Saturday, July 13, 2019

Is It Any Wonder It Makes Me Feel Like I'm Mocking The Retarded If I Answer His Comments?

Comparing Hans Kung to Tim Minchin reminds me of the time I came across an online forum where people were condemning Einstein and his theories of relativity on the sound basis that their great hero, or, rather, their imagination of him, Nikola Tesla was a firm opponent of them and not on them having the slightest understanding of either except what they'd gleaned of Tesla's legend from, first and foremost, sci-fi and other presentations of him in entertainment, second, on the basis of the most vapid of pop history and biography.  As it was an online forum dedicated to the legend of Tesla, they were strongly anti-Einstein.   Needless to say, most of them, as Tesla apparently couldn't, could not navigate the mathematics needed to understand Einstein.  But at least both of those men had actually produced something in life other than a boring, pseudo-Brechtian (more like George Carlinian) pseudo-cabaret act that owes more to the movie of that name than it does anything else and which is entirely unchallenging and cowardly in the way so much atheist critique of religion instead of where the real power that does evil is. 

It was a lot like the online spats between the devotees of Macs and PCs when those got down to a battle of the legend of Bill Gates and Mr. i-god, himself, Steve Jobs.  As I've mentioned somewhere, recently, and, no doubt, here before, that when Jobs was breathing his last and his devotees were decrying that he died as the evil Bill Gates lived, someone, alas, not I, said, "Yeah because providing you with your next shiny new toy is a so more worthy way to spend your time than curing malaria."   Wish I'd said that  I just mocked them for being a bunch of over-the-hill atheist slackers worshiping i-god. 

Tim Minchin is the kind of guy who would "edit" their own Wikipedia bio - which I believe he did.  Who else would go on and on at such length about him.  He is a boring, dime-a-dozen superficial slammer of religion who entertains idiots of whom there are at least a dozen for every dime.

Update:  If your village is out of idiots, check at Eschaton, they've got one they don't seem to need.

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Ray Bradbury - Bradbury 13

This week, another when I'm not posting to a single drama but to a collection of them, Bradbury 13.   

Haven't listened to much of this,I'm not a huge science fiction fan and some of them are more suspense thrillers -  but I know several of you are.  They have a strong "golden age" production quality to them with professional actors but they are more recent and have a higher fi sound to them.

". . . just wishful thinking" - Hate Mail

Because I've got work to do outside, because he said it better than I can, because I found someone had posted the passage online so I don't have to type it out,  as I'm finding the more I read him (try reading, it works sometimes) Hans Kung said it all, refuting one of the real big-boys of atheism, not the jr. high CSICOP popularizer village tap room loudmouth bullshitters you cite.

Does this mean however that a psychological explanation of this kind is all that is to be said about the very complex problem of the "hereafter" or "eternal life"? Does recognition of the fact that psychological (or other) factors play a significant part in belief in an eternal life ipso facto exclude the possibility that these factors may be oriented to a real object, to a reality independent of our consciousness? Certainly the fact cannot be positively excluded (and this must be said for Feuerbach against all too hastily "transcendentally" deducing theologians) that perhaps in reality there is no object corresponding  to man's different needs, wishes, instincts, including his striving for happiness (in Scholastic theology known as the desiderium naturale beatitudinis), and that in death I am absorbed into the eternal repose of nothingness. Who knows anything definite in this respect? But neither can the possibility be a priori excluded (and this must be pointed out against a self-confident atheism) that in fact there is something real (however it is defined) corresponding to all these needs, wishes, instincts and also to the striving for happiness, and that I shall be elevated into an absolutely final reality. Who could a prior maintain the opposite?

To be more precise, could not the sense of dependence and the instinct of self-preservation have a very real ground, could could not our striving for happiness have a very real goal? And if—in my belief in eternal life, as in all knowing—I put, project into the object is purely the product of my imagination? A projection and no more than that? Could not perhaps some kind of transcendent object, some kind of hidden reality of God—however this may be defined—correspond to all the wishing, thinking and imagining involved in our belief?

"If the gods are products of wishful thinking, it does not follow that they are merely such: we cannot conclude from this either to their existence or to their nonexistence," explains the philosopher Eduard von Hartmann: "It is quite true that nothing exists merely because we wish it, but it is not true that something cannot exist if we wish it. Feuerbach's whole critique of religion and the whole proof of his atheism, however, rest on the single argument; that is, on a logical fallacy." This is more than an argument in formal logic. For I can also deduce psychologically my experience in the world, but this implies nothing against the existence of a world independent of me, as the reference point of my experiences; it provides no reasons for solipsism. And I can deduce psychologically my experience of God, but this implies nothing against the existence of a divine reality independent of me, as the reference point of all my needs and wishes; it is not a proof of atheism. In a word, something real can certainly correspond in reality to my psychological experience; a real God and a real eternal life—appearance and being—can certainly correspond to the wish for God and an eternal life. The conclusion is inescapable that, from this psychological viewpoint, Feuerbach's denial of eternal life remains a postulate. His atheism too is not above suspicion of being a projection.

Hans Kung:  Eternal Life?:  Life After Death As A Medical, Philosophical and Theological Problem. 

Unless Ayanna Pressley Publicly Rejects What AOC's Chief of Staff and She Have Said About Nancy Pelosi and the Congressional Black Caucus - Being Repeated By The Play-Lefties Online - The CBC Were Right To Endorse Caupano Who Wouldn't Do Something So Stupidly Self-Defeating

I respect the members of the Congressional Black Caucus more than enough to take what they say about the Congressional Black Caucus and its members more seriously than the kind of white, youngish, brought up through the blogs "journalist" who wrote that piece.  I notice that she doesn't refute anything that was said by Representative Lacy Clay, who I suspect knows more about the situation of the members of the CBC and their prospects of success than she will ever know.  Apparently she didn't talk to Lacy Clay or anyone else but based her "journalistic" piece on tweets!   How new-new journalist of her.  I will deal with her at Splinter instead of Duncan Black who you sent me because he clipped the one thing that might have been accurate - or might not - in her piece and ignored the rest of it.  And I won't link to Duncan, anymore, for similar reasons to those stated last night and because, like the "Justice Democrats" he's a coward, slamming the best Democratic leader of the House in his lifetime and well back into mine instead of attacking Republicans in the Senate and House who are the real roadblock to taking down Trump.  If he were more energetic, not a lazy, affluent slacker, Black could serve as the poster boy of that idiocy.  Instead people like Sam Seder will have to do.  

So, no, I don't retract what I said.  The central criticism I made of AOC and, more so, her Chief of Staff and the group he co-founded, the "Justice Democrats" and other such groups is that they were attacking Democrats on the basis of the absurd unreality that they can get what they want NOW! or they're going to turn into the kind of asshole spoilers and splitters of what is a very varied and at many points fragile coalition WHICH IS THE ONLY ONE WE'VE GOT TO OPPOSE TRUMPIAN-REPUBLICAN FASCISM.   

The various entities which have been "lefts" in the history of lefty politics have always had this kind of a thing turn into a problem.  That is especially true when that "leftism" is forced by numbers to align itself with people who buy into secularism as an ideology. Once the traditional American liberalism which had some unifying basis in the social-justice at the core of Christianity, increasingly gave way to "enlightenment" secularism, it increasingly lacked that unifying core which was strong enough to lead to the sadly few instances when the American left did enormous things, the abolition of slavery, securing the right of Women to vote - though not yet to legal equality, no more than it has for People of Color. 

That's especially problematic for the left because what the left needs to do to promote equality and economic justice is much far more difficult, is is

a. only effectively done through religious conviction - the abolitionists, the suffrage movement, the civil rights movement, all had religious conviction as the propelling force that led to success, 

b. without religious belief lacks an effective force which effectively overcomes self-interest, indifference, lazy ennui and which gives people the discipline to engage in long, life long, and effective struggle.  The secular left's substitution for that, half-baked fantasies of things like "revolution" and excitingly violent "revolutionary" acts, inevitably becomes self defeating.

c. the American secular"left" has always shown itself to be far more interested in in-fighting internal turf battles than in getting anything done.  That's exactly what the "Justice Democrats" are doing in attacking the Congressional Black Caucus and Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats.  

I notice the "journalist" at Splinter doesn't refute what Lacy Clay said about that.  I assume she doesn't do that because she is smart enough to know she's got nutthin' or next to nutthin'  Instead she puts up a tweet which accuses the Congressional Black Caucus of having supported Mike Capuano - a member of the House Progressive Caucus with a solidly liberal voting record for his entire time in the House, who the Congressional Black Caucus knew was an ally of theirs in just about if not every case.   To criticize them for endorsing him over Ayanna Pressley for the nomination on the basis of race is juvenile and stupid. 

 I will note that when Pressley won the nomination, Mike Capuano was about as gracious a loser as I've ever seen, pledging his full support of her in the general election.  If, as I hope she will not, Pressley is making common cause with Alexandria Ocasio Cortez's Chief of Staff in attacking members of the Congressional Black Caucus and AOC in accusing Nancy Pelosi making veiled accusations of racism, then the Congressional Black Caucus were right to endorse Capuano over her.  I hope and pray that Congresswoman Pressley will see that this is a situation that will do her and the Democrats and the fight for justice no good and will distance herself from it and point out to AOC that she and her Chief of Staff are doing exactly the wrong thing if getting something done is the goal instead of treating politics like an online fantasy sports league.

The "right" is, at its core, bound together by promoting the privilege of those who have the most to start with, the rich - who, under our corrupt "free press" have the most power - and affluent white men with whom so many other white voters who are also racist will side in so many cases.  Whiteness has been made into a privilege by custom and law and practice, and, increasingly by the majority on the Supreme Court. It's obvious in the white "evangelical" abandonment of their reading of Biblical morality to support the pagan Mammonism of Donald Trump that the right doesn't need Christianity of any real kind and exposes such "Christianity" as anti-Christianity, keeping some of the trappings but replacing its moral core with racism and the worship of money and quite able to put someone with Donald Trump's history and present in power.   As long as they can ratfuck our elections through broadcast lies and rigging electoral maps, they can keep that minority of white racists in control of the government and, so, the Supreme Court who will turn out to be their strongest tool in destroying democracy.   With the help of secular liberals who will do so on the basis of privileging lies and the liars who tell them fifty and more years after their "more speech" slogan failed to keep fascism at bay.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Someone Just Sent This To Me

Stupy says what?

Apparently someone is so far into his senectitude that he doesn't remember I already posted a refutation to him on that. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Deal With It, Bunky, AOC Is A Catholic

I have said that I'm worried that the ever fickle secular left will turn on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as soon as she fails to fulfill their entirely unrealistic pipe-dreams that her very impressive but quite atypical win in a rather atypical congressional district means the great lefty millennium (which ever version of that the deluded play-lefty wants) is at hand.  There has already been anger at her refusal to take futile and stupid stands on things like Nancy Pelosi's leadership which are as counter-productively stupid as they are childish.  The large majority of seasoned Democratic office holders support Nancy Pelosi BECAUSE NANCY PELOSI IS THE BEST DEMOCRATIC LEADER IN THE HOUSE IN MORE THAN FIFTY YEARS, AND ARGUABLY THE FARTHEST LEFT IN THE HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY. 

But that's not enough for play lefties in the secular lefty bubble of NYC or San Francisco or in Madison or other college towns or scribblers for the lefty mags and podcasters who live in a lefty la-la-land and are quite atypical of the real left in the United States.

I had a feeling this would turn into a problem for AOC because I read this short but brilliant article she wrote for America: The Jesuit Review last June.  Heck, forget the link, risking a cease and desist I'm going to post the whole thing.

Christ came to me emblazoned on the upper arm of my beloved cousin Marc. The blue-black ink danced between the bullet scars and stretch marks that graced my cousin’s upper body. Atop this crown-of-thorns depiction was a tattooed banner with the phrase “Only God Can Judge Me.”

I have never known Marc as a criminal. I have only known him as the largest and funniest member of my family. As a child, I saw this tattooed arm over and over again. It appeared at family cookouts turning a lechón (roasted pig) in its fifth hour, it held me steady on Marc’s broad lap, and it was revealed during the wintertime, when our pipes would hiss until the relentless heat would force us all to roll our sleeves as far up as they would go.

I remember reading his tattoo each time I saw it, trying to understand what it meant: Only God Can Judge Me. Innocence, in its mercy, partly excuses us from having to fully reckon with the spiritual gifts of forgiveness, grace and redemption at the heart of the Catechism: I believe in the forgiveness of sins.

Marc—like several men in my family—had been caught in the webbed threads of poverty, geography and lack of opportunity during the fever pitch of 1990s mass incarceration. Baggy-pant boys like him fit the descriptions of “super-predators” and “thugs” that dominated our national discourse at the time. Marc served his time, and has been out of the system ever since—a miraculous feat, given that over 75 percent of released state prisoners in the United States are rearrested within five years. Today he is a union worker and a happily married father of three successful children.

The still imprisoned are not so lucky. By virtually every measure, the United States incarcerates more of its people than any other nation in the world. When we look at the fuller picture of who we imprison, for how long and why, it may not be a stretch to conclude that our criminal justice system could very well benefit from a rite of penance of its own. There is overwhelming evidence that mass incarceration evolved as an outgrowth of Jim Crow laws, which itself was a system rooted in the subjugation of former slaves. According to legal scholar Michelle Alexander, there are more African-Americans under correctional control today than were enslaved in 1850—that is, before the Civil War.

When it comes to Latinos, the numbers are more confusing. While 40 states track race in their arrest records, only 15 states in the nation track ethnicity. This means that most states have little to no data on Latinos in the criminal justice system. We must also look at what imprisonment entails. Criminal justice reform must take into consideration factors including increasingly punitive Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations and the black-box detainment of immigrants and separated families; the ethics of solitary confinement; parole and probation; protecting due process; and the effects of incarceration on motherhood and mental health.

Discussions of reforming our criminal justice system demand us to ask philosophical and moral questions. What should be the ultimate goal of sentencing and incarceration? Is it punishment? Rehabilitation? Forgiveness? For Catholics, these questions tie directly to the heart of our faith.

Solutions are already beginning to take shape, which include unraveling the War on Drugs, reconsidering mandatory minimum sentencing and embracing a growing private prison abolition movement that urges us to reconsider the levels at which the United States pursues mass incarceration. No matter where these proposals take us, we should pursue such conversations with an openness to change and an aim to rehabilitate our brothers and sisters wherever possible and wherever necessary. By nature, a society that forgives and rehabilitates its people is a society that forgives and transforms itself. That takes a radical kind of love, a secret of which is given in the Lord’s Prayer: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And let us not forget the guiding principle of “the least among us” found in Matthew: that we are compelled to care for the hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick and, yes—the imprisoned.

What a different view of what atheist-secularist lefties might champion as the "lumpenproletariat" who were seen by Marx and Engels as useless dross and by later Marxists and Maoists as a raw resource that could be harnessed by the right leaders - really not much different from how Hitler saw them.   If "Democratic Socialists" are to ever amount to anything except yet another counter-productive leftist cult, they will have to adopt the, frankly, Monotheistic view of such people as People who are more than "the masses" more than an exploitable resource or the social-political equivalent of trash.   That later point of view is entirely compatible with materialism of all kinds, Nazi through Marxist, which are all forms of gangster government.  The only alternative to that is egalitarian democracy and that is incompatible with materialism.   Democratic Socialism, if it rejects that materialistic view of People, is quite compatible with AOC's Catholicism.  It says so in The Jesuit Review, after all.

Update:   Like I said before, I stopped posting his comments because I was brought up not to mock the retarded and refuting him inevitably feels like that.  

An Answer To A Question

I stopped posting links and Youtubes from Sam Seder and Majority Report over his Bernie Bro. attacks on Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg and other Democrats with a chance of beating Donald Trump,  I have since then discovered his relationship and Ring of Fire's relationship to the Putin propaganda organ, RT.   I've not looked at all of the inter-locking associations between Majority Report and The Young Turks etc. but I will not post to anything or anyone I know has some tie-in with Putin propaganda media.  I stopped linking to The Nation on the same basis, the owner and her husband regularly posting Putin friendly propaganda at that august old, sometimes good, propaganda outfit.  I've not looked into it but suspect it's just a continuation of them either habitually and reflexively (sometimes snobbishly) posting anti-American pro-Soviet propaganda or posting it on the basis of . . . well, something that isn't publicly revealed.  I don't trust anyone or anything with that history or present. 

I don't especially trust anyone in the media, much.  Not those who get paid to do it.  No more than I do any other area of life.  I'm not giving any with a tie-in with RT or Putin propaganda any benefit of the doubt.   I also don't trust Bernie Bros, enablers of Trumpian fascism as certainly as Nader's Nutters were.

AOC Will Wise Up Or She Will Quickly Become The Republicans Best Friend In Congress

You have to wonder if the other three Congresswomen who are lumped in together with Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Representatives, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley,  might, sometimes, at least, wish they could assert their independence from her. 

Somewhere online, here or somewhere else, I remember wondering what price the Democratic Party might eventually end up paying for having Alexandria Ocasio Cortez's dynamism, charisma and other political assets.   Well, we're paying.  

My misgivings about AOC, from the start, were tied to her association with the Democratic Socialists of America, a group which has, in its four decades, apparently produced one and only one political success of its own, her, and that depended, entirely, on her running as a Democrat in a seat secured by the Democratic Party and local democrats decades before she was born.  

The crowing about that one success reminded me of the crowing of Greens in Maine and, remarkably, around the country when they produced their apogee of political success, their one and only candidate who managed to be elected to a state legislature,  John Eder, who subsequently lost that seat in Portland, Maine,  one of the Greenest cities in the United States and who has been heard of almost not at all since then.*  The socialists and others on the play-left seemed to think her election was the start of the great new Socialist millennium on the strength of her winning as a Democrat in a safe Democratic seat - something which Nancy Pelosi pointed out that she had in common with her as she tried to explain things to her a while back.  

I was impressed with AOC's intelligence and energy and social-media chops as well as much else about her but I had early misgivings that she might believe or come to believe the hype the play-left was mounting around her.  I hoped that she would see through it to the fact that she was one vote in the House of Representatives and that any possible success she would have in actually doing something depended on the votes of Democrats who were not from safe seats, who represented people who were not enthusiastic for every part of the Democratic Socialists or the "Justice Democrats" or her largely affluent, white, mostly urban fan base's agenda.  That is if the shifting, at times contradicting emotional piques and enthusiasms of so many of that fandom can be called an agenda.  

This past few weeks, I don't think she's grown in realism while in office.  Or at least not enough to avoid the kind of thing she has generated as a problem for Democrats.  Look who is using the fight she and her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti picked with Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats,  I mean, I read a lot of what  I've read about it in the frequently friggin' Republican tool box, The Hill.   
I agree with what Representative Lacy Clay said in slamming AOC and Chakrabarti and the "Justice Democrats" about the absurd accusation that Nancy Pelosi was singling out four Women of Color for criticism - Lacy Clay could probably teach AOC more about real racism and confronting and fighting it than she'll ever learn in her district.  

“What a weak argument, because you can’t get your way and because you’re getting pushback you resort to using the race card? Unbelievable. That’s unbelievable to me,” Clay said. “I could care less. I could really care less. I agree with the Speaker. Four people, four votes out of 240 people, who cares.

. . . “It shows you how weak their argument is when they have to resort and direct racist accusations toward Speaker Pelosi … it’s very disappointing to me,” Clay said.

Still, I like AOC and think she has a lot of potential.  But she only has that potential the extent to which she understands that her district, her fan base are a small fraction of even the Democratic Party, any of those not being Democrats NOT likely to help in passing any bill she wants to see made law.  In fact, given their behavior since their very limited success, her fan base is clearly going to hurt the chances of anything she wants to do.  That is assuming that splitting the Democratic Party and the Democratic Caucus of the House AND EVEN THE PEOPLE OF COLOR IN THE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS isn't part of her agenda.  Though it certainly seems to be part of the "Justice Democrat's" agenda, as it has so much of the play-left composed mostly of white, affluent play-lefties. 

The Missouri Democrat also described Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti and the progressive group Justice Democrats as “juvenile” and “ignorant.”

The Justice Democrats have endorsed a progressive primary challenger against Clay and other centrist Democrats. Chakrabarti last week sent out a tweet comparing centrist Democrats to "new Southern Democrats" that "certainly seem hell bent to do to black and brown people today what the old Southern Democrats did in the 40s."

“It shows you how ignorant and little history [Chakrabarti] knows, how ignorant he is to American history. How dare he,” Clay said.

“They’re missing the fact that we have a very thin margin of a majority that we’re operating under and apparently it doesn’t matter to Justice Democrats, they just want to get skins. They want to score points for whatever reason. But I find it juvenile, their tactics, I find their ignorance to be beyond belief about American history and about who are really segregationists. And so how dare they try to play the race card at this point, it shows you the weakness of their arguments.”

The energetic youth of AOC,  of her chief of staff, of so many of her most ardent fans is not an unalloyed virtue, no more than long experience is necessarily so, but to ignore the wisdom that comes with experinece is one of the stupidest things the young habitually do.  But the backfiring failure of these kinds of antics are exactly what the ever-Green idiocy of the play-left, even very old play-lefties never, ever seem to learn anything from.  Believe me, I remember the as full-of-themselves lefties from the time I was AOC's age, lots of them are now problematic fan-boys and gals of AOC and those led into unreality by her Chief of Staff.    

I think that safe in their bubble of tech-world, safe-district, affluence supported leftiness it takes a really exceptional person to see past it.   That AOC is now beholden to such idiocy, having been a participant in it as a Democratic Socialist, a "Justice Democrat" and a Bernie Sanders supporter is probably the thing that will make or break her career as a political doer instead of an empty symbol.   If she doesn't dump her Chief of Staff, to start with, I think she'll turn out to be a flash in the pan.  She could probably remain in Congress as such an ineffective flash-in-the-pan but Democrats are already talking about mounting a primary challenge to her in 2020.  There is no gurantee that even her district is entirely OK with what she's done in Congress.**  Which gets us back to where we started, with the other three Congresswomen lumped in with her.  They need to wonder if they want to be a part of that problem for the one and only party through which they'll ever actually do something while in Congress.  I have a suspicion that Ayanna Pressley, for one, will probably show faster that she understands the situation and is prepared to do something different, she has a lot less to overcome in the play-lefties of her base.  I don't know the other two or their districts so I don't know.

That the "Justice Democrats" have also picked a fight with the Congressional Black Caucus, seeking to unseat many of their members with decades worth of practical experience or replacing people who have proven they can win their districts for unproven, untested, in many cases likely unelectable "Justice Democrats" shows how really, really dangerous they are.  It's no wonder Nancy Pelosi, the most able and capable Democratic leader in decades has to speak down to them. 

* I believe that Eder still has the distinction of being the Green who attained election to the highest office in that fraudulent parties history.  Eder ran AS A DEMOCRAT! for the Maine 12th legislative district  in 2018 but lost the nomination spectacularly to Victoria Foley who went on to win the seat, spectacularly.   The goddamned quisling Jill Stein and the Greens need to be crushed, exposing the reason she was at that infamous RT dinner with Michael Flynn and Vladimir Putin is essential.  

**  Given the history of the play-left in Democratic politics,  if I were in her district, I'd get AOC AND EVERY OTHER DEMOCRATIC POLITICIAN on record as pledging their support to whoever wins the nomination of the Democratic Party members.  Given her origin in the Bernie Sanders campaign, where her Chief of Staff also came from, given the Democratic Socialists' past endorsement of Ralph Nader against the Democratic nominee, it's especially necessary to force their public commitment to supporting Democratic candidates and not running against them, risking becoming the spoilers that play-lefties have been.  I would say that the left AOC is from has had their most significant political impact in acting as spoiler-enablers of Republican-fascism.

Could Judges Clean Up The Scandal Of The Legal System By Suppressing Lies Told By Lawyers And Judges?

In illustration of what I said yesterday about the role that the habitual corruptions embedded in the legal profession and judicial apparatus which derives from it are in serious need of reform, lawyers who lie, especially in a. legal filings, b. in lobbying the public through TV and radio and less effective media should be punished and should be barred from working as lawyers or appointed as judges.  

In discussing the latest news about Jeffrey Epstein's arrest and the attempts of his lawyers to get the child rapist out of jail, two lawyers, Lawrence O'Donnell and Mimi Rocah discussed one of Epstein's big-deal lawyer, Reid Weingarten blatantly lying TO THE JUDGE about even the very law under which Epstein has finally been arrested, claiming that what he is accused of doing (what he is certainly confirmed as admitting doing by the illegal Florida plea agreement) wasn't covered by the law he's accused of breaking.   If there is any doubt that Reid Weingarten was lying in a filing to the court on that point, O'Donnell read the law which lists what is covered, a number of which are exactly what Epstein is accused of doing to dozens and dozens, if not hundreds of children. 

What I found especially telling in the discussion between O'Donnell and Rocah - who used to be an Assistant U. S. Attorney working in the Southern New York District -  was that they more or less said that the expectation of success of such defense attorney lies was seriously hampered by the chance assignment of the judge in this case having previously spoken out against the injustice of allowing the super-rich to get out of jail because they have resources that poor People don't have.  Such equal justice under the law should not be a matter of mere chance, though it certainly is.   If, by chance, a judge who was one of the many, many judges who are predisposed to give such privileges to the rich, that would certainly not be the case and many such judges are certainly ready to hide behind the kind of lies that Weingarten told in his filing.  I doubt that high-priced lawyers with that much experience lie just for the pleasure they get from lying at those per-hour fees, they do it because they know that with many judges and "justices" such lies give them outs for doing the most unjust things.  I can imagine such successful lying might become a habit if it works enough, it certainly has turned into a habitual expectation when dealing with "EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW," as the lie over the facade of the Supreme Court building puts it.

Similar lies are behind the outrageous sweet-heart deal that Alex Acosta, as a Republican-appointed Federal Attorney in one of the states which are cesspools of corruption, Florida came to in private with Jeffrey Epstein's lawyers, including, certainly, the TV-Harvard lawyer implicated in Epstein's crimes, Alan Dershowitz.  

The blatant injustice of the legal system leads directly to things like the disrepute that lawyers and judges and the law, itself, are held in are, in so many cases, fueled by the permission they give each other and themselves to lie through their teeth.   That is obvious in even the relatively virtuous truth telling that O'Donnell and Rocah engage in when they excuse the lies of Weingarten as being "good" defense lawyering.   What is good about it is clearly not good for the truth or justice, it is certainly not good for equal justice under the law because expensive, high-power lawyers held in high esteem are so much more likely to lie to get rich criminals off, Alan Dershowitz has made his claim to fame on such TV lawyering on behalf of Trump and a series of wife murderers and, now, child rapists - don't forget the provision in his agreement with Acosta that, bizarrely, exonerates any possible co-rapists associated with Epstein. 

There is every rational reason to abolish such free lying by lawyers, certainly in the filings they make with courts - if judges could punish them for that, I don't know - and which they tell to the public on behalf of their guilty, corrupt clients.  That kind of lying is routine for those with the money to buy it, FOX is full to the top and overflowing with such lying, several of their more prominent lawyer-celebrities have made a career of pushing such lying to the public to ever lower depths, some of them having worked as Republican appointees and having associations with elite universities.  

The law in the United States, the judicial system, is held in entirely higher regard than it deserves.   A good part of that is the phony aura of quasi-religious awe it is presented in by the allegedly superior media - NPR, Nina Totenberg, I'm talking about you.   But as long as this kind of blatant lying is a a typical, casually expected part of it, the legal-judicial system is one of the major venues of corruption of American democracy.  Something should be done about that.  If judges were forced to stop accepting the lies of high-price and other lawyers, if law associations and the professional establishment of the law didn't allow it, there would be a hell of a lot less injustice around than there is.

Technical Difficulties - Please Stand By or at least try again later

Something weird is going on with Blogger this morning.  I'm trying to fix the piece I wrote, which seem to be reproducing itself on the page, so far one page worth turning into 14 pages.  Strange. 

I'll try to post later.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci, & Brian Blade


Danilo Pérez, piano

John Patitucci,  bass

Brian Blade, drums

Republicans Don't Deserve A Presumption Of Innocence, I Don't Intend To Give Them One

William Barr, Alex Acosta, the Republican-fascists on the Supreme Court and other courts don't provide rule of law and equal justice under the law, they have no right to expect us to give them a status of assumptions of innocence they deny to others.  In case you need to be reminded, that includes babies and children being held in abusive, negligent and criminal conditions by the Trump regime they all serve.  

I'm not a friggin' court of law, I get to decide what standards I think their crimes of inequality and injustice warrant treating them with outside of a trial, and, by extension, how to think about William Barr's dead father.  I think the most plausible speculation is that Epstein blackmailed him as I believe he blackmails other powerful men who he provides young girls to rape, I believe that is the most plausible explanation of how he got his job at the Dalton School, I'll bet there are people still around who know the details of that and they're covering up because that's what the people who run in those circles do,  they are some of the worst slime around.

I can only think of a limited number of reasons Donald Barr would have hired the clearly unqualified Jeffrey Epstein to teach at the Dalton school, of those that Epstein knew stuff about Donald Barr that led to him giving him a job he wasn't qualified for and which we now know was right up his line of raping underage girls, there is every reason to suspect that he was probably up to that or something similar then, I would expect that Donald Barr, if the speculation about blackmail is right, was vulnerable in that area as well.  

Given the standards of his conduct, if William Barr doesn't like those kinds of speculations being made about his late father, I'll revise when he revises his conduct in public office and out.  

These people don't have any right to The Peoples' presumption of innocence, no Republicans do as they enable an support Trumpian depravity and criminality.  If that makes pseudo-liberals and pseudo-lefties upset, they can go sulk somewhere else.  If it makes Republicans unhappy, to quote Elizabeth Warren in another context, "Good."

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

They'll Note The Peril We Are In From Broadcast Lies But Refuse To Admit The One Thing That Needs To Be Done To Remove That Peril

Just last night on Chris Hayes' show on MSNBC, he had on David Corn talking about Michael Flynn going back on his plea agreement to lie to investigators even as the judge in one of the cases he's involved in gave that as a condition for him getting more lenient sentencing.  Over and over and over again David Corn cited the lies of FOX and Breitbart and Daily Caller and other fascist media as being more than a clear and present danger to American democracy and the rule of law.  Never once did I hear either of those journalists, one from The Nation, the other from Mother Jones magazine come anywhere close to the obvious conclusion that those lies are dangerous enough so the government of, by and for, The People and, even more so THE PEOPLE had a compelling interest in suppressing those lies and punishing the liars who endanger the very democracy, the very rule of laws and not of gangster strongmen by their broadcast lies.

As I noted in my earlier piece today, the culture of journalism is allergic to the idea that lies like the one that brought Trump to power and keeps him there should not be protected, that there is no right to lie, especially in the mass media.   That habit of thought, clearly, holds the privileges of the press, the media in higher value than egalitarian democracy, the right of The People to accurate information sufficient for them to know the truth, the truth that makes freedom a possibility,  government by an informed public and a legitimate government of duly adopted and approved laws by a government that represents The People and their interests over the privileges of oligarchs and gangsters.  

I would like to be able to name a professional journalist who sees the problem with the required POV of their profession on these matters but I can't think of a single one who does, though I could name hundreds, at this point, who decry the influence of the lies that the media creates and spreads and the danger they bring. 

The Criminal Stupidity Of Leaving The Matter Of Conflict Of Interest To The Honors System

William Barr's on again, off again non-recusal from the Jeffrey Epstein case, a case in which he has multiple conflicts of interest and which at least one member of the same regime he belongs to, Alex Acosta and  the Trump Barr and Acosta both serve are directly implicated in the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein should be the death of relying on the honors system in the matter of recusal.

Yesterday, when Barr first said he was recused in that case, he cited his membership in the law firm that negotiated the illegal non-prosecution agreement that allowed Epstein to escape a possible conviction that would have sent him to prison for the rest of his life AND IN WHICH THE LAWYERS PROTECTING EPSTEIN AND ACOSTA AGREED TO EXEMPT ANY OTHERS CRIMINALLY INVOLVED WITH RAPING CHILDREN EPSTEIN PROVIDED TO THEM.  That law firm is certainly implicated in covering up the rape of children by rich and, so, powerful men and the women who worked with Epstein to recruit the children they raped.   That law firm should certainly be under some kind of serious criminal investigation since the agreement they came to appears to have been illegal.  That it was lawyers who were involved in a possible criminal conspiracy shouldn't protect them from consequences.  That they were lawyers, so-called officers of the court, while breaking the law should mean that they should be held to a more stringent standard than mere non-lawyers who conspire to break the law.  

What William Barr didn't mention is that his father, Donald Barr, also had a professional association with Jeffrey Epstein, having hired him to teach mathematics at the elite Dalton prep-school when Barr Sr. was the principal of it.  That is despite the fact that Epstein never graduated from college.   There was certainly something that would lead the principal of an expensive, elite school to hire someone so obviously unqualified other than his natural ability to teach, whether it was a social connection, some kind of monetary inducement, blackmail or something in line what Epstein's claim to infamy would certainly have a good chance of being investigated since his job at Dalton put the child rapist in contact with exactly the age group of girls Epstein has raped and trafficked in the scores, likely in the hundreds.   It is a rare active child molester who would not have manifested his predilection by the age Epstein would have been when he was working for William Barr's father.   I wouldn't be at all surprised if in the coming days more about that doesn't come out that would cast a light on the motives of William Barr's father in his bizarre behavior.  

I have read, but not in detail, that Epstein also got employment as a teacher at another elite prep-school, the Hackley school, but haven't had time to look into that.   If that's accurate, how that could have happened - did Barr Sr. recommend him or someone there recommend him to Barr? - should be investigated.

And there are certainly other reasons that William Barr should have no part of a case in which his boss, Donald Trump, could very likely be exposed as a child rapist and which other powerful men could, those who are associates and allies of Barr and his ilk and those who are his opponents.  If I were investigating this, I would look to see if William Barr has any kind of association with Jeffrey Epstein in his past, perhaps in the period when Epstein worked for his father or as he was a multi-millionaire or billionaire child rapist and pimp trafficking children to elite men.  Barr certainly has professional relationships with some of those clients - perhaps blackmailed by Epstein the origin of whose wealth is veiled in mystery and unexplained sources.  

Before Barr, the antics of members of the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and other Republicans exposed the willingness of members of the Supreme Court to engage in blatant conflicts of interest for which no one would or could hold them responsible.  Their blatant refusal to recuse when they were in clear conflict on cases before the court is in contrast to Justice Elena Kagan who went overboard on recusing herself from case after case with no more obvious conflicts of interest than her male Republican colleagues had in cases they didn't recuse themselves from. 

With Barr's grotesque series of acting when his interests couldn't be more obvious, it's clear that this whole matter of recusal and conflict of interest is inadequately covered in law and by the Constitution which rather stupidly depends on all of this being a matter of the honor of those with the conflict of interest and the honor of those who could hold them to account.  Clearly there is no honor in the nest of criminality that is the Republican Party, today, there is no honor more generally that should be depended on to prevent the kind of corruption that flourishes whenever there are Republicans in control of a branch of government, not for decades and decades. 

It should be a matter of law that someone with the kinds of multiple conflicts of interest that William Barr has in the Jeffrey Epstein case, one in which the "president" he serves and is the thug of could very possibly be exposed as a child rapist or enabler or merely a knowing and joking witness to must keep entirely away from such a case on pain of criminal prosecution and certainly the kind of sanctions that bar association reluctantly give to their members.*

When it comes to matters of serious crimes, whenever that crime gets even indirectly close to those supposedly have the responsibility or merely by the structure of government have power to investigate and prosecute and judge those crimes the honors system set up by the Constitution is at its most blatantly stupid.  Having looked at enough of the most eminent "founders" and what a truly sleazy bunch they were in reality, as opposed to Parson Weems style of lying hagiography, it's high time we realized their sense of "honor" was inadequate to produce honest government.  Even if they believed it could, it has not turned out that way in the intervening centuries.  In the last fifty years, the depths of criminality and corruption achievable under the Constitution by men and women of no honor at all has become ever more apparent.   It's time to remove the choice of recusal from the person with the conflict of interest because they would seem, in too many cases, to be the worst possible person to trust with making that choice.

*  For that matter, why are the lawyers who aided in the creation of the illegal plea agreement with Acosta sill able to practice law?   It took decades and decades of criminality for them to disbar Roy Cohn, shortly before his death. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Too Awful To Pass Without Comment

If anything, the Orthodox tradition of Christianity has a legitimate claim to being longer than Western Christianity, it is certainly more complex than Roman Catholicism, covering histories of distinct national churches often quite different and each with long histories of their own, their own liturgical languages and practices.  Like with the long history of the Catholic and many Protestant churches, such long lived, large and varied institutions have produced everything, every degree of human goodness and wisdom and inspiration to every degree of evil.   I have thought that the sometimes, now-a-days quite strong independence of at least the official Catholic leadership from national governments had helped at least the modern Catholic church to avoid some of the evils inherent in a close relationship of some of the Orthodox churches with national and, sometimes, local governments.

It takes quite a bit to shock me but I was shocked and appalled by reading this in the National Catholic Reporter just now:

Moscow — Early one evening in May 2018, days before the annual parade celebrating the Soviet victory in World War II, a convoy of military trucks carrying long-range nuclear weapons trundled to a halt on the Russian capital’s ring road.

As police officers stood guard, two Russian Orthodox priests wearing cassocks and holding Bibles climbed out of a vehicle and began sprinkling holy water on the stationary Topol and Yars intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Since relations between Russia and the West plummeted after the Kremlin’s seizure of Crimea in 2014, such scenes have become common here. Priests have sanctified S-400 surface-to-air missiles, nuclear submarines, tanks and fighter jets. Several years ago, a priest in Russia’s far east explained that weapons, including nuclear missiles, were "perceived as a means of protection and salvation."
But the practice could soon be a thing of the past. Last month, a Russian Orthodox Church committee on ecclesiastical law recommended that clergy concentrate on blessing soldiers, rather than weapons.

"One can talk about the blessing of a warrior on military duty in defense of the fatherland," said Savva Tutunov, a bishop of the Moscow Patriarchate. "At the end of the corresponding ritual, the personal weapon is also blessed — precisely because it is connected to the individual person who is receiving the blessing. By the same reasoning, weapons of mass destruction should not be sanctified."

Not everyone agrees with the committee’s proposal, which still has to be approved by Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Vsevolod Chaplin, an influential priest and former spokesman for the patriarch, told the Vzglyad newspaper that nuclear weapons were the country’s "guardian angels" and necessary to preserve “Orthodox civilization.”

"Only nuclear weapons protect Russia from enslavement by the West," Chaplin said.

In any event, a ban on sanctifying weapons of mass destruction is unlikely to affect the intertwining of Russia’s armed forces — including its nuclear forces — with the Russian Orthodox Church under President Vladimir Putin.

Kirill has described the Kremlin’s military campaign in Syria as a "holy war," while uniformed clerics embedded with the armed forces are being trained to drive combat vehicles and operate communication equipment.

Some critics have likened the role of priests in the modern Russian military to that played by Soviet-era political officers, whose task was to root out dissenting views.

 An alleged Christian Church blessing nuclear weapons held by a gangster government is certainly among the lowest of lows in modern Christianity.  I wouldn't be surprised if other acts of anti-Christ-like depravity done in the West had happened, but that only adds to the clear evil of this act which impeaches the Christian nature of Russian Orthodoxy as practiced by those with the most power in that church.

There is something that those who do such things certainly have heard, "Those who live by the sword will die by the sword."  That's certainly true if the moral life of the Russian Orthodox establishment is what's in question.  

It seems to me that having the cosy relationship that the Russian Orthodox hierarchy has with Vladimir Putin is as corrupting as the most corrupt Popes of the past were corrupted by closeness with gangster regimes in other countries and city states.  The Catholic Church, at least through much of the 20th century learned to avoid that - though I certainly think that John Paul II was corrupted by his association with the United States under Reagan.  

For anyone who cares about the Christian religion, this is certainly a warning showing how dangerous it is for following the teachings of Jesus to get close to kings of this world, inevitably church officials who do that end up as part of that kind of kingdom instead of the one Jesus taught.  

I could never take the Christianity of priests and patriarchs who do this kind of thing as more than an expression of the false prophecy that Jesus warned about.  I couldn't take anything they said as having legitimacy or authority. 

Hate Mail - I'll Stop Saying It When It Stops Being Necessary To Say It

A lot of the things I have come to see are the self-defeating habits of thought of the American left such as free-speech absolutism, are deeply ingrained ones.  They're not the kind of thing you can make a rational argument against once or even ten times and make a dent in that habit, that's the reason I repeat some of the things I say, making new arguments, repeating old ones, coming up with new angles of attack on them.  

I certainly don't apologize for attacking those things that the left does that have led us into the political wilderness from the high point of American liberalism, that summer fifty-five years ago when a tidal wave of major liberal legislation started and built over the next year.  The reaction to that, the attack on that started working fifty-one years ago with the election that led to Nixon and he began to use the Supreme Court to destroy American liberalism and began the dismantling of egalitarian democracy.   The mass media, for those of you too young to remember that election, were pretty blatantly in favor of Nixon over Hubert Humphrey as they were even more so against George McGovern four years later.  The pathetic ink on paper rags and small distribution magazines still delude themselves that their ability to bleat out weak counter voices against the massive corporate amplification of the rest of the media are, by now, known to be too unrealistic to be much help.   Watch as the media, from the heights of the Great Gray Drab of the New York Times down to the gutter levels of FOX and below act pretty much the same way they did in 1972 as Nixon's criminality was widely exposed.   There's a lot more of that "more speech" than there is the "more speech" you recommend to fight against it.  To not understand the power that mass media being "mass" brings to those with wealth and money is as stupid as believing in a six-day creation or that there is no climate change or that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they prevent.

If secularist, First Amendment absolutism, the mass media freed to lie and, with Reagan, absolved from a responsibility to serve a free People, etc. were going to thwart Republican-fascism, it would have worked by now.  It is the stupidest part of the habits of thought endemic to the would-be American left that it never, ever learns from its mistakes, it never mounts a sufficient and effective self-critique of the part it played in its own destruction.   The friggin' ACLU, as I pointed out, that beacon of secular lefty-liberalishness was thick as thieves with the Republican-fascists in that and even many of the authentic liberals among them are too addled by rote pities of civic credulity to understand that history.

The Gradualism Of Orgainzed Crime Government And The Media That Aids It Even As It Opposes It

The Nazis in their earliest years in power were notably reluctant to start killing people in large numbers right away, not officially, that is.  Apart from officially  unofficial incidents such as the political murders that started even before The Night of the Long Knives, Hitler's mass murder of political opponents and rivals, many of them in the Nazi Part itself in 1934, the Nazi's use of capital punishment as they were gradually extending their dictatorial control of Germany, was relatively moderate, perhaps even compared to the Weimar years.

It is rarely mentioned that when the Nazis first came into power, they were cautious about using the death penalty. In the beginning, they did not wield much power and they feared an uprising if they were to execute their own people.

At the Plotzensee Prison, only 45 people were sentenced to death between 1933 and 1936. That figure would be dwarfed in later years. In the beginning of the Nazi regime, Hitler was concerned by the idea of judicial execution varied throughout the nation. There was the guillotine, hanging, shooting, and perhaps most gruesome, an axe. Hitler established a standard means of execution in order to put “miscreant citizens to death;” as reported by the Daily Mail. In the beginning, Hitler was reluctant to use the guillotine, as it evoked the feel of the French Reign of Terror. He much preferred the use of concentration camps.

‘At least we have not set up a guillotine,’ Hitler said in a news-paper interview at the end of 1933. ‘Even the worst elements have only needed to have been separated from the nation.’ 

I'm pointing this out as a warning to those who are foolish or lazy or corrupt enough to not take the brutality and thuggishness among federal police agencies and the encouragement Trump has been to even the appalling treatment of babies, toddlers and other young children of color, that if this isn't crushed out of practice, we could be seeing the beginnings of something that can get far worse, very fast.   

I am so disturbed to find that a dangerously large percentage of Americans are OK enough with the brutality that has been exposed or who, if confronted will lie that they don't believe it.   If there is a danger to American egalitarian democracy, of even decency, it resides in the corrupted minds of those who still support Trump, even with - perhaps in many cases BECAUSE of this kind of brutality to such as the children being held in concentration camps.  That is clearly OK with William Barr and scum like the head of "Homeland Security" who know exactly what is going on and, by their tacit or active support of it continuing are as guilty as any other criminal against humanity.  And that is certainly true of other alleged law enforcement officials polluting the Department of "Justice" and other agencies of government.  It is absolutely true of those sworn to uphold the Constitution as they witness this in silence, as virtually every Republican in the Congress has been this far into the revelations.

This is nothing less than a crisis situation that is showing every sign of getting worse.  The support Trump and Republicans continue to have, especially with their ratfucking of every election they can to prevent a democratic vote and majority rule, is directly analogous to what the Nazis did in the early 1930s to gain power, it is certainly similar to how the Brits have allowed the right-wing to dominate that country.   

We've got to face that a country that would do what we now know ours does to babies and toddlers in Republican concentration camps is capable of doing a lot worse.  It is the same country that accepted Reagan's terror campaigns against the same peoples in the same countries from which they have to flee now.  This isn't something that started with Trump, if you want an official start to it, you can go to Reagan's start of his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi with overt appeals to racists.  With, of course, implausible but effective deniability, that's now a lot of this works. 


The corruption of an effective margin, sufficient for someone like Trump to come to hold the presidency, though, is a product of media propaganda.   When someone like Rachel Maddow or Charles Pierce decries the role that lies have come to play in producing the Trump regime, lies spread by the "social media" by FOX and hate-talk radio jocks, they come as close as they ever will to admitting that it is their line of work, as practiced by the allowed rules under current "First Amendment" doctrine and dogma as advocated by lawyers and accepted by judges and "justices".   But they never take it to the core of what it means.  When Rachel Maddow has on lawyers from the division of the ACLU who deal with immigrants rights, with reproductive rights, she doesn't ever point out that everything they do in court is undermined if not undone by the division that argues to permit lies to permeate our collective state of mind, and it's clear that the state of the American mind, is dangerously corrupted after sixty years of increasing "free speech -free press" in ways that it seldom was before that expansion of the liberty to lie.

For me, in the about fifteen years I've been making that point, it became immediately clear that thinking critically about the matter of lies in the mass media is one of the very few areas of forbidden speech.  Pointing out the consequence of an effective margin buying broadcast lies is to be suppressed - yes, it's a thought crime to openly discuss that the "Constitutional" "right to lie" does to egalitarian democracy.   It is more disreputable among refined people of fashion to point these things out than it is to make mild noises in support of murderous dictators and depravity.  I would expect that advocating infanticide at most faculty parties, if you put it in the terms the nice, university-based "ethicists" do, would be more acceptable than pointing out that the utterly deregulated media is an engine for destroying democracy and that the ACLU and the Supreme Court "free speech - free press" rulings are what allowed it to happen. 

If you want to know where the "nice Germans" are, the ones who "didn't know" you can often find them on the liberal ghetto hours at MSNBC and writing liberal columns magazines offline and on.   Until they face that you can't have a mass media that is allowed to lie without effective deterrents,  Trumpery is what you're going to get, after you get a gradual corruption such as the Republican presidencies since Eisenhower's have been and as the Supreme Court has been enabling since Earl Warren was pleasing the nice liberals so that smut peddlers and corporate liars could push their wares and lies. 

Taking The Easy Way Out

Thought I'd tell you how the Linux conversion is going.  If you choose the right distribution, it's hardly noticeable that you've made the change.   While the dedicated geeks for whom a computer is a competitive sport or obsession might scoff, I've found Linux Mint to be very easy to get used to.   I was using Libreoffice for my word processing and for those few times a year I need a spreadsheet so that part of it was no effort and I'd used the free Audacity audio editor so that was no problem, especially after I found my preferred old, now unsupported Acoustic Labs audio Editor worked perfectly well with the Wine application.  I have yet to try the tiny little programs I use to type with French accented and other foreign language characters but I'll try that soon. 

Once I decided to forego downloading distributions and going through the extremely trying and difficult ritual of checking security codes, etc. and bought the very inexpensive discs of them from, I have found the experience easier than pie.  

And with that corny lead, my new computer adventure of going back to the beginning with Raspberry Pi (a model 3 B+ for now) has been a learning experience.  The hardest thing about it has been handling the tiny micro SD card that the Raspberian operating system resides on (I'm going to try the USB stick boot option that you can with that model) and putting the tiny wires on the right pins to put it on a monitor have been the hardest thing.  That and having to order pieces I didn't realize I'd need.  

I've found having the operating system in a form that can be easily copied, so I can have as many erasable backups as I need, NOT ON A HARD DISC WHERE IT COULD BE CORRUPTED OR SCREWED UP to be extremely liberating and an incentive to experiment.  It has also led to the good habit of backing up work instead of just shoving it onto the hard disc where it will be lost if something gets screwed up. But you've got to discipline yourself to make the backups.  I got really lazy about that having a really big hard disc which I never came close to filling up. 

As it is, I'm hoping to have a fully functioning computer that does what I need it to do for less than two-hundred dollars -if you have an old monitor or spare TV, a USB keyboard and mouse, it'll cost way less -  and  if it needs fixing will not need to go into the shop but which I can cheaply replace parts for or fix by erasing a card or a USB stick.  The most expensive Raspberry Pi board cost less than a repair visit and from what I'm told they're quite durable under normal use.  I don't feel smug about any of this,  there's nothing fashionable or posh or terribly kew-el about it, it's just a machine.  I suspect if I could afford one I'd feel about as smug about having a stand mixer so I wouldn't have to knead bread by hand anymore.  And what's that to feel smug about? 

I'm tempted to try doing something with a Raspberry Pi Zero which, even if you get the option of pre-soldered pins, costs less than $15 right now.  It's got more power than my first PC did.

I admit the title is a tease.  Bet the trolls thought this was going to be a suicide note.

Monday, July 8, 2019

The First To Drop Out Is Not The Least Worthy Of Them

It is to the credit of Eric Swalwell that he is the first of those who will not be president in 2021 to drop out of the race, though in his case I wouldn't count him out sometime in the future.

Now, let's hope that there is a major epidemic of realism among those who have no real reason to be in the race.  I would like to see the real candidates being left to get on with beating the crap out of Trump, McConnell, Graham, etc. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Here's Another Summer Rerun that was fun to write. I'll Get Back To Regular Order Tomorrow If I Don't Have Another Accident

Someone called my attention to this piece at the frequently counterproductive, atheist propaganda outlet, Alternet (originating at Raw Story) about a piece that the . . . "journalist" Kurt Andersen did at "Big Think" or, as I think of it, even-stupider TED Talks for the even more attention deficient.   I'm going to give you the whole thing because I want to point out something you need to have read the whole thing to see.

Can Religion Explain Why Americans Are So Easily Duped by Fake News?
Novelist and journalist Kurt Andersen offers a compelling theory.

Writer and reporter Kurt Andersen, in conjunction with Big Think, walked through the ways in which the United States has entered a kind of post-truth era.

I would stop just to say that, looking at Kurt Andersen's bio, I think it's a serious and somewhat dishonest inflation of his CV to call him a "reporter."  What he is is an opinion "journalist,"  who, considering the content of the piece, was one of the creators of the hilarious and not infrequently welcomed but hardly reportorial "Spy" magazine.

In a video, the linguistic expert [?] on President Donald Trump’s speaking style explained that people seem to be losing IQ points year after year and it’s all due to a slow decline in truth. He explained that in 2012, the Republican candidates who agreed in the scientific theory of evolution had dropped to one-third of the field. By 2016, just one candidate, Jeb Bush, believed in science. Even George W. Bush said that the cornerstone of biology shouldn’t be taught in schools, and if it was, it should be taught along with the religious belief of creationism.

Andersen explained that he doesn’t think the Republican Party is growing stupider each year; rather that they’re fearful to challenge the chosen reality of their voters.

“I don’t think all of them disbelieve in evolution – some of them – but they were all obliged to say yes to falsehood and magical thinking of this religious kind, and that’s where it becomes problematic,” he said.

Already, Andersen's premise and showing that he, himself, sees the issue as more complex than the Alternet-Raw Story headline says.

“America has always been a Christian nation,” Andersen quoted. “That had always meant a different thing 100 years ago or even 50 years ago than it means today… Christian Protestant religion became extreme. It became more magical and supernatural in its beliefs in America than it has for hundreds of years or for any other place in the world.”

As Protestant Christians became more extreme, the Republican Party was similarly becoming more extreme.

Is a change in Protestant Christianity in the past 100 or 50 years what produced this?  Did it become more "magical and supernatural" in its beliefs?   Having read more Protestant writing in the past ten years than I have in my entire life before then, I don't think that's sustainable as a blanket characterization.  Most American Protestant denominations are far, far more liberal than they were fifty or a hundred or even twenty-five years ago.   I don't think it's even true of evangelical Protestantism which was in the past, in many places, bound to the American Apartheid regime which was fought most successfully by such religious groups as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the participation of many Christian individuals and groups elsewhere.   I think what Andersen is doing is holding up an easy target for dishonest purposes by ignoring the fact that many, probably most Protestants are not as he characterizes them.

“So, one thing that has happened, and one thing that has led the Republican Party to fantasy and wishful untruth more and more into its approach to policy…are now in the Republican mainstream,” Andersen argued.

Falsehoods like President Barack Obama is a secret Muslim or climate change is a Chinese hoax are all issues that are easy to believe if “fantasy and wishful untruths” are the norm. That makes it easier to accept conspiracy theories or fake news.

By now, if you read much of what I write, you will not be surprised that I'm going to call Andersen out for letting a far more pervasive, far more powerful and far more dishonest force in American life entirely off the hook, TELEVISION.  The average American watches and has watched television many, many more hours every week than the far less than one hour a week the"average" American spends in a church or doing religious activities.   The very same medium that pipes fantasies and propaganda into American's households and minds for many hours a day is what sold those fantasies with the cooperation of other media, hate-talk radio and movies and print media given a Supreme Court carte blanche for telling any lie as long as it was told in language that the lawyers might falsely argue, in the extremely unlikely event that a liberal politician or political or cultural figure would go through the expensive and likely unsuccessful attempt to get a lie retracted by the very media that Kurt Andersen has made a  very good living from.

Anderson explained that he doesn’t care if people believe what they want to believe in private. However, when religious belief “bleeds over into how we manage and construct our economy and our society,” there’s a problem that will cause lasting trouble for the country.

Oh, really.  Recall that mention of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference above?   That was a religious organization which had and has the goal of having an influence in changing "how we manage and construct our economy and society."   The Nuns On The Bus campaign to organize people and pressure politicians to change the structures and laws and policies to make the economy and society and the government more equal, more just.  And the Nuns on the Bus was supported by NETWORK, a larger Catholic social justice advocacy group that was also begun by Catholic Sisters to do what Kurt Andersen says causes "lasting trouble for the country."  I could probably come up with a list of scores and hundreds of such organizations and tens of thousands of individuals, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish, Islamic, Sikh, etc. which I think even the semi-pro atheist Andersen would be hard put to squeeze into his blanket categorization.

I would contrast that to the frequently counter-productive, often aggressive insertion of ideological atheism into American politics and economics and society, one of the most counter-productive of those presences is in people and groups and publications like Alternet and CFI and, now Kurt Andersen, which have duped liberals into carrying their water even as that was a guarantee to lose voters and support among the huge majority of Americans who are not atheists.  Quite often that is done even as the atheists supported attack and undermine the basic beliefs in the reality of morals, the rights that are held to be an equal endowment of everyone on account of that morality, the obligations that morality places on individuals, societies and governments and everything that makes liberalism a rationally coherent position.  And atheism continues in that undermining and caving in of liberalism,  up to and including the atheist debunking and denigration of free will and free thought on the basis of "science", by which they really mean atheist ideology inserted into science,

Atheism is not an inherently liberal ideology, if by "liberal" you mean the traditional American liberalism that was based in those moral obligations which are a direct result of the far higher view of individual People that must come if you really, truly believe that People are all equally made in the "image of God" and that you have an absolute obligation to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, that you are to do to the least among us what we would do for God - and in fact how we treat the least among us IS how we treat God - that even your enemies and the other, many very hard teachings that abound in the Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and other religious Scriptures, but are found nowhere in materialist-atheist ideology.   Atheism is inherently antagonistic and destructive of that kind of liberalism.  It is, though, totally compatible with the vicious "liberalism" that we now more identify as "neo-liberalism" in which the powerful and able have an equal opportunity to grab everything for themselves and to cheat, lie, and destroy whoever they need or want to get it all for them.

What Kurt Andersen is doing is what Nietzsche called "worshiping the shadow of the Buddha" asserting things that materialist-atheist scientism can't contain and which it will, unchecked, destroy, the vestiges of an emotional desire by even atheists to retain a sense of moral obligation even as their ideology undermine and erodes that.   THAT IS WHAT THE INFLUENCE OF THE CONSUMERIST MAMMONISM OF TV AND OTHER MEDIA IS DOING, EVEN THE HALLELUJAH PEDDLERS WHO APPEAR ON IT AND AS THEY, ALSO, SUPPORT THE VULGAR MATERIALIST TRUMP AND THE SERVANTS OF MAMMON WHO SERVE THE BILLIONAIRES, NOT THE GOD THEY PRETEND TO PROFESS.  That and the freedom to lie with impunity enjoyed by the pervasive media for the past fifty years, the very same period that Andersen identifies as the period when things really went to hell, is what really "will cause lasting trouble for the country,"  But as a professional member of that media, Kurt Andersen has a professional interest in placing the blame elsewhere than where it so obviously belongs.    So does Alternet, so does Raw Story, so does even-stupider-TED Talks, Big Think.