Saturday, July 29, 2017

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe - Cordially Invited To Meet Death

I've been called out so I don't have time to list the cast,  I'll put it up later if I can. 

Stars: Mavor Moore, Don Francks, Cec Linder, Frank Perry, Alfie Scott
Special Guest Stars: Barbra Hamilton, Terry Tweed, Lynn Deigon, Ken James, Tom Harvey

Music by: Don Gillis

Trump's Tweeting His Rage At The Republicans Doesn't Matter What It Says It's Essentially This

Cut The Rope of Ivy Strangling The United States

I would imagine you, as I did, missed the announcement of Congressman John Delaney for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination.   Charles Pierce in sadly noting the official start of the next goddamned presidential race, not even a year after the last goddamned one ended (if it, indeed, has, Trump seems to not have understood this)..... anyway, Charles Pierce said he'd never heard of him either.  Looking up his bio at Wikipedia (one of the few things I could find about him) I note that he graduated from one of the major Ivies, Columbia with a law degree from the might-as-well-be-a-goddamned-Ivy, Georgetown.  That's enough to make me unenthusiastic about him.  We've been governed, officially, by Ivy League products since 1989 in an unbroken tangle of Ivy around the neck of the country.  And if you want to to face the fact about the Reagan presidency, it was largely run by Ivy league products like James Baker (Princeton) and even in other non-Ivy presidencies, they pretty much ran things.  As I had to point out to someone recently that includes the illegitimate regime we find ourselves in,  Trump is a product of the U. of Pennsylvania Wharton School, UoP is considered one of the lesser Ivies, not to mention Jared (Daddy purchased his place at Harvard) Ivanka, also Wharton School, Steve Bannon (Harvard).

When you look back, with a few bright spots like FDR the influence of Ivy League grad on American Democracy has been pretty dismal.  I certainly don't think the unbroken chain of Ivy League rule we've had can be seriously argued to have been good for the country or the world.

I think it's time to let a government of public school products to see if they can do better.  I doubt they could screw things up any worse than the Ivy elite have.  I'm serious about this, the culture of prep-Ivy-Ivy Equivalent (the overlord Kochs went to MIT).  I think it should be written into law that no one who has not graduated from public schools, from K through their highest grad degree, should ever be allowed to be Secretary of Education.  We've got to break the rope of Ivy that is hanging us.

My favorite wish is that Elizabeth Warren become president.  Other than having gone to George Washington University, she is a product of public education.  That's probably what's inoculated her from going Harvard while teaching there.   She certainly hasn't gone Harvard in public service.

Update:  See, also:

If you think Cory Booker is annoyingly opportunistic and self-promoting, aids to Second Term Congressman Seth Moulton are trying to talk him into running in 2020.  I would imagine they figure he'd have a leg up in New Hampshire, being from MA.   Here's a short description of him and the idea at Politico:

Moulton has three degrees from Harvard, and he did four difficult, decorated tours as a Marine in Iraq. But he’s still a neophyte in the House of Representatives, and in politics. This is the first office of any kind he’s ever held. In the wake, though, of last fall’s terrain-altering election, Ferson detected an opening. “This,” he told me, “is a moment in time where he is the exact right person to run for president.”

This conversation—reported here for the first time—is precisely the type of talk that’s currently causing disgusted eye-rolling among significantly more tenured Democrats in Massachusetts and Washington. They dismiss Moulton, albeit never for attribution, as gratingly ambitious, a grandstanding backbencher who has advocated for the ouster of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to make way for new, younger standard-bearers—like himself. They see Moulton’s message of country over party as not so much admirable as annoying. “It’s the supercilious, sanctimonious Oh, golly gee,” one longtime political observer of his district said of Moulton’s assertions of selflessness. Some of the opinions on Capitol Hill are even more scathing. “I don’t think I’ve seen a more opportunistic, duplicitous person serving in the House,” said a senior Democratic aide, blasting Moulton as somebody who talks bigger than he plays and who pillories Pelosi while almost always voting the same way. “He doesn’t do anything around here,” the aide said. Other members who are more supportive are reluctant to say so publicly—cautious about being seen as “giving him a bear hug,” as one Hill staffer put it, “while he’s knifing the leader.”

And there's more in the story.

This is one guy I would definitely never want to see as President.   I wonder, do political operatives talk guys like this into running to make work for themselves?

Friday, July 28, 2017

William Bolcom - Rags - The Garden of Eden

 I. Old Adam

II. The Eternal Feminine

III. The Serpent's Kiss

IV. Through Eden's Gates

Spencer Myer, piano

Comment On The Comment From A Current Member In Good Standing In The Duncan Black Brain Trust

I've got to point out that in ridiculing the idea that economic anxiety had anything to do with Hitlers rise to power, Steve Simels is asserting that the last two, arguably three,  generations of scholars of the Nazis rise to power didn't know what they're talking about but that he does.  

Now, that's funny. 

He thinks that, probably unique in the history of political elections, economic issues of the kind that brought down the Weimar Republic, had no effect in the election that chose the people who would create the successor government.  I've pointed out a few times that he doesn't quite get how the sequential nature of time works.   

Update:  I guess Simps figures he knows more than the Holocaust Museum staff.

In the early 1930s, the mood in Germany was grim. The worldwide economic depression had hit the country especially hard, and millions of people were out of work. Still fresh in the minds of many was Germany's humiliating defeat fifteen years earlier during World War I, and Germans lacked confidence in their weak government, known as the Weimar Republic. These conditions provided the chance for the rise of a new leader, Adolf Hitler, and his party, the National Socialist German Workers' Party, or Nazi party for short.

Hitler was a powerful and spellbinding speaker who attracted a wide following of Germans desperate for change. He promised the disenchanted a better life and a new and glorious Germany. The Nazis appealed especially to the unemployed, young people, and members of the lower middle class (small store owners, office employees, craftsmen, and farmers).

Thinking More About Susannah Heschels Lecture And The Lessons It Teachers For Defeating Trumpian Fascism

If you haven't listened to the lecture I posted by Susannah Heschel, one of current best scholars on the relationship of the Christian Churches and Nazism, both the shameful and the admirable, I'd encourage you to do so.   Certainly as a granddaughter and niece of victims of the Holocaust, as the daughter of Abraham Joshua Heschel and as a very accomplished scholar in her own right, her insights into that issue are some of the most informed you are likely to hear.    I think that, despite what a lot of people might believe, the current scholarship into that period is far more fully informed than that of past decades.  As Susannah Heschel points out, she has found things in libraries and archives and as a result of her own scholarship, which have either not been published or which have been covered up.  Her account of how she had to overcome resistance to her looking into some areas in order to make those discoveries is important to keep in mind.  That's the way with history, the secondary, scholarly view of the past becomes more accurate and reliable as more of the primary material that that has to be based in, becomes known and published, as things kept hidden or forgotten are revealed to people who never knew it.  In a way it's like a well conducted court case in which the more information that is put into evidence, the more informed your conclusions about it will be.

The lecture, as others Susannah Heschel has given, are a mix of revealing some of the hardest and most unpleasant of facts, a nuanced view of human fallibility and weakness and heroic courage, a fully developed instead of a narrowly reductionist viewpoint of a very complex period in history.  Above all, there is the knowledge that the moral aspects and purposes of her work are what make it important, what we can learn from it about how to conduct our lives and govern our societies.  It is what should be expected from a scholar of the Hebrew scriptures and the importance of those in the world, before and today.   Her depth of scholarship is unusually impressive but more so her focus on what is really important about it.

At about 20:35 on the video, talking about the quite repellant German Theologian, Walter Grundmann, putting him into the context of his academic heritage from his teacher and his post-war biography, she said something that I think is important for us in our contemporary politics:

He joined the Nazi party in, 1930.  That, by the way, was his big mistake because it meant that after the war Grundman lost his professorship. Which, by the way, was foolish on the part of the Allies.  You know, 1930, one didn't know what Hitler was going to do. Those who joined in 1937, for example, they really knew. And that strikes me as worse.

It is just stunning that Susannah Heschel, the daughter of a man whose mother and sisters were murdered by the Nazis, whose family lost many members in the death industry of the Nazis could take that view of a Nazi such as Grundmann, pointing out something that, from our perspective, so many decades after the rise of the Nazis gets blended into a general blur of categorization, acknowledging a fact that doesn't occur to us.  In the beginning of their rise to power, the Nazis didn't let people in on their plans in all of their depravity.  They hoodwinked a lot of people into supporting them and even into joining them who, if they knew what they were going to do, would never have voted for them.  Certainly if they could have seen the outcome of the war that Hitler would bring, he'd never have been elected, if they knew he was going to commit mass murder, he probably would never have come to power.  There is all the difference in the world between being conned by a con job into supporting someone before they worked their scheme and being conned later because you approve of what they're doing.

Her further description of Grundmann and her analysis of his personality, a mixture of self-aggrandizement and abjection, his feeling of being marginalized and prevented from achieving his abilities and the role it played in his sleazier professional and political activities is something that is very important to understand about some, maybe most of the people who might be drawn into do things that are bad.  Her understanding of the psychological vulnerability of academics is summed up in her account of what Grundmann's file as a decades long Stasi spy for the GDR said, that he was a   “typical academic: desperate for admiration and with an inclination to intrigue.”


If we are going to defeat Trumpian fascism we're going to have to work with even people who might have voted for Trump but who didn't imagine he would immediately be as depraved as he is.  He didn't tell them that he was going to put into government the scum that rose to the top of Goldman Sachs into a position where they could loot the country, he told them he was going to "clean up the swamp".  It has certainly come as a surprise to a lot of his supporters that one of the things he was going to do was take away their health insurance, that of their children - why they didn't understand that was going to be a consequence isn't something I can fathom but my being able to understand that isn't what's important now.   I think there is a huge difference between someone who got duped into supporting Trump in 2016 - before his reign of criminal depravity started and someone who still does support him and those who jumped on board when the electoral college system stole the election for him.

Reading that description of the 1964 Republican Convention linked to here yesterday, from Jackie Robinson WHO WAS A REPUBLICAN DELEGATE TO THE CONVENTION should be an eye opener.  When I read it, it belied all of the shock and surprise at the Trumpian tactics of fifty-two years later, given that view of the racists who now control the Republican Party, their grandparents generation of Goldwater supporters.

I think that there are Republicans, even a few in the Congress who would not be anywhere near as bad if they weren't scared for their job by the now permanent presence of the actual, large, fascist cohort of that party.  For the rest of my life and certainly for most of yours, anywhere from 25 to 40% of the Republican vote is comprised of actual, racist, bigoted, fascists.  Many of them distorting Christianity in ways not much different from those discussed by Susannah Heschel.

You might not like it but some way has to be found to defeat the influence of the permanent fascist presence in the United States.  That is going to depend on strategies other than asserting that they have cooties and are stupid, etc.  That has been done since the 1960s and earlier and it has been a total failure.  I don't know what will work, but I know what hasn't and has made things steadily worse.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a lying scumbag. There I said it.  She's not the only one in the press operation of the Trump regime but she is probably the most overtly hypocritical of them. Her Emperors New Clothes cover for Donald Trump's scummy,  sleazy, smutty comments to the Boy Scout Jamboree proves that her moral values are about as substantial as her cover lines. 

When Michael Met Arthur - A Full Frontal Segment

I don't know, I've always found Arthur Laffer to be as repulsive as I did his claims obviously stupid.

The Timeline In the Case Against Trump

Question and Answer

"What do you think about Sam Brownback being named as Trump's Ambassador At Large For Religious Freedom?"

Well, first Mike Pence, then Sam Brownback and, if little Jared blackballing him for putting his biological daddy in jail ends, Chris Christie..... it looks like the Trump regime is the country-club prison for disastrously failed and massively unpopular Republican governors.   I remember reading how Republicans in Indiana were so glad to get rid of Pence and it's pretty obvious that after trashing Kansas over his insane religious faith in supply side economics that even the Republicans have repudiated the idiocy of Brownback.   They seem to be following Trump up in a final vindication of the Peter Principle where such people rise to their highest level of incompetence.  

As for Brownback being an alleged Christian, a Catholic, no less, there is no way to intuit the teachings of Jesus or Paul or even the Catechism of John Paul II from the actions of Sam Brownback, the guy is a fraud of the kind I have always advocated calling out.  Jesus gave the test of someone who was sincere in their profession of faith, by their fruits you will know them.  Brownback yields a bitter harvest of injustice, inequality, cruelty and smug self-righteousness.   He's about as credible as Jim Bakker and the rest of the phony TV huckster hallelujah peddlers.   He's about as Christian as Donald Trump.  

Susannah Heschel - The Aryan Jesus in Nazi Germany: The Bible and the Holocaust

I had intended to post this back when I posted some videos by her father, Abraham Joshua Heschel but politics and other things intervened.

Her scholarship pointing out the part that late 19th and 20th century racial theory (based in contemporary biology) had in denying the Judaism of Jesus shows that the relationships producing 20th century, German anti-semitism was more complex than a cartoon, Colorforms, history diorama approach to the issue can contain.

Marilynne Robinson, in her review of The God Delusion -  after a paragraph defending Jews against evolutionary psychological claims slamming Jews for their alleged moral exclusivity -  pointed out:

Dawkins says, “I need to call attention to one particularly unpalatable aspect of its [the Bible’s] ethical teaching. Christians seldom realize that much of the moral consideration for others which is apparently promoted by both the Old and New Testaments was originally intended to apply only to a narrowly defined in-group. ‘Love thy neighbor’ didn’t mean what we now think it means. It meant only ‘Love another Jew.” As for the New Testament interpretation of the text, “Hartung puts it more bluntly than I dare: ‘Jesus would have turned over in his grave if he had known that Paul would be taking his plan to the pigs.” Pigs being, of course, gentiles.

There are two major objections to be made to this reading. First, the verse quoted here, Leviticus 19:18, does indeed begin, “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people,” language that allows a narrow interpretation of the commandment. But Leviticus 19:33—34 says “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. . . . You shall love the alien as yourself.” In light of these verses, it is wrong by Dawkins’s own standards to argue that the ethos of the law does not imply moral consideration for others. (It would be interesting to see the response to a proposal to display this Mosaic law in our courthouses.) Second, Jesus provided a gloss on 19:18, the famous Parable of the Good Samaritan. With specific reference to this verse, a lawyer asks Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus tells a story that moves the lawyer to answer that the merciful Samaritan—a non-Jew— embodies the word “neighbor.” That the question would be posed to Jesus, or by Luke, is evidence that the meaning of the law was not obvious or settled in antiquity. In general, Dawkins’s air of genteel familiarity with Scripture, though becoming in one aware as he is of its contributions to the arts, dissipates under the slightest scrutiny.

Nor is Dawkins’s argument from history impressive. He cheerfully posits a “Zeitgeist” that wafts us to ever higher states of ethical sensitivity, granting lapses, specifically those associated with Hitler and Stalin: “We are forced to realize that Hitler, appalling though he was, was not quite as far outside the Zeitgeist of his time as he seems from our vantage-point today. How swiftly the Zeitgeist changes — and it moves in parallel, on a broad front, throughout the educated world.” Dawkins fails to note that the racial anti-Semitism that arose in Germany in the later nineteenth century had appeared to recede, until Hitler and others revived it. The article on anti- Semitism in the 11th Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, published in 1911. describes the movement as a German “craze” that had “shown little activity since 1893.” According to the article, “While it remained a theory of nationality and a fad of the metaphysicians, it made considerable noise in the world without exercising much practical influence.” So, although Dawkins’s Zeitgeist might seem a harmless fudge, a spiritus ex machina meant to rescue his Darwinian atheism from the charges of bleakness and emptiness, it excuses his consistent inattentiveness to history. It is precisely the swiftness with which the Zeitgeist can change that makes it profoundly unworthy of confidence.

I really love Susannah Heschel, this talk has lots of hard truth in it but this is a hard truth. And it's a far more complex truth than the comic book version of history can process.

Lying With A Camera And Selling It To Simplified MInds

Simps, has unwittingly volunteer to show what happens when fiction becomes confused for reality, a result of too much TV and Movies. He said:

"Much as the Weimar government and its free
wheeling culture in Germany gave rise to Nazism."

Absolutely. It was all the fault of the real life slut who Isherwood based Sally Bowles on.

Which is probably the kind of thing that happens when you mix up a Bob Fosse musical with history. I strongly suspect he didn't really read Christopher Isherwood, though depending on it as an accurate depiction of Berlin on the eve of the Nazi takeover is probably as bad an idea.   I don't have time to write about it, but, luckily, someone else did.  I don't have time to find the piece by Alexander Cockburn mentioned here, at the BBC, but I did read it long ago.

But 20 years after Isherwood's Berlin adventures, the stage play [I Am A Camera, etc.] is less honest about his sexuality than the originals had been. A suddenly heterosexual Isherwood has a relationship with nightclub singer Sally Bowles.

In real life there had, of course, been no such affair but Isherwood explained there had been a real Sally Bowles, a young Englishwoman in Berlin called Jean Ross.

As he wrote her, Sally's main talent is for snaring wealthy older men.

Jean Ross died in 1973 having said little about being used as the model. In reality, Ross was a political radical who went on to have a relationship with the author Claud Cockburn.

His son, Alexander Cockburn, knew her much later. "Jean was a wonderful woman, warm and gentle in demeanour. She couldn't have been more unlike the rather tinny character portrayed in Sally Bowles. She was extremely intelligent, politically alert and vital. She probably found the portrait painted by Isherwood rather irritating."

Ross may have been annoyed at Isherwood's invention but the success of Jan Van Druten's 1951 Broadway play I am a Camera (filmed in 1955) meant the writer was now losing control of his own creations.

Later he said the regular arrival of cheques soothed his wounded self-regard.

In 1966, the play became the hit musical Cabaret. Six years later came Bob Fosse's massively successful movie version, starring Liza Minnelli.

Professor Norman Page says by this time little resemblance remained to the "real" Sally Bowles. "In fact near the end of his life Isherwood admitted he couldn't really remember what Jean Ross had been like. The memories had been overlaid by all the actresses who played her various reincarnations," he says.

But, he says: "In all their different versions his stories and characters evoke a crucial period in European history - even if what we learn about the realities of '30s Berlin is quite limited. His picture is rather sanitised - Berlin was a place of great hardship and suffering but you don't see much of that."

Professor Page says changing literary taste will keep the stories alive. "Isherwood operates in an area which has become more interesting to us in recent years: the frontiers of fiction and autobiography and the whole nature of truth-telling in fiction."

Only, I don't think there should be a frontier, mixing fiction and autobiography (though you're always asking for trouble when you don't fact check someones account of their own life) and I certainly think the confusion of fiction and, worse, show biz with history is not only a bad idea but positively dangerous.  There should be a bright line separating them, if not an impenetrable wall. What do you suppose replaces history in the mind of Donald Trump?  Rand Paul?  Paul Ryan?

Simels, like Trump, Paul, Ryan et al, are a product of the post-truth culture brought on by peoples minds being fed by TV and Movies and pop-culture and celebrity culture and crap pseudo-historical musicals.  Nothing matters, nothing means anything.  Nothing is real, there's nothing to get hung about.  Yeah, I did intend to go there.

The Symbiotic Relationship Of Enabled Lies And Hate Politics And The Republican History Which Gave Us Trump

Donald Trump's anti-transgender tweet storm of yesterday has been surprisingly unenthusiastically accepted by even the old far-right of the Republican Party, the "far right" before it took the plunge into actual fascist politics in the Trump era.  When Orrin Hatch speaks up for transgender military people to a Republican president, you know that the Earth has moved.  It has, decidedly, moved backward for groups of people who are not largely and, inaccurately, presented and believed to be white.  That is something which is as obvious, that only to the extent that LGBT people are identified as white are their rights enhanced on an accelerated basis. That's something I've written about before.

I am sure that Donald Trump is, as has been said, trying to throw red meat to his fascist base by sacrificing active soldiers, marines, etc. some of them serving in war zones on active duty, is trying to get himself cover for his attempts to dump Jeff Sessions,  Trump's neo-Confederate Attorney General who would probably love to execute everyone of the LGBT community but who has the priority of reinstalling voter suppression, Jim Crow, prissily going after pot smokers and other measures, first. I'm sure Trump believes he, as Republican politicians, presidential candidates going back to Barry Goldwater*  and Presidents such as Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, can rally the Republican base around some hate issue to his benefit.  Republican politics has made maximum use of hate, increasingly, and you can count on its bright young boys and girls coming up with ever more people to hate and fear for the FOX audience, every election cycle.

I don't think we think enough about the relationship between the Age of Lies and the regime of hate politics but those are intimately related, the regime of hate politics depends, absolutely, on the media being permitted to tell lies with impunity.  I've compared the ACLU's sporatic efforts against the legal results of hate politics to the little boy who tried to hold back the sea by putting his finger into a hole in the dyke, but the ACLU and other "civil liberties" groups are like a little boy who does that even as he drills more holes into the dyke.  Their long standing practice of enabling lies and the liars who tell them is as intimately enabling of hate speech as the billionaires who finance hate-talk politics.  It was the very same "civil libertarian" groups and individual lawyers who supported Buckley v. Valeo and other rulings that made things steadily worse under their first novel, now standard interpretation of the First Amendment.

That the worst of our political figures, the worst of our media titans and the super-rich they serve have benefitted from the monumentally irresponsible and totally idiotic policy of permitting lies and hate talk is proven beyond any rational doubt.  If you want to find out the answer to how, unimaginably, we have a Donald Trump regime in power, that is how it happened.  Anyone who expected what the courts have ruled in that area would produce anything else was a gullible boob. The idea that egalitarian democracy was not properly involved with the suppression of lies and bigotry, that the law and government of a supposed egalitarian democracy was not rightly  smack dab in the business of  promoting the truth and opposing the politics of discrimination and hate and inequality is to totally and fundamentally not understand the reality of the situation.

An egalitarian democracy that does not suppress lies, that does not suppress the kind of hatred that has enabled Donald Trump and which he continues to use as a tool of political advancement and advantage will die in fascism.  Much as the Weimar government and its free wheeling culture in Germany gave rise to Nazism.

I really, truly,  mean that lies and hate-talk have to be disempowered, to be disadvantaged, to be suppressed.   In the case of lies, that can be done by allowing people lied about to sue those who lie about them and to collect damages large enough to discourage the billionaire media owners to lie.  Suppressing both lies and hate-talk propaganda can be done through removing broadcast licenses and making other mass media subject to the same kind of regulatory regime.  I really don't think paper-based, print media would much matter for regulation but, given the supermarket tabloids influence with the stupidest and most sensation seeking of people, largely supporters of Trumpian fascism, they should certainly be subject to libel laws with an interest in suppressing and disempowering lies.  I would rather take my chances on that kind of an effort to protect egalitarian democracy than to rely on the "civil libertarian" theory which has failed and brought us Trump as well as the goon squad that runs the House and Senate and holds a majority on the Supreme Court.  I have become convinced in the last year that there is no choice but to take a chance on that because the theory which has brought us here has such catastrophic results.

*  If I had the funding and time I would like to look at the timeline of Barry Goldwater's campaign use of semi-covert racism in the year 1964 to see if there was any change after the Sullivan decision came down in March of that year.   Luckily, in the wake of the assassination of John Kennedy, it was never really likely that Goldwater would have won the election but he did push the use of veiled racism and an appeal to racists farther.

The Sullivan Decision could have been decided by pointing out that the ad which was sued over didn't mention Sullivan by name so he had no standing to sue, it could have been decided to require that the Times and or those who wrote the ad issue a retraction of the minor errors of fact in the ad or any of a number of other ways that didn't empower the age of lies it started.

Also, about the 1964 Goldwater campaign and what it started, From Jackie Robinson's Memoir

I will never forget the fantastic scene of Governor Rockefeller’s ordeal as he endured what must have been three minutes of hysterical abuse and booing which interrupted his fighting statement which the convention managers had managed to delay until the wee hours of the morning.  Since the telecast was coming from the West Coast, that meant that many people in other sections of the country, because of the time differential, would be in their beds.  I don’t think he has ever stood taller than that night when he refused to be silenced until he had had his say.

It was a terrible hour for the relatively few black delegates who were present.  Distinguished in their communities, identified with the cause of Republicanism, an extremely unpopular cause among blacks, they had been served notice that the party they had fought for considered them just another bunch of “niggers”.  They had no real standing in the convention, no clout.  They were unimportant and ignored.  One bigot from one of the Deep South states actually threw acid on a black delegate’s suit jacket and burned it.  Another one, from the Alabama delegation where I was standing at the time of the Rockefeller speech, turned on me menacingly while I was shouting “C’mon Rocky” as the governor stood his ground.  He started up in his seat as if to come after me.  His wife grabbed his arm and pulled him back.

“Turn him loose, lady, turn him loose,” I shouted.

I was ready for him.  I wanted him badly, but luckily for him he obeyed his wife.

I had been very active on that convention floor.  I was one of those trying to help bring about a united front among the black delegates in the hope of thwarting the Goldwater drive.  George Parker had courageously challenged Goldwater in vain and Edward Brooke had lent his uncompromising sincerity to the convention.  I sat in with them after the nomination as they agonized about what they should do.  Some were for walking out of the convention and even out of the party.  Others felt that, as gloomy as things looked, the wisest idea was to remain within the party and fight.  Throughout the convention, I had been interviewed several times on network television.  When I was asked my opinion of Barry Goldwater, I gave it.  I said I thought he was a bigot.  I added that he was not as important as the forces behind him.  I was genuinely concerned, for instance, about Republican National Committee Chairman William Miller, slated to become the Vice Presidential candidate.  Bill Miller could have become the Agnew of his day if he had been elected.  He was a man who apparently believed you never said a decent thing in political campaigning if you could think of a way to be nasty, insinuating, and abrasive.  What with the columns I had written about Goldwater, The Saturday Evening Post article, and the television and radio interview, I had achieved a great deal of publicity about the way I felt about Goldwater.

Although I know it is the way of politicians to forget their differences and unify around the victor, it disgusted me to see how quickly the various anti-Goldwater GOP kingpins got converted.  Richard Nixon, who hadn’t really fought Goldwater and had in fact been an ally, naturally became one of his most staunch supporters.  You could expect that.  Governor Romney, who had fought the Goldwater concept so vigorously, got religion.  The convert who around the most cynical feelings in my mind was Governor William Scranton.  When Governor Rockefeller had withdrawn from the race, during the primaries, Rockefeller supporters turned to Scranton because he had become the governor’s choice.  At the request of the governor I had a meeting with Scranton in his beautiful home in Pennsylvania.

Governor Scranton welcomed me graciously, introduced me to his family, and conducted me to a veranda where we sat and sipped iced tea.  The governor pledged that he was going to put up a terrific fight against Goldwater.  He expressed his gratitude for Governor Rockefeller’s support and for my agreeing to come to see him.  For at least ten minutes he orated about Barry Goldwater, what a threat Goldwaterism is to the country and the party.  I didn’t ask him for it, but he gave his solemn oath that even if Goldwater won the nomination, he, Bill Scranton, could never conceivably, under any circumstances, support him.  Even if he wanted to, which he said he didn’t, it would be political suicide in his state for him to join a Goldwater bandwagon.  He was unequivocal about this, and months later, when I saw on television how quickly Governor Scranton pledged his loyalty to nominee Goldwater, how eagerly he engaged in some of the most revolting high-level white Uncle Tomism I’ve ever seen – fawning on Goldwater and vigorously campaigning for him around the country – I had to wonder if this was, indeed, the same man who had nearly sworn on the Bible that he could never do what he was doing.

I wish I could find video of the appearance on the Les Crane show where Robinson and Shelley Winters ganged up on William F. Buckley, which Robinson described at the end of that chapter.  It sounds like it was probably a lot more interesting than Buckley's set to with Vidal a few years later.

Update:  Here's a description of the show.

1964-08-04, WABC, 22 min.
Jackie Robinson, Les Crane, Barry Goldwater, Shelley Winters, William F. Buckley Jr., Lyndon B. Johnson

It's a heated discussion about Presidential Candidate Barry Goldwater with guests Jackie Robinson, Shelley Winters and William F. Buckley Jr. The program is interrupted for 8 minutes by an ABC News Bulletin from the White House. President Lyndon B. Johnson talks to the American People concerning the Gulf of Tonkin attack and USA intervention. Prior to resuming "The Les Crane Show," the network plays "The National Anthem," a patriotic gesture of the era.

No Apology Will Be Forthcoming

If Kentuckians might not have liked my swipe at them yesterday, they shouldn't have inflicted both Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul on the country.   My state has elected some real crap, like Paul LePage, but he is a self-inflicted disease, harming only the people of Maine.   It hasn't given two such putrid and influential Senators to the country as McConnell and Paul in living memory, perhaps, arguably,  not since James. G. Blaine has it done anything remotely that bad to the country.   And he was a moderate of the time.  We are in another such spiral of shame, only much worse. 

Though he's not from my congressional district, I accept that Bruce Poliquin is a shameful stain on Maine's reputation.   You probably haven't heard of him, he's crap but he's not powerful.  

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hate Mail

It might have been more witty for "Skeptic Tank" to have called my state "Alabama with beavers" if Alabama didn't have beavers, only I guess he's too much of a sci-guy to have looked it up to find it out, first.   I forget, is he from New York?  That great, sophisticated state that gave the nation Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and Peter King?  Not to mention dozens of others who could be mentioned.  Eschaton is the Kentucky of lefties, intellectual inbreeds without much in the way of mind power but with a parochial attitude they think makes up for it.  

I don't think anyone over there is more critical of my state than I am, the difference is I know what I'm talking about when I do it. 

Update:  Jeesh, you guys are so friggin' stupid.

North American Distribution of Castor Canadensis

Wonder How Many Of Those Out Of Order Provisions The Instantly Hypocitical John McCain Will Vote For Today

I haven't kept track but from what I've heard, John McCain's big speech yesterday about the virtue of regular order, as part of his excuse for furthering the Republican plan to kill tens of thousands and deny tens of millions of Americans healthcare, his great pose of principle didn't make it past the first vote as he voted to push the appallingly bad Cruz amendment, something outside of any regular order of the Senate, forward.

John McCain had two motives in yesterday's vote, to get back at Barack Obama by trying to destroy his major achievement as President and to get himself on camera striking a pose and spouting platitudes which he had no intention of following through on.  In his case, the very vote he came to cast for the entirely out of order repeal of the ACA proved he didn't mean a word of it.   John McCain is an empty suit, he has always been pretty much the same person who struck a pose for the camera and then supported some of the most depraved of Republican positions as he basked in the media limelight given to him for striking the pose.

This is politics as show biz, something which certainly has always been there.  The regular pose of virtue and morality which will be carried by the media - especially when it is a Republican doing the posing, even when they know the man or woman is actually a vile, corrupt, cruel sociopath.   Often it will be on the basis of some alleged regional virtue, often asserted for those from the Mid-West.  Chuck Grassley, as cold-blooded and cruelly indifferent a partisan sleaze has benefitted from his voice, annoyingly similar to Jimmy Stewart in its inflection.  In McCain's case, it is in part due to his having been a POW and partly the a figure of the mythic movie West, about as real as any seen on TV.

I have not ever expected better of John McCain than what he has delivered. Any expectation I might have very temporarily had that he would be a better kind of Republican probably died in the 1980s, Though it was so temporary that I don't remember ever buying the media myth.  His choice of Sarah Palin to run as his Vice President, probably about the worst person he could have ever considered and elevated to national prominence is a far, far better indication of who he really is, who he always was than any speech he gave or might still give.  When you wonder what kind of person John McCain is, when anyone asks that, they should be told he's the kind of person who thought Sarah Palin was qualified to be president of the United States, the kind of person who voted for Mitch McConnell to try to kill tens of thousands of Americans and to deny health care to tens of millions more, the kind of person who - if some analysts are right - will help Mitch McConnell to recess the Senate so Trump can set off his super-Saturday Night Massacre scenario which will ultimately get Robert Mueller fired and try to stop the investigation into the Trump Treason of the country.  I don't think there is any overestimating the willingness of John McCain to be a partisan hypocrite, not after today.

Senatorial comity has always been just about the cheapest, most cloying and hypocritical of melodramas.  It has always disgusted me.  It is disgusting how people who do such terrible things that kill and harm millions can make so nice with each other. It makes you wonder if any of them really care that their colleagues are the kind of people who will kill people to give money away to billionaires.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Now Do You Believe We Are Under The Colonial Oppression of the Billionaires?

The Republican Party is joining ISIS and Al Qaeda and whatever terrorist groups have as a goal to kill Americans thanks to the massive hypocrisy of John McCain and whatever effect of him rallying himself from his government health care stay at an elite hospital in order to take one last stab at Barack Obama for the affrontery of having beaten him in the presidential race in 2008 had in todays vote against the American People by Republicans in the Senate.  

With this vote, with its expected death toll of up to 40,000 Americans a year,  the Republican Party is the greatest danger that Americans face in the world.  

You can read a more detailed account of the disgusting day in the Senate at Charles Pierce's blog.  With large excerpts from McCain's revoltingly hypocritical speech.  I have to say that I am not surprised at John McCain because he has always been about eighty percent phony in his maverick role.  I have never expected better from him, especially after his disgusting performance of the past nine years.  He was a man who had one distinction, having survived being a POW, but who, otherwise, has been mostly less than met the TV camera.   Charles Pierce notes that the only constituency he ever really cared about was the Meet the Nation audience, he certainly doesn't care about the American People. 

I hope he roasts in hell. 

The Republicans Are Bailing on Trump

Susan Collins And Jack Reed Caught By C-Span A Live Mic

Collins: Did you see the one who challenged me to a duel?

Reed: Trust me, you know why he challenged you to a duel? Because you could beat the shit out of him.

Collins: He’s so unattractive, it’s unbelievable. Did you see the picture of him in his pajamas next to this bunny, Playboy bunny?

View image on Twitter

They're talking about Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), who said if the female Senators expected to vote against Trumpcare were men he'd challenge them to a duel.   He's the one on the end in baby blue and yellow duckies, the gap-toothed cartoon idiot. Only he's one in real life, too.

It doesn't make me like Susan Collins any more than I don't because she's enabled as bad all during her career.  It makes me hope that Blake becomes the poster-boy for Trump Care.
Is John McCain returning to the Senate as one final chance to get back at Barack Obama for beating him in 2008?   Could that be the reason that he is setting fire to the rest of his public persona by voting to throw tens of millions of Americans off of health care, leading to the deaths of tens of thousands, at the very least?   Even as he has full coverage as a member of the United States Senate?

I think the answer is that he is that petty.  I think if that's the conclusion others come to, he fully deserves it. 

John McCain Burns The Last Shred Of His Honor

John McCain is supposed to rise from his sickbed to vote for whatever atrocity that Mitch McConnell proposes to take healthcare away from tens of millions of Americans and to prevent others from gaining to save their lives.

I think it's relevant to ask if John McCain has ever, in his life, had to depend on private insurance purchased with his own money, that might be denied to him on the basis of his own pre-existing conditions.   I can tell you that in most places, someone with his health history would probably find it difficult or impossible to have found insurance in the pre-ACA era. Though, perhaps, that is something he has no personal experience of. 

I don't see any reason to suspend that question in the case of John McCain, especially considering his last statement was that he was opposed to the kind of secret legislation that he has announced he will vote for today, before he knows what it says, before the Republican leadership in the Senate knows what it will say, probably before Mitch McConnell knows what it will say.   

John McCain disgusts me.  

Update:  "You copied Atrios".  Read it and weep, trollboy.  The timestamps show that my post was posted a minute before Duncan posted his.  I suspect mine took longer to type out, too.

Posted by The Thought Criminal at 8:29 AM 

by Atrios at 08:30 

We Are Under The Colonial Oppression Of Childish Billionaires

If we survive long I've got a feeling this age will be known as the age of the billionaire plutocrats.  In thinking about the colonization of the United States by the Russian billionaire crime boss, Czar, Putin, through the perhaps entirely phony American billionaire and aided by numerous other American billionaires, including one who has plans to hightail it to New Zealand if his Ayn Randian dream goes bad for HIM proves that they're pretty much, as a class, in it together.  Reading at RMJ's about the lunatic plans of Elon Musk over both his naive belief that a "verbal agreement" for him to build a likely sci-fi "hyperlink" between Boston, NYC and Washington as well as his boldly announced and ambitious plans for passenger service to Mars which have been severely cut back as another area of reality has interfered with "vision".   On the hyperlink, his assurance that it's inevitable because someone told him they approved at the Trump White House, it's clear that Musk believes that democratic governance is nothing that has to hinder his "vision" which seems to be derived more from his watching of sci-fi cable TV and one or more of the ever recurring remakes of Douglas Adams crap than reality.

IT’S BEEN LESS than a year since Elon Musk announced his plans to settle humans on Mars during a talk in Guadalajara, Mexico. On stage at the International Astronautical Congress, the billionaire invoked the lore of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Battlestar Galactica while describing a massive passenger ship loaded with the essentials—you know, like a movie theater and a restaurant. SpaceX hoped to launch these breezy cruises to the red planet in the early 2030s.

What a sad thing it is when an age takes its lore from such garbage, when the bold visionary projects of the ultra rich are derived from hack TV writing.   I wonder if any of them ever read books.  

I have come to think that if democracy and even the habit of living informed by reality is to survive, and us with it, that we are going to have to take serious legal measures to get rid of the billionaire class in an act of radical leveling. Our legal system, derived in large part from the Brits with their appalling class system of inequality carries way too many assumptions that aid the creation of ultra-super-rich people who then use the power derived from their wealth to destroy democracy.   Any exceptions to that, any less deranged billionaires you might name,  do nothing to change the horrific fact that billionaires, the ultra-rich, as a class, are as much a danger to democracy as any other force.  I have a strong suspicion that even those who are no inclined to malignity would likely turn if their wealth were in question. And if not they, then their heirs. 

In the United States, it has been the Supreme Court, above all, using both the law and the provisions of the Bill of Rights and other parts of the Constitution to enable the destruction of democracy, it has been the legislative and executive branches which have tried, in the past, to reign in the influence of money in our elections only to be thwarted by the dead hand of the Founders as envisioned by the product of elite law schools sitting on the Supreme Court.  It has been the courts who struck down one after another attempt to limit or eliminate the influence of huge money in our elections.  The things that provide them their arguments are exactly what will have to change if we are to survive as a democracy or survive at all.   It's getting worse, year by year, decade by decade.  We've got Trump, the alleged billionaire puppet of billionaires domestic and, especially his foreign creditors who stole the American presidency on the cheap through him.  If our media were not in the hands of and run by the ultra-rich, to propagandize people for their benefit, we would not be in this position.   Trump is their creation. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Don't Care

Yes, I did look at the thread you sent me a link to.  I have decided that it makes no difference how often you point the truth out to Simps, Freki, Skeptic Tank, Thunderboy, etc. they lie.  Sometimes they lie because they frequently don't understand what was said, sometimes they lie just because they lie, sometimes they lie because the truth is just not congenial to their prejudices.  They lie and Duncan Black doesn't mind them using his blog to lie on.  Pointing that out is as effective as refutation and far easier.  

Case Closed. Collusion Has Been Proven

Betty Carter - Geri Allen - Dave Holland - Jack De Johnett - Giant Steps by John Coltrane (of course)

Geri Allen, "Our Lady" - Live at Berklee Commencement Concert 2014

Geri Allen, piano
Terri Lyne Carrington, drums
Maurice Chestnut, Tap Dancer

Don't Let Sleazy Little Jared Kushner Get Away With Lying

So, Jared Kushner is claiming he didn't know what the meeting with the Russians his brother-in-law, Trump jr. invited him to was about?   That is despite the contents of little Donald's e-mail invitation which said it was a meeting with a Russian government attorney who was bringing dirt on Hillary Clinton to the Trump campaign.  

I don't buy it for a second, nor will I believe that his testimony given today, NOT UNDER OATH, will be worth the spit that lubricates his lying tongue.   

About the only thing that is clear in this is that something illegal happened and they're coming up with alibis and excuses and evasions and smoke screens.  

I wouldn't trust anything that comes of of Kushner'\s mouth without both the possibility of him being charged with perjury and solid verification from independent sources.   Any Senate Committee which would agree to take testimony from someone like him without them being under oath is probably not conducting a credible investigation by choice of its leadership.  I'm a little surprised that the leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee would do that, that the ever more obviously sleazy Chuck Grassley would do it through the Judiciary Committee wouldn't surprise me at all. 

"they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened" Hate Mail - Paul Said It Well In Romans 1:19-21

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened.

That not only admits the reality of the natural world but it asserts that what we know of God in this life is to be known through our minds and that it can be seen THROUGH what he has made.  That's about as strong an assertion of the validity of the study of natural philosophy, what we call "science" as has ever been made, though it includes the validity of making inferences outside of the material universe to the unseen reality of God.   I'd say that's a far more ambitious assertion of the power of the study of the universe than we, trained to think in the limits of science, are used to feeling comfortable with.  And it's right there, in the Bible. 

Update:  I didn't want to go that far but verse 22 says,  
"While claiming to be wise, they became fools."
So Paul didn't so much anticipate the neo-atheists, he knew such people first-hand.  

Geri Allan - Daybreak and Dreams

The other atheist idiot who trolls me made some snarky comments about Geri Allen, assuming she led the same kind of drugged-up, dissipated life that is a stereotype of jazz musicians.  But, as you will know from my many other previous encounters with him, he doesn't think in reality or ideas, he thinks in Colorforms and in images and narratives cut out of pulp sources and pasted onto a poster board.  He's made a career, of sorts, of that kind of thing, it is typical of the pop cultural milieu he inhabits.

The truth is that she was a great scholar and dedicated artist and a genius who moved the art of jazz farther than most.  As the obituary in The Guardian puts it,

Fortunately for music-making, creators emerge in every generation who balance deep understanding of the evolution of their art with a fearless relish for changing the rules moment by moment in restless working lives – and by doing so, change the game for their successors. Geri Allen, the jazz pianist, composer and educator, who has died of cancer aged 60, was one of those.

And as it quotes the jazz commentator Ethan Iverson, he said:

There were other avatars from the late 80s and early 90s, perhaps most notably Marcus Roberts and Brad Mehldau. But it seems like most of the celebrated younger pianists of the current moment — a recent poll has names like Jason Moran, Vijay Iyer, Craig Taborn, David Virelles, Kris Davis, Matt Mitchell, Aruán Ortiz —  don’t play like Kirkland, Roberts, or Mehldau. They play like Allen.

It also notes that he said, shortly before her unexpected death:

And of course, there’s all the great music Geri Allen has played since 1989. It’s a large body of work that deserves as much attention as anyone else from these times. But for now, on the occasion of her 60th, I just wanted to make sure that the official record was correct. In this music, there was before Geri Allen and after Geri Allen. She’s that important.

Stupid Materialist Tricks and The Far Greater Plausibility of Pluralism

"Which leads me to ask - do you own anything that could be considered materialistic? I'm guessing YES."
"General Zod"

This is a variation on one of the questions that atheists believe can clinch their argument for their supporting argument of materialism, surely they can force a religious believer into admitting that they use and rely on material objects in their daily life here on Earth, in this universe, which is, by the way, the only universe the existence of which we have any verification.  One I always get asserts the unstated assumption that computers wouldn't be here if atheism wasn't true.  I have pointed out that in the past two decades of reading more atheists on atheism than in my previous fifty years, combined, that one thing I've learned is that most atheists aren't nearly as bright as they love to believe they are.

But as atheists, especially those of the modern, scientistic variety, are wont to be, they are generally entirely ignorant of philosophical definitions and even the definition of the materialism they cling to as their ultimate weapon and shield against God.  Materialism, unlike virtually all religion is a monistic faith that will only admit of one ultimate real thing, the material universe, matter and energy, and that, as one of the more superficial but pretentious of their celebrities propagandized, "The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be."  Being a materialistic atheist, Carl Sagan didn't understand that even the word "cosmos" had a more extensive meaning than he could conceive of.   Being rather silly whenever he got far outside of his area of professional expertise, Sagan didn't even seem to understand that in his conception of it, reality was only what could be contained within his rigid scientistic faith.  Just as evolution and even modern cosmology can't be seen through the blinders of the original Biblical Fundamentalism, much is left out of the narrow scientific view of the universe when that is treated as an ideological truth.

Religions,  not being monisms,  have no problem with containing both the material universe AND MORE, WHICH MATERIALISM CAN'T CONTAIN.  Considering the mutual obsession that atheists have with fundamentalists, the opening chapters of Genesis, in which God creates the universe*, any atheist who had any wit at all would understand that no Jew or Christian or Muslim who took that declaration in scripture seriously would deny the existence of the physical universe.  

I think even an extreme Christian idealist such as George Berkeley didn't really act as if he believed that the material universe didn't really exist.  I think his philosophical position really comes down to the fact that everything we can experience, or comprehend or know or discuss about the material universe is entirely dependent on the mind which cannot be accounted for by the properties of the matter which human minds perceive and make understandable to themselves.  As high a figure in the philosophy of physical science as Karl Popper wrote a paper** in which he called Berkeley a predecessor to Mach and Einstein in his insight into the fact that any, even the most high scientific investigation into matter was entirely dependent on the minds that were doing it, and that whatever science can know of the material universe is inseparable from the nature of the minds that are dong the looking, the measuring and the understanding and knowing.  Even the atheist-materialist does that in his naive declarations that the material universe is in charge of minds, they do it even as they try to demote the mind to nothing because they can't make it fit into their rigid, monistic ideology which they both want to and must make an exception of for in their rigid ideology, making it self-inconsistent.

Like it or not, the material universe, in so far as human beings can even perceive its existence, is utterly dependent on human minds and whatever we can know about it and the things it contains is only knowable in so far as our minds permit us to know those things and the knowledge of them is inevitably shaped and colored by the mind, right up to and including the measurement of it and the logical arguments developed about it and even the causal chains that we splice together as science.  I'd go into the nature of causality and its unknowable nature and status (the traditional conception of causality dealt a severe blow by modern physics) but I think those trolling this blog are probably having a fit over what I've already said.

I am not an idealist or a materialist, it might come as a shock for the either-or, black-white, thinking of the materialists, but no one is bound to be either of those.  Pluralism is a possibility that monists never seem to take into account.  The desire to have everything reducible to one thing is an emotional and aesthetic inclination, not a law of anything.  Neither is that great desideratum of late 20th century scientism, "elegance".   I think that kind of stuff is probably a sign of weak thinking.

* God creates the material universe in Genesis, the sun and moon, the stars, the earth, the waters, and in the opening act of creation, that central aspect so important as a measuring instrument in modern physics, light, and, in the opening words,  "In the beginning God created..." that God is responsible for beginning time itself which later in the collection it says in the collection will end, itself.   No or very, very few Jews, Christians or Muslims would deny the existence of the physical universe, they just don't limit themselves to believing that is all there is.  In Genesis, God several times is said to have seen that what he created was good.

**  I've only seen it once, you can read the first page as printed in The British Journal For The Philosophy of Science, here.   I have to say that I find Karl Popper to always be hedging what he says with an eye to the criticism his conclusions were bound to get by the bully boys of materialist-atheist-scientism.   Like in his accurate criticism of natural selection as being, in essence, a seriously flawed tautology, only to dial that back when the outrage of the Darwinists started, here he knows that any positive attributions to the usually grossly distorted, often mocked George Berkeley would risk similar treatment of what he said.  Probably the stupidest reaction to Berkeley was Samuel Johnson's, but he was generally an ass, anyway.

Note:  In the earlier posted version of this, I mistakenly mixed up the name of George Berkeley with the colonial governor,  William Berkeley, who was not much of a philosopher.  I shouldn't write so early in the morning.

Update:  There is no such thing as an objective view of nature, that idea is a myth that pretends we can see things as they really are when we have to see them only as our minds can see them.  You can try to remove personal bias in your understanding of things and in may areas should make that effort but, as Werner Heisenberg said, "What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning."  The natural world we see, even that which science sees, is not the actual natural world but what we can comprehend of that world, limited by our minds.  Materialists might just hate that fact, but their view of the universe is not the universe.  They have the choice to consider that if they want to demote the minds view of itself as an illusion, that blanket demotion of the reality they attribute to the mind and consciousness has to extend to the human view of the material universe which is an even more remote inference of the minds that are viewing it.  That is they have no choice when their belief is pushed past where they want to consider it, and I'm pushing it there, kid.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Geri Allen Trio, Dark Prince

I just found out that the great, great pianist Geri Allen died last month at the age of 60.  Now, that's something to regret, far too young for someone like her to go.  She should have had at least two more decades.  I love Geri Allen's playing.

Update Betty Carter - Geri Allen Stardust- Memories of You 

Arnold Schoenberg - Three Folksong Settings op. 49

Simon Joly Chorale
Robert Craft, director

Schoenberg wrote tonal music all through his many years as a teacher, reportedly sometimes composing examples extempore at the blackboard.  Some of those have been collected and performed though not part of the official opus.  Here are three extremely beautiful settings of German folksongs, I believe done late in his life.  For people who wonder why he stopped writing tonal music the answer is that he didn't.

Update:  Here are two rather effective canons that may be some of those he composed for his classes. I don't think many composers would have wished they hadn't written them.

Donato D'Antonio - guitar,
Anselmo Pelliccioni - cello,
Vanni Montanari - flute,
Roberto Noferini - violin

Just Bob and Ray [10]

Constitutional Crisis? We're in One And Have Been For Going On Half A Century

The other day I made a promise to myself that if I read someone wringing their hands over an impending "Constitutional Crisis" being officially begun when Trump fires Robert Mueller that I'd point out that our Constitution has been in crisis ever since Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon.  It was that fixture on PBS establishment political talk shows, the LA Times reporter Doyle McManus who set this piece off.

Since the criminality of Richard Nixon*, Reagan mounted Iran Contra, George H.W. Bush incited Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait so he could have what he hoped would be a politically advantageous and short little war, the Supreme Court handing his son George W. Bush the presidency as part of a putsch engineered out of the state of Florida governed by Jeb Bush and the catastrophic wars that Bush brought., now, as a result of another anti-democratic election result, we have what might be the most corrupt and criminal presidential regime of them all.

We have been in Constitutional Crisis that entire time and the real means of preventing another flare up has not been done because the Constitution and the media and the billionaire class and Republicans on the Supreme Court and in state houses and governors residences around the country would prevent the basic changes needed to prevent another.  They have not abolished the electoral college, they have not protected the integrity of elections and the equal right to vote, they have not required that the mass media - the only really effective political media, now - doesn't lie and distort and propagandize for the shadowy but real government of the billionaires.  It hasn't even been possible, in 2017, after the sordid history which has brought us here today, made it impossible for a Donald Trump and his sleazy rich lawyers to ask if he could pardon himself.

*  Remember, the Nixon crimes that are covered up, the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia and Laos, the Reagan ones of the terror campaigns in Central America he funded illegally, the most serious of crimes done by American presidents done with the military and para-military terrorists, many trained by the military in Georgia, are not to be mentioned.  No matter now many hundreds of thousands, eventually millions, die as a result.

Update:  Would you want to bet your life on today's Supreme Court NOT saying that Donald Trump has the power to pardon himself, turning the president into an absolutist monarch?  I wouldn't bet on it doing the right thing.  Not with Gorsuch having been put there by Trump, through one of the most blatant abuses of power in our history by Mitch McConnell, aided and abetted by his fellow Republicans.   I don't see much in the way of any Republican resistance to Trump, certainly nothing from the leadership in what is supposed to be a check and balance in the legislature or the Supreme Court. That's all gone to hell.

There's a reason that the really serious crimes by presidents - the invasion of Cambodia, Watergate, Iran-Contra, lying us into the invasion of Iraq with its massive cost in lives, and now the lavish corruption of the Trump regime - come regularly within Republican presidencies, it is because it has gone from a party of the center right to the party of overt fascism over the past fifty years.  It has happened here. Only, up till now, it hasn't been happening here.