Saturday, March 1, 2014

Helen Sung at Kalisz Jazz Festival: "H-Town"

H-Town is Houston, her home town.

EJ Strickland - drums
Lonnie Plaxico - bass

She's pretty exciting and very original.

Update:  with Ron Carter, In Walked Bud

Stuck in Vermont Salsa Social

This looks like a fun way to spend a cold winter evening, though I'll bet the walk to the car all moist and dewy with perspiration must be a cold, icy hell.  I don't dance, don't ask me, but people need to get out and do something like this.

Keeping Things in Proportion

- Hey, it's you.  Haven't seen you since high school.
- (Warily)  No.
- You remember how I tripped you in the lunch line.  How everyone laughed when you came up with food all over you.
- (Cooly) Vaguely.
-  Yeah, we used to tease you because you were such a shrimp. 
- I remember you trying to. 
- Still see you've got those big feet of yours.
- They're rather attached.
- You remember that time when I first noticed what big feet you have and I asked you if it was true if you were proportional to them?  You turned red as a fire engine.  Everyone laughed so hard. 
-  No, I don't remember turning red as a fire engine.   I remember saying, "Thank God, no, I'd never find size 18 shoes."  

Two Easy Essays by Peter Maurin

Christianity Untried

1. Chesterton says:
    "The Christian ideal
    has not been tried
    and found wanting.
2. It has been found difficult
    and left untried."
3. Christianity has not been tried
    because people thought
    it was impractical.
4. And men have tried everything
    except Christianity.
5. And everything
    that men have tried
    has failed.  

The Duty of Hospitality

1. People who are in need 
    and are not afraid to beg 
    give to people not in need 
    the occasion to do good 
    for goodness'sake.
2. Modern society calls the beggar 
    bum and panhandler 
    and gives him the bum's rush. 
    But the Greeks used to say 
    that people in need
    are the ambassadors of the gods.
3. Although you may be called 
    bums and panhandlers 
    you are in fact
    the Ambassadors of God.
4. As God's Ambassadors 
    you should be given food, 
    clothing and shelter 
    by those who are able to give it.
5. Mahometan teachers tell us 
    that God commands hospitality, 
    and hospitality is still practiced 
    in Mahometan countries.
6. But the duty of hospitality 
    is neither taught nor practiced 
    in Christian countries.

Years ago a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation program had on a young Islamic-feminist scholar who pointed out that under Islam it was required to give but also to receive charity.  Which is an extremely wise idea.  If everyone receives charity, if it is required to receive charity, then those who give it can't take the dignity and self-respect of those who have no choice but to receive charity as a price of their virtue.  When the person who give charity can't extract that price from those who need it, then their act of charity truly becomes charitable, it gives without return.  It would be impossible to think of saying something like "it was as cold as charity" if that were the case, it would be hard to give those needing charity the cold shoulder as well as a cold heart.

Mea Culpa

I have come to the conclusion that answering lies is a waste of time.  People who want to believe lies will believe them, people who are indifferent to the truth aren't worth worrying about.  I'd rather spend the limited time I've got left talking to people who care about the truth.  Dealing with the truth is more than a full time occupation, it matters far more than lies.  

As much fun as it is to poke holes in and mock liars, it is inevitably self-debasing and it isn't useful.  I find that after doing it I feel dirty, so I'm going to stop doing it. 

Back To Politics 2014 Edition

Note: I've got to travel today.  Here's a post from last June.

  The ways that smart people think that get them into trouble has always been interesting to me.  Being politically on the far left of the scale, the political aspects of that have been the major focus of my writing.  It’s not the ideals or even much of the analysis of the left that are wrong. All you have to do is see where the policies of the right get us, as in the recent austerity mania, the imperial foreign policy and the environmental recklessness - which may well kill us all, to see that. Real life confirms much of the policy of the genuine left*  So the failure to convince an effective majority of the population isn't due to just being wrong. Our agenda is democratic, egalitarian, promotes the common good and saves the biological basis of life.  That of our political opponents does the opposite.

It being essential to save our species and almost certainly life on our planet, our political success, the left, actually taking power and making laws and policy and CHANGING the ways we defeat ourselves, is the most important issue there is.  A good part of our problem is that pretending is often easier and more pleasant than facing the unpleasant truth. But the truth will out in the end. We are at the time of reckoning in every way.  Taking your own advice is a way to foster confidence that you might be on to something. So the left should face the facts of its past failure too.


It was through trying to figure out the problem that the inadequacy of how we look at the world came to assume a greater importance.  A faith in the efficaciousness of the behavioral and social sciences and the melding of those with genetics is endemic to the left. I’d guess that those have largely replaced liberal religion, Marxist theory, and even basic liberal civics in a large part of how leftists back up their ideas. George Lakoff's present influence is symptomatic of that faith. Looking at it in as generous a light as possible shows mixed or inconclusive results. The scientifically vetted and clearly meat-headed “General Betryaus” idea was no rip roaring success. I don’t think the results flowing from that sector have been very useful politically. They haven’t led to our having a better chance of winning elections.

The latter day successors of social Darwinism not only do that, they knock the legs out from under the basic agenda of the left. We can’t be right about even the possibility of democracy and equality if any form of biological determinism is true. When you look at their absurd research methods and the amount of myth you have to swallow whole to believe they’re right tends to leaving them behind and wading into life without the leaden life preserver of their dogmas. I've tried to bring up instances when determinism has been politically important to what happens and the inevitable disasters that result. Democratic politics is all about results, making things better. Nothing that doesn't have that result is politically valid.

The predictable responses of the fans of Dawkins et al has been that they are politically liberal. I’m not at all sold on their liberalism but, as I've said about some leftists, they can just as easily be our own worst enemies. Quite frankly, I don’t feel very good about someone who opposes a return of sodomy laws if they undermine the very concepts of equality and freedom that led to their being abandoned in real life. There is a reason that these guys are popular with Andrew Sullivan and David Brooks.

Having rejected the methods used in the social sciences you get left with those most unscientific but probably more successful political methods, noticing things and consulting the hard lessons of experience. Those unfashionable methods, I am fully convinced, are as good as we are ever going to have.

I very strongly suspect that the mania for free markets in the society at large got its biggest boost with Milton Friedman’s load of garbage shown on PBS** a number of years ago. Those possessing a certificate of higher education in the United States depend a lot on what is shown on TV for its common received wisdom outside of their specialty. We’re not as far removed from the plebs as we like to think. And, as a group, we aren't notably more industrious about continuing education. Once an idea is lodged in our collection of bromides and aphorisms, replacing them for others isn't very easy.

With the series of disasters following the path Friedman and his allies have brought us, why that isn’t seen as the equivalent of economic Lysenkoism is an interesting question. I’m at a loss to understand why anyone would have kept their faith after the crisis of the 90s, never mind having the same ideology that led to that being the predominant one persist to cause the disaster we are in today. Harry and Louise seem to have needed more than one jolt of experience to wise up. I think part of that is the same kind of faith in anything with the trappings of science. You have to remember that in a lot of universities that economics is taken as one of the social sciences. It’s been pointed out by others here that a lot of economists seem to believe themselves to be biological scientists these days.


We The People are a motley and scruffy lot. Democratic politics can’t attempt a basic scrubbing of the necks and ears of the electorate. You can’t attempt to completely eradicate and “correct” basic beliefs that you don’t like, certainly not in the time frame that we've got to work with in an election cycle. The attempt carries a guarantee to produce a self-defeating backlash. You are not going to “end faith” in God, the wearing of synthetics or even an addiction to forms of entertainment you find annoying. Leftists need to grow up and face that the electorate as it is now is what we have to work with. Our politicians are their servants as much as they are ours.  Our politicians, not the phony ones who run the eternal series of campaigns that never win and never expect to win, the real ones who get elected, face that basic fact every single day, they have to or they get out of politics. Leftist political impotence has in no small part been due to the insistence of many of the loudest that facing this most basic fact of democracy, is a form of selling out.

Another of the big problems of the left is the instance that our politicians be, if anything, even more correct than we would like the electorate to be. Having just pointed out that it is the far from surgically clean electorate that gets to choose who is a real politician, instead of a pretend politician, expecting this of our elected officials is about the stupidest attitude we maintain.

There is no politician in our history who did more of what the left wanted than Lyndon Johnson during his presidency. He also did quite a bit which was among the worst a president has done.

As an aside, I think if he hadn't listened to some of the product of our most prestigious universities, he might have avoided a lot of the worst. He would have probably been re-elected in 1968.  Instead the more liberal - and Northern - Hubert Humphrey was attacked by the left and lost to Richard Nixon.  Nixon's campaign and presidency made use of the excesses of those who had pushed the real left to the side and made themselves the public face of "the left".   Anyone looking back at that period would have to conclude that Nixon better read the electorate and saw the possible avenues to grabbing and holding power than the left did.  That was certainly what he did.  He certainly didn't do it through personal attractiveness and a devotion to high ideals and democratic policies.  Meanwhile, the left preened in its purity, its higher educational level and a number of other things, which may have been technically true in the abstract but which didn't produce political effectiveness.

Lyndon Johnson was a rude, crude, bigoted, sexist, unscrupulous and ruthless and rather conservative politician. Perhaps most unforgivable of all to many on the left, he had a humble formal education as opposed to being the graduate of an elite university.  But, as Hillary Clinton pointed out during the 2008 campaign, he also delivered those laws that are the highest achievement of our democracy to date. His legacy is that which has been under constant attack for the past forty years. If he had gotten us out of the Vietnam War he might have been able to count on the left supporting him. We’ll never know. Someone like him, today, couldn't get elected with the support of the left.

Nancy Pelosi was the actual high water mark for the left in out entire history to date. Her record as Speaker and as the leader of the Democratic caucus has had to deal with the real effective limits on what she can do. She didn't have the power to keep the Republicans and conservative Democrats from blocking the moderate and liberal wings of the Democratic Party. The majority she has to work with is small and often unstable. I believe she was doing as much as she possibly can under the real limits of her power. That she had and has to watch out for attacks from the left is a problem but she’s got larger problems she has to deal with.

One of the responses to one of these posts the posts has been “ .... how do we push the Dems leftward? And how do we punish them when they move right?"    Well, the left has tried to inflict punishment on Democrats. The abandonment of Democrats in 1968 for Eugene McCarthy (no relation worth mentioning), clean Gene in countless other presidential farces, Barry Commoner’s candidacy in 1980 (still got my pin), Nader in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 and the disaster of 2010.   Lord knows how many others in between and in races for lower office, all of those have been attempts to “punish Democrats” for not doing what we want. It is an idea that has been given the test of time and has failed, failed absolutely and in the worst possible way.

Unfortunately, the attempt to punish Democrats in that way has, more often than not, led to Republicans taking office and doing a hell of a lot worse than what Democrats were guilty of. And it has led to the marginalization of the left within the Democratic Party. Republicans have used the power they got from those elections to free broadcast media of fairness and equal time provisions, silencing the left, allowing the rise of right-wing hate talk radio and TV and the further marginalization of the left in the general culture. And they have had the full and complete cooperation with the pseudo-left, which is actually libertarian, not interested in equality and economic justice.  Anyone who doesn't see that the deregulation of the electronic media as a political liability, in the face of its corporate ownership, is too stupid to listen to and too little concerned with the common good, mistaking secondary aspects of utility as more important than self-government which those must serve to be valid.  When you look at the record and find that much failure an idea should also join the Lysenko list of political futility.

The part of the left that has taken that most the superficially gratifying road of getting even isn't large enough to make the threat effective. We’d have to be able to prove our ability to decisively deliver electoral victory, in the first place, to do that.

Our future depends on making effective coalitions, with those we like and with those we don’t especially like. That’s the only way that the left is going to exercise any kind of political influence for the foreseeable future. The road of leftist puritanism leads to nowhere. The other road might be “ahead but much too slow” but at least it leads somewhere worth trying. Maybe I’ll see you there.

*  Since writing the first version of this I have come to realize that the genuine left is not the pseudo-left which I would probably have included in the left.  That form of materialist pragmatism is far closer to the materialist right than it is to the genuine left which is transcendent and so not materialist.

** I seem to recall PBS put it on in “response” to the series by Galbraith on the history of economics. For anyone who missed the Galbraith, it paralleled his wonderfully entertaining book “Money”.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Peter Maurin: Feeding the Poor at a Sacrifice from Easy Essays

1. In the first centuries
    of Christianity
    the hungry were fed
    at a personal sacrifice,
    the naked were clothed
    at a personal sacrifice,
    the homeless were sheltered
    at personal sacrifice.
2. And because the poor
    were fed, clothed and sheltered
    at a personal sacrifice,
    the pagans used to say
    about the Christians
    "See how they love each other."
3. In our own day
    the poor are no longer
    fed, clothed, sheltered
    at a personal sacrifice,
    but at the expense
    of the taxpayers.
4. And because the poor
    are no longer
    fed, clothed and sheltered
    the pagans say about the Christians
    "See how they pass the buck."

I'm lousy at writing short so I'll post a few of Dorothy Day's co-founder of Catholic Worker, Peter Maurin's, Easy Essays from time to time.  He was a lot better at it than I am.   He was also a lot more directly critical of Catholics and Christians than I've been because, today, they're being attacked from the other side, the right and the pseudo-left, a lot more than they were when he wrote.  I think the best defense against that is a competition among Christians to see who can get closest do doing what Jesus taught in real life.  If the churches had followed the gospels, the attacks of the neo-atheists wouldn't get any traction whatsoever.  Look at what the gentle turning of the Catholic Church by Pope Francis has done.

Update:  No, I didn't post it because I agree with everything Maurin said, he and Dorothy Day weren't opposed to government programs that fed the poor.  Maurin praised the medieval institution of churches, monasteries, convents as centers of hospitality, which were paid for through taxes.  He was not criticizing the existence of government aid programs, in all their inadequacy, but criticizing Christians for turning their backs on their direct responsibility of the poor.

See, I'm already way over his word count, I'll bet.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

What We Need For The Human Species To Survive : An open provocation

People need to intentionally stop being selfish to avoid total disaster, social and environmental.  That has never been more true than now when science and technology have given us the power to destroy ourselves through weapons and environmental destruction.

They need to give to the poor at a cost to themselves (The Widow's Mite)
They need to preserve nature (Woe unto them who join house to house and field to field)
They need to love their neighbor as themselves, they need to love the alien among them and treat them as they would their neighbor.  
It is hard to stop being selfish, really hard.  Really, really hard and you are the one that ultimately depends on.  

No one can be unselfish for you.  

And, since we are talking about people, in the plural, avoiding total disaster depends on enough of us not being selfish more often than not.   

People need the power that believing that they are required to be unselfish to get over the inertia inherent in selfishness provides.  There is no other source of the power to make them act unselfishly.  People are nothing if not accomplished at trying to avoid the consequences of their selfishness and, given the reality we live under, those consequences are our common burden.   They have to REALLY believe that they have to and that there is a reason that other people have a right to them being unselfish, a right that they have to other people being unselfish to them.  

They have to understand it in terms of mutually held rights, that good treatment isn't a privilege unequally distributed but a right which is held by all, including them. That is the fabric that the experience and exercise of rights depends on, every individual has to be part of that fabric, all of them are equally part of the strains and stresses on that fabric,  the strength of rights depends on the entitlement of all people to their rights.

There is no material explanation of the existence of rights that doesn't damage their reality, no fable of evolutionary psychology, sociobiology, no assertion of their origin as an adaptation under natural selection, no assertion of them as being the byproduct of social consensus or similar attempt at coming up with them as a material phenomenon, an after thought at best when the materialist is challenged on that point.  Materialists from time immemorial have come up with reasons to deny the reality of rights and moral obligations and the reality that they depend on to be made manifest in the actions of individuals and, especially in societies.  

This is why religious faith in their reality is an absolute prerequisite for them existing, that is why religion was where they first were articulated and the source of their strongest assertion.  You have to BELIEVE in their reality in the face of every temptation to deny that they are real and binding on you even as you enjoy their results and even as you are taught and programmed and brainwashed out of believing in them for other people and, in many cases, that your rights are part of the fabric they depend on.  

The history of human depravity in the absence of that belief is entirely more real, the evil of that history more compelling than any materialistic assertions denying their reality.  They are as real a part of human experience as the experience of any physical phenomenon or any verified aspect of scientific observation or experiment.  People have as much of a right to believe their observations of that history, to conclude its character as anyone does to look at the fossil record or the sparks from a massive apparatus of the physics establishment and assert the reality of what they see there.  In fact, more open to an accurate comparison with other human experience, verifiable in direct experience instead of indirect inference, the lessons of human history are more reliably real than virtually any finding of science.  That history of human depravity flowing from the denial of rights and moral obligations is entirely more real than the "scientific" attacks on them and their essential, metaphysical foundations.  

With the history of human societies and the lessons that are learned from that experience or not learned from that we come to the political manifestation of equal rights and the decent society that depends on the common belief in their reality.   When the idealistic assertion of individual rights was made, dissolving the asserted rights of the British monarch over the inhabitants of North America, it was held that the truth of rights, an endowment of The Creator, were self evident. That is a fixed axiom without which you cannot derive a democracy and the decent society that is the only legitimate reason for governments to exist.   There is no other one that works, there is no assertion of sociological fantasy that will work to create a decent democratic socieity because people have to believe it with all of their heart and mind and strength and soul to do it, to sacrifice to do it, to maintain the sacrifice as long as necessary and to continue the work of securing it against the ever present temptation of selfishness and convenient, self-serving skepticism that can destroy it through denial.  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Why Isn't This Story Being Discussed?

I've been spending the past six or so hours trying to catch up with a story that I missed in December and, somehow, failed to see covered in any of the leftish sites and sources that will usually cover any aspect of the Greenwald-Snowden PR machine wall to wall.   How did I fail to notice anyone giving serious coverage to the fact that Greenwald's Pay Pal tycoon sugar daddy Pierre Omidya, has cooperated with NSA requests for information from Pay Pal.  That cooperation made not surprising due to the fact that his co-founder Max Levchin is a big NSA supporter.  Once I read the stories it was a little surprising to remember that the man who gave Greenwald $250 Million to be his best friend also cut off Wikileaks.

Now, one of the first things that disturbed me about this whole thing was discovering that Edward Snowden, the man who stole 10,000, or 20,000, or.... 1.7 million documents (the figure is ever rising) worked, not for the NSA but for the contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, a company with extensive Bush-Cheney ties.  It seemed to me to be a bad idea to have a company like that be in the business of spying on us to start with.  And then they hire Edward Snowden who stole enormous amounts of secret information and brings it to first China and the Russia. Well, it would seem that in this remarkably cosy circle, Greenwald's backers also have ties to Booz Allen Hamilton.

As principal shareholder and chairman of eBay, Omidyar controls eBay’s child company, PayPal. PayPal has recently made headlines for prosecuting the so-called “PayPal 14,” the hacktivists who staged a virtual ‘sit in’ in protest of PayPal’s decision to cut off Wikileaks’ funding by organizing a Denial of Service attack on PayPal’s website. PayPal was co-founded by Max Levchin, a dedicated NSA supporter.

More worrying still, Sal Gambianco, one of the principal investment partners with the Omidyar Network, actually sits on theboard of advisors of Globant, a software company in which both the Omidyar Network and Booz Allen Hamilton, Snowden’s former employer, are major shareholders. Philip Odeen, one of the Booz Allen Hamilton board members, also sits on the Board of Directors of Globant. The Omidyar Network and Booz Allen Hamilton are also both major investors in Innocentive.

Yet somehow none of these concerns are enough for Greenwald’s most ardent supporters to even raise the question of how he is using his personal collection of leaked NSA files and who he is getting into bed with financially to do so.

hile I would normally have waited until I'd read a lot more and understood a lot more of what I'm reading,  I have to say that the more I read this the more it stinks of, sorry to have to use the word, a total ratfucking operation.  I don't trust anyone involved, I strongly suspect that this entire thing was orchestrated to further the goals of those behind Booz Allen Hamilton and they have played everyone, including the Obama hating Greenwald pretty effectively.   This stinks, it really stinks and one of the things that stinks the most of it is watching the alleged left get played by a bunch of libertarian-right wing thugs masquerading as heroes of the left.

Why isn't this getting the attention that something this disturbing should be getting? That it isn't reveals just how superficial the "new media" online really is.  The deification of Snowden and Greenwald prevents it from looking hard at what is, apparently, already known about the sleazy interconnections that have the so-called whistle blower and his main media outlet in bed with the business partners of Booz Allen and, through them, the very NSA and the Republican establishment that may well benefit from the damage Greenwald et al have done to Barack Obama.  That this all leads back to those with connections to the Bush family should certainly give anyone who remembers the worst administration in our history six short years ago nightmares.  Yet the carnival of the lefty blogs, their distractions and regular minutes of hate, goes on, resting secure in the knowledge that the great and glorious Glenn is on the case.

For more  The Snowden Effect: From Governmentalized to Privatized & Commoditized 

JP Sottile Greenwald’s Twitter War Over PayPal-NSA Allegations

The Enormous Joy of Going Back To Student Pieces

Twice before, circumstances have forced me to go back close to the beginning of music and both times have revealed richness that I'd never suspected on my first pass through.  The first time was when I went back to Bach's Two-Part Inventions and other pieces on that grade level.  Of course none of the others measured up to the Inventions, though the relevant volumes of Bartok's Mikrokosmos came closest.

Having played through the entire set of the Mikrokosmos by the time I was a Sophomore in college, I knew and loved many of the pieces, especially the fifth and sixth volumes*.   After I started teaching I kept pushing forward the point at which I noticed fascinating musical substance - the pedagogical significance begins with the first piece.  After having taught them for years, it's my turn to learn from them again.  I'm currently playing through the third volume to get some of the rust out of my hands and arms and am finding it is pretty effective on rust in my ears and head too.

If there is a multiverse it is in Bartok's ability to create worlds in the pieces of that collection, each having its own particular world of sensation and implication. The colors and light are so brilliant and the shadows and dark so dark they don't seem to come from the same world.  Even what seemed like the more banal pieces in the volume all those years ago have so much substance.   Bartok was renowned for the nobility of his character, his scrupulous sense of responsibility to students and his public and to music and he obviously lavished the utmost care on these student pieces.  That's clearly something he had in common with Bach and with few other composers for keyboard.  I think a lot of what he put into those pieces you have to be several decades older than the students he wrote them for would understand at first.

*  And not just the well-played over Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm.  I especially love these pieces from the other end of Volume Six.


The first thing I ever thought about "bitcoins" is how easy it would be to steal "them".   Or it might have been, who is it that they're trusting more than the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation? 

The second thing I remember thinking is, what a bunch of deluded chumps, victims doing the crooks set up for them. 

How much will a "coinage" based entirely on that level of suckerage fare now that its premise is so blown?  Will it fold?  Somehow I doubt that the kind of people who put their faith in that kind of funny "money" will be the quickest learners.   Apparently there are lots of people too gullible to run their own affairs.  And lots of them, apparently, are found among the allegedly well educated. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Geezers Gettin' Kewl

Update:  Mrs. Miller (see below) wasn't anyone's fool, she knew what she did was comedy, and it could be pretty funny, often a lot more interesting for that than the stuff she made fun of, strung through a number of records for Capitol.  That's sort of a show biz success, unlike geezers who spend their three score and ten and counting trying to pretend that they are teenagers far more unsuccessfully than Dick Clark was able to. Apparently that high hipster of the hip replacement age cohort, Mr. Kewl of Eschaton, didn't like my remark about Mick Jagger and his old, old, shriveled up stones the other day and he's been flaming me here and at the blog that's turning ever bluer as it dies a slow death. Not that I'd expect the wider world would notice what goes on there anymore. I mean, it's been, what, eight years since it sort of got noticed by implication in a no-line role on The West Wing? And that's when its owner actually still wrote something once in a while.

Two words:  Power, Pop.

Update:  If you didn't realize it Mr. Kewl at Baby Blue is flaming me and frustrated that I'm not posting his comments.  You get all the fun without the boredom this way.

Here's a cover of a Mop Head's cover of a Latino song, only this geezer is supposed to be funny and Mr. Kewl thinks he's kewl.

Update 2:  Another Mop Head cover.  I'll explain it later.

Answer to Thomas Frank

Thomas Frank is right in his recent Salon piece that the Paul Krugmans and Robert Reichs aren't going to save The People, that the educational elite and the media are not going to save us with their solutions from on high to solve what is always presented as the puzzle of "inequality".   Those well intentioned folk, with their Ivy League class educations where they learned the economics that give them the language with which they can discourse of these problems within the boundaries acceptable to their milieu won't touch the real problem.  Franks correctly says that we need something they aren't going to bring to the problem.

Here is my answer to him.

The word you are looking for is contained in the Omaha Populist Platform of 1892 you quote "INJUSTICE"  but it is injustice as understood in Biblical terms, in not doing justice to the poor by impoverishing them, of creating the conditions that impoverish them.  And I'm afraid that the very mechanisms that do that, that have done that from the beginning of the United States, are contained in the sacralized Constitution that we are all taught, by the enriched establishment, to worship as a sacred object.

The Senate, set up by the aristocrats of the Constitutional Convention at the behest of the slave power,enhancing their power through unequal allotment of power based on artificial political boundaries instead of population, originally not even directly elected.

The election of the executive through the similarly corrupt mechanism of the Electoral College, again established to enhance aristocratic corruption of our politics.

And, perhaps most of all, the Supreme Court,  created as a body that could safely attack the poor on behalf of the rich without worrying about their position, appointed to a lifetime tenure by the corruptly chosen executive and confirmed by the anti-democratically created Senate, which has used its position to make corporations persons.  And, in the Rehnquist and Roberts courts - perhaps the most corrupt in our history - given corporations full reign to entirely corrupt the vote by giving them and their media the full power to deceive and lie to  The People, preventing an informed vote.

And it all started by the very Constitution making a mockery of the idea that all political power is legitimately derived from the JUST consent of The People through those corrupt mechanisms adopted to protect the aristocrats who wrote The Constitution from The People whose demands for justice would always pose a problem for the aristocrats primary goal, making the product of their labor the property of the aristocrats.

I'm not optimistic about the prospects, The People have been sold the absurd notion of the infinite wisdom of the very aristocrats who used their blood to break away from Britain and to steal this continent for their massive land appropriations to the West, who set up the corrupt Constitution.  The mass media, the free press has used its absolute free speech to feed The People on lie after lie in order to make them the duped accomplices in their own fleecing. Until lying in the mass media is banned or, at the very least they are forced to keep their part of a bargain that they get to be free of other regulation ONLY if they serve their only important function of accurately informing The People of what they need to know to cast an informed vote, it won't get better.   And, as implied in the article, the corrupt public broadcasting establishment, PBS, NPR, even MSNBC, is part of the problem, not part of the solution.  It's a really corrupt media when it's a commercial station that has a tiny handful of programs that represent the least bad of the bad.

But I think the real key to the problem will make our educated class blanche, that is  the metaphysical foundation of the concept of justice and injustice, the real belief that inherent rights are equally endowed by The Creator to all people who are also endowed with a real obligation to respect those rights equally.  I don't think there is any other workable or real foundation to democracy and it is, inevitably, a matter of that particular belief that those things are as real as the physical entities that science studies and those objects bought and sold by commerce.  Unless The People believe that they are different from objects, that their very existence makes them rightly beyond questions of utility and so aren't commodities, then they will be corrupt.   It is no mere coincidence that it was exactly those people who denied the person hood of slaves and the native population, their rights, the obligation to respect those rights that are the source of the corruption endemic to The Constitution.  That is the historical fact that proves the truth of what is needed to create a real democracy.

That it is today's elite and would be elite who find those religious ideas distasteful and vile is just an updated version of what corrupted things then. Looking at the unfashionable  language and ideas of those Omaha Populists, taking the foundation of their ideas seriously wouldn't be a bad idea.  Those and similar movements for justice - the political manifestation of equal rights, the act of respecting those by the political and judicial institutions, were not the product of materialism but of religious conviction.  That is what they meant by "governmental injustice"

Monday, February 24, 2014

Why It’s Just Wrong When Pop Originates Pop Culture

A rerun, as relevant to the rage of an angry aging..... no make that very aged, would be hipster as it was seven years ago this month.

In my recent squabbles over pop culture a lot of people just didn't seem to understand why people, like me, in their late middle age wouldn't be up to date. So you might understand this phenomenon, it all begins like this.

Fads and pop culture naturally begin with older teenagers and very young adults. At least they did when those used to be home made. Sadly, it now seems that a lot of them are content to just adopt whatever stupid junk corporations tell them to. But assuming that it at least has to pass through this age cohort to be a fad,  I’ll continue with this entirely unscientific line based on observation.

After the fad has been adopted by it’s “originators” it is then taken up by those insecure conformists, young teenager kulture vultures, and their even more uncertain and insecure fellow second-tier adopters the thirty somethings.

After them come tweens and pre- geezers. With the tweens and even younger people, parents might notice that something is happening. I’d say they notice that something new is happening but by this stage the fad is quickly passing from the ‘originator’ cohort. The spectacle of 40-year-olds...., it’s not pretty. They didn't learn about the fad from the originators because of the natural stealth of people that age.

It starts getting fuzzy from here but what is almost certain is that the last people to know about the dying fad are geezers, and specifically males in their fifties and up being almost certainly the end of the line. This is roughly the same age group which has authority in important areas of life, having come up through the ranks or, having been pushed up, if you believe in some vaguely amusing theories of business hierarchies. This could explain why people with the authority to make decisions aren't up on the latest fads. The theory is based on my seeing a man in his fifties with one of those stupid tiny braids down the back of his head well after even I knew it had ceased being a fad. He asked me if I was looking forward to The Stones tour.  Man!. As they say, lightening struck.

I wish young people would start smashing corporate culture instead of adopting it. It’s geezers who decide what corporations are going to promote as cool. How do you expect these business types to come up with something new? This explains the blandness and stupidity of so much pop culture these days. That’s just wrong. Geezers trying to originate and follow pop culture robs young people of one of the greatest pleasures of youth, theirs by nature and by right, condescending to their elders in matters of coolness. Give it up, Dad.

Update: I love it when I anticipate a reaction, elicit it and get it.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Short Not Tweet

Trippin McZoink  Anthony_McCarthy • 4 minutes ago
Few are the Christians who don't violate every single thing that Jesus taught. Quite few, indeed.

Anthony_McCarthy  Trippin McZoink • a few seconds ago
Well, fewer are the atheists who don't not only violate them but deny that those teachings are true.

I'm always puzzled by atheists who complain that Christians aren't acting like Christians.  I mean, they hate Christianity, mock it, deny that Jesus was real, and then they complain when people who profess Christianity fail at living up to what they hate so much and with so much effort. You'd think they'd love that kind of thing.  Only, then I remember how much atheists love to set up double standards that favor them.

Jesus admitted that his teachings were hard to follow.