Saturday, January 25, 2020

Saturday Night Radio Drama - James W. Nichol - Midnight Cab two episodes

This was the series from The Mystery Project on the CBC that got me addicted to radio dramas.   I don't remember which of them I might have posted before but I know it's been a long time.  I've been obsessed with the "trial" in the Senate so I haven't had much time to have fun this week.   I think these postings give the credits at the end so I won't go looking for them.  

If you want the rest of the series, you can find them here.  There's a novel by Nichol of the same name and it's pretty good though the same characters are in a somewhat different story.  It's good but it's not as good as his very fine novel, Transgression.  He writes female characters pretty well for a guy. 

The Real "Worlds Greatest Deliberative Body" Has Always Been A Hypocritical Slut

The Republicans who are all pissy about the brilliant case of the House Managers are pissed off because the case, for hours and hours, a whole days worth of them, held up Donald Trump's crime spree in front of them where they couldn't talk it down and they could't not hear it in its florid and putrid detail.  They're pissed off because, as the late Mary McGrory used to call it "Patsy Senate" didn't like not being able to avoid how unpleasant making it all was.  I'll risk a cease and desist to remind you of what it's been all along.  Especially the Republicans

By MARY McGRORY  December 5, 1985

Patsy Senate went eyeball-to-eyeball with campaign reform this week, and winked.

Patsy doesn't like reform, although she understands that sometimes she must appear to. Political action committees have been good to her -- they give 4 1/2 times as much money to incumbents as to challengers.

But Common Cause, the lobby that so seldom understands her, has been running around stirring up the countryside, making inflammatory remarks about how PACs distort the political system and that sort of thing.

So what if they do represent special interests -- everyone from wine merchants to insurance brokers has a PAC. As Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) put it, "PACs facilitate the political participation of hundreds of thousands of individuals who might not otherwise become involved in the election of an individual." To Patsy, it was a thrilling speech -- she had never before thought of the man from the hunt country as a populist.

So what if PACs have gone from giving $12.5 million to congressional candidates in 1974 to $100 million in 1984? Isn't rapid growth the American way? Patsy always thought so.

But there is always someone to spoil the fun, someone who has to go looking the gift horse in the mouth.

The mischief-maker was someone who has never given Patsy Senate trouble. Oklahoma Sen. David L. Boren, although a Democrat, had been a pillar to her and her beloved Ronnie on aid to the contras in Nicaragua. She thought she could count on him.

But when he began making waves about limiting PAC contributions, she found out other things about him: that as a reform candidate for governor in Oklahoma he had used a broom as a symbol, which she thought a bad sign, and that in a regrettable move to set himself above the other members of the club, had turned down all PAC money.

She was especially irritated that he chose to attach his lamentable amendment to the nuclear-waste bill. Sen. John Heinz of Pennsylvania, heir to the 57 Varieties fortune and chairman of the Republican Senate campaign committee, said facetiously that some wag in the Senate would doubtless make a connection between nuclear waste and PAC money.

That made Patsy nervous. Somebody might say yes, they are both piling up and they pollute the atmosphere.

She had heartburn throughout the debate. Her Republicans were extremely uncomfortable, as they tried to be for campaign reform and against doing anything about it.

Heinz was touchy, she noticed. He led the fight against Boren. He found the amendment unseemly and unconstitutional. He was struck by the indecent haste of it all -- no hearings, no deliberations.

Boren got up and said he couldn't see that he was "rushing pell-mell into the consideration of campaign reforms" in that the Senate had not had a vote on PACs in 11 years. He said that Heinz reminded him of Rip Van Winkle -- "just awakened from a long nap."

Heinz leaned over the aisle and complained privately to Boren that it was against the Senate rules for one member to hold another up to ridicule.

Sen. Charles McC. Mathias Jr. (R-Md.) came through for Patsy. He is chairman of the Rules Committee and thought it was extremely poor taste of Boren to trample on the Senate rules.

Even so, some of Patsy's own, especially those seeking reelection, were straying off the reservation. Majority Leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) made the appalling discovery that 12 Republicans were going to vote against tabling the bill, which would shelve it forever. He made a battlefield decision that they should all vote against tabling, so that nobody would suspect them of being on the side of big special-interest bucks in politics.

So Heinz, who had feared looking ridiculous, looked truly absurd when he got up and made the motion to table and announced that he would vote against it and hoped all his colleagues would do likewise. If he hadn't moved to table, the senators, under Patsy's intricate rules, would have had to vote for or against the bill itself, which would have put them in a terrible spot.

Then Dole pulled the Boren amendment off the floor. He hoped he had at the same time pulled the wool over the country's eyes, by making it appear that Republicans are for reform, if not excessively so.

Boren is threatening that if Patsy doesn't take action within a reasonable time, he is going to tack his amendment onto every bill that comes along. Dole made no promises. He favors a commission to study the whole problem.

Patsy loves commissions. They are like her, strong for the status quo

Of course, on those rare occasions campaign finance reform got through they could depend on that other Constitutional cat-house, the Supreme Court to save them from having to answer to The People instead of the money bags.  And why would anyone expect otherwise, the Senate approves them.  In that case, it's the ACLU undoing what their buddies at places like Common Cause accomplish, very briefly. 

Deep In The Trump What Got Us And Kept Us In That Filthy Stinking Pile

Well, last night's news was that when Adam Schiff, in yet another speech that will be cited as a monument of greatness for as long as American democracy exists, cited a news report that one of Trump's henchmen said that Repubican Senators who didn't vote to let Trump off would have their heads on a pike that Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and the other phony "moderate" Republicans were SHOCKED! and indignant that he would point out that was exactly what you'd expect from a monarch.  

Now, this is all an act on the part of Susan and Lisa and Mitt and Cory in which anything and everything will be grasped on to as an excuse when they do what everyone knows they want to do, let Donald Trump get away with whatever crime he wants to commit, so that's about as surprising as a second ticking on a clock.  And it's also unsurprising that NPR, PBS, CNN, etc. will echo the talking points against the spectacularly good and competent and honest job the House Managers have done under the impediments that Trump and his rent-boy, Mitch McConnell have put in their way.   The corporate media are an integral part of this corruption, from FOX to CNN, NPR, The Nazional Review and The NYT.  And the pathetic excuse for a left media will probably carp at Schiff, Nadler, Pelosi, etc. as well.   The Nation will probably have the owner's hubby carrying Putin's water, The Young Turks and The Majority Report and the rest of the Bernie Bot bullshit media will attack "the Dems" as well.  I wouldn't be surprised if Cenk and Ana,  Sam and Michael aren't attacking Nadler and Schiff for the same things that Susan Collins sent up a note to the teacher to tattle about before next week is over. 

The corruption that got us deep in Trump is too big to have been just the Republicans in the Senate and House and on the Courts, the media was what got us them, the corporate media that sold them, the play-lefty media that supported the Greens and Bernie Sanders, attacking the one and only person who stood between us and Trump, in the end.  And they're set up to do it all over again this year.  

Friday, January 24, 2020

Who Does Susan Collins Think She's Fooling?

Susan Collins has apparently started building her excuse for voting against calling witnesses - I'd say she was building her excuse for voting to acquit Trump but I've never been in any doubt as to her ultimate vote on that.  And that's even before we found out that the Trump regime is openly intimidating the Republican-fascists on the "jury" that the Senate is pretended to be in this.  

Sen. Susan Collins was “stunned” by Rep. Jerry Nadler’s late-night diatribe this week against what he deemed a “cover-up” by Senate Republicans for President Donald Trump — so much so that she wrote a note to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. But the Maine Republican said it will not affect her votes during the Senate’s impeachment trial.

In an interview on Thursday, Collins confirmed that she had jotted down a note that eventually made its way to Roberts via Secretary for the Majority Laura Dove. Collins said she believed the back and forth between House Judiciary Chairman Nadler (D-N.Y.) and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone violated Senate rules and felt compelled to point that out, even though senators are required to stay at their desks and not speak during the trial.

“It reminded me that if we were in a normal debate in the Senate, that the rule would be invoked to strike the words of the senator for impugning another senator. So I did write a note raising the issue of whether there’d been a violation of the rules,” Collins said. “I gave that note to Laura Dove and shortly thereafter the chief justice did admonish both sides. And I was glad that he did.”

You'll note the skank made Jerry Nadler's calling out the bald-faced, outrageous lies told by Cipollone and his fellow liars the focus of her feigned outrage and not their lies.  This is a well rehearsed part of the Susan Collins two-faced-double-talking-two-step of hypocrisy and self-serving accommodation with Republican fascism.   The media will pretend they don't see it even as they've seen it hundreds of times from Susan Collins and a somewhat more skilled performance of the same dance step by Olympia Snowe in the past.  Everyone knows that the scumbag is going through the motions. Everyone in the Maine media knows it, probably better than any other part of the media.  But no one else can be fooled by it now. 

I was tempted, above, to call this week's exercise a farce because, as the second presidential impeachment many of us have seen, most of both productions have been farces.  But that's not exactly honest in this because the House Managers have raised this far higher than things generally get in the House and almost never do in the Senate, what Roberts farcically and, I'm guessing ironically, noted likes to consider itself the worlds greatest deliberative body.  I think the House part of this is the only part of it in which the great benefits of democratic government are on display.  And that is due, solely, to the people who are in charge there,  Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff,  Jerrold Nadler, Maxine Waters, etc.  The other, excellent members of the House Managers.  

Compared to them the Senate under Republican-fascism is an abomination, Susan Collins as much as Midnight-Mitch-Putin's Bitch and Lindsay Graham, Trump's Bitch, as all of the Republicans are about to prove themselves to be.  

Michael Sean Winters - Because The Truth Matters

The lead counsel is Pat Cipollone, who is White House counsel and one of the most prominent conservative Catholics in the administration. According to Laura Ingraham, he is responsible for her conversion to Catholicism, which is one reason not to like him. Ingraham has become the most hateful of the Fox News primetime hosts, and that is saying something.

National Catholic Reporter: Michael Sean Winters

Couldn't resist sharing this with you because I'm coming to think Winters is one of my favorite journalists right now.   He continued:

He co-founded the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, which is really the "conservative Catholic prayer breakfast." I remember Cardinal Raymond Burke celebrated Mass for them one year: I remember it vividly because he did not use the cathedral. Later I was told he refused to ask then-Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl for the privilege.

Cipollone also served as general counsel to the Knights of Columbus. He was on the board of the Catholic Information Center, an Opus Dei-run hotbed of conservative Catholicism located just blocks from the White House.

It will surprise no one that he has been involved with the Federalist Society, which is an incubator for Republican legal geniuses and a network largely constructed by fellow Catholic Leonard Leo. Whenever Donald Trump leaves office, his most lasting legacy may be the large number of arch-conservative judges now on the federal bench.

Cipollone may be a fine Catholic [Hey, he's got to maintain an appearance of journalistic impartiality, though it's not true.] but, alas, he had some trouble with the Eighth Commandment, as former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) pointed out: "A lawyer does not stand in front of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and lie." Cipollone had said House Republicans were not permitted in the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, a room in the U.S. Capitol used to discuss classified information. The Republicans staged a protest outside the room for Fox News, but the GOP members of the Intelligence Committee were permitted in the room and participated in the depositions.

What he and the rest of those listed in the article show is that there is a neo-fascist clique that has attached itself to the Catholic church, especially in the United States.   And they are fascists and gangsters that are all about being Catholic as long as that doesn't have anything to do with Christianity, which accounts for them being uniformly Francis haters.

Because right matters and the truth matters. Otherwise, we are lost.

If the truth doesn’t matter, we’re lost. Framers couldn’t protect us from ourselves, if right and truth don’t matter. And you know that what he did was not right. That’s what they do in the old country, that Colonel Vindman’s father came from. Or the old country that my great grandfather came from, or the old countries that your ancestors came from, or maybe you came from. But here, right is supposed to matter. It’s what’s made us the greatest nation on earth. No constitution can protect us, right doesn’t matter any more. And you know you can’t trust this President to do what’s right for this country. You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump. He’ll do it now. He’s done it before. He’ll do it for the next several months. He’ll do it in the election if he’s allowed to. This is why if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed. Because right matters. Because right matters and the truth matters. Otherwise, we are lost.

Congressman Adam Schiff

What rational person would disagree with the two sentences Adam Schiff so wonderfully closed with in front of the Senate last night?   Right matters, the truth matters?   

The answer to that is anyone who then rejects the idea that lies have no right to be told by those who want to lie, who want to broadcast them to be sold to an effective percentage of the general public, the buying ad the voting public.  That would be the United States Supreme Court, the civil liberties industry, the ACLU, most everyone who has been sold through the media as a "civil libertarian" even people I hold in enormous affection and who I have some, though not unreserved respect for who declare themselves "First Amendment absolutists" "free-speech absolutists"   I can name,among those the late so often great Molly Ivins, the still living Noam Chomsky.  

If you really believe that "right matters" especially in so far as it is important for egalitarian democracy, the rule of law, and other such important public matters, you must agree that the effective prevention of wrong matters at least as much because due to the nature of human events what is right succeeding is often entirely depending on it defeating the enormous power and strenght of those who want to do wrong. 

If you want an example of that, it's on trail for impeachment and removal in the Senate this week, the virtual guarantee of that removal part of it failing due to the Republican-fascist majority in the Senate determined to ignore the truth to let the crime spree of Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani to continue to whatever disaster will come, being a second great example of active wrong with every hope and prospect of defeating right fueled by the power of lies in the media, FOX, Sinclair, hate-talk-shock-jock radio and online media.  

The refusal to take the responsibility to assert the right and the true on the excuse that those can't be defined scientifically to the same standard of reassurance that is asserted for pure mathematics is one of the greatest of the many moral failures of modernism, starting in the late 18th century and reaching ultimate and repeated rot, repeatedly in the 20th and now 21st centuries.  As Marilynne Robinson pointed out, modernism is a failed project.  That the desire of modernism, starting with Descartes, was to arrive at that level of reliable knowledge rather quickly turned to the irresponsible pretense that the right was either relative or not reliably determined even by judges who otherwise had no problem ruling definitively on such matters - especially when there was money in the balance - is a rather definitive condemnation of the ideology, that is if you care enough about the right to tell the truth about that. 

When, as it is so often in academic, scholarly assertions about such things, it devolves to two things, a. cowardice to choose the right and the true often due to a fear of criticism, b. the fear of such criticism making them an outcast on the basis of violations of the current fashions of modernism as enforced in the common culture of educated people.   I think that has a lot to do with that cynical cowardice of the lawyers and lawmen I pointed to as compared to such courageous diplomats and soldiers who were those who disobey'ed Trump's orders to testify to the right and the truth to Adam Schiff's committee.  Lawyers collect their fee and go home after their cases are disposed of, front-line diplomats and soldiers face the real meaning of what happens when wrong and lies win.  Academics in Western countries seldom face the real meaning of their breezy assertions about the relativity of morality and the fungibility of truth. 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

This Scumbag Should Be Laughed Out Of Public Life

Someone told me I should watch the video of the Dersh on with Anderson Cooper with Jeffery Toobin, I did and it's typical Dershowitz only I think even he realizes he's finally flushed his PR image down the trollet like the crap that always was.  He is and has been one of the bigger minor As Seen On TV phonies of the past half-century.  The nonsense he's been peddling under his role as As Seen On TV Constitutional Scholar is so ludicrous that I think even relatively unsophisticated people know he's lying.  Maybe it will cause more retrospective looks at his public claims and people will see he's always been a bullshit artist.  I've seen has-been TV actors peddling siding on winter Saturday afternoon infomercials with more integrity.   I'd like to refine a comparison I made here the other day

As the saying goes, to call him a whore is an insult to whores.  I couldn't find the ad, I think it was one of several I remember back when the National Lampoon was briefly funny of Ralph Ginsburg inviting people to "fuck me" declaring he deserves it, which, I'll give the scumbag smut merchant this, he was aware of the fact that his scuzzball act was his act, his publicly created, for money persona as an amoral piece of grifting crap. 

Dershowitz claiming that he was right both when he said presidents could be impeached for abuse of power when it was Clinton's impeachment, and now when the exact opposite of what he's claiming to support keeping Trump in office,  declaring himself to be "more right" for Trump than when he was merely "right" giving unacknowledged support for Clinton's impeachment.  It proves he either doesn't have the self-awareness and integrity as the super scuzz,  Ralph Ginsburg or he's just a bigger and more shameless scumbag liar.   In a contest of the two, I'd bet on the smut merchant being judged as less of a scumbag in history.  

Oh, yeah, and watch it for when then Dershowitz started bawling that Toobin and Cooper had ganged up on him and were bullying him.  The great and courageous lawyer speaking out for the rights of even the most unpopular of criminals (in his case generally rich white, guilty men) , a real Atticus Finch.  Huh!.  More treasonous stench. 

Update:  I'd never agree to go on TV with him, his tactic is to talk over anyone else, he is a more shameless camera hog than those legendary for that in Hollywood.  It's pointless to have him on with anyone else, the only way to deal with his lies and outrageous statements is to have him on to make them, then to have someone point out the lies and distortions. 

Manure Mail

If the rigorous standards of research that were demanded by the critics, external, such as Ray Hyman but, also, the internal critics of parapsychological research, demands made AND MET BY SUBSEQUENT RESEARCHERS by 1980 were imposed on the literature of conventional psychology virtually the entire literature of psychology would crumble and Ray Hyman and his "skeptical" psychologist colleagues would have nothing to teach and their university departments would be put to better uses.*  Perhaps they could use the resources wasted in that junk science for restoring basic Freshman Rhetoric with a very strong component based on logical argumentation.   

I would remind you of what happened when such a test of the literature of psychology was made in the replication crisis, and that was not imposing standards as rigorous as those demanded of scientists conducting parapsychological research.   Most of psychology couldn't even withstand the most basic practice of science, replication of claimed research.  

When you compare the research methods accepted as adequate for conventional psychology, sociology, etc. and those which are practiced by rigorous study of parapsychology, any honest appraisal would have to come to that conclusion, certainly about most of what gets published in reviewed journals, that parapsychological research is entirely more rigorous in its practices and entirely more restrained in its claims.   The non-professional reporting of psychology being even worse, comparable to the crap stuff that you've read about what you call "psychic junk,"  that's not what I was talking about.  Maybe your college credentials didn't cover the difference between science and broadcast and typed bullshit.   You should have gone to a land-grant university, we learned the difference.  

I'm just telling you what's obvious to people who bother to honestly make the comparison.   It's not one of my greatest interests it's just that I've just done the reading and am not going to lie about it. 

*  Editing this, I suspect the entire field of education would probably improve enormously if they stopped trying to play psychologist.  Education has suffered enormously as psychology got imposed on the art of teaching. 

The Shit Values Of The Department of Justice and FBI

As I wrote last month, I was struck at the contrast between the carrerists of the Department of Justice and FBI and those in the State Department who defied orders to testify to the House Intelligence Committee late last year.  The actions of the "Justice" hacks are, of course, exemplified by Robert Mueller's refusal to stick his granitic chin out in order to reveal the presidential treason* of Donald Trump, other members of the same circles such as Rod Rosenstein, and James Comey**, the kind of members of the DC legal establishment who their colleagues, even those who left in horror and disgust at the antics of Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions and William Barr call honorable "institutionalists" who "love the Department of Justice" or the "FBI"  and who could be counted on to do the right thing due to that devotion to the departments that employed them.  Though in the popular culture and imagination, the diplomats are presented as the caviar and champagne reception set, what was on display in their willingness to patriotically, out of principle and morality, defy  orders in order to tell the truth about the Trump corruption and criminality was courage, valor and high principle as compared to the ass-covering refusal of the "lawmen".   If you want a sharp reminder, a lot of the same "never Trumper" former DOJ lawyers were assuring us we could count on their colleague Rod Rosenstein to do the right thing, a line of bilge bought hook, line and sinker by even some of the smartest members of the press, such as Rachel Maddow. 

If you're at all curious about where good ol' Rod is these days:

Rod Rosenstein still believes he’s one of the good guys. In fact, he filed a Declaration saying just that last Friday in FBI agent Peter Strzok’s wrongful termination lawsuit. He had to secretly release his employees’ personal texts in the dead of the night with strict instructions that reporters should attribute them so as to imply that they were leaked by Congress. Because if he hadn’t breached every department norm and thrown his employees under the bus, then surely Lisa Page and Peter Strzok would have been ritually humiliated by congressional Republicans. If you think about it (but not too hard), Rosenstein really did them a big favor.

Yes, that’s really the line they’re going with here.

I have to say that I am pretty well entirely sure that Robert Mueller must have known that it was his boss during his investigation, the guy who stood like a glass eyed dummy behind William Barr as he started the cover-up, distortion of the Mueller Report, the same Robert Mueller who, then, pretty well refused to back up his own work by talking about it when he, finally, reluctantly, after giving Barr the chance to bury his investitation with a mountain of lies for weeks and weeks, knew about what we're finding out about Rosenstein's leak now. 

I would leave you with this discussion chaired last night by Rachel Maddow in which the classified memo by Jennifer Williams that as put in the Senate record might be revealed by a Senator, something that Senator Claire McCaskill says she wouldn't be surprised if a Senator, realizing the importance of it becomming public didn't make it public.  It's the former Department of Justice stalwart, Chuck Rosenberg who sounds like a nervous nellie who just can't imagine someone putting themselves at risk considering the terrible peril the country is in. 

Such is the ass-covering, corrupt culture of the DoJ and FBI that they can't imagine someone putting patriotism, democracy, morality above their carrerist interests. 

*  The dangerously narrow confines of the Constitutional definition of treason needs to be amended to make what Donald Trump as president do by way of colluding with the enemies of the United States for his personal gain officially and legally treasonous.  The enormous power stupidly ceeded to the presidency makes it necessary to make presidents subject to an enhanced level of legal control on their behavior.  That our Constitution will make that virtually impossible merely exposes the kinds of defects that lawyers who study it looking for ways they and their client can game it can find all through it.  Even those provisions presented with the most absurdly discredited piety are raked over for making crimes legal, some of them among the worst of crimes. 

**  As of this time, about the only leadership of the FBI in its history who I have any respect for is Andrew McCabe.  From what I can see he has, actually, acted heroically. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Hate Mail

Even trying to keep things I might want to reference for these posts in order, I can't find where I read an atheist misrepresent a passage that comes early in Hans Kung's book about the afterlife, Eternal Life?  It contains a brief claim that is one of the few instances in which I think Kung's evaluation of a topic is less than complete.  Hans Kung, as with so many great contemporary theologians, are less frequently guilty of that.  When it comes to reading contemporary secular philosophers and the highest levels of current theology, I would't hesitate to say that the general level of theological writing is far, far more rigorous and honest and responsible in the range of its cited resources and modest in the use they make of them.  

The passage comes on page 13 in a discussion of the early books dealing with "near death experiences" by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and Raymond Moody, the atheist transforming statements calling for scholarly caution into declarations of atheist-secular style pseudo-skepticism on behalf of one of the most famous of modern theologians.  

As I recall, the atheist use of the passage - which I would suspect was taken from another atheist-"skeptical" source and not from the text, annoyed me because it left out the entire previous paragraph that ends:

The only question is whether this belief [in the reality of reported near death experiences] is justified in the light of the experiences of dying described here, which are by no means to be a priori disputed.

In this connection the theologian in particular must be careful not to indulge in wishful thinking, must avoid a hasty appropriation of medical conclusions for theological purposes and must judge the phenomena described with the utmost caution and solicitude.  It is a question therefore of objective analysis.  

That isn't a statement of the kind of dogmatic rejection of what people say about their own near death experiences, which no one is in any position to honestly "a priori" dispute.  A person is THE ONLY POSSIBLE WITNESS of their own, internal experience, they are the only possible expert in that experience.  The question is whether or not any particular, a number of or any reported near death experience can be used to come to scholarly conclusions about them.   And the answer to that is no one can know.  The literature on "near death experience" I've read is everything from very restrained and scrupulously responsible to something that seems like it's irresponsibly inclusive.  BUT THAT IS ONLY MY PERCEPTION OF IT, I AM IN NO POSITION TO JUDGE THE ACCURACY OF SOMEONE DESCRIBING AN INTERNAL EXPERIENCE.   The question Kung is concerned with is how that literature is to be used in responsible scholarly study. 

I would point out, as one of the rare criticisms of Kung that I would make, that he, on the same page, in discussing parapsychological research he mischaracterized the status of the research at the time he wrote his book.  Considering how much he cited the literature of conventional psychology in his great three volume work of which this book was the third, even in the 1970s the body of rigorously controlled research into parapsychology was, in every way, more rigorous, more careful, more scrupulous in including the critiques of even the most conventionally precisian of critics, such as the psychologis Ray Hyman, not to mention the dishonest ones, such as the liar, sleaze and conman James Randi, and no matter how many restrictions and controls meant by their critics to make the phenomena they documented disappear, they didn't.  The critics were forced to lie up cheating and non-existent "file drawer effects" to reject the research, even after those accusations were made, addressed and more than met.

Like it or not, the controlled science into various "para-psychological" phenomena is about the most exhaustively documented area of supposed scientific study of minds and behavior, yet it is that research which is made disreputable by the sleaziest of lies and dishonesty.  I don't like it or not, I have just read many of the research papers as published in the normal ways of science and responsible academic research and some of the meta-analytic data and some of the books written by those with the credentials and CVs to be credible on the subject and every part of it looks better than the conventional psychology I've read, not to mention the other "behavioral sciences".  

I was brought to read about that through my developing interest into the uses of authoritative and peer-group coercion in the allegedly rigorous culture of modernism, about the same time my research into the post-World War Two lie of the eugenics-free, racism-free, non-Lamarckian Darwin started.  

Modern man is as bad a devotee of allegedly scientific methods, especially in the popular culture, as medieval and, even more so, Renaissance and Baroque Christians were at adhering to what they claimed to be devoted to, the words of Jesus.  And, like those violent, often criminal "Christians" their reliance on mouthing their faulty and dishonest allegiance to what they call "science" blinds them to any kind of critical evaluation of their positions.  Christians, certainly Catholics, were supposed to constantly consult their conscience as enlightened by the Scriptures, something that in practice was often more miss than hit.  I think modern, self-declared devotees of rigorous "objectivity" of scientific or, in many cases, even academic methods and standards are probably even worse at it.    I think in a lot of the cases it's got a lot more to do with wanting to be fashionable and to avoid being considered as having intellectual cooties than anything else.  

As I pointed out in the passage you objected to so stupidly, even after people fall short of following the words of Jesus, The Law, The Prophets, those standards are still intact, are still and always will be the only means of defining genuine Christian conduct.  You can't say that Marxists, Darwinists, etc. who kill lots of people, who do other terrible things are falling short of the mark of genuine Darwinism or Marxism. 

As you can see from this piece, I couldn't care less if people figure I've got cooties of that kind.  I find it encouraging when you declare that I do. 

A Real Answer Jeopardy Style

Because last week polls showed Susan Collins had surpassed Midnight Mitch (Putin's Bitch) as the senator most hated in their home state.  And as Harry Reid noted, you can count on Collins to sometimes vote the right way when it doesn't matter to the outcome. 

The question.

Why did she "break" with her fellow Republican-fascists on some minor, meaningless votes yesterday?

Susan Collins also won the title "The Shame of Maine"  previously held by the 38% governor, the vile and disgusting Paul LePage.  

A Real Question

Why is Pat Cipollone's blatant lying about Republicans not being in on the House process, a lie as blatant as could be, told as a lawyer during the Senate "trial" of Donald Trump not an absolute guarantee that he will be disbarred and prohibited from practicing law in every state, district and territory of the United States?  

Another real question.

How can any lawyer, judge or "Justice" ever wonder why lawyers are held in such low regard when this kind of thing is permitted in their profession?

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A Sham Trial In An Age of Treason

The Republican-fascist party will make the trial of the most criminal chief executive in the history or the country a sham, a rail road engineered to give them an excuse to do what all of them wanted to do all along, let him off.   The fight over the rules of the trial, the manipulation that the Republican-fascist leadership of the Senate working with the guilty party, Trump and his TV lawyers, have put out to cover their shameless asses is worth having, it's worth anything to expose their criminal collusion with the Trump crime mob as it was to expose the part the House fascists have played in getting the mega-gangster off. But even covering their shame isn't the goal, they might earn shame, they won't feel it.  You think Susan Collins has ever felt a second of shame over her career of lying and faking and aiding the worst of her party while having to strike a pose of "moderation" so the Republican controlled Maine media can gull the gullible in my state so as to put her lying, posing, hypocritical ass back in office.  You think Mitt Romney or Murkowski has ever felt a moment of shame?  I mean, Dershowitz, Trump's scumbag FOX-Harvard  lawyer has, no doubt, now given Trump the idea that he might get his Trump Tower in Moscow if he gives Alaska to Putin, you don't think he'd try that if he really believed he could get away with it?  He's delivered him the rest of the country, or, rather, the Republican-fascist Supreme Court did. 

I don't, not for a single second doubt the outcome of the sham of shame that the Republican-fascists are starting in the Senate today, I have outraged many a liberal online since c. 2002 by pointing out that the Constitutional impeachment provision of presidents is a sham, itself, one that hasn't removed presidents who have brought us into terrible wars and terror campaigns that have killed tens and hundreds of thousands - as I pointed out even the vote on the Nixon impeachment articles rejected the one in regard to Nixon's invasion of Cambodia, the death count of which is in the millions, one introduced by Congressman Fr. Robert Drinan.  That the removal of an American president by impeachment is a fraud, in itself.   No, the only way to end the criminality of an American president is by voting them out of office, which is why allowing the media to lie is especially important in this regard, something understood by the Republican fascists, but a horribly dangerous truth which a devotion to First Amendement fundamentalism blinds American liberals to.  

I hope the Democrats in the Senate make as big and effective a stink about the sham that the Republican-fascists are mounting as possible and I hope the House keeps investigating, pressing the legal campaign to force the testimony of Bolton and the rest of them in the House, arresting anyone on a legitimate witness list who refuses to show up.   I think that after this sham it's worth experimenting with that unused but present power in the Constitution, what have we got to lose that will not be lost if they don't try it?  

Monday, January 20, 2020

@AlanDersh to the AP, 1974

Dershowitz The Total Sleaze

Trying to figure out why the scumbag lawyer Alan Dershowitz says anything on the basis of it making sense is generally a waste of time.  What he does is a show-biz act, a combination of a geek show,  Irwin Coreys double talk and  - I was going to say "liars poker" but in checking to see if someone's already used it and it's taken in regard to Trump's defense.  What he is is exactly the same thing that every other two-bit cabloid whore of a flack does, to peddle lies so as to sway the stupid and gullible.  He is disgusting. He reminds me the post-prison smut merchant Ralph Ginzburg in magazine ads peddling anything, no matter how much of a sleaze it made himseem,  titles like "How to Hook A Million Paying Customers:  Ralph Ginzburg's Long Lost Marketing Secret".  Only now its done on TV by the likes of Dershowitz on behalf of a bigger scumbag conman.  It's about the only time I think the late smut merchant was out-unclassed. Only you can say the same about all of the Trump lawyers. 

What the Dersh is doing is throwing shit everywhere to see what sticks to what wall or window to obscure the view.  When I heard his claim that Trump could give Putin Alaska and it wouldn't be impeachable I wondered if there wasn't anything the vaunted Harvard Law Professor, billed as a "Constitutional Law Expert" (to keep up with the show-biz theme, false labeling) wouldn't throw out there.  One of the most obviously absurd ones was that the Supreme Court could order the Senate not to conduct the trial

As an enemy of government by Court, I almost wish they'd try to do that last one because their conduct over the past half century should have totally discredited them - their Bush v. Gore antics should have been the straw that broke it, and that would just about do it.  

Though as Dershowitz is still being invited to put his lying puss on TV and radio all the time, maybe they can sell it.   If they tried, it would certainly be time for the other two branches to clip their efforts to dominate over the democratically chosen branches once and for all requiring a unanimous decision of the court to overturn duly  adopted laws. 

The Dersh should be flushed out of any serious consideration.  His head will just keep piling up crap.  It's what he does. 

On MLK Day And An Update

Considering how often I cite The Reverend  Martin Luther King jr. as the last great figure of traditional American egalitarian liberalism,  you might expect me to write about him on this day that supposedly honors him, his work and his legacy.  

And I'd like to but I'm not going to until his estate loosens the muzzle that silences him more effectively than his enemies did during his lifetime.  As long as they remain under the aggressive strangle-hold that his own children and their associates have put on his words, I'm not going to paraphrase them.   He said it better than I would and the suppression of what he said is not my fault.  

I haven't been enthusiastic about how MLK Day is celebrated, though I cherish the memory of how George H. W. Bush looked so uncomfortable during the celebration of the first one.  From that first one I thought that closing schools and having friggin' parades was about the most inappropriate thing you could do to honor his legacy.  Not to mention the ubiquitous use of one of his lesser speeches and the domesticated false figure of him that omitted all of the things that got him killed, in the end, his radical economics, his non-violence.   America screws up every holiday, even those that start with the best intentions.


As an update, I'd forgotten the part that the vile Cardinal Robert Sarah played in the totally inappropriate naming of St. John XXIII, the Pope who wrote Pacem in Terris, as the patron saint of the Italian military, something I'm sure was an expression of his opposition to his canonization or just of the same cynicism exposed in his use of the clearly mentally diminished Benedict XVI.  

I would also say that I have to agree with what  Michael Sean Winters concludes about the role that Georg Ganswein played in that fiasco, which I hope he is right backfires on the right wing anti-Francis clique.  Pope Francis will be a far better Pope if he bends his policy on devolved power enough to get these men out of positions where they can do damage.  

For fans of scandal and corruption, read what Winters says about the prospect of the retired Benedict living in Bavaria instead of at the Vatican.

I disagree with the latter about not letting future retired popes live in the Vatican: The alternative is far worse. Can you imagine if Benedict had returned to Bavaria? Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis would keep him in her palace, surrounded by her "gladiators." Every rightwing nut would make Benedict's residence a pilgrimage site. No. Keep retired popes within the walls, but let the new pope appoint a new secretary for any retired pope.

Yeah, now that you say that, I can imagine it and helles belles, is there anything more putrid than the decayed corpses of the royalty and nobility of Europe and the like and the part they still, today play in anything having to do with Catholicism?  Knights of Malta, Knights of Gregory (for those who don't know,  JPII* made the smut peddler-fasicim promoter Murdoch one of those), etc.  Gloria von Thurn und Taxis is one of the patronesses of both the vile Cardinal Raymond Burke and an associate of Steve Bannon, just as an example. 

All royalty, all "nobility" all such feudal bull-shit hereditary gangsters  will always be a cancer on the Catholic Church until they are definitively cut out of it, If I were Pope I would order all clergy and religious to cut all ties with all of them, immediately.

*  And as for JPII, I'd put the breaks on the saint making assembly line.  As the many scandals of the JPII papacy come out, it's clear he should not be considered a model of sanctity in much of any sense.  He was one of the worst popes of modern times, maybe worse than the worst of the more recent Piuses.   Winters mentions that Robert Sarah had aspired to become Pius XIII at the next conclave.  Looks like he blew his chances.  Let's hope so. 

"Question: What rule must we observe and walk by in cause of community of peril?" John Winthrop

Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies.  So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.  And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again.

. . . And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen.  And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.  

1 Samuel 4

RMJ posted a link to a fascinating article by Hilde Eliassen Restad laying out how Trump has shattered the basis of post-war American leadership among the democracies and non-democracies.  It is a far broader article than I am going to deal with so you might want to read it for yourself,  Whither The "City On The Hill"?  Donald Trump, America First and American Exceptionalism.  I expect to be re-reading it and thinking about what it says a lot.  

For now, in regard to my point about the unusual status of Israel in the Old Testament as a People, a nationality originating in and defined, not primarily by blood but by an act of obedience to God and then, hundreds of years afterwards,  saved from slavery and genocide by God and sustained by allegiance to and practicing The Law, the radical economic and social justice in the Mosaic Law.   This passage laying out a similar understanding of the United States, though in a materialist-modernist-secular form seemed to be something like confirmation of what I wrote the other day.  This is a too hastily written set of observations on it.  I'll plead family issues and responsibilities.  

American exceptionalism is a set of ideas, not a set of observable facts. As Richard Hofstadter famously observed, the United States does not have an ideology, rather, it is one. These ideas define the United States as “an extraordinary nation with a special role to play in human history; not only unique but also superior among nations.” The belief in American exceptionalism is an “enduring identity narrative” in the United States, and sets the parameters for how political leaders can and will narrate the story of “America” and its place in the world. It is a narrative with a long pedigree. In the colonial era, British ideas of exceptionalism, which included a religious as well as a racial component, contributed to what would later become American exceptionalism, with specific claims to political exceptionalism made during the founding era.

Today, this narrative defines the United States not as a country like many others, built on a blood-and-soil identity, but rather as an exceptional Enlightenment invention built on liberal ideas and ideals. It is a narrative so strong and so pervasive it would be fitting to argue, as Anatol Lieven does, that “‘American exceptionalism’ is just another way of saying American civic nationalism without using the word nationalism.” Significantly, historians as well as constructivist and liberal scholars of international relations see this narrative as not only influencing rhetoric, but also having played an important role in influencing U.S. foreign policy throughout U.S. history.

American exceptionalism, however, is a malleable concept and has been taken to mean different things throughout its history. This is especially clear when considering the role race has played in the definitional struggle over the meaning of “America.” There are three ideas that contribute to the master narrative of American exceptionalism. The first is that the United States is superior to the rest of the world. The second is that, because of this superiority, the United States has a special role to play in world history — it has a moral mission to pursue abroad. The third is that where other great nations and indeed empires have risen to power only to fall, the United States will not — it will resist this law of history.

That last definition of "American exceptionalism" notably focuses on its role in foreign policy with all of the opportunities for promoting the ideals of democracy for the benefits of all people, everywhere but also with all of the temptations to rig that for the benefit of the rich and powerful of America working in cahoots with corrupt people on other lands that that inevitably brings with it.  Elsewhere in the article it identifies the thing which Donald Trump has shattered as the "liberal international order" based in "liberal ideals," as the abstract of the article puts it:

In order to understand Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda, we must examine the master narrative that underpins it. Trump breaks with all modern presidents not just because he challenges the postwar “liberal international order,” but because he rejects its underlying master narrative — American exceptionalism. America First relies instead on the narrative of Jacksonian nationalism. What makes America great, according to this narrative, is not a diverse nation unified in its adherence to certain liberal ideals, but rather ethnocultural homogeneity, material wealth, and military prowess. In this view, the United States is unexceptional, and therefore has no mission to pursue abroad. By shedding light on this alternative master narrative, we can better understand Trump’s presidency, his grand strategy, and why a return to the status quo ante after Trump is unlikely.

The author defined the Trumpian view of things

In this worldview, making America “great” means making America economically wealthy, militarily powerful, and safeguarding the white, Christian cultural heritage of the United States. In other words, Trump’s America First foreign policy platform is grounded in a master narrative perhaps best thought of as what Walter Russell Mead calls “Jacksonian” nationalism.

The most obviously false part of in that accurate description of what Trump and his followers claim is "Christian cultural heritage" because there is nothing Christian about it, you have to not only distort but invert the meaning of the term to get to Trump as a goal.  What among many, THOUGH HARDLY ALL of those "white evangelicals" we're always reading about as presented through polls and the obviously pseudo-Christian "leadership" of grifting hucksters and the vile children of previous media stars of TV and radio "religion".  

The thing which she says Trump has rejected is defined:

Specifically, Trump’s embrace of an “America First” foreign policy entails a rejection of the moral mission that has been central to modern U.S. foreign policy: promoting (in theory, anyway) liberal internationalism through democratization, free-market economics, and human rights.

"In theory anyway" is an all important caveat in regard to what I said above about the frequently given into, no, make that most often given into temptation to cover the worst actions with the most idealistically stated intentions - if you want the perfect example George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's invasion of Iraq, in which a dodgily Supreme Court anointed loser of an election in the United States lied us into an invasion of Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands, imposing "democracy" (which no one with any information ever believed for a second would be the result) on people by a foreign power.  And everyone knew that the real goal was to grab the oil.  When Trump was honest about that it certainly didn't count as a virtue because he endorsed the actual motives that the hypocrites among the Bush-Cheney  clique and their designated liars in the media-foreign-policy establishment. 

I would also call your attention to the use of the word  "liberal" in the article because though it finds one common element with what I've endlessly referred to as "tradtional American style liberalism" the rejection of racial, ethnic, religious and other uniformity.  That is the one part of the liberalism I hold is worth preserving but in that international order it is certainly most often another pious expression. 

I would specifically call your attention to the idea that "free-market economics is compatible with the rest of real, traditional American style liberalism because I don't believe it.  I think "free-market economics"  inevitably is damaging to it., fatal to it if not checked.

I think that it is the secular liberalism which is divorced from those moral absolutes of equality, of equal justice, of radical economic egalitarianism, of moral practice at home and abroad, an insistence that truth be privileged and not lies, especially that LIES NOT BE ENDOWED WITH A RIGHT TO TRIUMPH OVER THE TRUTH, which has given Trump and those who created, promoted and sustain him in office, their chance to destroy American democracy.   The role that the often criminal and amoral foreign and military policy engaged in by even real presidents who were entirely better played in that is complex but I think studying what the First Testament has to say about that would hold a lot of important information for us.  One of those is that we've been set on this course for a long time, now.  If not in the immediate post-war period talked about in the article, certainly after Reagan vilely misused the phrase "City on a hill."  in the way that, almost always, it is misused.  

Though he was a Calvinist and I certainly am not, it's worth going over what John Winthrop said as he stated his ambitions for the new community that the Massachusetts Puritans envisioned.   Winthrop's speech would not be given by an American politician, today, it violates many if not all of the secular-"free-market" libertarian replacements for virtue that have led us to where we are in the name of "freedom".  

Far from being a crowing, preening exaultation of Hollywood or novelistic individualism and mythic rugged masculinity.  For a start, the sermon was called "A Model of Christian Charity," promoting one of he virtues most scorned by the perversion of Christianity that is ubiquitous in the United States, certainly among such "evangelicals" who can endorse Trump and the Republican-fascist party.  

The sermon was  as a warning that moral failure by the Massachusetts Puritans to follow an entirely different liberality, the one that would generate the abolitionist and other reform movements of the 19th century, would be seen by all the world, making them as infamous as the United States is becoming under Trump, as previewed in previous presidencies.  

How un-Reagan like was it?  How non-Trumpian?  How unlike the secular-liberal post-WWII economic "liberal" order that, chronologically, I would say causally led us to Trump was that vision founded in the Mosaic economic law and the practice of the followers of Jesus in Acts?   Here is part of the economics of Mosaic generosity Winthrop 

Here are the consequences predicted by Winthrop in that speech Reagan and so many others know one phrase of.

. . . but if we shall neglect the observation of these articles which are the ends we have propounded, and, dissembling with our God, shall fall to embrace this present world and prosecute our carnal intentions, seeking great things for ourselves and our posterity, the Lord will surely break out in wrath against us, and be revenged of such a people, and make us know the price of the breach of such a covenant.

Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck, and to provide for our posterity, is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God. For this end, we must be knit together, in this work, as one man. We must entertain each other in brotherly affection. We must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of others’ necessities. We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight in each other; make others’ conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us, as His own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of His wisdom, power, goodness and truth, than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when He shall make us a praise and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, “may the Lord make it like that of New England.” For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God, and all professors for God’s sake. We shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.

You tell me if that does't sound like a good description of how we got where we are.  John Winthrop's model was obviously drawn from the ideal of what the nation made of The Children of Israel was supposed to be, if it was to be worthy of its  existence, it would be based on following a morality that was in most ways the opposite of what the United States became and has become to the point of the suicide of democracy, today.

As I said,  I'm not a Calvinist, I would point to the first few sentences of the sermon that imply a predestined inequality as the will of God in that, but that's for a different post.  But I have to honor the means through which the radicalism of The Law, The Prophets and the Gospels that were the spark of the original Amerian liberalism in New England and the United States were introduced.  I would certainly have to note that in many ways the ideals of Winthrop were rather quickly taken over by far worse claims, what happens almost always with the assumption of secular power - much of which generates the secular-more "enlightenment" style of liberalism that is so confused with the original thing.  

I think that confusion underlies a lot of the inability of us to get out from under the things that led us to this terrible situation we are in.  I think it is one of the most important things we can do to distinguish a "liberalism" that allows grotesque inequality in privileging the rich over the poor, their corruption of the legislatures and courts - all of that done under the slogan of "freedom" and "The First Amendment".  We have to reject a "freedom" to lie, especially by "the press" a "right" to lie such as the Supreme Court has used in a series of disastrous rulings from Sullivan and Buckley v Valeo to Citizens United, the doorway to the corruption of our elections by foreign as well as domestic billionaires.  

Sunday, January 19, 2020

The Lawyer To The Congressman Who Sues Cows Makes A Bullshit Threat

When I read Ted Lieu's letter to Devin Nunes lawyer, in regard to the frivolous threat to sue him, I have to wonder why it's not something lawyers can lose their license to practice for when they write bull-shit threats of legal action and filing frivolous lawsuits on behalf of lying douche bags. 

I'm sure there will be lawyerly excuses for that kind of professional bull-shit being allowed but I would like someone to make a serious argument as to why it shouldn't become disallowed.  Not everyone is Ted Lieu with his resources and his knowledge, I would imagine a lot of people without those are injured by that kind of scumbag lawyering.   

If the lawyerly excuse is that such a threat isn't obvious bullshit until a judge says it is, that is bullshit. 
I've got more than one troll.  Apparently one believes he's the only one. 

If The Cleverlys weren't talented and their version of it wasn't cleverly done, I wouldn't have posted it.  The original wasn't as good because it sucked. 

Update:  The original lacked the only thing that makes this interesting, irony.  I wonder if the 1960s era polka industry ever cranked out a version of it.