Saturday, November 30, 2019

First Sunday of Advent : our preparation for Christmas is not a safe, private, or even familial enterprise but is preoccupied with great public issues of war and peace and issues of economic justice

God of all our beginnings, we thank you for this new beginning in Advent.  Give us the freedom and courage to enter into your newness that exposes the inadequacy of where we have been and what we have done in time past.  Be the God of all truth in our midst.  Through Christ, Amen.

Psalm 146

Amos 1:1-5

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Luke 21:5-19

We rightly expect that Christmas will go "out like a lamb."  What comes from Christmas is indeed the Lamb that is slaughtered on Friday who is worthy of praise on Sunday,  who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29; Revelations 5:12)  Before that, however, Advent is "in like a lion," a roaring truthfulness that disrupts our every illusion.

The text from Amos begins,  "The Lord roars from Zion."  The image is of a lion (from the temple in Jerusalem)  who is seeking prey,  thus a threat to the status quo.  What follows is the poetry of Amos is an exposé of the sociopolitical failures of Israel's neighbors and of Israel.  The offenses of Damascus (Syria) and Moab and Ammon (Jordan)  bespeak violations of human rights and savage military assault.  The affront of Israel is economic; "trampling the head of the poor."

Such texts assure that our preparation for Christmas is not a safe, private, or even familial enterprise but is preoccupied with great public issues of war and peace and issues of economic justice that concern the worth and bodily well-being of human persons.  Our Advent preparation may invite us to consider the ways in which we ourselves are complicit in the deep inhumanity of our current world.  All these texts attest a coming upheaval because the roaring lion can wait no longer.  The lion opens space for the Lamb, who will arrive soon. 

From Gift and Task by Walter Brueggemann

I'm going to post a sort of advent calendar of the Advent readings from Walter Brueggemann's Gift and Task, a very useful book that takes the readings for Year 2 of the Episcopal and Presbyterian lectionaries, which I believe corresponds to the Catholic B year cycle.  I don't believe they are the official readings for this year that is just beginning but they are very good for daily practice.   If they want to consider this a long advertisement for the book, I do in fact hope that some of those who read this blog will get the book and use it.  I don't plan on going with it here past Advent.   If they send me a cease and desist request, I will honor that.

It sounds like there is a very good chance we might lose power on Monday and, or Tuesday and if that happens who knows how long it might be out.  Just to let you know if there's a pause. 

SS Is So Stupid That Even An Ant Kid Knows More Than He Does

It was waaaaaaaay waaaaaaaaay back, but as I recall it was a BC comic from way back before I can find any mention of it online - there was no "line" to be on back then, computers were the size of a room and people used to take "keypunch" to learn Fortran or Cobol. 

Anyway, it was a BC comic, the ants, not the cave men and women.  In my memory where the parent ants are talking about going out to see the wild new movie "Nudies Go Berserk" (at least that's what I remember) and it's hush-hush because they don't want the kid ant to know they're going to a dirty movie.  

The kid asks them why he can't go to the movies with them.

The father ant says something like,  "You wouldn't like it, it's an art film" 

And the kid says,  "Oh, you're going to "Nudies Go Berserk".   

It's hilarious when, post-facto (that means after the fact for the Eschatot and sock puppets in the audience) artsy fartsy sounding allegories get invented and floated for the cheapest and stupidest of sci-fi, horror shit, it's so stupid that even a comic ant kid could see through it.  

Yeah, right, Night of the Living Dead is an allegory of America during the Vietnam years.  I'd like to know when George A. Romero said that before the release or soon after the thing came out.  If it was not a single one of the myriads of people who saw the movie when it was first released noticed, including me and I was fairly active in the anti-war movement and politics.  Apparently some wanted to give the lead actor being Black some kind of allegorical significance, too, which was news to the "auteur" as they say in the most pretentious of places.

You often talk about the casting of your leading man [the African-American actor Duane Jones] as kind of an accident. But it's a very uncanny one! Not only because of the relevance to that exact moment in time, with the assassination of Martin Luther King, but also, given that history of zombie films, the Haitian tradition of black zombies, you have a black hero, it’s kind of an uncanny parallel.

That’s the first time anyone’s mentioned that! But it does seem an obvious connection. When John Russo and I collaborated on the final screenplay, the character was white. And we consciously, deliberately didn’t change the script when Duane agreed to play the role. He was simply the best actor from among our friends. And then, we finished the film, we were actually driving it to New York to see if anyone would want to distribute it, and that night, on the car radio, we heard that King had been assassinated. And all of a sudden, the film took on the feel of a racial statement. That was not intended at all. The same things happened to that character when he was white. The posse shot him, because they thought he was a zombie.

Notice, if you read the article, no mention of a Vietnam war tie-in. 

It's a cheap thrill.  I thought the opening scene of massive police violence in Dawn of the Dead might have been conceived in that way but it was so ridiculously over the top that I and my two brothers I saw the movie with  were laughing so hard over how ridiculous it was (people in the theater stared) that it didn't work like that. 

Making a movie to make a social criticism has to count as one of the most expensive, least effective means of doing that ever invented by the pretensions of the entertainment industry and the pathetic pseudo-intellectual tail of that, "criticism".   Critics, about 0.1% of them are worth paying attention to, the rest are just unfriendly. 

Enjoy this while it lasts, Stupes, the new year starts in about nine hours and the party's over, for good. 

Update:   And now he's claiming the absence of George Romero saying that Night of the Living Dead having anything to do with Vietnam confirms his claim that it was an allegory of America during the War in Vietnam.   He really is Trumpian in his dishonesty.    

There's no reason to continue to talk to or about the conceited, mentally deficient, lying Steve Simels or Duncan Black's blog that hosts his lies. As I said, if I could sue both of them for libel, I would, Duncan Black has become exactly what his mentor, the legendary host of the blog Media Whores Online came up with that legendary blog to document and criticize.   It's as post-truth as real media is. 

Duncan doesn't care that the content providers for his blog, the commentators, lie and libel and say the most stupid crap, what he really cares about is people clicking on his blog without Adblock so he'll get ad money, whether they click on his Amazon link so he can get a cut of that, if they'll give him money.  He is a very minor media whore but as Shaw pointed out, he's confirmed what he is, it's just a matter of how much money.   He's an aging Ivy Leaguer preppy boy.  What do you expect?  Integrity?  

Update The Last:  And now he's saying that the soi disant, "auteur" of The Night Of The Living Dead, George Romero's intentions in making HIS movie are irrelevant as to whether or not it's an allegory of America during the Vietnam War.   You could make it up but you'd have to think a lot less hard to do that.  It comes naturally to someone whose mind and absence of morals were the product of TV and crap pop kulcha. 

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Katie Hims - Betsy Coleman

Betsy Coleman signs up to do memory research for a bit of extra cash, but she finds that her memories are so vivid that revisiting her past becomes compulsive, particularly when she gets to spend some virtual time with her late Mother.

Betsy .... Maxine Peake
David ..... Benedict Wong
Young Betsy ..... Shannon Flynn
Mick ..... Ralph Ineson
Carla ..... Alison Pettit
Des ..... Tony Bell
Julie ..... Christine Kavanagh
Written by Katie Hims
Directed by Mary Peate

I've decided that I love Katie Hims' work.  

Thought Crime Of The Day To Hell With Existentialism

It was back when I came across the movie of Kenneth Gaburo's production of Beckett's PLAY . . . 

and thinking about Beckett's work and that of the contemporaneous existentialist-playwrights that I realized they were essentially in the same business as George Romero and John Waters,  giving brainless thrills to the decadent wreckage that intellectualism came to when it jettisoned meaning, moral purpose and any claim of intellectual content.  

And I still find I really love Kenneth Gaburo's work, believe it or not I have a deep sense of nostalgic affection when I listen to it.  But even that isn't going to get me to lie about the brain-dead aspects of much of Beckett's work and all of Sartre's plays.  Their audiences are essentially a softer and somewhat more squeamish version of decadent Romans watching people being killed in their "games," the kind of people who used to pay to tour 18th and 19th century mad houses and to watch dissections and operations, of degenerates who liked to go watch the slaughter of animals at a slaughterhouse - the kind of thing that Leopold and Loeb's lawyer, Clarence Darrow ironically compared their proposed execution to be in his epic closing statement, the kind of thing that fueled their imaginations until they acted on their fantasies.  

The existentialist playwrights are really just jumped up geek show entrepreneurs who worked mostly out of centers of such decadent intellectual scenes, telling scary stories to decadent intellectuals who find them exciting and thrilling and daring when they're just pretentious versions of the worst in cheap entertainment. 

Mop Up*

I would guess that maybe 3 or, at most, 5% of the "Brain Trust" (they really do call themselves that) at the Baby Blue  blog might be able to successfully order a cup of coffee to their liking in a second language.  I would bet that if it was a matter of asking directions walking in a foreign city that percentage would plummet.  If it were how many of them could read a book of the complexity of the Kroata Milita Noktlibro by Spomenka Stimec without a translation handy, I'd guess it would be an equally tiny percentage.  I doubt any of them could read a book like La Bona Lingvo or Le défi des Langues - Du gâchis au bon sens by Claude Piron in another language and I doubt the instigator over there has ever read a book of that complexity in English.  

Those are the ones who seem to have been snarking about Esperanto last night.  Esperanto wasn't my second language, it was my fourth, the first two a legacy of prerequisites for a music degree.  Spanish came after that.   I am sure I could order coffee in all of them and could follow directions in at least the first two as well as in Esperanto.  I can read pretty well in all of them if I've got a large dictionary handy,  it was very useful while I was researching the eugenics of Darwinism and in a few other things I've written about here. It would be even more useful if I could find translations from languages I don't read at all in a language I can read about as well as I can read English, of which I'd only say that about Esperanto.  I'm tempted to go into a discussion of the transparency that the agglutinative features of Esperanto render a well done text on a technical subject but this is getting longer than I wanted it to be, already.

* Oh, maybe one last time.  MOP HEADS.  

Update:  I'm not surprised that the dumb bunny, "Tlazolteotil" the "Brain Truster" (they really do call themselves a "Brain Trust") who was so stupid she literally named herself after the goddess that eats shit (shit in, shit out) didn't read what I said before she stupidly said what she did in response to SS.   She's typical of Duncan Black's regulars who never bother to read before they opine.   As we know, everyone has an opinion and, like something else everyone has, it mostly stinks.   I have mentioned the time "Tlaz" reacted to a long thing I posted, saying it proved that I knew nothing about science, giving me the opportunity to point out what I'd posted, word for word, was said by that famous scientific illiterate Richard Feynman, something I posted with a full citation at the end of the passage I posted.   The dumb bitch didn't even read to the end of that comment that was right in front of her. 
Note:  It happened again, a draft got posted before I intended it to be.  So maybe it's blogger glitchy.  I've fixed it and reposted it. 

"Never Again" When It Means " Always Again" Is An Idiotic Pose We Should Abandon

I had the thought, the last time I was considering one of my sometimes, and on some topics, hero Noam Chomsky's free-speech, free-press, absolutism stand, and that of one of my other heroes of that sort, the late Molly Ivins,  the central position that the mathematics of probability holds in the modern, scientistic framing which, at least the likes of Chomsky hold to, along with their free speech-press dogma and their scientific ones.  

If you hold there is a right to propagate Nazi propaganda, or Stalinist, or Maoist or the ideological cover-job of any group which mixes gang land aspirations and behavior with philosophical pretensions, you are maintaining that those groups which have a fully documented history of monumental slaughter and oppression have a right to the possibility that their quest for totalitarian power will, again, succeed, as it did when they were able to propagate their rise to power in the past.  

If you are a "free speech-press" absolutist, you hold that such groups always have a right to try to succeed in bringing back a campaign of mass murder and oppression, wherever it has succeeded and, indeed, in places like the United States.  I will anticipate what I say below by pointing out that is exactly what the American communists of the mid-20th century wanted to do, they wanted Stalinism or Leninism here.   It's what the members of the American Bund and other Nazi groups wanted to do.  

The "free speech - free press" doctrine, in that widely popular and simple-minded form, holds that their right to propagate their dogmas holds within it the right for them to be able to repeat the successes they have already had in some of the most appalling epochs of criminality in human history.

If you claim that their chance of success in repeating that history is a small one, small enough to be tolerated, you ignore that they were able to do it in the past so that potential is certainly present.*  You ignore that they might have learned how to achieve their ends more efficiently than in the past, gangsters would seem to learn to take advantages of opportunities a lot more easily than those who practice the kind of scrupulosity of the free speech-press absolutists.  Being, essentially, gangsters, they don't much bother with moral consistency, they will strike poses of such "free speech-press" piety themselves when the first thing they would do as they gained power would be to brutally suppress it for anyone who opposed their criminal rule.   I remind you, the most eloquent proponents of such, these days are the neo-Nazis, the neo-fascists, the Republican-fascists, the whiny-assed Incel-Jordan Peterson misogynists, etc.   

The play-lefty civil libertarian types who bemoan the suppression of their propagation of their hateful propaganda are their chumps, including dear old Noam Chomsky.  Perhaps the young people on college campuses who they whine about so often can see the kind of future such propagation holds for them as the aging and elderly civil liberties champions are dead and gone, having conveniently, for them, died before those whose "rights" they champion take over. 

I believe Putin, for example,  has in fact found a more effective means of expanding his power, having given up the ideological features of the past centuries Russian-Soviet ideological false-front in favor of capitalism.  I have compared his conversion to a show of religiosity and capitalism to Henrie IV's conversion of convenience to gain the crown of France, "Paris is worth a mass."   And being far smarter and less bothered with moral consistency or inhibited by a scruple against hypocrisy, he has seen the "free speech-press" laws and court rulings in the United States and elsewhere for the golden opportunity to destroy egalitarian democracy and even liberal democracy (in the decadent European sense of "liberal") using lies and appeals to racism, envy, suspicion of "foreigners", etc.  Of taking full advantage of all of the right to lie with impunity that our Supreme Court gave to the domestic billionaire-millionaire oligarchs so they could destroy egalitarian democracy, here.  

The question I ask, the scientific question, after presenting this example of how one of today's most accomplished gangster-oligarch-dictators has succeeded wildly beyond any dreams he might have held as a Communist apparatchik in the KGB - he has placed his puppet in the American Presidency, certainly the crowing achievement, which previous despots would have considered their fever dream -  and that he did so using "free speech-press" and the opportunities handed him by the Supreme Court in its "free speech-press" rulings, with friendly amicus briefs from the ACLU, and the help and collusion of the tech sector using their greed for money as a tool, . . . 

How much of a chance of totalitarian dicatators, with their record in the modern era of being ready to kill tens, hundreds of millions and oppressing entire populations do the piously bleating, piously posing free-speechers think we need to give them to do what anyone who reads the news sees them succeeding in all over the world, today?  

Do they deserve a 50% chance of success?  25%?  10%?    Any percentage, taken over time makes it more likely than not that they will succeed, eventually.  Sustaining that position that we owe them the chance to try again, and again, and again, in perpetuity makes it a virtual certainty that "never again" will turn out to be the hollowest slogan ever mouthed in the post-WWII period or, indeed, in human history.  

I can see no reason that we should not take a far less risky chance that rational egalitarian democrats could suppress them, take away their chances of lying themselves back into power away, of making it illegal to propagate their way into power with lying propaganda and movies and TV shows that lie on their behalf.   As I've pointed out, those innocent people who suffered under the worst excesses of HUAC got a couple of years in prison after an American-style judicial trial, if they had been arrested by the hero of so many of them under the Stalin regime, they would likely have been tortured into a confession and then shot, if they didn't die under torture, as so many did.  Their family members, in many cases, as well,  and a lot of them were murdered without any pretense of a trial under the terror regime envied by those dear old American commies, living in a safety that the common residents of the workers paradise they held the Soviet Union to be would probably have traded them any day what the Americans so bitterly bitched and moaned about from their writing desks in Hollywood, at many a university, in New York.  What movies like Trumbo and all of the many other copy-cat theatrical productions using that successful franchise have falsified.  They were, in every way, the moral equivalent of Nazis, their moral pretenses belied by what was known about the massive crimes of communism by then. 

Even the admitted excesses of liberal democracy in the United States in such matters in the 1950s were mild as compared to what the beneficiaries of what is stupidly believed to be a right to advocate Nazism, fascism, Marxism wanted to reproduce here.  It is the sheerest idiocy to believe that we owe them a chance, forever more, to do it again or the means to do it.   That pose of mid-20th century ACLU style piety is either the stupidest or the most cynically hypocritical pose there is, these days.  Now that we are seeing the rise of neo-Nazism and neo-fascism using the freedom to lie in the mass media putting Putin's puppet in the White House. 

*   It is what the states with American Apartheid had succeeded in doing in states where that regime held sway, reimposing de-facto slavery and oppression and the denial of rights to Black and other Americans were doing at the time.  To hold that the right of white-supremacists and segregationists to propagate that ideology, pretending you couldn't tell the difference between that and the advocacy for equal rights is one of the most monumentally dishonest and hypocritical poses struck by members of the "civil liberties" industry, by many lawyers, many judges and many members of the Supreme Court (I will no longer honor them with the title "justice" because they don't deliver that).  While the Sullivan decision was issued as a "free press" ruling, the regime of lying with impunity it brought in has favored, mostly, the neo-segregationsts, neo-confederate and fascist oligarchs.   A lot of the slogans and claims of the "free speech - free press" industry were not very well thought out. 

I wonder if, at the height of lynch-law terror if you had asked its targets, the target of the terror campaign that it was if they would favor the total suppression of speech and press that encouraged lynching what their answer would have been.   I'd have said, silence them.  Lynchings always started with a lie told and murder being advocated. 

Friday, November 29, 2019

Too . . . what?

Breaking my resolution for a good reason, In a typical dim-witticism, SS calls Esperanto "the crypto-currency of languages".   What does that remind me of?   Let me . . .  Oh, yeah that. 

On this first and greatest lie, that the Jews are not a race but a religion, more and more lies are based in necessary consequence. Among them is the lie with regard to the language of the Jew. For him it is not a means for expressing his thoughts, but a means for concealing them. When he speaks French, he thinks Jewish, and while he turns out German verses, in his life he only expresses the nature of his nationality. As long as the Jew has not become the master of the other peoples, he must speak their languages whether he likes it or not, but as soon as they became his slaves, they would all have to learn a universal language (Esperanto, for instance!), so that by this additional means the Jews could more easily dominate them!

Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf  

So?  Too Jewish?  

See also:  

When the Jews were deported from Warsaw, the Gestapo received specific orders from Berlin to search for the descendants of Zamenhof (the creator of Esperanto). All three of his children died in the concentration camps. The only survivors were his daughter-in-law and her teenage son, Zamenhof's grandson, who still lives today in Paris. [I believe he has since died.]  

Update:  And now the liar is falling back to saying I'm an antisemite.

Let's look down just this page.   I've advocated a language invented by L. L. Zamenhof (Esperanto is a work of the highest genius which he donated to the world in a supreme act of philanthropy),   I've highly recommended books by Raymond Aron and Louis Boudin, praising them both highly (I advocated Boudin's ideas for drastically and basically reforming my own government, let me know when you find an antisemite who's done something like that), I've praised Randy Rainbow, noting his creativity and wit and praising his performances, I've given the highest praise to Jesus, who was certainly a Jew and the most significant human being who has ever lived, as far as I'm concerned. 

Flipping back a page, I note that I quoted and agreed with Billy Wilder in violation of the code of the play-lefties,  I condemned the obvious antisemetic smearing of Lt. Col Alexander Vindman and smashed the atheist-secularist-ACLU prohibition by, once again and forevermore declaring that Nazism deserves to be and should be crushed out of existence before they get another chance to do what they have already successfully done, including another chance to commit genocide against Jews . . . 

The evidence would seem to show that, by every measure of logical analysis, the obvious conclusion is that he's a pathological liar telling one of his favorite pathological lies about me on Duncan Black's blog.   If I could, I would sue Duncan Black and SS for libel.  

Update 2:  Oh, yeah, and now he's made a Holocaust joke that I will not post.  He's all class.

Update 3:  How could I leave out the quote from dear,old Studs Terkel, one of my radio heroes,  from that list?  I loved Studs even as he sometimes had me tearing my hair out. 

I Said It Before And I Can Say It Again

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

----- and Trump are alike re truth telling, 
As well in their ranting and yelling,
They both come from Queens,
And they both act like tweens 
And oddly alike re repelling.  

"A Good Memory Is A Revolutionary Concept," Studs Terkel "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," Gil Scott Heron

Isn't that cute, the pathetic little ersatz "journalist" in the archaic ink on paper media is bringing up the fact that Murdoch did business in the United States before the Republican-fascists let him become a citizen so he could really buy into the effective media that has turned the country Republican-fascist, TV, etc.  all in his typical attempt to refute what I said.  Of course he doesn't care that I can document what I said, he'll just lie, claiming to have bested me to his fellow post-literates. 

Here's what the UPI piece carried in the Los Angeles Times said when the smut peddling crypto-fascist became a U. S. Citizen when he should have been shipped back to the land of soggy chips and fish as an undesirable alien. 

Murdoch Becomes U.S. Citizen, Can Buy TV Network
SEP. 4, 1985 12 AM
NEW YORK —  Rupert Murdoch, Australian-born publishing magnate, became a U.S. citizen today, removing an obstacle to his acquisition of a network of independent American television stations.
Murdoch, 54, has been living in the United States since 1973. He was joined in the courtroom ceremony by 185 other aliens.

By becoming an American citizen, Murdoch gave up his Australian citizenship since neither government recognizes dual citizenship.

Murdoch recently purchased 50% of 20th Century Fox Film Corp. and plans to purchase Metromedia, the nation’s largest group of independent television stations, including KTTV in Los Angeles. Under federal regulations an alien may not own more than 20% of a broadcast license.

"A mind is a terrible thing to waste," is a slogan that doesn't apply to that troll.   His mind is all waste, refuse of American crap "culture" mixed with whatever little scraps of crap mostly gleaned from TV he can paste together as his thread-bare little act that features daily at Baby Blue.  

How poor people survive in the USA | Deutche Welle Documentary

Homelessness, hunger and shame: poverty is rampant in the richest country in the world. Over 40 million people in the United States live below the poverty line, twice as many as it was fifty years ago. It can happen very quickly.

Many people in the United States fall through the social safety net. In the structurally weak mining region of the Appalachians, it has become almost normal for people to go shopping with food stamps. And those who lose their home often have no choice but to live in a car. There are so many homeless people in Los Angeles that relief organizations have started to build small wooden huts to provide them with a roof over their heads. The number of homeless children has also risen dramatically, reaching 1.5 million, three times more than during the Great Depression the 1930s. A documentary about the fate of the poor in the United States today.

Messin' With The Monoglots: It Wasn't JUST To Screw With The Trolls That I Mentioned the "E" Word. But I Knew It Would

Just guessing but I'd guess you could pretty well understand all of Spomenka Stimic's book in the original Esperanto if you spent about ten months to a year studying the language from scratch.   Maybe an average of an hour a day with a good text would probably do it.  Less if you resorted to reading it with a dictionary, how one ends up reading most books of any sophistication in any foreign language, even one you've learned well.  I've known language teachers who spoke with fluency and read for decades in French, German, Latin, etc. who ALWAYS had the dictionary close when they were reading.  With Esperanto, after you've made good progress, not so necessary. 

 If you went through Step By Step In Esperanto by Montague Butler you could probably read just about anything written in the language or translated (competently) into it but that might take a couple of years.  You won't in any "natural" language for the same amount of effort. 

You could understand her well-written and easy book,  Esperanto Ne Nur Estas Lingvo if you went through the incredibly fast and easy Zagreb Method material that can be found all over the place online I believe it was written as a continuation of the textbook, to be followed by Claude Piron's Gerda Malaperis perhaps, also, the kind of surreal book that expands on that, Lasu Min Paroli Plu.  I would guess that with a fairly simple dictionary (the one by Montague Butler is a lot better and there are newer ones available online) to get you past any vocabulary problems, an intelligent student would be able to master it in as little as three months. 

There is a far less scientifically constructed first book, Esperanto For Beginners, by M. Butler, which I know the British Esperanto Association has released into public domain but I don't have time to look for the link, as well as an adaptation of the old 10 lesson correspondence course that Esperanto USA used to administer - at least it did back when it was The Esperanto League For North America.   If anyone expresses interest in those I'll look for them but the Zagreb course is very good and, if you really work it with the associated follow-up texts, quite sufficient.  And it's friggin' free, for the love of Mike.  Someone once said that his experience is that when he was traveling people who spoke Esperanto wanted to talk, people who spoke English wanted you to buy.  

As to the oft-made ignorant claim that "Esperanto is dead" or some such thing, here's one of the most popular Youtube Esperanto channels, from Evildea, an Australian who, when I heard one of his English language videos, I discovered I can understand his Esperanto better than I can his English. 

The day after a major U.S. holiday is always slow on most American-based blogs.  I figure it's a good day to tease the trolls and outrage their conventional and pre-furnished minds.  

Update:  A sensible sequence for the Zagreb Method would be the textbook, followed by Gerda Malaperis, supplementing that with Lasu Min Paroli Plu, which uses the same vocabulary, grammar as the corresponding chapters of Gerda to enhance familiarity with that material and to give you practice with the all-important agglutinative word-buillding, the thing that allows you to do many times more with a tiny vocabulary in Esperanto than in any "natural language" I know of.  Then you'll have little problem taking up Esperanto Ne Nur Estas Lingvo.   You can find a lot of basic material.  If anyone wants advice about that, let me know. 

I will mention, on the chance anyone uses this, that you can download a very useful tool, the Esperantilo a sort of word processor which allows you to easily type the letters with accents, to spell check.  I've never really paid attention to the grammar checker so I don't know how well it works but I've used it for years with little to complain about.  Again, it's free.  

I Don't For A Second Believe This One Is Real . . .

those hands are way too big. 


As noted in a note below,  the black Friday piece got posted a day early by error.  I don't have anything else right now and I've got another day of stacking wood to get to.   Consider it my Friday morning post and I'll try to post something more later. 

I do recommend Raymond Aron's book, it is quite an eye opener.  I guess as a direct observer to the Paris scene as so much of the nonsense with the Marxists and existentialists was getting underway he saw through it faster than a hick from the sticks of Maine who was a brat at the time he wrote his book would have. 

Image result for croatia vukovar dove

Update:  I just thought, also worth reading is this story, translated from Spomenka 
Štimec's very fine book Kroata Milita Noktlibro, Rene from Vukovar.  The book is available in English translation.  It's a good translation but her original is an example of very fine Esperanto writing.  

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Psalm 122 - Heinrich Schütz

1  Es ist ein Freud dem Herzen mein daß mir Gott hat verheißen,
wir sollen gehn zum Hause sein ihm Ehr und Dienst beweisen,
da werden unsre Füße stehn in deinen Tor'n, Jerusalem,
wenn wir Gott werden preisen.

2  Jerusalem wünscht Glück und Heil, der Herr wohnt bei dir drinnen,
der Segen Gottes wird zuteil allen, die ihr Guts gönnen,
der Friede Gottes sei mit dir in deinen Mauern für und für
und Glück in dein'n Palästen.

5  Allen, die unsre Brüder seind am Glauben, wünsch ich Friede!
Ach, daß all unsre lieben Freund empfinden Gottes Güte!
Die liebe Kirche ist die Stadt, darinnen Gott sein Wohnung hat,
drum ich ihr Bestes suche.

Dresdner Kammerchor
Conductor: Hans-Christoph Rademann

Light In Black Friday: Why Is The Birth Of Jesus Worth Celebrating, The Four Weeks Of Anticipating The Celebration As Well?

Way, way back before the Reagan administration let the Aussie-Brit smut peddler, tabloid publisher and promoter of crypto-fascism, Rupert Murdoch into the United States, allowing the porn-merchant lying scumbag in to pollute the United States through electronic media ownership - he had to become a U.S. citizen in order to do that for the Republican-fascists - before his neo-pagan Mammonist crew at FOX "news" invented the "war on Christmas" to rekindle and take advantage of the backlash that the boobs of the ACLU had set off in their quixotic quest to rid the town hall lawns across the country of Baby Jesus, I remember a rather quaint effort and protest against American stuff-style Christmas, the "Put The Christ Back In Christmas" campaign. 

At least I think it was something of an organized campaign.  I remember the little tiny corner store in Somersworth, NH - owned by, I believe, a French Canadian family - had a decal with that slogan and an ever fading image of a white Baby Jesus permanently affixed to the glass door of their place.  No doubt it had been put there by the owner before one Christmas and not removed out of some notion of piety, left there to express that imperative to those who went in in flip flops and cut offs to buy stuff for a trip to the beach many an August later.

I remember, back during the secularization craze among we liberals being a bit offended by not only that but any overt expression of religiosity, though I was never an atheist I rather brainlessly absorbed the propaganda that they spread in some kind of notional secular scrupulosity.  No doubt my callower, stupider self felt all good and virtuously lefty about it.   Now I realize that whole thing was a catastrophic load of uselessly gratuitously counter-productive horse shit.   If they put Baby Jesus and the Cecil B. Demille publicity stunt "10 Commandments"  on every courthouse lawn to be ignored and overlooked that part of the wildly successful backlash that Murdoch and his mountain of merdre are ever seeking to expand and use to fertilize fascism in the United States would not have been available to them.   I learned that lesson, after watching its results for 50 years and more, the highly educated members of the ACLU and the secular-lefty scribbling class have not and would be ready, in the bat of an eyelash, do it all over again no matter how stupidly it plays into the hands of FOX and Friends, Trump, the Graham family of pseuo-Christian grifters, that reported fan of photographed kinky sex, scion of an ordained sleaze, Jerry Falwell jr.

Considering who dominates the governments of the West, today, you tell me who is the stupider party in that pathetic history.*


The real question about Christmas is why the birth of Jesus is worth celebrating or remembering two thousand years later.  And, if you do take Jesus seriously - for real, not in the White evangelical, Mammonist-fascist pose - that reason isn't in the two narratives of his birth, it's in what Jesus said and did when he was in his early 30s, the things that got him killed by Rome. 

The only reason that Christianity was adopted by so many in the last centuries of the Roman Empire is that Jesus did, in fact, bring the good news that life has meaning, life has purpose, the purpose of life is sanctity and is open to all, that God is manifested, not only in appearance but in reality in the least among us, that the highest life is to do unto even our enemies as we would have done to us, to sell all we have, give the money to the poor and to follow Jesus in spreading that good news.  

I'm not going to shy away from comparing the degeneracy of Western intellectualism, today, of the post-WWII period, the neo-paganism of secular-atheist popular culture to the decadence of pagan, imperialist Rome.  One of the things,  among others, that David Bentley Hart has pointed out in the nostalgia for classical paganism is that in the generally ignorant view of it, it was believed to have been optimistic and light filled when it was dead gloomy and pessimistic.

I long marveled over the attraction of pop culture to gloom, darkness and frightening clap-trap - the ridiculous mania for zombies as imagined in the B-movie classic Night of the Living Dead as good an example as any.   The bizarre goth identity as well - I was rather shocked to find out that there are people who adopt that as their daily style about fifteen years back.  

But you can say the same about the once fashionable existentialists whose view of life was dead awful, anyone who really took them seriously would most rationally conclude that their best option was to shoot themselves in the head to end the kind of existence they were presented by such as Sartre and Becket.  

And even earlier than that, the atheist-classicist-poet who I've written about before,  A. E. Housman and the mania for his poetry giving exactly that advice, to kill yourself while young, or to just die then - advice which the sour old asshole didn't take for himself,  is another example of the awfulness that can be contrasted to the Good News that life has meaning, that our lives, the lives our our fellow creatures, nature and, indeed, the universe has purpose. 

But with the Good News is also the facing of reality and the obligations we have as participants in existence.  

I have been thinking about a line in the Lord's Prayer,  "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,"  and how before recently, I'd always taken that as an expression of passive acceptance, of the will of God as some kind of acceptance of fate.  Now I think that's a misunderstanding.  I think it's an active assertion of our responsibility to be a part of that kingdom coming, of the will of God being done and becoming real through our assumption of responsibility to put the beatitudes, the teaching of Matthew 25:31-46, etc. into practice.  To move the universe, to bend it in the direction of justice, in the small way which is within our power.  To do that despite the fact that it will be of only local and limited effect, in so far as our efforts go, though the more people encouraged to do that, the bigger the effect will be.  That we are only responsible for doing it, not for the ultimate universalizing of it, we not being gods, certainly not God.  

The Good News is that we are a part of the ongoing Creation, that we have significance, that we are not the puppets of fate, either the old-pagan notion of the playthings of their all-too-human gods nor of the modern paganism of material and genetic determinism - there are no greater pagans than the scientistic materialists, only they're too stupid and ignorant of history to understand that. 

That Good News is all worth anticipating and celebrating, though what's even more worth waiting for is continuing with it past the time the faded decal on the door is too familar to notice as you go in to buy your picnic supplies, tripping over your flip-flops that you shouldn't be wearing anyway because they're friggin' dangerous.   

*  The other day I found a pirated pdf of the English translation of Raymond Aron's great and largely forgotten book, The Opium of the Intellectuals, online. I can't stop reading it.  It is rather shocking to me that a lot of the things I'm figuring out for myself , so long after his death, he wrote and more in a book published 65 years ago.   

The complete decadence of modernist intellectualism is rather more obvious now that its burning and crashing phase is underway, it devolving back into the conditions that led to fascism and Nazism are recurring, with the heirs of Marxism taking that tiny little baby step into fascism from Marxism.  Only the intellecutals are still as addled with the same shit they were spouting back then, incluidng the "democratic socialists" who I had hoped were better than they've turned out to be.  I think the only real hope for socialism is in non-nationalistic religious socialism - I'd point to the awful denoument of Zionist socialism as only one example of what happens when you mix nationalism in with it.  It's as bad as what happens when you mix Christianity in with nationalism, "socialist" or not. 

Note:  I just noticed this got posted before I did my last edit, it was supposed to go up tomorrow but there are enough hits on it that I won't take it down.  I've got to go to family Thanksgiving, I'll edit it later.  Sorry. 

A Thankful Heart: Sacred Harp 475

Give me a calm, a thankful heart
From ev’ry murmur free;
The blessing of Thy grace impart,
And make me live to Thee.

Let the sweet hope that Thou art mine
My life and death attend;
Thy presence through my journey shine,
And crown my journey’s end.

Score and text

It is remarkable how much Sacred Harp singing is done in other countries, this site which has very useful content comes from Bremen, Germany, of all places.  Including some rather oddly moving computerized singing MP3s of the individual parts as an aid to those who aren't good sight singers. Maybe the message and music, itself is durable enough to withstand that brutality.

Oh, by the way, the recording is from the Fifth German Sacred Harp Convention.  I see on Youtube they seem to have quite a large presence in Ireland, too.  I wonder what the authors of the Sacred Harp would have thought if they knew how many Catholics would be singing their music.

I'm so glad we're largely past that kind of thing.  You might say I'm thankful for it.

Psalm 122 - Leo Sowerby

I WAS glad when they said unto me: We will go into the house of the Lord.
Our feet shall stand in thy gates: O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is built as a city: that is at unity in itself.
For thither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord: to testify unto Israel, to give thanks unto the Name of the Lord.
For there is the seat of judgement: even the seat of the house of David.
O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
Peace be within thy walls: and plenteousness within thy palaces.
For my brethren and companions' sakes: I will wish thee prosperity.
Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God: I will seek to do thee good.
Book of Common Prayer

Washington National Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

J.S. Bach : Nun danket alle Gott BWV 657

Jean-Baptiste Dupont, organist 
Organ of Jürgen Ahrendt of Musée des Augustins,  
Toulouse, France 

The Stocking Puppet of Blue Blog

Attend the tale of blog thread Zod, 
His own existence is just a fraud.
His character is comic stock,
His web-existence is only a sock,
On such a schmuck, 
This blog thread Zod,
Support hose puppet of blue-blog. 

I Will Not Tell A Lie Even By Omission - A Bumper Sticker In Lieu Of A Limerick

If I can't call Diamond and Silk skanks I don't want to be part of your revolution.  

Someone Accuses Me Of Mourning John Simon

That racist, sexist, right-winger, queer-hating John Simon?  I never saw the productions he reviewed,  and seldom watched movies. I stopped bothering with them long ago and stopped reading movie reviews a lot longer ago than that.  I may have even stopped watching Siskal and Ebert by that time.  Last I remembered he worked for the Nazional Review and the little I remember about him was mostly him being on some TV snow-job with that ass Edwin Newman during his post-career as a language scold, scolding people for not talking and writing English to their liking.  Like all such frauds,  Simon, Newman, Safire, White-Strunk, . . . they were full of shit. 

I couldn't care less what he had to say as he was saying it so I'd never assumed he was already dead, not even having thought of him that much.   So, as usual, schmucko, wrong.   I think he was mostly a fixture in the eternal and narrowly focused navel-gazing that the, um,  "culture" that even the higher end of the ever ephemeral NYC scene is.   

I don't ever remember him reviewing radio drama, that's about the only dramatic art I care anything about, these days.  I don't think I've ever read a review of them.  Just one more of the good things about them. 

Answer To An Objection

I don't know how much in law schools they discuss the actual history of the self-given power of the Supreme Court to overturn laws adopted by the Congress and passed into law under the regular Constitutional order - what is actually spelled out in the words of the Constitution, duly adopted by the fabled and entirely inappropriately deified "founders" and ratified by the legislatures of the various states in exactly the way the self-given power to allow five unelected judges to make and break laws is not spelled out.  But the history of how the members of the court, all on their own, gave themselves that power unlisted as going to the Supreme Court and which  is contradicted by most of the rest of the Constitution does not support the practice.

In my youth, while the deputedly liberal Earl Warren court was racking up an admirable record of forcing equality that was blocked by the heirs of the slave power and in other areas, doing some other good things even as they were sowing the seeds of poison that would undo much of what they did in the next half-century - those seeds marked in a package that said "free speech -free press" the great voices in opposition to "lawmaking from the bench" were the right, from the Ripon Society branch of the Republicans to the overt fascists who were also, largely, though not exclusively members of that party.  Now that the fascists have entirely taken it over they, especially the heirs of the slave-power, Mitch McConnell, certainly among them, but the Federalist Fascists, the white-supremacists are the biggest, fattest fans of making law from the bench there ever were, as long as they get to stuff the benches with their fascist goons. 

The "liberals" who were so desperate to maintain the paltry but essential progress of the Warren Court's equality rulings developed the uncritical habits of obedience to the Supreme Court and the practice of the Court majority, even 5-4, overturning laws and even long standing court precident that to critisize the court as I have was considered heresy.  I think it was within the first week of me making comments on that new innovation, blog comment threads, that someone accused me of being the type who would have impeached Earl Warren.   They didn't seem to notice that the "principled" opponents of "activist courts" were now using the very same principle that Warren used to destroy everything the Court did under him and that they had been since Nixon's time. 

Clearly the liberal strategy that worked, so long as the Court was not stuffed with fascists, worked even better once, using the freedom to lie in the media given by the Warren Court, a series of Republican-fascists and the media that lied Democrats out of office staffed the Court with opponents of equality and decency, the servants of oligarchs and pathological figures such as Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh.   Clearly the ideas of the 1950s and 60s were not terribly well thought out, or maybe the fact of the thinness of the power liberals held didn't sink in very far. 

The history of the power grab by the court in the famous Marbury v. Madison case is generally the topic of a short paragraph or two in the history course we took in high school and like so much of that conventionalized history, it is a lie.  I didn't realize how false it was until I started looking into the work of, of all people,  Louis Boudin, the radical lawyer (at least a quasi-Marxist for much of his life) who was also one of the most passionate and insightful opponents of "Government By Judiciary" I've ever run across.   I have only read parts of his long work on the subject but many of the essential facts and arguments are contained in a 1911 article in the Political Science Quarterly that I think I'll go through.  In the article, as in the introduction of his book he says his purpose is to confirm one and refute another statement made by the quite dodgy Oliver Wendell Holmes jr.

The earlier of these statements--the one the present writer has endeavored to disprove--was made by Judge Holmes in an official opinion, handed down by him as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Blodgett v. Holden, ( 275 U.S. 142), decided November 21st, 1927. It refers to the right of our Judges to declare laws unconstitutional and occurs in the following paragraph. Says Judge Holmes:

"Although research has shown and practice has established the futility of the charge that it was a usurpation when this court undertook to declare an act of Congress unconstitutional, I suppose that we all agree that to do so is the gravest and most delicate duty that this court is called on to perform."

Such a statement coming from such a source should give pause to any one--and the present writer is second to none in his admiration for the Grand Old Man of American Jurisprudence. Nevertheless, he ventures to assert that the present work disproves the correctness of this statement as contained in the italicized words; and that the charge referred to by Mr. Justice Holmes, frequently made before and reiterated by the present writer in an essay published by him twenty years ago in the POLITICAL SCIENCE QUARTERLY ( Government by Judiciary, 26 P.S.Q. 238; June, 1911), is fully sustained by the facts and considerations presented in these volumes.

The article, in my opinion, quite decisively made that refutation.  It points out that even at the time of the writing of the Constitution there was considerable hostility to several court cases in which judges sought to nullify laws adopted by legislatures in some of the states, he notes that one of the "founders" was one of the foremost opponents of such legislative powers being usurped by the judiciary and that if they had been intended in the Constitutional Convention he would have certainly raised hell over it.  He shows that that hostility to such assertions didn't end with the adoption of the Constitution or as the government was being set up.  He notes that Marbury v Madison was largely a moot question by the time the decision claiming that power for the Supreme Court was handed down and that if it hadn't been,  Jefferson and the members of his party may very well have challenged it by not recognizing or allowing that decision to be implemented in reality.  He notes that it was a half-century before the Court asserted that power again and when it did, it was to hand down one of the worst things it ever did. 

One of the most interesting parts of the article is his discussion  and relevant to my question of what would happen if a president and Congress just chose not to recognize any overturning of a duly adopted law short of a unanious court decision - was the second time the Supreme Court asserted that power that it gave itself in Marbury v Madison, the infamous Dred Scott decision.  He points out that no less a figure than Abraham Lincoln rejected the decision so made and that it was largely ignored and widely objected to. Though that cannot be said to have been THE thing that led to the terrible Civil War it was certainly an important contribution to the encouragement of the slave power (of which Taney and other members of the court were members) and the exposure of the terrible flaws in the Constitution and the government it set up. 

Any Constitution which requires a terrible, bloody civil war, far from certain in its outcome, to be ammended is the definition of a badly thought out document.

If The Constitution of the United States, in either the remnants of its original form or as further amended by unelected Supreme Courts in rulings unratified by any states, will NOT lead to a second civil war is certainly nothing any thinking person would bet on.  And if not a civil war the kind of fascist dictatorship of oligarchs which the present Republican Party is trying to set up with the help of the dictators of Russia and such places as Saudi Arabia. 

This is damned serious and if you don't get how serious I'll remind you that we spent another couple of anxious days worrying about the health of Ruth Bader Ginsburg over the weekend.  It is ridiculous that we tolerate such a thing based, in no small part, on that power which the Supreme Court gave itself.  One of the things that the article notes is that the right was assumed by Federalists, of the party of John Adams, on behalf of his appointees against the actions of the Jeffersonian Democratic Republicans - that power was created out of the partisan interest of those who made it no less than Bush v Gore or so many other decisions of the Republican-fascist majority of the present court.  If they rule in favor of Trump, making him a king, I think it might take a civil war to undo what those Ivy League lawyers did while they sat on their unelected asses on the bench they were put on to serve partisan interests. 

I won't go into it yet but I will probably discuss a paper written about Louis Boudin's book which quotes, in a rather supreme irony,  William Rehnquist's writing on this topic.  Considering the ease with which Rehnquist overturned the counting of the ballots to put the idiot George W. Bush in the presidency, you might forgive me for not believing he was sincere in his critique of judicial activism, but the points made might be interesting to consider.  I'll give a citation when I get ready to discuss it. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

"Why haven't you ever posted a Randy Rainbow video?"

I don't know why,  I listen to them sometimes, he's very talented, his parody use of show tunes strikes me, at times, as superior in cleverness to some of the original lyricists.  Maybe it's the show tunes sung so, if you'll excuse the expression, "straight."    This recent one is the second best use of the tune I've heard since a friend of mine played Ado Annie, though in her case it was a performance from personal experience. Well, in a way, my friend was never the fool of any man of the many she had experience of.  Last show she was in was Kiss Me Kate and it drove her out of her mind that the rest of the cast and chorus couldn't get the rhythms of the songs right - she was a very good musician, which is how I knew her.  Sorry, watching Randy made me feel kind of catty.  

Maybe from time to time I'll post more of his work.  

Answer To A Question Asked On TV Yesterday, How Can You Explain The Craven Criminality of Pompeo?

Before Trump there was the criminal Nixon, there was Ronald Reagan, who I believe still holds the record for most appointees indicted and convicted of crimes done in office.  There was Bush I who in order to escape investigation needed to pardon a whole raft of indictable scum (William Barr writing up the pardons for him) and Bush II who lied us into the illegal invasion of Iraq based on lies, killing hundreds of thousands and empowering some of the worst actors in the Middle East, who did so much damage to the country and crashed the economy so his billionaire buddies could steal everything.  To whine that the criminal Pompeo is some kind of outlier when he's typical of Republican-fascism is ridiculous.

Supreme Court Or King Maker?

If the Supreme Court overturns the monumental order written by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ordering Don McGahn to honor the subpoenas to testify, it should be obvious that the "justices" enabling the Trump crime gang are as in on it as Giuliani and Manafort.   If they do that it must force a total rehauling of the Supreme Court, the most totally undemocratic of the branches of the United States, one that mixes a pantomime of sanctity with some of the most corrupt actions taken by the federal government.  

Supreme Court members (let's drop the "Justice" title, they don't deserve that assumption of delivering that) should be confirmed by both houses of Congress.   Since the Supreme Court has given themselves the power, or rather five out of the nine, of overturning the judgement of the majority of elected members of Congress, both houses, and, in most cases, the elected president, the present system of relying on the least democratic of the elected parts of the government alone, is inadequate. 

Though it seems to me, given that self-created power,  they should only be able to overturn a duly adopted law by a unanimous decision.  If you object that the Congress has the possibility and, on rare occasion, has adopted bad laws, well, the Supreme Court is certainly no less likely to make bad law from the bench and to obliterate good laws and given the ideological and personal interests of many members of the Supreme Court, dating back to the beginning when rich, slave-owning members of it made decision after decision that enriched them - the kind of thing that still goes on unchecked - that is no real argument.   It's a lot harder, in most Congresses to make the kind of terrible decisions that Supreme Courts do by 5-4 and, unlike the unelected members of the court, the Congress has to stand for elections in which the only source of legitimacy for any of them doing anything,  THE PEOPLE, can weigh in on the issue.   

That power was given by the Supreme Court, to itself by itself.  It was not adopted by a Congress and ratified by the States.   If the Congress and the President chose to ignore it, what would happen? 

Supreme Court members should have a 10 year term limit.  It is disgusting that we are totally dependent on the health of people well past their life expectancy to outlive a criminal administration of which - thanks in no small part to Supreme Court decisions overturning campaign finance laws - we have more of than not, these days.   If your objection is this or that great justice living longer on the bench than ten years, I'll name you more criminals and fascists in a black robe who have, as well. 

The Court should be expanded and panels of judges should hear a particular case.  Maybe there should be some mechanism for members with particular expertise on some matters to weigh in on them if they aren't part of a panel but the Court being limited to nine members is not in the Constitution and there is no reason the Court must be that size.  At times in its history it has been fewer and, briefly, as I recall, it was more than nine.  

Since so many of its cases depend on math and science expertise which few if any of the judges have any of, there should be a requirement that a considerable number of the members of the court have such competence.   If you can put boobs like Kavenaugh and Thomas and hacks like Alito and Goresuch on the court, you can certainly make it a requirement that some of them know the hell what the issues before them actually are.  Making a brave attempt to understand complex statistical mathematics for men and women well up in years is absurd.  Try learning a new area of math in your 60s to test your acuity and see how fast you learn it.  I did, it gets harder to learn new things.  And the particular thing I chose was a lot easier than some of the statistical issues that are important to the cases the Court takes.  

The Supreme Court is as veiled in repulsively false, sentimentally presented sanctimony as American football is.  Its history, truthfully told does not sustain that.  If the Supreme Court does enable Trump in his quest to be king, it will have definitively disconfirmed that civic religiosity as a load of stinking crap.  And the fact that we are left in any doubt as to whether or not the Roberts Court, padded with thugs anointed by the Federalist-fascist-Society will or will not make the most criminal head of the Executive into a fascist king is enough reason for us to take away their ability to do that.   They should not have that power, they've used such power over the past fifty years to seriously damage our democracy, to enable billionaire oligarchs and massive corporate criminal syndicates, and to thwart the Congress in its past attempts to rescue American democracy from the domination of billionaires.   

If they overturn Judge Jackson's ruling, they have effectively crowned the mentally defective criminal Donald Trump as the king of the United States. That should kill off the cult of the Supreme Court.   I suspect even Nina Totenberg might notice that that part of her act needs work.   Even if they sustain her order in full - they might try to weaken it or nullify it the way Roberts did the ACA which he didn't politically dare to destroy at that time - that we have to wonder if they might stick the last knife into American democracy is reason enough to make these changes in it. 

The Radio Tells Us Tina Turner Is 80 Today

Which reminds me that this is what she was doing when she was pushing hard on 70

Sort of cuts my day of stacking fire wood down to size.   

Hope she's having a good retirement.  She earned it. 

Monday, November 25, 2019

"In the purview of Advent thinking, however, any such system - theological, moral or economic - is an illusion."

It is comforting to have an explanatory system that accounts for everything; and we all have them.  Such a system may be a theological orthodoxy that delivers unfailing assurance.  Or such a system may be a moral code that confidently reduces everything to simple right and wrong with appropriate rewards and punishments.  Or such a system may be an economic orthodoxy, like free-market capitalism, that can reduce everything to production and consumption.  Any such system  comforts us and keeps us safe.

In the purview of Advent thinking, however, any such system - theological, moral or economic - is an illusion.  It is sure to be interrupted and exposed as inadequate and placed in jeopardy.  In Christian life,  Advent is the big interruption of all our explanatory illusions.

Walter Brueggemann:  Gift And Task:  Tuesday after Advent 2

In anticipation of not only advent but my plans for December, and as the Black Friday grossness is already underway, here's a little something to get into the spirit of things.  

Reading this yesterday made me realize how much I depended on such explanatory systems, how much of what I've had to get past to make any kind of progress in understanding the catastrophe we face was realizing that those systems,  the bromides and slogans of secular-atheist lefty orthodoxy, the authority of the authoritative voices and organs of that failed left, the more general holdings taught to any college-credentialed English language person in the post-WWII period* especially those surrounding "First Amendment" sloganeering and failure to learn.  

And, of course, what can be said about that on the play-left you can say about the hard right that has been eating the play-left's lunch for most of my lifetime due to such orthodoxy.  

There is no shortage of explanatory illusions.  I say, let's make attacking them a central part of the preparations for Christmas.  

Enough on that till Sunday. 

*  When does it stop being "post war"?  We're almost to the point where the people who remember as far back as 1945 are dying off.   Eventually it's got to end.   The hard lessons of that period were thwarted by exactly the kind of orthodox authority that I'm encouraging people to get past so we can avoid a repeat of WWII.