Saturday, June 4, 2016

Andrew Hill Such It Is

Lee Morgan, trumpet
Bennie Maupin, tenor sax, bass clarinet-(7), flute-(8)
Andrew Hill, piano
Ron Carter, bass
Ben Riley, drums
Lawrence Marshall, Gail Nelson, Lillian Williams, Benjamin Franklin Carter, Hugh Harnell, Joan Johnson, Milt Grayson,La Reine La Mer, Ron Stewart, vocal

Update:  Lift Every Voice 

Woody Shaw, trumpet
Carlos Garnett, tenor sax
Andrew Hill, piano
Richard Davis, bass
Freddie Waits, drums
Lawrence Marshall Vocal Choir:
Lawrence Marshall(cond), La Reine La Mer,
Gail E. Nelson, Joan Johnson, Benjamin Franklin
Carter, Antenett Goodman Ray, Ron Steward, vocal

Nonanalogus Anuses

I am told a bunch of white-collar, white, blog-rat boys who never had to make a living by getting hit in the head are making fun of what I posted this morning.   Obviously they never had what M.A. had to lose in boxing. 

Update:  It must be so much easier and more fun to watch two black men beating each other up if you don't ever stand a chance of having done to you what you're enjoying watching them do to each other.  Especially if you're a certain kind of semi-affluent to affluent white guy who count breaking a fingernail as a major health crisis.  Only lots of even white guys don't enjoy watching that kind of thing. 

An Anal Analogy

Camille Paglia is to intellectualism as Trump's comb-over is to hair.

Boycott Salon Magazine And The Other Assets to the Trump Campaign.

The pseudo-lefty webzine Salon is still going strong on the Hillary Hatin' with multiple screeds out every week.  If you thought that their series of Camille Paglia were as low as they could go, no, they've found levels below that subbasement level of thought.   The ones the past few days featuring dopey guys who came to prominence through that exercise in futile play-leftism Occupy.   They and the con artists of the Green Party are promoting the idea that, somehow, there is going to be a Green alliance between Sanders and Jill Stein, which seems unlikely in the extreme.  I can't imagine there being enough room in one party for two egos that big, though you can apparently stuff an unlimited amount of stupidity and self deception into such an outfit, look at how much of it they can stuff into Salon.  I don't link to Salon anymore.  It deserves to be boycotted.

My last illusions about the lefty media have shattered in their writing about this election. Reviewing the dishonesty, the denial of reality and the refusal to see the extent of the crisis that a Republican win would bring has made me see that they've been peddling destructive slogans that have enabled the worst in our country.  Political campaigns going back to 1968 - more than a century if you include their promotion of various third parties have featured attacks against the most liberal of possibly elected presidential candidates and many of those for other offices.  The excuse is that they weren't ideologically correct or pure enough.  It is one of the benefits of being online that you can look at old copies of old magazines of the left, to say they are a merely mixed bag would minimize the crack pottery that they were full of.  Given how stupid they were, you have to conclude that whatever progress was made was made despite their sometimes support for something like progress - often it was a parody of progress toward equality or justice which was thinly veiled to mostly benefit Marxists.  And it would inevitably be mixed in with such idiocy as to discredit the equality and justice language.  I have come to the conclusion that the net influence of such media in progress was likely far less than they like to claim.

I was sent an example of a blogger who seems to believe he originated the idea of increasing Social Security benefits and other reforms extending the program within the last decade.  Apparently he and his fan base are unaware of such proposals frequently being raised, going back to at least the Truman administration.   Well, we all like to imagine we're more important than we are.  He seems to be luke warm on Hillary Clinton, even now that she's going to be the nominee, the only person who will be standing between the world and President Trump.   I suspect he doesn't want to alienate his Bernie or Buster faction, it might drive down his ad income.
I hate it that someone with the personality and intelligence and character of Muhammad Ali had to become famous though punching other, mostly black men, and being punched by them for the entertainment of, mostly, white men.   I don't have any idea what role that played in the long, progressive illness that robbed him of years of health and the ability to fulfill his potential but I can't imagine it's entirely unrelated.   Boxing is a horrible form of entertainment, one of a number of sports which are promoted by the same media and on air personalities who are, this morning, speaking about his death in such cloying and maudlin phrases. 

May his family and his friends find comfort in who he was and what he dedicated himself to doing with his fame.   May future generations of young people not be attracted to or need to gain fame through boxing and other such destructive sports. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Andrew Hill - Noon Tide

Andrew Hill - piano
Dizzy Reece - trumpet
Joe Farrell - alto flute, English horn, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
Howard Johnson - bass clarinet, tuba
Robert Northern - french horn
Julian Priester - trombone
Ron Carter - bass
Lenny White - drums
Someone has told me if I used an easier means of commenting and didn't moderate comments before they appeared I'd probably have more commentators.  That's true and I wouldn't mind having them but it would also mean what it did when I didn't moderate comments that people would use my blog to lie about other people and insult them when it wasn't earned or productive.  There are a million sites online you can do that with the tacit approval of the owner, this isn't one of them.   I choose to not to have that kind of site. 

Andrew Hill - Siete Ocho

Andrew Hill, piano
Bobby Hutcherson, vibes
Richard Davis, bass
Elvin Jones, drums

This album always sounds so big for such a small group.  To a large extent that's because of Andrew Hill's genius and some of the best players alive when it was made.   I remember a long, couple of days long internet brawl I got into over whether or not Elvin Jones was a greater musician than a banal rock skins basher.  Really, there's no comparison to be made, one was a great musician, a creative genius, the other one was just predictably bashing, mostly in 4/4 time.

I have a number of these albums and, believe me, as good as it might be to hear the MP4s online, the sound on CD is so much better.  The beauty of tone Andrew Hill commanded is an intrinsic part of the experience, you deserve to hear that as close as possible to what it was.

Night Thoughts About American Strong Man Movements And Why A Real Movement Of The Left Won't Be One

I, like so many others this first week in June have had enough with the Bernie Sanders campaign.   What began with a challenge that was certainly destined to be a symbolic campaign to show how many Democrats didn't like the influence of the super rich and super big institutions on our government has turned into an exercise in ego which is risking putting a champion of those things in the White House.

On the way a lot of us have learned some extremely unattractive things about Bernie Sanders, who turns out to have benefited from his relative obscurity as a Senator from one of our smallest states who, as an Independent popular with the residents of his state, didn't inspire the kind of concerted attack from the Republican lie machine  or even an honest exposure of  his record.  Sanders, who has spent the past year attacking the Democratic Party has, actually, benefited most from his accommodation with the Democrats of his own state who have also not gone after him in any concerted way.   What benefits that had in his ability to tell a few truths about the corrupting effect of billionaire cash on government of, by and for The People have, by his own actions, been swamped by his enabling of Trump fascism.

And what you can say about the way in which Vermont Democrats have laid off on some, actually, quite politically damaging aspects of Bernie Sanders public documents and private associations which could have damaged his brand all along you can say about Hillary Clinton's campaign, which has treated the man and his followers with velvet gloves.  Even as they have attacked her in ways not seen since Jerry Falwell was peddling those videos accusing her of murdering Vincent Foster back in the 1990s.

And what you can say about unattractive aspects of Bernie Sanders that his own actions have exposed, you can say about many of his most prominent surrogates and supporters.   Especially those from the worlds of Hollywood and Youtube.   I don't think I'll ever feel the same way about Michael Moore,  Susan Sarandon or Cenk Uygur ever again.   The excuse that the Sanders campaign for his actions, that the Sanders phenomenon is bigger than this one election, that it is going to turn into some kind of lasting movement, is as delusional as the idea that the Greens were going to turn into a real political party that would change American politics forever.

Once Bernie Sanders has finally accepted the reality that he has already lost the nomination, he has blown whatever chance he had to influence future events in the past two months.  He has already failed the test of leadership, he is not made of the right kind of stuff to be a leader, anyone who reaches the age of 74 almost certainly would  have already had to demonstrate that before now for it to really be there.   He has shown that he doesn't intend to do what Hillary Clinton did in 2008, graciously accept the will of the voters, work to avert catastrophe, other than making vague allusions to it not being a good idea.

Just as McCain-Palin was a guaranteed catastrophe averted in 2008, Trump-whoever is an even better guarantee of one being risked in June 2016.   June is not the month for the man who has already lost the chance to be the only thing between the country, the world and Donald Trump to be talking the way that Bernie Sanders is talking, acting the way he's acting.   I agree with what Southern Beale and Stephen Stromberg said at the links above.  Bernie Sanders has, all by himself, by his own choices, destroyed any chance of such a movement forming around him and his campaign.   It will evaporate by the end of fall, certainly if his spoiler campaign puts Trump in office.  There will be no faith in the judgement of his supporters if that happens again so soon after the Bush II years, they will have further discredited movements of the left.

I think, sadly, tragically, his own personality gives testimony as to why the idea of a movement of the democratic left forming from the top down, around a single charismatic figure is entirely wrong-headed.  A truly democratic left movement would have to come from leaders who know that their ideas, their own theories, their own persona are not supreme, not even in a movement, never mind the country.   Apparently what so many had to learn in the 1930s from such phenomena as the Huey Long movement is unlearned by those caught up in the Sanders phenomenon,  a point which, by the way was, was noted by others long before I thought of that comparison.

"It had happened. The people had endorsed my plan for the redistribution of wealth and I was President of the United States."

That's what Bernie Sanders might be saying in January of 2017, right?

We can't see the future. But we do know it's definitely how Huey Long began his 1935 fantasy memoir, "My First Days in the White House."

Here's Long later in the first chapter: "I promise life to the guaranties of our immortal document, the Declaration of Independence, which has decreed that all shall be born equal, and by this I mean that children shall not come into this life burdened with debt, but on the contrary, shall inherit the right to life, liberty and such education and training as qualifies them and equips them to take their proper rank in the pursuance of the occupation and vocation wherein they are worth most to themselves and to this country. And now I must be about my work."

The senator from Louisiana then goes on to announce his cabinet, which includes former President Herbert Hoover as secretary of Commerce and newly defeated former President Franklin D. Roosevelt as Secretary of the Navy.

Only I can't see Bernie Sanders reaching out to his former opponents in that way, or even claiming that he would, that would require a humility I see no signs of in him.  Not now, not after seeing him fully exposed on a national stage with all of the cameras and the mass events.   We were lucky that we never had to face the prospect of finding out if Long would would make good on his potential for despotism.   I would never have thought, as late as the end of March, that such a comparison could be made to Sanders.  Now I can see it all too well.  Not that the comparison is that good a fit.  Douglas Perry in the Oregonian goes on to diminish the comparison, pointing out that Sanders is a far weaker political character than the charismatic Huey Long.  Long had the real potential to become an American strong-man, a domestic version of Mussolini.  Sanders, by his own actions this spring has shown that he's merely willing to put one in office out of personal spite and vanity.  And I don't think putting it any less strongly than that is honest.   Some of his supporters have said that they think it would be a good idea.  Apparently Susan Sarandon has learned nothing from her activism or playing some of the roles she's played,  Michael Moore has learned nothing from making the movies he has and Cenk Uygur has learned nothing from his career in media.  Maybe they should read All The Kings Men as a refresher of what they could be wishing on the country.

The now repellent Jeff Weaver, Sanders' long time office and now campaign manager will go back to his comic book store.  I think that is a fitting symbol of what the campaign he has managed became as it developed. Super heros and villains, both grotesquely exaggerated, inked and filled in with garish colors not found in nature.  If we are extremely unlucky it will have turned out that Sanders should never have called him out of his natural milieu to manage this campaign which turns out to be more damaging to the left than building its credibility.  There was still time to salvage that in March, that chance passed, not taken.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Andrew Hill - Refuge

Andrew Hill, piano
Richard Davis, bass
Anthony Williams, drums
Eric Dolphy, flute, alto aaxophone, bass clarinet
Kenny Dorham, trumpet
Joe Henderson, tenor saxophone

"Which In The End Is The Same Thing"

I have to admit that I haven't read the fine scholar of anti-fascism David Neiwert  for quite a while,   Which is my loss.  He's one of the best.   While there are people who have supported and do still support Bernie Sanders who I respect and consider friends, I agree with what he said on Facebook about those who won't vote for Hillary Clinton out of alleged leftist principle.

David Neiwert

May 31 at 9:23am

Friends may have noticed that I have become very cranky of late on the subject of voting for Hillary Clinton in the general election. Put into simple terms: If you are a ‪#‎NeverHillary‬ voter -- or a Trump voter, which in the end is the same thing -- just unfriend me now. You are not a friend of mine.

I have spent the past 14 years trying to warn the public about the proto-fascist threat coming down the road at us through the auspices of the increasingly radicalized conservative movement and its official organ, the Republican Party. I've even published two books describing this threat -- five and six years before it actually emerged.

During that time, I've received fair amounts of praise from my fellow progressives for the work I've done exposing these trends, and lots of pats on the head. But what I've noticed is that many progressives are only interested in using this information as a hammer for bashing conservatives with, rather than taking seriously the underlying issues it exposes, particularly the progressive abandonment of rural areas. And I know that, when I'm not around, a lot of these progressives have been happy to characterize me as an alarmist.

Well, now those trends have all come home to roost, and that "alarmism" has proven precisely accurate. The warnings have come true in no small part not just because conservatives drove their bus over the cliff, but because many progressives -- especially those in institutional progressive organizations -- did not take them seriously either, and took few steps to address the underlying dynamic. And this is especially true of the leftist ideologues who seem to think that all you have to do is magically elect a progressive president and everything will be better, because their failures to keep the ball rolling in between presidential elections led to the rise of the Tea Party and the enshrinement of the radicalization of the American right.

And now these same, clueless progressives are insisting that -- even with the steam train of extremist right-wing populism, the historical foundation of all fascist movements, heading straight towards them in the form of the Trump candidacy -- their Purity of Essence will keep them from ever voting for the last remaining politician capable of keeping him from attaining the presidency.

Look, I support the Sanders campaign's desire to take their movement into the convention, since I support most components of their agenda (though not all). I think progressives need to push the Clinton camp leftward -- not just now, but after the election too. You'll not hear me disparage the Sanders campaign and its 

But if you can't understand that a Donald Trump presidency would be an extinction-level event for American democracy -- and especially if you are so fanatically blinkered that you think that Clinton and Trump are actually comparable or similar -- then you have neither paid any attention to the matters that I've spent the past 14 years focused on, and/or you simply have no respect for it. You are, on a very deep level, no friend of mine.

So you can just go hit that "Unfriend" button now. Because if you don't, I will get around to it eventually.

Yes, Donald Trump Could Win the Presidency

The truth of this election is that nobody really knows much of anything about how it’s going to go.


385 Likes29 Comments228 Shares


It says "share" so I am sharing it. 

Doris Day - Fools Rush In

Doris Day
Andre Previn, piano

For once the verse is sung.  I feel cheated when they don't sing the verse and go right to the chorus. Especially when the lyrics are this good.   Doris Day was a pretty good singer.   Too bad she turned to acting.   Oscar Levant is reputed to have said, " I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin."

The American Media Is The Source Of Its Insanity With The Permission of The Legal Establishment: It Rotted From The Top Down

I can't think of a single thing that would be better this year for it to turn into a total 1972 style disaster for Republicans.   Though the idea that we could keep the red states on the election day map down to two is unlikely, it could be, effectively, like that.  But only if Democrats and others turn it into one. And nothing that would be more likely, in a country thinking clearly and with a strong sense of morality.  McGovern, entirely better than Richard Nixon had to face down not only the criminal Nixon administration and its Republican Party but the national media which was solidly promoting Nixon and presenting one of the most competent and decent men to run for the Presidency as a cartoon.  Well the Republicans are running an actual cartoon,  The Joker, or whatever other comic book embodiment of evil you care to compare Donald Trump to.  And with the definitive difference that a President Donald Trump won't keep his evil relegated to lurid ink pictures on cheap paper.   Not that the news media will notice that.  It will be too busy pushing Republican lies against Hillary Clinton as "balanced presentation".   Jake Tapper of CNN did exactly that in pushing the Breitbart production of election year lies about Hillary Clinton to "balance" the Trump-U scandal which is being proven in court.

That Libertarian Convention coverage on C-Span is emblematic of the degeneracy of the American media and, since American media consumes the majority of conscious hours of the American people, the culture and society of America.   We are truly living in a country which is in danger of being ruled by pathologically childish people and the media is not doing what any responsible media would be doing, working with all its might to present the information that would prevent that from happening.  The media, from the highest venues of print media, far left to center-right, have been "balancing" us into a Felliniesque nightmare.   No, make that one that will mix the nightmare scenarios of fascist Italy with American Psycho and, in time, something that Leni Riefenstahl would have filmed with detached, classic camera angles and editing, only no one will bother making a Trump fascist junta look any better than American TV.

American fascism is a product of Ivy League level legal and media theory and the very real corporate media which would figure they could do business with a President Trump.  They have been doing business with him for decades now, if they hadn't he would be an obscure and corrupt real estate millionaire instead of someone in danger of being a fascist strong-man in the Oval Office.   The Trump fascist government will be the result of giving him a "reality" TV show.  That kind of "reality" is what they are all about, entertainment and the infotainment division that calls itself "news".

The Bible says that you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.  Well, that's true but no more true that a country fed on lies will not be able to be free and our media, the content provider of what we've got to think about public affairs with has been selling the American people lies since the Supreme Court gave them a license to in 1964.  It's a miracle that we haven't all lost our minds long before now.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Andrew Hill on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

For more information and enjoyment, the interview and the playing are great.  Here's the show from 2005

Andrew Hill - New Monastery

Andrew Hill, piano
Eric Dolphy, alto saxophone, flute, bass clarinet
Joe Henderson, tenor saxophone
Kenny Dorham, trumpet,
Richard Davis, bass
Tony Williams, drums

When Boys Rule The World

If you watch Samantha Bee - I do so strictly through Youtube - you might have seen the segment where she sent her friend Alana to a Vape convention, where the small-time peddlers of smokeless tobacco meet to promote their products, promote their common interests but, it would seem mostly to boy-bond with others of their type and the few gals on the bus with the boys.

I bring that up because after reading this account of the recent Libertarian Party convention it is close to an audio-visual of what it might have been like.  Only, I have a feeling the boys of Vape world are the older brothers of the Libertarians.

Just a couple of excerpts.

- It was just a couple of hours before the Libertarian Party’s final presidential debate. C-SPAN cameras were firing up; delegates were filing in. But one debate participant was still on the dance floor adjacent to the convention hall, swaying to techno music with a goblet of beer sloshing in his hand. John McAfee, founder of the eponymous anti-virus software company and a major candidate in the Libertarian race, had apparently eschewed traditional debate prep. Instead he was rocking out, pausing only to deep-tongue-kiss his wife—for what seemed an awkward and unnecessarily prolonged span of time—as his mesmerized constituents grew increasingly disquieted.

A young man in shorts and combat boots, spotting a break in the frenching, scrambled up to McAfee to shake the candidate’s hand and shout, “You’re awesome!” When I pulled this guy aside and asked why he favored McAfee, he began, “My main concern is interstate commerce legislation,” launching a runon sentence that somehow ended, after several minutes and some really surprising detours, with an avowal that “humans will be displaced by A.I. the same way we displaced the whales and the rhinoceroses, and so it’s important to remember that bigotry is better than slavery.” As he reached his conclusion, a woman suddenly towered over us on stilts, wearing 12-foot-wide strap-on butterfly wings and waving a McAfee campaign sign to the beat.

-- Consider: McAfee—who fled his own Central American residential compound while under suspicion by the Belizean government for the murder of his neighbor; who openly admits that said compound featured a harem of teenage Belizean sex workers; who likes to talk about the time a 16-year-old Belizean prostitute tried to shoot him in the head at point blank range; who bounced around the hotel halls wearing a three-piece suit and a pair of Nikes like some kind of Mad Hatter on meth—had regularly polled in third place for the nomination in the lead-up to the convention and even seemed to have a puncher’s chance to win. Further consider: He was barely the weirdest candidate on the scene.

Polling second coming into the convention, just ahead of McAfee, was a guy named Austin Petersen. Petersen’s 35 and looks 14, but question if he’s seasoned enough and he’ll yelp, “Tell that to the Marquis de Lafayette.” His go-to applause line: “I want gay couples to defend their marijuana fields with fully automatic weapons.” Polling fourth, one slot behind McAfee, was a fellow named Darryl W. Perry, who accepts campaign donations only in the form of precious metals and cryptocurrency and who opted to have his nominating speech delivered by an “erotic services provider” who goes by the moniker “Starchild.” Perry’s most animated moment in the debate came when he slammed his fist against his lectern, forehead veins a-popping, as he insisted that 5-year-old children should have the legal right to inject heroin without adult supervision.

And those were the adults in the room, apparently.  So, do go read the article and remember this the next time some total idiot in the media presents the Libertarians as a serious party deserving anything except to have their automatic weapons taken from them and being put into custodial care before they hurt themselves or someone else.

This is the ideal that commercial pop culture has promoted, the world in which spoiled, 12-year-old boys with a life long hormone rush embody the dystopian vision of Matthew Arnold on Dover Beach. Really.  Look at the Vape video for a milder version of that world, it will put you off the kew-el faster than the obese libertarian who addressed the convention in a thong.

 He was a candidate, too.  I'm sure Gary Johnson and Bill Weld must be proud of the people who chose them as the torch bearer of this crowd.  Notice the Iron Cross tat.  Kew-el, no?  I doubt he gets the irony of a libertarian bearing a symbol of German military-authoritarian rule, my guess is he saw it in a biker movie and thought it was kew-el.

His Campaign This Year Has Over Exposed Bernie Sanders' Limits As He Lets His Most Responsible Supporters Down

Bernie Sanders served a really important function as both a member of the House of Representatives and as a Senator, as a gadfly and a, well, frankly, a scold.    No one with both a rational mind and a moral sense thinks that the members of Congress and the Executive aren't in great need of constant prodding to do what's right.  Bernie Sanders played a valuable if not nearly effective enough role doing that but that isn't what's needed now as he is clearly facing the fact that he is not going to be the Democratic nominee for president.  I think it's clear he has no idea how to do what he needs to do now, now it's time for people to scold him in another direction.

Yesterday he was asked what he's going to do about his supporters who declare they will vote for Donald Trump.  His answer was appalling, considering it was the end of May in an election year.

Sanders was asked what his message would be to his supporters who say they’d rather vote for Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, than Hillary Clinton, who is by far the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

“Wrong question,” Sanders replied. “It’s not, ‘What is my message to them?’ It’s not my job to think that I can reach out and say to millions, ‘Do what I want you to do.’ That’s not the way it works. The question that should be asked is, ‘Why?’ … How come you have millions of people who are prepared to vote for him and not Hillary Clinton? Why is that?

Considering the role he's played, especially since the end of March in distorting Hillary Clinton's record - not that far from his when they were in the Senate together, the best period of making a comparison - that's a totally inadequate response from Bernie Sanders, newly self-minted Democrat and career politician.  IT IS HIS JOB TO LEAD HIS SUPPORTERS WHO HE BELIEVED AS OF YESTERDAY HE COULD TELL WHAT TO DO WHEN HE WANTED THEM TO VOTE FOR HIM.

And there is a good reason he should take the bother to do that, the best of reasons.  Because just as you can compare the record of Senator Hillary Clinton to Senator Bernie Sanders'  you can compare the intentions of Candidate Clinton to Candidate Trump and the Democratic Party to the Republican Party AND THE FEW PERCENTAGE POINTS OF DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SANDERS AND CLINTON TURNS INTO A CHASM BETWEEN CLINTON AND TRUMP, WHICH MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

Sanders gave half of that case he should have made yesterday, pointing out how dangerous Donald Trump is without being able to bring himself to point out that just as Trump is a disaster, Hillary Clinton is not.

“I think Trump is incredibly irresponsible and an incredibly dangerous person,” the Vermont senator and Democratic presidential hopeful told Rolling Stone earlier this month in an interview in Oregon. “A man who is primarily a showman and an opportunist and an egomaniac. A man who has already significantly damaged this country with his attacks on Mexicans and Muslims and women and veterans and African-Americans and so forth. Very dangerous man.”

Bernie Sanders and his campaign, his campaign staff, Weaver, Devine, Biggs, his surrogates Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Michael Moore, Cenk Uygur, etc. are the ones who demonized Hillary Clinton, reinforcing decades old Republican talking points and cabloid smears.  It's no wonder the people in their late teens and early 20s bought the Sanders tactic of doing that because they grew up on it, hearing it coming out of the TV from the time they were on baby bottles.   For Sanders to now say it isn't his role to point out the decisive difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump which makes it an insane idea to vote for Trump because Sanders won't be on the ballot is grotesquely irresponsible and epically childish.    If his ego can't lead him to do what every other grown-up rival for the Democratic nomination has done before, some of them clearly better candidates than the one who got the nomination,  Mo Udall, Tom Harkin, Howard Dean, Shirley Chisholm,  he was never presidential material to start with.  Most Senators aren't.

When the country is in as much trouble as it is, when it is likely that Donald Trump could become president, that's not the time to inflate and play up things you don't like about the only person who stands between us and a Trump presidency.   No politician, including Bernie Sanders is running for canonization as a saint, they are running as a flawed individual who is asking for a job that will include massive and serious moral compromises because that is the nature of worldly government. The fantasy that human governments are ever going to be anything but is why the left has lost constantly in demanding what would have to be a kingdom not of this world.  Considering how many of those are atheists, all they prove is that Jesus and his followers who wrote down what he said had a more realistic grasp of that than they do.

I wouldn't have believed as recently as this March that Bernie Sanders would have fallen so low in my regard as he has in the past two months.  I went to my caucus prepared to stand up for him or Hillary Clinton, as I've mentioned it was hearing many of his supporters talking among themselves which led me to not do that, I didn't want to lend my support to encourage the kind of insanely irresponsible thinking of some of them.   I knew that many, almost certainly most of his supporters weren't that irrational but the ones who are are the Bernie or Busters, the ones who believe a Trump presidency would be better than that of Hillary Clinton are the very definition of why the left can't do a single positive thing in politics these days.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Andrew Hill - Not So

While looking for the less often played music of the great Thelonious Monk I was thinking that, undisputed and indisputable genius though he was, he got so much more play than another player and even more varied composer, as great if not greater, Andrew Hill.   I went looking and found that there was only one book of his music published and it, apparently,  wasn't even published during his lifetime but was a posthumous production.  I'd post a link but I haven't ordered it yet.  Hill had a far longer, far more active career and one not tragically hindered by the terribly debilitating and as far as I can gather unspecified illness that hampered T. Monk's production.  Yet Andrew Hill is relatively obscure.   So I'm going back to focusing on him for the whole month of June.

Andrew Hill was as great as any of them.   His music is, today.

Now This Is Publicity You Probably Can't Buy

North Korea Praises "Wise Politician" Donald Trump

State media hopes American voters will reject "dull Hillary."

So, a fat young dictator has a yen for a fat old prospective dictator.   I knew the dad bod fad would lead to tears. 

Hate Mail

While I don't have time to write the whole argument out this morning, the short form is that the left that performs as an effort to make the old commies of New York City, Chicago and other Northern Mid-Western cities, as well as a few on the West Coast  feel like they were fighting the good fight instead of being self-indulgent, foreign dictator duped numskulls who turned off the majority of even the very people they claimed to champion, is not going to go anywhere or do anything except waste more time.  

That is what a good part of the energy, resources and time spent on nostalgia of the left is based in. The anarchists, the Wobblies, the various Communist and their feudin' and fussin' cousins, the memory of deluded and stupid third-parties and their absurd presidential candidates,  all of those defrauded a lot of naively idealistic people who might have meant well but were a burden to the real left.  

And the nostalgia buffs of the left want us to waste our efforts on that fraudulent mythology, even now.   If you don't learn to avoid the disasters of the past as you are taught to revere and emulate them, you are never going to do what the left exists to do. Anyone who finds that offensive can soak their heads, it's ever so much more offensive to waste any more decades on that kind of self-indulgence when there is a real catastrophe to avoid, real lives at risk.  

Monday, May 30, 2016

Thelonious Monk - Hornin' In

Kenny Dorham, trumpet
Lou Donaldson, alto sax
Lucky Thompson. tenor sax
Thelonious Monk,  piano
Nelson Boyd, bass
Max Roach, drums

Let's Cool One 

Clark Terry, flugelhorn
Thelonious Monk, piano
Sam Jones, bass
Philly Joe Jones, drums

How Has The Sanders Campaign Devolved Into Something Reminiscent of Jim Crow Vote Suppression?

Bernie Sanders' latest tergiversations and downright sleazy strategy to game the Democratic convention in his favor is blatantly anti-democratic as well as anti-Democratic.  His alleged strength in the process has been based on his strong showing in the voter-suppressing caucuses, the extent to which that is true is embedded in these paragraphs comparing the caucuses and primaries at Fivethirtyeight.

Counting only caucuses, Sanders has won 63 percent of the vote, 64 percent of the delegates and 11 of the 16 contests. In doing so, he has earned 341 elected delegates, compared with Clinton’s 195 delegates, for a margin of 146 delegates. These caucuses have had approximately1 1.1 million participants. As a point of comparison, turnout in the caucuses has been only about 13 percent of the total number of votes President Obama got in the 2012 presidential election in these states.2

Sanders has done far worse in the states that have held primaries. Counting just primaries, including Tuesday’s in Washington,3 Sanders has won only 42 percent of the vote, 42 percent of delegates and 10 of the 34 statewide contests.4 Clinton earned 1,576 elected delegates, compared with Sanders’s 1,158, for a margin of 418. The turnout in these contests has been far higher than in the caucuses, with a little more than 24 million votes cast. That’s about 49 percent of the total number of votes Obama got in the 2012 election in these states.

The figure of 1.1 million voters in caucus states as compared to more than 24 million voters in primary states is rather breathtaking.  If this nomination process were an election system in a Mississippi or Alabama under the Voting Rights Act, the use of voter suppressing caucuses would have once constituted a reason for an injunction to be filed, but it is still the basis of the alleged champion of democracy, Sanders, demanding that super delegates in those states with caucuses give him their vote.  Considering the tiny numbers of those participating in the caucuses he doesn't have any kind of case that his results were representative sample of the voters as a whole.

That is shown by the results in Washington state where its wacky system of having a binding caucus and a non-binding primary runs as perfect an experiment as could be designed demonstrating that.   From the same article at Fivethirtyeight.

Whether [Shaun] King intended it or not, he implied that caucuses — which often require hours of participation and mean lower turnout — are representative of what would happen if a larger electorate had its say. Well, a funny thing happened in Washington on Tuesday: The state held a mail-in, beauty-contest primary — so voting was easy, but no delegates were at stake. (The Associated Press has declared Hillary Clinton the winner.) The results are still being finalized, but Clinton leads by about 6 percentage points with more than 700,000 votes counted. Sanders won the Washington caucuses, which had 230,000 participants, by 46 percentage points.

So, turnout was much higher in the Washington primary than in the caucuses, and Clinton did much better. Something similar happened in Nebraska, where Clinton lost the early March caucuses by 14 percentage points and won the early May primary, in which no delegates were awarded, by 7 points.

In short, when the number of votes cast for the same candidates in the same state was more than twice as large, Clinton easily won over Sanders.   It would be good to have more examples because I can't think of a better reason to get rid of the caucuses because they suppress votes and have a good chance of producing a less acceptable candidate for the party nomination.

Shaun King is a crack pot and a horses ass but I'm afraid he's typical of those who are sticking with Bernie Sanders to the bitter end and beyond.  No fact is going to alter their fantasy and their paranoid wishful thinking.   If anything the fact that Sanders, the candidate of the self-defined left, is the one who has had to rely on the most anti-democratic feature of the process, the caucuses.  Given this a good argument could be made that the super delegates who pledged to Clinton from those states are expressing the wishes of those who were unable to participate in the anti-democratic caucuses.   They certainly seem to be more typical of Democratic voters, in general, when the system facilitates the casting of votes.  Even one of the most insanely irrational Bernie or Busters I know of online loves to brag about how the by-mail vote in Washington State elections results in far higher votes than in states where that is made harder.  There are few states with a process more blatantly vote-suppressing than a caucus,  I doubt any which tried one would even be able to get it through the Roberts court, the voter suppression of it is so blatant.

I, for the life of me, can't believe that Bernie Sanders is doing what he's doing and saying what he's saying because it is at odds with his whole career in politics and the claimed aspirations of his supporters of whom I was recently one. 

That Bernie Sanders is grasping onto that rotted strand of argument is certainly counterproductive of any good intentions he might have.  It discredits him and it discredits any supposed movement he can salvage out of his support.   I don't think that movement will be led by any politician or any big name lefty.  That model has been a failure since before Eugene McCarthy so notably didn't produce anything enduring.   I would recommend you go back to this morning's lecture and listen to what Walter Brueggemann says about the difference between social justice coming from the top down and the bottom up.  I think the Sanders supporters are a good example of top down in the same way that the elite faction exiled to Babylon as compared to the bottom which were left in Jerusalem.   I think that people who understand that context because they take such information seriously are far more likely to be the source of an enduring struggle with a chance to make lasting change than the whiter, more credentialed Bernie Sanders supporters.

Thanks To Kevin Drum for Pointing This Out From the Oxford English Dictionary

Walter Brueggemann - Memory As Temptation To Nostalgia

This might not be the most welcome message on Memorial Day but it is the most important one. Especially the identification of military veterans as the personification of national identity and the consequent worship of the military and what it does.  Brueggemann extends that to the entire program of corporate-state oppression and destruction of people elsewhere and here.  What he says in this lecture is as radical, if not more radical than the statements of Malcolm X which got him kicked out of the Nation of Islam.

Later I will point out the dangers of nostalgia, which is especially dangerous for the left in the United States and elsewhere.  This year might be the year that has finally killed off any belief I had in the effectiveness of the secular left, their methods and even their goals.  Where those overlap with the actual struggle for equality and justice, even economic justice, I don't have any faith that the secular-atheist left will do anything but damage the possibility of achieving those.  I think the Sanders campaign is just the latest manifestation of that.  Even Bernie Sanders has pointed out that Pope Francis is more radical than he is.  I would say that is true not only in theory but in fact.  The Catholic Near East Welfare Association, the Catholic Relief Services and other Papal agencies have done more to make real peoples' real lives better than the entire secular left here.  And the radicalism of Brueggemann, James Cone, Marilynne Robinson and many others who you are unlikely to see championed in The Nation or Mother Jones as the foremost leftists of our time who are to the left of Pope Francis'.

Update:  When the camera pulls back during the question period, look at that audience that heard this incredibly radical lecture, took it seriously, took it as true and wanted to know how to apply it in life, here, now and without the permission of some revolutionary party.  Think about that the next time you hear some atheist snarking about "church ladies". 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Memorial Day 2016: Reading Gravestones At The Cemetery

The last person in town who knew someone who died in the Civil war was 104 when she died.  She never married.  There are no flowers on her grave fifty-four years later.  

Love Me Or Leave Me - Heather Masse - 5/28/2016

Heather Masse and the Night Hawks from A Prairie Home Companion last night.  I don't think I've ever heard anyone sing the verse before.  And it was a pretty good performance.   I'm going to miss Garrison Keillor when he retires.  Hope he has a long and happy one.

The Past Is Quite Unpredictable

I began this year thinking I was going to devote a lot of time to reading, thinking about and discussing Reinhold Niebuhr but have spent most of it with Walter Brueggemann instead.   One of the revelations of listening to his amazing knowledge of the  Hebrew scriptures and his even more amazing resultant insights into their meaning is how inadequate even an informed but surface reading of them is.  A second thing is the extent to which you can't understand the Christian scriptures without a constant reference to the Jewish scriptures.  A third thing is how, as you go deeper into the entire Bible, you discover an ever deepening radical liberalism, the very opposite of what most propaganda about it asserts it to be.  I've pointed out a number of times that even the most arch conservative of recent popes, JP II and Benedict XVI among them, are truly radical in their economics and social positions - excepting, of course, whenever sexuality and reproduction are part of it.  I think that any inclination among those popes toward conservatism is thwarted by their need to take the scriptures seriously.  Most of the awful things that popes have done have had to be done in violation of the scriptures because they are uniformly forbidden by them.

Here is a lecture Walter Brueggemann gave a little more than a year ago, brimming with a radicalism that no atheist radical I've ever read or heard can begin to approach.  Memory as Temptation To Amnesia.

Bernie Pulls The Rug Out From Under His Most Ardent Fans and Campaign Managers. Will They Notice?

The Sanders campaign, the official one and the totally off the wall online, social media, campaign, has been running on the fumes of claiming that everything that doesn't favor Sanders is absolute proof that the Democratic process is "rigged."  That has become common non-knowledge to the extent that it was what Donald Trump said in his second withdrawal of a debate op to sanders.  When Bernie Sanders was asked about that by CBS's John Dickerson, he, Bernie Sanders, said that the process was not rigged.

"What has upset me, and what I think is -- I wouldn't use the word 'rigged' because we knew what the rules were -- but what is really dumb, is that you have closed primaries, like in New York State, where three million people who were Democrats or Republicans could not participate," Sanders added. "You have a situation where over 400 super delegates came on board Clinton's campaign before anybody else was in the race, eight months before the first vote was cast. That's not rigged, I think it's just a dumb process which has certainly disadvantaged our campaign."

First and most importantly, for Donald Trump, the beneficiary of the Republican winner-takes-all system and its many corruptions, including what Bernie Sanders is complaining about currently, closed primaries, to be calling the Democratic process corrupt is laughable.   For the Sanders campaign line that "the process is rigged" to be swiped by Trump and used by him only shows the extent to which the Sanders campaign is acting as a spoiler, helping the Republicans.

Second, it also shows that Sanders' high minded persona, when all  of the dross is removed, boils down to the fact that he's a politician and politicians generally favor what wins them an election.   There is nothing that shows more clearly that even the PR product, St. Bernie, is a politician than his flip-flops, reversals, and now nuances about the super delegates.  Now apparently, that he has gone to the position that they should flip to favor the loser in the popular vote he's shifted the complaint to them having declared their intention to vote for his opponent before it was clear that Sanders was losing the nomination.   If he's going to be consistent, if Hillary Clinton comes out ahead in the vote count, he should insist that super delegates supporting him vote for her and he would have to be an example to them by casting his super delegate vote for her.

The extent to which someone supports a given candidate is based on their candidate's positions is variable.  Given that candidates often change their positions - quite often a good thing - that's unavoidable.  And what you say about supporters not knowing the positions of their candidate can be said about their candidates, generally. Among the two Democratic candidates,  I think that no one benefits from being an unknown quantity to their supporters like Bernie Sanders is.   I've found in the past few days that a lot of them angrily deny that Sanders is a super delegate to the Democratic convention.  Hillary Clinton, of course, is the most investigated candidate for president in the history of the office, the most exposed, the closest to a known quantity that has ever been listed on a ballot. That has not stopped people from lying about her, most often to her disadvantage.

Some of the biggest lies I've heard during this campaign come from the unofficial Sanders campaign, lies told about Hillary Clinton and about the Democratic Party which is allegedly under Hillary Clinton's control.   With what Bernie Sanders said to John Dickerson the other day, those lies and paranoid declarations should stop but I don't think there's a chance in 100 that they will.   Those lies and the paranoia they've been rooted in have been encouraged by people at the top of the Sanders campaign, Jeff Weaver, Tad Devine, and others.   And the choice to not reign them in, to stop the irresponsibility and the enablement of Republicans from a nominally Democratic campaign ultimately has been Bernie Sanders'.   I might be wrong or even arguably wrong but I don't remember a campaign by someone for the Democratic nomination who has provided this level of useful subliminal and overt material for the Republicans to use against the candidate.  That is something that really rigs the political system and it's something that the alleged left has really been exposed as doing this year.  Is it any wonder why we aren't trusted as a reliable support group by Democratic politicians when we act like that?   A big factor in why the left doesn't have more influence is our own unreliability as a group.