Saturday, February 27, 2016

Partial List From Late Stage Liver Disease, Terminal Alcohoism

Extreme jaundice 
Horrifically, grotesquely swollen abdomen, getting ever worse
Horrible dead corpse smell (fetor hepaticus) 
Visible capillary breakdown under skin 
Mental confusion (perhaps it's already dementia)
Drastically increased need for sleep
Craving for sweets that can't be satisfied 

And, unlike three years ago, the doctors are really antsy about prescribing opioid drugs or other pain killers.   They will, though, schedule office visit after office visit and one inconclusive session of imaging after another, which he has to pay out of pocket since he has no insurance and Maine has not expanded Medicaid under Obamacare (thank you Supreme Court) and his application for SS Disability hasn't gone through yet.  He should have qualified three years ago.  

We don't know what we're going to do when he can't pay, probably as soon as next month when the last of his cash is gone.   He's got more than $300,000 in bills from the hospitalization alone.  And none of the doctors seem to think it's their responsibility to tell him just what's going on, they keep kicking that particular can of worms down the road to the next one they hand him off to.  I don't know if my neighbor is right, he says they would have an obligation to treat him if they admitted what was going on.  I might have thought that was a bit too cynical a while back, it's a plausible explanation for what's going on, now

Someone told me to watch out for being reported to the social workers for "an adult at risk" (it happened to them).   I'm not at the point of wishing someone would drop a dime in that direction but I can imagine it getting to that point,  I'd offer to let them take over. 

This is why I'd like them to put a stiff tax on liquor that would cover its consequences.   Considering how much rot-gut liquor he consumed to get like this, it could be like a health insurance program for terminal stage, chronic alcoholics.   

Since you ask. 

The Shame of Maine, the curse of my state, Paul LePage endorsed Trump.   I would bet that Trump would make him Secretary of Health and Human Services where he would take the most pleasure in starving and depriving poor people while saying the worst possible things about them.  

The Republican Party 2016 is an expression of pathological evil and fascist politics.  There is no rational denial of that, but the free press won't tell you that, not even when it's far too late.  They're too busy hoping for a reduction in their personal taxes. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

I'm The Worst Sort

Ah, if you knew how hard it is for me to try to be good you'd be impressed at even this much progress has been made. You should have seen what I was saying twelve years ago.  

I can't help it, I love to tease people who try to diss me while cherishing the thought that I crave their respect.  I don't.  And when they start it I love to offend their tender sensibilities and their petty conventions, their most cherished idols and their conventional pieties.    Speaking of which, Thorstein Veblen, from the close of his Theory of the Leisure Class.

As felicitous an instance of futile classicism as can well be found, outside of the Far East, is the conventional spelling of the English language. A breach of the proprieties in spelling is extremely annoying and will discredit any writer in the eyes of all persons who are possessed of a developed sense of the true and beautiful. English orthography satisfies all the requirements of the canons of reputability under the law of conspicuous waste. It is archaic, cumbrous, and ineffective; its acquisition consumes much time and effort; failure to acquire it is easy of detection. Therefore it is the first and readiest test of reputability in learning, and conformity to its ritual is indispensable to a blameless scholastic life.

That's what I've been doing, offending a ritual which is indispensable to a blameless scholastic life, and it is a pure pleasure to do so.   I'm the worst sort.

Recommended Post

RMJ has an excellent post up commenting on two articles at Religion Dispatches, Raise Giant Mushrooms In Your Cellar!.    The first is about a comparison of 19th century Lyceum type lectures with the dumbed-down version of those which are the stock and trade of TED Talks, inc.  For anyone who is feeling smug about how much smarter we are these days.

The second is about another in the endless series of bogus soc-sci studies showing how awful religious folk are as compared to those paragons of all virtue, the non-religious.  Well, that's an exaggeration, perhaps, but its what it will, no doubt, be if it gets the buzz its authors obviously hope it will. 

Giving Up Satisfying Delusions And Accepting That We're Just People Too - Hate Mail

So you didn't like what I said about the people who watch FOX not being illiterates.  It is a comforting thought that our political opponents are stupid but it is a self-satisfying delusion.  If they are stupider than us, why do they control the Congress, the Supreme Court, a majority of state houses and governorships?  Why have they been able to destroy so much of the progress, not only made in the 20th century but for the 19th as well?

No, it is a preening conceit of too many on the left that our opposition is stupid, it is stupid to maintain that in the face of the facts.

What our opponents lack is morality, the willingness to sacrifice to produce economic justice, to produce gender and racial equality, to preserve the very basis of life on this planet.  Facing that the problems that are destroying this country are a lack of morals is no where near as appealing as the conceit that we are the intellectual superiors of conservatives, for a start those moral obligations fall equally on us as on them and among them is to see THOSE PEOPLE as our equals, as people who have rights we are bound to respect, dignity that, no matter what kind of grammar they use, what accent their speech holds or what they believe about the origin of species, we are morally bound to respect.  The left lost more due to the conceit of those who made themselves the face of the left than it did due to the mistakes that were made, and some of those were huge.

Of course, if you've read much of what I wrote, you know that I believe the biggest of those were giving the media the ability to lie for its profit with impunity and the permission for them to present the degraded view of human beings that pandered to the worst of our fears, weakness and our basest of gratifications.  Just as that advertising and marketing has turned the United States into a nation of pre-diabetic obesity and blood pressure, it has turned us into a nation that thinks of other people and ourselves more cynically, more suspiciously and in a way that undermines a belief that something better is possible.  We are the ones who started that with the campaign to permit porn to be sold freely.   As one great leftist put it, "We wanted to end the silly censorship which kept Joyce's Ulysses in a brown paper wrapper. But we have ended up with a pornographic culture and a society that no longer blushes."*  Only we have become a nation in which young women find themselves viewed as sex objects of a far more degraded kind than was common in the 1950s or the 1850s.  And they are encouraged by a constant stream of media, most of it produced by men, to view themselves that way, as well.

Facing the fact that the viewers of FOX are not, by and large, the comfortingly asserted illiterate clowns but people who have been skilfully manipulated  by the media which civil libertarians enabled in exactly the same way as just described is the least of what we're going to have to do to win elections and change things.  I am certain that most people on the nominal left will be unhappy to face the fact that we've got at least as much to work on as those people do.  We can start by giving up the slogans and platitudes of the left that wrecked everything, the left that handed the media the ability to lie us into a paranoid, degraded view of ourselves and the possibility of equality, justice and other people.   Those slogans are what got us to where we are today, ours will be a corporate media fed fascism, a corporate media created by members of the mostly  affluent, mostly Northern, white, liberalish, male elite of  the 1960s who unleashed it.  They are the reason that FOX lies and hate-talk radio hates and panders effectively to the worst in all of us.  And a lot of them got rich and famous acting as lawyers for the corporate media in the process just as many of those who pushed a phony substitute of male supremacy as  "sex pos feminism" worked for the same group which is mostly affluent, white and male.

* Shirley Chisholm, one of the founders of The National Organization for Women, the presidential candidate I most wish could have won the nomination and the election she ran in but who ran many decades before that time.   She would have been the greatest president we ever had if the country had been ready for her.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hate Mail From A Low-Mid Functioning Functional Illiterate

Of all of the things I posted yesterday the one that I thought was probably least controversial was me pointing out that even among the dolts who believe what FOX "news" tells them in 2016,  literacy is probably far higher than it was in Elizabethan and Jacobian London.  But some dolt mocked that statement and was joined in by some other dolts, all of whom apparently, from what they claim, have been to college.

Well, the most common figures I see for the estimate of adult illiteracy in the Unites States in recent years measures that as about 14%,  And even at that abysmal rate it is still obvious that my statement is justified.

Recent studies by David Cressy demonstrate that literacy was affected by social straification.  An examination of more than 5,000 depositions in ecclesiastical courts in the diocese of Norwich in the later Elizabethan and early Stuart years (1580-1700) reveals subscriptional literacy rates of 100% for the clergy and professional classes, 98% for the nobility and gentry, 88 to 94% for merchants and superior shopkeepers, 65% for husbandmen and lesser peasants, 15% for laborers, 12% for common artisans and craft workers, and 11% for women.   The Elizabethan period witnessed dramatic improvement in literacy by the 1570s, only to have this advance followed by a regressive period into the 1610s.  Yoemen went from 45% in the 1550s to 79% in the 1570s, but regressed to 62% in the 1590s.  Husbandmen improved their literacy from 10% in the 1550s to 30% in the 1570s, only to retreat to 12% in the 1610s.  The regressive era was probably due to the worsening economy in the latter part of Elizabeth's reign.

Richard Greaves: Society and Religion in Elizabethan England, University of Minn Press

Even the slightest comparison would show that even with the intolerable rates of functional illiteracy in the United States that the situation in Elizabethan England was far worse.  The 89% illiteracy rate of women, alone, would put England in that period at more than three times the illiteracy rate of today's figures by these numbers.  Not counting the illiterate men.

That doesn't take into account that the figures found by Cressy are based in a MINIMAL definition of literacy whereas the modern figures define literacy as a far more accomplished activity. Cressy's study was based on subscriptional literacy, the ability to intelligibly write your name, something that even many suffering from complete functional illiteracy can do.  The Stratford man's elder daughter, Susanna (Shakspere) Hall though unable to distinguish her husband's hand from that of another writer, could, at least once in her life, draw the letters of her name, though just barely forming the letters.  The six widely accepted signatures of William Shaksper (Shakspere, etc.) are not more securely written as far as I can see.  And, by the way, he never seems to have spelled it "Shakespeare" in his life, for those who are upset at how I'm spelling the Stratford man's name.  The Stratford Shaksper's mother, father, wife and his daughter Judith couldn't even draw the letters, all of them having to make their mark which a scrivener or clerk or other functionary identified as their mark*.  And, for the record, John Shaksper, the father of William, was able to function as a village official, as, in fact, most of the officials of the town had to sign with their mark as they were illiterate.  You can get by in a society that expects illiteracy of most people.  Though I'll bet most of them could count money.

Certainly there are more people who listen to FOX who could read a pamphlet or play than the typical Englishman of the 1590s could.   And that's not taking into account that the sea of print we are exposed to today is nothing like what would be circulating in that period.  Paper was expensive and rare, printed material even more so and even handwritten copies would have been rare and circulated within limited circles.  On the other hand any given performance of a play could be seen by many hundreds of people at at time and they gave many performances of them.

It also has to be remembered that even the degenerate standards of FOX "news" no matter how much you like to mock and jape at them, are not as low as it gets on TV,  FOX entertainment programming is only one of the myriad of stations feeding and producing a lower level of idiocy, the kind of TV which contributes to the illiteracy rate.  FOX "news" isn't as low as it goes.  Even FOX "news" probably gets a more funcitonally literate viewership than most of TV which gets the most views.  From my memory of those channels I'd surf by back when I had an idiot box there were Spike, various sports channels, the Food Network, those house decorating porn stations, etc.

Like today, if you want to have an influence on the most people you don't write something, you put it on radio, TV, in movies or on YouTube or the equivalent.   Look at how many idiots with college degrees fall for the most absurd costume dramas, those who are certainly far more sophisticated and well read than any but the most elite of Elizabethans.   I suspect that's what the idiot who snarked at what I said got everything he knows about the period from.  I'll bet he's seen more of the Hollywood school of History than he's ever bothered to read in books from a public library or rotting in some used book store at a dollar or less a copy.  I'll bet he's never read more of THE PLAYS than he was required to in school, though he might, might, have watched the BBC cycle on TV way back when**.

*  I have to admit that until yesterday I didn't know that a will wasn't validated by a signature at that time but by the oath of the executor.  Given the low level of literacy - I'd imagine a lot of those who could sign their name to something wouldn't have been able to read what they were signing - that makes more sense. And someone would have had to witness the signature. 

**  I stopped watching when they had Anthony Hopkins play Othello as opposed to several distinguished Black actors who could have played the role.  I liked Hopkins in the movie version of Titus Andronicus which reveled in the awfulness of the material but I would not watch him in black face playing Othello.  I thought the BBC Measure for Measure was pretty bad, too, and the As You Like It, though I liked their All's Well That Ends Well with the late, lamented Ian Charleson a lot.  But that's for another time.  I still like reading plays better than watching most productions of them.  But when it works, nothing's better.
Alcoholism is a horrible way to die.  The actual death is the least awful thing about it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Direct From The Waiting Room, Here's Something Fun

The author of the most truly rigorous examination of the evidence for a literary career by the Shaksper man, Diana Price, wrote this succinct summary of just some of her research.  Price's book Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography : New Evidence of an Authorship Problem is one of the most impressive jobs of first-class scholarship into the issue.  Her insistence on using a single-standard in judging that evidence and insisting on using the modern, professional standards of academic historians and biographers produces a devastating rebuttal to the common received wisdom on that topic.

She pretty conclusively shows that without insisting on double-standards, cutting corners, making stuff up.  etc. the entire Shakespeare industry, the tourism based one and, especially, the massive academic facade crumbles.   Where she speculates, attributing the appearance of variations on THE NAME on publications to either him acting as a front, in contemporary slang, a beard, for authors who wished to or needed to remain anonymous* or as just a crook (see Ben Jonson's Poet Ape) she makes a compelling case without doing what virtually everyone else has, fixing that argument to a specific candidate.  Given that the name appeared on a number of other plays and works, works that no one believes were by whoever it was who wrote the plays, today, I'd say it's a pretty good explanation of that evidence.

As important is this collection of quotes and comments on the standards of evidence that are applied in rigorous scholarship.  It's worth reading through and considering how virtually NONE of the "best" scholarship on the Stratford man is based on those agreed to, accepted criteria.

Of all the stuff I've read, conventional Stratfordian, anti-Stratfordian, Baconian, Oxfordian, even Marlovian, on this issue, Diana Price's work stands out for its integrity and moderation.  She never tries to pass off her speculations as biography or evidence, she bases her remarkably few speculations in supported evidence, not supposition.   She applies the accepted standards of judgement in cases like this evenly, rigorously and without twisting it to come out where she'd want it to.  Her answers to some of her critics is, invariably, better than their criticism.

*  As Kier Cutler noted, being identified as a playwright in those decades was an extremely risky thing.  Thomas Kyd was arrested and tortured for his writing and to get information on other writers in his circle.  Under torture he told his Elizabethan inquisitors that Christopher Marlowe, his room mate, was guilty of crimes.  I'll accept the official version that Marlowe was conveniently murdered just as he was being called to appear before the officials who had tortured Kyd, something which led to his death not long after.  And they were hardly the only ones who were arrested for their play writing activity.  Ben Jonson was arrested several times.

And you can understand why a police state like Elizabeth's England would be especially antsy about the public, popular, theater.  Given the fact of widespread illiteracy and the rarity of books at the time, just as in ours, it would have been possible for hundreds of people who couldn't read a book to hear and see a play and believe it, true or totally false.  Consider how many college educated folk, today, believe that the complete fiction they are presented in movies is true, like Inherit the Wind and Shakespeare in Love.  And that's WITH literacy and a modern education.  I dare say that the large majority of the people who watch and believe FOX, who support Trump or Cruz are far more literate than the average Elizabethan and Jacobian Londoner and with far more access to a range of information and look how led by the nose they are.   For comments about the aristocratic, non-public theater, you can read what Price says about that here.

One notable exception to the list of arrested (tortured, killed) playwrites is especially notable because "his" play, Richard II figured heavily in the failed coup of the Earl of Essex,  a performance of it being commissioned by the conspirators within days of their attempt to rouse the residents of London to overturn the government of Elizabeth.  She had an author of a pamphlet on the topic of Richard II arrested to get him to name his source - many people believe his pamphlet was inspired by the play.  She even asked one of her most eminent Councillors,  Francis Bacon to search it for treason.  He told her that he could find no treason in it but much felony, when she asked him what , he, accurately, noted that the author had stolen material from Cornelius Tacitus.   Whereas Bacon was an eminent scholar of the classics, Ben Jonson (perhaps sarcastically and tellingly) called Shakespeare someone who knew "little Latin and less Greek".  As to the relative difficulty of reading Tacitus in the original, here's the testimony of someone who has considerably more than "little Latin".   Jonson wrote his deeply ambiguous praise of "Shakespeare" as he was working with Francis Bacon in his project to publish his major work  before he died but as he was still the target of his enemies in the court of James who had managed his fall from power.  I think it's more than likely that, by that time, Jonson as part of publishing the work, huge amounts of which were not documented as having been written during the life of Shaksper ( who died seven years before the Folio was published) was in on the use of that convenient pseudonym,  though that's speculation, as well.

Most interesting, though, is that the play had been published anonymously shortly before the Essex rebellion but was republished with the name "William Shakespeare" attached to it AFTER ELIZABETH HAD BEGUN HER SEARCH FOR THE GUY SHE BELIEVED EQUATED HER WITH THE DEPOSED KING, RICHARD II.   Despite his name (or a near equivalent to it) being attached to the play, just as it was most dangerous for the author to be associated with it, the Stratford money lender, broker and theater investor was not arrested or, as far as can be found, questioned about it.   Imagine what would happen if that guy could have said,  Who?  Little old illiterate me with, by the way,  little Latin and less Greek, WROTE a play?   If the total absence of him leaving a personal literary trail was an indication that he was known as an illiterate broker who passed off other peoples' work as his own (see Ben Johnson Poet-Ape) he would have been a perfect person to have paid, covertly, to take that risk, he had a perfect alibi.  Which is speculation but it's no more speculative than what they make the  official "Shakespeare" out of.

Psychics Are Welcome - Hate Mail on a Day I'm Too Busy To Write

I'd rather post the comments of someone who identifies themselves as a psychic to one whose comments expose himself as a liar.  And considering where the ass is posting his snarky comment, at a blog where one of his fellow regulars has continually self-identified herself as a Witch, to no snarky comments by him or the other regulars (now that their resident Britatheist bully has stopped snarking about the "old religion") it's rather rich for him to be trying to make something of it. Maybe he's afraid she'll put a hex on him.  If she could cast one to get him to stop lying I'd encourage her to try. 

I'm entirely happy to post the comments of anyone, psychic or not, as long as they follow the rules of not libeling other commentators, not spreading bigotry, and, as importantly, not lying.  

TV Brought Us To The Current Republican Reality

As the insanity that is the Republican Party unrolls farther, as the guaranteed candidate campaigns to appeal to the angry, insane base that can still consider voting for any or them, more and more people will ask how the United States has devolved to the mainstream being reminiscent of the worst days of 19th century Know Nothingism.   Well, there's really no question and there really is no mystery and, in this year of complete insanity goes on, it is one of the people who are most responsible for the partial decay of our politics who gave the answer.   Newt Gingrich told the people of FOX that they are responsible for creating Trump the political success.

DOOCY: Well they are uncomfortable with Trump, the GOP establishment. You talk to the GOP establishment, I mean, you're part of it for the most part. What—this is their nightmare scenario. What are they trying to do?

GINGRICH: Oh, I think they live in a fantasy land right now. Donald Trump is tapping into something that's real ... 

KILMEADE: Well what's interesting is that Mitt Romney, one of his great advantages was money, and that's why a lot of you guys couldn't keep up. This time, the billionaire is spending the least amount of money and running away with this thing—

GINGRICH: Well, that's because of you guys.


GINGRICH: That's because of you guys. Donald Trump gets up in the morning, tweets to the entire planet at no cost, gets on the phone, calls you, has a great conversation for about eight minutes, which would have cost him a ton in commercial money. And meanwhile, his opponents are all out there trying to raise the money to run an ad, and nobody believes the ad.

KILMEADE: People make decisions. Mitt Romney made a decision: for three months, he wouldn't do us at all. People decide—for a while, Jeb Bush wouldn't hop on any television at all. Hillary Clinton didn't do anything in the beginning. Donald Trump from day one made himself available to big and small.

When it's the likes of Newt Gingrich who is telling truth things have gone totally nuts.

As Jack Holmes points out, it doesn't seem to occur to Doocy, Kilmeade, etc. that they, their producer and others involved were also making decisions that have led this way.  But the media is what has produced the insanity of the Republican filed, which, if we are really lucky, will implode and not be elected.  It being elected is a very real danger that the free press, cabloid TV and hate-talk radio and web have produced.

And you can include the people who destroyed penalties for media lying about political figures and others, the Supreme Court, the ACLU...  those who abolished broadcasting standards and community service requirements and the idiots of the alleged left who accept and even champion that libertarian stand which is what has created Trump, Cruz, etc.

The hard teaching of our insane politics hasn't been enough for the left who have been entirely marginalized by the regime of media deregulation isn't learned because, for the most part, the people who speak for the left are affluent and either a part of or true believers in the insane pseudo-liberalism that invented that ideological stand.   They seldom pay the real price that is paid, by the poor and destitute, first and foremost, Black people, Latinos, members of other minorities, people who are incarcerated.   Oh, yes, let's not forget that significant minority group.   I remember, back when I used to watch MSNBC's Friday lineup the jokes that the last talking head before the prison show would make a joke about its weekly prison show.  Well, considering how large that group is, a class largely created by government policies, one hour a week is about the least that TV could do.  I've got my doubts about any media liberal who could think that was something to joke about.  That's a symptom of the intellectual and moral rot where this whole thing originated.

Bring back the Fairness Doctrine, community service requirements and the ability of politicians and public people to sue for slander and libel.   No doubt one of the early casualties of that legal regime would be FOX "news", CNN, and the rest of the media that has dragged our politics down to the lowest common denominator of the Republican electorate.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Hate Mail

Given the choice between agreeing with the eminent actor, director and intellectual, Mark Rylance and an ignorant follower of the common received POV, I'll take Rylance, who's actually done something with it and has read something about it.   

Oh, yeah, everyone knows that Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and Charlie Chaplin were effete, class based snobs.  

About Reading Things In A Deeper Context - The Vitally Important To The Merely Interesting

A while ago I recommended Walter Brueggemann's book, The Bible Makes Sense, noting that, though it is a thin book it was a curriculum for studying the scriptures.   I'd read through it once with the intention of really going through it as a curriculum and have to say that it is a far, far deeper and more involved course of study than I'd appreciated, then.  The surface meaning, such as you can take from even the modern English easy-read translations of the Bible, is frequently misleading and deceptive.  These texts were not written within our modern contexts and when they are subjected to a fundamentalist reading their meaning is not only destroyed but a reductionist "meaning" is substituted that discredits them.   The ongoing experience of following Brueggemann's course, reading all of the passages in several translations - something you can do so much more easily on the various internet sources than with paper based books - leaves me feeling that even at that it's just dealing with things on a surface level.  The Bible, the collection of books was spoken and/or written by people who probably had no idea they were contributing to a collection assembled by those who preserved and elevated those writings which were later compiled into that anthology.  It is a record of both particular and general experience and inspiration which pulses and vibrates with implications for us today but which is most reliably used when making a deep reading of the texts.   But behind it there has to be a moral purpose which is based in the egalitarian formula found in Leviticus 19:18 which both Hillel and Jesus extended and noted noted was the substance of "the law and the prophets.   Without that as a foundation, without that as the constant guide through the study, the whole thing goes to hell.


Speaking of understanding old texts on a deeper level, I am finding that reading "the bad plays" "Baconically" instead of in the Stratfordian vacuum does, actually, lead to them having meaning which is far clearer. And I'm just at the very beginning of that process.  I will write about applying that to one of the plays later.

If the works would play better that way, I'm not an actor, I don't know.  In following up on this hobby and diversion,  I was interested to hear what the fine actor, Mark Rylance, former artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe, had to say about finding a deeper meaning in the plays by studying Bacon.


And that led me back to the actor and scholar of the issue and the theater, Kier Cutler, has said about more recent developments in the issue.   Long time readers of my blog will note what he says about the entirely fictitious fervently believed in "bio pic" and historical abomination,  "Shakespeare in Love" as tacitly endorsed by the Stratfordian establishment.

I will confess that when I started on this it was just because, reviewing the rotted gauze out of which the "Shakespeare" idol has been constructed, I was amused and fascinated by how the required, mandated belief in it, clearly motivated by the local industry of Shakespeare, inc. in Britain, a lucrative line of nonsense, was so firmly established in official academia and official culture.  Going into it deeper shows that there is a lot more to it than that.  

If the idiots who troll me hadn't let me know how enraged they are by the issue, I'd probably never have written about it more than once.

From Tolstoy On Anarchy and Our Own Antichrist

To use violence is impossible; it would only cause reaction. To join the ranks of the Government is also impossible — one would only become its instrument. One course therefore remains — to fight the Government by means of thought, speech, actions, life, neither yielding to Government nor joining its ranks and thereby increasing its power.

This alone is needed, will certainly be successful.

And this is the will of God, the teaching of Christ. There can be only one permanent revolution — a moral one: the regeneration of the inner man.

How is this revolution to take place? Nobody knows how it will take place in humanity, but every man feels it clearly in himself. And yet in our world everybody thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself.

Leo Tolstoy

I would endorse what Tolstoy said, taking into account that he didn't ever live under a democracy.  He lived under a particularly oppressive dictatorship with defacto, in many cases legal slavery.  If by "democracy" you mean what many do when they use the word, government by the INFORMED consent of The People, without distinction by gender, race, nationality, religion, economic class, etc. on the basis of equality, then no one else had ever lived under it at that point and it's arguable that except in the rarest of cases, no one does today.   Political anarchy is an absurd fantasy which, in real life, would lead to thuggish, crime boss rule as they stepped in to fill the vacuum left by the absence of civil authority.  Christian anarchy, as imagined by Tolstoy, Dorothy Day and many others is an entirely different thing.   As with the unfortunate consequences of using the word "democracy" to denote the modern conception of egalitarian government of, by and for The People, it is unfortunate that the ideas of such saints is called the same thing that the atheist anarchists advocated be achieved by brutal violence which would result in even worse oppression than they opposed.

Twenty years ago I would have breezily assumed that such a government could happen without the religious content that leads to an effective majority believing that the moral obligations leading to egalitarian democracy being the only moral form of government.  Today I am as certain that without that basis democracy in that sense of the word is never going to happen.  And in its absence politics devolves into what we see in the United States and downward into far worse.

The debasement of Christianity of the sort which the American media represents as the real, right way to be Christian, right-wing, Republican, fundamentalist and the wings of both the evangelical movement and Catholicism is on full display in the people who those who follow such "christianity" are voting for.  Ted Cruz, in Iowa, a man whose pubic career is a negation of the Gospel of Jesus in every particular, a man who could make a convincing candidate for acting the role of the anti-Christ out of  the Book of Revelation and Donald Trump who could be declared the whore master of Babylon, a man who has gloried in his use of women to the extent that he declared if he wasn't her father he'd probably be dating his own daughter.  A man who grew rich off of the gambling industry and who is all about screwing unto others as he'd never have them screw unto him.

It is a real problem for real Christians, the extent to which the religion has been debased by the media and political-legal system, the millionaire and now billionaire Republican prostitution of the name and title of Jesus.   It has led to unprecedented discrediting of those who try to follow the teachings of Jesus and the prophets and if that association isn't broken that will only get worse.  And with the actual belief in those teachings will go the only foundation with which egalitarian government will happen.  As the atheist, Marxist Jurgen Habermas said, we don't have anything else with which to feed it today, and the atheists have had centuries in which to come up with that equivalent.  It's because you can't find it in the investigation of the material universe BECAUSE IT ISN'T THERE TO BE FOUND.  It also hasn't been located in other religious traditions though I think there is more of a likelihood of finding it there than in an atheist secularism which would have to abandon materialism and the naive faith in the possibility of natural selection producing them when natural selection is, as Haeckel noted, with Darwin's knowledge and without objection, anti-democratic when applied politically.

*  Haeckel said so explicitly and unmistakably in his ironically named book, Freedom in Science and Teaching, a book which Charles Darwin told Haeckel he had read and which he agreed with, entirely.

Besides, Darwinism, the theory of natural selection—which Virchow aimed at in his denunciation, much more especially than at transformation, the theory of descent—which is often confounded with it—Darwinism, I say, is anything rather than socialist! If this English hypothesis is to be compared to any definite political tendency—as is, no doubt, possible—that tendency can only be aristocratic, certainly not democratic, and least of all socialist. The theory of selection teaches that in human life, as in animal and plant[93] life everywhere, and at all times, only a small and chosen minority can exist and flourish, while the enormous majority starve and perish miserably and more or less prematurely. The germs of every species of animal and plant and the young individuals which spring from them are innumerable, while the number of those fortunate individuals which develop to maturity and actually reach their hardly-won life's goal is out of all proportion trifling. The cruel and merciless struggle for existence which rages throughout all living nature, and in the course of nature must rage, this unceasing and inexorable competition of all living creatures, is an incontestable fact; only the picked minority of the qualified "fittest" is in a position to resist it successfully, while the great majority of the competitors must necessarily perish miserably. We may profoundly lament this tragical state of things, but we can neither controvert it nor alter it. "Many are called but few are chosen." The selection, the picking out of these "chosen ones," is inevitably connected with the arrest and destruction of the remaining majority. Another English naturalist, therefore, designates the kernel of Darwinism very frankly as the "survival of the fittest," as the "victory of the best." At any rate, this principle of selection is nothing less than democratic, on the contrary, it is aristocratic in the strictest sense of the word. If, therefore,[94] Darwinism, logically carried out, has, according to Virchow, "an uncommonly suspicious aspect," this can only be found in the idea that it offers a helping hand to the efforts of the aristocrats. But how the socialism of the day can find any encouragement in these efforts, and how the horrors of the Paris Commune can be traced to them, is to me, I must frankly confess, absolutely incomprehensible.

  Thomas Huxley, Darwin's closest scientific associate wrote the introduction to the English translation during Darwin's lifetime. None of them objected to that rather troubling conclusion.  Anyone who tries to find the foundation of democracy in it either doesn't understand what natural selection means or their conception of democracy is more in line with that of George W. Bush, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump than what any real liberal would mean when they said the word.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Relationship Between Hate Talk and Hate Acts Is Real And Ignored And It Is Those Who Are Attacked Who Pay The Price

The article that the Washington Post reporter Niraj Chokshi wrote about the reported 14% rise in hate groups in the United States last year raises the question of what the right way to define a hate group is.   A lot of it centers around the definition of large right wing, Republican oriented groups, some of them funded by rich people with an interest in their message.

“They paint with a very broad brush and in the process they tend to be sweep up people that are politically conservative,” said Carol Swain, a political science professor at Vanderbilt University who has criticized the organization’s methodology in the past. “I think they do it in a very harmful way and they abuse their power as an organization.”

The group has singled out as extremist Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, James Dobson of Focus on the Family, and Liberty Counsel, the group that recently provided legal defense to Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Swain noted.

“These are individuals that are Christian conservatives—they’re just traditional conservatives—but because of their position on LGBT issues the Southern Poverty Law Center finds ways to malign these individuals or their organizations.”

Washington, D.C., think tank The Center for Security Policy made the list this year for its alleged anti-Muslim rhetoric, a fact that founder Frank Gaffney, Jr., called “outrageous” in an interview last week with Liz Wheeler, of the One America News Network. The SPLC is focused on suppressing speech, he said.

As a member of just one of the minorities targeted by most of those named groups, I don't think there is anything outrageous about calling them hate groups, their message is hate, some if not all of them use hate as an organizing focus and a means of pushing American politics towards the far right.  All of them feed off of reaction to progress in civil rights, the white backlash against civil rights legislation and ruling has been the major tool of political success by the Republican Party for the past fifty years.  Nixon's "Southern Strategy" didn't only work in Southern states which are associated by the media, by history but most of all by the insanity of our anti-democratic Constitutional apparatus for electing presidents.   It has worked in may states, including those as far North as Maine, Idaho and Alaska.   Like some of the segregationist groups, the kind that the original Atticus Finch of Set A Watchman would have felt comfortable belonging to.

There is certainly a strong case to make the argument that in 2016 the Republican Party is the largest hate group with the most influence in the United States, the FOX corporation and its parent company should be considered as well.

I, though, think the "net" used by the SPLC that the radical right are complaining about isn't catching enough of the hate out there.  I'd certainly include groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation,  Center For Inquiry and a myriad of other religious hate groups, some of which aren't really all that different from the more genteel hate groups named above.   I have no problem with the inclusion of "Radical Traditional Catholicism"  in the list of hate groups on this list


The whine of the right, that the Southern Poverty Law Center is all about "suppressing speech" ignores the fact that hate groups start in hate speech, hate speech is directly related to hate in action, both the actions of individuals who react in a range of violence and in organized ways to use the various levels and mechanisms of government to enforce their hatred as law.  Not only in enforcing discrimination under the law but in allowing those who commit violence. The courts have, throughout the history of the country, been a part of that.   The recent legal record of letting the murderers of black people off is no different from what allowed lynch mobs to murder with impunity, it isn't an historical artifact which the movie action figure Daddycus Peck succeeded in defeating with help out of the mouth of babes.  The reaction to the publication of Harper Lee's first version of the story was quite a revelation in what its meaning really has been. 

Hate talk is the origin of hate act and hate organization.  Our 18th century Constitution, written and adopted largely by men who benefited from hatred of Africans, native North Americans, Women and members of minority groups, was certainly not written to discourage the kind of hate which has fueled much, perhaps the most of the history of the United States under their assumptions.  I don't think there is any reason for rational people who oppose the largely successful use of hate speech by the opponents of equality and a decent life for all.  In the case of affluent, comfortable straight, white men, the establishment who have benefited most from the present regime,  the lazy, ahistorical slogans of "free speech" "free press" and which have, seldom, been a real danger to them.   Straight, liberal, white, male politicians about whom most of the media lie campaigns have targeted are rare instances in which such people have lost something through the hate speech which they have been the greatest proponents of.  It's the people who are targeted by the people such politicians lose elections to who have benefited he most from "free speech-free press" who have paid the real price.  The victims of those who are the targets of the wealthy, straight, white men and their women on whose behalf hate talk has worked so very, very well. 

As for the rest of us, those who are the focus of overt hate talk by hate groups, the people who are the more likely targets of the violence that is the result of that hate talk, it's way past time for us to be the chumps of the 18th century slave holding, aristocratic men who wrote the Constitution and the 20th century lawyers who invented free speech absolutism for the media who used it to promote hatred on behalf of  the descendants of those men.  Women, the primary targets of most of that hate, especially in the porn industry and entertainment, certainly should rethink the wisdom of those threadbare slogans which have produced the United States in which someone like Trump, Cruz, McConnell, Ryan. etc. could be running the government and appointing Supreme Court justices who will dispose of any protections we have gained since the adoption of the Bill of Rights, rights which were certainly not included by the originators of those platitudes which enabled slavery, corporate person hood, the crushing of the majority by the elite few, etc.

In 2016, free speech and free press absolutism is the permission which the affluent, straight, white, male establishment of the past has given to the haters, their "more speech" fantasy is the Peyton Manning moon job that they did on the rest of us and we're the ones who get slandered.