Saturday, May 20, 2017

More Than A Second Feature - Decoder Ring Theater - Black Jack Justice

Decoder Ring Theater, I haven't listened to many of these episodes of the cases of Black Jack and Trixy Dixon, Girl Detective, they're fun.

Or you can try their other series, Keeping 1930s Toronto safe from gangsters, racketeers and power-mad supervillains - Thrill once again to the tales of that Masked Man of Mystery; The Red Panda! 

or their anthology show, Show Case. 

I love this kind of thing.  It's so much better when you don't have to look at a screen.  

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Plays from Theater Five

I hope you enjoy the vintage public service announcements, from back when they were still required to do public service in the American media.    I'll add the author and other credits if I have the time to write them down from the recordings.   Something came up and I'm pressed for time, tonight. 

Ana Marie Cox And Josh Barro Give Us The Horrific News

I seldom listen to Lawrence O'Donnell's MSNBC show The Last Word but I caught one of those bootleg live streams that didn't get shut down during the 8:00-11:00 liberal ghetto hours at that network so I heard it last night.

One segment that concerned the reported "intervention" weeks ago to try to get control of Trump's titter addiction was especially revealing.  They had  Ana Marie Cox on, she said some things about the Trump regime that seem to me to be some of the most likely and realistic views of it I've heard.  Her point that he is a 70-year-old who has NEVER faced the consequences of his wrong doing and how dangerous that is seems to me to be very realistic.  Josh Barro was also good along the same line.  Despite what the media have relentlessly said, Ivanka and Jared aren't "the adults" who were going to control the spoiled baby-man who occupies the White House, their adulthood has been way oversold because they are obviously entitled, out of control,  children, themselves.  Her in what will probably be a temporary bootleg of it.

And what you can say about them you can say about the rest who were supposed to be the adults in the Trump regime, even those like Rod Rosenstein and H. R. McMaster and his entire list of those appointed by Trump and his dystopian Our Gang where everyone is either "Butch" or "The Woim", well some of them are Scut and Grover, terrorizing and shaking down their victims.

What you can say about the White House, you can also say about the Congress, it is in Republican hands and the adults on them number in the single digits.  I would note Ben Sasse and Richard Burr as the closest  that count as such.  The guys who play adults on TV, McCain and Graham are falling far short.

There are no adults in the Trump ship of fools.  We are a nation adrift because the Republican Party and their voters, aided by the infantalizing American media have handed the country to a bunch of out of control brats who will plunder and vandalize the country.   Or, if Cox stays as insightful as she obviously is, push the red button.

Blah, blah blah, humorless... blah, blah blah....


It's Even Worse Than That For The Materialist-Atheist-Scientistic Evangelist

Rereading this last paragraph, it occurs to me that not only do materialists who demand everyone believe in their faith who doesn't, insist that they violate the physical conditions that causes them to not believe in materialist-atheist-scientism, THEY DEMAND THAT THEY CHOOSE TO DISBELIEVE WHAT IS ORDAINED BY THE PHYSICAL CONDITION OF THEIR BRAIN THAT DEMANDS THEY DISBELIEVE MATERIALIST-ATHEIST-SCIENTISM.  They demand that they do what their faith holds is impossible, for them to make a free choice, free of the physical conditions that produce their thoughts,  to violate the physical causation they assert is the only reality of their minds.  

I could go on to point out that they also assert that those who refuse to be converted to their materialist faith, are morally depraved.  Though I'm sure they'll insist it's something else.  

I think the more parsimonious view of this is that the materialists don't think very hard about what they claim and that they demand an exemption from the consequences of their faith but only in so far as it goes along with their desires. Which, according to them, you can't do because their faith is a monistic one.   Maybe that's why they hate philosophy so much, it tends to lead to rigorous investigation of claims like theirs. 

The Fundamentalist Religion Of Jerry Coyne and Why Materialism Is Not True

The objection is made that I took part of a phrase out of its context in applying it to Jerry Coyne, semi-pro atheist.   The phrase, taken directly from the "Big Think" text is what is in the author's quotation marks, which I assume meant that it was a taken directly from the researchers he was writing about.

the appeal of such a rigid way of thinking is in promoting “coherence and predictability” within a religious group

First, whatever objection you might have to me saying it, Jerry Coyne's brand of materialist-atheist-scientism is a distinct, discernable religious group. Their religion is radically monistic, disallowing not only the possibility of the truth of anything that doesn't fit into their rigid way of thinking but asserting anything which deviates from it is an evil which should or must be wiped out.  It is a religious group which has a religious position which they assert should rule not only their thinking and conduct but that of everyone else. Any atheists who deviate or swerve from their one true way will be attacked for heresy, Coyne often plays the role of Grand Inquisitor condemning his fellow scientists and atheists for exactly that.   It is a religious group which is notable in exhibiting just about every negative thing which Coyne and his fellow true believers accuse religion of doing, including denying obvious truths.

Any number of times in his writing and assertion Jerry Coyne has advocated that his rigid materialist monism is the only acceptable way of thinking, in one place he asserts that when the Christian scientist Francis Collins was unsuitable to be appointed the head of the National Institute of Health by Barack Obama.  Taking up the campaign of Stephen Pinker to discredit Collins - probably a more eminent scientist than Coyne ever will be and, unlike Pinker, a real scientist -  Coyne said:

Collins is still an advocate of profoundly anti-scientific beliefs, including the notion that the laws of physics indicate fine-tuning by a deity (the same one who freezes waterfalls in three parts), and that human morality—which he calls “The Moral Law”—can’t be explained by evolution, ergo Jesus. (I’m publishing a response to the latter idea within the next few days.)

You could learn a lot more about that by searching Coyne's blog for Francis Collins, and other scientists, many of them with more distinguished careers than his, whose religious belief leads Coyne to condemn them for being "anti-science" or damaging to science, deviating from the one, true way of atheist-materialism, citing the authority of his fellow clergy of the church of neo-atheist scientism such as Pinker, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, ... to support his accusations of heresy.  In fact he's written a book, Faith vs. Fact, which is endorsed at his website with blurbs from that trio - has Pinker replaced the late Christopher Hitchens in the fading fab-four of faithlessness?

Instead of going on, other than to advocate you search Coyne's blog, either using search terms or just by looking at a typical week of his often hysterical screeds, going on like really bad script put in the mouth of a Brit movie Inquisitor. condemning his fellow scientists, philosophers, etc. even many of them atheists on deviating from his one true faith, thus endangering his scientistic orthodoxy and the universe,  I'll leave you with the Scientific American science journalist - and atheist - John Horgan's excerpted review.  The elisions are his.

Coyne’s defenses of science and denunciations of religion are so relentlessly one-sided that they aroused my antipathy toward the former and sympathy toward the latter… He overlooks any positive consequences of religion, such as its role in anti-slavery, civil-rights and anti-war movements. He inflates religion’s contribution to public resistance toward vaccines, genetically modified food and human-induced global warming.

Conversely, he absolves science of responsibility for any adverse consequences, such as weapons and ideologies of mass destruction. “The compelling force that produced nuclear weapons, gunpowder, and eugenics was not science but people.” Right. Science doesn’t kill people; people kill people.

Naïve readers of Mr. Coyne might conclude that science is rapidly filling in the remaining gaps in our understanding of reality and solving ancient philosophical conundrums. He claims that free will, the notion that “we can choose to behave in different ways,” is being contradicted by research in genetics and neuroscience and “looks increasingly dubious.” *

As evidence, he cites scientific revelations that our choices are often influenced by factors of which we are unaware. Yes, Freud told us as much, and Sophocles for that matter. But it is absurd to conclude that all our conscious deliberations are therefore inconsequential…

Mr. Coyne’s critique of free will, far from being based on scientific “fact,” betrays how his hostility toward religion distorts his judgment. Evidence against free will, he says, “kicks the props out from under much theology, including the doctrine of salvation.” Mr. Coyne thinks that if religious people believe in free will, it must be an illusion.

Mr. Coyne’s loathing of creationism, similarly, leads him to exaggerate what science can tell us about our cosmic origins. Mr. Coyne asserts that “we are starting to see how the universe could arise from ‘nothing,’ and that our own universe might be only one of many universes that differ in their physical laws.” Actually, cosmologists are more baffled than ever at why there is something rather than nothing… And multiverse theories are about as testable as religious beliefs.

Mr. Coyne repeatedly reminds us that science, unlike religion, promotes self-criticism, but he is remarkably lacking in this virtue himself. He rejects complaints that some modern scientists are guilty of “scientism,” which I would define as excessive trust—faith!—in science. Calling scientism “a grab bag of disparate accusations that are mostly inaccurate or overblown,” Mr. Coyne insists that the term “be dropped.”

Actually, Faith vs. Fact serves as a splendid specimen of scientism. Mr. Coyne disparages not only religion but also other human ways of engaging with reality. The arts, he argues, “cannot ascertain truth or knowledge,” and the humanities do so only to the extent that they emulate the sciences. This sort of arrogance and certitude is the essence of scientism.

I think that anyone who does what any responsible person would in judging the nature of someones faith, read what they say, look at what they do, would have to conclude that Jerry Coyne fulfills all of the criteria used to define a fundamentalist used in that study I wrote about last night.  He more rigidly adheres to those methods of thinking than many who get called "fundamentalists" by his fellow atheist true believers in the atheist-monist version of scientism.  I will note that in saying that I am not doing what the idiot who sent me that link and the idiot who gave it to him, no doubt intended, implying that "science has proven that faith-heads are brain damaged".  I'm just noting that Coyne is a religious fanatic, a fundamentalist for the purposes of that study, fulfilling all of the criteria of their definition.

He is also a religious fanatic whose actions betray that he doesn't really believe it, when it applies to him and his religious faith.

* Note;  Anyone who has read much of my blog will know that I certainly reject Coyne's belief that free is an illusion and that we are governed by physical determinism, you can search my blog to read why.

I have pointed out that materialists who assert that point of view and insist that other people convert to their way of thinking exhibit that they don't really believe that because if they did, they would believe that those who disagreed with them had no choice but to believe what they did and to disbelieve what they didn't believe.   Their asking people who don't believe that to violate the material causation in their brains that led them to believe what they did.  They, furthermore, demonstrate that they do not really believe it because their assertion that one physical state has a transcendent quality, that of rightness or correctness or of being good that is not a material quality of physical states and objects.   Jerry Coyne's entire public career as an atheist evangelist is at variance with his materialist-atheist-scientistic faith.  So is Pinkers' and every other materialit-atheist evangelist of their world view which cannot have those transcendent qualities if their faith is true. They demonstrate they don't really believe what they claim to, just about every time they open their mouths or put pixels online in their religious quest.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Geesh, Simps Forces Me To Come To The Defense Of Fundamentalists

I had planned on ignoring the link to a piece at "Big Think"* to a "study" alleging that brain damage has something to do with fundamentalism that Simps sent because he thinks I'd have some skin in the game.   Being essentially a neo-know-nothing (it's the house religion among pop-atheists) he doesn't know that Catholics aren't fundamentalists.

Apparently the authors of the "study" don't understand that fundamentalism has a specific meaning and it is a Protestant movement of the early 20th century which was, among other things, vehemently anti-Catholic.  I've actually looked at The Fundamentals and there is an article specifically devoted to banishing "Romanists" from Christianity.   It's been too hot to work in the garden so I've been wading, first, through the "Big Think" screed by a film maker and the things he links to.  I will probably get a post out of that later because, unlike Simps, I try to know what I'm talking about before I write something.  I have read the claims of one of the researchers and see some pretty glaring problems with the study and with the idea that the findings are applicable to the general public or even fundamentalists.   I'll start by the definition of "fundamentalist" in the tripe Simps sent me.

The researchers define fundamentalism as a cognitive approach that “embodies adherence to a set of firm religious beliefs advocating unassailable truths about human existence.“ They write in their paper that the appeal of such a rigid way of thinking is in promoting “coherence and predictability” within a religious group. People in fundamentalist groups tend to value strong commitment to their community, rejection of other beliefs, often combined with science denial and violence. Deliberation becomes victim to conviction.

For those who just tuned in to this blog, I spent my morning writing about Jerry Coyne, an atheist fanatic of "firm religious beliefs," whose materialist atheist world view leads to him "advocating unassailable truths about human existence."  His materialist-monist writing and, in fact, his scientific orthodoxy refuses to admit to anything that doesn't accord with his religious views so as to produce "coherence and predictability"

 I would conclude with Jerry by saying most of this definitely applies to him, including "strong commitment to his community, rejection of other beliefs, often combined with science denial and violence."  If you think that he couldn't be considered to deny science, I would advise you to do what I suggested this morning, word search his blog for James Shapiro, Denis Noble, and others who have produced peer-reviewed, published science which he will never, in a thousand lifetimes, admit could be true.  And as to violence, again, read some of his blog.  Though there are better examples whose violence isn't confined to their computer keyboards.

You could go through the same exercise substituting any number of names for Jerry Coyne's.  It is certainly characteristic of atheist ideological groups including groups whose murder victims measure in the tens of millions such as Marxists, and some fascists.  You could include some very violent anarchists. especially the franatics who adopted the murderous doctrine of "propaganda of the deed" such as the absurdly romanticized  Emma Goldman.  I would especially point you to such domestic American atheists as the scientist neo-Nazi author of The Turner Diaries and advocate of world wide genocide, William L. Pierce and some of his acolytes, such as Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City Bomber who held the record for an American mass murder before 9-11.

Clearly, the authors of the study and superficial scribblers who represent their work, need to do a bit of clarification of their definition.

Apparently both Simps and, I'm told one "Tacitus Volare" at Eschaton didn't notice this part of the quite short and easily read post at "Big Think".

The scientists specify that they are not stating religious people overall are mentally inflexible or that belief is caused by brain damage. There are many cognitive processes involved in forming beliefs. But in some people, the system of “belief revision” may become suppressed due to brain damage.

The study model as described in both the "Big Think" piece and the things he links to send up some major problems.   The "study" was based on 119 Vietnam era veterans who suffered what are classified as specific types of brain damage and a control group of 30 who didn't have brain damage.

The article claims:

They compared levels of religious fundamentalism between 119 vets who had lesions and 30 veterans who didn’t.

If that definition given above is how they determined the "levels of religious fundamentalism" it is seriously flawed in just that, alone.   As noted above, those traits are hardly limited to people who are, by proper definition, "fundamentalists".   I'd like to know more about how they measured "levels of religious fundamentalism" because the idea that you can do that and for it to have scientific validity doesn't seem credible to me.

I have yet to find in the literature - some of which is behind a pay-wall which I can't afford to get past - how they controlled for things like.

- Which of the veterans were draftees and which were volunteers.

- Religious orientation before their head injury and, if that changed, when and under what circumstances it changed.

- Political orientation before and after their injuries.  Other aspects of identity. 

- How any change would be explained by the individual veterans.  For example, did some of them convert after they married someone of that orientation or if they moved to a part of the country where fundamentalism is more commonly found.

- Did they define themselves as "fundamentalists" and what did they believe such a label included.

And given more time with it, I'm sure there are other problems which might lead to them sub-dividing their sample to the extent where they could come up with no significant statistically reliable statements about them.

Compared to the many millions of people who might be considered fundamentalists who have perfectly functioning brains, this is a tiny sample, certainly nothing like a random sample of American fundamentalists.  They are all men, for example, at a time when few women were in the military and few of those were victims of head injury.  It would be interesting if they could study women of the same age with the same experience but one suspects they're not available.

But they should start by tightening up what they mean by "fundamentalists" because their definition is meaningless, if identifying a specific part of the human population is their beginning point.  I doubt their definition would pass muster in a Freshman comparative religion class conducted by a competent teacher who was interested in accuracy.  To peddle something as having the reliability of science, it should be a requirement that they at least come up with a definite. accurate, unambiguous definition of what they're allegedly studying.

I don't have any particular affection for fundamentalism or its religious holdings, I think it's a thoroughly bad way to read the Bible and I think it is corrupted with ulterior motives of ideology, race, gender, and other forms of discrimination.   I also, as an LGBT man, reject its conclusions dealing with my people.  Not to mention I'm an Irish catholic.  But I think this study is dishonest and its authors obviously wanted to make a splash with a big, attention getting religion bashing "study". And if they didn't, the "Big Think" guy definitely did.   Simps and Tacitus were just being asses.

*  They do low budget, in-studio videos that are a sort of Ted Talk for the even more attention deficient.

Update:  As I knew it would, it all went over Simel's head.  That's not what you'd call a "tall order" as pretty much everything goes over his head.

As to the fact that Catholics can't be properly called "fundamentalists"  here, from Chapter XXI of The Fundamentals - the definition of "Fundamentalism"

Is Romanism Christianity?
by T.W. Medhurst

I am aware that, if I undertake to prove that Romanism is not Christianity, I must expect to be
called "bigoted, harsh, uncharitable." Nevertheless I am not daunted; for I believe that on a right
understanding of this subject depends the salvation of millions.

One reason why Popery has of late gained so much power in Great Britain and Ireland, and is
gaining. power still, is that many Protestants look on it now as a form of true Christianity; and
think that, on that account, notwithstanding great errors, it ought to be treated very tenderly.
Many suppose that at the time of the Reformation, it was reformed, and that it is now much
nearer the truth than it was before that time. It is still, however, the same; and, if examined, will
be found to be so different from, and so hostile to, real Christianity, that it is not, in fact,
Christianity at all...

If you want to traffic in something you're calling "fundamentalism" in the human population and pretending what you're doing is science, you're going to have to come up with a definition that matches something that actually exists out there in the population.  I doubt you can do that so this would be one of those phenomena in life that can't be treated scientifically.

Hate Mail

If you can go through Jerry Coyne's complete post linked to below and come up with an alternative interpretation which is plausible - addressing that he is slamming Women's Studies which inevitably deals with discrimination against women BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT THE SITUATION IN THE WORLD IS - I will post it.  Apparently he'd think that Black Studies should ignore discrimination, Jewish Studies should ignore anti-semitism. etc. because those fields take a position in opposition to those real phenomena in the world.  It would be like expecting epidemiologists and others to have an objective non-point of view on the diseases they study.  

It's not unusual when it's Jerry the juvenile to be unable to get a point out of what he writes other than "I don't like that and you're a poopy-head."   That is his typical mode of communication when it's not something for a reviewed journal or subject to editing.  His blog is pretty much one long, sustained tantrum. 

Apparently Jerry Coyne Thinks The Problem With Women's Studies Is That They're Not Open To Male Supremacy Or Something

And I thought I was having a bad day yesterday.  I don't very often look at Jerry Coyne's blog because I get enough tantrum action in the comments I send to the Spam file here.  But after yesterday's post I went to see what Jerry has posted today.  At the top of the page is a dark, ominous warning about the dangers of Women's Studies programs in academia as the equivalent of HIV and Ebola - I'm not making this up, you know.  Go look at it if you think I am.

Jerry's concerns spring out of a tweet about the scribblings of a grand total of two authors from a journal I've got to admit I've never seen before.

Jerry's source is something called "The New Real Peer Review."  I'd never heard of that before but it it would seem to be a twitter account by some guy with infantile white male imagined aggrievement syndrome who makes fun of stuff that gets into little read journals.  I'm not really interested enough to go look for it.  If that's what it was (apparently it was shut down a while back or something) it's not surprising that Jerry Coyne would find it resonated with him.

What I found most hilarious was Jerry's high dudgeon statement in the post, about the only part of the post he wrote.

This is one area of academia, it seems, where a scholarly discipline not only has explicit political goals, and a point of view that it must inculcate into students, but makes these things public. I can’t think of any other disciples with such a nakedly obvious agenda, except other areas of “cultural studies.”

From an academic bigot like Jerry in a highly ideological field which has been highly politicized since the 1860s if not before and from someone with his public presence, that's rich.  He's always asserting that it's essential that his materialist-atheist point of view be inculcated into students, publicly and he attacks anyone who doesn't hold them.  There are no more nakedly ideologically bullied fields than the ones that promote materialist-atheist monism within academia,  many of them in the biological sciences and their allies, as well as cosmology, etc.  That comes up pretty much everywhere in academic study where atheism can slam religion.

Apparently Jerry and the jerk behind the twitter he based his screed on think Women's studies should be open to the idea that discrimination against women is good which would be about the equivalent of him wanting his own field to be open to 6-day Creationists.  Heck, he doesn't even want James Shapiro in it.   Go look around his blog, search a few names, as I advised a couple of weeks back.

I would bet you a thousand dollars (if I had it) that an atheist has more of a chance of being hired within the field of theology or generally within religious studies than someone who holds seriously unorthodox views in evolutionary studies does in the biological sciences.   I'll bet if someone were being considered for his department who had entirely orthodox views but views that were at variance with Jerry's that he'd fight tooth and nail to keep them from getting hired or tenured.

Update:  I should say that, really, what field in academia isn't highly political, highly ideological? Academic politics, often waged on the basis of ideological and intellectual partisanship, are as dirty as any politics.

Clean Up Post

Another sleepless night.   I sort of patched the post from yesterday morning.   I won't go into how it happened but several sentences got erased during one of my editing sessions that made it very confusing due to the two Scotuses from both sides of the 10th century figuring into my argument.

In relationship to the stupid accusation that I was supportive of the intellectual basis of the Inquisition, if I'd looked at the article on the older John Scotus Eriugena in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy I'd have found out something I didn't know about his work in relation to the Inquisition.

Interest in Eriugena was revived by Thomas Gale's first printed edition of 1687. However, soon afterwards, Thomas Gale's first printed edition, the Periphyseon, was listed in the first edition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, and remained on it, until the Index itself was abolished in the 1960's.

So, not only did one of the theologian-philosophers I cited kind of sum up the classical period, help start the Scholastic movement as well as help invent universities, his work influenced the heretics against who the Inquisition was created to oppose (see footnote in yesterday's corrected post).   And his major work was on the infamous Index. Which was gotten rid of more than half a century ago and isn't really relevant to anything going on today.

Britatheists don't much care about real history or modern life, they prefer their ideological, polemical comic book version of those.  Reality isn't congenial to their wished up version of reality.  They've got more in common with the late Jack Chick than they'd ever admit.

Time for my next pill, which will knock me out for a while.  I'll try to post something when I wake up.  Probably about whatever next bomb shell that drops from the Trump treason while I'm asleep, I seem to wake up to a new one at least once a day.

Update: I forgot,  John Scotus Eriugena is also famous for this quote,

Authority is a source of knowledge, but our own reason remains the norm by which all authority must be judged.

Which could probably stand as the seed that eventually turned into science.  If I'd remembered that yesterday it might have figured in my argument about not only the need for people to take science on the basis of authority but the sense of entitlement that guys like Jerry Coyne get so pissy about when people don't just accept what they say on their authority.   Ah, well.  Maybe when pollen season is over.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I'm taking some time off till these allergies subside.  I haven't had a worse attack in about 19 years. 

I will post some stuff I hope is fun.  

So Freki is Lying and Water Freezes At O C. - Hate Mail

Simps is a liar, "Freki" is a bigger liar.  What she doesn't know about what she's talking about generally runs from most to all. 

She's a Brit snob who hates the Irish and an atheist who hates religious people.  What she hates most is an Irish guy who stood up to the kind of liars who drove out the adults at Duncan's.   She might have done more than any other atheist to convince me that atheists are more likely to lie because they don't believe in sin so they don't believe it's a sin to tell a lie.  I don't recall believing that before encountering her. 

Like Trump and his true believers, the remaining rump of regulars at Eschaton live in a reality they construct out of what they want to be instead of what is.   It's a low commitment cult. 

Getting Hard To Keep Up With The Trump Scandals

The Trump treason scandal is reaching the stage where it has the strength to take down Mike Pence.  Now that we know that not only Barack Obama, Sally Yates and others were warning Trump and his transition that he was under investigation as a Russian agent, Flynn told them that, himself, well before the inauguration AND THEY MADE HIM NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER AFTER HE TOLD THEM THAT!

Now Mike Pence is claiming he knew nothing about that even though he was in charge of the transition.  That is simply not credible.  It might be credible if you figured Pence was even stupider than his record would indicate, it is not credible that he wouldn't know about such a flashing red light of danger when those were going off all around the Flynn presence in the campaign and inner circle.

My guess is that Pence knew about the warnings well before March when he claims he first knew, I would bet you that he knew before the inauguration and that he also knew Donald Trump wanted his buddy Mike Flynn as National Security Adviser.   I'm prepared to speculate that Trump may have been under order from his owners to put another major asset like Flynn in that position and that the idiot didn't really understand what he was doing.

I think Mike Pence has Spiro Agnew written all over him and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he might not go before Trump does.  I don't really think it's better to have Paul Ryan as president than it would be to have Trump or Pence there, it might be more dangerous but as these revelations keep mounting up, I strongly suspect that we could see Paul Ryan as president which would complete the disaster that 2016 brought to fruition.

With Donald Trump we are seeing a level of criminality and treason which only Democrats have ever been accused of, on the basis of nothing but Republican lies.   The hypocrisy of all of them is stunning, minus a few stray Republicans in the Senate and Congress, and as that list gets longer the more of them will just be rats fleeing down the rat line.  I think I would mark the start of that phase with Susan Collins, her defection is either a sign that she realizes her opposition won't matter or that she'd better get out while the getting is good.  The time for getting out of it was back when Ben Sasse was about the only one who had.   I did notice that NPR was featuring him, I think they see him as the future of the party they push, after the rubble of the Trump implosion settles.  NPR is another reliable Republican dolt meter.  When they stop having on the obvious Republican flacks and have on the more subtle ones, you'll know that it's the end that even the official DC establishment isn't denying.

Hate Mail 2 - The Criteria That Are Acceptable As Proof of Things You Like Can't Be Held To Be Inadequate To Prove Things You Don't Like Without Impeaching What You Like

I wonder if Duns Scotus were arguing for the existence of some entity in the natural world and supported it with such obvious antecedent premises and with exactly the same form of logical argument what you would say about the existence of that entity.   
I would guess that the argument would be considered so strong by anyone with the intellectual ability to follow his argument that it would be considered either proof of stupidity or insanity to deny the existence of such a thing.   It really is an incredibly persuasive argument and I think anyone who can follow it is entirely within their rights and entirely within intellectual respectability to be totally convinced of it.  

It is certainly superior to any argument I've heard or read for atheism, by a huge margin.  Certainly better than anything any of the neo-atheists have come up with.  Dawkins' 747 nonsense is popular, I can't recall, off hand, which atheist said they thought it was probably the worst argument ever made by someone who is supposed to have some kind of intellectual status.  Nothing I read by Haeckel or any other science based atheist zealot comes close.   

As it is, I am convinced from long experience and observation of life and the world.   Really, the same things that are the basis of believing anything, including the validity of logic, mathematics or science.   

Is This As Tiresome As It Seems Or Has The Diphenhydramine Kicked In - Hate Mail

Dopey and Duncan's Dunkles* have always had a problem navigating the conditional mood so I'm not surprised they'd say that.

Actually, most days I get more than 800 unique readers.  I say "readers" because it's obvious they're not coming here to brag about what they're cooking for lunch or supper, talking about antique pop kulcha of their youth, saying what's been said about that in a litany of tropes that have repeated thousands of times or pictures of their cats.  I respect the privacy of my cats and don't reveal much about them.  If I could have another dog, I'd do the same for her or him.  

I also say "readers" because to have readers you've got to do what Duncan hardly ever does, write stuff.  He doesn't so much have readers as link clickers and lazy, post-literate lounge lizards.  

So, big deal.  

* Also known as "Simels and the Simelexics."  He's infected most of them over there if they weren't already victims.   

On Rosenstein Finally Doing What He Was Morally Obligated To Do

I am not taking back what I said about Rod Rosenstein now that what must be an unusual wave of criticism for him has forced him to do what he should have done, named a credible special prosecutor to do the investigation he had a hand in trying to hamper into Trump regime high crimes and treason. I didn't say anything that wasn't true and if there is a possibility that what I said helped pressure him to do the right thing, I'm happy to have said it.

As to whether or not his own sweet fat is out of the fire, that is yet to be seen.  I certainly think he must come clean about what he knows about Jeff Sessions' part in trying to come up with an excuse for Trump doing what he admitted to, trying to end the investigation into his own regime.  Jeff Sessions is a cancer on the Department of Justice and so on the country.  If Rosenstein conceals any wrong doing or even appearance of impropriety so as to let the hypocritical, Jefferson "Maximum Sentence" Sessions to get away with wrong doing, he belongs in the fire, as well.  But that's up to him. What's up to us is not being duped by him being pressured to reluctantly name the special prosecutor.  I haven't read his order doing so but if I do see it,  I'll be looking for foot snares and loop holes in it.  Rod Rosenstein has earned my distrust.

Update:  My brother told me that Rachel Maddow talked to Eric Holder about the document establishing the special prosecutor and he's got concerns that it may be too restrictive in how Robert Muller can follow up on crimes he discovers during his special investigation, concerns hinging on the word "directly" discovered matters as opposed to those discovered "indirectly."   If Rosenstein doesn't either remove those ambiguities or alters the order I'm not buying his good faith.

Atheism Is The Most Intellectually Dishonest Ideology And Among The More Anti-Intellectual As Well

Note:  I fixed the problem with my post below, a result of a bad edit and posting after a sleepless night.  Part of the original got cut out due to the annoying propensity of Windows 10 to select text by itself - I hate that friggin' touch screen feature.  I apparently didn't notice I'd cut it out and the resultant confusion between the two Scotuses didn't jump out at me as I continued editing.  You'll know I've won the lottery when my writing is well edited.  A man who acts as his own editor has a blogger for a client.

Someone asked me if I'd read an article by a Robert H. Nelson,  Does God Exist?  Some Scientists Think They Have Proof.   Which I hadn't,  I'm not especially interested in reading "proofs" of God's existence, especially those based on science, though I'm not as allergic to them as I used to be.  I used to be a purist who noted that science deals only with certain aspects of the physical universe which can be treated adequately by scientific methods.  And that it can't even deal with much, perhaps most of it because the proposed topics of such treatment are too complex or irreducible or inaccessible to treat it honestly with the methods of science.  Though that certainly hasn't stopped people dishonestly trying to subject them to science and getting other such people to peddle it as science to the gullible and willingly deceived.  For completeness, I'll include the observation of Eddington in his Philosophy of Physical Science that any aspects of nature which human beings can't imagine due to biological or other limits of our ability will always elude scientific treatment, something that many scientists just hate to have pointed out but science, no less than any other human study is ENTIRELY dependent on the capacity of human imagination and there is no way for us to imagine anything that might or might not lie outside those limits, and if they don't like that fact, that's just tough.

Anyway, that's how I used to consider the question of scientific "proofs" for the existence of God.  But, then,  in the past sixteen or so years of more intensive study of the use of science by atheists, they go whole hog in claiming that science does something it definitely cannot do, disprove the existence of God, a practice that relies on both the dishonesty of scientists who should know better - though lacking any philosophical knowledge or, apparently, even knowing the intellectual basis of science, most of them don't.  And those who should know and perhaps in some cases do peddle their dishonest wares to those who are definitely too ignorant of both but who consider science as some mysterious oracle of authoritative truth or real, true vessel of reliable durable knowledge.  Though, as pointed out here, recently, if they don't have the math or other knowledge to understand something considered to be "science" they've got to take it on exactly the same kind of authority that people believe most of what they believe they know.  Including those who atheists love to mock for their ignorance.   When you don't know the complex, elaborate arguments and intellectual background of a finding of some declaration of science, you can't know anything about it on the basis of science and must take it on authority.  That the authority you have to take denies that's what's happening and that they aren't exactly the kind of authority they claim to despise doesn't lessen that reality by a single datum.  

Atheists don't so much hate that people believe things on blind faith, it's just a matter of whether or not those things people believe on blind faith are things they like or hate.

I will point out that if their authority isn't believed with total conviction by those without that background knowledge they sure do get mighty pissy about it.  None so much as those who are the most vehement about denying that is the inevitable character of science in the general world.

I did read the article and I have to say that if people want to use the holdings of current science to support their belief in God, they are as intellectually entitled to do that as atheists who use science to support their refusal to believe in God.  I have heard arguments made on both sides and I have to say that though I have major disagreements on religion with some of those making the arguments, such as the brilliant William Lane Craig - the man who Dawkins was too chicken to debate - and the Oxford mathematician John Lennox, they are entirely more honest about what they're doing when they do it than any atheist celebrity I've read or heard in that attempt.  I suspect much of that is due to religious believers believing it is a sin to tell a lie, a contention which is unsupportable by atheism, but, also, that they know they are at a cultural disadvantage and they realize that their arguments have to be tighter and less extravagant in their claims.

As I said, I'm really not much interested in that use of science, though I now think it's as intellectually legitimate as arguing that science disproves God and, in practice, on the level I'd even consider paying attention to, entirely more intellectually responsible, but I was interested on one thing, the celebrity atheist response to it.

I have been preoccupied with the Trump-Republican scandals so I haven't had much time to spend on this but I did check that reliable barometer of atheist high pressure high dudgeon, the University of Chicago.  world's oldest 12-year-old, molecular biologist Jerry Coyne.  And, as predicted, he had a tantrum over the arguments, though made by Nelson in a different article.  For now I'll point out that Jerry, the jerk, doesn't fact check and he doesn't much care if he's accurate or not.  Or telling the truth.  At the very end of his screed - which I will probably revisit soon - he says.

Were I to have written Nelson’s article in, say, the 10th century, my five arguments for God would be Lightning, the Black Plague, Epilepsy, Magnetism, and Solar Eclipses. Now we see that as nonsense.

As his claim is him imagining himself back in the 900s (I wonder if he thought it was the next century).  he would be making arguments for the existence of God on that list of items.  One of them is certainly not something he would have argued in the 10th century, as the Black Death wasn't a phenomenon available for such use because it didn't happen until the middle of the 14th century, so, Jerry's off on that one by 4 centuries, typical but not as bad as much such atheist argument from ahistoricity.

I wonder just what 10th century author he could cite who made arguments for God out of lightening, epilepsy, magnetism or solar eclipses.  He probably has never read a word of 10th century philosophy or theology and could probably not even name any 10th century writers on the topic without googling.  I certainly haven't read everything written of that nature in the 10th century or the surrounding centuries but I'd be surprised if there was anyone in that century who produced any such arguments.  Certainly Jerry Coyne could tell us what he was referring to, though I think if he were honest he would have to say that his view of 10th century theological philosophy is entirely a product of his entirely biased imagination informed by atheist propaganda.

I couldn't name any 10th century theologians off the top of my head, though I have actually read some 9th century philosophy, from John of Ireland, John Scotus Eriugena,  and Alcuin.   Alcuin was famous as an author of a mathematics textbook, among other things and John Scotus was important for many things.  He was considered one of the most educated men in Western Europe at the time and is said by some to have been one of the few men in Western Europe who could really read Greek.  Along with Alcuin he was instrumental in the invention of universities and the rational tradition that eventually led to modernism, including the deity of Jerry Coyne, science.  

On the other side of the 10th century is another Scotus, Dun Scotus a genuine genius who actually did produce a famous proof of God, the description of which I'll post from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

2.2 Proof of the existence of God
Scotus's argument for the existence of God is rightly regarded as one of the most outstanding contributions ever made to natural theology. The argument is enormously complex, with several sub-arguments for almost every important conclusion, and I can only sketch it here. (Different versions of the proof are given at Lectura 1, d. 2, q. 1, nn. 38–135; Ordinatio 1, d. 2, q. 1, nn. 39–190; Reportatio 1, d. 2, q. 1; and De primo principio.)

Scotus begins by arguing that there is a first agent (a being that is first in efficient causality). Consider first the distinction between essentially ordered causes and accidentally ordered causes. In an accidentally ordered series, the fact that a given member of that series is itself caused is accidental to that member's own causal activity. For example, Grandpa A generates a son, Dad B, who in turn generates a son of his own, Grandson C. B's generating C in no way depends on A—A could be long dead by the time B starts having children. The fact that B was caused by A is irrelevant to B's own causal activity. That's how an accidentally ordered series of causes works.

In an essentially ordered series, by contrast, the causal activity of later members of the series depends essentially on the causal activity of earlier members. For example, my shoulders move my arms, which in turn move my golf club. My arms are capable of moving the golf club only because they are being moved by my shoulders.

With that distinction in mind, we can examine Scotus's argument for the existence of a first efficient cause:

(1) No effect can produce itself.
(2) No effect can be produced by just nothing at all.
(3) A circle of causes is impossible.
(4) Therefore, an effect must be produced by something else. (from 1, 2, and 3)
(5) There is no infinite regress in an essentially ordered series of causes.
(5a) It is not necessarily the case that a being possessing a causal power C possesses C in an imperfect way.
(5b) Therefore, it is possible that C is possessed without imperfection by some item.
(5c) If it is not possible for any item to possess C without dependence on some prior item, then it is not possible that there is any item that possesses C without imperfection (since dependence is a kind of imperfection).
(5d) Therefore, it is possible that some item possesses C without dependence on some prior item. (from 5b and 5c by modus tollens)
(5e) Any item possessing C without dependence on some prior item is a first agent (i.e., an agent that is not subsequent to any prior causes in an essentially ordered series).
(5f) Therefore, it is possible that something is a first agent. (from 5d and 5e)
(5g) If it is possible that something is a first agent, something is a first agent. (For, by definition, if there were no first agent, there would be no cause that could bring it about, so it would not in fact be possible for there to be a first agent.)
(5h) Therefore, something is a first agent (i.e., an agent that is not subsequent to any prior causes in an essentially ordered series—Scotus still has to prove that there is an agent that is not subsequent to any prior causes in an accidentally ordered series either. That's what he does in step (6) below). (from 5f and 5g)
(6) It is not possible for there to be an accidentally ordered series of causes unless there is an essentially ordered series.
(6a) In an accidentally ordered series, each member of the series (except the first, if there is a first) comes into existence as a result of the causal activity of a prior member of the series.
(6b) That causal activity is exercised in virtue of a certain form.
(6c) Therefore, each member of the series depends on that form for its causal activity.
(6d) The form is not itself a member of the series.
(6e) Therefore, the accidentally ordered series is essentially dependent on a higher-order cause.
(7) Therefore, there is a first agent. (from 4, 5, and 6)
Scotus then goes on to argue that there is an ultimate goal of activity (a being that is first in final causality), and a maximally excellent being (a being that is first in what Scotus calls “pre-eminence”).

Thus he has proved what he calls the “triple primacy”: there is a being that is first in efficient causality, in final causality, and in pre-eminence. Scotus next proves that the three primacies are coextensive: that is, any being that is first in one of these three ways will also be first in the other two ways. Scotus then argues that a being enjoying the triple primacy is endowed with intellect and will, and that any such being is infinite. Finally, he argues that there can be only one such being.

So, Jerry, where's the argument from lightening and epilepsy and the rest of the things on your list?  I'll excuse you from trying to tease out a reference to the Black Death in the 10th century.  But, what do you base your contention of an argument for the existence of God out of the Black Death on?   You ignorant. bigoted, dishonest, douche bag.

I did look up 10th century philosophers and found I was only familiar with one name, Simon the New Theologian.  Reading about him I found he founded a church named for St. Macrina, the sister of two giants of Christian Theology, Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa.  Gregory of Nyssa, in his fascinating and moving On the Soul and Resurrection, a treatise in the form of a dialogue between him and his dying sister Macrina who he had gone to visit after the death of their brother only to find she was dying.   Macrina, who is famous, among other things for being a very early abolitionist, was greatly respected by her brother who had almost a modern appreciation for her, as a woman, and her intellect. I won't post it but he attributed a rather subtle argument to her based in an analogy to the current knowledge of contemporary lunar astronomy.   (I doubt you know any of that, Dr. Coyne - when I mentioned St. Macrina here as a great and early example of an abolitionist, one of your fellow atheist douche bags could only make fun of her name in response - but I'd bet that John Scotus did as he was greatly influenced by Gregory of Nyssa.  That 9th century theologian was both a far more responsible scholar than you and far more intellectually honest.)

My imagination leads me to believe that Jerry Coyne would think none of that matters including his misrepresentations because he, Jerry Coyne, scientist, speaks for science and speaking for science means never having to apologize for lying about history and other such academic study - yeah, I imagine him as believing that .  But that's only my imagination until I have evidence to support it.

Update:  I should note that Alcuin was primarily a teacher and scholar, though he did write some philosphy-theology I am not aware he wrote a "proof of God".   He did have an enormous influence on the establishment of education in Western Europe, he was instrumental in the monastic movement that led to the founding of the first universities and he talked Charlemagne into attempting to institute universal elementary education in his kingdom.  Something which is under attack in sciency 21st century America.   Alcuin was a very important figure in the history of education.

Also, too, I hadn't intended to publish this piece until later this morning, it was published accidentally, early in a sleepless morning in draft.

Update:  Another of the atheists of Eschaton made a stupid comment about me supporting the people who brought us the Inquisition - the dumb dolly blames that on the Scholastics.  Which is kind of funny because at least one of the authors I cite above, John Scotus Eriugina was condemned by a number of Inquisition era figures for his variance with orthodox Catholic doctrine.  The old Catholic Encyclopedia ends its article on him with this:

Eriugena's influence on the theological thought of his own and immediately subsequent generations was doubtless checked by the condemnations to which his doctrines of predestination and of the Eucharist were subjected in the Councils of Valencia (855), Langres (859), and Vercelli (1050). The general trend of his thought, so far as it was discernible at the time of his translations of Pseudo-Dionysius, was referred to with suspicion in a letter addressed by Pope Nicholas I to Charles the Bald in 859. It was not, however, until the beginning of the thirteenth century that the pantheism of the "De Divisione Naturae" was formally condemned. The Council of Paris (1225) coupled the condemnation of Eriugena's work with the previous condemnations (1210) of the doctrines of Amalric of Chartres and David of Dinant, and there can be no doubt that the pantheists of that time were using Eriugena's treatise. While the great Scholastic teachers, Abelard, Alexander of Hales, St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas, and Albert the Great knew nothing, apparently, of Eriugena and his pantheism, certain groups of mystical theologians, even as early as the thirteenth century, were interested in his work and drew their doctrines from it. The Albigenses, too, sought inspiration from him. Later, the Mystics, especially Meister Eckhart, were influenced by him. And in recent times the great transcendental idealists, especially the Germans, recognize in him a kindred spirit and speak of him in the highest terms.

In case "Freki" doesn't know, the Inquisition began largely due to the campaign against the Albigenses who apparently found some of their inspiration in John of Ireland.  I will say that I'm a lot more in line with his gradualist unversalism than I am the orthodox Catholic doctrine of eternal damnation.  I started reading the Cappadocians a while back and I find their arguments to be convincing as, apparently, he did, too.   These days, unless you're an official Catholic theologian, I would bet that even lots of priests, maybe even some bishops and many everyday Catholics wouldn't be too worked up over someone who believed in universal salvation or what the article calls "pantheism".

Right before that passage in the article in the discussion of his major work, Of the Divisions of Nature, it says.

Eriugena strove in vain to reconcile with Aristotelean empiricism, Christian creationism, and theism. The result is a body of doctrines loosely articulated, in which the mystic and idealistic elements predominate, and in which there is much that is irreconcilable with Catholic dogma.

I've read, somewhere, the assertion that John Scotus Eriugena is both the last of the classical period writers and one of the figures at the beginning of Scholasticism.  I, like Freki and, definitely,  Jerry Coyne am not an expert on the period. Though I've read a bit of several of the authors, as noted above.

I went over that short description of Duns Scotus's proof of God a few more times - the whole thing is very long and complex, too long and complex to go through right now - but the more I think about it the more impressive it is.  I do wonder if the same form of argument using such undeniable premises were used to support the existence of a natural phenomenon if the results would be so clear that it would be considered as proven.  Though I'm not going to try to test that idea.  Not till pollen season and the danger to democracy from the Republican-fascists are over.  That is if I don't die first.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

From Charles Pierce: Esquire

I've never been so glad that we do not have a hereditary monarchy in this country. Imagine the bloody wars of succession between Junior, Eric, and Jared. The Wars of the Schmoeses.

Hate Mail

Sim-lex-i-a,  n.  Mental disorder in which what is read is perceived to mean what the reader wishes instead of what it means.   

Sim-lex-ic,  n. a. A person who exhibits symptoms of simlexia. 
adj. Characteristic of the disorder.

After S. Simels, noted for exhibiting the disorder.  

(See also:  Habitual Liar)

Update:  Big deal.  I don't care what they say about me there as long as it isn't the truth so I've got nothing to worry about. 

Baby Blue's theme song is "Put Another Dunkle In In The Duncleodian."   Played on a Wurlitzer.   

Update 2:  Dunkle.  I'm busy.  Look it up in the Urban Dictionary.  

Update 3:  

There is an old doofus named Simps,
Whose wit doesn't fly it just limps,
So many, his lies,
Like gathering flies,
And when he's called on them he wimps. 

Apparently he's so senile he doesn't remember what he's tried to post here.   Or maybe it's his other personalities that do it, The Many Chaussettes of Steve. 

I Will Not Pretend That McMaster Was Not Lying By Pretending To Believe His Deceptive Wording

When the crimes are as serious as those which Donald Trump his crime family and their gang of thieves have committed  a "non-denial denial" can't be gone along with even to the extent of noting it was "technically true".   We don't have to conduct our public lives and our politics on the basis of the sleaziest kind of lawyerly mincing of words. 

McMaster issued a transparent lie Monday night which even the Republican enabling media immediately noted was a lie, then he did it the next day at an idiotically called press conference where he didn't even do it as well as he had the first time.  

Honorable people do not do this at times when things aren't as seriously bad as they are right now.  I don't take a word of what I said back.   Trump is going down and he might well take down Mike Pence, as well.  Not to mention any number of others.  

I think the only question now is how shameless and bold he will be in issuing preemptive pardons or having Pence do it for him. The Constitution should have limited the power of presidents to pardon members of their own administration and associates after Gerald Ford's unconscionable pardoning of Richard Nixon.  It's possible for Trump to pardon scores or hundreds of his crime associates.  I wouldn't put it past him to do so.  I wouldn't put it past Pence or Paul Ryan or any other Republican in the direct line of presidential succession.  That has to change. 

H. R. McMaster As Sacrosanct Even As He Lies To Support Trump's Treason

All I will say to the piece on NPR I just heard, Rachel Martin giving Retired Lt. Col. John Nagl a chance to wax emotional and cloyingly romantic about the disgraceful dissembling of H. R. McMaster in defense of the criminal Donald Trump, is bull shit.   

He's propping up a Republican regime because he's a Republican.  Obviously, with the spectacle of the Republicans in the Congress and elsewhere, they have put party way before country, even if they're military men under oath to do just that.  For crying out loud, Mike Flynn was a general in the Army and he was one of the main players in the corruption and treason.  

In this disaster a real man of integrity would have quit, stating why, publicly before he'd have done what McMaster and other such empty suits as Rod Rosenstein have done over the past two weeks. 

What Matters Isn't If They're Getting Paid To Betray the American People, It Is THAT They Are Betraying The American People

Based in how they have behaved this past week when the Trump treason is undeniable, I am going to assume that all media organizations and figures who are carrying water for Trump, disregarding or attempting to minimize the seriousness of the crimes of Trump and his crew of criminals are already known to have committed, that anyone in our media who are doing that are de facto assets of Vladimir Putin and are likely either in his pay or who know or suspect he has dirt he can use to blackmail them.

I don't know if they are actually getting the kinds of millions that we already know have come Trumps way and the way of those who have participated in installing a Putin regime asset in the White House.  But what matters for democracy, for the lives and rights and freedoms of the American People isn't whether or not they have gotten money IT IS THAT THEY ARE DOING THE BIDDING OF A FOREIGN DESPOT, a very smart organized criminal who has played the freedom to lie given to the American media by some of the stupidest and most short-sighted interpretations of the First Amendment imaginable.  

We don't have to wonder about that, by first creating the celebrity of Donald Trump, of covering for him as his past massive business corruption was fully known, as he inserted himself as a political figure and as he was able, with the help of the media, both entertainment and news, to gain power even as his lies piled up to the sky, the American media, our free press made Donald Trump as a public figure, as a politician and as a president.   The American media are what created Trump, it is what sustained and promoted him, it is what covered for him and attacked his opponent the most massively vetted and tested candidate for president in the history of the country, it enabled the situation which allowed Trump to take power even as he lost the election.   Lest anyone forget, the New York Times, as recently as the end of April was advocating that people look on the "good side" of Donald Trump, advocating that people go out of their way to say something nice about him.  

As far as I am concerned, if Rupert Murdoch and his FOX staff aren't in the pay of Putin or acting under threat of blackmail by him, they are doing the same for some other organized criminal for the same reasons.  In some cases in the American media they ARE the gangsters they are serving.  It's either that or they just hate American democracy and the American People.  In a country with an honest legal system Rupert Murdoch would have been deported back to Australia to inflict himself on that country decades ago.  And what you can say about Murdoch and FOX you can say about many other parts of the American media, hate talk radio, online media, even the most august organs of the ink on newsprint media.   They have gotten too used to being able to tell lies with impunity, they have gotten too used to being rich and corrupt, they have gotten too jaded and cynical to do something so corny as serve democracy and the common good. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What’s Happening in Donald Trump’s Head?

After The Smoke Screen Press Conference Just Now

OK, so we now know that  H.R. McMaster is a big fat liar.  How many of those others with what is touted as sterling character will throw themselves under the bus for Trump over his treason? 

Does Putin Own Major Figures In The American Media As Well As Donald Trump?

A few days ago I asked if it might not be possible that some of the long time and shorter term figures in the quasi-official lefty media who have been scolding about how those criticizing the Putin regime are "cold warriors" might not be actual Putin era Russian assets.   I'm becoming more convinced that not only might some of them be but that such Putin assets might be elsewhere in the American media.

Certainly FOX is a natural focus of that question as they protect Donald Trump and his regime, the Republican Party from the consequences of the ever increasing number of revelations of Russian control of our government.  They were doing exactly the same things that the Putin trolls, Julian Assange and others were doing to try to damage Hillary Clinton's campaign.  I've got no doubt that what FOX, CNN and others in the corporate American media were certainly more effective in putting Putin's asset in the White House than middle-European teenagers did.

So, why isn't it permissible to ask if Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, others at FOX, Jeff Zucker, hell, why not Punch Sulzberger might not either be getting something from Putin or whether Putin and his massive spy network might not have found stuff they could use to blackmail them or other influential figures in the American media.

I expect that the first line of defense against those questions would be accusations of wild, paranoid delusions but, then, who would have thought, four years ago, that we would have a Republican in the White House who is known to be a Putin regime asset, that an American General would willingly and obviously be one, that he would be made National Security Adviser even as it was known by the Attorney General that he was compromised and after she and the previous president had told the Trump regime of it.   And those are only two of the things that if you'd said, four years ago, were going to be the real reality four years later that people would have thought you were nuts.

Looking Forward - You Can't Keep Democracy With The System That Created Trump - This Is A Crossroads

So, even the typical Republican mouthpieces like Maura Liasson at NPR are noting that Trump's National Security Adviser, H. R. McMaster's "non-denial denial" trying to deflect the attention from Trump's highly destructive bragging to the Russians about highly sensitive information that could put Americans and others at risk is a smoke screen.

I went to bed with the news that screaming and yelling among Trump's PR flacks was heard issuing from the white house and that very late into the night they hadn't "put a lid" on news issuing from the Administration.  I woke up to hear that even such reliable Republican liars clearly know Trump went past a point where they, even with their minimalist ethical standards, can't cover for him.

Trump is going to have to be removed from office, that much is obvious.  The question is how long will it take for the corrupt, calculating Republican leadership to try to deny the time for that was a long time ago as they try continue to figure out how it will be best for THEM to get him and his crew of crooks out of there.

He will be replaced by Mike Pence whose involvement with at least the cover-up of Trump's treason is perhaps also enough to warrant his removal from office and who will have to mount his own cover up of that and likely much more.  He's been involved with Trump long enough and has been privy to enough to compromise him.  He is also someone who managed, as a right-wing Republican governor of Indiana, to amass a record of incompetence and depravity so as to be one of the most unpopular political figures in his own state.  I wouldn't be surprised if he begins his presidency with extremely low approval which will, as well erode.   And, another thing, it is almost a certainty that the Russians know stuff about Pence that they can use to blackmail him.  Anyone who doesn't believe those in the Trump regime and inner circle contains Putin's spies is best considered too stupid to consider at this point

I was of two minds about extending the Trump regime for two years so as making it possible to get Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell out of the chain of presidential succession.  Paul Ryan has as many character defects as Donald Trump and he matches that with an amoral, sociopathic true belief in Ayn Rand's corporate fascist theories.  I think he might, actually, concentrate the destructive potential of Trump on the international scene on the American domestic agenda which would not only absolutely destroy the middle-class but would be death to many of the poor and destitute.  I to think he's not so stupid that he wouldn't know he shouldn't brag to the Russians using classified, confidential intelligence information to do it.  He is likely even more malevolent to the majority of people and he is a true believing fanatic in one of the worst pseudo-philosophical cults to have ever arisen in the United States.

So, it's clear that even the Republican whores in the media realize Trump is going to have to go and soon before he totally destroys the Western alliance and even anti-terror cooperation with the United States.  We are seeing, before our eyes, exactly that nightmare of the founders coming to pass, an American president with despotic powers in league with foreign despots, anything like loyalty he has to them - they own him, he is their asset -  and working with them against the interests of the people of the United States.  And the longer he stays there, the worse it will get.

With this complete disaster in which a psychotic-spoiled child of 70 was raised by our free press, TV, turned into a figure who could sucker enough foolish people into voting for him - as our free press both gave him free publicity and fueled his rise every step of the way and gave him credibility as they continued to lie about Hillary Clinton, the one person who stood between us and a Trump regime, we have come to a crossroads as a country.

The very things which created Trump and gave him power, the things about our government, our legal system, YES, OUR CONSTITUTION AS CURRENTLY INTERPRETED, are what Putin and his experts used to both make Trump an asset and to put him in office.  The part using Moldovan teenaged- hackers and others like that we have little control over, but Trump is a creation of the free press in America as permitted under the regime of First Amendment interpretation over the past fifty-three years.  Putin and his experts certainly understand that - they certainly mastered it in ways that our media and our experts apparently can't comprehend.

America under that interpretation of the First Amendment which empowers lies and money to promote lies is what produced this disaster.  It is the media enabled to lie with impunity and abandon public service in favor of selling itself to the richest buyers which produced Trump and destroyed the chances of the one person who could have prevented it.  The courts who ruled in favor of them being able to do that and the lawyers and legal thinkers who created those dogmas and doctrines set the whole downward spiral off by refusing to say that a lie is not as good as the truth and that only the truth can produce real freedom. 

Clearly, America can't hope to remain a democracy or be a trusted ally and the bulwark of freedom under the presently interpreted meaning of that.  Modern mass media changed everything making it possible for wealthy people in whose interest it is for an effective majority OR MINORITY to believe lies to sell them more easily than ever before.  If that isn't changed even getting rid of Trump and Pence and Ryan and McConnell isn't the end of it, it's only the end of the first part of the end of the United States as a strong democracy.  Putin and whoever succeeds him, other despots will use the same means of ratfucking our democracy that has worked so well, this time.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Here’s How Trump Could Already Be Prosecuted

If it weren't for the generic Benadryl I'm stoned on I'd never have answered it the first time.  I'd rather be going after bigger fish like Trump. 

They're not fish, more like limpets. 

Update: Oh, please.  Compared to Simps Richard Sanders is Adonis.  I mean, Les had a news scooter.  How much cooler does an imaginary journalist get?  

Update 2:  Oh, yeah?  Cooler than this?

Image result for 1960s television set german

Or this?

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I believe I've made my point.

Imagine, Simps Misremembers A Plot Line To Make No Point At All

No, I remember it and that's not exactly how I remember the plot of that episode going.  IMDb describes it:

A preacher with Clean Up Radio Everywhere wants WKRP to stop playing specific songs due to the lyrics. Mr. Carlson thinks the station should cooperate, while the rest say the songs are classics and shouldn't be subjected to censorship.

Another online resource agrees with my memory that the issue was sexual content. 

So you mis-remember how it went. But that's not surprising, you and Les Nessman have essentially the same journalistic competence. Only he was eccentric, sympathetic and charming in his Milquetoast view of his career. He was better looking, too.     

And the episode was first broadcast April 12, 1981.  So the song was overplayed for only ten of the 36 years that it has been a banal, meaningless, hypocritical dirge at that point in time.  

I do remember the actor Richard Paul doing a really good job of playing the Jerry Falwell figure.  Apparently some others thought so too because IMDb says that the actor - who died tragically young - played him two more times over the next two decades.  

I love IMDb, have learned the names and subsequent acting histories of so many actors I didn't know the names of.  I love to see good actors getting work.  

I'd say "research is your friend" but you wouldn't know that and at your age, you never will. 

Update:  Oh, look, someone tells me that when you posted that comment at Duncan's daycare for those in their dotage you included a link to that IMDb listing.  Apparently you neglected to read it.  What have I told you before?

These are words.

To understand what they say you have to read them.

They do not work unless you do. 

Too much TV, too little homework, Simps, that's your problem. 

Update 2:  No, I remembered that scene, at the end of the half-hour, well, 24 minutes.  It's a more subtle point than Simps thought.  As Mr. Carlson points out, the lyrics aren't obscene which was what "Dr. Bob Hayler" claimed he was against. 

And I did read the whole listing.  I love the scene where Les Nessman is conflicted because Ed Murrow is one of his heroes and General George Patton is as well.  I liked Les.  

Update 3:  I don't have to agree with everything in a sit-com to love it.  I mean, once in a blue moon Simps agrees with something I say but that doesn't mean he's required to love my blog. 

It might make me check my reasoning to see if faulty logic is why he agrees with me, however. 

You know, pretty soon there are going to be more words in this post than there are in the script. 

Update 4: Naw, Simps ain't Johnny, he's more Herb.   The Mr. Carlson role has some cautionary lessons for Duncan. 

Jim Baker Wants To Sell You Some Deeeelishious Survival Chow And Other Trumpery

Image result for wkrp little ed

loved the 1970s sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati and one of my favorite episodes was when Andy the station manager decided to crack down on the buy-time-radio ex-pro wrestler-evangelist Little Ed for his shameless huckstering.  Selling religious themed shower curtains and lawn furniture.   I won't spoil it if you haven't seen it.  I loved that show.  Sorry, can't link to a clip though I will tell you it's posted several places online in glorious very low fi. 

RMJ mentioned that that name from the past, the convicted crook and TV  hallelujah huckster Jim Bakker is still around, well after his prison sentence ended and his original .... I won't call it a ministry because the servicing he was giving was not that kind of servicing, mostly in line with bilking semi-senile out of their money.   

The other day he said making fun of Trump is the devils work, among him peddling his buckets of survival food.  Little Ed was small potatoes to the lying Jim Bakker who wasn't sent to jail for his "preaching" as he claimed but for his thieving and being a major con man who conned people out of more than a hundred-fifty million dollars.  . 

Here, watch it. 

For regular readers, note that the case of Leona Helmsley discussed here last week also figured in this report.