Saturday, June 25, 2016

You Can't Denominate Something as Definitive Without Using the Definite Article

Now, isn't that an interesting problem.  How can a performance designated as "definitive", that is defining what a specific work of music is in its ideal form, be qualified with the indefinite article "a". Something which is "definitive" must be the definition of what it is, there can't be more than one.  To designate something as definitive would require the DEFINITE article.

The only way I can see for that to make any kind of logical sense is if there were more than one "definitive performance" which was identical in every detail which, in live performance or even a recording and editing of a performance is impossible to achieve.  And, as I pointed out, the only time that happens is with a piece of music which exists in its final form, defined as such by the composer, as a recording.  Even a composer who might say that a particular recording of one of their works is "definitive" would likely not do it that way themselves if they performed it again.

As Carl Nielsen died when young Lenny was 13 and, from what I can see, several decades before he ever recorded even one of his works, you're all wet, as always.  I wouldn't say you are the definitive musical meat head but I'd certainly never say that you are a definitive meat head but not because you aren't an adequate approximation of one.

I can say that there could be such a thing of the definitive score of a work, but it would have to be the product, so designated, by its composer and I'm not aware of too many who have done something like that.  And, unless they died, I would bet that they would, eventually, get around to changing a detail or more.

Any performance is definitely NOT definitive the extent to which it departs from or violates the stated intentions of the composer in their own music.  And Lenny was notorious for doing that, especially with scores of dead composers.  Really, you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.  Read Gunther Schuller, who knew Bernstein, especially before he became a spoiled celebrity when Schuller played horn for some of his performances.

Bernstein, one of the most overrated and adulated conductors of recent times rarely practiced what he preached – a sad fact given his enormous basic natural talent, musical and conductorial/gestural.  In his Joy of Music, he wrote, for example, “perhaps the chief requirement of all is that [the conductor] be humble before the composer;  that he never interpose himself between the music and the audience;  that all his efforts, however strenuous or glamorous, be made in the service of the composer's meaning – the music itself, which, after all, is the whole reason for the conductor's existence” (The Joy of Music, New York, 1954, p. 156).  It is as perfect and beautiful a statement about the art and philosophy of music as can be found.  It is all the more saddening and perplexing that Bernstein rarely followed his own credo.

Gunther Schuller, The Compleat Conductor p. 89

So, you see, Simps, even as you claim otherwise in defense of Lenny Bernstein's celebrity distortions of the score, he, himself, agreed with me, in principle, at least on paper, though not at the podium.

Update:  Simps is making a ridiculous analogy between a musical composition and a stage play as if the media are at all comparable in substance or the exigencies for any given piece to exist were analogous. Proving that as a musician, it's all TV to him.   Classical composition exists within a far tighter range of possible variation than a stage play, that is especially true as what is communicated and what it addresses are so different.  To perform even an opera does, actually, mean you make some stab at performing what the composer wrote, no matter what the idiot director and production designers have cooked up by way of novelty - which can ruin even a brave effort to remain faithful to the intentions of the composer and librettist.

As I pointed out, his hero, Leonard Bernstein, agreed with me, in principle even as he did the career gratifying and composer insulting thing of crapping all over the music to appeal to a more vulgar and ignorant audience - many of whom scribbled garbage about the music as "critics".  There were far, far better conductors of his generation who could have done so much better with the resources that the board of the NYPO gave him.   The difference between a performance that ignores the intent of the composer and one that succeeds in honoring the intent of the composer is great and, as it turns out,  such composers as Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, etc. knew better how to communicate their intentions than the spoiled NY Philarmonic and later Leonard Bernstein.  As I said, he had that right to decide for his own music but he had no right to abuse his fame and position to do it to the music of other composers.  He was hardly the only one but, as Gunther Schuller documented in his vast and minutely detailed and documented study of recorded performances, at every point consulting accurate scores noting the performance instructions of the composer, he ranked up there with the worst of them.   I, somehow, doubt that even Bernstein would have welcomed some other conductor making a botch of his music in a similar way.   I would be curious to know if he ever complained about others abusing his far more modest compositional efforts.

Saturday Night Audio Play - Canadian Gothic

The past few years I've come to really love audio drama, what used to be called radio drama back when radio aspired to be something other than a way to make money and spread propaganda.  I don't mean the "golden age of radio" stuff, though some of that was pretty good, or at least listenable.  In some ways, due to podcasting, it's come into its own as a neglected but really artistic form.   There are thousands of them available online, old and new.  As with all of art,  most of them are garbage but a lot of them are really good.  I would expect it's a lot easier to try something with serious ideas and artistic ambition behind it when you do it in sound.  As I said, some of them are actually ambitious and some of those are quite good, even fine.  Some of them even thought provoking.  Here is one that was broadcast on the old NPR series "Ear Play" from back when NPR had some aspirations to be better than it became.

Canadian Gothic by Joanna M. Glass  

Joanna Glass has written a number of plays, including one I'd love to see or at least read called "Trying" about the judge Francis Biddle as a grouchy old man.  I don't have any idea what Ms. Glass did with him but I'd love to know more about his reaction to having the Nazis whose trial he presided over citing his mentor, Oliver Wendell Holmes, jr.'s Buck v. Bell decision in defending their own extreme eugenics for which they were tried.  I doubt he ever said, though investigating what that might have been like would be interesting to think about.   I doubt I'll ever get to see a stage production of the play, revivals of even interesting plays being so expensive and, so, rare.  I wish someone would make an audio play version.  

"Neighborliness Always Means Curbing Some Practices of Privilege and Entitlement From Some"

My piece this morning has not gotten any complaints yet.  I suspect my usual detractors sleep in late on Saturdays.  But here is a recent talk with questions taken in which Walter Brueggemann takes up some of the same ideas in the piece.   He may not agree with me about the privilege of the media to lie with impunity but I certainly think that is one of the things that will have to be curbed if we are even to have a chance of escaping the disaster we are on the verge of.  He mentions the Trump Campaign and, in response to the questions, mentions Bernie Sanders, though he doesn't explicitly endorse him, he certainly endorses some of what he's said.   He also notes that he's realistic enough to know that things are a lot more complicated than simply expecting that things are going to change in a short time, though he anticipates that they may change much faster than people in older age cohorts expect them to.

Carl Nielsen - Quintet op. 43

Dora Seres, flute
Egils Upatnieks, oboe/english horn
Egīls Šēfers, clarinet
David M.A.P. Palmquist, horn
Niels Anders Vedsten Larsen, bassoon


Carl Neilsen is one of those composers whose skill and talent I can hear but, for some reason I don't know, not a single piece of his I have ever heard has ever moved me.  I know that isn't the reaction of most other people, he's a composer who goes in and out of popularity, there was a major revival in interest in his music in the United States in the 1970s.   I hope you're someone who he does speak to but I doubt he ever will to me after fifty years of listening.

Update:  Anyone who believes Lenny Bernstein could conduct a "definitive" performance of any piece of music he didn't compose, himself, is too stupid to have an important opinion about music. And that isn't even getting to the FACT that Bernstein was one of the most notorious distorters of musical scores who ever had a major career.  Gunther Schuller documented that in his classic study of recorded performances and their deviation from or adherence to the stated intentions of the composer, The Compleat Conductor.

Apart from pre-recorded electronic composition without any live performance elements, the common declaration that this or that performance is "definitive" is the creation of idiot critics who don't know enough about music to have an important opinion about music.   As just about every composer who has ever performed or conducted their own music performs a composition differently every time they perform it, especially those pieces which rely on soloists, singers, other performers, the entire concept of "definitive performances" is professional critic bull shit.


I am going to stop posting pieces daily because my eyesight isn't up to it.  I will try posting every other day or so, taking the time to more carefully edit what I write.  I may post music and lectures on other days but I really can't keep up the every day writing.  If my eyesight and health improve I will go back to daily postings. 

Our Jerusalem Laid Waste By Lies And Injustice

Great as the sea is your downfall;
who can heal you?
Your prophets had for you
false and specious visions;
They did not lay bare your guilt,
to avert your fate;
They beheld for you in vision
false and misleading portents.


If you substitute "media" for prophets, both news and, more potently, entertainment, how it encourages selfishness and consumption and ignorance and sloth, pretty much the entire range of deadly sins, those old "bronze age goat herders" got our number right down to the last significant digit.

I am trying to remember the last time I heard the news on the radio carry a positive piece about Hillary Clinton or, really much of any piece about her.  As compared to Donald Trump she has been pretty much disappeared from coverage and what there is is never positive.  It couldn't be clearer that the Washington-New York media knows it is supposed to avoid saying anything good about Hillary Clinton and like the dutiful functionaries of oligarchy which they are, they follow the same lines laid down for them in the 1990s.

Instead it is covering the "reality" TV king, idiot, the shame of the Republican Party who they are trying to make the same of the nation, Donald Trump.

And that's only what our media does in politics, in encouraging self-destructive socially destructive attitudes and patterns of behavior they pretty much guarantee that a Donald Trump figure will arise and prosper.   The only real criticism of him I've found to be widespread in the media is his short-lived declaration that he was going to reinstitute libel and slander laws - so novel an idea, today in an age ruled by lies. rumor and gossip, that it freaked them out.  Most of them having absolutely no knowledge or skills in reporting fact, not even any appreciation of the difference between a lie and a fact that they'd, most of them, be out of work.   It freaked them out so much that they didn't seem to realize that there was no figure in public life who would have more to lose from that as Donald Trump so he was not likely the one who was going to do that.

I doubt that Hillary Clinton would either, the legal dogmas of the past half century are so wedded to deny the importance of the truth, of fact in most areas of life, especially politics, that the idea probably wouldn't occur to her or anyone likely to be appointed.   You would think that she might have a heightened appreciation for that distinction because she has certainly been the public figure most long and most lavishly lied about.  I could be wrong about her getting it, I doubt that she would think the effort to make lies have consequences for the media was a wise one politically.  For a start she would have to convince sitting Supreme Court justices that it was dangerous to democracy to allow media to lie for its owners profit.

No, the idea that there is no overriding and supreme legitimate interest in people in a democracy to have the truth told to them, and not only them but all voters, is an insane notion instilled, no less by officially liberal institutions and figures than it has been corporate-fascist subverters of democracy and the ability of the entire electorate to have the chance to cast an accurately informed vote.  The ACLU, such figures as Joel Gora, the trade groups of media and the publishing industry, etc. all bought into that and it is among their most cherished of secular commandments that the media shall be permitted to lie with impunity for any reason its owners and scribblers see fit.  Our inability to have a democracy, to keep what we have from descending into Republicanfascism is as much a result of the ridiculous faith that such notions as democracy were the product of natural law, that the truth will out - by what mechansim who knows - and that even a people fed on a diet of lies would be able to maintain democracy.   The first amendment, no less than the second one carries the foolish 18th century poetry that enables the destruction of democracy and ourselves because so many of the founders were addled by the idiotic notions that the government they thought they were founding was the product of natural forces.

If the men who wrote the First Amendment had been wise, they would have noted that superior to any right of the media  to say whatever they chose to was the right of The People to know the truth in order that they could secure all of the goods promised in the rest of the document, and, so any right of the media was to serve that end.  "The press" is an entirely artificial entity and a magnification of the power of those who owned it.  There is no natural right for "the press" it is an artificial privilege granted on the tacit expectation that they would tell the truth, idiotically granted without explicitly stating that, most important, role of the media as a condition of them keeping it.  I think it was their superstitious enlightenment notions that led to that fatal omission.

Democracy doesn't just happen by natural forces in the absence of coercion .  It isn't the product of forces like gravity that just come out in the right place.  Democracy is a product of moral choices made by people, many of which are not compatible with the adulation of the self and are certainly not in the immediate interest of any one person.  The first of those moral choices is to know the truth, even when it is in contradiction to false and specious visions that are gratifying.  It is that you must know the truth even if it lays forth your guilt in order to change your behavior to avert the results of that behavior  That moral choice is everything the media in the United States and in most other countries discourages and doesn't practice.  And that's true no matter what poetic words those fat-headed founders put into the truncated amendments to the Constitution.  If you don't know the truth, you will not be free because you can't make those choices necessary to face reality and chose it over "reality" TV.

Friday, June 24, 2016

György Ligeti - Ten Pieces for Wind Quintet

Celine Nessi - Flute
Eric Cassen - Oboe
Romain Guyot - Clarinet
Laurent Lefèvre - Bassoon
Laurent Olle - Horn

Ligeti shows that a small ensemble can sound like a small orchestra if the composer's ear is big enough.  

Simps Is Unhappy That I Dissed TV Again

Update:   You should learn what a calendar is and how it works.

What's In A Name?

This is the first of two videos issued last week and this by Quaker Speak.  Apparently the big issue of the first one was the use of the term "Kingdom of God" which many people took offense to.  

Here is the second one responding to the offense expressed.

Now, I won't take second place to anyone as an opponent of kings and royalty and class distinction but I really don't see why anyone should get into a swivet over the use of "Kingdom of God" which is certainly not the same thing.  It was one of the things I found most irritating in the Jesus Seminar documents that they used the term "imperial rule" as in "God's imperial rule" or "heaven's imperial rule" which I thought was just silly and entirely beside the point.   I was a one-time enthusiast for the Jesus Seminar but its work has aged really fast and not entirely well.  I've come to see a lot of it as misguided and a product of fashion. You're not going to get what the authors of biblical texts meant without a lot of consideration of what they were talking about to start with and to pretend that people are going to mistake God for someone like a British or Spanish or some other monarch is just silly.  

I heard a priest recently point out that when Jesus said that the Shema was the highest commandment, along with the commandment to love others as you love yourself he actively identified love of God with the love of the least among us, the dregs of society, those least exalted and loved, the unwanted and unsentimentalized and the most unworthy poor.  There is nothing more radical in any human articulation than the identification of God with the least among us.  That is the Kingdom of God, a society which takes that as its meaning and its practice and nothing could be more unlike any kingdom of this world.

"This question the Dodo could not answer without a great deal of thought" Come On Sanders, Say It

Bernie Sanders has finally said that he's going to vote for Hillary Clinton, which you would think was exactly the same thing as endorsing her but NPR and other media are saying that it isn't an endorsement.   I don't know how you can avoid seeing that as an endorsement but, then, they are all bending every which way to try to defeat Hillary Clinton, disappearing her from media coverage, most notably.  If Sanders really wants to defeat Trump he could spend his time pointing that out instead of wasting it on transparently meaningless poses.

As noted here yesterday, the Bernie or Busters are still all over the comment threads and a few idiots among them seem to be turning Hillary Hatin' into a career venture.  Thomas Frank, some of Salons' click-bait generators, they're still churning that out.   Sanders should also tell them to can it.

I challenged Bernie Sanders to test the loyalty of his self-appointed biggest supporters by endorsing Hillary Clinton, the only person standing between the world and a Donald Trump presidency and will be curious to see what they're saying about his declaration that he will be doing what so many of them are declaring they won't do.   I wonder how many of them are going to discover, all of a sudden, that they hate the guy they love.

Sanders is still making a big deal of the entirely unimportant platform - from what I've seen about the platform hearings, they aren't any less useless than they have ever been.  Platform fights are grandstanding especially by those who love to grandstand, no more important or principled than that. If Bernie Sanders can recover his status as a serious person will depend on how long he keeps this stuff up.  A truly serious person would have stopped it by the end of April.

I really wish they'd cut the platform crap.  It's no less a holdover from the less democratic 19th century than caucuses. Which makes me think of this.

 'In that case,' said the Dodo solemnly, rising to its feet, 'I move that the meeting adjourn, for the immediate adoption of more energetic remedies — '

'Speak English!' said the Eaglet. 'I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and, what's more, I don't believe you do either!' And the Eaglet bent down its head to hide a smile: some of the other birds tittered audibly.

'What I was going to say,' said the Dodo in an offended tone, 'was, that the best thing to get us dry would be a Caucus-race.'

'What is a Caucus-race?' said Alice; not that she wanted much to know, but the Dodo had paused as if it thought that somebody ought to speak, and no one else seemed inclined to say anything.

'Why,' said the Dodo, 'the best way to explain it is to do it.' (And, as you might like to try the thing yourself, some winter day, I will tell you how the Dodo managed it.)

First it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, ('the exact shape doesn't matter,' it said,) and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there. There was no 'One, two, three, and away,' but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out 'The race is over!' and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, 'But who has won?'

This question the Dodo could not answer without a great deal of thought, and it sat for a long time with one finger pressed upon its forehead (the position in which you usually see Shakespeare, in the pictures of him), while the rest waited in silence. At last the Dodo said, 'everybody has won, and all must have prizes.'

Really, look at the rules for any caucus and Lewis Carroll got it pretty much nailed and he described the results of platform fights, as well.

Sanders, just say it.  No one is going to care about the platform the day after the election, no one will ever mention it again for any positive purpose.
I don't have any strong opinions on the vote in Britain to leave the EU, though I don't like what I'm hearing.  I am struck at how the rising neo-fascist views in France, the Netherlands and the United States all oppose the EU, it makes me wonder the extent to which the European Union is a convenient scapegoat for sleazy politicians when the problems people are having are the creation of national and state governments - the United States where the Republicanfascists have made a lot of hay about states-rights and in opposition to the government of the country shows that's a way for fascists to gain power.  There are a lot of countries where fascists will be looking to benefit from this vote, not the least the United States where Donald Trump is praising it, perhaps, ironically, from his hideous golf-course in Scotland.  I had wondered if the Brexit vote had come before the Scottish referendum for independence if that vote might have gone the other way and I just heard that a second referendum is in the works.  Perhaps they can leave and get rid of Trump.  You have to wonder if, at some future date, Wales might opt to leave Britain, as well.  If it led to the break up of Britain that wouldn't necessarily be the worst thing that could happen.

I doubt that most of the people who voted on the question really knew much about it or the consequences of their decision.  Boris Johnson and his anti-EU forces clearly lied about the possibility of keeping the benefits of the EU as they left it.  I hope that they realize they were lied to as they were sold those lies.  Though I doubt Brit TV is going to tell them that anymore than American TV tells the truth about the consequences of American Republican misrule.  I wonder, when people vote on the basis of lies they've been sold if you can count that as democracy.   I think to use the word when people vote on the basis of lies is both wrong and dangerous.  Marine Le Pen, the French fascist leader, touted the vote as a great victory for democracy.  When a fascist uses the word that way you have to question if it has any meaning at all.

The Worst Things Anyone Did In the Orlando Shootings Were Done By Genteel Supreme Court Justices And Almost Exclusively Republican Politicians

I have watched the interview Univision's Maria Elena Salinas did with a man "Miguel" who had a sexual and personal relationship with Omar Mateen.  Considering the content of the interview, it has  which has gotten surprisingly little play.  If it is true then the murder and maiming at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando is a lot more about the access of guns to potentially violent messed up and mentally ill people than ISIS or international terrorism.

The man, "Miguel" wanted his name, appearance and voice disguised because he fears for his safety, which is entirely reasonable.  He has also, voluntarily, told what he knows to the FBI.  I can't see any reason for him to make it up.

Miguel said that he had a two-month sexual relationship with Mateen and that Mateen had had sexual relationships with other men.  He mentions that Mateen advertised on gay hook-up aps, he met him through Grindr but he says he knew Mateen had also looked for men to have sex with on two other aps.   Most significantly he said that Mateen was involved in a sexual three-some with two Puerto Rican men, one of whom, later, revealed that he was HIV-positive.  Apparently Mateen discussed that with Miguel.   Miguel speculates that Mateen specifically targeted Pulse on Latin night in an act of revenge against gay Puerto Ricans.  It was why Miguel said he doesn't believe terrorism had anything to do with it. From the transcript:

Miguel: To tell you the truth, after we had the conversation about the two Puerto Rican[s] who he have the threesome and then one of the Puerto Ricans told him ‘I’m HIV positive and I’m sorry I don’t say nothing’. Plus, all the rejections he got. I believe, I really think all his anger – he [hated] gay Puerto Ricans for all the bad thing[s] they [did] to him. This will sound bad and I know a lot of people going to get a lot of pain for what I’m going to say. But I believe this crazy horrible thing he did – that was a revenge.

MES: You think this was not terrorism.

Miguel: Not at all. Like I told to the FBI if you are a terrorist and you really wanna kill a lot of people you don’t go to Pulse. Pulse is nothing compared to Parliament. Parliament is a disco, a hotel and a bar. And [a lot of people go there].

He also says that Mateen was deeply conflicted about his sexual identity and, especially, the attitude of his own father about it.  He said it was his father who forced Mateen to get married.   From what Mateen's first wife has said about him, that she suspected he was gay and mentally ill and violent towards her, Miguel's narrative about Mateen having married to please his father is a reasonable suspicion.

If this is true then the use to which Omar Mateens' ethnic and religious background are being put by Republicanfascists  in politics and in the media is a total distortion of what happened for the basest of political purposes.  If Miguel is right then there are a number of things to be learned from it but the biggest is that it is insane to allow people to buy automatic weapons in civilian life, that the gun industry, the gun nuts and their political and judicial servants have created the conditions where a screwed up man can kill large numbers of people in a short time - that's what automatic weapons were invented to do, to kill lots of people in a short amount of time.  And if you want to see what the most screwed up part of this whole, horrible story is, that's it.   Omar Mateen may have been a seriously screwed up guy, he might have been full of hate and - according to a man who apparently knew him and talked to him - motivated by a desire for revenge against a specific identity of people, but it was the Supreme Court justices, the Republican politicians - and a handful of Democrats and independents, who kow towed to the interests of the gun industry and the NRA who put the gun into his hand which allowed him to commit the act he committed.  If he had a knife or a plain old fashioned six shooter it's certain the body count would have been lower.

That the gay club where Miguel met Mateen was called the Parliament has a certain irony to it.  It is too bad it wasn't called "the Senate" or The Congress or the Supreme Court because that's where the people who armed him gather to do far worse than anyone else ever did to Mateen.   They are the ones who armed Omar Mateen and gave him the power to do what he did with his screwed up mind and his messed up life.

I don't think anything short of someone going into the Congress like Mateen did or the Supreme Court or some gathering of the Republicanfascist elite would change what they have done.  The only way we can change that is by removing the fascists from the government and making laws that take automatic weapons out of the civilian population and really crack down on the gun industry which will find some way to sell their killing machines on the black market.  The Roberts and Rehnquist Courts are the major source of this depravity, as Samantha Bee's show pointed out, even Warren Berger said that the gun industry was the source of the lie that gun control was unconstitutional, a position which became the standard one in the Republican Party and among Republican judges and Justices.  The Supreme Court majority has made gun industry lies and propaganda the law of the land.  Even Ronald Reagan got that much of it, after he got shot.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mad Kane - Trump Has Been Passing Off Paste As Diamonds For Years

I was amused to learn that Trump has been duping friends with fake diamond cuff link gifts for years.

Read her limerick on it here.   

Call Him Zircon Jim, the icon of the as-seen-on-TV gilded age.  If we're lucky he'll go down as the most ridiculous presidential candidate a major party has ever nominated.  If we're merely unlucky instead of cursed he'll be the most ridiculous and not horrific president we've ever had, him or someone the Republicans find to take his place.  Though I've got a feeling if they pulled something like that his insane fans would turn to major violence.  I'm serious about that, they are real Brown Shirt style fascists.  

Leoš Janáček - Youth - Wind Sextet

Prague Wind Quintet
Jan Hecl, flute
Jiří Krejčí, oboe
Ludmila Peterková, clarinet
Vladimíra Klánská, horn
Lumír Vaněk, basson
Petr Čáp, bass clarinet

I think I've got the players right


Bernie or Busters Are Still Out There And Campaigning For Trump - An Exchange

From what I'm coming to see as the ironically named lefty website, "Truthout".

CoCoLuv9491  Anthony_McCarthy • 8 hours ago

CTR meme #471. "Sanders wouldn't stand a chance after the first week after he got the nomination." Damn those pesky polls that say otherwise. I know... we need to ignore them because... the Red Queen.

Anthony_McCarthy  CoCoLuv9491 • in 2 minutes

First, he lost the most important poll, the popular vote for the nomination. If you think that the universe of those who were likely to vote for him in the general election was better disposed to his campaign than the one which voted in the Democratic primary season that borders on the delusional. Second, I doubt that those who said they were more likely to vote for him knew those items in his past mentioned above and they were certainly not exposed to any kind of sustained airing of those facts. At this point the only candidate who can be said to be widely known in any depth is Hillary Clinton who was publicly subjected to the most sustained questioning and campaign of exaggeration and lies which any living American politician has stood up to.

Polls as a method of divination are certainly inferior to the actual voting of millions of people, if you want to know why, look at the numbers of people who are polled, generally in the low thousands when not an even more obviously inadequate sample. And it asks them to speculate on what they will do months into the future. Compared that to the actual votes of actual voters, polls asserted to tell you anything with any security are a joke.

I'm really interested in how many times the Bernie voters talk about queens and royalty when talking about Hillary Clinton. I smell a strong whiff of misogyny in that, not to mention rank dishonesty. If there is anyone who has not had the royal treatment in American politics, it's Hillary Clinton.

By the way, memes are pseudo-scientific myth, they don't exist. Even Dawkins walked back from them after he invented them.

Beethoven - Drei Egali

STS faculty Nathan Zgonc, Colin Williams, Bradley Palmer and George Curran perform Beethoven's Drei Equali at the 2012 Southeast Trombone Symposium. Two altos, tenor and bass was a fun way to do it! The STS is held annually at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University in Columbus, GA.

As can be seen in the score, Beethoven really did compose these extremely beautiful, simple little pieces for trombone quartet, one of the more familiar of instrumental ensembles then, especially in Germany where it had long been associated with church music.  Trombone quartets often played from the tops of churches, especially on special occasions.

I read that these pieces were played at his funeral.

Another composer, Charles Tomlinson Griffes who died unexpectedly in the great influenza pandemic following WWI was laid to rest with no music arranged for the service,  Here is what Edward Maisel says about it in his biography of Griffes:

Funeral services were held in the Community Chapel of the Church of the Messiah, 34th street and Park Avenue, at two o'clock on Saturday afternoon, April 10th.  It had been decided to have no music, but the Bach Trombone Choir from the parapet of the 71st Regiment Armory across the street (where a music festival was in progress) provided unexpected accompaniment as the services began.  Miss Boughton,[his remarkably devoted piano teacher] recalling her student's long devotion to Bach, later commemorated the incident in a poem:

'Twas fitting, Bach, that in the last sad hour, 
... ' twas thy music, flung upon the air
Should be his requiem

I've also read that his friends who were familiar with his taste in men (his closest known romantic relationship was with a NYC policeman) thought it was especially appropriate that the trombonists were in uniform.  I wouldn't say that this was necessarily any evidence of purpose in the universe.  Just sayin'.

Does The Universe Have Purpose?

That is the question that a number of famous people, scientists, philosophers, with a couple of theologians and a popular writer thrown in, deal with in little essays at this link.

Unsurprisingly, among the atheists, and some others, the most careful ones give the less certain answers to the question.   Peter Atkins, one of the better known professional atheist-"skeptics" in Britain is probably closest to Jerry Coyne in both lack of nuance and dogmatic insistence that a belief that the universe has purpose is some kind of character flaw, a weakness, a failure of a tacitly claimed morality and something to be disdained if not despised.  I don't think that any of those who answered yes is as unnuanced and, frankly, arrogant and dismissive terms though you can find those who are, they aren't held up as havning much intellectual status.  Having heard Atkins in debate before, that's no surprise at all.  And he shares Coyne's arrogant nastiness as well as his inability to maintain any kind of integrity in his claims.  For example, here's how he finishes

I regard the existence of this extraordinary universe as having a wonderful, awesome grandeur.  It hangs there in all its glory, wholly and completely useless.  To project onto it our human-inspired notions of purpose would, to my mind, sully and diminish it.

He says as he projects his human-inspired notions of purposelessness on the universe, even as he also projects such human notions as:

a. The quality of being extraordinary.   Can the scientistic-fundamentalist universe be held to be extraordinary, since everything in that imagined universe proceeds and exists at nothing but the level of the ordinary workings of natural law?  I am pretty confident that Atkins would hold, in other contexts, in arguments about other things that nothing which is extraordinary, in the sense of the  most unordinary of things which science can detect,  can be held to exist.

b. Wonderfulness, it certainly takes an animal if not a specifically human mind to wonder and wonder is a sense experience projected onto the universe, no less the atheist one than the one in Psalm 19.

c. Awesome grandeur, well, the concept describes both a human emotional state and any notion of grandeur is as incompatible with Atkins materialist scientism as the idea that anything in the regular operations of the natural universe can be held to be extraordinary.  As one of Britains' more well known professional pseudo-skeptics, he's supposed to be officially opposed to anything that is extraordinary.  Grandeur could mean nothing more than the pedestrian difference in scale between Peter Atkins and the universe.  See also, again, Psalm 19.

There is more to it than Atkins, of course there are good arguments made against and for the question, but, to the point I made yesterday, it is one that science can't deal with.  As someone who has recently slammed Lawrence Krauss, he gets to that point right away when he quotes Carl Sagan (another who can't be called one of my favorites) that absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence, even as he holds that it is unlikely that the universe has any purpose.   I don't know if Krauss, who seems to be less reasonable on such question these days, the more well known as a professional atheist he becomes, would say the same thing today but what he said when this was published wasn't either unreasonable or geared to be offensive.

In thinking about writing about this, I realized that it would take a long series of posts to deal with it and unlike those I've done on other questions dealing with the written record and history, there would be no conclusive answer to the question.  In the end it is a matter of belief and a willingness to be persuaded.  And I just don't have the time for that right now. I will say that if the universe has a purpose, it seems to me extremely unlikely that human beings would be able to fathom it as more than an intimation.  Our best tools for studying the physical universe, science, certainly can't even begin to get a hold of it.

In one of his lecture-essays on the question of universal salvation David Bentley Hart talks about the idea found in some theologians such as Gregory of Nyssa that the purpose of creation wouldn't be fulfilled until the end of the universe when all of existence will be reconciled with God. I don't think it's limited to sentient creatures but I don't have the time to look up references.    That's an idea that Western thought, I believe, especially, under the influence of Augustine doesn't seem to hold with but I've learned from reading Gregory of Nyssa and the other Eastern theologians that they generally didn't hold views on such things without having good arguments to back them up.  In those they have with Augustine, I find the Eastern theologians to be more persuasive.  I can't claim that the emotional response of a Jerry Coyne or a Peter Atkins is the product of a reaction against Western theological thinking on such questions but, then, I can't rule that out, either.   I can point out that they seem to be incapable of holding that the universe has no purpose in a way that doesn't betray their emotional need for it to have a purpose in the most human of terms, whether or not they get to say that they're right and their opponents are wrong.  They don't seem to be able to escape the very human propensity to believe with all their heart that that matters  to the universe that they're right and their opponents are wrong.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Jacques Hétu - Wind Quintet

Flute: Sara Moorhouse
Oboe: Natasha Sullivan
Clarinet: Slavko Popovic
Horn: James Tizzard
Bassoon: Anna Norris

Jacques Hétu was a very good Canadian composer who studied with both Henri Dutilleux and Olivier Messiaen.  As usual, his music is way too seldom played this side of the border.

Update;  I just noticed, if you want to hear it you have to click on the underlined message, it will bring you to the Youtube.

Jerry Coyne Betrays An Emotional Need For Purpose In The Universe, HIS PURPOSE, Even As He Denies There Is Purpose In The Universe

I was sent a link to the barely coherent - when not the sputtering nutcase - blogger, Jerry Coyne, another internet entity I don't much bother with anymore.  Since he is a hate-blogger, someone I don't link to.   The post he did about a rather stupid little movie about a 90-year-old woman who got converted to atheism from Judaism, though it doesn't sound like her Judaism was ever very deep to start with.  Nothing especially deep was said.  I watched the movie which is, I guess, supposed to be charming and heart warming but leads me to wonder if it isn't exploiting an old woman.   I have to wonder what Jerry Coyne and the rest of the religion bashers would say if the internet had converted her to Christianity or Islam on the basis of her mystification at the workings of Google's automatic search engine.  Oh, yeah, and stumbling across the late Christopher Hitchens.  I suppose it could have been worse if watching Hitchens had converted her to being a drooling fan of cluster bombs.   I do have to wonder why it's seen as some kind of great thing when someone who is Jewish stops being Jewish if they become an atheist instead of, say, a member of the United Church of Christ or a Catholic or another religious group with far more in common with Judaism than atheism has.

You can see for yourself.   This is what Coyne posted at his site.

Coyne was kind of pissed off with the project as presented by the New Yorker,
The documentary is by the Canadian filmmaker Sol Friedman, and the short New Yorker essay about the film is by Joshua Rothman, himself an atheist. Sadly, Rothman’s take on the movie undercuts its message, but what else do you expect from the faith-coddling New Yorker?:
. . . the title also contains, at least for me, a hint of sadness. Religious faith is a consolation; if you trade it in for bacon, have you made a good trade? I’m an atheist, and I think I would give up bacon in exchange for the conviction that the universe has a purpose. Razie, of course, hasn’t traded belief for bacon; she has traded it for the freedom to follow her own conscience, to do and think as she sees fit. These, the film seems to say, are the signs by which we communicate, to others and ourselves, our ideas about the fundamental questions of existence. Look how small they are!

Coyne wouldn't be Coyne if he wasn't pissed off, it's his perpetual emotional state.   You have to wonder why when one of the things that pisses him off like nothing else is the belief that the universe has purpose.

I wouldn’t give up bacon, or nonbelief, for some phony conviction; the fact is that there’s not a scintilla of evidence that the Universe has a purpose. “Purpose,” of course, implies a Planning Mind, and what Rothman expresses is what many believers would like athiests to feel: a profound sense of loss at not having a god.

Well, if there is no purpose then what is there to get pissed off about if people believe that there is a purpose?  I think Coyne overestimates the amount that religious people worry about what guys like him feel because it makes him feel more important than he is, certainly more important than he could possibly be if the universe has no purpose.  If that's the case, none of us, not to mention our beliefs or emotional states could possibly matter.

Of course, Coyne's entire shtick betrays a contradiction in the atheist dogma that the universe has no purpose, if it doesn't then it matters not a bit that anyone believes anything they do.  If the universe has no purpose, any purpose at all that atheists feel about anything is a delusion and his emotional volition connected with anything is an enraged childish insistence that everyone agree with him. Coyne's career as a blogger betrays his own emotional inability to carry through on his claim that the universe has no purpose.  If he really believed that, he wouldn't bother.

Note:  You can google Coyne's blog post if you want to, it shouldn't be hard to find.  There's nothing mysterious about it.

The Atheist Fad In Passing?

Buzzflash, the news accumulator-commentary site of the left is something I once went through every day but a few years back, disgusted at the anti-religious content of it, I stopped going there.  I happened to wonder what it was up to this morning so I looked at it.  Apparently, if its content is anything to go by, neo-atheism must have peaked as a fad a while back because, where it was ubiquitous when I used to go there, it seems to have vanished.   I don't think I'll go back because it does seem to feature a lot of nonsense surrounding the Sanders campaign which I'm now convinced can only help Republicans.  And I seem to have outgrown the need for an accumulator site like that. 

I went over to AlterNet, one of the premier religion-hating sites and anti-religious stuff is virtually missing from its front page though there is certainly plenty of anti-religious commentary there, the idiotic habits developed during the hey-day of Marxist domination of leftist thinking and, perhaps more so, the rump of lunatic anarchism is still strong among old lefties and, I'm sad to say, way too many young ones.   Among the best things that could happen to the left is the abandonment of Marxism which is anti-democratic in real practice and so should never have been mistaken as an ideology of the left and anarchism which was never anymore than sheer, childish lunacy dressed up to mimic adult talk.  

I haven't gone any farther with the exercise but the contrast is apparent, for today, at least.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Alvin Etler: Wind Quintet No. 1 -- New York Woodwind Quintet

The New York Woodwind Quintet:
Samuel Baron, flute
Jerome Roth, oboe
David Glazer, clarinet
Arthur Weisberg, bassoon
John Barrows, horn

Alvin Etler was a good composer who I suspect is remembered a lot less than his music merits.  The only pieces of his I played were for recorder trio, two altos and a tenor.  As I remember one of them imitated mourning doves rather ingeniously, though that was going on fifty years ago.  I wish I still had the music, they don't seem to be posted anywhere in performance online.

Three Cheers For Karen King For Having The Courage To Say She Was Duped

Four years ago there was a huge splash made in the media about an alleged fragment of papyrus that "revealed that Jesus was married" in it he is alleged to have talked about "my wife", at least that's how it got played.  In the huge industry in debunking Christianity, it got a lot of play, even though the Harvard scholar who was promoting it never claimed that it was evidence that Jesus had been married instead of being celibate, Karen King said that it was, "at most" an alternative tradition about Jesus and whether or not Christians should marry.

Now after the publication of an article in the Atlantic tracks down what is almost certainly a forgery and a fraud to a shady failed Coptic scholar and a seedy, rather drearily amazing conman and pornographer named Walter Fritz Karen King has admitted that it is just about certainly a forgery and that her scholarship based on it is useless.

It takes real character to admit your greatest claim to fame is a fraud and that you were conned, especially in academic circles.  The viciousness of academic life is a good reason for scholars to be afraid of that, though it is a lot more common than most of them like to admit.  So I think it's important to acknowledge when a scholar admits that they were suckered by con men.

I do think that when serious academic study around subjects subject to enormous ideological pressure it's especially important to be careful in exactly the way that most alleged journalism and most online chatter isn't.  Entire fields of study are covered by that description.   I will note that I doubt most of those who spewed columnage about the original story are, so far as I can tell, silent on the exposure of the fraud and the retraction.  Ker-splash!  Such is the quality of that "new journalism" we were all sold on in the past decade and a half.

Let's  give Karen King the last word on this because she has had the most to lose and she got it right, in the end.

She said she is “not happy” about being lied to, but felt “oddly relieved” after reading the Atlantic article.

“I think having the truth is always kind of centering,” she said.

Hate Update:  I'm not responsible for what you don't remember.  I've got a fairly good memory and I know how to check on it when I want to make sure.  It's not my fault you're too lazy to remember things.

The Republican Party 2016 Is A Tool of Murder Incorporated

For anyone who doesn't remember, even at their worst thirty years ago there were Republicans who actually cared, at least, about the lives of the American People and wanted to keep more of us alive. Today it is a wholly owned property of the NRA and the gun industry.

I am ever more impressed with Samantha Bee and her staff.  Her show is the foremost force in civics education, teaching the most important and most recent of American History and just plain reason in the American media.

I want her addressing a joint session of Congress with the full Supreme Court in attendance. Someone should make them listen to the truth.

Update:   See Also:

A Correction

It's been a week for making mistakes, I've made two.  Well, two that I'll admit to.

RMJ pointed out that I misheard Walter Brueggemann in the short post yesterday.   I turned up the volume and have to conclude that he is right.  

I quoted him as saying,"All This Silly Atheism of Richard Dawkins And So On, They Don't Even Know What They're Talking About"... when what he said is.... , "they don't even know what WE'RE talking about."  

However, since they are always characterizing what we're talking about,  if they don't understand that, then they don't understand what they're talking about.   They really don't generally know that, nor would they want to, since their arguments depend on mischaracterizing what we do say and, not infrequently, what we do. 

RMJ's piece taking off on that post, or, rather, Brueggemann's answer, is very much worth reading. 

The Opinion of the Congressional Black Caucus On Super Delegates And Open Primaries Should Count Far More Than Bernie Sanders'

Bernie Sanders was not a Democrat before the age of 74, he chose not to be a member of the party, until he and Democrats in Vermont reached a sort of agreement that they would co-exist, he ran against Democrats.  His presidential campaign didn't do much to reach out to other Democratic candidates to support them. There is no way that he could be considered a loyal, long-time Democrat who has demonstrated that he has the best interests of the Democratic Party and its electoral success at heart.

On the other hand, there is a group which have been among the most loyal of all Democratic constituencies, struggling to support Democratic candidates, among the hardest working and, through decades of coming out, working for candidates and voting for Democrats, the most reliable of Democrats, Black Democrats.  

Now some of the most long term, hard working, loyal and reliable, and inspired of all Democrats, those in the Congressional Black Caucus have unanimously come out in opposition to Bernie Sanders' flagship (non-)issues, abolishing super delegates and closed primaries because, as they point out, it will either force them to run as delegates to a convention against their own constituents when they certainly have earned the right to participate in the convention.  If I understand the argument correctly, they also point out that open primaries will dilute the effect of the votes of Black Democrats, allowing non-Democrats, many of whom are not only not loyal to the Democratic Party but far more likely to be white, thus diluting the force of one of the most deserving and essential parts of the Democratic coalition.

Since Bernie Sanders still more or less argues that a convention can act with independence from the voters who send pledged delegates to the convention - if he were still in contention he would certainly try to flip Clinton delegates after a first ballot - his arguments against the super delegates are far weaker than they are usually presented as being.  Considering the slights to Black Democrats - many of them in Southern states - he and his campaign insulted during the primaries - I don't think Sanders has any moral authority to answer the opposition of the Congressional Black Caucus on these issues.

It is one of the ironic features of Sanders' campaign that he has had far more support from white voters than Black voters, but that only seems ironic if you don't take into account the many decades of confidence built up between long time Democrats and Democratic politicians.   I don't think this is the time to second guess the Congressional Black Caucus, especially when it speaks with one voice on these issues, especially given the vacillation of Bernie Sanders on issues such as the super delegates, claiming to oppose them as he tries to flip them to support the candidate who lost the popular vote.

Bernie Sanders clearly has a limited understanding of the Democratic Party and a limited appreciation of the needs of some of the most important of Democratic constituencies.  I'm not that convinced that he really cares about such things, he has run against the Democratic Party and his supporters are still slamming the party as being corrupt - when it is certainly far less corrupt than the alternatives.   They are still slamming the nominee of the party - I'm still reading some of them claiming that she is more corrupt and dangerous than Donald Trump.   Such behavior since February came directly from his campaign insiders and his surrogates.   I wouldn't count him or them as reliably loyal or committed Democrats, certainly not as compared to Black Democrats.

Monday, June 20, 2016

"All This Silly Atheism of Richard Dawkins And So On, They Don't Even Know What They're Talking About"

Now, if that's what evangelism is, count me as an evangelical.

These last several months spent with Walter Brueggemann and various other like-minded scholars have been the most enlightening, the most meaningful, the most radical of my adult life.  If I had been reading him in the 1970s and after instead of the stuff I was reading I wouldn't have the sense of having wasted so much time.  

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Our Vote Our Blood

First posted Friday, June 02, 2006

Note:  It should be remembered that when this was written the bloodshed in the illegal invasion of Iraq was at its high point, both the blood of Iraqis and Americans and others.

We might get a crook in an honest election, we are certain to get one from a crooked election.

Let me be clear, I am not being coy or ironic or clever. This is it folks, this is real, as real as we are going to see it in our lifetimes.

The Rolling Stone article by Robert F. Kennedy jr. and the headline article by Greg Pallast posted today on lay out the evidence that Ohio was stolen by the Republicans. Anyone reading them who says they don't believe the 2004 presidential race was stolen would have to have some conclusive evidence or they are lying. If they do, they must lay it out in its entirety for the world to see now or be forever judged as liars. But if that evidence was there they would have shown it already. They haven't so it isn't there.

We can't ignore this any longer. It's not exciting, it's not trendy, it's not sexy, it's entirely clear how it could be fixed so no one is going to gain a reputation for brilliance and become the toast of the scribbling class over it. It's only a question of whether the United States is a nation of laws and not of men, a democracy or a despotic oligarchy.

- We need one national ballot form for the national constitutional offices, President, Vice-President, Senator, Congressman. These are the only four offices that have a direct impact on us all. The citizens of the entire country have a right to these four offices being filled in a completely honest way. Everyone has a right to know that every congressman was chosen honestly, even in the district farthest from where they live. There is an overriding interest in the citizens of the entire country having an honestly chosen government strong enough to overcome constitutional objections. This is THE question of national integrity, not a detail of petty federalism.

- We need one form of ballot for those offices, no butterflies, no esthetic tampering. One form that a child learns in fourth grade and that doesn't change for as long as our form of government doesn't change. President, Vice-President, Congressman, Senator. One ballot for each office if there are that many candidates in a district but one form that is as familiar to a voter as a Lincoln penny.

- We need those ballots to be on paper, marked clearly by hand with an X or a check mark, either a valid mark. One ballot form, one thing for the voter to do. Both have worked for decades and there is no reason to fool with it.

- We need them to be counted by hand with observers from all parties. Those ballots are to be counted honestly, everywhere, every time. If local officials can't run a clean election it will be run by a higher level of government. If you don't like that, look at those clean, honest, simple and quick elections they've got in Canada run by Elections Canada. You can go to their web site and see how those practical people have managed simple methods for dealing with problems of disabled voters. Look now before the Conservative government starts trying to copy cat the United States to steal elections for themselves.

No electronic voting for the federal constitutional offices is to be tolerated. We have seen that electronic voting and vote tabulation is certain to give an inaccurate count and that's even when it isn't rigged to steal the election.

The results of two stolen presidential elections in a row are all the proof anyone needs that a crooked election gives us a crooked government. We might get a crook in an honest election, we are certain to get one from a crooked election. The elections of 2000 and 2004 have given us the disaster of Iraq and will produce at least one more disaster, probably in Iran. The Republicans who stole these elections are costing us in blood, in honor and in money. We cannot afford to nickel and dime democracy, the cost is staggeringly high if we continue to cheat ourselves out of honest elections.

Computers and modern research have allowed the Republican Party to destroy the last and best hope for a free people to govern themselves. We aren't living in an age where genteel comity and a bit of indulgence of petty theft can be smiled at. If the DC-NY scribblers and the law professors had the blood of their children and themselves at risk they might see it more clearly. There is nothing ironically amusing about it.

What If We Dodge The Bullet?

First posted Wednesday, June 14, 2006 at my first blog, olvlzl

What if they lose? What if the congress investigates the crimes of the Bush regime and those are stopped? What if things go back to normal? After what we've seen the past forty years, if things can go back to normal it won't be a blessed relief, it will be a disaster. Our recent history proves that we have fatal problems in the foundation of the American government.

Our elections have to be fixed, not just returned to c. 1964. We have to secure the vote, from before it is cast to counting to reporting the results to their fulfillment. No elections official, secretary of state, or judge can ever be allowed to prevent another legal ballot being cast or counted or made to count. The sleazy behavior we've seen from every level from elections clerk to Supreme Court and the Executive wouldn't be tolerated in a real democracy. A democracy needs it to be an impeachable crime for a Supreme Court Justice to say that a Citizen of the United States does not have a right to vote. That is a fundamental contradiction of the role of the court in a democracy. Anyone who believes that has no place on our court or in our government.

The media, and today that means the electronic media, have to have their self-interested biases exposed and it's pollution scrubbed out of our politics. They have to be forced to perform the public service they promised, including standards of fairness. Broadcast stations must provide real news, including local news, which has to be unbiased and fair. And as a comment here yesterday said, without diverse ownership of the media, they won't serve the entire public.

The cable "news" channels have betrayed the public's trust even more flagrantly than broadcast, spreading lies effective enough to start the most idiotic and dangerous war of our history. We will pay the cost of their lies for decades, in blood as well as money.

They also aided the Bush putsch of 2000 and the earlier scheme to remove a genuinely elected President on trumped up charges and lies. Pretending that a rogue cable industry isn't a danger to freedom has to stop. Anyone who defends them on their crimes against democracy is a dupe or a profiteer. Put them under the same public service requirements as broadcast media. Media passes itself off as the voice of the people, then let them show it by putting the public before their investors and owners.

Recent history proves that self-government can't depend on leaving it to chance. Laissez faire democracy dies and the death is never a natural one. It lets the powerful and wealthy swamp the Peoples's voice almost all of the time. In the same comments mentioned above, it was pointed out that the Supreme Court rulings making corporations artificial people made that all the more true.

Our government is always presented as having three branches, those are where almost all of the pitiful efforts at reform are concentrated. And that hasn't worked, we have the most dishonest government of our lifetimes. Putting patches on the process to make it a level field is unrealistic to the level of willful blindness. Powerful interests have power. They will always win when they have equal access to the process and own the media. The handful of examples where individuals or small groups win over the big guy make for sentimental TV movies, using them as proof that the system works is calculated dishonesty.

If the People are neglected then it all goes wrong. They won't even show up to vote. That step isn't a naive social studies lesson that you stop thinking about after the test in fourth grade. You don't go on to the higher study of civics and leave it behind. There is nothing higher in a democracy that the People, there is no act of government more important than their Vote. Abraham Lincoln, one of the real founders of the country we live in today, gave the formula for it. You know it by heart. He didn't mention the congress, the executive or the high church of the judiciary. He said that the enormous sacrifice of the American People in the Civil War was so that government of the People, by the People, and for the People shall not perish from the earth.

Any aftermath of the Bush II disaster that doesn't include changes to these laws will be just the beginning of the next time. Not securing the Vote, the will of the People; and forcing their own chosen responsibilities on the media, the only guarantee of an informed and realistic Vote, is a welcome mat for the next would-be dictator. Any liberal, leftist, Democrat, independent, even "moderate" Republican who lets two years go by without enacting real electoral and media reform had better beware. It's just a matter of waiting before the same coalition of corporate interests, bigots, oligarchs and haters tries again. They might be as slow and stealthy as they were this time, buying up media, using it to spread lies that "more speech" can't drown out, but they'll make a come back.

Post Script 2016.  They didn't fix it then, maybe we can do better now, though not without people insisting that it be fixed.  Clearly the Republicans are at least as dangerous as they were then and the Roberts court even more dangerous, especially if a Republican appoints Scalia's replacement.