Saturday, August 13, 2016

Busy Week, Not Much Time To Listen To Radio Plays So Here's Something Short

I didn't get a chance to choose a radio play to post this week , I'll try to get to that in a day or so. Here's another episode from the CBC series The Mystery Project,  Clean Sweep by Alf Silver

I like how they make use a minimum of sound to create the settings.  It also reminds me a lot of what my town used to be like fifty years ago.   Clean Sweep was one of my favorite of the radio mysteries. If they issued the series on CD I'd certainly consider buying it.  I wish the CBC would rebroadcast the whole series.

And, instead of a  second play, here's another piece of Quebecois accordion music, with fiddle and guitar from The Nite Show from Bangor, Maine.

The Yves Lambert Trio on The Nite Show with Danny Cashman

Yves Lambert, accordion
Tommy Gauthier, fiddle
Olivier Rondeau, guitar

Reel St-Renard - Éric Gagné

I needed that.

Reel from the repertoire of Gilles Paré played by Éric Gagné at the Festival Folklorique of St-Edmond de Grantham in August, 2010.

Hate Mail - I Don't Do The Olympics

I don't like the International Olympic Committee, I think it's essentially an organized criminal outfit which uses young athletes and a line of hooey about the moral stature and integrity of such competition to cover up their bribery and shake-down operation.

If it's going to continue some of the major economic powers which participate in it at a high level ought to get together, come up with one permanent location per continent on which each of the spectacles, summer and winter could be held and rotate among those locations as to where they could be held.  Olympic officials should not be able to, through corruption, bribery and asserting political pressure, be able to gull local governments into building ridiculously expensive facilities and infrastructure, often harming, especially, poor people who live there.   When I read that one of the requirements of the Olympic thugs in their attempted shake down of Boston was that there be a lane on highways reserved for their exclusive use in the period during and around the spectacle, that was the last straw for me.   Local officials are such dupes for them, only I suspect that, the Olympics being such a ridiculous waste of public funds, there has to be some kind of corruption involved in most places on most rounds of cities begging to be selected.

Anyway.   I looked around and this was the only time I mentioned the Olympics before now that I could find, and it was the most cursory of mentions.  But, re-reading it after all these years,  I liked it enough to repost it this morning.  Originally published at Echidne of the Snakes.

Also, little Bowser (not my dog's name) is better, this morning.  I honestly thought I'd be digging his grave by now, which, in the heat we've been having, probably would have made it necessary for someone to dig mine.  I'm going back to bed before he decides to have a relapse.

Note:  I've taken out a number of links that don't work anymore. I think I got all of those, though Echidne's blog uses what turns into a low contrast color on my browser for those.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Stephen Hawking On God [Anthony McCarthy]

Someone has asked me what, as a religious person, my reaction to Stephen Hawking’s reported recent declarations on God is. I haven’t read his book so I can only react to what’s been reported.

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," Hawking writes.

"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."

The public life of Stephen Hawking sometimes reminds me of Olympic figure skating in the United States, something which is, periodically, the topic of the day or even week, only to then go into eclipse. In the mean time everyone, even people who have no knowledge of the sport, is supposed to have a strongly held opinion on it. Even if they have no idea why. With Stephen Hawking, it was alien invasion, the time before this.

Hawking's logic on aliens is, for him, unusually simple. The universe, he points out, has 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved.

"To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational," he said. "The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like."

The answer, he suggests, is that most of it will be the equivalent of microbes or simple animals - the sort of life that has dominated Earth for most of its history.

The logical response to which is, who knows? There isn’t any way of knowing the first thing about that topic until at least the first example of extra-terrestrial life is verified and studied sufficiently. And, given the distances and the time it would take to travel them, that would be only the first example which we shouldn’t be expecting to get under our analytical tools any time soon. And even that won’t give you any information that can tell you about the next, proximate, example. As of this morning, the likelihood that people will ever have enough information about the prevalence of extraterrestrial life to even come to a crude excuse for an estimate of its probability, would seem to be very remote. You can’t figure a probability of there being any other life in the universe without at least one other example being known. We don’t have that today and so anything that even the very clever Mr. Hawking says on that topic is complete speculation

In view of his statements on the topic, Hawking even venturing so far as to declare an informal probability of it constitutes a lapse of logic on his part. Hawking’s speculation that “other life” could be very unlike ours and exist in environments entirely different than our biosphere, undermines the argument from the discovery of other planets like ours, at least in terms of probability being applied to it. For all we know our form of life could be unique in the universe. There could be, literally, not a single other terrestrial kind of life anywhere. It is possible that the life on Earth is the first to arise and develop or that it is the only instance in which life will ever arise and develop, that is if Hawking’s cosmology is correct and the universe isn’t in some kind of stable state. So what finding Earth style planets would mean to the question isn’t knowable. Perhaps its due to his habits developed in physics, dealing with objects and systems far, far more simple than organisms and the environments in which they arise, evolve and live, but the simplification in Hawking’s analysis is stunningly inadequate even as scientific or mathematical speculation.

There being, literally, no data on that topic that is known to be relevant to the problem, it is not science, it is not mathematical probability, it isn’t logic. There being no information known to be relevant to the issue, it’s not even an informed guess, it’s a wild shot in the dark, one probably based firmly in Hawking’s personal experiences and preferences and fears.

Personally, I’m in the school that believes life that could survive intelligence and go out into the wider universe would have to be pacifistic or they’d have destroyed themselves before then. I also believe they would have to have a non-acquisitive way of life or their taste in even petty luxury would have destroyed their environment. They would have to be unselfish in a way that, perhaps, only our most sainted figures approach. Perhaps our wanderlust is the product of our irrational need to acquire things we don’t need and the pleasure we get from subjugating and, in many cases, destroying other life. Maybe a form of life with another chemistry or another development wouldn’t find any reason to travel past where they live onward into eons of time while species such as our own uniformly destroy ourselves before we get very far. Being biased, I think the matter of our survival is ever so much more important and interesting than the question of the origin of the universe. Which is unscientific of me, I suppose, though there are scientists who do concern themselves with that unglamorous and, temporarily, inconvenient issue.


Looking on one of the cookie cutter new atheist blogs in preparation of this post, I saw pretty much what I expected to see, Stephen Hawking’s baseless speculation on the subject of whether or not God was “necessary” to the start of the universe cited as a reliable authority on the subject. Which is pretty funny in view of this quotation from an interview with Diane Sawyer.

"There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works."

Why is anyone paying attention to what Stephen Hawkings or most other scientists say about religion except on the basis of their presumed authority? And it’s the flimsiest kind of authority on the topic, based in a reputation gained in an entirely different field of study. As far as I have been able to see, Stephen Hawking has never published a scholarly paper on the subject in a reviewed journal so it’s not even passed that level of testing. Perhaps if he had tried his ideas in that academic realm he might have avoided limiting himself to one, very crude assumption about religious thinking, believing that all of it is as unaware of the vicissitudes of the study of religious questions as he obviously is. Here is just one example of that.

Anyone who has read even a little of the rigorous, formal literature around various religions, would know that the contemporary critics of religion almost never have the slightest knowledge of what serious people have said on the topic. Which is another of the dangers of people who believe their opinions carry the weight of authoritative knowledge and even more so those who take them as authorities when they only confirm their biases.


That a physicist, studying aspects of the physical universe doesn’t find anything except the physical universe is hardly a shocker. The very methods necessary for any reputable publication of science rigorously exclude questions not relevant to address the physical nature of the subject matter. Any part of any presumed supernatural is necessarily excluded from that consideration. You might as well say that due process under the law isn’t logically necessary to the findings. That one predisposed to find confirmation of their atheism in that most un-supernatural realm should believe they have found it is only slightly less surprising. What tops it off is to hear him cited as an authority on the topic of religion in the same blog posts and articles where he condemns religion as the realm of authority based thinking which he claims his own profession doesn’t practice. Clearly he impeaches himself on that point, his sciency fan club only confirms that negation of that proud claim.

In the last few years, in what free time I get, I’ve been reading about epistemology a bit, specifically the epistemology of science. One of the more interesting and, when you think about it, obvious things pointed out in my reading is that all of the apparatus of science, mathematics and logic are formed by us in order to gain a sense of coherency of the world and the universe. Not a single law of science is anything other than the product of human thought. Not a single one of them has been developed except within a realm which excludes everything but what we can discover of the physical universe. I believe that exclusion is based in our experience and the extension of our logic, which, itself, is a means to address our experience of the physical universe. Whether or not it is the result of favorable adaptations in our evolution is a far, far more speculative, and I hold, unanswerable question, but we’ve pointed out the problems with that wildly popular attempt to extend science past the requirements of evidence many times here.

But, as seen in Hawkins’ declaration, the laws of science are habitually held to be an actual, unmitigated, feature of the universe, existing independently of us when there isn’t any way to confirm that. Perhaps if we ever encounter “other life” we will find they have other ways to make sense of it. Our laws are held “to work”, and they generally do within their limits. Integral to the invention and practice of sciences was the strict limitation of what was under consideration at any point in the process and the claims made for it in real world applications *

Part of the predictable response to Hawking’s pronouncements has been people raising questions about our lives and experience of the universe which are, decidedly, not physical in nature. One of those was the question of a purpose to the universe, which is a question that science can’t deal with. The entirely predictable response to that was to declare the question to be nonsense.**  Well, it isn’t nonsense, it’s as understandable a question as any. That science can’t come up with an answer to it doesn’t change that. It is as much a part of human culture as science is to ask questions like that, to speculate about them, to come up with different answers to it and for our understanding of that purpose to change over time. Mimicking the discontinued philosophical fad of logical positivism to dismiss questions you don’t like doesn’t seem to stop the questions. For which I am very thankful.

It seems to be an emotional need of the new atheists to believe they have disposed of the question of purpose but most people seem to be unimpressed with that artificial substitute for reason. And that’s only one of the questions that we, mere mortals, have about the universe which we find ourselves in. I am more convinced as I see us destroying ourselves, to a large degree with the products of science and technology, that unless we include questions of purpose, justice, rights, morality and other entirely non-scientific features of human thought and culture, that science is inadequate in itself to ensure our continued existence.

We are bound by our own mental equipment, our cultural and educationally established habits of thought and other features of our lives as thinking animals. In no other realm of human activity is this as true as in academic publication and in no part of that does the subject matter run up against the limits of those conditions more so than in physics. The laws of physics are human explanations to ourselves of what we perceive of the universe. That is a basic feature of those laws. Even the concept of a “law” of science is conditioned in that way. As long as those laws are limited to the address of the physical universe for which they are developed, yes, they often do seem to work, though often within a given context. Therefore, it’s especially surprising to see as subtle a thinker as Stephen Hawking mistakenly believing that they can be extended past that use and into areas which science has not gone and can never go. Even assuming that his theory of the universe stands -- which isn’t anything like a settled question if other equally eminent physicists are to be taken seriously -- they don’t get to what happened before the creation of the universe. Indeed, that question is so opaque that to talk of it as “before” goes beyond what is covered under those same laws.

A passage in the Book of Isaiah that often comes to mind when thinking about this topic, is when God is said to have said, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,". Whatever else people have held about God, no matter how much of our limited minds and thoughts and even our crimes and injustices we have attributed to God, even the most anthropomorphic religion holds that God is not a human being. To think that God would be required to follow our laws of science or, indeed, any possible actual mechanisms of a universe created by God, is rather touchingly naive in a way that even the “ignorant goat herders” who are believed by the incredulous to have written the Bible were able to surpass.

In a brief encounter about this on another blog, I pointed out that Stephen Hawking has no more expertise on the question of God than the woman who runs the grain store down the road from me. One of the people who responded to that mockingly refereed to her, someone he didn’t know other than in that passing reference, as an “ignorant church lady”. Well, I know her and she’s far from ignorant and, as far as I remember, hasn’t gone to church since her husband’s funeral. Even if she had, she’d still know as much about the question as any other human being. Somehow, in that response, I think I gained a greater understanding of Stephen Hawking’s declaration and its position in our culture than in all of the other thinking I did about it for this post.

* As is seen all around us, in the destruction of our environment, the pollution of our bodies with synthetic and natural toxins provided by commerce and in hundreds of other ways, this lapse in the scientific oversight of the application of the products of science is anything but an idealistic and rigorous process of considering important issues.

** If the question of possible purpose in nature is meaningless because science is unequipped to deal with it, the question of extra-terrestrial life would have to, up to now, be as meaningless because science is unequipped to deal with it.  In fact, you would have to say the same about any question that science is unequipped to deal with.  I would imagine that Stephen Hawking and the rest of the new atheist writers would be very unhappy if any questions of, say, copyright infringement impinging on their income from their books were thrown out of court on such a basis of meaninglessness.  Only, then, it being their interests, they would carve out an area where their rules determining "meaninglessness" would be held to not apply.  That is the kind of exception of convenience which is constantly being carved out by atheists in these matters.

Update 2016:  Apparently several hundred people have been interested in what I have to say about Stephen Hawking's lapses in logic.  Both in 2010 and in 2016.   I can always count on your reading disorder to prevent you getting what I said.  Maybe it's a variation on the Baron Munchausen syndrome, your insistence on lying about what other people have said in order to get attention for yourself.  

Friday, August 12, 2016

Hate Mail - I Don't Follow David Gorski aka "Orac" And Don't Much Care What He Thinks

I will though say if I had to choose to be in the shape he is in as opposed to Michael Phelps, I'd choose the swimmer over the CSI- ScienceBlog hack, "Orac".  I would hold that anyone who wouldn't rather be in Michael Phelps' condition is irrational enough to be fairly considered mentally ill.  Whatever the two are doing, what Phelps has chosen certainly doesn't seem to have had worse results than what Gorski has. 

Don't get me wrong, I agree with a lot of what Gorski has written about the most blatant of pseudo-scientific medical and health quackery but one of his worst habits is that he has no ability to distinguish among the massively harmful and the merely innocuous or the even possibly valid.  That is because for him, as for his fellow pseudo-skeptics, it's a violation of their 19th century materialist religious faith.  

And there is much of what he has written that is far less than factually based.  I know for a fact that some of what he has written is false and he has a massive, ego-driven refusal to acknowledge when he gets it wrong, no matter how much evidence you give him to the contrary.   As one of his fellow materialists who is certainly not one of my buddies said to me, "He is a surgeon, after all."  

He also has the same kind of macho-ego-driven sense of anti-persuasion that, on his worst days, could give Donald Trump a run for the title.   His cult of fans are not those who might be persuaded to his point of view, they are the ones who already hold it, most of them in even more true-believing ignorance than many of their opponents.  Orac and the boys love to yuck it up among themselves, using derision and mockery instead of reason and rational argument.  In the several interactions I had with him in the past, I found him to be, essentially, an ass who preached to the already true believers who claim they aren't true believers.   His perch on the "ScienceBlogs" is no guarantee of reliability.  That platform hasn't been any guarantee of consistent quality in what gets put out there.

Update:  Irrelevant.  I doubt Mahler really intended the forces for his 8th symphony to be a thousand combined musicians and singers.  As I recall it was the impresario who came up with the "Symphony of A Thousand" label.  I can guarantee you that not only has Mahler's 8th been performed more than the one occasion you believe you are goading me with, many more times, but that it will also be played many more times, long after the generation that reveres David Bowie has passed.   I don't care if a thousand people get together to play Bowie's music, if that's what they want to do, as long as I don't have to hear it.

I'm not, by the way, a huge fan of Mahler's orchestral music, I prefer his vocal writing.

Update 2:  I'm convinced you have a reading disorder that makes you see what you want to see instead of what's there.  Either that or a personality disorder, though you could have both.  You don't think in ideas, you think in pre-made Colorforms that you rearrange on a board.

The Exchange With The Masked Boy Continues

Bobs_Vendetta  Anthony_McCarthy • 7 hours ago
OKay, I get that you will go on pretending that you are progressive, instead of being a neoliberal neocon, while putting down actual progressives. That's how Clinton Democrats roll. We've been seeing that for years. But you can take your lie about the left and "their affection for foreign dictators who are not democratically elected" and stuff it in the hole left by the integrity you long since abandoned.

For the Senate: Bernie Sanders, Jeff Merkley, Tom Udall, Elizabeth Warren, Brian Schatz, a few other possibilities I don't know well.
For the House: Peter Welch, Keith Ellison, Barbara Lee, Peter DeFazio, Jim McGovern, Raul Grijalva, Zoe Lofgren, and no doubt several others with whom I am unfamiliar.
For President: Bernie Sanders. Against all odds, and despite the opposition of the entire Democratic Party establishment, he likely would have won if not for widespread voter suppression which targeted his supporters and widespread election fraud in states with electronic voting machines and no paper trail.

Anthony_McCarthy  Bobs_Vendetta • in 3 minutes
You will notice that, with his change of registration to run for president, all of the above are Democrats who have endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, which would, by your silly act of definition, make them "neo-liberal neocons". They are all "Clinton Democrats".

Bernie Sanders didn't get the nomination, he lost it by more than three million votes.

My political positions put me to the left of Bernie Sanders, I would certainly have liked him to have had a chance of being elected, I would have preferred Elizabeth Warren to have been president but she, realistically, knew that in the circumstances at hand, she would not likely have won the nomination and she would have had less of a chance at being elected.

I am also far to the left of you and the play leftists because the only real leftist politics is done through gaining political office, changing laws and policies for the better, implementing those making actual improvements in lives and appointing people to the judiciary who will not undermine or destroy that progress. Reality is real and it is what defines the actual limits of who is the most left at any given time. Only real progress in making lives better on a basis that can be sustained is what a real left is defined by. Play-lefties never do that, they are merely the most lefty in the room in their fantasy, not reality. Where they have exerted themselves in elections, they have lost those, which is why such people only really gain control of governments by anti-democratic means.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Exchange With A Dope In A V for Vendetta Mask

Bobs_Vendetta • 13 hours ago
Clinton is a neoliberal neocon. Kaine is also a neoliberal neocon. Period.

That you see a lot of self-described liberals touting the liberal credentials (excuse me, the preferred word nowadays is "progressive") of Clinton and now Kaine says more about the moral and ideological bankruptcy of much of today's political left than it does about the Democratic Party ticket.

Most Democrats today in congress, and in the national party apparatus, are neoliberals and neocons. Not only are they not liberal or progressive -- except maybe in a token way on social issues -- they are actually to the right of old-fashioned conservatives. (Of course, today's Republican Party is waaay to the right of old-fashioned conservatives.) The Democratic Party hasn't been a liberal party in many years. The party has been dominated by neoliberals at least since Bill Clinton. Although most of the party opposed the neocon foreign policy introduced by Cheney (with Bush going along) when Republicans were in charge, most Democrats became neocons once it was a Democratic administration doing the bombing and interrogating.

That strong support exists among the American people for a strong liberal (or progressive) party became obvious in 2016. However, the neoliberal neocon forces which dominate the party resorted to widespread voter suppression and outright election fraud to make sure the neoliberal neocon agenda remained the driving force of the party.
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Anthony_McCarthy  Bobs_Vendetta • 13 hours ago
List the people you approve of who have been elected to the Congress, the presidency, Governorships or even state legislatures. Who can get elected is the real limit of how liberal a liberal can get elected, not some litmus test by someone who likes to dress up and wear masks and play pretend as seen in a movie.
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Bobs_Vendetta  Anthony_McCarthy • 8 hours ago
One of the most salient characteristics of Clinton supporters is an attitude dripping with self-righteousness, reveling in put downs and character assaults. They get this, of course, from the candidate herself and her close supporters, as well as her media surrogates (many of them former journalists).
I might have a modicum of respect for people like you if you all had the integrity to call yourselves neoliberals and neocons instead of bandying about the word "progressive" as though it still meant anything in your hands. If you could discuss the issues without childish taunts that would be an added plus.
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Anthony_McCarthy  Bobs_Vendetta • in 3 minutes
One of the most salient features of lefty puritans is that they can't win public office in the United States and they carp and complain most about the most liberal people who can win public office, enabling the least liberal people who can do that. Winning public office defines the boundaries of political possibility in a democracy at any given time. Another salient feature of them is their affection for foreign dictators who are not democratically elected, who do not rule democratically and who violate every aspect of their puritanism which they would scream mightily about if someone ruled their own country that way, either that or their insane anarchism which would put exactly those kinds of people in power as they took control in the vacuum of civil authority.

Lefty puritans are the most hypocritical of people who are allegedly of the left, supporting some of the worst dictators of the 20th century who violate every alleged article of their professed political morality. It's OK as long as it isn't they whose rights are violated.

Many of us have given that nonsense up to face reality and what is possible instead of what makes us feel good in our fantasy play-time.

Oh, and I notice you haven't come up with a list of actual, office holding, politicians as I asked. It's because you can't because your guys can't win.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sick Dog Notice

I have a very sick 15 year old dog to care for so I will not be writing any new pieces for a day or more. I will try to post other content which is worth listening to or reading or fun. 

I think I'll start with some relevant fun, something to annoy some appropriate people.  

Jaytee A Dog Who Knew When His Person Was Coming Home

A short paper on the Jaytee experiments.

A video about Richard Wiseman's failed attempt to "debunk" the research

And an article by Rupert Sheldrake showing that Richard Wiseman misrepresented his own experimental data which replicated Sheldrake's positive results.  

I don't think the materialists will either read or understand the reports of the data or even the videos documenting that one of their stars lied about it, repeatedly and his lies were reported in the media without question.

And, since James Randi also lied about this research:

Real Politics Isn't Having A Tantrum And Insisting That People Do What Can't Be Done, Especially When You Helped Make It Impossible

There is still junk in the lefty magazines discouraging people from voting for Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, here is my answer to a piece appearing yesterday on In These Times.


What if they are the most progressive people who can be elected in the United States in 2016? Looking at the list of presidents and of who won and who lost in the past half century would be instructive about what is possible at any given time. Politicians either try to figure out what is possible and how they can win office to do it or they take stands that lose them elections and they never get to do what they wanted to, no matter how good that sounded.

If other liberals don't like that, and I don't, the fault lies primarily with the permission given to the media to lie us into a state where liberalism has been so vilified, so demonized, so heaped with hate that any politician who wants to do what can be done will not support the In These Times agenda because it can't win. And the permission given to the media to lie us into this state was a direct result of pseudo-leftist, media hired, media libertarians such as Joel Gora and the ACLU. If you want politics in which liberals can win, in which liberal ideas can win you elections, the media will have to stop getting to tell the lies that have lied us into this position, the media which has so corrupted any good-will out of enough voters that a Donald Trump could get a major party nomination. Nixon failed to win the election in 1960, he won the next election after the Sullivan Decision gave a carte blanche to the media to lie. When Reagan won in 1980, he, with the support of "civil libertarians" gutted the remnants of requirements for responsibility placed on the media, the remains of what presidents, starting with Herbert Hoover had come up with to prevent media from producing self-serving tyranny.

Blaming Clinton and Kaine for being realistic about what is politically possible and what isn't is just plain stupid. They've got the choice between facing those possibilities, winning office and doing what they can or never getting elected to office and watching the Republicans doing what they do.

Wow, I Never Thought Gordon Humphrey Could Surprise Me With His Grasp Of Reality

Former Senator Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire has done something that shocked me, he has said that Donald Trump is deranged and unsuited to be president of the United States,   Donald Trump is so deranged that the irrational Republicans of two decades ago find him frighteningly irrational.   Gordon Humphrey was among the most dangerous of Republicans or the Reagan-Bush I era, a figure in the William Lobe - Meldrlm Thomson dark age of New Hampshire, and Donald Trump has got him worried enough that he's speaking out. 

Unlike some, I'm hoping Donald Trump stays in because the Republican Party which enabled things to get this bad deserves to ride that Titanic to the political bottom.   Look at the roster of A-lister Republicans who are backing him to the hilt, with all of the insanity he's been spouting. 

Hate Mail - What You Don't Know About Classical Musicians Is Pretty Much Everything

Having worked in classical music for my entire adult life and back into my adolescence, I think I could probably count the number of conservatives I encountered on one or at most two hands, with fingers to spare.   And that goes for the best of them as well as the most struggling of them.  I doubt you couldn't come up with quite a list of those people in rock and other pop venues who have, in the past or still, support the worst of Republicans and other conservatives.  Your hero, Mick Jagger, is one for that list.

Appearance: Dorian Gray's portrait trying to walk across a rope bridge in a gale.

Finally, we get to shake up Pass notes with some old-fashioned rock'n'roll rebellion. What has Jagger got up to this time? Sex? Drugs? Close. He's just publicly declared his admiration for Margaret Thatcher.

Ironically, right? Like when Brian Jones dressed up as a Nazi? No. Unironically, like when the Nazis dressed up as Nazis.

Fine. What did he say about her? "In the 80s or early 90s I met her a couple of times. I don't want to talk about what we talked about, especially now that everybody else is blabbing about her."

But? "But ... I was slightly surprised by all the people that were still so anti her and had all this residual resentment."

What? Mick Jagger is a secret Conservative? Who knew? Well, in fairness, probably everyone.

Lord Mick being a right-winger is no shock, considering what the messaging of his music has been from the start, "ME, ME, ME, ME, ME!" but, then, that's pretty much what rock devolved into.  You can contrast Little Milton's love songs which were all about loving someone else.

While Benjamin Franklin got it pretty much right that man who falls in love with himself will have no rivals, a man who gives other men permission to fall in love with themselves while walking all over other people will be a hero to them.  You would seem to be part of that fan club.

It doesn't come as any shock to me that he was a student at The London School of Economics, which was founded by a bunch of Fabian aristocratic assholes, to tie it in with recent posts.  Beatrice Webb ("I am the cleverst of the cleverest") Sydney Webb, George Bernard Shaw.....  I'm not surprised that the place would have had someone like him as a student or that he'd turn out to be a Thatcher admirer.  I wouldn't be surprised to find out he's got a lot more in common with Ted Nugent than you'd ever want to believe possible.

I am sure you can find some classical musician who might fit in with the same crowd but, off hand, I can't think of anyone in a similar position during my lifetime who would fit the bill.  I'd guess you'd have to look to some Nazis or the such to come up with much of a list.  And they'd be exceptions to the rule, even during that era.

My guess is everything you know about classical music you learned from Buggs Bunny cartoons.

Update:  Stupy, are you so far gone that you don't remember NOT having written what I'm responding to in this post?   Are you such an egomaniac that you can't even remember the stupid things you haven't said, making them yours?

Update 2:  Let me guess, that irrelevant pun was one you read written by someone else in some publication published in New York City.

Donald Trump Didn't Come From Nowhere His Candidacy Is A Product Of The Intentionally Inoculated Rotting of Democracy

In a campaign which has been nothing except one disturbing comment, one disturbing incident after another, Donald Trump's not very veiled threat of assassination against Hillary Clinton and judges she might appoint has topped his previous recklessness.  That is it was reckless unless inciting assassination and insurrection was not his intention, I would say the cumulative effect of his campaign makes it being unintended something which has to be proved as the more improbable alternative.

As disturbing as the fact that a major party candidate who has a real chance of becoming president, one who has the endorsement of the Republican Congressional leadership, the endorsement of many Republican governors and legislators on the state level, many senior figures in the Republican party, the fact that he has a very large number of supporters in the voting public is even more disturbing and dangerous.

I think one of the problem I'm seeing is that people are still using the conditional "if" to describe what is going on, falsely minimizing what is the obvious message that Donald Trump's candidacy holds.  It isn't "if what we are worrying about" isn't possible, it is the fact that since it is entirely possible that people so encouraged will kill people, as seen in the assassinations of our recent history, of politicians, judges, law enforcement officials,  encouraging them is a clear and present danger, not merely a worry.

Since his supporters using guns to kill people or terrorize them into giving them their own way is the danger - and in the United States that includes some of the most deadly guns put into the hands of even the mentally ill, as learned in Orlando and the Sandy Hook school in Connecticut and in myriad other places - they are dangerous to us all.   Since their paranoia, their lack of moral restraint could be used to entice them to kill presidents and judges, they are a danger to us all.  Since they could well be ready to gun down the highest officials in the country, they would certainly be ready to kill common citizens.   We have no Secret Service or Federal Marshals to protect anyone some lunatic,  against the regime of gun violence which has been made the law of the land at the behest of the National Rifle Association and other front groups for the gun industry.  AND FOR THE PURPOSE OF GAINING POLITICAL POWER.

Merely removing Donald Trump as the Republican nominee won't dispel the danger which politicians and media figures have brought us to through gradual accretions of irresponsibility and lies., paranoia incited and nurtured through hate-talk radio, cabloid and broadcast media, nurtured to enhance the electoral chances of some of our worst politicians and assisted by partisan justices on the Supreme Court.   I wouldn't be surprised if those in the Republican Party who might do that aren't worried that what they have made could turn against them if they tried it.   They are the ones who have created this monster that threatens us.   Donald Trump may be an outlier in major party presidential candidates, his rhetoric has gotten many Republicans elected to lower office and cannot honestly be called surprising in its irresponsibility and vehemence when we are talking about how Republicans talk in 2016.  Susan Collins, the fraudulent "moderate" Republican Senator of Maine took until this week to say she won't vote for him.  But she has endorsed the not much different Paul LePage for governor of Maine, twice, despite him saying stuff that is not much different.

The legal theorists who, in its fascist federalist wing and its fully invested libertarian wing, have invented and made the legal theories allowing both the regime of lies, paranoia and the massive irresponsibility behind this.  The federalist fascists of legal theory have trained a generation of hacks to fill judgeships and Supreme Court seats to put this into place, the libertarians of the "free speech" "free press" industry have given them the slogans to use to free the media to embed those into the minds of the susceptible.   Together, they have made all of this possible.   No less than those paid liars of the gun industry, the legal hacks in the pay of the media have a crucial role in producing this.  Turn on the radio, AM or FM, turn on cable and you will hear the poison flowing, freely.  That is how we got here, we won't get out of here as long as that continues.  The evidence of where it came from, what made Donald Trump into a presidential candidate with a real chance of being the president in January came from the media freed of its reponsibility to tell the truth.  He is the product of a media which 24-7-365 encourages the ignorance, paranoia, the cynicism of the American People, appealing to the worst in us, discouraging the better angels of our nature in every way that can make them money and win their owners power.

Update:  The accusation is that I merely copied Charlie Pierce.   I generally don't read Pierce every day and I certainly went farther than he did.  I will point out that a.  The time stamp on my piece is 7:40 this morning.  I don't have a TV or cable so I couldn't have watched the interview mentioned in the story.   Had it taken place by then?  b. I don't read the NYT regularly and I've used up the free articles I can read this month, so I couldn't have read Friedman.  c. I think my piece was probably written before Pierce wrote his.  I wouldn't accuse him of having copied what I wrote - I doubt he's aware of my existence but the reasoning in your accusation would mean he owes me a citation, though I doubt, very much he actually does.  I don't really care, it's not as if I'm going to benefit from it.  If and when I start begging for money for writing this blog, and it could come to that, I'll let you know.

I think any rational person would have come the same conclusions we have in common,  I doubt, very much, that even an iconoclast such as Charles Pierce would slam the ACLU, Joel Gura or the American media in the way I did.  He works for it, I don't.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

My Last Word On The Topic, For Now

It was the great playwright August Wilson, as I recall, who pointed out that in the movie Crossroads, it was a white teenager whose life experience was that of a privileged white boy. Julliard Student (is there any other music school, ever, in Hollywood products?)  who, in the movie, was assigned the task of outshining the old Willie Brown, a great blues man with enormous life experience, to ransom the old man's soul from the devil's bargain he'd had to make to gain his virtuosity.   Let's just say that the movie is more of a revealing personality profile of a certain kind of white person's view of black artists than it is anything about the blues.   White teen from an elite school, who never HAD TO make a deal with the devil, outdoes old black man who had to, the old man's vast life experience and skill were presented as inferior to the teenage conservatory student's.  

I don't think I have any more to add to it than what Wilson said except that his analysis means entirely more than the opinion of the white film critics who loved the thing.  I have to admit I hadn't noticed that as I saw it on TV.   I was too busy being annoyed by what it presented about the musical world.   As I recall, I was annoyed that the white kid got top billing.

Hate Mail - We Need A Real Left Which Is Ready To Leave The Stuff That Never Works Behind

I first went online, I think, sometime in the late 90s.   I really don't remember when it happened.  I do know that my time online increased quite a bit around 2001 and I began, almost immediately, to encounter "the left" online, to a large extent the same "left" I'd read in the lefty magazines  - I used to subscribe to five, if you count the defunct Maine Times  you can get it up to six and I was quite familiar with the formal, edited form of that "left".

Encountering it self-published, unedited and unmoderated on websites and their comment threads, was quite a shock for me.   Somehow, in reading the "left" on paper, it seemed to be far freer, far more contingent in its judgement, far less rigid than I found it to be translated into the assertions of a large percentage of those I read online where peer pressure seemed to dictate the allowable boundaries.  That is remarkable, in itself, because the universe of those lefties available online is certainly many times  larger than those I read from the 1960s through the 90s and beyond.  It was as if the larger the sample was, the more rigidly conformist it seemed to me.  It was, perhaps, that what I'd assumed was the presentation of ideas you were free to adopt or reject was presented as a required normative point of view, allowing for no forgiveness of dissent.   While that wouldn't have surprised me on righty sites, it took me a while to get used to it on the "left".

I had encountered that in some of the flakier Marxists I'd met before. some of whom volunteered to serve as the basis of the stereotype of those who insisted on following the party-line of "political correctness" before that term came to mean that racists and sexists and gay-bashers got to spout their hate publicly.  What the Trump fascists are so worked up about.  I even met some Maoists who insisted on the world being as according to what The Chairman said.  But, both off and online I encountered people who didn't buy that stuff anymore than I did but the number of those who bought and sold it was quite a shock.  I would say that it accounts for most of the alleged, online, left.

Count me as among those who refuse to go along with some prescribed normative POV, kow-towing to someone getting pissy about it is more likely to provide just another reason to refuse to go along, so I didn't.  And I am naturally rather ornery in such circumstances.

In viewing that unexpected level of conformity I started to suspect it was a lot more dangerous to the left than to the right, and I started to become convinced that the required POV of many of them wasn't really particularly liberal.  But I've been over the real nature of the atheist-materialist-scientistic "left" many times.  Academic materialism of the putative "left" and the vulgar materialism of the admitted right are really just two slightly different flavors of the same poison.    And the vulgar materialism of the right is, by far, the more popular brand, far more easily swallowed by so many more, though those who buy the academic brand like to think of themselves as the more discerning connoisseurs.   Assumptions of snob-privilege and quality, in the sense that a Brit aristocrat would use the word in identifying one of their own, figures heavily in the attraction to it.  Its association with very expensive, elite universities and the graduates of those and, at lesser institutions, those who aspire to join that class is surely no accident.   That the academic lefties have been a burden and a disaster for any real left doesn't overcome the habits of thought so ingrained in both the culture and literature of it, the promised pleasure it provides the lefty.   Its long-term impotence in politics is a dead giveaway that the unchanging features of it are not, in the end, really about the poor, the destitute, the dispossessed, the stranger, they're of, by and for the elite who maintain the ballot box poison and will not change.

A good clue as to what any real left that can work is found in the part of the old left that worked, the civil rights movement of the 1950s- mid-60s is the last great period of that working.  The unions, while they worked - discounting those which were taken over by organized criminals, Marxist idiots and, worst of all corporatist leadership, are another example.  I strongly suspect that materialism is incapable of generating a real left that can work, which I've also been over before.  The "science" that such materialism has inflicted on politics is pseudo-science, including much of what passes itself off as biology these days.

If you want more, read my archives, though I suspect you don't really want more, you're just upset that I'm refusing to go along with your attempt to assert the totally failed academic lefty limits of expression.   Well, I'm not going to observe them.  I've seen through them.  That isn't going to change. Get used to it.

Monday, August 8, 2016

I'll Let Martha Davis And Her Spouse Say It For Me

When I say "out" I mean away.

Update:  Dopey's entire universe of blues artists who matter consists of one artist who he alleges covered a song his band once played.   Notably, Dopey doesn't claim to have written it, which is absolute proof that he doesn't dear to claim he did.   It's ever and always all about him.

Hate Mail From The Drooling Fool

steve simelsAugust 8, 2016 at 12:25 PM

"You're the standard white-focused pop-music hack who proved he was ignorant of a major black artist."

You mean Prince? Oh wait -- when he died, YOU were the one saying he was unimportant, not me.

I recall writing two things about Prince, here is one, as it was posted:

Friday, April 22, 2016
Honoring Prince By Slamming His Religion
Looking around the blog babblers, it's so funny how many of them are honoring the late musician Prince by using his death as an occasion to bash God and Jesus and Christianity when Prince began life as a Seventh Day Adventist and ended it by being a Jehovah's Witness. 

Such is the deep integrity of the atheist blog babble and their pretense of respect for the guy who died yesterday. 

Update:  On the contrary, while I don't have a lot of use for his music I have a lot of respect for Prince over his stand on artistic control and integrity and an artist owning his material.  I also don't agree with his religious choices but respect the ones he made. 

Update:  You, dopey, think everything has to be either you're totally in favor of someone or you declare them to be an idiot.  I can agree that someone is very talented and intelligent without necessarily liking their music.  Handel is one case where I acknowledge that,  Miles Davis is another one.   I don't have to like someones' music to respect them.  You on the other hand, are neither someone I respect, someone I like nor anything but an idiot.

I don't recall but I suspect the idiot addressed, as so often the idiot I do address, was you.

Here is the beginning of the second one.

Friday, April 22, 2016
The Shame Of Maine Would Have Let Prince Die A Week Ago
You might think you have a rotten governor but, really, has any of them vetoed a measure to save people who took a drug overdoes because it just means they're going to die of another anyway?  Even as we have record breaking numbers of opioid overdose deaths*?

TMZ is reporting that, six days before he passed, Prince was forced to make an emergency stop in Moline on his way home from an Atlanta concert date for the purpose of having a "save shot" that would reverse a possible opiate overdose. It's hard to imagine today, but this could have been worse: He could have had to land in Maine.

But in his veto letter sent to lawmakers on Wednesday, LePage said the bill would allow pharmacists "to dispense naloxone to practically anyone who asks for it." "Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose," LePage wrote, repeating a contention that has caused controversy before. "Creating a situation where an addict has a heroin needle in one hand and a shot of naloxone in the other produces a sense of normalcy and security around heroin use that serves only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction."   

Of all the Republican governors who have run their states into the ditch over the past seven years, human bowling jacket Paul LePage is the most perfect combination of policy ignorance and boneheaded, talk-show confidence in his own righteousness of them all. He's an embarrassment to enlightened democracy. Hell, he's an embarrassment to human thought. But he's also a cautionary tale for us as a country.

Yep, I've been saying that for the past seven years, beginning when it was obvious that the millionaire vanity candidate, Eliot Cutler, would be running as a spoiler.  Too conservative for Maine Democrats - and considering how conservative the past two Democratic governors have been, that's saying something - Cutler did the Maine Independent thing of running as a self-financed independent, putting the worst governor in our state's modern history into office, not once, but twice...

Now, I think you've humiliated yourself enough using my blog to do so, go soil yourself at Duncan's sheltered workshop for the clueless.

Update:  I was tempted to say that your comment was post-literate but, really, it's just simelarkey, trying to misrepresent what was said by pretending it means what it clearly doesn't.   I wonder, is your habit of mendacity a familial trait?  I seem to recall a lawyer by your name getting into quite a bit of trouble over lying. 

Hate Mail - I'll Let William Bolcom And Joan Morris Say it - Radical Sally

Joan Morris, voice
William Bolcom, composer and pianist

In Honor of The Day After Marilyn J. Ziffin's Birthday

I had intended to build up to the 90th birthday, yesterday, of Marilyn J. Ziffrin, American composer, musician, biographer of Carl Ruggles, and about the best music teacher I ever had.  I'd intended to do that but I'd rather go beyond the day to post pieces by her and posts about her after the day.  

Here is an interview, a conversation between her and Bruce Duffie in June 1994.  I had quoted from the section dealing with Carl Ruggles last month but the part in which she talks about music and her life and work is quite interesting, itself.  It contains things I'd never known about her.  But in the way she talks about music, the practical side of it, of the act of composing, of what music is and means and its importance as a serious activity I remember the conversations I heard and had with her, her lectures - they were never really like lectures, more of demonstration and practical advice - and her willingness to go with the spirit.  I remember one time when, after hearing, I believe, Joseph Silverstein performing the Schoenberg Violin Concerto with the Boston Symphony, she scrapped her lesson plan and played a record of it.  As I recall it was the one with Wolfgang Marschner playing violin, I don't recall the orchestra or conductor - just as an example of how you can remember things that happened in classes you took almost a half-century ago, or think you do, and what impression they might have made on you.

Apropos of my earlier post, today, I can guarantee you that even so recent a period in rural musical culture described is quite past in New England.  In talking about how she relocated from the Chicago area to rural New Hampshire and how she could tolerate it she mentioned the vital role radio played:

BD:    So you’re influenced by what you hear, but not so much by the green around you or the concrete around you?

MJZ:    No, I don’t think so.  It’s what I hear and what I had heard.  I try very hard to hear a lot of music.  In New Hampshire you don’t hear very much live, but you do by public radio.  I probably could not live there if I did not have access to public radio.  We have in New Hampshire only one professional symphony orchestra but where I live I can get three different public radio stations — Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine — so I have access to an enormous amount of music.  And then, as I say, I get to Boston within an hour and a half.

BD:    On the radio, do you pay particular attention when new pieces are being played by symphony orchestras or chamber groups?

MJZ:    Yes, exactly.  I subscribe to all three, get program guides, and if there’s a new contemporary piece, or even a contemporary piece that I think I even know, I make a point of being around to hear the piece and really listen.  A lot of people put the radio on and they don’t listen, but I listen!

I can, or could, get those three stations and the Boston stations as well and was also a paying member of two of them, plus one in Boston, and I can tell you that just about all of them have pretty much or entirely abandoned classical music for all-yack, having first stupified their musical programming to a degree where it could pretty much only serve the purpose of aural wallpaper, the equivalent of elevator music to have on in the back ground of little shops.  You have to be online to have something similar, today.  If someone can't be or isn't, they're out of luck in the matter of hearing much in the way of unfamiliar music.

But, enough of my grousing.   I found what Ms. Ziffrin said about composing to be especially interesting.

BD:    When you’re writing a piece and putting some notes on paper, are you always controlling what goes on the page, or are there times when you see something on the page and you don’t know where it came from?

MJZ:    It’s a very good question!  There are always surprises.  I have described being a composer very much like being an athlete.  You get in training as an athlete and when you’re composing you spend so many hours a day doing your composition, your thing.  When you’re in training, the wheels are greased and it moves, and when it moves sometimes you don’t know where it’s going and you are indeed surprised.  Then you have to be your own worst critic and use an eraser as well as a pencil, and that’s dreadfully important.  Then this is one of the joys — as performers take up your piece, they will find things you didn’t know you had put in.  As they make the music their own, they don’t change the notes, don’t misunderstand me, but they discover things that you didn’t know were there.  If the piece is good, it has that quality so that the same piece can be played by many different people and have different interpretations.  That’s really one of the great joys.

BD:    Do you purposely build in this leeway, or is it just automatically there?

MJZ:    It’s automatic.  If you’re in training and it goes well, it gets in there and I have no idea how.  For me, this is one of the tests of whether a piece works or not.  If it works, then it will have that quality, and you may not even know it exists.  In fact you can’t know it.  That ability to move around within those parameters does not happen until the performers take it.

BD:    Do you know as you’re writing it whether it’ll work or not?

MJZ:    Oh, yes!  That is the mark of a good composer — to be your own worst critic.  Yes, you have to know if it’s going to work.  If you don’t know that much about a piece, then you have some studying to do.

BD:    Studying of technique?

MJZ:    Studying of technique, self-study, studying of what you’ve done.  You really have to stand back every day and understand what you did yesterday is either good or bad, or has possibilities.  I’m very, very serious about the use of an eraser.  You have to willing to know you thought it was wonderful yesterday but today we have to erase it.

BD:    It wouldn’t be back to being wonderful next week?

MJZ:    If you really feel it’s no good, it won’t get back to being wonderful.  If you’re not sure, give it a chance, but if you really know the next day it’s no good, get rid of it.  You can’t fall in love with your own stuff.  You have to stand back and know if it is good or bad.  You can make a judgment.  This is terribly important.  I had a teacher who said that everybody can learn to be an acceptable composer.  There are rules just like there are rules of writing poetry and so forth, and if you study long enough, everybody can do it.  Everybody gets ideas.  People sing in the shower, and those are motives.  Those are nice little tunes and things that may be their own.  Techniques will teach you that, and then the X quality comes in.  But as a composer, you have to be able to know what you did and that there are flaws, and maybe you can fix the flaws.  If you can’t, is the piece still good enough to stand on its own two feet?  If it isn’t, then you have to get rid of the piece!

BD:    Just completely toss it out?

MJZ:    It’s been done!  [Both laugh]

BD:    When you’re working with the piece and tinkering with it and you have all of the notes down and you’ve fussed with it, how do you know when it’s ready and when you can give it away?

MJZ:    Oh, that’s the best question of all!  If you think I know the answer, you’re wrong.  I don’t!  I once asked a poet how he knows when a poem is over, and he said, “When they take it away from me!”  [Both have a huge laugh]  I don’t know.  I write syntactical music, music where one thing follows another and follows another and follows another, like language.  There are other ways to write music, like music of chance or aeleatoric music where you don’t have that thing.  But mine is syntactical, therefore you set up certain sound expectations as you write.  One seems to know the piece is over when those expectations have been fulfilled, so I suppose that’s a technical way in which you know.  Another way is that they take it away from you!  In all truth, one is never totally satisfied with the piece.  Every piece has certain flaws, and it’s just that you know that you’ve done the best you can at that moment.  You hope nobody else knows that those flaws are there, and if you’re honest with yourself you think that even if I didn’t do so well at this point, this is the best I can do now.  When I do the next piece, I won’t make that same mistake.

What she said about the difference between music of the classic period and today is, especially interesting, as well.

BD:    You say you’re creating.  Are you creating something out of nothing, or are you creating something out of something?

MJZ:    You’re creating something out of something.  You don’t do it in a vacuum.  What you do is you hear all kinds of sounds — sounds of streets, sounds of jazz, all kinds of musics and all kinds of sounds.  Then, if you have that creativity within you, and the guts, and the stick-to-it-ness, and all the rest of it, you take all of that and it gets mingled with your personality and comes out sounding like you.  I don’t think it comes out of nothing, I really don’t.  It has to come out of other sounds.  But they can be all kinds of sounds.  They don’t have to be any one kind.

BD:    At least from what I’ve been able to hear, you have consistently written music that derives from tonal centers.  Are you glad that we seem to be coming back to that in a general sense?  We seem to have lost it in the ’60s...

MJZ:    Yes, that’s interesting.  There are my conservative friends and they’re not tonal sinners.  There are moments of stability to which one comes back, gestures of stability they would say, and yes, I think it’s good.  I also think, though, that it’s very hard to be a composer in today’s world because there are so many possibilities.  It was much easier when you had one style, when Beethoven and Mozart were around.  Bach already moved a little bit because he had the modes and he moved into the major-minor system.  But there were preconceived notions of what classical music would sound like, so the composer knew that ahead of time and wrote in that style.  He didn’t really have too much to worry about, whereas today’s serious composer has so many possibilities.  There’s minimalism, there’s neo-romanticism, there’s electronic music, there’s you name it, there’s so many styles.  And no matter how difficult it is for the composer, it’s also very difficult for the listener.  A listener goes to a concert, and unless he knows the composer’s music ahead of time, he or she has no way of knowing what to expect.  When the composer sits down, there are so many styles to choose from, so what you do?  You ultimately have to be true to yourself and do whatever comes out, but for a young composer it may indeed be very difficult situation.  I have fortunately gone beyond that, but I can see that it’s not in any way an easy time. 

BD:    You say the composers back then only had one style.  Didn’t Beethoven push that style along, and develop it, and didn’t Wagner especially change it?

MJZ:    Yes, but by the time Wagner came along, he did romanticism to death.  They had to change it.   There was absolutely no place else to go.  But take a composer like Mozart.  There was the sonata allegro form, and he had his some of his students finish his movements for him, because...

BD: could only go one way?

MJZ:    Yes.  You had a first theme in the tonic and the second theme in the dominant, and then you had the development section.  Of course, Mozart would do that, but by the time you’d get back to the recapitulation, both themes had to come back and both themes had to come back in the tonic so you could end the piece.  So he could give them to an advanced student and have him finish it.  We can’t do that today!  You don’t have the certainty.  Also, in those days when the audience went to a concert, they knew what to expect.  Don’t misunderstand me, they could marvel at the genius of these people who were able to work within this set of parameters that everybody knew and still write absolutely write incredible and glorious music.  But they knew from when they sat down what the parameters were.  Now, somebody in the audience sits down and will wonder what she’s going to hear!

BD:    Are the parameters out there, or are there no parameters?

MJZ:    Precisely the point!  There are none.  Each piece has to set its own, or each composer has to set his or her own parameters.  So if you don’t know the previous music of the composer when you go into the concert hall, you really have to have a totally open mind.

I had better stop or I'll end up posting the whole thing.  I've had many music teachers in private lessons, in school, in a number of universities and colleges but none of them, not even my dear old piano teacher in college, ever said so many things to me that I reference, certainly every other day if not every day than Marilyn Ziffrin did.  

Note:  As for aeleatoric music, I will say that I have never seen any point in doing it, "writing" it or listening to it or playing it.   And I did try it.   I got to that point by playing some of it and attempting to write a college paper on Christian Wolff which I struggled with for two months before deciding there was nothing to it and nothing to be said about it.  I'm with Lou Harrison, I'd rather chance a choice than choose a chance. Though our choices might often be different ones, as MZ says, you're on your own in what choices you make.

Deathwatch U.S.A.

I am old enough so I remember hearing the children of Republicans telling other children to "go back to Russia", on the school playground.   I was told that, myself, my parents being liberal Democrats, I remember hearing people say that in town meetings.   That the people saying it were, in some cases, the parents and grandparents of and, in some cases, the same people who are supporting Donald Trump for president, is ironic.  When you deal with people who have incorporated hypocrisy into their thinking and acting to the extent that the Trump supporters have, that the media which promoted him have, the irony comes in tsunamis, not in drops of drizzle.

We are in an election cycle when this kind of thing has to be said about the Republican nominee, the Republican nominee that has the support of the farthest right of the Republican party.

Morell told ABC's "This Week" that he had "no doubt" Putin viewed Trump as an "unwitting agent" of Russia, and noted that as a trained KGB intelligence operative, Putin had manipulated people "much smarter than Donald Trump."

"He played this perfectly, right? He saw that Donald Trump wanted to be complimented. He complimented him. That led Donald Trump to then compliment Vladimir Putin and to defend Vladimir Putin's actions in a number of places around the world. And Donald Trump didn't even understand, right, that Putin was playing him," Morell said....

... "Mr. Putin is a great leader, Mr. Trump says, ignoring that he has killed and jailed journalists and political opponents, has invaded two of his neighbors and is driving his economy to ruin," Morell wrote. "Mr. Trump has also taken policy positions consistent with Russian, not American, interests — endorsing Russian espionage against the United States, supporting Russia's annexation of Crimea and giving a green light to a possible Russian invasion of the Baltic States."

When Gerald Ford made a gaff and claimed, in a debate, that the Soviet Union didn't dominate Eastern Europe it was enough to give the Republican friendly media reason to doubt his competence, the jokes about him playing football without a helmet and not being able to walk and chew gum at the same time were probably enough, by themselves, to sink his fortunes.   Today Donald Trump, not making mistakes during a debate but, repeatedly and openly inviting the Russian oligarchs to dominate Ukraine and the Baltic states is not enough to seal his fate.

The cynical decision made by Republicans somewhere along the way to try to win with the support of the worst in us, the cruel, the cynical, the bigoted and the ignorant, harnessing that force so that our own oligarchs could dominate the government to the detriment of democracy has backfired in that segment of the Republican electorate choosing the reality TV star for president.   This is the whirlwind they sowed, so diligently, making a steady progress down that slope, accelerated with the Rehnquist and Roberts courts, the rigging of congressional and state legislative districts, the discouragement of minority voting in a return to blatant Jim Crow, and, most of all, the regime of televised an broadcast an cable fed lies, cruel, cynical, bigoted an ignorant which is what the Donald Trump cult is made of in the name of entertainment.

If we dodge the bullet that Donald Trump is, there is no reason to believe we will the next time.  Looking back over the past forty years, this has been a steady descent into the place we are today.  You can listen to even Ronald Reagan, bad as he was, and Warren Berger, bad as he was, and hear vestiges of responsible, adult thinking which were largely absent in George W. Bush and, now, Donald Trump.   Any responsible thinking expressed by John Roberts from the Supreme Court is more of a cynical calculation about what might cost him in esteem or risking a backlash than it is an expression of any kind of inner integrity or love of the American People or democracy.

The media has been incredibly irresponsible in the past half century, anyone who maintains any faith in their ability to, voluntarily and in any reliable manner, support and promote the necessary foundations of democracy among the voters is a sucker for another brand of cynical fraud.  They have promoted their own profit and self-interest, not the needs of a decent society and a democratic government.   I recently looked at the Bogart movie, Deadline U.S.A. and was struck by how hollow the platitudes expressed in it sound in light of the behavior of the press during most of my life.  Though it was a news paper, back when that was the news, today it's TV and the radio that pretend to be doing the same thing.  No doubt those guys like to believe the ridiculously romantic and unrealistic view of their profession, its allegedly lofty mission and ideals even as they undermine the necessary ingredients that will produce a democracy.   As mentioned the other day, the ridiculous pose they present is even-handedness, "giving opposing views" meaning, inevitably, empowering the political right*.

Their excuse of impartiality was always a lie and a basic violation of the pretense of why the corporate press, the media are given the privileges misnamed "rights" in the First Amendment.  If the reason for those is the service the media does to the right of a free people of good will to make an informed vote, then that is a responsibility that isn't optional.  Either the media serves and promotes democracy or it serves and promotes its own profits.  Any media that doesn't give the advantage to those things that promote democracy over the interests of the oligarchs - and that includes most of it in the past fifty years - has aided in the creation of the world we have now in which Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, talks and acts like an asset of the KGB man running Russia.   I can only imagine what the reaction of the press would have been if a major candidate for president had spouted the KGB line, explicitly, even forty years ago.   I don't have to imagine what would have happened if one had, through a gaff, done something faintly like that because it happened.   If you want to know what happened, how we got to this point, look at the changes in the media over that period, they created the disaster.

*  In some ways,  PBS was the worst offender,  certainly before FOX started, giving William F. Buckley, Milton Friedman, John McLaughlin, and a host of other right-wing pitch men lots and lots of air-time, "balancing" their clear intentions with Washington press hack who were, in most cases, the soft-sellers of the same message.   And liberals were the biggest suckers in the world for that.  P.B.S. and  local"public stations," both TV and radio, were most eager to take the dirty money of the oligarchic fascists, greasing the tack on the downward slope to where we are, today.   There really isn't much reason to even turn the radio on, these days.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Hate Mail - Between Hillary Clinton And The Media, She's The One Of Proven Integrity

If there's one thing that Hillary Clinton knows, it's that no matter what she says, no matter what she does, no matter if she is silent or does nothing, the media is laying for her and will make up what it can't find to slam her with.  It's no surprise that such a person would be on their guard with the media and others who might go after her.  That she hasn't done what Trump does when anyone calls him on something, go into a paroxysm of paranoid reaction speaks more to her cool integrity than it does any kind of inauthenticity or insincerity.  If she were 100% authentic and sincere the media, from the MoDo op-eds of the NYT to the baby step down to the sub-basement of Alex Jones would say she was being a phony.   

Her getting up, every single day and fighting on speaks more of her authenticity than that of anyone in the media but, MAYBE, battlefield witnessing-getting-shot-at reporters should be assumed to possess. All they have to do is make stuff up, hurl insults, lies, belittling-sexist comments at her, she's had to stand up to it for all these years. 

Answer To An Expert

BTW, Little Milton played harp -- Clapton is a guitarist.  For your lame criticism to make sense, you'd have to say "I'd rather listen to T-Bone Walker or Otis Rush." 
Pop-music scribbler:  Steve Simels

Um... Simps?


Which the absolute, bottom-basement level of online reference, Wikipedia says is:  "Little Milton playing in Jackson, Mississippi in 2002."   Maybe if you hadn't spent so much time with pale imitations you'd not be in such complete ignorance of a major blues artist.  You couldn't even be bothered to do that much work.

And then there's his auto-biographical song.

It doesn't matter if he played Flute-o-phone, I'd still rather listen to Little Milton than Eric Clapton. It's like preferring butter to margarine, thinking to what you do.

Update:  Watch him but, even more, listen to him sing.

And more about where what others merely copy came from.

Update 2:  Really, Simps, if you want to keep directing people to this post, in which you reveal yourself as a rather shockingly ignorant pop-music scribbler, I'm powerless to stop you.  And, no, I'm not going to let you deflect attention from what you said in such self-revealing ignorance.   I didn't make you write it, why should I let you try to bury it?

Update 3:  No, Simps.  I'm not one of the easily distracted tots of Eschaton, I'm not going to get side-tracked into something that you bring up to try to get yourself off the hook.  You're the standard white-focused pop-music hack who proved he was ignorant of a major black artist.  That's the issue.   Bonnie Raitt has been acknowledging the roots of the music she performs since the beginning of her music career, putting the originators of it forward.   The white boys with the big names and the jillions made from that music, not so much.

Wounded Bird Nails It

In further focus on the superficial media treatment of Hillary Clinton, the estimable June Butler of Wounded Bird adds a lot that needs to be heard.

Usually, I admire what Charles Pierce writes, but when he wrote about the question and answer period following Hillary Clinton's speech at the Conference of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, he was obviously still feeling the Bern. Apparently, he can't get past his Sanders love to give Hillary Clinton a break, for this is one of a series of blog posts in which he, at best, damns Clinton with faint praise, or, at worst, is outright critical, often about trivia.  Read his post; it's not long. I repost my comments to his blog post below; they are long:

Much as I like Charles Pierce, one of the best of the columnists working today, he is still part of the same media and, to some extent, shares in some of their bad habits.  And, to put no small point on it, he's a man.

I especially liked what she said so I'll post the whole thing.

Oh my gawd, Charlie. You sound like nitpicking Chuck Todd. Is this your version of bothsiderism? Clinton is who she is, and she's not going to have a personality change to suit you or anyone else before the election. Get over your issues, or at least write about something else so you do no harm...

By the end of the primaries, I liked watching Clinton speak a lot more than I liked watching Sanders speak. If I chose my candidate by likability or by which one I wanted to have a beer with, Clinton would have won hands down. But, if Sanders had won the primary vote, I'd have supported him without thinking twice.

What I would not have done is suggest that if he just changed this or that about his personal style, or if he'd just say something in a different way, he'd gather more support. Sanders is who he is, and expecting him to be other than he is, would have been completely unrealistic. It's the same with Clinton. If you don't like her, vote for Trump, write in a name, or vote for Stein or Johnson, and enable a Trump victory, but stop the bloody nitpicking about style.

TV talking heads do that stuff every day on TV, and I don't understand why a usually sensible blogger would join in. This is not even a serious policy discussion, which would be different and welcome from what we see all day, every day on TV. Yeah, I'm way down in a long thread of comments in a reply, at that, and I expect few people will read what I typed, but I sure feel better for having written.

Hey, if even Charles Pierce is exposing some of that stuff, it's especially important to note it.  The women on the video of Hillary Clinton having to take decades of on-camera sexism were hired to carry on the corporate POV, it's what TV is all about.   Charles Pierce doesn't have to do that as a condition of employment, he's, pretty much, the boss of what he says.  If he's doing it unconsciously, it certainly has a distorting effect in our politics when those so many more who have no journalistic or personal integrity do it.

Hate Mail - Simps Lies And Chumps Buy It And Water Is Wet

There is no level of complexity that is not too deep for the Eschaton "Brain Trust", the content provider of Duncan's blog while "dad" goes out to buy cucumbers at the farmer's market or declares he's too busy to write (I think he had a buddy come up with a bot that posts those posts).  Really, I'm not making that up.


Today is Sunday!!!
Lazy blogging day. Going to go out and enjoy the urban hellhole. Hopefully they have some funky cucumbers at the market!

It devolved into a place for preening narcissism, not much else.  I wonder what happens when "dad" catches his reflection in a store window.  Having looked at what he writes about as the country and the world goes to hell, I don't think that's an exaggeration.  Everyday is lazy day there since c. 2007. 

As for what you sent me.    Eric Clapton, a "great artist" who exposed himself as a racist asshole?   First, I'd rather listen to the black musicians who invented what he stole so, no, on the "great artist" stuff.  Second, it takes a special kind of asshole to diss the people he stole from,  I don't follow Clapton much, never having had any need for his music, if he said what he's alleged to have said, it reminds me of Nick LaRocca infamously having claimed to have invented jazz and that black musicians had nothing to do with it.   As I understand it there are white "jazz experts,"  more in the past than today, who push LaRocca's nonsense, as far as I'm concerned anyone who pushes Clapton while ignoring the musicians he copied isn't doing anything much different.

Update:  Yeah, I pushed that button and got the entirely predictable response from the entirely predictable repeater of pre-regurgitated pop-music pablum.   I'd rather listen to Little Milton than Eric Clapton.  Next I diss Kenny G so he can be offended by that.

Though I do have to go do some of that weeding I've neglected the last several days.

Update 2:  Shit for brains, alleged scientist, "Skeptic Tank," has accused me of following Martin Luther?   I don't think I've ever, once, said anything good about Martin Luther who I think got some of the most basic aspects of The Gospel entirely wrong, he even wanted to cut one of my favorite books out of The Bible, The Letter of James. I assume the issue was St. James saying that faith without works was useless.  And that's, of course, not counting his anti-Jewish rants, his siding with the princes against the peasants, etc.  But, few of the rump of regulars still frequenting Eschaton have ever let accuracy get in the way of a convenient lie.  They really do have a lot more in common with the Trumpian lunatics than they'd ever want pointed out. 

Let's Cut The Bull Shit, The Reason Hillary Clinton Hasn't already Destroyed The Total Phony Donald Trump Is The Sexism Of The American Media

Esquire: What do you think of Hillary?

Clint Eastwood : What about her? I mean, it's a tough voice to listen to for four years.

I repeat myself, that's as compared to the great voice of Donald Trump.  

The career of Hillary Clinton and the response of the American media, from the New York Times right down to the sewer of hate-talk radio and FOX is like a giant psychoanalytic revelation of their hatred of women.   Including the women who work in the media who would never tolerate being presented as they present Hillary Clinton.  The same media that forms the collective mind of the American People and their decision of who they will vote for.  A man with her resume would never be subjected to the treatment she has been.

The media is enabling the election of the least qualified man to have ever had the nomination of a major party.  The 19th century had some really lousy presidents in it, even the worst of them, the least prepared, the least competent, the Franklin Pierces, the James Buchanans, were vastly more prepared to be president than Donald Trump.  The former popular media favorite for the worst president in history,  Millard Fillmore (I think superficially based on the sound of his name, not his actual record) was a tower of competence and integrity, as compared to Donald Trump.   There has never been a worst major party candidate for president than Donald Trump and, just as with George W. Bush and Richard Nixon, the media is enabling them instead of opposing them.  This time it is based on three decades of lying about Hillary Clinton, largely based on her being a woman.  No man has ever been subjected to that treatment, no matter how obviously crooked and superficial and unhinged and just plain rotten.  That is what we're learning this year because that list of attributes is the definition of Donald Trump.

The Insane Idea That Organized Criminals Are More Trustworthy Than The United States Government

If Julian Assange hadn't revealed himself to be a total narcissistic slime ball and a dishonest creep, his interview with Bill Maher certainly showed himself to be that.   From a story at Salon.

Asked if it was “fair game” to release donor info from a private entity, Assange said, “It was definitely good fun.”

“I am super happy with how that’s gone,” he continued. “That shows a kind of instant accountability — perhaps not proper political accountability — for a really quite concerted effort, through the chain of command at the DNC, to make sure that Bernie Sanders didn’t win, including by pumping out black PR.”

Only where is the connection between DNC staffers venting at a candidate for the Democratic nomination whose campaign was relentlessly attacking the DNC and any actual effort to defeat him
The connections between Assange, his criminal organization and the Russian kleptocratic establishment, if not government, are move obvious.

As an aside, anyone who is involved in politics should instruct and have strict rules in place against them venting their frustrations in e-mails and other documents made in work hours on work sites and even after work, in what they so often mistake to be private, off-record conversations.   Anyone who doesn't realize that their juvenile venting could be damaging is too stupid to have a position of trust.

Assange calling enabling the election of Donald Trump "good fun" is all the proof anyone who ever had doubts as to his character should need to conclude that, far from the hero we were presented with when we first heard of the Aussie twit, he is a phony, egomaniac jerk with much in common with Donald Trump.  You have to wonder if his ratfucking of Hillary Clinton's campaign is influenced by her gender instead of her policies or past.

At this point, he's essentially working to elect a fascist as president of my country.  I call someone like that the enemy of my country and the enemy of democracy.    I would have no problem with the United States government putting pressure on Ecuador, Britain, Sweden or any other country to extradite him here to face charges in his past crimes and I would also have no problem with them doing what they could to expose Wikileaks and the people behind it.  You can't be heroes when you are trying to elect a fascist as president of the United States and that's what they're doing.   If, as it would seem, they are acting on behalf of, in concert with or at the orders of the Putin government, that needs to be exposed.   It is in the interest of all of those countries to put an end to his activities, the Ecuadorian people would certainly not benefit from a Donald Trump presidency.

I think it is way past time that the Democratic Party, the United States government and other governmental agencies to stop using the internet for sensitive information.  It's too easily hacked.

The heroification of Julian Assange was always pretty disgusting, especially considering how they left their major source in their biggest leak to twist in the wind by not protecting the identity of the then Bradley Edward Manning, now Chelsea Manning.   You can add Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald and a host of others who were held up as heroes in some great, alleged protection of the privacy of average citizens.  The whole thing was a lot more nuanced than that line of propaganda PR presented it as being.  I see nothing less reassuring in this situation than that foreign governments, criminal organizations and private entities and individuals with their own interests and scores to settle having that information.

If it comes down to a choice between trusting Snowden, Assange, Greenwald and Valdimir Putin having information about me and the United States government having it, I have to confess that I have far more confidence in my government than in any of them.  There is a possibility of the Congress and President passing laws, or courts making rulings, protecting my rights and I have the right to try to put a government in place which will do that.  No one has any say in who hacks and there aren't any rules or laws governing what they'll steal and what they will do with it once they have it.   Who are you going to sue if Wikileaks destroys your life?  If the Putin government or its network of organized criminals do?  Where will you go for redress from criminal organizations?  Well, you can write to the Attorney General or State Department or something, I suppose.