Saturday, February 1, 2020

Toru Takemitsu - Rain Tree Sketch - Peter Serkin

Peter Serkin died today.  I don't know any details but the news makes me sad.  You get used to thinking someone like him is going to go on as long as his father did or his teacher Mieczysław Horszowski who gave his last public performance at the age of 100.  

72 is a full old age that most of the composers he played never reached, Beethoven, Mozart.  Takemitsu was 66 when he died.  It's still sad news. 

Hate Mail - Now They're Complaining I Write About Too Many Things

If it's content you want, I aim to please, if content makes you malcontent, you can always go hang out with the incontinent at Duncan's.

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Rod Serling - Interview Before Twilight Zone and After It, The Zero Hour

Rod Serling is one of the few TV writers I really like, I would guess that his extensive apprenticeship in writing for radio might have something to do with that.  This is an interesting 1959 interview from right before The Twilight Zone.  Rod Serling is one of the few writers mentioned whose best work stands up.   He wrote a bit of junk as well but I'm not interested in that.   What he said about TV was said from 1959, it didn't reach his hopes, it got worse, it became the Vast Wasteland that Newton Minnow bemoaned two years later. 

He went back to radio writing after he did the work he's most known for, he did The Zero Hour, which I'll post a link to so you can try it out for yourself.  I just started listening to them.  Here's a promo for it.  Rod Serling had a great voice, you wonder how much of that was due to his chain smoking which ended up killing him.  I like the music for the promo.  I will warn you that what I've heard of it has varied sound quality, you probably won't want to listen with headphones.  But I find with radio drama the sound quality doesn't get in the way of the drama. 

Time To Take That First Step Or Remain On The Path To Death

I am not as unhappy that the Republican-fascists in the Senate have made it explicit that the Senate trial of of Donald Trump's impeachment is a total and complete and partisan-political fraud, a "trial" in which the so-called chair of the jury, Mitch McConnell announced weeks before that he was coordinating the fixing of the trial with the defendant, that he had no intention of having a real trial, one without witnesses, one without any evidence being presented, originally not even guaranteeing that the House prosecutors would be able to present evidence they'd painstakingly gathered to vote for impeachment.  

I'm glad that there is no honest or even formally plausible way for anyone to deny that the Republicans had intended to let Trump off for some of the most serious issues for which a president has ever been impeached imaginable, one that insures tht their own elections cannot be confidently considered legitimate as he has, twice, blatantly committed presidential treason in shattering the Constitutional system of elected government.  

One of those things I long ago outraged the idiots on lefty blogs over was their outrage when, in 2007, as they regained control of the House under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, she said she was not going to waste the time of the fragile Democratic majority in the House by impeaching Bush II or the criminal Cheney.  I outraged them by telling them the unhappy truth that the removal of an American president by impeachment was a Constitutional illusion, a myth, something that would never happen.  

We have to conclude from the total failure of the Senate to remove Trump from office that that is the sad and dangerous truth, that the "founders" method of removing the most dangerous and criminal presidents of the United States is a total and complete failure.  Among the reasons for that is the anti-democratic design of the Senate, the empowerment of the most immoral of minorities through their over-representation in the Senate, means that they are more likely to be in the party and on the side of a criminal president who will need to rig elections on their behalf and that of the criminal president of their party.   We have seen that over and over again.  Making the necessity of the Senate achieve a super-majority to remove even the most blatantly criminal president is to set a bar which will never be approached or achieved*.  

That is terrible truth.  The Constitution really sets up impeachment to fail, it is set up for the marginally legitimate cases of impeachment, that of Bill Clinton and not for the most legitimate of them, Trump's.   The Founders amateur status, their desire to set things up to be anti-democratic, to game it for their own advantage, to the advantage of their families and their class becomes ever more obvious as the various deficiencies in the document are found, studied, gamed out and ratfucked by lawyers hired by rich people, by judges and justices who are so inclined, themselves. And it's getting steadily worse.  

I say the less ability to maintain denial of that dangerous truth the better.  Now we can safely admit the fact that even Trump will be kept in office by the disgusting anti-democratically structured Senate and the rules in the Constitution governing impeachment and removal from office.   Let's all admit that, right now.  It's like drug addiction, the first step in recovery is admitting reality. 

*  In the one case that came close in the Senate trial of Andrew Johnson, Edmund Ross of Kansas,  there is credible evidence that the deciding vote was a corruptly cast one, he is believed to have gotten money for it.   Though other historians say that at least several of the votes to impeach Andrew Johnson were prepared to vote against his conviction if it were needed to prevent his removal - apparently as with the very unpopular Susan Collins, permission slips to cast votes of convenience instead of conscience were a part of that process too.   I've mentioned before that his case as well as that of Robert Taft were among those that made me conclude that John Kennedy's Profiles in Courage was a load of superficial, lightweight, horseshit.  It is also worth noting, again, that that lion of late 20th century liberalism, Edward Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy gave Gerald Ford the "Profiles in Courage" award for letting Nixon off the hook with his pardon, one of the most damaging things done to the rule of law and presidential accountability in our history. 

I'm quite over the Kennedy mystique.  I'm as over that as I am over the 60s.  

Light As Democracy Crumbles

There aren't a lot of Senators I really like but there are some I adore, Elizabeth Warren, Mazie Hirono, . . . . OK, those I adore grow sparse very fast.  

One of that Adored list who is reliably among the best of them is Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island whose CV would be one I'd expect to find in a Senator I would be more likely on the Abhorred list. Whitehouse overcame a privileged background to become a fine public servant.   He has seldom if ever disappointed me, he has often said things, succinctly and in clear language that clarified things I hadn't thought of.  Here is one of the too few media appearances he makes. 

Though, maybe it's a good thing that he doesn't really push his puss in front of the camera. That seems to be a common thing among those with little to say and a desire to say it to a camera.  

Lame Set Batch

Over Christmas I had a conversation about the inability of the "brain trust" to fathom the depths of what was the first page of my 7th grade math text book that dealt with the most basic concepts of set theory - it was what would later be called "pre-algebra".   The person I was talking to teaches math at a university and grad-school level who is slightly younger than I am.  She wondered if they just may not have emphasized math competency as much in the schools the "trust" went to.  She confirmed my understanding that any group of "objects" can be considered as a set and that any mathematician of even the most basic competence would consider the component geographic entities within a larger political entity would be considered the elements or members of that set.  

I know that among the "trusters" who would have read those counter claims are a PhD geneticist, a PhD physics teacher at one of the most elite private prep-schools in the country, a college level math teacher, perhaps most surprisingly are two who call themselves "scientists" but who I believe are people who studied "computer science" and probably worked as programmers at some level, etc. I'm never quite sure that I buy computer science as being science or whether it's more like advanced clerical work.  It is more of a science than psychology or sociology or much of what gets called "science" but which seems to spend most of its effort on ideological promotion, I guess. 

None of them seems to have understood the most basic foundations of mathematics that we, in my crude, rural 7th grade class, filled with the children of farmers, agricultural laborers, blue-collar factory workers, etc. would have been expected to master our first week of school.  At least none of them have corrected the OC idiot yet.  

Why should I continue trying to do that?  He's not my problem.  

Update:  Such an idiot that he doesn't recognize that his claim is one of mathematics that could only be analyzed mathematically.  Forget day one of 7th grade math, he couldn't fathom a 4th grade word problem. And speaking of problems, HE'S NOT MY PROBLEM, STOP SENDING ME HIS STUPIDITY.  I am powerless to stop him being stupid at the "brain trust" which you can trust to be lame brained. 

Oooh, An ACLU Fan Boy Read One Of My Old Posts Slamming Them

As someone who has gone from an annual contributor to the ACLU to someone who rather dislikes if not despises the group for its overall aid in bringing us to the age of the dictatorship they claim to oppose, I will note that it is reported that even in the higher escalons of that group even some of its former heads realize their "evenhanded" promotion of "equal rights" for such as Nazis, the KKK, the Phelps Phuxs Phlan has endangered the rights of those their clients want to destroy.

Their answer, I believe after the scumbag Wendy Kaminer jeered in Wall Street Journal  about a "retreat" by them,  seems to be the typical dishonest framing of the problem.  On their website it would seem to not be a problem of the fact that many of those they get Supreme Court issued "right" to organize, propagandize, metastasize and, going beyond their permission slip as they always said they were going to, put their hate into practice, it's that such groups are merely promoting "unpopular" opinions.  

The ACLU has often been at the center of controversy for defending the free speech rights of groups that spew hate, such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis. But if only popular ideas were protected, we wouldn't need a First Amendment. History teaches that the first target of government repression is never the last. If we do not come to the defense of the free speech rights of the most unpopular among us, even if their views are antithetical to the very freedom the First Amendment stands for, then no one's liberty will be secure. In that sense, all First Amendment rights are "indivisible."

You see in this is the ass-covering claim that it is, you see, a popularity contest not a contest in which the violent and even murderous intent of their clients are the problem,  the problem is that people who they would seek to victimize and others who are not sympathetic to the Nazis and the Klan, rather understandably, don't like those ideas.

In this and the unstated, though ubiquitous claim that the law, highly trained lawyers, judges, "justices" who can understand the most intricate of issues in contract and business law - where the issue is money, not lives and equal rights - somehow immediately turn retarded when it comes to telling the difference between the Nazis and innocuous groups who want equality, democracy and a peaceful, safe life for everyone. 

History does not teach us that "the first target of government repression is never the last" it teaches us that there's all the difference in the world between Nazis and Klansmen who are terrorists and a United States Government which is supposed to be kept out of their hands so they can't totally obliterate the rights of entire races, ethnic groups, gender identity communities, religions, etc.  

History has also taught us that minority groups that depend on the ACLU to support them can expect what they give with one hand, they will in the longer term hand to those who want to destroy them by way of free representation and amicus briefs to allow them to try to get hold of the government in order to destroy them.  The ACLU was heavily involved in the line of Supreme Court decisions that handed our elections to the billionaires foreign and domestic, in court decisions crushing just about every attempt to rescue American elections from the kind of corruption that have given us Donald Trump and the gang of goons the Republican-fascists are putting on the courts to obliterate any of the less stupid work the ACLU has done in the past. 

That the ACLU has, for its entire history pretended that judges and justices are either too stupid or too corrupt to trust to suppress hate groups and hate talk on behalf of peaceful life under egalitarian democracy is, to put it mildly, odd.  Considering the role they have played in creating the current practice of Constitutionalizing every issue before the Supreme Court.  Though I'll admit placing your confidence in the honesty or wisdom of that unelected body of largely Ivy grads is far stupider than placing it in the congress that you can get rid of every two years.  The Warren Court was where that seed germinated and was nurtured with the best of intentions but with quite mixed results.  And the Warren Court was probably the high point of that approach having, perhaps, a small margin of the good over the terrible.  Most Supreme Courts in the history of that body have been the stalwart empowerers and enablers of the wealthy, the anti-democratic, the racist and bigoted and, yes, the oligarchic.  

Perhaps they are right that such judges and justices are not to be trusted to make the right decision, but if that is the case their powers are what needs to be reduced.  If that's the case trusting them to make the right decision in allowing the Nazis to terrorize survivors of the Shoah and other Jews in Skokie is about as preeningly irresponsible a choice as could be made.  The Skokie decision which, all over their website, the ACLU calls one of its finest hours certainly has not led to the opponents of Nazism winning over them, certainly not the Black, Latino, Muslim and not even the Jewish targets of Nazis.  It was one of the early victories of the current resurgence of Nazism, whether explicitly called that or under the various other names that it goes by as "white supremacy".  The ACLU aided and abetted that resurgence all along the way.  

The ACLU is too stupid to support, I don't trust their motives, they never learn anything as they. like lawyers who get murderers and oppressors of the powerless off, go back to their upper middle class or affluent lives.  They walk away from the results of their work.  The ones who are the victims of their clients don't have that luxury.  It does that while saying, well, what their clients will do with the enhanced powers they win them in court will be illegal.

At the same time, freedom of speech does not prevent punishing conduct that intimidates, harasses, or threatens another person, even if words are used. Threatening phone calls, for example, are not constitutionally protected.

This is like a disclaimer on a badly tested drug, designed not to prevent someone taking it who shouldn't getting harmed or killed by it, it's lawyerly ass covering. Only not to protect their clients, to give the ACLU a pose of plausible deniability when what they played such an important part in bringing about - which was the intention of the people they enabled -  are the results of their representation and amicus briefs. 

The ACLU is, at its base, a manifestation of that idiotic insouciant refusal to make the necessary choices to support, protect and defend egalitarian democracy, pretending that you can best do that by supporting the ability of its enemies to destroy it.   I'm not buying it anymore. 

Friday, January 31, 2020

Hate Mail

Look at the name of my blog.  I am a thought criminal, I think what it is forbidden to think, I say what it is forbidden to say.  

You know the irony is, I'm looking at what the past fifty-five years of Sullivan Decision era "free speech - free  press" has resulted in, even with as much of that "more speech" as has been spouted and the answer is Trumpian fascism.  The irony is, to the extent possible, I came to my conclusion that's what letting people lie in the media gets you by observing "nature" for what it shows, not what I'd wish it would show.  

I'm not, as you imply, happy about any of this.  I'd love it if letting lies be told with abandon for the worst of motives led us to effective equality and democracy based in people, mostly, if not universally doing unto others as we would have done unto us. 

Why I'd ever have been stupid enough to buy the incredibly irrational lie that freeing liars, racists, bigots, fascists, Stalinists, capitalists, etc. to lie with impunity and propagate their hatred would get us to the paradise of egalitarian democracy for so long just shows you how an attractive and totally insane lie can get sold.  Well, I'm sales resistant to that crap, now.  I'm just glad I'm not as stupid as most so-called liberals are, now.  But I'm not happy about it. 

Jackie Robinson Witnessed The Turn Of The Republican Party Into The Path Of Racist Hatred It Followed Ever Since

They tell me on the radio it's the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jackie Robinson,  I will take the opportunity to post this footnote from a piece two years ago, I think you'll find it relevant in proving some of my points made in the past weeks


If I had the funding and time I would like to look at the timeline of Barry Goldwater's campaign use of semi-covert racism in the year 1964 to see if there was any change after the Sullivan decision came down in March of that year.   Luckily, in the wake of the assassination of John Kennedy, it was never really likely that Goldwater would have won the election but he did push the use of sometimes veiled, sometimes explicit racism and an appeal to racists farther.

The Sullivan Decision could have been decided by pointing out that the ad which was sued over didn't mention Sullivan by name so he had no standing to sue, it could have been decided to require that the Times and or those who wrote the ad issue a retraction of the minor errors of fact in the ad or any of a number of other ways that didn't empower the age of lies it started.

Also, about the 1964 Goldwater campaign and what it started, From Jackie Robinson's Memoir

I will never forget the fantastic scene of Governor Rockefeller’s ordeal as he endured what must have been three minutes of hysterical abuse and booing which interrupted his fighting statement which the convention managers had managed to delay until the wee hours of the morning.  Since the telecast was coming from the West Coast, that meant that many people in other sections of the country, because of the time differential, would be in their beds.  I don’t think he has ever stood taller than that night when he refused to be silenced until he had had his say.

It was a terrible hour for the relatively few black delegates who were present.  Distinguished in their communities, identified with the cause of Republicanism, an extremely unpopular cause among blacks, they had been served notice that the party they had fought for considered them just another bunch of “niggers”.  They had no real standing in the convention, no clout.  They were unimportant and ignored.  One bigot from one of the Deep South states actually threw acid on a black delegate’s suit jacket and burned it.  Another one, from the Alabama delegation where I was standing at the time of the Rockefeller speech, turned on me menacingly while I was shouting “C’mon Rocky” as the governor stood his ground.  He started up in his seat as if to come after me.  His wife grabbed his arm and pulled him back.

“Turn him loose, lady, turn him loose,” I shouted.

I was ready for him.  I wanted him badly, but luckily for him he obeyed his wife.

I had been very active on that convention floor.  I was one of those trying to help bring about a united front among the black delegates in the hope of thwarting the Goldwater drive.  George Parker had courageously challenged Goldwater in vain and Edward Brooke had lent his uncompromising sincerity to the convention.  I sat in with them after the nomination as they agonized about what they should do.  Some were for walking out of the convention and even out of the party.  Others felt that, as gloomy as things looked, the wisest idea was to remain within the party and fight.  Throughout the convention, I had been interviewed several times on network television.  When I was asked my opinion of Barry Goldwater, I gave it.  I said I thought he was a bigot.  I added that he was not as important as the forces behind him.  I was genuinely concerned, for instance, about Republican National Committee Chairman William Miller, slated to become the Vice Presidential candidate.  Bill Miller could have become the Agnew of his day if he had been elected.  He was a man who apparently believed you never said a decent thing in political campaigning if you could think of a way to be nasty, insinuating, and abrasive.  What with the columns I had written about Goldwater, The Saturday Evening Post article, and the television and radio interview, I had achieved a great deal of publicity about the way I felt about Goldwater.

Although I know it is the way of politicians to forget their differences and unify around the victor, it disgusted me to see how quickly the various anti-Goldwater GOP kingpins got converted.  Richard Nixon, who hadn’t really fought Goldwater and had in fact been an ally, naturally became one of his most staunch supporters.  You could expect that.  Governor Romney, who had fought the Goldwater concept so vigorously, got religion.  The convert who around the most cynical feelings in my mind was Governor William Scranton.  When Governor Rockefeller had withdrawn from the race, during the primaries, Rockefeller supporters turned to Scranton because he had become the governor’s choice.  At the request of the governor I had a meeting with Scranton in his beautiful home in Pennsylvania.

Governor Scranton welcomed me graciously, introduced me to his family, and conducted me to a veranda where we sat and sipped iced tea.  The governor pledged that he was going to put up a terrific fight against Goldwater.  He expressed his gratitude for Governor Rockefeller’s support and for my agreeing to come to see him.  For at least ten minutes he orated about Barry Goldwater, what a threat Goldwaterism is to the country and the party.  I didn’t ask him for it, but he gave his solemn oath that even if Goldwater won the nomination, he, Bill Scranton, could never conceivably, under any circumstances, support him.  Even if he wanted to, which he said he didn’t, it would be political suicide in his state for him to join a Goldwater bandwagon.  He was unequivocal about this, and months later, when I saw on television how quickly Governor Scranton pledged his loyalty to nominee Goldwater, how eagerly he engaged in some of the most revolting high-level white Uncle Tomism I’ve ever seen – fawning on Goldwater and vigorously campaigning for him around the country – I had to wonder if this was, indeed, the same man who had nearly sworn on the Bible that he could never do what he was doing.

I wish I could find video of the appearance on the Les Crane show where Robinson and Shelley Winters ganged up on William F. Buckley, which Robinson described at the end of that chapter.  It sounds like it was probably a lot more interesting than Buckley's set to with Vidal a few years later.

Update:  Here's a description of the show.

1964-08-04, WABC, 22 min.
Jackie Robinson, Les Crane, Barry Goldwater, Shelley Winters, William F. Buckley Jr., Lyndon B. Johnson

It's a heated discussion about Presidential Candidate Barry Goldwater with guests Jackie Robinson, Shelley Winters and William F. Buckley Jr. The program is interrupted for 8 minutes by an ABC News Bulletin from the White House. President Lyndon B. Johnson talks to the American People concerning the Gulf of Tonkin attack and USA intervention. Prior to resuming "The Les Crane Show," the network plays "The National Anthem," a patriotic gesture of the era.


Update:  I don't know the reason that Jackie Robinson was a Republican, I will note that for a good part of the 20th century, a number of Black Republicans were Republicans because of the strength and influence of the white racists under Jim Crow on the Democratic Party a lot of the racists were a part of from the time of Lincoln's election.  The influence of those haters in the Democratic Party was lessened by the rest of the party being far more diverse and, since at least the 1920s, was increasingly in favor of equality, the rights of workers, the expansion of the common wealth.  Once the Republican "liberals" old money and aristocrats who Robinson praised took in the racists who flowed out of the Democratic Party as it championed civil rights, their power to promote racism, bigotry, in equality was enhanced by those not being the central interest of even the old money aristocrats whose grandfathers and great grandfathers might have fought in the Union Army (or whose daddies hired substitutes) who, like the rich are in almost every case, more interested in having ever more money. 

I find it rather odd that it took someone like Jackie Robinson that long to figure out that's where things were headed.   Though, I suppose, when your hero is Nelson Rockefeller . . . 

If You Don't Choose What Makes Democracy Possible It Will Never Just Happen By Letting Nature Take Its Course

I don't have an awful lot to boast about which is good, imagine what it would be like if I did.  But one of the things I have boasted about, probably a half a dozen times in the past decade was when I got one of the most arrogant of scientist-materialists to admit that there was not a single even "simple" object in the universe that physics could define and know definitively, comprehensively and exhaustively.   

It took me about three weeks of badgering Sean Carroll at his blog  to finally get him to admit that most obvious disproof that contemporary physics and cosmology was anywhere close to have a theory of everything, that TOE that has been the atheist's holy grail since the invention of science.  

Some scientists, notably those who were not very good at philosophy, fully believe that such a TOE is within reach, those who pooh-pooh the need for philosophical analysis are some of the greatest true believers.  They are more invincibly ignorant of the deficiencies of their faith because they deny it's faith but claim it's knowledge.  Carroll is a bit smarter than that, it's the stand he takes without explicitly admitting that it is because he knows once claimed, it is relatively easy to knock it down.  For a physicist to make any such claim,rather hilariously, is  double-speak. 

At the time I thought that my question, asked repeatedly over a number of comments on one post of his spawned another post, the one on which I got him to give the obvious and for his faith, entirely inconvenient answer to my question.  

"No" as he tersely, I imagine rather pissily,  answered, physics, science, cosmology does not have a theory of everything about even one simple electron. It was one of the major discoveries of 20th century physics that physics could never have such comprehensive and exhaustive knowledge of even one electron in the entire universe.   My guess is that discovery was of a significance that little that has been discovered in Carroll's generation will be.

The reason I'm going through this - other than finding out that I'd copied the blog brawls and stored them at the time - is that the scientistic conceit that everything can be counted on to follow the humanly articulated laws of nature at all levels is that idiotic faith that the "founders" as members of the 18th century "enlightenment" also held and which accounts for several of the most dangerous defects in our Constitution and the legal tradition that just lets things happen, figuring they'll all work out to how they're supposed to in the end.  

In Carroll's second post included in the brawl, he made this absurd and irrationally confident claim.

Obviously there are plenty of things we don’t understand. We don’t know how to quantize gravity, or what the dark matter is, or what breaks electroweak symmetry. But we don’t need to know any of those things to account for the world that is immediately apparent to us. We certainly don’t have anything close to a complete understanding of how the basic laws actually play out in the real world — we don’t understand high-temperature superconductivity, or for that matter human consciousness, or a cure for cancer, or predicting the weather, or how best to regulate our financial system. But these are manifestations of the underlying laws, not signs that our understanding of the laws are incomplete.

Since those "plenty of things we don't understand" are not understood, his declaration that "these are manifestations of the underlying laws" is an entirely unfounded declaration of not only his faith in materialism being a monistic system, but that everything must conform to the current human articulation of such "laws" as is found in science.  

That is made clear in the rest of the last sentence, "But these are manifestations of the underlying laws, not signs that our understanding of the laws are incomplete." 

That is the underlying faith of materialist, scientistic, atheism, and a more obviously wrong and blitheringly anthropomorphic article of faith statement could not be made. It also presents such "laws" as if they were objective, not humanly mitigated and eternal truths, instead of specifically limited by human capabilities and contingent for the time in which they are held in human minds.  It is the kind of cluelessly arrogant and dishonest claim that it was the conceit of scientific method turned from a practical methodology for finding some useful information into an all encompassing faith claim that includes many if not all of the defects of the old scholastic system that it replaced and scorned.  

For Sean Carroll to claim to know what is there in that enormous gap in our knowledge between subatomic particles and economics and the law is putting his god in that gap.  

The fact is that the mathematical framing of science works for a limited number of things, as I've quoted the French mathematician  René Thom, even in chemistry, when the molecules start to get even a little bit large, the effectiveness of that method starts to break down rather fast and that breakdown increases as chemistry becomes more complex and in biology it becomes a serious problem. As Thom said,

The relatively rapid degeneration of the possible use of mathematics when one moves from physics to biology is certainly known among specialists, but there is a reluctance to reveal it to the public at large

Yet with that Sean Carroll and Supreme Court Justices such as Oliver Wendell Holmes jr. want to apply the methods that have produced some admittedly good results in studying very simple, very small, objects to enormously complex human problems in worlds of no knowable relationship, if any,  to the contingent holdings of physics but which Carroll claims, on what can only be the baldest of dogmatic faith,  are "manifestations of those laws,"   It is a faith they hold in common with all such claimed "scientific" political-economic and legal systems, such as can be seen in the Marxist, fascist, Nazi dicatatorships and, indeed, in the first such manifestation of "enligthenment" scientific governance that ended in the Reign of Terror in which the enlightened killed off each other along with those who opposed them and which ended in the Napoleonic military despotism and wars which killed millions.   

In the American version that produced our Constitution, it resulted in the enhancement of the violence and terror that slaughtered the Indigenous People of what would become the expanded United States, the enslavement of Black People and, in the application of the words of the founders, the total dehumanization of them by Supreme Court fiat, the subjugation of women, and a whole host of other evils that are resurgent under the libertarian regime of free press, free speech absolutism.  

The idiocy of believing that egalitarian democracy can exist without people choosing that and forcing those who don't like it to abide by its prerequisites and requirements is enlightenment lunacy.  It ignores that just letting things go in the name of liberty (though its real name is libertarianism) will be gamed by the worst among us, the enemies of equality and democracy and a decent life for everyone.  I think that the post-war trend that was to allow a complete freedom to lie in the mass media should be considered a definitive test of what you get when you do that.  You get enormous inequality and the destruction of democracy.  As the United States in the post Sullivan decision era shows, it gets you increasingly bad anti-democratic, anti-egalitarian, mobster rule, even when there are elections.  People who have been successfully sold lies can't even vote in their own interest, when they are also morally corrupted by appealing to their bigotries and paranoia, they will certainly vote to deny other people their rights.  

The idea that "more speech" bleated by some impotent college profs in small journals and on pathetic podcasts was going to win out over billionaires who had the media and a license to lie to their own advantage has been given the test of time and it produces fascist gangster rule, it does here, it does in Europe, it will anywhere where the prerequisite conditions of the truth being told can make people of good will free is swamped by pseudo-scientific benighted-enlightenment nonsense that "nature" can be depended on to do the right thing.  

We don't know what "nature" is.  The likes of Sean Carroll - who calls his sect of materialism "naturalism" - have a professional and ideological interest in peddling the idea that we do, the fact is that if we can't even know an electron comprehensively, exhaustively, we are an effective infinity away from knowing what the hell "nature" is or what its meaning is as our experience of the world, the universe, human society and life on our planet is.  We have no more of an ability to define what is contained in "nature" or if it is one or plural in its character.  It is quite possible, likely, I believe, that Carroll's reductionist monism is a gross distortion of what it really is. 

In the mean time, we've got to make choices. And we have to do that on some other basis than science is capable of providing us.  The Law should be divorced from that ideology, it leads to death.  

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Democrats Won't Be Democratic Until They Ban The Anti-Democratic Caucus Atrocity

Watch it for the eminently punchable ass who is behind the Iowa caucus becoming the absurd power house in electoral politics it is.  If I had him in front of me and he said what he did in this, it would take a huge effort on my part to keep from punching the smug, self-satisfied smile off of his face.   Mind you, I feel the same about those who promote the anti-democratic, 19th century atrocity, the caucus as anything other than what the disabilities rights activist notes it is, an event for political hobbyists.  I have felt it for those stultified caucus stalwarts in my own state.  The last one had the most abusrdly stupid rules of any of those I've either voted in or witnessed in more than half a century.  They are the most incredibly stupid political system in the United States.  And from what I remember reading, Nevada's were even stupider. 

The Democratic Party should, I would say must, adopt a rule that says that convention delegates chosen by caucuses will not participate in nominating the presidential candidate of the party.  

I would go on to say that the Democratic Party establishment are idiots to not have taken control of the nominating system from state legislators, so often Republican-fascists or their lacky hacks with a D after their names. 

A.  Democrats should run their own nominations elections OPEN ONLY TO THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN REGISTERED MEMBERS OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN THE PREVIOUS YEAR OR SINCE THEY WERE 18.   No non-democrats, not Republican ratfuckers, not independents, not Green Party carpetbaggers, etc. should have any say in who the Democratic Party runs as president and vice president.  

B. Vice presidents should run independently of presidential candidates or the one who comes in second should automatically be the VP on the ticket.    I have no good feeling about who Biden or Sanders would pick, it's too important to be the choice of one man.   It's too important to leave up to a small number of states delegates. 

C. Those elections should be done by the Democratic Party through the most democratic of all currently available systems, by Democrats voting by ballot delivered by the U.S. Mail.  Washington State has proven that to be both possible and certainly likely to produce the largest possible turnout.  The role of state legislatures should be removed, entirely from it. 

D. They should have it be a nation-wide vote with no state or states or region dominating it.  

E.  They should have independent running of that vote and as complete transparency as possible.  

Such a vote would make the candidate the choice of a far larger number of Democrats, not centered in particular states or regions, it would make the votes of every Democrat in every state equal, it would remove the current idiocy of having states that are whiter than Woody Allen's filmography and voters almost as elderly as he is making that choice.  

On The Eve of America Crossing The Boob-tubeicon

When the Senate votes to not eject Trump it will be a watershed in American politics, it will prove, beyond any doubt, that from now on, the United States is not a fascist government only in years in which a Democrat is president and at least one house of the Congress is not in Republican hands.

With their acquittal of Trump, after mounting what will be a fraudulent, fixed pantomime of a trial in which Trump's attorneys stated that the presidency is a monarchy,  they, notably Alan Dershowitz, their pantomime "Constitutional Scholar" but the rest of them as well, have declared that Richard Nixon was right, that as long as the president does it, that mean's it's not illegal.  That is they are really saying when a Republican president does it, that means it's not illegal.

In the early days when I went online and discovered unedited comment threads, I almost immediately ran into opposition when I noted that the Republican Party was and had been for a long time an actual fascist party,  I'm sure more than once I heard that line I associate with NPR - I'm pretty sure it was Susan Stamburg I first heard say it - that "the first person to say "fascist" loses."  I know someone at Eschaton said that to me and I said that that was a very convenient rule for crypto-fascists who would never be called what they were.  That was probably about 17 years ago, during the years when the Supreme Court acting in concert with FOX as George W. Bush's cousin ignited the Brooks Bros. Putsch that put the worst president in our lifetimes in office.   Oh, and, it should never be forgotten,  Jeb Bush and the Florida Republican establishment set it up with ratfucking ballots and the such.  What Trump benefited from in 2016 and which the Republicans are set to redo, no doubt more efficiently, in 2020 was only different in details from what put the previous Republican in the presidency. That Rubicon was crossed 20 years ago, the "free press" playing its role in that, as it did in 2016 and which it will certainly, again, do in 2020. 

It turns out that you can only have egalitarian democracy within a narrow range of limits.  You have to have a reliably sufficient percentage of the population able to vote based on not only an adequate grasp of the truth, but with an adquate moral foundation which is, in fact, based in an effective belief in the source of that moral foundation.  Egalitarian democracy is the politics of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you,  as both Hillel and Jesus noted, that is The Law and The Prophets.  It can only exist if you act as if you love your neighbor as yourself, it you follow the Jewish Law that, when followed, does not result in grotesquely huge fortunes being amassed by some and others being left destitute.  

That is what I have become convinced will happen in Western countries who have either had something like democracy or have at least the aspiration to be democracies when they buy into post-truth, post-morality, as atheists talk people out of believing that they have an absolute moral obligation to tell the truth and to do to others as they would have done unto them.  Which I never thought is where I would arrive at when I started investigating why the American left had failed for half a decade when I started doing this, going on fourteen years back.   

My greatest fear is that the satanic-Mammonist "Christianity" of the Southern Baptists, the TV hallelujah peddlers, the Catholic-fascist-neo-integralists, etc. will bring about the discrediting of the religious basis of egalitarian democracy due to the ignorance of the gulled and propagandized population who get their information from atheist-secularist distortions and lies.   Without that moral basis of egalitarian democracy being believed in at that strength, over the entire population, it will not be as strong a force as needed to defeat Pharaonic, Roman Imperial style gangster-oligarchy.   

I am not a great student of the period of the Roman Republic - one of the sources the "founders" consulted in founding the Constitutional system - but it was never anything like a democracy, it started out as a gangster-oligarchy, one of the reasons that even during the Republic, it was a moral atrocity and a political mess.  It was in no way based on equality except in that way that gangster-oligarchs will make a pose of among each other, as they each try to get advantage over each other.   It was never a good model for what the United States was sold as to the common people during the revolution, a promise of equality and democratic government.  

But the role the Roman Senate played in corruptly establishing the imperial system stuck in my mind while watching the degenerate spectacle of Republican-fascism using the forms and rules of our government to make the degenerate Trump emperor.  That  was something I couldn't get out of my mind.  It's as if they did so, not with Augustus, not even with Caligula, but with Nero or one of the even more mentally deficient rich boys who followed. 

The American Republican Party is more degenerate than the parties that established the long period of degenerate dictatorial rule in Rome.  And that is what the post-WWII regime of libertarianism has gotten us to.  Trump, the Republican majorities in the Senate and on the Supreme Court are a product of their use of cable TV, broadcast media and the internet.  They are the end product of freeing all of those to lie with impunity, the libertarian pseudo-liberalism of the kind that made Dershowitz famous.  He deserves to know that his name will be on that particular form of hypocritical amorality that wrecked American democracy. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Scum is Scum - Hate Mail

I will never apologize for pointing out that Alan Dershowitz is an apologist for and a promoter of the interests of the Israeli state under Likud fascism, he's become ever more so in the forty-two years since it's been under mostly fascist rule.  No I won't take that back no more than I will ever lie that he is not, as well, a two-faced promoter of Republican-fascism under the most corrupt president in American history.  I have to believe that he does so because beneath the facade of a civil libertarian who is also a rather sleazy trial lawyer, that's what he's always been for as he went on book tours and parties among the elite of Martha's Vinyard and as he whines that he's a victim as his former hosts and guests prove that even that corrupt and entitled bunch of fame fuckers has a limit as to what it will associate itself with.  

Alan Dershowitz doesn't get a license to be a scumbag mobster lawyer, protected from having that pointed out because he's an Israel right or wronger.  There's nothing "antisemetic" about the truth that that's who he is and that the reason the people who aren't bothered by the stink of him, his clients, his hosts on TV, his allies and associates is because they stink as much. 

The Dersh has played that card so often, himself, that it's lost its effectiveness with anyone who cares about the truth.  He is the quintessential example of why no one should be able to play those kinds of cards for any reason.  Scum is scum. 


As the host of a small lexicon of allergies, for years I have taken over the counter Diphenhydramine, the active ingredient of Benadryl and a lot of other allergy meds.  I took some yesterday and it made my blood pressure plummet to what the doctor told me today could have been very dangerous.  I'm still not over it so I'm taking the rest of the day off.  Maybe I should have listened to Trump's liars live, that should have made it go up a bit. 

I wonder if it was that the stuff I took was adulterated in some pill factory in the "Workers Paradise," the sweat shops of China or elsewhere.  I wonder if I told the state or federal government that they might want to look into it if they'd care.  I used to figure they'd care about things like that at places like the FDA, something I am not confident of, now. 

Hate Mail

I have cited the rather impressive frequency with which atheists on the atheist, secular "left" migrate by one tiny baby step from Marxism, or socialism to anything from Republican-fascism to outright neo-Nazism.  The original American neo-cons were largely former Trotskyites who, once their hero was dead and there was no path for his corpse to become dictator of the Soviet regime, migrated to the capitalist, Republican-fascist right.   That's something that Christopher Hitchens replicated, it's hardly surprising that that is also something that many of their opponents in Stalinism did, Max Eastman, Bertram Wolfe, and just your run of the mill 1950s-60s era atheist-quasi lefty, such as Nat Hentoff,  . . .  If I wanted to take the time I would find dozens of examples, from the well known to the now quite obscure.   A life and career spent being a scumbag leaves little reason for anyone to want to remember you. 

I am not shocked at one of the most transparently not liberals but libertarians who slapped a liberal label on themselves of the past fifty years, the opportunist go-to lawyer for rich men who murder their wives camera hog and whiny egomaniac Degenerwitz has gone from someone who flaps his lips about civil liberties to, as Israel turned ever more fascist, became an apologist for what the Likud fascists did, up to and including torture and that now he's gone from someone who got on cable TV saying Clinton could be impeached for non-crimes to saying the opposite when it's is fellow scumbag,  Trump who he claims can't be impeached for abuse of power because it's not a crime by statute- lying about him not having committed crimes to get him off.  

The point I was making is that the "Christians" on the Trump seamy team of lawyers have a relationship to morals no different from the announced atheist on it.  By their fruits you will know them, the "Christian" scumbags share the same amorality of the atheist scumbag.  They share the same ideology, materialism, pretentiously and insincerely idealistic to unadmitted and as vulgar as it comes. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Religion On "The Chosen One's" Legal Team

I didn't pay much attention to Alan Degenerwitz when he was experimenting with going on the new-atheist gravy-train, I remember watching something, think it was on C-Span, of him debating religion with some non-entity of the 00s.  I really don't remember anything said, nothing that the Dersh has to say on anything is worth a gill of warm spit, as his this way-that way, double-speak on impeachable acts proves, he's such a degenerate, ambulance-chasing liar that it literally all depends on what's in it for him at any given time, especially if it gets his puss on TV.  

If he were more interesting or if I thought he might have some philosophically challenging point to answer on the topic I'd go looking for what he said, though I wouldn't expect he'd say the same thing today, he has the integrity of soggy toilet paper.  I do, though, think that it's unsurprising that someone who went on that band wagon, albeit briefly as, no doubt, he figured his bread was buttered on a different side, for now,  . . . I think it's unsurprising that someone who doesn't believe in sin turns out to not believe it's a sin to lie.   And what goes for the weather-vane atheist goes for his Trump teammates, the rape-enabling former president of Baylor, Starr and the born-again cheater and robber of widows and orphans, Sekulow, the Opus Dei liar Cipollone, etc.  

"By their fruits you will know them," is the method that Jesus gave for identifying people who really followed him and those who merely said they were.  For lawyers lying in a trial, when you couldn't discern a difference between an atheist liar and a "Christian" liar by their own claims, promoting obvious, blatant and long ago disproven lies, I think it's the Dershowitz morality that rules all of them, to a person, right down to the last whited sepulcher and scumbag among them.   

Baylor, I usually write about elite Catholic institutions, their crimes, their hypocrisies, the scum they enable, such as William Barr and the scum they credential - and there are plenty among the Republican-fascists who are products of those.  But the Protestant universities have a lot in that way to answer for, as well.  Baylor, Ken Starr.  It's a whore house posing as a chapel, too.  

Busy Day, Not Much Time For Writing

Who's that?  Hairy Rotter? 

NEVER SEND ME SOMETHING LIKE THAT AGAIN!  Or at least warn me before I look at it. 

What My Brother Said

"The Trump bench at the impeachment trial has more old, used scumbags on it than the ground at lovers lane."

Monday, January 27, 2020

Hate Mail

First, I make absolutely no apology for so frequently quoting Marilynne Robinson, perhaps the greatest English speaking intellectual today, certainly in the running for greatest writer of the English language during my lifetime.  We share the same concern, to save and promote the traditional, religious liberalism, what was the original American liberal tradition of equality, economic justice, the common good, liberal public education and other public institutions available to all, the poorest and least among us, those who have the least in ways of opportunities, physical and intellectual disadvantages provided with the means of having the blessings to which the are entitled.   I have frequently found that things I had more felt than articulated clearly, she has said extremely well already. 

I have not hesitated to disagree with her, though I am convinced she is right that John Calvin's view of the economic content of the Mosaic Law is the source of that liberalism in New England and the United States, I am not an admirer of Calvin's adoption of an extreme version of Augustine and, as I recently became convinced, Anselm's view of salvation and damnation and other aspects of Christian faith.  I do think that the doctrines of original sin and, eternal damnation and predestination and substitutionary atonement have had a profoundly damaging effect on Western European culture and Western Christianity.* 

Second, I think I probably quote a range of sources wider than the average blogger does, often quoting full paragraphs and passages of those I disagree with profoundly, sometimes to refute what they said, sometimes to agree with those things they said that we agree on.  

Third, you sound like a friggin' Senate Republican-"moderate"-fascist looking for distractions, smokescreens and cover.  Since when is it unallowed to cite evidence that supports your contention and calling lies lies?  I'll tell you when, when FOX and CNN and the networks and the NYT not to mention the lower depths of lying media made it wrong for Democrats and liberals to do that because it was their fault that Republican-fascists wouldn't like it.   The Republican-fascists - I saw Jack Kingston lying his friggin' head off on AM Joy through a You-Tube pirate posting of her show, lying saying one thing and then two minutes later saying the opposite, lying like a Dershowitz when he was called out for his double-talk. 

Another hugely incorrect assumption the "founders" made was the ridiculously romantic Jeffersonian view of "the press" which they had every reason to know would sell out The People, the common good, morality far more than "the press" would serve them unless they were forced to not lie.  Jefferson was a bit of an idiot in many ways becuase he bought huge loads of "enlightenment" bull shit about the force of nature in the course of human affairs righting things in the end, despite ourselves.  The next two-hundred years proved that was stupid but it's still the dishonest pretense of our legal system in so much of what it practices, intentionally dishonestly and merely stupidly. 

 * Though not so much in Orthodox regions.  They have their own problematic baggage - especially when they have become identified with nationalism - along with the good, as does every identifiable aspect of human culture and history.  I'm hoping to read some of Tolstoy's and others writing relevant to that but that to-read list gets longer a lot faster than I can read.   I think a lot of atheism grows out of illiteracy and a superficial knowledge of history - if you count believing lies as part of that "knowledge".  But that would get me into what I concluded from re-reading a blog brawl from a decade ago I hadn't remembered keeping.  Maybe another day. 

I will say that as time goes on my respect for the thinking of Gregory of Nyssa and St. Macrina the Younger (which we know only through him) increases.  As does the meaning of the Transfiguration which, among other things, couldn't help but negate some of the other distortions that became common in Western Christianity. 

How The Republican-Fascists Will Sell Letting Trump Off When He Is Proven Guilty Beyond Any Honest And Reasonable Doubt

The habits of dishonesty that are guaranteed to take hold in those who want to rule to the disadvantage of the majority of The People - they have to lie to get elected - are and have always had some of their most pungently putrid expression in the most elite of offices.  If Republicans were honest about their intentions and the results of their actions, that they would screw The People for the advantage of the rich, even the overtly racism motivated part of their base might be less likely to put people in office who will raise their tax burden, allow their bosses to treat them like shit and pay them shit, pollute their environment, prevent their children from receiving a real education or healthcare.  That is what we are seeing in the pantomime of outrage staged by the "moderate" Republicans and the feigned suspension of disbelief that was immediately pretended by those in the media who either overtly favor Republican-fascism or who are entirely willing to service their interests for their own professional and financial advantage. 

It's largely a cheezy snake-oil peddler act dressed up to make a thinly veiled appearance of propriety.  And those other masters of appearance over reality, the media, entertainment and infotanement are in on it.  It is one of the dangers of allowing lying in the media that they can aid in that suspension of disbelief such as those who are used to the daily watching of TV shows and movies are all too much in the habit of doing.   

It's apparently to James Buchanan, one of the worst American Presidents to whom the lie that the U.S. Senate is "the worlds greatest deliberative body" is attributed.  One of our worst and most irresponsible presidents, down in the lowest levels of that to which Trump will certain go when he is out of power and dead, eventually.  And a real scumbag, someone who, like our "principled moderates" today, straddled the fence on the most important moral issues of his time.   In the way of that, he personally "opposed" slavery while favoring its retention due to "it being allowed in the Constitution".   Like that stage manager of Senatorial "shock and outrage," the director of the likes of Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski,  Lindsay Graham, Buchanan was an in-the-closet gay man who, like Lindsay and gay men with a thirst for power and the graft that comes with it, will live a lie, at the least compromising with those who could expose them and end their political career, at worst, becoming their complete and willing tool, as one of the gangsters.

The United States Senate may develop skills in the cheap form of deliberation, debate, in that what happens there is coming up with marginally plausible reasons for doing terrible things but more often for refusing to do the right thing.  It is a laboratory for lying in ways that people inclined to want the bad thing to happen will pretend they don't know is a transparent lie.  That was what kept first legal slavery going in the period that ended with Buchanan's slavery friendly administration and, with Rutherford Hayes, a beneficiary of an Electoral College corrupt deal, reinstated on a de facto, though not legal basis.  It was what kept the United States federal government from passing laws against lynching, the white-supremacist terror campaign that was so vital to maintaining that long period of virtual enslavement, what the Republicans have sought to restore in the period after the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts were passed in that last great period of traditional American liberal power under Lyndon Johnson.  

The "founders" that we have heard so much about during the past week certainly were wrong about the nature of the Senate that they adopted, largely as an insurance policy for slave owners and northern merchantile and financial interests who feared democracy happening in a truly representative body elected by The People.   The Senate, through most of its history and least of all today, is not a place of superior morals and intellect, it is, as will be seen as the Republicans, probably acting as one, will vote to not have a real trial of Trump and so enable the crimes the House Managers proved beyond any reasonable doubt.  They will almost certainly not vote to have the further proof of those crimes in the form of evidence or witnesses put before them as they do, probably in a unanimous caucus, let Trump off of some of the most serious crimes any American President has ever been proven to have committed.  They will do so for partisan reasons, they will also do it for their own, personal self-interest.  The Senate is more a place of that kind of corruption because it is the Republican Party which controls it, though as can be seen from the periods in which Democrats have held it during most of the period since 1980, the place is not set up to be honest even then.  Johnson, one of the great masters of congressional reality, had to leave the Senate in order to force it to do some of the greatest things it ever did and, as a great realist, he predicted that it would lead to catastrophic disempowerment for the Democratic Party. 

The Senate gives a minority the power to thwart the will of the majority, that makes it inherently a place of immorality.  It was set up to give the slave states enhanced power over states in which the majority were developing a consensus against slavery, it was intentionally and explicitly set up that way, Alexander Hamilton peddling the Constitution with such anti-democratic features to the Northern legislatures by appealing to the financial benefit they derived from the slave economy of the South.  He said to the New York ratification convention:

It is the unfortunate situation of the Southern States to have a great part of their population, as well as property in blacks. The regulation complained of was one result of the spirit of accommodation which governed the Convention ; and without this indulgence, NO UNION COULD POSSIBLY HAVE BEEN FORMED. But. sir, considering some peculiar advantages which we derive from them, it is entirely JUST that they should be gratified. The Southern States posses certain staples  --tobacco, rice, indigo, &c., –  which must be capital objects in treaties of commerce with foreign nations ; and the advantage which they necessarily procure in these treaties will be felt throughout all the States.

Though as the country developed, especially through the mechanisms that ensured that regional rivalries and resentments - and their potential use in the worst kinds of politics - would develop to ensure that the Senate was a power for a right-wing minority, preventing change that favors equality and morality.  

And it is to that body that the "founders," expecting some version of their fantasy Roman republic (which never was more accurate than a cable costume drama) that the founders gave the power to judge Supreme Court "justices" and other appointments of presidents selected by the Electoral College, which is even more a corrupt thing.  

Update:  Rereading this during post-publication editing - my secret public vice - I was reminded of what Marilynne Robinson said in characterizing the "deliberations" that are the history of elite British social thought.

This is only to say that their reflections on the subject accumulate rather than develop,  in the manner characteristic of rationalizations.  Their disputations produce a welter of harmonious contradiction,  the sort of thing that happens when any argument is welcome that will prop a valued conclusion.  So the centuries pass

If I'd thought of that before I wrote this piece, I'd have written it slightly differently and titled it "in the manner characteristic of rationalizations."