deniable.

***  Look how long it took only one of Woody Allen's teenage girlfriends in the 1970s to drop a dime on him.

Hate Mail

Same answer as yesterday.

If We Don't Wake Up To One Baby-Man Rule Tomorrow Don't Believe The PR BS That "The System Worked"

OK, it's funny, it's absurd.  But now that we've had our laugh consider how dangerous this is.

Trump started out as a corrupt, decadent, mentally deficient, lazy, fraudulent spoiled rich brat who was made president by an amoral Republican party that started out opposing him but as soon as the goons who vote Republican gave him the nomination, any who remained in the Republican Party genuflected to him - NEEDLESS TO SAY, THE AMERICAN FREE PRESS GENUFLECTED, THEY ALWAYS DO WHEN IT'S A REPUBLICAN -  and the entire Republican controlled Senate and House and, it's increasingly obvious, the Republican controlled Supreme Court are not doing a thing to effectively oppose his insanity.  And, they should never be allowed to distance themselves from their role in this, the mass media that created Donald Trump as a public figure,  the New York City media that used him for entertainment value, the publishing industry that capitalized off of his media celebrity to present him, fraudulently, as a business genius, and as a strong and fascistic tycoon who expressed his genius by firing people - all according to script.

This isn't funny.  The Trump regime has been a full evaluation of mental competence, not only for Trump and the Republican Party but for the United States.  The good news on that is that a majority of Americans didn't vote for Trump, he didn't win the popular vote and his support has never approached fifty-percent in any polls except the ones which are overt Republican propaganda operations anyway.  The bad news is that even that fact, under the United States Constitution has not been enough to remove Donald Trump and the criminals in his regime from office.  There is no evidence that the Constitution, the law, the force of democratic elections are going to remove him and his goon squad from office.  If you want one of the bigger evidences of how decadent modern culture is from within that criminal gang,  Ben Carson is still installed at HUD.*

If, in the coming days, you hear some idiot in the DC-NYC-Atlanta TV-radio media congratulate us on "the system working" to remove this danger, you will know that that's just another symptom of how seriously dangerous things are because the media telling those kinds of soothing lies are a huge part of why we are in such trouble and why even if all of them were removed, it's going to happen again.  We saw how the system imposing Bush II on us did not right things to the extent that it kept us from having the far worse Trump regime imposed on us a mere eight years after the implosion of 2008.  It didn't keep us from having the Bush II regime imposed on us by the corrupt Supreme Court fiat in 2000.  This system, the US Constitution and the culture of our media are a continuing danger to us.   The media keeps us from really addressing those dangers, it keeps us from really avoiding a downward plummet, one which we have been on since Nixon was elected in 1968.   So many institutions are corrupted by it, by the culture of decadence and cynicism that even if we temporarily avoid the worst under Trump, it's just a matter of time before at least as bad results from it.  I mean, did anyone really believe we could get to this point the day after the election of 2008?  Did you ever really believe you would arrive at this day in which we are wondering if Trump is about to declare, in effect, rule by presidential decree AND WE ARE NOT CERTAIN IF THE SUPREME COURT WILL STOP HIM?  AND WE ARE CERTAIN THAT THE REPUBLICAN SENATE WONT? 

*  It's terrifying that someone with his level of mental debility and sluggishness was once allowed to perform surgery on people.  I don't think, after Dr. Carson's public life that "It's not brain surgery" will ever have the same meaning.  I mean, if he could do it?

Joe Biden Running For President Would Be A Disaster

For all of the reasons that the estimable Charles Pierce gives, Joe Biden running for president in 2020 is a terrible idea.  He has, twice, been proven to be a terrible presidential candidate, is gaff prone, not mentioned by Pierce was one of the stupidest things I've ever known a Democratic candidate to do, cribbing a speech from Neil Kinnock,  head of the British Labour Party at the time, and his record in, especially the Senate was even worse.

Joe Biden is polling as the most popular possible Democratic candidate right now because he was Barack Obama's Vice President but we've run vice presidents before,  Hubert Humprey,  Fritz Mondale, Al Gore.  All of whom benefitted from name recognition but which didn't result in them becoming president.  I will admit that in the case of Gore, he had it stolen from him but that's neither here nor there.

Charles Pierce is also right that, though Biden is very popular with the Sunday Talk Show, 24-7 babblers and the money guys, he is greatly past his sell-by date with the Democratic Party which just injected quarts and quarts of new blood into the party.  If you'll forgive me getting Biblical,  new wine in old skins is a guaranteed disaster, we have that on the highest of authority. 

Pierce notes that though Hillary Clinton* has had more success as a presidential candidate, twice, than Biden did, she's being told to retire as Biden is being promoted.  That he's an old white man while she's a younger old white woman is certainly relevant to why that is.

I don't want to see any of the candidates over 70 run, though they are in my own age cohort.  And I don't just mean the ones who, like Sanders, is only a Democrat when it suits his purpose.  Our time in THAT office has passed, I'm hoping one of the results of the Trump disaster will be that it turns off the voters on geezers as president.  While a rare few can hold major office in the legislative branch such as Nancy Pelosi, I've watched Joe Biden for his entire career in public office, on his best stretch of it, he was no Nancy Pelosi.   His most prominent leadership role was when he presided over the Senate Judiciary Committee and it was awful to behold.  Pierce points out that he was the one who failed to support Anita Hill and the other woman who was prepared to testify that Clarence Thomas was a serial sexual harrasser.  Biden chickened out then, he would never stand up to Republicans and the Republican media.  He would be the worst of Bill Clinton without his campaign skills.  If there's another thing I don't want it's another weak man as a Democratic President.

*  Sorry about posting this hours ago without specifying who I was talking about here.  Editing, sometimes it works.

Chuck Hoskin jr. Owes Elizabeth Warren An Apology

Since a comment was posted here which contains an often told and recent lie about Elizabeth Warren, that she claimed membership in the Cherokee Nation, a lie aided by Chuck Hoskins jr. misrepresenting what she has said, here is what she has actually said about that.

"I won't sit quietly for [President Donald Trump's] racism, so I took a test,  But DNA & family history has nothing to do with tribal affiliation or citizenship, which is determined only—only—by Tribal Nations. I respect the distinction, & don't list myself as Native in the Senate."

The opportunistic campaign of using racism and misogyny against Elizabeth Warren, as it would any Democratic Woman or man they can mount this kind of campaign against is obviously an organized and planned strategy among Republicans and their legions of trolls online and their water carriers in the media.  It certainly doesn't help when people like Chuck Hoskin misrepresented what she said in a way that aids that effort.  Since he's a Democratic politician as well as a politician within one branch of the Cherokees, he should repair the damage that his statement has done.  I don't know about the internal politics of the entity he represents but his misstatement is hardly the last word on that subject.

Warren was clearly trying to put the question of her Native American heritage to rest, but in doing so, she may have opened up new lines of attack that Trump and other critics can use. The president and Republicans have focused much more on Warren’s claims of Native American heritage than on her sweeping policy proposals to clean up corruption in Washington, lower the cost of housing, and hold corporations more accountable.

By taking the test, Warren angered at least one prominent tribe. Rather than settling the speculation by responding to Trump’s challenge, she prompted an entirely new argument about whether she should have taken the test at all, and opened up fears that she had hobbled her presidential campaign before it even got off the ground.

The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center — an organization raising awareness about violence toward Native American women and families, and the charity Warren requested Trump donate $1 million to as part of his bet about her DNA test — came to the senator’s defense this fall.

“We appreciate Senator Warren’s push to bring awareness to violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women and families, who all too often are invisible to most Americans,” the center said in a statement. “As marginalized communities, we often struggle to bring tribal interests to the center of the debate.”

Also voicing support for Warren’s decision was the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians — one of three federally recognized Cherokee tribes (the Cherokee Nation is another).

“Senator Elizabeth Warren does not claim to be a citizen of any tribal nation, and she is not a citizen of the Eastern Band,” said Eastern Band Principal Chief Richard Sneed in a statement to Business Insider. “Like many other Americans, she has a family story of Cherokee and Delaware ancestry and evidence of Native ancestry.”

Sneed said he believes Warren has shown respect for Cherokee tribal sovereignty, and “has not used her family story or evidence of Native ancestry to gain employment or other advantage.”

Chuck Hoskin  jr. should both correct the record and act to mitigate the use he is to Republicans attacking Elizabeth Warren.   As to whether or not anyone should take a DNA test, IT'S HER DNA, SHE'S GOT EVERY RIGHT TO HAVE IT TESTED IF SHE WANTS TO.  She's got as much right to use it to find evidence to confirm her families oral history as anyone does to confirm their own family history.  She hasn't applied to become a member of any sovereign nation and Hoskin's tacit claim that she had has been a big help to the racists who are actively attacking the rights of all Native American nations and groups.  Hoskin is a politician, he should understand what he did.  If he doesn't he should find out because it was stupid and counterproductive. 

I have not quoted what Hoskin said because I will not further such false "memes" by repeating them.  

Monday, January 7, 2019

Hate Mail

No further comment.

The Danger To Evolutionary Science And All Of Us From The Pseudo-Scientific Use Of The Word "Evolution"

I have an note to myself on my desk which I found about a week back.  It's undated but I clean off my desk once a month so I know it was from December.  It's a reminder that I should research examples of casual dropping of the word "evolution" in the media, as in the phrase "evolution made" something or "the reason for that is 'evolution' " and trying to find out if there is any, even the slightest evidence in rigorous science that the said something has been traced to evidence of evolution having a hand in producing it.  I strongly suspect it was a note I wrote to myself after hearing NPR's Shankar Vedantam - the "Hidden Brain" guy who, typically of those who spout off pseudo-scientifically about minds and behavior, will use the word "evolution" as a sort of magic charm to come up with a simulation of an explanation when not only is there no explanation for what they're expounding on, quite often the scientific evidence for the existence of some of the phenomena being so "explained" is non-existent and even for those that exist, my guess is that there is no valid scientific evidence that explains their existence within evolution.  That is if you take the claimed methods of science seriously, something which, alas, many who teach "science" and even science at major universities don't seem to.

I mentioned that to one of my relatives, someone who had a career and an education in biology - for the record Vedantam, typical of so many American "science reporters" has a minimal education in science, he's got an electronics engineering degree and a masters in "journalism".   My relative became notably uneasy when I criticized the misuse of the word "evolution" in contexts in which there is no science to support the contention.   He made a joke that I sounded like a "flat-earther" which is interesting in that it would seem to be the response any such questioning of even the most outlandish use of the word "evolution" as a materialist-secularist magic charm.   He knows that I believe in evolution, we've talked about evolutionary topics often enough, it was just my criticism of the abuse of the word by pseudo-scientists of the behavioral kind that gave him the willies.
Lost in that was the fact that I was trying to uphold the integrity of science against the popularization of words in ways that damaged their meaning. 

It was reading a criticism of Jordan Peterson's idiotic diet advice - literally an all beef diet, with a little salt, something he got from his huckster daughter who charges people $120 an hour as an expert consultant*, that reminded me that I was going to research this use of the word "evolution" to see just how much damage had been done to its scientific integrity by its greatest fans. 

It was also being reminded that Jordan Peterson is considered an expert in "evolutionary psychology" which I think is just neo-eugenics repackaged to promote racism and sexism and class inequality since the last quarter of the last century.   Being someone who took more notice than many at how E. O. Wilson's Sociobiology morphed rather fast into "evolutionary psychology" mostly, from what I saw, on the basis of escaping the criticisms of Wilson's work and avoiding most of the actual business of observation in nature for making up stories,  I think they called their bull-shit stream of psychology "evolutionary" in order to take advantage of the magical character that word has with the college credentialed crowd.  Lots of "evolution" even going back to the earliest years consists of such story telling, honest evolutionary biologists will admit that, though I think it's generally not evolution that they're making the stories up about but natural selection, which is not the same thing.

Remember to ask yourself, the next time you hear someone like Vedantham explain something as a product of "evolution" whether or not there is the slightest evidence in scientific observation that that is "where it came from".  And while you're at it, take a hard look at any such "science" used to explain it or even to prove the phenomena they're explaining exists.   "Science" accepted on the same basis as the kind of lore that the Peterson-meathead diet is based in is not science.  Scientists should be the first ones to protect the integrity of their field, but they almost never will.

*Ms Peterson is offering consultations for $120 an hour. If that seems expensive, well, simply read the testimonials she has collected to assure you that it is money well spent. Do not stop to consider if the plural of anecdote is evidence.

Meeting criticism of her lack of qualifications, Ms Peterson says, “I’m not going to go to a school run by either the pharmaceutical companies or the food companies to learn about how eating grain is healthy.” Contemporary nutritional science is not, of course, infallible or immutable, but unlike Peterson’s beef and vodka diet, it has been arrived at over many decades through longitudinal and quantitative studies. There are schisms within the discourse – for example, over the risks of saturated fat. But such schisms are best addressed through systematic reviews of research and further peer-reviewed investigation.

Ms Peterson’s blog cherrypicks studies to support her beliefs, while treating robust scientific literature and consensus on nutrition with the kind of scorn for the scientific method that I ordinarily associate with anti-vaxxers, raw-food-cures-cancer advocates, or the eminently disturbing bleach enemas for autistic children crowd.

While I'd agree with Rupert Sheldrake that nutrition is not our most successful branch of biology, it's a lot better than this kind of bull shit which daddy Peterson is peddling.  I wonder if she got her notions of science from him.

Making Democrats, Democratic Women, Democratic Women of Color Responsible For Trump's Tantrum And Mitch's Malfeasance

As I'm typing this I am listening to NPR's Steve Inskeep doing a soft-hit interview with Democratic strategist Margie Omero.    He's doing the typical media thing of turning monumental irresponsibility of Republicans,  Trump, Mitch McConnell in the shut down into a Democratic problem, even though Democrats in the only part of government they control, half of the legislative, have already voted, repeatedly to reopen the government.  He's also bringing up Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the focus of a right-wing hate campaign of the kind that they have mounted against Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren.   Now they are including Rashida Talib whose one profane statement will, certainly be talked about for as long as she's before the public and probably after. 

Have I mentioned that NPR should be fuck off and die?

The corporate media had a problem while Democrats were entirely out of power, how to make them responsible for the inability of Republicans to do anything responsible and reasonable?   Now that they have one house of Congress under the control of Democrats, better, with Nancy Pelosi as Speaker, they can go back to their old and well practiced habit of making Democrats and, especially Democratic Women, and best of all, Democratic Women of Color responsible for the disgusting and obscene behavior of old, white, racist Republican men who hold control in the rest of the government. 

The idiots on the alleged left part of the "free speech - free press" industry have always had it wrong, the American media, even the "left" of it is not liberal, not in the real meaning of the word in the United States, it is, left to right, in the hands of people who oppose egalitarian democracy, either overtly or by force of their content, Steve Inskeep is typical though hardly isolated in doing that.  It is the effect of just about everything they do.  As I've pointed out time after time, the secular-leftist media does the same thing from another direction. 

The American media, with very few exceptions, is not the friend of egalitarian democracy.  It should have its ability to lie and distort taken from it by making its privileges contingent on telling the truth instead of lying and distorting.  NPR should fuck off and die.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Reges Tharsis - For Epiphany

The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts. And all the people of the Earth will serve him.

William Byrd

Alexander Blachley, conductor

Gaston Litaize

You might hear the Gregorian Melody in Litaize's organ piece.

Shove Jordan Peterson Back Over The Canadian Border And Seal It Against Him

Listening to this Canadian crackpot talk about rape is one of the most incredibly bizarre things I've heard yet this year. 

There are a few other professional fields where someone could get away with being as fricken loony as Jordan Peterson is and no one would consider firing him except psychology.   That such a nutcase and intellectual phony holds a faculty position at a major North American university shows that the entire field is bullshit.  It should be as big a scandal as when the idiots in evo-psy all of a sudden noticed that the flaming anti-semite Kevin Macdonald was publishing science that wouldn't have been out of place in Germany in the late 1930s but, of course, it being psychology it isn't. 

Democrats Have To Defeat Misogynistic Republican Vilification Campaigns Even When "Democrats" Mount Them

The use of racism by the scumbag-Republican Matt Gaetz, (scumbag-Republican FL) against Elizabeth Warren is just the latest in what is an obvious and organized effort by Republican-fascists to use misogyny and racism against potential Democratic presidential nominees.   Since the likes of Gaetz swim in the bottom regions of the cesspool that is the Republican Party under Trumpism - they're all pretty much bottom feeders - it is mainstream Republican politics when he does it.

This has been such a long standing and obvious effort that it is certain planned and planned to become effective.  A big part of that effectiveness is the American media which can be counted on to not only carry Republican-fascist use of racism and misogyny, they will adopt it as part of their "people are saying" narration.  The effect of that isn't planned to be on rational people who are informed, it is planned to have an effect on an effective margin of voters who are not informed and will vote on their ill-informed emotions, the kind who knew  they didn't like Hillary Clinton but, when asked, couldn't tell you why.   I can tell them why, the American media from the New York Times, NPR, The Nation, In These Times, . . . . and all the way down to the fascist and neo-Nazi sewer was telling them for three decades to not like her.

The American "free press" is a willing participant in these things and it will be as the Republican-fascists attack Elizabeth Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and any other Democratic woman they can mount an attack on.   And the lefty media participates in that as much as any other.

The misogyny on the lefty blogs and websites in the nominations during 2008 was more than matched by that during the nominations of 2016, it is ongoing on comment threads of lefty media such as Majority Report.   We now know some of it was rampant in the Sanders campaign,  Bernie Sanders has admitted that and apologized for it, though at the time it was certainly known within the upper reaches of his staff I suspect including his wife and campaign manager,  so I can't believe he didn't know about it at the time.

American media doesn't deal in developed ideas, it peddles labels, so we need an effective term for this Republican-fascist tactic of vague vilification.  Something specific to it.  I'm not good with making up such terms but if it's going to be fought one will have to be used.  Democrats have to study and plan an effective series of strategies that will expose that for what it is and they will have to adopt a solid line of opposition to that practice.  Given the non-Democrat Sanders campaign and its fan boys and gals in 2016 and what I think was probably a far less intrinsic part of Obama's 2008 campaign, the first thing to do is to make opposing misogyny and racism a requirement of ALL of those who are trying to run a campaign against Democratic women, even during the nominations process.   If we can't eliminate it among our own campaigns how can we hope to defeat the Republican-fascists doing it?

NOTE:  Democrats should insist that the DNC adopt a rule that no one who has not been a registered Democrat for at least two presidential cycles is eligible for the Democratic nomination for president.   There is no reason for the Democratic Party to remain vulnerable to the likes of Bernie Sanders or, in the upcoming election, Michael Bloomberg who didn't see fit to BE DEMOCRATS except when they figure they can benefit from declaring they are, temporarily, Democrats.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Damien Atkins - Good Mother

Adapted for Radio from the world premier production at the Stratford Festival In Canada 2002.  What would you do if suddenly your mom wasn’t your mom anymore.  The Driver family struggles to come with an accident that robs them of a mother and leaves them to care for her as she struggles to regain her memory.

Seana Mckennam 
Damien Atkins  
Walter Best  
Michelle Graff  
Jane Spider  
Ron Horsman  
Andrew Dodd

Directed by Miles potter
Produced by Barbara Worthy

In Contrast To The Below

Image result for janet mills

Gov.-elect Janet T. Mills hugs singers Shy Pace, 11, (left) and Natalia Mbadu, 10, after the duo sang "Girl On Fire" in honor of Mills before she took the oath of office in Augusta on Wednesday night.  Bangor Daily News:  Troy R. Bennett

Enabling the telling of lies, especially in the mass media, is not only something a liberal has absolutely no moral obligation to do out of some flaky notion of fairness, it is an immoral act of enabling the destruction of egalitarian democracy

The stinking, racist hypocrisy of Maine Republicans' Paul LePage, elected, twice, with less than the support of a majority of voters is far deeper than I knew last Wednesday when I wrote about his pardon of Jeff Pierce, a felony drug dealer who was also charged with multiple other crimes before and after,  who Republicans put in the legislature to support Paul LePage.  And, it was reported that the Clemency Board in Maine had recommended the Pierce, who has a record of continuing to break the law, EVEN AS A STATE LEGISLATOR, not be pardoned.  To top it off,  as Rachel Maddow points out, LePage refused to pardon a family man in Maine who was deported by the Trump regime on the basis of an old drug conviction EVEN THOUGH HE HAD AN OTHERWISE CLEAN RECORD.   I hope Governor Janet Mills pardons him and works to restore him to his family here in Maine.

The idiocy of laws passed as an experiment by flaky lefties in Maine* not only made it far more likely that the last choice of the majority of voters would become governor, they also adopted laws that allowed a scumbag like LePage to hide most of the pardons they issued so we don't know what other scum Lepage has given a pardon to.  Lots of the laws passed on the basis of liberal flakiness of the past should have been looked at, hard, to see what opportunities those chuckleheads were giving to fascists like LePage and scum like Pierce because a good percentage of their success was based in some of the dumbest of "reforms" and theories of fairness and niceness of the 60s and 70s. 

Liberal politics that has being fair to fascists and nice to Nazis and standing up for Stalinists and mushy for Maoists is the wrong kind of liberal politics. 

Liberal politics should, always, be about the protection of egalitarian democracy against all of the forces and all of the people who would destroy it.  Whether those are Trumpian-LePagian fascists and Nazis, or billionaire oligarchs, or the corporate media or some pseudo-lefty ideology.  Unfortunately, given how much the America left has been suckered by the "free speech - free press" contingent who controls the ACLU and the "civil liberties" industry, one of the things it has to fight against are such duped and suckered liberals and lefties. 

Fairness to fascists, providing them an even playing field, providing them with the ability to push their poison into the minds of those they can sucker is not and never has been a legitimate goal of any liberalism. 

Enabling the telling of lies, especially in the mass media,  is not only something a liberal has absolutely no moral obligation to do out of some flaky notion of fairness,  it is an immoral act of enabling the destruction of egalitarian democracy.  America's left got sold a huge load of bull shit when it bought that line from the likes of the ACLU and the "civil liberties" industry.   All  of the bull shit laws of easing ballot access that enabled Paul LePage to win election, twice, and which has helped him hide his pardons given to his buddies and cronies were part of that same program of idiotic "fairness" that took advantage of liberals who are more ruled by their easily swayed emotions than by a clear-eyed evaluation of the consequences for the one and only legitimate form of government, egalitarian democracy adopted by a majority of informed voters acting out of good will.

Maine Republicans should have to wear the stink of Paul LePage, the worst governor in our history.   Ranked-choice voting should be extended to every election in Maine AND IT SHOULD BE LAW THAT NO ONE CAN BECOME GOVERNOR OR A MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATURE WHO ISN'T AT LEAST THE SECOND CHOICE OF A MAJORITY OF VOTERS.

Gov. Janet Mills said she is now considering a similar change to Maine’s new private pardon law. Mills was not available for an interview, but a spokesperson said in a statement that she generally believes that the public has a right to know about pardons granted by her or other governors.

Not all Democrats are in agreement on the issue.

“Shame isn’t the tool we should be using,” said Rep. Charlotte Warren, who co-chairs the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. “People deserve second chances, and when the governor is saying you’ve done your time and I’m going to pardon you, or shorten your sentence through another process, you know, that’s saying you’ve paid your debt to society.”

Well, if that's the case,why not just grant all people who have served their sentence with the equivalent instead of leaving it to the whims of whoever happens to be the governor?   

The power to grant pardons is an extraordinary power that is extraordinarily open to abuse by a governor who, in that function, is pretty much free and unanswerable for what they do with it.  Making who he pardons secret is one of the stupidest things Maine legislators have done in criminal reform.   Considering who isn't covered under that secrecy rule - including people who were convicted of consensual sex when teenagers decades ago -  Warren is an idiot.

Democrats Unleash GROUNDBREAKING Bill After Taking Back House



Friday, January 4, 2019

Dusan Bogdanovic - Tombeau de Purcell

Dusan Bogdanovic, Tombeau de Purcell, Eden-Stell Guitar Duo.
Recorded in 2005. Published by https://productionsdoz.com/

1. Overture, Grave doloroso, 0:00
2. Var.1, Lamentoso, 1:24
3. Var.2, Risoluto, 2:19
4. Var.3 Adagio trasparente, 3:06
5. Var.4, Espressivo e ritmico, 4:09
6. Var.5, Allegro non troppo e ritmico, 5:28
7. Passacaglia, Grave doloroso, 6:11

Image: Henry Purcell by John Closterman.

Already Feeling Cleaner In The New Year

I have given up trying to clean out the Spam file of this blog.  The program that does that allows you to delete 100 spam messages at a time.  I've done it over and over again and I'm still not out of the backlog for 2018.  Looking at them, most of them are old hate-mail that was too stupid and useless for me to do anything else with but junk them.  A few were attempts at scams, probably less than 1%.  I do know that when I decided that I'd moderate comments because I didn't want this to turn into the kind of open comment food-fight that those usually turn into AND THAT I WOULD NOT KNOWINGLY CARRY LIES TOLD ABOUT NAMED PEOPLE I didn't realize what a high percentage of comments that would turn out to be.  I wish I'd just deleted those.  I wonder where they reside.  Will they ever disappear or will they always be there in a way that could be opened and read?   I do know I've given up trying to empty it out.  I must have deleted a couple of thousand of those people have tried to post since last March.   The ones I read were mostly just stupid stuff, the stuff from "the left" as stupid as the stuff from the right.  I think stupid people probably lie more.  It's a symptom of stupidity.

I Love That The Fascists Attacking AOC For Being Young, Happy and Female (or is it Latina?) Backfired

For the Republican-fascists who installed a guy who was a regular and violent drunk who smeared a Woman as a slut in his high school yearbook claiming, apparently falsely and without her knowledge (until after the dope supported him), that he'd screwed her, who is very credibly accused of sexually assaulting and two Women, one in front of witnesses, the other trying to rape her with a drinking buddy, and which totally supports a confessed, serial sexual assaulter as the president*  to try to shame the young,wonderful and brilliant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a video in which she does a very chaste and clean dance while she was in college is more than disgusting.

I have never been much on dancing but even I smiled when I saw AOC dancing on the rooftop - dancing very well - in the college video.   It made me happy.

This is part of a clear Republican game plan of vilifying, especially, Women, to create a vague negative feeling about Democratic Women with an effective percentage of the largely uninformed population. I wish I had kept a list of younger people who knew they didn't like Hillary Clinton but, when you asked them why, they couldn't tell you why, they just knew it. It has been an ongoing effort with Hillary Clinton, now that we know the criminal acting-AG is continuing the smear campaign at taxpayers expense over her e-mails.  I would love an accurate accounting of how many tens of millions of dollars Republicans have spent trying to find something they could indict Hillary Clinton on because it's going into its third decade now and they've found nothing.  The last figure I recall was $40,000,000, and that was a long time ago. 

Hillary Clinton is, certainly, the most certifiably INNOCENT American citizen in the history of the country.  Certainly the most investigated and they have yet to indict her on anything.  

The Republican Smear-The-Women campaign has targeted Elizabeth Warren, Maxine Waters,  Frederica Wilson * . . . . and now Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 

It's time to call this what it is, an organized, planned use of misogyny in exactly the same way that Republicans have used racism all along.  It is time to shove it in the face of all Republicans but, especially, Republican Women as Black Republicans should have to answer for their remaining in a party which is the foremost vehicle of racism in the United States.   I think the Democratic Party should research this because I'm sure they have some kind of planning, probably doing market-style research to see who to target and what lies and lines to use.   I'm sure scum like the Mercers and Murdochs finance it and there are probably hints as to which firms are doing the research for them.  Expose this as the media campaign that it is.

*  That lying scumbag John Kelly should never appear on the media without someone asking him if he's ready to admit he lied about Congresswoman Frederica Wilson.  He is, I'm sorry to say, typical of a kind of Boston Irish racist and a coward.   A real man of substance wouldn't have lied and even one of marginal honor would have apologized after being exposed as a liar, especially in the context in which he lied about her.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Dusan Bogdanovic - Furioso

Dusan Bogdanovic, Winter Tale, guitar duo with Miroslav Tadic
Recorded in 1995 at the Gallery of frescos (Galerija fresaka) in Belgrade.

Published by http://www.singidunumusic.com/

"they don't realize that this Book is their enemy" Put The Meaning In The Christmas Narratives Back Into It And FOX Will Declare War on Christmas

Afterwards we read how Joseph was informed by an angel of the death of Herod and he returned to Israel:

But when Joseph heard that Archelaus was governing in Judea in place of his father Herod,  he was afraid to go there;  and having been warned in dreams, he went to the province of Galilee.  When he reached there, he went to live in the town of Nazareth.

WILLIAM: "They were practically in the underground."

Another boy:  They were right to stay in hiding, because even if Herod was already dead, there was another dictator there;  just as if a Somoza dies and somebody else is in power,  you're still always afraid. 

I said that this Herod Archelaus that was left governing Judea was the cruelest of the sons of Herod and was even crueler than his father;  his government was inaugurated with a riot by the people and he killed more than three thousand demonstrators who were asking for freedom for political prisoners and for tax cuts.  In Galilee Herod Antipas ruled, who was less dreadful,  even though he was the one that killed John the Baptist and was governing at the time of the death of Christ. 

My brother FERNANDO said:  "The old dictator died and the angel tells Joseph that they can come back now, but that doesn't mean that now there wouldn't be more people that would want to kill the child.  In fact his life continued in danger and that's why they were in that insignificant little town of Galilee,  and part of his public life he also spent half in hiding, until they finally killed him.  And the same thing will happen to anyone who gets involved with liberation.  He'll get out of one danger only to fall into another.  And this you always have to keep in mind.  The angel informed that one danger had ended . . . for the moment."

ALEJANDRO:  "And Mary was screwed from the very first, right?  It was thirty years of fighting right back beside her son, risking herself just like him from when he was a child until he died.  That seems to me a good lesson for every mother.  And another lesson as Joseph."

And OLIVIA,  Alejandro's mother:  " What Alejandro says is quite right,  and fathers and mothers ought to think a lot about it.  That mother went with her son until his death and willingly.  But nowadays many times mothers are the first to be opposed to their sons fighting for freedom.   Some of them don't even like the boys and girls to come to the meetings, so they don't get involved.  I, when I heard that some young people were taking over at the cathedral,  I wanted to be close to them,  I wanted to be able to go and see them, help them in some way.  And even take the microphone and talk also."

FERNANDO:  "I don't understand how you can read the Gospels and get spiritual lessons for your life out of it and not get involved in the Revolution.  This Book has a very clear political position for anyone that reads it simply, as you read it.  But there are people in Managua who read this Book, and they are friends of Herod;  and they don't realize that this Book is their enemy.

So that what the prophets said could be fulfilled;  that Jesus was going to be called a Nazarene.

I said that Nazareth was a place so humble that it is not mentioned even once in the Old Testament, and we don not know exactly what prophecies Saint Matthew is referring to.  It is believed that he may be punning with a Hebrew name of similar sound that has been given to the Messiah that means "sprout".   One thing seems certain, that this is what the name "Nazarene" that Jesus had was a nickname given to him by his enemies to make fun of his humble origins."

GLORIA:  "To say 'from Nazareth' might be like saying 'from Nindiri' . . . or worse, 'from Solentiname.' "  

JOSE,  Mariita's husband, said:  "His nickname meant that he was a man of the people, and he was a man of the people, including even that his parents hadn't been married, were engaged to be married and she was pregnant, as so often happens with the poor, with that problem of the poor, then, the Messiah was born, son of an unwed mother."

WILLIAM (smiling):  "And they didn't know who the father was. . . "
MARIITA:  "But he married her because he loved her."  

That is the last part of this chapter from The Gospel in Solentiname.  As RMJ pointed out during Advent, far from being fairy tales and children's books both accounts of the Birth of Jesus are dark and troubling stories of a child being born and a mother giving birth in dangerous and primitive and, as everyone who first heard the stories would know, filthy conditions, as humble as could be had.  And if that weren't enough, the king wants to hunt him down and kill him, willing to kill lots of baby boys in order to kill him - as in an earlier passage they pointed out the American supported dictatorship in Nicaragua killed a bunch of farmers to kill the one who was a union organizer. 

Back when I was a kid there were a lot of people who liked to talk about "putting the Christ back in Christmas".   I remember my mother wondering when Christ got taken out of it but, then, she was seriously Catholic. 

If FOX had any idea what REALLY reading the stories of Christmas meant, as Fernando Cardenal said, they'd be the first to declare war on it.