Saturday, August 10, 2019

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe - An August Shellenberg Retrospective

A mob boss wants Wolfe to stop a blackmailer, and protect his daughter — who then dies.
Stars: Mavor Moore, Don Francks, Cec Linder, Frank Perry, Alfie Scott
Special Guest Stars: Jane Eastwood, August Shellenburg, Maria Loma
Music by: Don Gillis 

An heiress’s uncle returns to life — and then dies at her office!
Stars: Mavor Moore, Don Francks, Cec Linder, Frank Perry, Alfie Scott
Special Guest Stars: Lynn Griffin, Neil Monroe, Sandy Webster, August Shellenburg
Music by: Don Gillis

For some reason it came to my attention last week that the sixth anniversary of the passing of the great Canadian actor August Shellenberg is on the 15th.  He played roles in both of these, his unique, deep, dark voice is obvious.   I always liked his work, he hardly ever got the lead roles in movies and TV shows.   On stage it might have been different, I know one of the last things he did was to play the lead in King Lear in an all First Nations casting.  The great and too little appreciated actors Tantoo Cardinal and Lorne Cardinal were in that production, I have no idea if anyone had the idea of filming it or recording it.  I'd love to hear it.  

ARROGANT! J'accuse!- Hate Mail In Which I Praise (Some Of) The Old and Hope In Newness

I pride my self on not being especially arrogant.  I mean, I know unlike Stupy I've got a full head of hair and an almost full mouthful of teeth, I exercise almost daily (mostly to avoid hurting) and have never been overweight.  I don't wear skinny jeans, no one is interested in what an old man's ass looks like.  Not even other old men.   I'd never wear a stupid looking beret thinking that because Groucho got away with it as he descended into senility that people are going to mistake it as kewel on me.  And I wouldn't wear one just because they look stupid.  Groucho was a comedian, for the love of Mike.  HE INTENDED IT TO LOOK SILLY THAT'S WHY HE PUT IT ON.   Nothing looks stupider than an old man trying to be kew-el.  It looks increasingly stupid as men go through middle age.  If old men are doing it, it means it's not kew-el anymore.

It's funny that someone thinks talking and thinking like an adult is a sign of arrogance, maybe that's got something to do with why so many of the most popular books in the American canon are books about children or the childish told from a childish point of view.   Mistaking facile immaturity and willful stupidity for democratic values is one of the stupider things that seems to have grown up in American culture, starting in pop culture, where else?   It takes serious adults to have and keep an egalitarian democracy.  A little child might lead in the moral perfection of heaven where lions are vegans and there is no strife, as Isaiah prophesied.  I doesn't work among fallen humanity on a failing Earth. 

I will admit that I felt some arrogance a few years back when someone at a pot luck get together was highly amused to hear I'd made the coleslaw with an old-fashioned Mouli I've had for like 45 years (pretty sure they stopped making them).   They thought it was silly not to have upgraded to an up to date, electric food processor which they alleged was so much easier.  I asked how many of those they'd had to replace.  Their answer did make me feel a bit arrogant.  I must use my Mouli a hundred times a year or more.  I've made loads of sauerkraut with it.  Easy as anything to clean, works when the power's out, etc.  I guess I'm a bit arrogant.  People compliment me on my coleslaw   I use lots of fresh dill in the coleslaw.  And I put a few drops of vanilla in the mayo.  I hate mayo but people expect it in coleslaw.   Never use mayo when it's just me. 



Unrelated, but as I was looking for a photo I recalled of Sartre looking silly in a beret, I came across a picture of him where someone had drawn one on him. It also carried slogans of "liberty". Which, since a number of the others that showed up in the image search showed him either with dictators or doing things like handing out handbills supporting Maoism has to be even sillier than him in a beret. The phenomenon of how people can get away with equating Marxism with freedom when Marxism not only as it exists in history and reality but also in its theoretical basis is exactly as destructive as freedom as fascism and Nazism is truly amazing. The egalitarian democratic anti-Marxists of the past who saw the evil of both it and its cousin forms of gangster rule are a worthwhile group to investigate.  They were not the gangsters in competition with Marxist racketeers, Nazis, fascists, American Republicans, various pseudo-Christian fascist parties, etc.  That egalitarian democratic legacy is not that easy to find but I know they were there. I might start looking more into them. I suspect it isn't a clean and untroubling history, I remember the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.  I believe Freedom House and people like Steinbeck supported the moral atrocity and folly of the Vietnam war.  Little about the cold-war period is morally clean. 

It's worth learning from their thinking and examples, not trying to reproduce something of that past.  The automatic assumption that someone who rejects modernism wants to return to some past, real or imagined, is silly.  I don't want to return to any past, the past-past created the conditions that yielded the depravity of modernism, itself a reaction to problems before it.  Every period, full of folly and evil is a product of the problems it reacted against.  Only those who want to repeat the evils of the past maintain a nostalgia for it.  Modernism is a failure just as what preceded it was, producing, among other things, the destruction of the environment and the rotting out of the moral and intellectual underpinnings of egalitarian democracy.   We either move on to something new or we all die, those flowers of modernism, science and technology, having given us the power to destroy ourselves in so many different ways. 

I am about to do a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.  Isaiah 43:19

Friday, August 9, 2019

Almost Laughed Till I Cried

Bix Beiderbecke - Davenport Blues

Bix Beiderbecke, cornet
Tommy Dorsey, trombone
Don Murray, clarinet
Paul Mertz, piano
Howdy Quicksell, banjo
Tom Gargano, drums

Bix Beiderbecke and his group playing his own composition in 1925.

Gil Evans - Piano, Arranger, Conductor Johnny Coles - Trumpet Louis Mucci, Allen Smith, Danny Stiles - Trumpet Bill Eaton, Jimmy Cleveland, Curtis Fuller, Dick Lieb, Rod Levitt - Trombone Bob Northern, Earl Chapin - French Horn Bill Barber - Tuba Steve Lacy - Soprano Saxophone Al Block - Reeds Budd Johnson - Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone Chuck Wayne, Ray Crawford - Guitar Dick Carter, Tommy Potter - Bass  Dennis Charles - Drums

Gil Evans playing his arrangement in 1959.    The credits are the list of everyone who played on the album, I can't track down a list specific to this recording.

Jazz evolved, rock didn't.

My brother turned me on to WBGO, I suspect it will be my first choice in web-radio listening.   They played the Gil Evans version this morning.

FFS, Alex Rosenberg? You're Throwing Alex Rosenberg At Me? - Stupid Mail

I would like to say that Alex Rosenberg is the absolute nadir of just how stupid a philosopher can be, holding a job at a major university (Duke, if I recall correctly) while being a total, public and professional idiot.  His scientism is as stupid as the basest, online comment thread atheists', only, instead of a mere few pixels on an open thread, he is stupid while holding a college professorship (or is it some lesser rank) in a subject that should entail that he know better.

Alas, the profession of "philosopher" in the English language universe is so debased that such idiots occupy many, perhaps most university and college posts in philosophy departments.  Some of what Daniel Dennett says is as stupid, the entire field of "ethics" seems to be dominated by people who want to give reasons to draw up lists of people to kill and lesser depravities, just about anyone who got credentialed in philosophy from Buffalo seems to have been rendered an idiot under the influence of the like of the late Paul Kurtz.

I've read Rosenberg, I've heard him, I've heard him debate.  If you want to argue what he said, present what he said and I'll knock it down, don't rely on his name and his professional credentials.  It was one of the things I discovered when I started reading theology that theologians writing today, the one I've been reading, are more interesting because they are far more exigently critical of their own positions as well as other things,  they are deeper thinkers and far better scholars than the philosophers who seem to be bent on the kind of nihlism that Rosenberg champions.  It's just that, as I noted the other day, he's a coward who is unwilling to admit that scientistic nihilism, materialism, result in a pit of depravity in which sheer, unfeeling and depraved violence is the ultimate determinant of what happens. 

For a philosopher to support scientism is the ultimate of such philosophical idiocy, philosophical methods are not scientific.  Scientism, itself, is an ideological position, the proposition of scientism is not a scientific statement.  If it were true, it would have to refute its own status and be unreliable.  As I said, no matter what you call it, materialism is such a self-refuting ideological position when it is turned on itself and the minds that hold it.  You have to be as stupid as a materialist to not get that.  Rosenberg doesn't seem to.  I'd never have credentialed someone as incompetent in their own field, in music you had to do it not just write papers your department would like.  I'd be hard put to name a composer holding a similar university position who was as incompetent at their craft.

This Is No Joke, It's Dead Serious. Neo-Nazism Is A Clear And Immediate Danger

Men and women who do to children and parents what ICE did in Mississippi the other day are the kind who could run a death camp.   Men and women who have been running the Republican-fascist-Trumpian child concentration camps could run death camps.  Give them twelve years in power, they would get to that point.  It might take less time.

The people who support Trump, today, who still support Trump today, the ones who turn out to his rallies, the ones who support him on FOX and on other media venues, witnessing these things, are the kind of people who could support death camps.  I don't remember them booing the one of their number who suggested shooting asylum seekers at one of Trump's Nazi style campaign rallies.  I don't remember him or them rejecting that idea which, days later, was done by one of his supporters in El Paso, apparently there are people in the El Paso area, working in hospitals, who still support Trump after one of his supporters acted as his fellow Trump supporter advocated - only it was not asylum seekers, it was people who he thought shared an ethnicity identified by the Trumpian code language.  

The movie-TV presentation of the descent of Germany into full Nazi atrocity, compacted and foreshortened in time to fit into the conventions of those media give you little sense of the gradual and the intentionally planned habituation the Nazis used, a combination of racist and bigoted propaganda, violent terror, scapegoating and normalization of their genocidal program.   Even long scholarly books, taken individually, can't give you more than an idea of how that process of the normalization of depravity was done in increments.  

One of the defects in looking at history through even scholarly books is that those have a beginning, a development and, generally, an end.  Human culture is continuous.  What was done by the German military-political-scientific establishment during the Holocaust had been done in a trial run decades earlier in East Africa, many of the ideas that became real in Nazism had been current in German and, more generally, in Western intellectual culture for decades,  I have documented that with many examples though in nothing like exhaustive fashion, from Haeckel and Huxley, through Ploetz and Pearson, George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells, Oliver Wendell Holmes, . . .   Nazism as an ideology formed in the culture of 19th century German intellectualism, the formation of the party in 1919 was just the crystallization of that poison into a solid form.  Its precursors weren't exclusive to Germany and Austria, their direct equivalent is rampant in English language and Italian and other cultures.   It didn't end in 1945 with VE and VJ day, it continued, mostly in the form of Marxism and tin-pot facism and in apartheid.  American apartheid, Jim Crow, persisted.  That depravity is an eternally spewing sewer, it is rampant in all of the university departments, it fills the media, most effectively in entertainment media, the most watched, most consumed media.    I would date the resurgence of it into Trumpian neo-Naism in the 1970s.  

We're a lot farther along in the echo of that history, though the echo is as loud as the original.  Only we aren't hearing it.  It hasn't been two and a half years, this started well before Trump, before him Republicans in some number had a sense that they needed to maintain a skim coat of decency, after him they know that they can win without that cover.  That wasn't just a minor detail, by jettsoning even the mere appearance of decency, they unleashed the full, cruel depravity that ICE and other government agencies committed in Mississippi this week.  They've been doing that and worse with the public being informed of it since the first reports of toddlers, babies, older children in concentration camps came out.  The goddamned media, the vaunted "free press" spent most of its energy whining about the use of the term, the totally accurate and  justified term, they are as much a part of this as the German media were in the 1920s.  They were handing slogans and cover words to Trump's supporters and themselves.  Anyone who thinks they're going to save us is stupidly delusional.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

A Reader Query

Someone asks me if I lose a lot of friends over the kinds of disagreements I've been having the last few days.  I'm kind of amused that someone assumes I have lots of friends to lose.  Well, I have a fair few.

I don't break things off with people over these kinds of disagreements, I don't usually break things off unless the other person lies or slanders or libels me or someone else. I figure if someone is going to be a liar, I don't want to hang around with them.  Disagreements over politics?  If I broke it off with everyone I had disagreements with, I'd have no friends.   I change my mind about things, sometimes quite drastically, if I don't break it off with myself over disagreements with my past or future selves, why would I do that with other people.  I might learn something from them, if nothing else than what arguments I have to overcome to maintain my position.  They might learn something from me.  Maybe we'll mutually come to something closer to the truth for our disagreements?  

What an odd question.  We're all adults here, or mostly.  Give or take a few elective eejits.  They can leave anytime they want.

BOTH! What About That Common Conjunction Didn't You Get? or Just How Stupid Has TV Made Us?



Both is a perfectly legitimate relationship to acknowledge in this case, it often is, "either-or" is seldom a correct analysis of a complex problem. 


There is no "right" there is no "civil liberty" to lie, there is none to spread racist, bigoted, misogynistic hate which has real life consequences that the idiotic slogan of "more speech" has failed to make a dent in for almost all of the past history of humanity.   Spreading hate speech is an uncivil liberty, a privilege granted with no good purpose, it is not a right. 

Good Lord, how stupid are the allegedly educated of the English Speaking Peoples?    How much more stupid for growing up on TV and movie and internet and gamer entertainment they've become! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

What's That About USB Operating Systems? - Not Hate Mail

No, it's not hard.  I am absolutely the opposite of a geek.  If this hadn't been extremely simple and cheap, I'd never have tried it.   Anyone who can read can figure it out fairly easily, though reading is not optional. 

I've been experimenting with using a Raspberry Pi 3B+ (less than $40) as a computer.  I'm thinking of trying Raspberry Pi Zero W (about $10, $14 if you get it with GPIO pins already soldered in) for some high-risk online reading.   The 3B+ and I believe the newer, slightly more expensive 4 series of Raspberry Pi computers can be run with the operating system on a cheap USB drive, the Pi Zero W has it on an SD card.  There is no hard disc.

One of the things I liked about the first computers I had was that the operating system was stored on floppy discs - there weren't hard drives, yet - and you could always have a clean back-up disc in case the one you used was corrupted or infected.  I missed that as operating systems got bigger and were stored on the hard disc.   

I'd never consider clicking on something like a Tom Metzger website or others I'd suspect of infecting my computer's hard drive, so I can't directly research such poison.   I have done that in the past and in several cases I know they infected my computer, sometimes I couldn't find the virus and the anti-malware programs didn't seem to clean all of them out.  I suspect that someone has phished one of my older computers when I clicked on links, I know in one case they seemed to get the name of the guy who owned the computer before I did - nothing like something like that happening to you to stimulate your online paranoia.  

Don't think I'll ever buy another PC, as such, since Raspberry Pi and other single-board computers can do so much more than I expected,  are so easy to set up and maintain and switch out components on.  I did have to buy a small TV to use as a screen - I felt dirty buying it - but other than that it cost me less than a hundred dollars to do it.  Most of the parts I had to buy (cords, adapters) won't likely ever break or go bad so I might never have to spend more than $40 or so to buy a new computer. 

A few Youtubes might give you some idea, I had to look up some of the terminology to get some of it.  It's not complicated.  It's so simple even I could do it.

There are plenty of websites to give you other ideas, some that have print out instructions. 

Even more reason to be glad I switched to Linux.   I have yet to regret anything about that. 

Call me an enemy of "civil liberties" but I can see no reason I should hold that the "School Shooting" game has a right to the presumption of innocence - Hate Mail

Considering the point I made this morning that the artificial products of human ingenuity don't have rights, that rights only inhere to living beings the assertion that they have a right to the presumption of innocence is absurd.

It is certainly becoming more obvious to many liberals and those on the left that one of the worst instances of the attribution of human rights to artificial entities was when a Supreme Court clerk, NOT EVEN A "JUSTICE" BUT A CLERK!  created the "person hood" of corporations which subsequent Supreme Courts have used to set up corporations over and above mere, mortal, limited human beings, especially those who are discriminated against and who have little or no money.  Even liberals of the stupidest sort can see the catastrophic results of the creation of such rights for artificial entities in that case.

To then grant such rights to creations of not only human ingenuity but to human malignant intent is ever so much more absurd.   Video games are exactly such entities, those made to become addictive through appealing to the worst in us, self-gratifying hatreds and fantasies of power and domination and destruction of the kind under discussion.   Such games, especially given the position that "gamer culture" has played in the recent rise of white supremacist, racist, misogynistic, antisemitic, anti-Muslim and other violence, the denial of the role that such intentional messaging has played in the pandemic of terrorist violence in the United States is worse than delusional, it is willfully and enablingly blind. 

Last night Rachel Maddow reminded us of the violent white supremacist, neo-Nazi racist Tom Metzger and how it was proven to at least a preponderance of the evidence (perhaps beyond any reasonable doubt of the jury) in court that he incited murder and was made to pay with most of his property to the family of a victim of the violence done by others incited by him.   One of the ways he sold his hatred in the 1980s was through a cable TV show, spewed out over those old cables in the unregulated world of cable TV the direct precursor of the unregulated internet.  I have read that the aged Metzger is now host of an unregulated internet program though there are sites I won't click on - maybe when I have mastered using disposable linux operating systems on USB and not risk infecting a hard drive.  

One of the keys to the hate-talk of the 1980s was in mixing entertainment with the hate messaging, appealing to a degenerate form of pop culture which, ironically, such hate-talk comedians as Andrew Dice Clay were a more publicly and so mainstream expression of.  That Clay is Jewish and would be more likely a prime target of his fellow "anti-political correctness" devotees even as he competed with them for his share of the lucrative market in racist and misogynist alpha-macho-male promotion, is worth a series in itself.  His more recent more mainstreaming has included a praised appearance in a Woody Allen movie.  Woody Allen is, for me, a monument of the disaster that 1950s-60s style secular liberalism has been, something that makes me suspicious of its tropes of civic piety, even those I used to hold with, before I fact checked and thought about it.

My question is why, with those obvious and clear examples of the same thing that the current racist, misogynistic, white-supremacist, anti-Muslim, antisemetic, etc. manifestation in online video gaming - REMEMBER GAMERGATE, FOR PETE'S SAKE - are veiled under the protective pseudo-rights language of "First Amendment" in these current cases that end up with far more people murdered in a far more extensive terror campaign.   Tom Metzgers quaint use of hate-talk media when cable-TV was its most effective venue is held up as a great example of how to effectively protect ourselves and our fellow Americans  but one of the foremost venues for peddling that hatred to the most liable to kill people is now sacrosanct.  

I would like to know why I shouldn't conclude that Adam Lanza's choice to murder grade school children and younger was not motivated by the video games he was addicted to.   That isn't only known IT IS PART OF THE OFFICIAL REPORT ON THAT EMBLEMATIC EXAMPLE OF HOW BAD THIS IS.

The report says: “The obvious question that remains is: ‘Why did the shooter murder 26 people, including 20 children?’ Unfortunately, that question may never be answered conclusively, despite the collection of extensive background information on the shooter through a multitude of interviews and other sources.”

It goes on: “The evidence clearly shows that the shooter planned his actions, including the taking of his own life, but there is no clear indication why he did so, or why he targeted Sandy Hook elementary school.”

One aspect of the report that is likely to be pored over by both sides of the gun control debate is the evidence of Lanza's computer game obsessions that was discovered in his bedroom in the basement of his Newtown home. The investigation report lists 12 video games, found in the gaming area of the room, which had violent content, including popular titles such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto . Others included Left for Dead, Dead Rising, Vice City and Doom.

A computer game called School Shooting, which features a character controlled by the player who enters a school and shoots students, was also found.

Call me an enemy of "civil liberties" but I can see no reason I should hold that the "School Shooting" game has a right to the presumption of innocence. 

Update:  Apparently the example of the victims of Adam Lanza leaves someone unmoved.  How about this from the New York Times in regard to  Robert Bowers, the mass murderer who attacked the Synagogue in Pittsburg, AFTER it notes his use of Gab, a site set up by a First Amendment Absolutists-free speecy huckster, whining about the attempt of others to at least make a show of reigning in hate speech.
Discord, a chat app built for video gamers, became a haven of white nationalists last year, who used the service to plan and execute the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va. The company subsequently shut down several large far-right groups, but many have since reappeared.

On Saturday, a Discord channel populated by neo-Nazis filled with chatter and gossip about Mr. Bowers’s possible involvement in a mass shooting of Jews. Several members praised Mr. Bowers, while others criticized him for jeopardizing the neo-Nazi movement’s long-term prospects by resorting to violence.

“This guy just blew out the kneecaps of the movement in order to kill some no name Jews,” one member wrote.

A Discord spokeswoman said the company had investigated and found some accounts that violated its terms of service, which it deleted, although she said the accounts were not directly linked to the shooting.

On Gab, however, the talk was less about Mr. Bowers and the anti-Jewish movement, and more about what was happening to the platform itself. On Saturday, as Gab’s service providers began to cut ties, one of the most popular posts on the site speculated that the company was being unfairly targeted because “Gab is the free speech platform Jews want to destroy.”

Asked if Gab would be changing any of its policies in response to the mass shooting, Mr. Torba gave an unequivocal answer.

“Absolutely not.”

Am I the only person who remembers reading this stuff?  I ask because it doesn't seem to have entered into the memories of people you'd expect would remember this kind of stuff, such is the power of the slogans of "free speech - free press" to induce a sort of "civil liberties" amnesia to go along with other habits of non-thought among those on the secular left.  It is a perverted morality that places the rights of hate speech over the lives of the victims the hate speech endorses murdering.

Woke Up This Morning With The Pseudo-rights Blues

I woke up this morning thinking about the disaster that the Supreme Court inventing a right to lie has been for us.  If you doubt that, consider the record of Trump's lies and the fact that it was those who bought those lies and such lies as the media created and perpetuated about the total non-criminality of Hillary Clinton which has resulted in Trump, the lies that resulted in the George W. Bush presidency, the lies that have kept us from addressing global warming which has the real potential to end the human species as it is currently ending so many other species and the lies which have produced the weekly, often daily internal terrorist war by white supremacists, racists, facists,etc.

Lies are the basis of it all, including those Constitutionally created lies such as "The Second Amendment".   There is no natural right to gun ownership, if there is such a right then there should be a government program that arms us all, including the people of color and women - the majority who are not the class who most often kill lots of people with guns.  

Imagine what would happen if the expected first response of women attacked by a man were to unload a Glock into him - I would guess that the very men who are most enamored of guns would instantly become ardent gun control advocates.   Sort of what would happen if men were to suddenly become the ones who carried a pregnancy to term and gave birth in regard to birth control and abortion, only faster.  That idea, of women using their "right" to bear arms as a response to men who attack them isn't a suggestion, necessarily, it's a thought experiment.  Yeah, a thought experiment. 

Any "right to lie" that people believe is there, any right to bear false witness is certainly not something you can blame on the Jewish tradition of religion, the foundation of the three most often named monotheistic religions.  All of them explicitly reject the idea that there is a right to lie, all of them list bearing false witness as among the most serious of sins.  The false witness of the snake to Eve was the first sin in the traditional account of the downfall of humanity.  

Of course, there is no right to lie, lies most often result in the deprivation of rights of someone else, of everything from ownership of something rightfully theirs, their rights to self-ownership and self determination, the right to the product of their own labor, the rights to the ownership of their land or, in the American example par excellence, the right of a group to the land they had lived on for thousands of years, and everything up to and including the right to live as an innocent person who has been falsely accused of a crime. 

No, to create a right to lie required the scientific calculation of the Enlightenment as embodied in the framers of the American Constitution who didn't make that distinction in the First Amendment, no doubt because as men of business and slave owners, they knew the utility of lies to themselves and those like them who make money in sharp and dishonest dealing.*   I'm ever more convinced that the defects and outright dangers in the Constitution were placed there with the intent of rich men to increase their enrichment while calculating how to keep something like a king or a strong central government from disadvantaging THEM in their accumulation and enjoyment of wealth. 

Another good example of that is the repulsive creation of artificial "rights" for the various states.  That was, first and foremost, a creation of a "right" for states to maintain and enhance the practice of slavery, the "right" to deprive individual people if their freedom and the right to ownership of the product of their labor.  The individual states under that scheme were free to continue and enhance slavery even as a majority of Americans were coming to see slavery as the evil that it is.  

States, like corporations like companies, don't possess real rights, real rights being, as Jefferson noted, an endowment on human beings not on the artificial products of human ingenuity and, often, malignity.  Any "right" bestowed on states, on corporation, etc are phony rights.  They are privileges, and as so often with privileges, aren't given with the best of intentions.  They're like the privilege given to white men to ownership and exploitation of Black People, of men to the domination and subjugation of women, or rich people to steal the labor of poor people.  

Like all products of human intuition, these created and phony "rights" even when they are created with good intentions - the "right" to lie probably among those - the results are liable to prove, with time and the exercise of such "rights" to have had unforeseen or dismissed catastrophic results.  And I think that the "free speech absolutist" version of the right to "free speech" including the "right to lie" is probably the best such example of a catastrophically exercised "right" that you can imagine, especially when mixed with others such as "the right to bear arms" and "states rights".   

That such "rights" are leading us into fascism if not neo-Nazism is not shocking if you consider the origins of such "rights" in the Constitutional Convention of slave holders and dodgy businessmen, all of them white men of wealth.  That requires a deeper reading of history than you get in most cases.  You've got to read them in their own words and in the contexts of their activities to really understand it.  I'd say it takes the kind of reading that really deep and honest theologians do but which lawyers seldom do.  It takes a wider view of things than science or mathematics can take.   No surprise that such "Enlightement" produced such dismal results.


I guess the crypto-Republican who trolls me figures it was just by meaningles coincidence that so many violent alt-right-white-supremacist-manosphere killers were also deeply into neo-Nazi, violent, misogyinst, racist, gamer culture.  That would, apparently, be something he has in common with the pseudo-libertarians of both the left and the right.  That's "pseudo-libertarian" "pseudo" because they generally call themselves "civil libertarian" when the results of their ideological position are not civil in any way. 

He's still pissed off that it was a woman who documented there is not a single piece of paper found after the most intensive,  centuries long paper search which securely ties the Stratford man to the plays and poems until the posthumous and highly dodgey front material of the First Folio in such sarcastically cryptic style, almost all of it now most intelligently attributed to that most sarcastic and often cryptic of poets, Ben Jonson. And that is hardly adequate evidence, not least of which because of its deep sarcasm and ambiguity.  

The guy's got a real problem when women or people of color speak up.  

Of course it's hard to guess but my guess is that increasingly Diana Price's study of the total absence of a legitimate literary paper trail of Wm. Shaksper** will be seen as among the most significant leaps forward in the authorship question, though she didn't answer it she pretty well destroys the conventional attribution and correctly identifies the force that baseless authority has had in maintaining the traditional and highly profitable attribution.  Do read it, it's a real eye opener at how, when you apply the standard methods of scholarship as are applied by any good, modern biographer or historian, the attribution suffers enormously if not fatally.   And the only reason I say that is because he's been so OCD about it, among other things.

 *  It is remarkable, in contradiction to common received non-wisdom,  how many of the heroes of the Enlightenment were scientific racists, misogynists, enthusiastic about the subjugation and obliteration of races, imperialists, and slave owners or those who weren't much bothered by slavery when they weren't downright enthusiastic about it.   It is one of the more interesting things I've found out in the past decade how truly awful in this regard that enlightenment hero who has had such a profound influence in American civics, John Locke, was not only of slavery of black people but also of the feudalistic enslavement of even white men by those with more power (read "money"). 

** One of the ways he drew letters representing his signature - he never, once, spelled it the way it's supposed to be spelled, now though no two of his "signatures" match in spelling or even letter formation.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

False Alternatives That Make Fools Of Us All But Of Us, Mostly

I think it was The Reverend William Sloane Coffin jr. who pointed out that Muslims in Afganistan, in Iran, elsewhere didn't have to make the either-or choice of whether to hate the Soviet Union or the West, they could choose to hate us both for different or the same reasons.  I think something like that false dichotomy is at work in the dynamic of choosing to believe that guns or video games are responsible for the epidemic of violence as seen in El Paso and Dayton and, within the coming days if not while I'm typing this, certainly in some other place in the United States, who knows, perhaps a quarter of a mile from where you're sitting or I'm sitting, right now.

It doesn't have to be Trumps or Colbert's alternative that either the providers of guns or violent video games are responsible BOTH CAN BE RESPONSIBLE.  They don't even have to figure in every mass shooting for violent role-playing video games which have certainly been used by some of the mass murderers to hone their imaginations if not their actual shooting skills to be getting people killed.

A false dichotomy is so commonly used in our discourse that people aren't even aware that there might be more than two alternatives and that the falsely presented choice doesn't have to be a choice at all.   One of the tactical uses of a false dichotomy is to force an opponent in a debate to take an extreme position that is vulnerable to attack or which is disadvantageous to the ultimate purpose of the opponent.   That false dichotomy is rampant on the American left when it comes to things like media promotion of violence, of racism, of bigotry and the rest of what has led us Trumpian fascism.   We never needed to empower malignant speech, lies, racism, etc. to protect freedom to tell the truth, to promote equality, TO PRODUCE A DECENT LIFE FOR EVERYONE.  We didn't need to enable and defend and protect the enemies of equality, leading to their empowerment by millionaires and billionaires who could harness that force to dupe voters, gain power, install a gangster government for their own enrichment while using the violence and terror they, themselves, enabled to further their political ambitions.

The reputation of people on the left that they have an overblown view of their own intelligence is in no other way proven than in how we got suckered by the use of such false dichotomies.   No matter how many facts you have,  no matter how reliable those facts are, no matter how much sense they make, if you allow lies free reign, those lies are what will reign in real life.  That is the lesson of the left in the past hundred years, I am afraid that is about to become as clear in the United States as it did in the Soviet Union and its occupied countries, including Afghanistan, China,  Nazi Germany and Austria, Imperial Japan, in myriads of fascist and red-fascist client states of other states.

You can't create a false right to lie without eventually being destroyed by the lies you enable.  The authors, publishers, babblers and scribblers, lawyers and judges and justices who produced that false right, many of them of the alleged left are as responsible for this as the gun industry and Republican-fascists.   The fascists were smart enough to co-opt it for their own purposes even as the lefties preened in their superior free-speechiness and defended the fascists right to lie us into hell

There is a real and important difference between the ideologies of traditional, American style liberalism which is all about equality, of egalitarian democracy, of the right of everyone to a decent life and that of our various opponents.  The case for American liberalism is far, far harder to make to individuals than that of the right because liberalism costs you something to achieve, especially if you are or can be duped into believing you can come out on top instead of on the same level with everyone else.  That is why the right wing can benefit from things like this false dichotomy and flourish under it.  They don't need integrity to get what they want but equality, democracy can't be had whenever dishonesty holds sway.  Liberals have to be as cunning as serpents to remain as innocent as doves.  They can't be as stupid as we've been gulled into being for the past half century. 

Update:  I'm told that the elective eejits of Eschaton apparently can't make the simplest of distinctions I have here.   

Do I look like I care?

No Link? For Fucks Sake, Stephen, They're Right There To Be Seen By Anyone Not In Denial

While I love and respect Stephen Colbert, one of our greatest comedians, I have to take the strongest issue with something he said in last night's mostly excellent monologue.

"There is no link between video games and shootings"

Given that in all of the monologue, Colbert correctly points to the obvious connections of mass murderers, gun culture, right-wing politics and white supremacy (I don't think he made the obvious connection to male supremacy which might have more than a little to do with the fact that virtually all of these mass murders are done by men with masculinity issues), here's some linkage I found in less than ten minutes of online searching.

The night before the Saturday rally, many of the white nationalist forces — secretly communicating with an internet-based system originally designed for gamers — held a fiery torch demonstration, marching through the University of Virginia campus. The scene was eerily similar to KKK torch ralliesSPLC

The defendants have submitted a motion to dismiss that argues their internet memes and rhetoric about gassing Jews and lynching black people should not, and were never meant to be, taken seriously. But in a series of leaked chat room logs from Discord, an online messaging service for gamers, Azzmador and other rally organizers write of their readiness to “crack skulls” and “shank … niggers.” The suit includes sections of the Discord logs in which Azzmador (“defendant Ray”) writes, “I come bare-fisted … But my guys will be ready with lots of nifty equipment.”  SPLC

Leading up to the Charlottesville rallies, alt-right organizers used a messaging service called Discord, originally created for video gamers. This is the latest in the history between the alt-right and the gaming community.  How Discourd Became The Alt-Right's Favorite Organizing Platform: NBC

The Deadly Incel Movement’s Absurd Pop Culture Roots by Sady Doyle

How the alt-right’s sexism lures men into white supremacy by Aja Romano

We’ve seen Carl Benjamin’s rank misogyny before – remember Gamergate? by Keza Macdonald

You can't have it both ways. You can't, as you're giving a monologue in the form of entertainment on TV about this epidemic of gun violence to influence peoples' behavior claim that other messages contained in other entertainment media have no effect of the kind you are trying to have through entertaining people.

Unless we FULLY understand how Trump, Republican-fascists, white supremacists and the gun industry and entertainment industry are all tied into the creation of this terror campaign, we won't do a damned thing to end it. One of the most important things this week is to understand that they might make a motion to throw one small part of their side off the sled (which won't actually happen) as a distraction. If we fall for that ruse and start denying the obvious fact that video gaming is an integral part in the terrorist campaign, we are no where near as smart as we like to think we are.

Update:  The goddamned HTML is screwed up in a new way and I can't figure out  how to fix it.  Sorry for that.

The Death Toll In Self-Inflicted Terror Is Big Enough To Have Many Owners, Right, Certainly, But Also "Left"

I have been mostly silent about the carnage in El Paso and Dayton over the weekend because it's just so painful to have not only seen but warned of this coming for decades.   It has been apparent to those who chose to use their ears and eyes that things have been becoming steadily worse in gun saturated, Supreme Court - Republican promotion of gun nut paranoia and paranoid and politically ideological raving in the media, that those things were going to have exactly the consequences of which El Paso and Dayton are just the latest names of.  The mass shootings, the shootings of fewer than four which aren't considered mass shootings, the daily death toll of the terrorist campaign that the gun industry and Republicans have incited and inflicted on the United States are so many that even those with the largest death tolls enter the news cycle, are cycled out of it and then become ever dimming memories in the backgrounds of the minds of America.  That is the ones that even make it past the filter of even regional news, many don't become news stories - daily local newspapers which report on such stories becoming ever more rare.  

The google pages of these most recent battles against the American People reveal that the Murdoch press is trying to deflect responsibility from Republicans, from the gun industry by claiming that the Dayton shooter was a supporter of gun control and some kind of leftist.  If that were true it would be noteworthy only because the clear majority of mass murders in the United States are by gun nuts with experience in collecting and shooting guns, often having large arsenals they have amassed.   Amassing those, perhaps, in response to the industry-media paranoia that automatic weaponry might be outlawed in the wake of past mass shootings.  That has become a constant feature of this culture of terrorism that dominates the Republican political, legal and media establishment.  

But I'm certainly not uncritical of the liberal, the leftist response to the decades of mass murder.    Trump and other Republicans have, rightly, been criticized for trying to put all of the blame for this on video games and mental illness, pretending that the guns and the right wing, often overtly Trumpian-Republican ideology of the mass murderers, even when those have been given as the reason for their mass murders.   Republican politics and judicial law making ("Second Amendment") has been as potent an engine of this terrorism as gun industry promotion of mental illness, paranoia.   But the liberal champions of the delusion that what people of marginal moral and mental health imbibe in the media has NO effect on their behavior has been at least as big a part of the production of this violence as those other two legs of the stool.  

Liberals, especially those in the mass media and the scribbling class, have denied that such messaging, overt and the far more imbibed entertainment media.  Their willful blindness to THE FACT THAT ALL OF THAT GUN INDUSTRY AND REPUBLICAN-NOW TRUMPIAN PROPAGANDA THAT KEEPS US SATURATED IN GUNS AND GUN VIOLENCE IS DONE THROUGH THE "FREE PRESS" IS AS BIG A PART OF IT AS ANY.   

The left denies that entirely obvious truth even as, right under their noses, with their full knowledge,  Hollywood, cable-TV, the internet are full of the propaganda and messaging that has not only led to this catastrophic terrorist campaign, almost all of it by one or another variety of haters of egalitarian democracy, overt and intentional or merely unstated due to its being a habit instead of an ideological declaration.   The Constitutional piety, sincere and opportunistic, that has replaced Christian morality as the quasi-official religion of those who maintain a pious attitude is the source of the problem.  "First Amendment" declarations and absolutism is as responsible for this as "Second Amendment" declarations and enabling judicial interpretations.   The extra-Constitutional, self-created right of the Supreme Court by a 5-4 decision, the right of five men in black robes to nullify laws passed even to stem the bloodshed in the streets, in the malls IN THE SCHOOLS WHERE EVEN TODDLERS ARE SLAUGHTERED WITH AUTOMATIC WEAPONS is part of the insane civic religion of liberals as well as those conservatives who bother with a display of piety. 

"You can't have it both ways" might have been an alternative title for yesterday's post using Alvin Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism and it could serve for this one, as well.   The Supreme Court, the federal courts, are packed with Republican fascists who can be counted on to continue this, the liberals are bent on maintaining the mass media rules that have been the foremost reason that Republican-fascists have dominated.   

In order for the present day status quo to be overturned, those items of liberal piety -  adopted and so easily adapted by the gun industry and Republican-fascists to their own ends - have to be thoroughly criticized and the aura of piety given them by movies and TV shows and distorting historical treatment of the Constitution and the Supreme Court will have to be overturned, not in the courts, not in the Congress and legislatures, but in the hearts and minds of the American People.   I will note that in the past, when those haven't been dominated by fascism, when even the Republican Party was not entirely controlled by fascists, gangsters, crooks and cowards, the branch of the government closest to The People voted for restrictions in gun ownership and use and promotion that would very likely have stopped most of the carnage, it was the Courts, especially the Supreme Court, totally shielded from having to do the will of The People, that has done the most to enable the mass murderers, the daily death toll.   But it was the mass media, Hollywood fascist chic, ahistorical horse operas, tales of the "noble cause" of the slave holders, regional resentment, etc. which has led to the Republican ascendancy that put those accomplices to mass murder on the bench.  For that, the responsibility lies with past Supreme Court rulings allowing the media to lie freely and with impunity for the ends of the owners of the media.  And that was a liberal delusion promoted by the media, the scribbling class, the ACLU and other lawyers in their pay.  

In order to stop this, the part the left has played in creating the political, judicial and, first of all, media environment in which these mass killings that start in the minds of the murderers, has to be examined, admitted and changed.  We haven't even begun to do that in this country, not on the left.  The deflection campaign of Trump the Murdoch media and the gun industry will probably inhibit that self-examination.   I am totally discouraged about the possibility of saving American democracy, democracy because of that.

Monday, August 5, 2019

He Doesn't Know Squat About Alvin Plantinga But He Read Online That He's Got Cooties - Hate Mail

I don't want to get back into Alvin Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism in any great detail though I think it is a version of one of the most obvious defects in all materialistic ideologies.   Looking for audio-visual aids, I think this statement of the argument by the theologian and philosopher William Lane Craig (with whom I have some profound religious and political differences) and the philosopher and chess master Tim McGrew is fairly good for about three and a half minutes.

Since it is generally rather superficial people who are not deep thinkers who send me hate mail I was trying to think of some way to show the fatal problem for natualism, materialism, atheism, or, rather, the devotees of those ideologies that inevitably lead, when logical rigor is applied to their founding assumptions, that they must undermine the validity of human minds, human freedom, freedom of thought and, most of all, the transcendent aspect of human minds that they are capable of finding the truth about anything.  I don't think I'll develop an analogy right now, I tried to earlier and there isn't one I can figure out that's simple enough for the simple mindedness that materialism promotes. 

The problem for naturalists, for materialists, for atheists is that if they want to debunk human minds into something like a product of natural selection or material causation, removing any transcendent character that human minds (and I suspect at least many animal minds) have, that includes their minds and the products of those minds which certainly include their ideological assertions.  They can't claim the aspects of transcendence that comprise the truth, which is an accurate representation of some absolute external reality, for their ideas, exempting their preferred ideas from the debunking program that is the basic method of naturalism and materialism and atheism because their ideology rejects any transcendent reality for anything, it is a totally and fundamentally monist system of thought.  Yet for it to be right their own ideology would have to be wrong.  And not only the version of materialism that they prefer but all such ideologies are debunked by their ideological program.  

Materialism, "naturalism" if you will, has to be false in order for it to be true.  That is only made more evident when natural selection is adopted as one of the major arguments and alleged evidence given for one of those ideological framings.  It is ironic that Charles Darwin, himself, the year before he died admitted that natural selection had to debunk the very mind with which it was theorized - perhaps that's part of what led Karl Marx to charcterize the theory as a representation of the typical British vulgar style of scholarship, even as, at first, he recommended it to Engels as useful to their ideological campaign.  Later he was more dubious about it, noting that all Darwin did was turn Malthus on its head to try to force all of nature into something like the British class system that had benefited Darwin and his family so much when Malthus' argument was that human society is nothing like nature.  And it is ironic that, now, Plantinga has made a fairly persuasive argument using natural selection against the "naturalism" which I think is probably the current most popular name among materialists for their materialism.  

The chances of science finding a transcendent truth, under the framing of current atheist culture is vanishingly low if not absolutely nil.  That includes just about every argument I've ever encountered for atheism.  If they really believed their own ideology they would not only not struggle to convince people of the rightness of their ideas but it would not matter to them even in an emotional way that other people were convinced of it.   I think it's a sign of the insecurity of so many atheists who don't really want to believe their own claims and certainly don't like the inevitable results of them that so many of them are proselytizing salesmen who are so incompetent at it that they're like anti-Dale Carnegies, far better at losing friends and influencing people to reject what they have to sell.  Though they do appeal to mid-brow snobs who want to be mistaken for the in-the-know sciency class.

I think Vladimir Putin, in his corruption of Russian Orthodoxy and his utter ruthlessness is probably a far more secure kind of materialist, atheist.   I think Trump is another, though far, far stupider than Putin.  Both of them will use a show of sincerity to mask their real intentions without any regard to intellectual integrity.   The category of moral integrity doesn't enter into it, whatsoever.

Update:  I suppose I should give you Platinga's longer statement and argument on this. 

I don't necessarily agree with all of it but it's worth thinking about what he presents.  I do think his basic argument is true and it's something that has been known since at least the late 19th century.  As I said, Darwin feared it was true in 1881.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Blind Willie Mctell - Kill It Kid

Something about hot afternoons in August makes me think of old blues records. I hadn't heard this before this afternoon of sampling things I hadn't heard before.   I wish I could find the version of Send Me An Angel Down he recorded with his wife Kate McTell.  The others are great but I especially like that one.

Don't Remember To Write

I'd say he' the armpit of Eschaton but I think he's more like it's tait in need of time in a sitz bath.  And that's too complementary.  He brags about his impending travels, as if that's supposed to make me envious.  It doesn't.   I am looking forward to the idiot spending many hundreds of dollars a day to go to the Scandinavian countries so that instead of experiencing the places he's spent so much money to sit on he blog-rats at Eschaton and tries to troll me. You have to be a real idiot of a particularly American kind to go visit other lands and people and to spend it on the same old, old, old, old Eschaton you go to from Queens every day and to troll a blog that won't post your comments anymore, even those you cross post at Duncan's blog.     I think it's hilarious that his fellow geezers see him doing that from Stockholm or some other foreign location is something to be envied instead of the signs of a pitifully failing and previously very limited mind.   But, then, Eschaton is kind of an intellectual IHOP. 

The Next Person Who Says "The first one to say "fascist loses" deserves to get a punch in the mouth. Reportedly From The Website Of One Of Yesterday's Mass Shooters

View image on Twitter

Hosea Is Fresher Than Today's New York Times Or This Month's Nation Magazine

I remember a number of years ago listening to an interview with a very good though little known actor who talked about some passages from Timon of Athens  - he didn't specify which ones - that reminded him of the environmental catastrophe we have brought upon ourselves through global warning.  "How did he know it back then?" he asked referring to the author of the passage.  

Since Timon is one of those plays, the unevenness of which led even in the 19th century to the speculation that it had two authors, these days most often believed to have been Thomas Middleton and whoever it was who wrote most of the rest of The Plays and Poems (not the Stratford man, in any case) I don't know which author he meant but my first thought was that the author would have known because if there's one thing we are certain of it's that they would certainly have read The Bible - in this case we know it would have probably been the Geneva Bible of the Calvinist tradition in its English translation.  The King James Version not having been translated yet.   

Specifically he would have read The Prophets, most specifically, for that, that he had read Hosea the great Prophet of the consequences of immorality, disaster for the natural world as well as human societies when enough people are unfaithful to the moral obligation to do justice and to not plunder and despoil in all of the meanings of those words.  

In this great sermon delivered by Walter Brueggemann he draws the direct lines between Hosea's text and today's United States. 

I would especially draw your attention in that regard to what he says starting at this time.  He draws a very convincing parallel to our Trumpian period but which was only slightly less true of 2012, during Obama's administration, coming off of the disastrous Bush II period but which every administration of my lifetime has contributed to, even those of Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson who was the last president of whom you could say he moved a liberal agenda forward.  That's more than a half a century ago, now, a half a century ago we were just beginning to see Nixon's intention of destroying egalitarian democracy if he hadn't miscalculated the extent to which Warren Berger didn't intend to go there, it would have happened a lot faster.   And if you don't think it feels funny for me to say something even mildly positive about Warren Berger, you don't know me. 

As Walter Brueggemann says at about 7:30 "I am not making this up, it's in the text. And it reads like a recipe for our tomorrow."  perhaps our 2019 being that tomorrow he was pointing to in 2012 and Hosea was so long before that.

In this most secular of ages we are repeatedly ignoring the the collected wisdom of the Prophetic tradition in favor of our wise guys, our wisdom our technology* our version of gladiatorial games and empty entertainment.  


Speaking of empty entertainment . . .

I've been researching a post anticipating the beginning of the Mammonist-pagan depravity of the football season, starting with the NFL and its doctors and the sports industrys'  successful burying of the head trauma scandal that is endemic to the way that game is played.  The mixture of pseudo-Christian, neo-Roman-pagan mix of deadly violence, fascistic nationalism and a display of what you get when you leave literally everything that Jesus said, that Paul said, certainly that James and the rest of the writers of the Second Testament said out of a putative and pro-forma "Christianity" of the kind that has blighted the past two thousand years is very well summarized, perhaps best summarized in the United States by the depravity of football, the invention of the sons of rich men of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in elite universities where they intended to train the ruling class and which still have that function in the United States.  It has its counterpart in Britain in Rugby, which was invented at a lower educational level of the same training places of the ruling elite.  If you want to contrast that, I suppose baseball, which has a far less elite origin would do to some extent, especially if you leave out the current professional levels of that game. I'm not well enough versed in the origins of real football, actually played with the feet but wouldn't be surprised if that, too, had a far different character due to it origins - though, again, when you get to the gangster business of international pro-football, you're talking about a different thing.  

I'll leave you with what John Cleese had to say about that. 

He made the point at another time that American football is so tedious, with most of the time spent talking, standing around and lining up that they need to have dancing girls on the sidelines to keep people from realizing how boring it is.   I read somewhere, alas I didn't write down the source, that said just over eleven minutes of an American football hour is spent playing the game.   I asked a friend of mine who is a fan of of football ("Its all about ass.") if he thought that was true, after thinking about it for a couple of minutes he said,  "You, know, I never thought about that before but I think it might be true".   All that money, all those recources, all of that public spending and it produces an enormous percentage of its players with serious, progressive brain damage perhaps contributing to the enormous amount of criminal behavior, especially rapes and assaults on women, a toxic pseudo-religious Mammonist-pagan fascistic culture etc.  and only eleven minutes out of sixty in actually playing the game.   And I haven't even gone into the other problems associated with the drugs, the forced feeding of players like geese tortured to produce fat soaked damaged livers, injuries to other parts of the bodies and, when I looked the last time, a life expectancy roughly twenty years lower than that of non-football playing Americans.