Saturday, June 1, 2019

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Martin Jameson - DCI Stone - Something To Do

When a young boy is discovered badly injured and left for dead, DCI Stone is shocked and disturbed by what the investigation uncovers. The truth proves elusive and Stone must delve deep into the motives behind this brutal crime and face some uncomfortable questions about the nature of criminal responsibility.

Again this week, I'm pressed for time so I don't have the time to look up the full credits and won't post a partial list.  

DCI Stone is a superior cop-opera, the voice acting is excellent and the use of sound effects is very good, too. Not to mention the writing. 

Run This Through Your Spell Check American Or Brit Spelling

Your letter of the 3d has been duly recieved. that of mr Eppes had before come to hand, covering your MS. on the reformation of the orthography of the plurals of nouns ending in y, and ey, and on orthoepy. a change has been long desired in English orthography, such as might render it an easy and true index of the pronuntiation of words. the want of conformity between the combinations of letters, and the sounds they should represent increases to foreigners the difficulty of acquiring the language, occasions great loss of time to children in learning to read, and renders correct spelling rare but in those who read much. in England a variety of plans & propositions have been made for the reformation of their orthography. passing over these two of our countrymen, Dr Franklin and Doctr Thornton have also engaged in the enterprize; the former proposing an addition of two or three new characters only, the latter a reformation of the whole alphabet nearly. but these attempts in England, as well as here, have been without effect. about the middle of the last century an attempt was made to banish the letter d, from the words bridge, judge, hedge, knowledge, Et others of that termination, & to write them as we write age, cage, sacrilege privilege; but with little success. the attempt also was made, which you mention in your 2d part to drop the letter u in words of Latin derivation ending in our, and to write honor, candor, rigor Etc instead of honour, candour rigour. but the u having been picked up in the passage of these words from the Latin, thro’ the French, to us, is still preserved by those who consider it as a memorial of our title to the words. other partial attempts have been made by individual writers, but with as little success. pluralising nouns in y, & ey by adding s only, as you propose would certainly simplify the spelling, and be analogous to the general idiom of the language. it would be a step gained in the progress of general reformation, if it could prevail.1 but my opinion being requested, I must give it candidly, that, judging of the future by the past, I expect no better fortune to this than similar preceding propositions have experienced. it is very difficult to persuade the great body of mankind to give up what they have once learned, & are now masters of, for something to be learnt anew. time alone insensibly wears down old habits, and produces small changes at long intervals; and to this process we must all accomodate ourselves, and be content to follow those who will not follow us. our Anglo-Saxon ancestors had 20. ways of spelling the word ‘many.’ ten centuries have dropped all of them and substituted that which we now use.    

I now return your MS. without being able, with the gentlemen whose letters are cited to encourage hope as to it’s effect. I am bound however to acknolege that this is a subject to which I have not paid much attention; and that my doubts therefore should weigh nothing against their more favorable expectations. that these may be fulfilled, and mine prove unfounded, I sincerely wish, because I am a friend to the reformation generally of whatever can be made better; and because it could not fail of gratifying you to be instrumental in this work. Accept the assurance of my respects.

Th: Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson to John Wilson, 17 August 1813

" my doubts therefore should weigh nothing against their more favorable expectations"  Hey, if Thomas Jefferson, certainly one of the smartest men of his time said that, I'm certainly not going to be discouraged by the mockery of a post-literate simp. 

I will point out that Jefferson contradicted himself in an important way between this clearly true statement that runs all through those who have thought about the issue:

the want of conformity between the combinations of letters, and the sounds they should represent increases to foreigners the difficulty of acquiring the language, occasions great loss of time to children in learning to read, and renders correct spelling rare but in those who read much

and this:

it is very difficult to persuade the great body of mankind to give up what they have once learned, & are now masters of, for something to be learnt anew.

Apart from Jefferson's own irregular spelling in this very letter (and throughout his writing) such things as his irregular capitalization of letters, etc. it is clear that other of "those who read much" don't have all that much more success in mastering standardized English spelling.  I'm convinced that a good majority of those who rail against, mock and resist spelling reform have all be poseurs who, if their own writing was looked into, aren't the masters of it they like to pretend they are.  I think they're more like the grammar police who real grammarians know are mostly frauds.  Look in my archive for "Strunk" and "White" for currently deified examples of that. 

Hate Mail - Not The Most Important Thing But A Bit Of Fun

I never had any large respect for good spelling. That is my feeling yet. Before the spelling-book came with its arbitrary forms, men unconsciously revealed shades of their characters and also added enlightening shades of expression to what they wrote by their spelling, and so it is possible that the spelling-book has been a doubtful benevolence to us

Mark Twain: Autobiography

As to those who do not spell well, if the two difficulties are compared, [viz.] that of teaching them true spelling in the present mode, and that of teaching them the new alphabet and the new spelling according to it; I am confident that the latter would be by far the least. They naturally fall into the new method already, as much as the imperfection of their alphabet will admit of; Their present bad spelling is only bad, because contrary to the present bad rules; under the new rules it would be good. The difficulty of learning to spell well in the old way is so great, that few attain it; thousands and thousands writing on to old age, without ever being able to acquire it. ’Tis, besides, a difficulty continually increasing; as the sound gradually varies more and more from the spelling: and to foreigners it makes the learning to pronounce our language, as written in our books, almost impossible.

Benjamin Franklin:  Letter to Mary Stevenson, 28 September 1768 

It is the generations of children to come who appeal to us to save them from the affliction which we have  endured and forgotten.

William Dwight Whitney 

The only reason I ever wrote about the absurdity of standardized English spelling was because of what I wrote about here the other day, that it discourages people from writing their ideas down where they can see them, notice where their thinking isn't clear or doesn't make sense or conflicts with their better parts and aspirations and to improve their thinking.  Thinking more morally, more clearly has to come before acting better.  

That and the fact that stupid people with a rather minor skill of visual memory like to lord their adherence to standardized English spelling over the majority of English speakers as if it were a sign of superiority, whereas a really superior person with such a skill wouldn't use it in such a base and stupid way.   The troll who tries to volunteer as the tireless little meter maid of my spelling (who, by the way, I have caught in some of those, myself) is a particularly stupid and base specimen of that type of snob. 

Anything that prevents anyone who speaks English from using it in all its forms, for speaking, thinking, reading or writing promotes a social and, inevitably, economic caste system.  I think the most muddled thinkers of normal intelligence are capable of far clearer thinking than such snobs dearly love to believe they are capable of.  If ten or five percent of people who have been discouraged by being "bad spellers" from writing and re-reading what they wrote and improving the clarity and moral content of their thinking through that review started writing and reading what they wrote, I think the political character of the United States could improve enormously. 

That an American who delights in his minor skill of spelling according to the American standard rules uses those to mock any idea of spelling reform is especially stupid and only proves his ignorance BECAUSE NOAH WEBSTER'S DICTIONARY IS, ITSELF, AN INTENTIONAL REFORM OF THE SPELLING OF ENGLISH

Noah Webster was struck by the inconsistencies of English spelling and the obstacles it presented to learners (young and old alike) and resented that American classrooms were filled only with British textbooks. The spelling reform featured in his first dictionary, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, was based on the author's combined vision of logic and aesthetics. He changed the –ce in words like defence, offence, and pretence to –se; abandoned the second, silent "l" in verbs such as travel and cancel when forming the past tense; dropped the "u" from words such as humour and colour; and dropped the "k" from words such as publick and musick. The "publick" readily accepted many of these changes and just as readily rejected some of the others.

Or, as he, himself wrote:

The simplicity of the orthography would facilitate the learning of the language. It is now the work of years for children to learn to spell; and after all, the business is rarely accomplished …

But with the proposed orthography, a child would learn to spell, without trouble, in a very short time, and the orthography being very regular, he would ever afterwards find it difficult to make a mistake. It would, in that case, be as difficult to spell wrong as it is now to spell right.

As someone capable of reading can see from that, his goals were similar to mine, the democratization of the written language. 

A correct orthography would render the pronunciation of the language, as uniform as the spelling in books. A general uniformity thro the United States, would be the event of such a reformation as I am here recommending. All persons, of every rank, would speak with some degree of precision and uniformity. Such uniformity in these states is very desirable; it would remove prejudice, and conciliate mutual affection and respect.

Though, as experience has proved, his successful reform has not gotten the job nearly done because, as he, himself noted,  the irrationalities and irregularities of English spelling are so many.  I honor Webster's democratizing intentions far better than the snobs who use HIS standardized spelling as a venue of snobbery and class divide.   I'd rather be on the side of all of those people named above than a person so bereft of intellectual content that he has to inconsistently go on about it like he does.  

And, as you can see from that excerpted essay linked to, one of Webster's main objectives was to separate the American language from the British language, something which those at the Oxford Dictionary use rather mockingly in their own brand of Simpian snobbery:

Have you ever wondered why Americans use the spellings honor, neighbor, valor, while the British use honour, neighbour, valour? Has a computer spellchecker or human copy-editor ever stopped your wingèd prose as it travelled (traveled) up through the clouds of Parnassus and subjected it to a tedious extra round of labour (labor), changing cheque to check, theatre to theater, and gaol to jail (or the other way around)?

You can lay the blame for this offence (offense) on Noah Webster, an American lexicologist of the 18th and 19th centuries who wrote and published the first American dictionary. Webster advocated far-reaching reforms in written American English, saying: ‘Let us then seize the present moment, and establish a national language, as well as a national government.’ Not all of his dreams for American English took hold, but enough of them did to make the first rip in a tradition that eventually tore apart – to become, in the quip of George Bernard Shaw, ‘two nations divided by a common language.

. . . Today, linguists have amassed piles of evidence to show that the idea of reforming spelling in the English language by connecting letters absolutely to phonemes is silly and unworkable. Even in Webster’s time, many onlookers considered spelling reform to be ridiculous. Most efforts to implement it didn’t work, even when powerful institutions were involved. (For instance, in New York, Governor Theodore Roosevelt asked the state government to adopt in official documents a system of reformed spelling that an institution called the Simplified Spelling Board had developed; public ridicule soon made him abandon the plan.) Still, the hard work and dedication of one lone crank in Connecticut managed to have a lasting effect on the writing of a nation. It’s enough to give hope to all of us with an opinion about language and a dream. (Here’s mine: I think the word carillon should be pronounced carry-on.) And life without dreams would truly be a matter for greef.

perhaps that mockery is motivated, in part, because, as Webster pointed out, among the advantages of the United States having a different spelling, it would lead to the creation of a publishing and printing industry in the United States using his reformed spelling because, as he wisely noted, the Brits would never adopt American spelling.  Oxford doesn't like the competition. 

From that you can also see that Webster, himself, realized only a partial reform to a more democratic form of written language that was possible in his reform of English spelling in his time.  Though it seems to be news to those at Oxford, Webster's partial success proves that it is possible to gradually reform spelling.   The largest obstacle of that, the snobs, the champions of traditionalist snobbery, the poseurs who pretend to that because they want to be mistaken as learned, etc. will give way to the return of unstandardized spelling, intentional or unintended.  I'm in favor of that.

So, mock on in your ignorance, oh, Great Speller, I couldn't care less what you  say on the subject.

Note:  I have given Thorstein Veblen's wonderfully dry mockery of the standard spelling of English before but it's so good I'll give it again. 

As felicitous an instance of futile classicism as can well be found, outside of the Far East, is the conventional spelling of the English language. A breach of the proprieties in spelling is extremely annoying and will discredit any writer in the eyes of all persons who are possessed of a developed sense of the true and beautiful. English orthography satisfies all the requirements of the canons of reputability under the law of conspicuous waste. It is archaic, cumbrous, and ineffective; its acquisition consumes much time and effort; failure to acquire it is easy of detection. Therefore it is the first and readiest test of reputability in learning, and conformity to its ritual is indispensable to a blameless scholastic life.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Putin Has Only Taken Advantage Of Weaknesses Americans Chose To Inflict On Ourselves

If you go through the exercise of thinking one of the biggest issues facing the United States today, the "hacking" of our elections to its origins, its roots, and what it will mean to really, truly end the danger to democracy here and elsewhere, it exposes exactly those problems with the media lying, distorting and propagandizing We The People on the one hand and ignoring what they wanted to make disappear from consciousness on the other hand.  

What I've been campaigning against with increasing effort since witnessing the election of Nixon in 1968.  If you haven't thought it through to the bottom yet, don't feel that bad, it took me decades to cut through the pious slogans learned in my early adulthood to see reality, too.  And to do it you have to be willing to critique some of the piously and scrupulously held substitutes for morality that I am coming to believe are an inherent danger of secularism.*

We now know that the Putin regime used social media to ratfuck the 2016 election to put Donald Trump in the presidency and, I wouldn't be surprised, Republican-fascists in the Congress.  We know that such efforts continued into the 2018 election.  

As even the mentally deficient son-in-law Jared Kushner has admitted, one of the ways they did that was through using Facebook, to spread propaganda and influence people targeted with the use of Facebook's ad-selling data collection as being especially vulnerable.  And they also did that in concert with Wikileaks and RT and other media venues.

I've heard hours and hours of chatter in the media and read countless articles on this but none of them seem to understand that what Putin did was exactly the same thing that Republicans have been doing since Richard Viguerie pioneered the use of demographics and other means of targeting people with mass mailings on behalf of the kind of Republicans who morphed into Trumpian fascists.  And he was copying the methods pioneered by the advertising agency and its off-shoot, the American broadcast and cabloid media.  They have all done that, THE AMERICAN MEDIA, CORPORATE MEDIA HAS BEEN RATFUCKING OUR ELECTIONS WITH MODERN METHODS FAR LONGER THAN PUTIN HAS.  

That ability to do that was expanded enormously as the American media first was relieved of any real expectation of having to face a lawsuit if they lied about liberals by the "liberal" Warren Court in 1964 - I believe the pivotal event in getting us where we are today - through subsequent court rulings dealing with "free speech - free press" and through the opportunities that such rulings gave those who wanted to sway government to enrich them through buying media time, through pressuring network executives and station owners (as if they had to be pressured very hard) into promoting their interests, socially and politically, and with effectively unregulated cable and hate talk radio, things started going farther to hell at an ever increasing rate.   Adding in computers to make the paperwork and distribution easier and cheaper and faster only made things go to hell faster. 

The social-media that was ratfucked by a foreign despot to give us Trump was just the next step in a process of destroying democracy that began right here, through the "free-speech-free-press" piety of the mid-20th century.

As an aside, it is remarkable how many people have that as their one and only sacred thing, how people who are as profane as the most degenerate pervert, the most "nothing sacred" irreligious, mocker, the most ironically cynical hater of humanity and anti-democrat,  the most libertine and libertarian, most nihilistic of nihilists will, despite all that, hold as sacred the shibboleths of "free speech - free press" and piously defend it against any critical assessment of it as an absolute holding of the law.  That so many of them are in the media, in the writing for money racket, what passes as "art" in this time when "art" is so often indistinguishable from any other salable commodity is certainly no coincidence. 

Even if every foreign despot, every foreigner of any kind were prevented from perverting out election through selling lies, those who want to do so while holding U.S. citizenship would still destroy our country.  The Supreme Court members who adopted the Sullivan Decision, Buckley v. Valeo, Citizens United, etc. were all Americans, all of them sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution, all of them pious intoners of the words of the Constitution, twisting them as served their purposes.  The rightly despised twisting of the Constitutional system by Mitch McConnell is not really any different than anyone else twisting it to malignant purposes.  But he didn't get to where he is without people being sold lies through the media, through the movies and TV shows, entertainment far more effective for that purpose than the "news," through campaign ads, the diseased transfusion that has infected our democracy more directly than anything else.  PUTIN'S FAKE POLITICAL ADS PRETENDING TO COME FROM AMERICANS IS JUST HIM TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THAT AVENUE OF INFECTION THAT THE "CIVIL LIBERTIES" LANGUAGE OF 20TH CENTURY LIBERALS** OPENED UP WHEN IT PREVENTED PEOPLE LIED ABOUT FROM SUING THE AMERICAN MEDIA. 

* Don't feel so bad, there are, yes, inherent dangers in religiosity as well.  Those are not only fully exposed, they are so habitually thought of in the West that we habitually invent nonexistent ones to add to that list.

The naive faith of the 18th century "enlightenment" that secularism was going to remove all such inherent dangers scientifically, logically, turns out to have been as stupid as believing that a culture of religiosity was going to be immune from generating such dangers due to the inherent limitations of human wisdom, knowledge, good-will, individually and collectively.  Oddly enough, the source that I find where such critiques are most exigently made is in nothing less than the Jewish scriptures, written by so many inspired critics and witnesses to the disastrous history of the Hebrews as they lived out just about every definable variation in human folly, religious, political, social, individual, through corrupt religious and civil officials and priests.   We gave up a huge resource when 

a. the enlightenment rejected it, 

b. the enlightenment, also, read those scriptures without understanding the purposes of their composition, 

c. the folly of literal interpretation, mistaking them, anachronistically, as being readable as modern history or science are.  It is one of the supreme ironies of organized Fundamentalism that their quite unbliblical modern habits of thought were imposed on writings that were never intended to be read that way. 

The American "founders" the ones who wrote the Constitution, believing that 18th century science and mathematics had the possibility of rendering people immune from some of the more obvious vicissitudes of being human beings in bloody human history were just as stupid as those who thought that piously belonging to this or that Church made them immune.  Believe me, I remember enough of neo-medieval 1950s Catholicism to understand it when I see it. 

** I have to point out, again, that the central figure of that "free speech" language, Oliver Wendell Holmes jr. being mistaken as a "liberal" due to that proves what a bunch of dishonest, ignorant, fools the semi-pro and professionals of the "free speech" industry are and what a bunch of total chumps so many even real liberals have been for being suckered by that crap.  Holmes was a cynical, degenerate, aristocratic hater of humanity and democracy with a real malevolent streak in him.  His late usefulness to FDR in the very last years of his life is something I've come to see as the cynical old asshole hedging his bets in case he was wrong about an afterlife with consequences when he was too old to enjoy the fruits of his degeneracy.  I really have to say, the more I've come to know about Holmes the worse it's obvious that he was. 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Art Tatum - Buddy Defranco - Deep Night

Art Tatum, piano
Buddy DeFranco, clarinet
Red Callender, bass
Bill Douglass, drums

Stupid Male

I'll take my chronic illness over your chronic dullness any day. 

Hate Mail - I Knew That Crack About Red-Diaper Babies Would Piss Them Off

I'm coming to think that all of the Marxists in the United States have been secretly funded by the CIA or other such entities to discredit the real left.  That's their one and only real effect in real life as opposed to play-lefty fantasy, propaganda and outright lies.  Remember that the next time you read some alleged lefty in some allegedly lefty magazine telling you that voting in a protest vote for Bernie or whoever the Green Party fraud are running in 2020 is KEW-el.  

Marxists can all, to a one of them, fuck off and die as far as I'm concerned. They have never done anything but damage and injure the real left.  

In other announcements, I will try to remember to monitor the program of the upcoming Left Forum, it will probably be good for a few hollow laughs.  I'll try to remember to, not that it's in the least bit important, as it hasn't been for the past sixty years. 

On The Naivety Of Robert Mueller

Yesterday's attempt by Robert Mueller to set things right right in a nice, orderly, legalistic manner after nine weeks of his good buddy William Barr doing everything he could to ratfuck the public understanding of Mueller's report was widely praised but it was disgustingly inadequate.  I, to tell you the truth, found some of my worst fears about Mueller confirmed when he tried to exonerate the actions of Barr.  Considering the renewed howling for Democrats in the House to open an impeachment hearing that Mueller's short speech set off, it's remarkable that he doesn't seem to see that his buddy Barr's actions are no less clearly deserving impeachment.   

I heard Ari Melber with two former DoJ prosecutors who mildly criticized Mueller for his naivety which, considering how long Mueller was at the top of politically appointed positions IN LAW ENFORCEMENT!, I don't buy that for a second.  His reluctance to face the facts about another highly placed Republican who he worked and played with for decades is not based in innocence, it's based in a double standard, perhaps one similar to the one that another in those circles practiced, James Comey during the election of 2016. 

Mueller's reluctance to testify in public is not an act of integrity, it's an act of grotesque irresponsibility.  Suddenly, when it comes to this, the most important thing he has done to defend democracy and the rule of law, a guy who has testified numerous times to get those jobs, to report on his work to Congress in line with the requirements of the offices he held, the granite monument of integrity gets shy about doing that?

As we are constantly told these days, as Mueller implied yesterday, impeachment is not a judicial but a political act.  As Mueller pointed out in defense of his refusal to bring an indictment, the DoJ regulations takes the prosecution and removal of a president out of the hands of those in the judicial and legal arm of the government and places it exclusively in the hands of Congress, especially the House, where that would have to start.   Though that fact from Mueller, himself, makes his reluctance to inform that political action publicly an act of monumental irresponsibility.  

I think Mueller's insistence that he gave the Congress everything they needed and now it's all up to them is irresponsible, as well.  Nancy Pelosi, Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff and others in the leadership of the Congress have watched Democrats lose control of the House and regain it, only to have that pissed away by first Bill Clinton to Newt Gingrich and then Barack Obama to Paul Ryan, only to be regained again.  They know better than almost anyone else possibly could what is required, now to protect and defend American democracy. 


Perhaps Mueller needs to be taken down a peg or two, made to dismount his high horse or wised up or to face the fact that his friend, Barr, is a clear and present danger to democracy and the United States because he pursues a strong-man fascist view of the presidency.   Maybe it's one of those things or maybe it's a combination of some or all of them.  I can tell you that I've had about enough of the myth of Robert Mueller. 

I know that whenever I say that someone says "but he's a Vietnam vet," generally a line that comes from people who I suspect have no one within their families or close associates who were.  I've got several family members who were and all of them seem to understand this situation better than Mueller.  None of them enjoyed careers like the one Mueller clearly has enjoyed having with the financial and social and public advantages he has had.  

And I will repeat something I've been saying over and over again WHY ISN'T THE MEDIA PUTTING PRESSURE ON THE GODDAMNED REPUBLICAN SENATE TO DO WHAT THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO DO TO PROTECT THE UNITED STATES FROM ITS ENEMIES FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC.  I'm getting sick and tired of even Rachel Maddow's mantra on that.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Given Who Is Asking, If You Really Wanted Me To Stop You'd Praise Me - Stupid Question In Stupid Mail

In an e-mail that encourages me to give up posting these meditations of politics and the wide range of relevant side issues, also music and radio drama, occasional stuff I am ashamed to admit falls to the level of a feuilleton - generally in response to a simpleton, I'll say in my defense - someone asks me why I've been doing this for the last number of years, assuring me "no one reads it".

Well, I know some people read it, though it's true, all of those hits that show up in the automated statistics I think I've looked at fewer than a dozen times might all be bots, though I get enough hate mail to prove SOMEONE is reading it, not to mention the occasional substantial and interesting comment.  That Memorial Day poem of the other day, when I first posted it on my first blog got a comment from Left Rev. that said I wrote one of the better blogs no one comments on.  Perhaps that early encouragement went to my head all these years.  It's not as if I'm burdened with over-praise.  I think if I got even a little more of that it would make me feel nervous, not encouraged.  The last thing I want to feel is that I have to meet expectations.  That would inhibit me. 

I don't write things in the belief that thousands and thousands of influential and, to use the repulsive phrase I absolutely reject, "important people" will find ideas here that they will spread far and wide, I write things because writing is such a good way to both take a hard look at ideas you get and, in reviewing what you've thought, generate further ideas, to see connections (or rather possible connections) to notice connections that are obviously there but which people don't seem to see, etc.  I wrote things a lot earlier than I ever went online or even before I had my first computer which had no modem of way of getting online.  I taught myself shorthand out of a cheap paperback,  Zinman's Rapid Writing, and used to scribble away for long periods of time and found it was a really good way of organizing your thinking.  Once I could do that even faster by typing into a computer it was even more of an attraction.  I was skeptical about these new personal computers at first and the first course I took in DOS certainly didn't encourage me to be less skeptical but, then I took one in word processing and I knew I'd never use a typewriter ever again - the nostalgia for typewriters is sheer lunacy though I'd certainly go back to doing it by hand. 

As I said the other day my blogging was an outgrowth of typing out long comments during blog arguments and brawls, especially in reaction to some pretty horrific habits of thought among the alleged lefties of many of the popular blogs of the 000s.  Finding out that some of the alleged bright lights among them were far more preppy-libertarians than egalitarian-democratic liberals was the fist one.  Finding out that D.B. reputedly one of the big thinkers among them opposed the Fairness Doctrine might be the first incidence of realizing how stupid a lot of them were.  Another one was reading supposed lefties using the term "trailer trash" mocking the victims of a tornado in Oklahoma even as they were recovering bodies, the barroom atheist blather, etc.  In time those pieces all fit together and I realized a lot of them were going to do far more to damage the fight against Republican-fascism than they were going to help.  They were a bunch of preppy-Ivy Leaguers and wannabees, people who wished they'd been red-diaper babies of the fabled and totally awful NYC left (as read in The Nation and workshopped at the Left Forum) who worshiped idiots and traitors and stooges and idiots who I have to admit still are to be found in many a more successful (but never successful enough to ever make a difference except for the worse) online blog, Twitter feed, podcast, youtube channel, etc.   

I find that after my disillusion with Majority Report over their idiotic Bernie or Buster policy of undercutting Warren, Harris, Buttigieg, and other candidates who, unlike Bernie might, someday be president, that I don't even retain much in the way of affection for them.  When we agree it is more than made up for by their idiocy.  And if I don't feel for them, I certainly don't feel for more than one or two of those early bloggers of blogs I used to frequent.  I looked at one of them right before I wrote this and see the boob still is holding a torch for Jeremy Corbyn, probably the worst or second worst Labour Party leader in the history of the party and a total disaster in terms of electoral politics.  The guy is a total and complete idiot. 

I figure if I'm going to write stuff out for myself, I'll post it.  It doesn't hurt anyone.  And it might annoy some people who I'd like to annoy.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Stupid Mail and A Personal Note

That's the difference between someone who figures that everything is about him and those who figure that what composers said about how they intended their music to be played was as much their right as it was theirs to write the music.  It's the difference between immature self-indulgence and intelligent maturity.  He goes for the immature as a default due to his self-indulgence.  I think he was an only child of the worst type. 

Personal note:  My chronic illness is kicking up, either that or the end is neigh, I don't know which of those I'd rather it be.  I might write something substantial later. 

Update:  I was reading this right before I typed that out.  I was in a different frame of mind when I put that "e" in there and I'm not in the least bit ashamed of it.   

You know, maybe I put misspellings in knowing you can't resist giving me free publicity when I do.  Not that I really expect any of those dolts to read something, I mean, they don't read Duncan, the reason he gave up writing much.  Though that piece about Labour he has up now shows when he does he probably shouldn't.   His hero Corbyn frequently did what he's slamming Campbell for doing now.   Corbyn has dictatorial tendencies matched with election losing skills that, no doubt, the Tories are only too pleased to exploit.  Corbyn is an idiot. 

Update 2:  Go to the sidebar and find the quote from Bertrand Russell, that was put there to describe what he's doing when he says "I wish I was making that up" because it's what he's doing when he says that.  He's too stupid to understand what was said, there's a lot of that at the rump commenting community at Duncan Black's blog.  It ain't what it was in 2005. 

What It Was Was "AI"

Update:  And now someone wants to comment about high priced sunscreens and rhinoplasty on that piece I wrote about Katha Pollitt using Laudato Si to slam religion.  Though maybe it's just trying to tell me that I've got a big nose.  

Call me suspicious but I doubt any human is so stupid they would try to put random and obscure commercial messages on four year old blog posts on an obscure blog that gets mostly hate mail the owner doesn't choose to post and who never posts those ad placements.  This has been going on for years, by now some human would have given up.  I think what this is, is that "artificial intelligence" that military nerds want to have "making decisions" about dropping bombs on people.  Clearly, such "intelligence" is incapable of effectively placing ads where someone will read them as some highly credentialed sci-guys and their bosses in military establishments want to trust them bombing combatants and not randomly "chosen" civilians. 

"Artificial intelligence" is a scientistic delusion though a belief in it might end up getting lots or maybe all of us killed. 

Update:  And now the mindless "intelligence" is trying to get me to post a line about exercise bands on the same piece.   And yet these are the machines and algorithms that we're being asked to allow the power of "decision making" on life or death issues,  to cut off from government services, access to credit, etc.   "Artificial intelligence" is a product of the gullibility of smart but not wise People with a financial and professional motive in believing their own bullshit. 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day 2006

for my parents

All of the dead, some in uniform, parents, old, children too young.
Holes in families, empty houses. Shadows on people. A name in rock.

A person remembers someone. A town, a name.
Countries give speeches. Speeches about words,
Speeches about people too far away to know.

And I can't tell you. You had to see them. In their towns. Both sides.

Forgive Me, But I Don't Believe They Actually Read The Post

According to google translate, the comment that was left, in Polish, on this piece I wrote taking apart Katha Politt's illogical slamming of Pope Francis' great, great environmental encyclical, Laudato Si, translates as.

"A variety of PVC fences is also available for peasants." 

Sigfried Karg Elert - Nearer My God to Thee

Garrett F. Martin, organ

Hearing the last movement of Ives' symphony reminded me that the chorus is intoning what would, to Ives, have been the setting of the hymn Nearer My God To Thee, which reminded me of this piece which Karg-Elert wrote on the sinking of the Titanic.  

Sometimes I think if I had it all to do over again I'd have concentrated on playing organ.  Then, other times I think if I had it all to do over again I'd have done something else.  Ah, well.  

Charles Ives - Symphony No. 4, fourth movement - Largo

American Symphony Orchestra
Dressoff Choirs
Leo Botstein, conductor 

I am generally opposed to extracting individual movements out of larger pieces unless the composer specifically permitted it.  But this music has, since I first heard it, expressed Memorial Day to me better than anything else.  

Family obligations, no writing, today. 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Stupid Mail

The sets, the scenes, the props, the costumes, the make up (or lack of it) the gestures, the movement of every actor in every good radio drama I've ever listened to have never been anything short of perfect.  It's true what was said, they always look better than the movies.

If they don't work for you, it's due to your limits, not theirs.  

A Bit Of A Mess Of A Post-Anniversary Post

I am not big on remembering, nevermind noting anniversaries.  So I totally forgot the anniversary of my first blog post earlier this month.  But, in response to last night's hate mail, I thought I'd take a look back. Indulge me a bit.  I will note that I still intend to write a political blog though when I began I had no idea where that would lead me. 

If it were left up to me to guess, I'd think it's been approximately fifteen years since my intense engagement with the writing, the thinking, the babbling and scribblage of atheists started.  As I've noted here and elsewhere, it began with a blog commentator who styled himself Woody Guthrie's Guitar at Eschaton declaring in the style on a village taproom atheist of the 19th century that science had proven free will was bunk.   Immediately,  when I saw someone on a blog then considered an up and coming lefty venue of sorts (at least by the more naive of those who frequented it) making that claim, I knew that that belief was a total disaster for the left, invalidating literally the very foundations upon which egalitarian democracy, claims of a right to equality, equal justice, economic justice and I also knew that "science" had not only not done such a thing, it could not achieve the level of knowledge for such a declaration to reach the level of proof.  I believe my attacks on that materialist superstition began immediately though I started writing long comments on that topic and, from there others, which is what led me to start my first blog.  

I didn't realize at the time how much these issues would come to take up so much of my time.  My intentional theme was to try to figure out how "the left" the side with the facts (something I still believe, but not in the same way I did in 2006) and who favored the welfare of the destitute, the poor, what I then thought of as "the working class" so consistently lost in American politics.  I knew that a lot of that failure had to lie within the left because one of the things that it consisted of was our constantly playing sucker for the right.  I will note that one thing I remember reading Barney Frank said stuck with me, I read he noted that the time the left spent defending the pornography industry was time wasted that could have been spent on pursuing economic justice.  I also remembered Molly Ivins, in her obituary of Barbara Jordan said she never wasted her time on a hopeless cause.  And there was always the practical example of one of my great heroes, Shirley Chisholm who would lobby even the flagrant racist George Wallace to further economic justice for poor people.  

I continued on with the issue of materialist atheism and its extensions as I became the weekend blogger at Echidne's blog and continued engaging on the issue in blog brawls at the blogs and comment boards that atheists frequented as well as reviewing the writings of many of the big and not so big names in atheism, Bertrand Russell, Thomas Huxley, Ayers, and down to the level of Paul Kurtz and Corliss Lamont, Robert Ingersoll and ol' Maddy O'Hair who turned out to be a total sleaze bag*, not the hero that other atheists like Barbara Ehrenreich had sold her as being.  

That engagement, especially with such figures I had been educated to revere such as Russell, shattered much if not all of what I'd been told in the secondary, tertiary literature and theatrical and film treatments.**  Though it cleared the path to more clarity about such things as I write about now.  

I don't think I would ever have been able to see that Marxism was not the polar opposite of Nazism but just another variety at the bottom end of gangster government.  Once I realized that Jefferson's youthful idealistic statement about democracy being the only legitimate form of government and that ANY government which was not an egalitarian democracy was ruled by gangsters, crooks, thieves and murderers,  I was well out of the secular-lefty delusion of my youth and most of my adulthood.   When I realized that his 18th century British style "enligthenment" libertarian-liberalism only got you as far as the slave ridden, patriarchal rule of the antebellum United States, I began to realize that an adequately informed electorate wouldn't produce equality, the very substance of democracy.  That required a specific kind of morality that could only be founded in a belief that Jefferson's other formula was right, that people are endowed by God with inalienable rights, the reason that that first line of argument of the Declaration of Independence is that declaration of the origin of equal rights.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness

That is a logical argument.  The first axiomatic statement that human rights are endowed by God leads to the statement defining the only legitimate form of government is derived from that start.  I will point out, considering where I started, that without the belief that God also endowed us with the possibility of free thought, you can't even get to where Jefferson started.  The idea that automatons made of meat have the possibility of freedom is absurd - given what I said about my engagement with the literature of atheism, the materialism that it is inevitably based in leads, always, in the end, when things are argued out to their end point, that human freedom is a delusion or an illusion or non-existent. 

Materialism, even in its manifestation that doesn't engage in anti-religious invective, inevitably leads to the denial of equal rights.   The utter and total failure of Marxism over the 20th century to achieve more than a Potemkin Village false front of that in each and every case, before it, inevitably it would seem, devolves into a gangster capitalism on steroids, harnessing the power of the state as a ruling collective of billionaire investors.   At best, Marxism has proven to be a ruling elite that more evenly distributes misery and hardship, slavery and death to a mass kept in control by a culture of terror and intimidation that becomes the predominant culture of any country which was subjected to it.  You would be free only to pursue innocuous and frivolous interests, if you could afford them, that is until some connected gangster found some way to steal it from you.  

What the allegedly even-handed, freedom-allowing secularism as administered by judges and Justices educated in doctrinaire secularism has meant for the United States was the insane legal  position that liars had a First Amendment right to lie combined with the power of the gangster class of owners of the electronic media to corrupt and lie We The People out of the possibility of egalitarian democracy.  It was not really different in the direction it led to from other forms of gangster enablement, but that's where we're headed with the help of the post-Communist world master of gangsters, the former KGB guy, Putin.  That post-Communist Russia got there before we did wasn't a shock.  As was brought up this past week, their manipulation of Trump began even before the fall of the Soviet Union, after his trip there in 1987, he began to take out ads attacking NATO and taking other stands that were favored by the gang Putin belonged to and who dropped the guise of Marxism in favor of a more overt form of gangsterism.  

I'll end this by pointing out that one of those venues of secular lefty leftism that I kept reading way too long, The Nation, still posts propaganda not far from some of Trump's written by the husband of its owner, Stephen Cohen.  Considering his own rather odd past as a Sovietologist who was eventually excluded from the country, I wouldn't be at all surprised if there wasn't some motive we don't know about behind that.  And he's far from the only member of the secular left I grew up and old with who is peddling that line.  Only, now I know that that left was never a real left and I should never have expected more from it than it has produced.  Defeat for equality, for democracy, for the truth. 

And then there's science in all its varied levels of reliability, but that will have to wait for another post. 

* I'll say this for ol' Maddy, in her sordid, immoral life and horrific grisley death (reportedly brought about by her perverse attraction to hiring people who had been convicted of murder such as her assistant who murdered her, her pathetically loyal and totally dominated son and her sadly captive and dominated granddaughter), she might have been disgusting and somewhat repetitiously superficial but she had some show-biz savvy.   

**   I'd say "quarternary" at this point but I think even octonary might not be low enough in ordering for that crap.  You don't find truth in the movies.  The role of movies and TV shows peddling manipulative lies to substitute for as much of the history of important things as even people who are allegedly educated will know is something I've also come to see as important in this entertainment addled society. 

Update:  Madalyn Murray O'Hair was a monumentally selfish, manipulative, dishonest crook and petty dictator.  Her son who stayed with her, Jon Garth Murray, and granddaughter Robin Murray O'Hair were probably her most damaged victims, and that was true even before her greed and freakish taste for associating with and dominating convicted murderers, her foul mouth and dictatorial personality got them all murdered.   Her personal PR as I was exposed to in the lefty-magazines and other media of the 60s - 00s was almost entirely a lie.  

The deeper I got into her real life, things such as her attempt to grab hold of the millions left by one of her rivals for the title of Biggest American Atheist Asshole of the post-war period, James Hervey Johnson who hated the scumbag as she hated him, was nothing compared to the damage she did to her son and granddaughter as she cruelly dominated and controlled them.   

Those would-be heroes of the atheist would-be left and others who propped up her legend are really not reliable.   They clearly lied for her.