Saturday, April 2, 2016

Kenny Dorham - Whistle Stop

Kenny Dorham. trumpet
Hank Mobley, tenor saxophone
Kenny Drew. piano
Paul Chambers, bass
Philly Joe Jones. drums


The Sanders Campaign Is Running On A Cred Deficit And It Is Benefiting From Corruption In The Process

This quote from Paul Krugman's column is appearing in a lot of places this morning.

… Now, as the bumper stickers don’t quite say, stuff happens. But at this point it’s something like a 90 percent probability that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. Anyone denying that arithmetic is basically pulling a con job on Sanders supporters.

So what does that say about appropriate behavior on the part of her rival? Two things, I’d argue.

First, the Sanders campaign needs to stop feeding the right-wing disinformation machine. Engaging in innuendo suggesting, without evidence, that Clinton is corrupt is, at this point, basically campaigning on behalf of the RNC. If Sanders really believes, as he says, that it’s all-important to keep the White House out of Republican hands, he should stop all that – and tell his staff to stop it too.

Second, it’s time for Sanders to engage in some citizenship. The presidency isn’t the only office on the line; down-ballot races for the Senate and even the House are going to be crucial. Clinton has been raising money for other races; Sanders hasn’t, and is still being evasive on whether he will ever do so. Not acceptable….

Sanders doesn’t need to drop out, but he needs to start acting responsibly.

To which I say, A-men a thousand times.  Is it any great wonder that someone with Hillary Clinton's CV - someone who has been a, you know prominent DEMOCRAT for the past three decades and who is running way ahead for the DEMOCRATIC nomination for president is way ahead of a man who WAS NOT A DEMOCRAT until he decided to run for the DEMOCRATIC nomination for president last year?  

And Bernie Sanders has not been supporting candidates down ticket as Hillary Clinton has been, candidates that even a slightly theoretical President Sanders would depend on every step of the way if he were to deliver even one of the things he vaguely floats as an agenda.  

Bernie Sanders' credibility is as an INDEPENDENT Senator from one state with a lot of great ideas and fantastic soundbites and even that great if entirely symbolic filibuster he mounted, his credibility isn't as a natural choice as the DEMOCRATIC nominee for PRESIDENT!  

A good part of his support is from people who aren't Democrats, many of whom hate the Democratic party even more than they seem to the Republicans - I'm especially talking about the delusional folk who still maintain that the Greens are anything but a political and consumer fraud at this point.  

I'm talking even more to the idiots, especially those Sanders supporters I'm hearing on the radio and reading online who are mouthing dark innuendos about his failure to get the DEMOCRATIC nomination because of some kind of inherent corruption.   As I've been pointing out here for a long time now, Bernie Sanders' greatest success has been in exactly that part of the process which is the most corrupt, the most prone to hijacking by a cabal of true believers, open to open coercion BECAUSE IT HAS NO PRIVACY IN THE VOTE,  the caucuses.   At this point Hillary Clinton's support, as Barney Frank pointed out, is in the most democratic part of the process, the primaries, Sanders in the least democratic part of the entire electoral system, the causes.    That differential in their success means that if there is corruption, it's favoring Sanders, at this point. 

I had a lot of respect for Bernie Sanders before he announced this quixotic and fanciful campaign for the presidency, he has used up a lot of that already and it will be entirely gone if this doesn't stop within the next week.  And I do mean that he's going to have to go through the angry tantrum that a lot of his temporary supporters will mount as soon as he's done the only rational thing, asking them to stop doing the RNC's work for them.   If he can't face that inevitable backlash from the silliest of his supporters, he's got even less credibility than he has at present.

Jimmie Noone Apex Club Orchestra - Love Me or Leave Me

Ready For The River - With Earl Hines

Lee Morse - Mood Indigo

I've never read anyone say it but there's a lot in common between Jimmie Noone's playing and Lee Morse's singing.  Wonder if either of them ever said anything about it.

I have readers, many of whom don't always agree with everything I write, he has codependents.  That's all. 

Neighborliness And Courage As Death Blows Against Oligarchic Totalism

Well, you want to know where to find a different set of leaders for the real left I've been talking about.  I don't know so much about "leaders" but this year I'm impressed by the fact that the most radical current voice I can think of is that of a Reformed minister, theologian and great scholar of the Old Testament, Walter Brueggemann.   For his identification of what he calls "the totalism" the all usurping, all controlling, all consuming system which is set up by the elites and which coopt and compromise those it consumes, gulling them to join in their own control and destruction, for his identification of that influence even within himself and his church, even as he, correctly, points out that the only real force against that totalism is in religion he is far more radical than most of the alleged radicalism as found among the official, elite opposition.

That such a powerful voice of radicalism comes from a son of a minister from Tilden, Nebraska, who has largely operated outside of the big, official coastal institutions is not a shock, certainly not if you accept his analysis of what the totalism that oppresses and destroys consists of.  It isn't a surprise that such a powerful, perhaps prophetic voice would not come from them.  Union Theological was only one of the sources of his academic credentials but when you hear what he has said, no merely academic system could have produced his vast and profound thinking on the prophets of the Hebrew people and how much of our condition they not only anticipated but understood.   Listen to what he has to say about the book of Amos in this exchange and consider what he has to say about their understanding that when people break the covenant with God that they will destroy even the natural world.  And that's just as small part of what he has learned from his intensive and serious study of those much maligned texts.

In listening to a number of his lectures, interviews and discussions I've come to the conclusion that you would probably have to listen to any one of them, over and over again to come to a real understanding of what he is talking about, consulting the texts he introduces into his case.  I'll listen to this one more times, knowing that what he said on this one occasion could probably produce a book, certainly many blog posts.  As instructive as that is his practice of what he calls one of the great acts of opposition to the oligarchic totalism, neighborliness.  Some of those he is dicussing this with disagree with some of his point, at one point I would say any sense of comity was in danger but Breuggemann brought it back, pointing out that they agreed on more than the other guy seemed to think.  When you see a scholar of his renown doing what he did at that time, you know he really believes what he is saying.  For the life of me, I couldn't help but think of another Reform tradition minister and his years of prophetically addressing neighborliness to far younger audience, Fred Rogers.  They both have a similar authenticity and sincerity that real belief brings.   There is also a sense of confident humility in it, Breuggemann's confession that he wasn't brave enough to be considered a real prophet at one point only added to that authenticity.


The other day a typical atheist and I got into it at Religion Dispatches, he brought up pretty much the entire range of popular atheist invective against religion, Chritianity being the most fashionable. target he brought that up.   He hauled out the old lie that Nazism is a product of Christianity when it was and is, in fact, a total rejection of and negation of Christianity.

It happened to fall on March, 30,  the feast day of the Blessed Restituta Kafka, a nun who worked as a surgical anesthesiologist in Vienna.  She was an opponent to the Nazis and was arrested after a Nazi doctor informed on her, her great crime was putting crucifixes in the rooms at the hospital - it shouldn't be forgotten that the removal of Christianity from public life was one of the foremost goals of the Nazis, on way to its total destruction.   They also accused her of copying down the words of an anti-Nazi song.  She was beheaded on that day in 1943 by the Nazi version of that French Enlightenment engine of totalistic control, the guillotine.   The vehemently anti-Christian, certainly anti-Jewish atheist and Hitler's second in command, Martin Bormann said that he hoped her dramatic execution would terrorize other Catholics and Christians into submission.  He said that he hoped it would be "effective intimidation". I don't have the slightest doubt that that level of prophetic witness will be exacted by our oligarchic totalists and that it is, in fact, being exacted now.  It will take courage of that kind to oppose them.  Running a show candidate in an election won't signify much, in the long run.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Media Is A Republican Wind Sock

Ah, yes, I can hear it in NPR's reporting, they are trying to turn the Dump Trump movement into a benefit for the eventual Republican nominee, who is certain to be the repulsive Ted Cruz if it isn't the repulsive Donald Trump.   Using one of Trump's few honest statements to sink him, admitting that if abortion is banned in the United States that women who have an abortion, those who perform abortions, those who help women have abortions will all be committing a crime, most likely a serious felony.  That is even more so for more women if Ted Cruz is president and makes his campaign position law than if Donald Trump becomes president.  

The media will try to sell us whoever the Republicans nominate unless they figure they can't get away with doing it.   And they will peddle the putrescent Cruz as easily as they did equally putrescent Republicans of the past.  There is no bottom lower than which they will not eventually settle.  

Poor Lefts Make A Right or So Where Is The Liberal Majority In Congress, Then?

It depends on what you mean by "the left".

But before we get into that, it is an objective fact that "the left" has not been doing it right or we would not be working on our sixth decade of being in the political wilderness after the high tide mark of 1964-65.   If, as we like to believe, our policies are so much better for the large majority of The People, it would have had to have taken some massively stupid mistakes on the part of leftists to have not sold them.  I think the key stupidity was buying into the sucker lines of the free-speech industry which favored our opponents, who just happened to own the largest, most influential organs of the media.  Allowing them the freedom to lie with impunity in 1964, in the name of "free speech" would have been enough to sink the left, but it was hardly the only rope we gave to them to hang us with.   The snobs of academia, regional elites, the entertainment industry, etc. did some of the rest of it but even those two aren't the full story of the hubris that sank the left.   If our basic ideas are so superior to those of our political opponents, benefiting the most people, it would have had to take our own massive folly to have kept it from being enacted.   Perhaps that is to be expected of any left which allows its leadership to be drawn from the academic elite instead of arising from those who are closer to the people whose approval we need to do anything. 

Now, if by "the left" you mean the real left which made of struggling for equality, justice - especially economic justice - preserving the biological basis of life, etc. then the fact that it has been out of any effective power for a half-century means that it's doing most things wrong.   Given that a majority of people in the United States would materially benefit from enacting the program of that left, the fact that we can't get a majority of voters to enthusiastically support it is about as reliable a message as reality can provide that what "the left" has been doing has been all wrong.   

I don't think the real left is wrong in its goals, it has been seriously wrong in its advocacy for some of the worst phony substitutes and pantomimes purported to be "left" which never would have produced anything like those goals - here or in their imaginary foreign paradises - but which discredited the real left. 

In trying to figure out what "the left" as generally discussed has been doing that prevents us from convincing an effective majority of voters to vote for us, a lot of that is the doing of "the left" but most of that left is not the left I talked about in the last paragraph.  It is the pseudo-liberal, libertarian "left" which has produced the policies and proclamations that a. undermine the possibility of defeating corporate oligarchy, things like deregulation of the media, allowing the media to lie with impunity, handing over the culture to pornographers.... b. insult and alienate blue collar people, people in different regions of the country for the gratification of the elites who are, actually, libertarians, not liberals when it comes right down to it.

The real left is the left with the program of traditional American style liberalism which is not the same in ends or in means as the libertarian entity that is sold as "liberalism."   American style liberalism is the liberalism which built up the success that libertarian style "liberalism" squandered.   The part of that done on behalf of white-collar, mostly script scribbling Communists and other such dolts over much of the last century was some of the most effective means of discrediting the real left that, in fact, happened.  You can substitute atheism for that today, as atheism was, actually, what most of them really cared and care about, in the end.  After the fad ends, as I think it already is, that will cost the real left unless it distances itself from it.  Hollywood, show biz, those people have cost the real left entirely more than they ever promised to deliver.  Some of the daffier parts of academia, as well. The real left will not be found or sold through those white collar cul de sacs.  It will have to come from the people who know that the first and foremost thing most people get is when someone insults them and condescends to them and ridicules them.  

Effective leaders of the left will have to understand the apparently shocking and little known fact that you can't get people to vote for and with you while you are insulting them.  That is something that far too much of the would-be leadership of the left can't see in the glare from their self proclaimed brilliance.  

It won't come from people who seek reality in the sciency sounding divination of George Lakoff  OR Steven Pinker or their ilk.  It most certainly won't come from people who believe in memes.   Memes are an invention of academic biological determinism which cannot but destroy real liberalism, in the end.   And they don't exit.

Update:   So, who am I supposed to believe a bunch of blog flies or the Agassiz Professor of Zoology, Professor of Biology, and Professor of Population Science?   

Sociobiology, the evolutionary theory of human nature, is both
determinist and reductionist in common with other aspects of biological
determinist thought. The reductionism of sociobiology lies
in the ontological priority it gives to the individual over society
and over the species as a whole. If people behave in a certain
way, say they are entrepreneurial, it is because each person, individually,
possesses an intrinsic property of entrepreneurship.
Individual entrepreneurs create an entrepreneurial society, not the
other way round. Moreover, the entrepreneurial tendency is coded
in the genes of which we are the ineluctable product. No matter
how hard we try we cannot escape the dictates of our genes. The
extreme determinism of biological human nature theory, together
with its mechanical reduction of social organization to the properties
of the DNA molecules possessed by individual human beings,
is epitomized by Richard Dawkins’ description of people in The
Selfish Gene as “lumbering robots” controlled by their genes “body
and mind.” The political implications of this determinism are that
nothing significant in human society can be changed. So, in specu- 
lating about the future of social relations between the sexes,
E. O. Wilson predicts that “the genetic bias is intense enough to
cause a substantial division of labor even in the most free and most
egalitarian of future societies. . . .Even with identical education and
equal access to all professions, men are likely to continue to play a

disproportionate role in political life, business and sciences.” 

Richard Lewontin: Biological Determinism:  Tanner Lecture on Human Values, 1982

For your information, Richard Dawkins invented memes to plug up one of the many massive holes in his biological determinism in The Selfish Gene.  Other than a few idiots like Daniel Dennett and Susan Blackmore, no one was too impressed with the idea and I don't think Dawkins talked about it much after a while.  He's made a sort of sub-career denying he's said things that he said even as he still says them.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Kenny Dorham - Short Story

Kenny Dorham, trumpet
Allan Botschinsky, flugelhorn.
Tete Montoliu, piano
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, bass
Alex Riel, drums

The internet has made it possible to explore the playing of a lot of the people who played with people who became more famous.  A lot of them were players of the highest ability, there are apparently only so many people who can become widely known but that doesn't mean that a lot of the ones who don't become famous aren't great musicians.

Update:  The Fox 

Kenny Dorham, trumpet
Joe Henderson, saxophone
Tommy Flanagan, piano
Richard Davis. bass
Albert Heath, drums

I've been neglecting music here, so I'll try to make up for that.

Fats Navarro - Nostalgia

Fats Navarro, trumpet
Charlie Rouse, tenor sax
Tadd Dameron, piano
Nelson Boyd, bass
Art Blakey, drums

Tadd Dameron Octet - The Scene Is Clean

Kenny Dorham. trumpet
Henry Coker, trombone
Sahib Shaihab, alto sax
Joe Alexander, tenor sax
Cecil Payne, baritone sax
Tadd Dameron, piano, arranger
John Simmons, bass
Shadow Wilson, drums

Someone Asked Me If I Watched It

No, I have no intention of watching The People vs. O.J. Simpson.  I saw enough of that abomination of a legal food fight two decades ago to never want to see a second of it, ever again. Especially as fictionalized by the bottom feeding media.

The lawyers, the judge, the prosecutors (with only one exception that I recall), the witnesses, the media, especially the media, and, let's not forget the accused with few exceptions made a mockery of the legal system, the rule of law, and everything about it.  The one good thing that came out of it was that it was such a national disgrace that it put a damper, all too temporarily, on the enthusiasm for making the legal system into reality TV.    

Anyone who came out of it with career opportunities was a person who should have been disgraced by it and forced into obscurity, Greta Van Susteren, Nancy Grace, Alan Dershowitz, the lying dirtbag Mark Furman - who, I believe got a guilty man acquitted by trying to frame him - anyone who wants to turn them into another go-round on cabloid TV is serving the American people another helping of their vomit. The O.J. trial provided all the evidence anyone ever needed that cabloid news was a step down from the printed form as found at the check out of supermarkets everywhere. 

About the only people who didn't disgrace themselves were those of the survivors who didn't turn themselves into a media spectacle.  It was such a period of televised degradation that you can't even include all of the survivors in that category. 

"I am told at the end of the movie they say nothing changed, which is nonsense," Quick Post On A Great Interview With Barney Frank

There is a paranoid streak in the Bernie Sanders supporters that is reminiscent of the paranoid streak in the Trump-Cruz supporters.   In reading the comments at one of this weeks several Hillary hatin' posts at Salon, I'm reading the same non-specific, general, dark assertions about the DNC rigging things that I heard at our caucus.  Considering that the people casting those paranoid aspersions believed that it was the person who was running our town caucus who was in on it - he was a Sanders supporter who, as convener of the caucus didn't stand up for either candidate - that shows you how stupid these guys can be. 

As I said before, I hate caucuses because they are inherently anti-democratic, don't have a secret voting process and are open to the most open and blatant of coercive tactics.  They never have the participation that a primary does so they are inherently the same kind of anti-democratic mechanism that, if they were being proposed for the first time, Democrats and, most of all, liberal Democrats would vote against on just that basis.  Yet it is what Bernie Sanders' much touted, though falling short, nomination effort largely depends on.

Barney Frank, in an interview at Slate said pretty much the same things I have.

Isaac Chotiner: What do you make of Bernie Sanders’ success thus far, even if he is likely to come up short in terms of delegates?

Barney Frank: Remember he’s way behind not just in delegates but in votes.

Yeah I know, but still—

It’s ironic that we complain about voter suppression and shortened voting times and then we have so many caucuses. The caucuses are the least democratic political operation in America. They cater to the people who have a lot of time on their hands, and what’s interesting is Sanders is the nominee of the caucuses and Hillary is the nominee of the primaries.

I am disappointed by the voters who say, “OK I’m just going to show you how angry I am!” And I’m particularly unimpressed with people who sat out the Congressional elections of 2010 and 2014 and then are angry at Democrats because we haven’t been able to produce public policies they like. They contributed to the public policy problems and now they are blaming other people for their own failure to vote, and then it’s like, “Oh look at this terrible system,” but it was their voting behavior that brought it about.

So it seems like you’re saying Bernie’s voters have a slightly unrealistic sense about the political process. And that this is driven—

I didn’t say slightly.

Those are all excellent points and they are, in fact, best addressed to the very people who equate paranoid gossip mongering with participation.  I wouldn't put much or perhaps even most of Bernie Sanders' support in that category but a large number of those I've known and whose comments I've read, Frank's comments hit the bulls eye.   Look, I know these guys, I know the type.  Anything that looks like a little bit of work, especially outside of the glamorous context of a presidential election year, and they are no-shows.  They not only don't know how politics really function, they would rather have movie narratives inform them of that than reality.   Frank also addressed that in the interview.

What did you make of The Big Short, by the way?

I didn’t see the movie. I read the book. Why?

It’s good.

Well, I know the situation, I read the book. I am told at the end of the movie they say nothing changed, which is nonsense.

The movie does say something like that. The politics of the movie are actually interesting because it’s more cynical than I think people like you are.

Right, so why would I want to see it?

Well, it’s got good acting and things like that.

I’m not a drama critic. Part of the problem is there is a tendency in the media to demonize politics to the extent that it’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whether with Jon Stewart or House of Cards or The Big Short. It basically tells people, “Everybody stinks, they’re all no good,” and that’s one of the reasons people don’t participate.

I think that part of the argument that people like Sanders would make is that, the financial system is corrupt fundamentally and that we don’t want to merely make it slightly more stable—

Well if that’s the case it’s even dumber than I thought. The financial system is people lending money to other people so they can do things. I do think that he overstates it when he says, “they’re all corrupt.” It’s simply not true. And by the way, when it comes to specifics, the only specific I have heard is Glass-Steagall, which makes very little change in the finance system.

I think he gets a pass from the media. Other than Glass-Steagall, what did he propose in 2009 and 2010 when he was a senator when we were dealing with this? The answer is nothing. Why haven’t you looked at his record?

Well if I ever interview him I’ll ask him that.

The media collectively.

I'd include that "new media" that we were all sold as being such an exciting opportunity to push things to the left, about a dozen years ago.  Frankly, I think the net effect of the new media, in which everyone reads what they want to read and hear what they want to hear, has made things far worse.  The few instances where someone has tried to mount a real news and information operation online it has been everything from "ho-hum" to "that's boorrrrirrng" to "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.....".  It's so much easier to be lazily cynical about it and to snark about it online. 

Read the interview, as always with Barney Frank, you might not agree with everything he says but he's not going to lie to you and he's more likely to know what's real than someone pandering to the audience they want to attract.

As so often, my thanks to RMJ for the link. 

Will Post Later

Maybe someday I will write about what is increasingly becoming obvious, my brother who is living with me is showing signs of dementia, a result of his liver disease which is a result of his alcoholism.  That's what I'm dealing with right now.  That and having to support him because he is apparently too affected to be able to sign up for SSI and I am told I can't do it for him.   The sibling who did have his power of attorney while he was, as we believed, dying in the hospital, can't do that any more because he revoked it when he regained consciousness.  None of us has the resources to have him evaluated for his competence and, though he can't think clearly, he's not far gone enough for the law, apparently.   Between the alleged legal reforms in such things which pretend that people who can't manage their affairs can - the lawyers and judges and law makers who came up with those ideas aren't about to do it without money up front - and the reality of alcohol originating dementia,  this stinks.

And here I thought the last time couldn't be worse.  The cost of alcohol is highest for those left to pick up the pieces.  Tax it at a rate that pays for that.   I read an estimate, that cost comes out to about $2.50 a drink.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Writers Block?

I think I've had writers block, maybe three or four times in the last ten years and it was all due to extreme strain over personal issues that had nothing to do with what I write about. 

I've found that if you've got it, go look at what they are saying at Alternet, Salon, Religion Dispatches, The Nation, etc. and you'll soon run into something that you can write about.  You've got to lose your fear of criticizing people you used to revere.  I'll never forget the day I realized that Katha Pollitt was frequently full of soup - as the polite people in my family say.  

The topic of how, why and what the left got wrong, my chosen theme when I began almost ten years ago, is a never ending topic.  When you go back and read what the would-be lefties we're supposed to revere said and did, it's amazing what a load of crap we were sold about them.  Go look at what the Communists of various denominations were saying, look at what the free-speech industry was saying and still says.  The topic of pseudo-liberalism, pseudo-liberal libertarianism is a never ending source of inspiration.   The history of atheist, would-be leftism is like a catalog of counter-productive assertions and the basic undermining of the moral prerequisite for liberalism to be valid.   Frequently, as in the adoration of Nietzsche by such folk as Emma Goldman,  you find that that left and the farthest of the far right are singing from the same hymnal. 

Worst of all, as the topic of my post yesterday proves, the play-left has learned not a single thing in the past century of massive folly on the left.   It's always topical.  

After that there is the topic of what can be done better, which is pretty much everything.   If you're still blocked from writing about it, you should give up and shut your blog down.  You're probably emotionally unable to look the reality of would-be leftist failure straight on and to risk hurting the feelings of pseudo-lefties who are in great need of having their feelings hurt.  Maybe your problem is you're not the great big lefty you want to pretend you are.  It's hard to pretend to be what you're not. 

If It's Hillary Clinton vs. Trump or Cruz The Reality Is It's A Referendum on Democracy vs. Fascism

Since I'm asked, as stated in a piece right after the Maine caucus that I participated in, the reason I'm saying the Green Party in 2016 is a fraud that should be ended is that I'm hearing a lot of insane talk about people voting for the Green candidate for president instead of the only person who will stand between the world and a President Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.   Now that the Republican establishment has hitched its wagon to Cruz, it's certain to be one of the other of those horrific prospects who are the alternative to the Democratic candidate.

This election is as explicit  a choice between democracy and fascism as we've ever faced and some people on the nominal left really, truly are talking openly of throwing it to the fascists.  If that isn't enough to rouse people to the reality of that danger they are not the people of high principle they love to tell you they are, they are criminally insane.  

2000 has taught a dangerously high number of people nothing, apparently.   The fact that one of our major parties is controlled by fascist lunatics is not seen by them as terrifying a prospect as it should be.  The media express puzzlement - though they seem to be becoming habituated to the idea of us having a fascist strongman in the presidency as soon as January of next year.  They will do what they always do, bow on bended knee to whoever the Republicans put in office, that's what they do.  And it should be clear, now, that a dangerously high part of the mostly white, mostly middle class and above, so-called left is doing the same thing.  Oh, yes, they'll grouse and complain online, junking up comment threads when it's too late but they won't do anything to stop it, now.  They will mount or cheer on show demonstrations that the media will turn to the benefit of the fascists, they'll have learned nothing from the Occupy futility of recent times.

If this isn't stopped at the ballot box it's not going to be stopped by the courts which are dominated by fascists, the fascists who rigged the rules to get us where we are today with the help of peudo-liberal libertarians from the free speech-free press industry.   It was the regime of billionaire purchased liars and lies that has gotten us here as the alleged liberals on courts and in the legal profession enabled that through their slogans a dimwitted and ever dying echo of their heroes from the age of quill pens and late-medieval, hand set type.

This is a real crisis, it's a crisis that has been building steadily since Nixon took office and began to put people like Rehnquist on the Supreme Court.  This is what it looks like when democracy turns to fascism.  It's no time to be playing revolutionaries and voting for play parties which have never elected a single person to a federal office in thirty years of its playing at politics.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft: The Miracle Worker

There aren't a lot of movies that stand up to the test of time as great art but this was one of them.  Patty Duke had the great fortune and, maybe, the misfortune of having her best role when she was a young child.  Katherine Hepburn degraded the art of acting, saying that Shirley Temple could do it when she was four.  I don't think Hepburn in any of her movies rose to the level of acting that Patty Duke achieved in The Miracle Worker, she never displayed that level of ability.   Maybe Duke could not have done it without the partnership of the truly great Anne Bancroft but she did it.  Hepburn and Tracy in all of their movies were nothing to that paring.

What Needs To Be Done Right Now

Someone who has the chance to do it, publicly ask both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders if they will pledge to strongly support the winner of the Democratic nomination in the general election.   

If someone asking Democrats to give them the Democratic nomination won't pledge to abide by the decision of most Democrats and to support their choice then they have no business asking Democrats for their votes.  We need them to say it in public, NOW.  

Bernie Sanders' Supporters Include Some Dangerously Delusional People Some Of Them Rich And Famous

Susan Sarandon is a good actress, I like her acting, her ability to pretend she is what she isn't  But, with what she said to Chris Hayes, I have to conclude that  she is a complete political idiot and crackpot.

The actress and activist has been a powerful surrogate for Sanders on the campaign trail over the past few months, and during an interview with MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes Monday night, she said she doesn’t know if she can bring herself to vote for Clinton if it comes down to it.

“I think, in certain quarters, there’s growing concern that the folks that are into Bernie Sanders have come to despise Hillary Clinton or reject Hillary Clinton and that should she be the nominee, which is as yet undetermined, they will walk away,” Hayes said.

“That’s a legitimate concern,” Sarandon replied. “Because they’re very passionate and principled.”

“But isn’t that crazy?” the host asked. “If you believe in what he believes in?”

“Yeah but she doesn’t,” Sarandon shot back. “She accepted money for all of those people. She doesn’t even want to fight for a $15 minimum wage. So these are people that have not come out before. So why would we think they’re going to come out now for her, you know?”

I will point out that, looking around at the estimated net worth of Sarandon as fifty-million dollars and her husband as sixty-million dollars, it makes you wonder exactly how much they would have their personal life-style impacted by a Trump presidency.  I don't think either of them would be seriously impacted by the end of Obamacare.

What came next is why I say she's exposed herself as an idiot.

“I think Bernie would probably encourage people, because he doesn’t have any ego in this thing,” Sarandon told him. “But I think a lot of people are, ‘Sorry, I just can’t bring myself to [vote for Clinton].’”

“How about you personally?” Hayes asked.

“I don’t know. I’m going to see what happens,” Sarandon said.

That bit of honesty prompted Hayes to stop in his tracks. “Really?” he asked incredulously.

“Really,” Sarandon said, adding that “some people feel that Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately if he gets in, things will really explode.” Asked if she thinks that’s “dangerous,” she replied, “It’s dangerous to think that we can continue the way we are with the militarized police force, with privatized prisons, with the death penalty, with the low minimum wage, threats to women’s rights and think you can’t do something huge to turn that around.”

Ah, yes, that entirely imagined, heroic, theatrical thing, "the revolution" the pipe dream of play leftists since the French Philosophes dreamed up the one they eventually mounted.  What a wonderful thing it was, with a death tole in the millions and the period of violent political instability beginning with the military dictatorship of Napoleon, AFTER THE REIGN OF TERROR.  Not to mention just about every single other change of government by revolution in the history of revolutions, which generally bring at least as bad if not worse government, after massive bloodshed.  Revolutions usually end up in a desperate move to end the carnage, it's generally the strong men who are turned to to do that.

Somehow, I think if her dreamed of revolution came, Sarandon and family would high-tail it out of a country in which it is the fascists who are armed to the friggin' teeth and beyond with high power weapons and with their hands on the controls of the media.  That is if they didn't get gunned down as the free, unregulated press, Rwanda style, was used to tell the fascist militias where people could be found.  That, dear Susan Sarandon, is what a revolution under the ambient conditions in the United States is more likely to be like than you and some others triumphantly singing the Marseillaise like they did in Casablanca.

I think she's been watching way too many movies.

Bernie Sanders, if you want your reputation to survive this election season you'd better do something about such support for you, right now. 
My brother is having a bad week so I'm having a bad week.  I'll try to post later.   Till then.

Monday, March 28, 2016


I have no comment on the death of Mother Angelica, yesterday, except to say that I was not a fan of her cable and radio network.   I certainly didn't agree with her on many if not most things.   She was certainly not as malignant a figure as Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson or, I would argue, Bishop Sheen. Still, there were a number of reasons that even the conservative U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops broke with her

I hope there is a long period before any cause for her canonization is taken up but I would imagine her fans will push it hard. 

Democrats Must Dump The Caucuses Which Are An Especially Bad Way For A Democratic Candidate To Be Nominated

First a disclaimer.   I have a very low opinion of opinion polls.  No, that's too mild.  I hate them, I don't trust them, I don't trust the people who conduct polling and I don't think there's a way to do it to produce a consistently reliable result.  I think most opinion polling is, in fact, done to push an agenda, usually that of the people or groups who pay for the polling.  Polling outfits certainly know that they're unlikely to get lots of business if they consistently tell their customers what they don't want to hear.

Knowing that you won't be surprised that I'm not very impressed with the predictive activities of Five Thirty Eight, the entity that analyzes polls to make predictions about the future.   I won't go into that for this post other than to say that's not all that they do.  Like the weatherman on the radio, their record of analysis of things that have already happened is generally far better than their predictions about the future.

Disclaimer over.

In pointing out some of the downsides of choosing nominees through a caucus instead of a primary, I left out the biggest one, we don't hold caucuses to decide who becomes president, we hold elections. Despite the huge roar of the Bernie or Bust folks over his winning three caucuses this past weekend, their candidate does as well as he's ever going to do in those largely artificial contests which have rules which are nothing like the election the nominee will face in the fall.  Here's part of what the people at Five Thirty Eight say about that.

So why is Sanders doing better in caucuses than primaries? The most obvious answer is that caucuses reward candidates with diehard supporters. There are often speeches, and sometimes multiple rounds of voting at caucuses. Typically, you have to stick around for a while to vote. That takes devotion, and if you’ve ever met a Sanders fan, you’ll know that many would climb over hot coals to vote for him.

Sanders’s strength in caucuses may also be, in part, coincidental. Every state that has held or will hold a Democratic caucus this year has a black population at or below 10 percent of the state’s total population, and black voters have been among Clinton’s strongest demographic groups. Without those black voters, Clinton just can’t match the enthusiasm of Sanders’s backers. (In Southern states, where Clinton romped, her voters were far more enthusiastic than Sanders’s supporters were.)

While enthusiasm isn't a negligible thing, its temporary, interim  results can be deceiving, telling you nothing reliable about what the all important outcome in November will be.   I can well imagine that if Bernie Sanders doesn't get the nomination but does do what I believe he would, endorse Hillary Clinton, that many of those Bernie folk who would "climb over hot coals" for him will turn on a dime and decide he has betrayed them.  A good many of the Bernie Sanders supporters don't, in fact, have the maturity to understand political reality, a lot of them don't seem to understand that the success of Sanders' campaign relies on exactly the artificiality of caucuses or that their results are not a reliable predictor of what will happen in an election in November.  Frankly, a lot of them are immature brats for whom it's all about them.  Bernie or Bust really means "if I don't get my way I'm going to throw a tantrum".  Indeed, you can see Bernie Sanders supporters having such tantrums now, every hour online.

In the fact that all of the states holding a Democratic caucus have a small percentage of Black voters lies an especially telling reason as to why they are an especially bad way for a Democratic candidate to be chosen.   No Democrat can win the presidency without a strong turnout by Black voters, the same is true for other groups but that is most true for that vital part of the Democratic coalition.

I would argue that the caucus system as it is this year, in this election season, minimizes the strength of Black voters.  If the results of election rules in any state led to the weakening of the effectiveness of Black voters in that way, Democrats would, rightly, be using it as an example of voter suppression on grounds of race.  I would bet you anything that Bernie Sanders would vote to overturn such a system on the basis of its results.  

More on why the Sanders victories in caucuses are not necessarily a sign of strength for him in a fall election is shown in this paragraph.  It also contains information on what Hillary Clinton has to do to win.

Sanders has outperformed his targets in 11 states. Just three of those states held primaries (Illinois, Oklahoma and Vermont), and one of those three (Vermont) is Sanders’s home state. The other eight were caucuses. Six of Sanders’s best states by this measure were in the West (all the caucuses this week and Colorado). In fact, Iowa and Nevada are the only caucuses so far in which Clinton beat our delegate targets by more than one delegate, which may have something to do with all the organizing effort the Clinton campaign put into those states.

The Five Thirty Eight article points out that Sanders is running out of caucus states which are likely to break in his favor and the result will be that Hillary Clinton will win the nomination, despite having to use up resources better saved to fight against the Republican war machine in the general election.

I would imagine that someone reading that might bring up the New Hampshire primary but given the habit of New Hampshire voters to support candidates from neighboring states who don't go on to win the election,  Dukakis, Kerry, Romney, that should figure into any analysis of its own peculiarities.  I am sure that the fact that New Hampshire voters have been watching Bernie Sanders on TV (New Hampshire news regularly covers surrounding states) might have had a bit to do with his strength there.  He's a regional hero, of sorts, to Democrats.  I think it had to do with why his strength in the Maine caucus was so big, as well.  It wasn't until I heard a lot of his supporters at my local caucus who said that if he didn't win the nomination that they would do the monumentally stupid thing of voting for Jill Stein that the alarms went off for me.

The election in November is the important one and the winner won't be selected by the absurd and antiquated caucus system.  Democrats should dump caucuses in favor of something which will produce a candidate more likely to win in a totally different kind of process, a democratic election.  Caucuses should be left in the past.

On The Off Hand Chance That This Is Really D. D. And Why Even High And Mighty Physics Guys Need To Read

Neither do I care what people who won't bother to read what I wrote say about the thing that they didn't read.  No matter what degree they hold or what elite prep-school they teach at.   You would think a teacher at one of the elite prep schools would know you can't know what something says before you read it. Apparently that's not considered necessary in his field.   The ballyhoo about teaching STEM subjects has more to do with producing human robots for industry than it does producing thinking, participating, self-governing citizens and humane people. 

Update:  I used to be friendly with him so I figured I owed him a response, if that was him.  That's all. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Urban Myth of Anglo-centrism or Eostre My Ass

Note:  I was going to write a new post about this topic but the one I did last year was pretty good so I'm just going to repeat it.

It comes around every year as certainly as FOX "news" pushing the "war on Christmas" nonsense, the internet babble about how the "Xians" stole Easter from those poor put upon pagans.  I'm reading it all over the place today so I'm posting this now.  Somehow the "reality community"  thinks that the English invented Easter.   The whole thing centers around the derivation of the English name "Easter" by the Anglo Saxon monk, The Venerable Bede in 725.  From The Reckoning of Time:

Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated "Paschal month", and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance.

Apparently that statement is the sole reason that this modern myth arose, no other one, apparently, making that claim.  You wonder why a bunch of "Xian" haters take the word of a Catholic monk for it.   I'm no expert in the minor goddesses of Germanic paganism but the entire issue of Germanic paganism as known in the early 8th century is made moot by the fact that by that time Christians around the Mediterranean had been fighting over the right time to observe the PASCAL TIME for, oh, about 535 years and likely longer. 

 Ecclesiastical history preserves the memory of three distinct phases of the dispute regarding the proper time of observing Easter. It will add to clearness if we in the first place state what is certain regarding the date and the nature of these three categories.

First phase

The first was mainly concerned with the lawfulness of celebrating Easter on a weekday. We read in Eusebius (Church History V.23): "A question of no small importance arose at that time [i.e. the time of Pope Victor, about A.D. 190]. The dioceses of all Asia, as from an older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should always be observed as the feast of the life-giving pasch [epi tes tou soteriou Pascha heortes], contending that the fast ought to end on that day, whatever day of the week it might happen to be. However it was not the custom of the churches in the rest of the world to end it at this point, as they observed the practice, which from Apostolic tradition has prevailed to the present time, of terminating the fast on no other day than on that of the Resurrection of our Saviour. Synods and assemblies of bishops were held on this account, and all with one consent through mutual correspondence drew up an ecclesiastical decree that the mystery of the Resurrection of the Lord should be celebrated on no other day but the Sunday and that we should observe the close of the paschal fast on that day only." These words of the Father of Church History, followed by some extracts which he makes from the controversial letters of the time, tell us almost all that we know concerning the paschal controversy in its first stage. A letter of St. Irenæus is among the extracts just referred to, and this shows that the diversity of practice regarding Easter had existed at least from the time of Pope Sixtus (c. 120). Further, Irenaeus states that St. Polycarp, who like the other Asiatics, kept Easter on the fourteenth day of the moon, whatever day of the week that might be, following therein the tradition which he claimed to have derived from St. John the Apostle, came to Rome c. 150 about this very question, but could not be persuaded by Pope Anicetus to relinquish his Quartodeciman observance. Nevertheless he was not debarred from communion with the Roman Church, and St. Irenæus, while condemning the Quartodeciman practice, nevertheless reproaches Pope Victor (c. 189-99) with having excommunicated the Asiatics too precipitately and with not having followed the moderation of his predecessors. The question thus debated was therefore primarily whether Easter was to be kept on a Sunday, or whether Christians should observe the Holy Day of the Jews, the fourteenth of Nisan, which might occur on any day of the week. Those who kept Easter with the Jews were called Quartodecimans or terountes (observants); but even in the time of Pope Victor this usage hardly extended beyond the churches of Asia Minor. After the pope's strong measures the Quartodecimans seem to have gradually dwindled away. Origen in the "Philosophumena" (VIII, xviii) seems to regard them as a mere handful of wrong-headed nonconformists.

The fact is that in the Greek language the far older name for the feast day is "Paskha" apparently from where the Latin "Pascha" comes from, all of which is taken from the Hebrew word for the Passover "Pesach",  all of which pre-date any interaction that Christians are likely to have had with Germanic rabbit worshipers by a considerable time. 

Let me take a second to point out that anyone who knows anything about the accounts of the execution and Resurrection of Jesus, would know that it was entirely, intimately and from the beginning related to THE PASSOVER, WHICH HAD ALREADY BEEN SET FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL BY THE 1ST CENTURY.

14 This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day you shall hold a solemn assembly, and on the seventh day a solemn assembly; no work shall be done on those days; only what everyone must eat, that alone may be prepared by you. 17 You shall observe the festival of unleavened bread, for on this very day I brought your companies out of the land of Egypt: you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a perpetual ordinance.
Exodus 12:14-17

The Christian holiday has NOTHING to do with German paganism, it would be more accurate to say that pagan practices polluted the Jewish-Christian holiday.

All of the romance languages I know of derive their name for Easter from the same cognates from the Hebrew.  And even a number of  Germanic tongues, such as Danish (Påske), Swedish (Påsk), and even Icelandic (Páskar) who would seem to have missed the Eostre bandwagon. You'd think that the isolated island that preserved the Sagas and, as my old History of English teacher claimed, a closer affinity with Anglo Saxon than modern English does, would have retained it if anyone would have, but it was likely never there to start with. *

If anyone had a legitimate beef to make over the holiday, it would be the Jews and Jesus and everyone named in the accounts of the event, except a few Romans, were Jews, including Jesus. 

But what can you expect, the same people run their own ideological campaigns around Christmas, just like FOX does.

*  Update:  Other than German and English and a few modern descendants of German such as the language of the Pennsylvania Dutch, just about all of the names for Easter in most languages are, clearly, derived from the Hebrew cognate name for the the holiest day of the Christian year.  Some examples, Norwegian (Påske), Scots (Pace),  Welsh (Pasg), and,  Irish Gaelic, (Cáisc) I suspect through a p to hard c consonant shift, though I'm no Irish scholar, much to my shame.  Even the near cousins of English don't share in the "Eostre" stuff showing more affinity in their name for the day to the Hebrew, Flemmish (Poaschn),  Frisian (Peaske).