Saturday, December 2, 2017

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Michael Symmons Roberts - Men Who Sleep In Cars

As three recession-hit men bed down for the night in their vehicles in Manchester a spine-chilling back-story unfolds.

Narrator - Maxine Peake
Marley - Nick Haverson
Antonio - Robert Haythorne
McCulloch - Rob Edwards
Sports Reporter - Pat Nevin

Apparently this is what the Republicans have in mind for most of us.

Subpoena Jill Stein And Other High Up Green Republican-fascist Assets

That billionaire giveaway, cum kill the poor, cum, drill the arctic, cum make Susan Collins governor, etc. bill proves that it's totally gloves off time.  I want everyone on the pseudo-left who either tried or assisted in creating this nightmare to pay.  

If they haven't done it yet, I hope that Robert Mueller and his team subpoena Jill Stein and other high ups in the Green Party fraud to see what their ties with the Putin crime regime are.  It's clear there's something there or she wouldn't have so prominently been sitting across the table from Putin and Flynn and the rest of the rogues gallery at that RT reward banquet.   

I have been coming to suspect that the Green Party may have been a neo-Soviet asset for some time now, I'd like to know what ties could be uncovered because of the effect they've had in destroying American Democracy.   

A Correction Of Sorts

Way down in the pile of comments I haven't sent to spam yet, and a few that might get published, yet, someone objects to my statement that other than Stravinsky and Bartok, none of the greatest composers wrote for ballet.   The comment claims that Debussy wrote for the ballet, citing his famous, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune.   But, while that was used in a ballet, later, he originally composed it as a concert work, not as a ballet.  I don't know what Debussy thought of the ballet that was made on it eighteen years after he composed it, especially the scandale that erupted over a few seconds of Nijinsky's choreography  in which the faune mimed masturbating into a scarf.  I'd expect he said something about it, I've just never run across it.   In fact checking this, I did find out that the somewhat obscure orchestral piece Jeux, was written for a ballet.  Apparently Debussy first said "non" but Diaghilev waved a big enough fee in front of him and he relented.  So I stand sort of corrected on that.  I'm not sure if Jeux has been used for a ballet during my lifetime, if it has I've never known of it.

This Is What The Republicans Passed In The Senate Yesterday

This is what those heroes like John McCain and Susan Collins voted for.  This is the kind of stuff that the Supreme Court - ACLU concept of free speech, free press leads to because they have made billionaire money more of a force in our politics than even the self-interest (forget the common good and morality) of We The People.

When You Like Their Looks It's "Admiring" When You Don't Like They're Looks It's "Leering" Maybe You Need To Remember That You're Looking Too

OK, I didn't want to get into this in any more detailed way than I have but to start with, remember, I'VE BEEN ADVOCATING THAT NO ONE TOUCH ANYONE IN ANY WAY AT WORK, IN CLASS, AFTER CLASS, ETC.  And that all such touching and. especially, sexual contact of any kind only be engaged in on the basis of explicit, verbal (if this gets worse, I'll go to written) consent.  I have also, in the past, advocated that there be a strict wall between teachers getting involved with students and bosses getting involved with those they exercise power over.

That's a prelude because I know you're going to misrepresent what I said because you already have.

There is a total and complete difference between looking at someone and touching them or even looking at someone and making comments on their appearance.  Touching someone or making comments should be considered something you might be able to take action over, someone looking at you in a way you don't like isn't.  Or it certainly shouldn't because, as the saying goes, even a cat may look on a king.

If you try to dress in a way that is attractive, that is sexy, what the hell do you expect to happen?  You can reasonably expect and demand someone to not touch you unless you say they can because doing that is a moderately serious violation of your person, you can reasonably expect that should be punishable, though the proportion of punishment should depend on the nature of the act - WHICH IS WHY EVEN FRIENDLY TOUCHING WILL LEAD TO TROUBLE, ESPECIALLY AS MORES AND FASHIONS IN THIS KIND OF THING SHIFT, AS THEY DO.

It's also why there used to be rules in workplaces and in schools and, generally, more informal rules against making personal remarks about people and sexual remarks about them, in general.  Men who made those comments were considered sleazy cads, women who made them were considered the same way, only different words were used.  It's true that men usually got away with that better than the women did but show biz giving people permission to be sleazy and cheap certainly didn't improve things.  What was funny when Mae West said it in a movie because she was sending up the double standard doesn't work so well for women in real life, unless you want the kind of life that getting involved with the kind of man who finds that attractive will get you.  Again, life among the Hollywood actors - only without the money - isn't something any mature person would want.

But as to looking without touching, without comment, if you didn't want people to look at you why did you you put out a visual invitation for them to do so?    To attract the kind of attention you complain about when you get it from people you aren't interested in, quite often on the basis of their appearance.  Well, you're looking too, aren't you.  If the professor you're complaining about was gorgeous and rich and charming, I doubt you'd be complaining.  Well, dressing and showing off what you've got to attract the attention of the ones you want is also going to attract the attention of those you don't want.  That's just how things are.   As long a they don't make comments or touch you, get over it.

How did you get to be an adult without knowing this? 

Oh, and let me point out, men who get looked at by other men in ways they don't like are probably the biggest babies about it.  That's something any gay man should be able to understand.

I wonder if all those 60s and 70s TV psychologists and the writers of pop books that advocated all of that touchy-feely-kissy stuff weren't a bunch of dirty old men and women who just wanted to be able to grope people without getting into trouble.   It certainly hasn't seemed to make anyone more mature and self assured and to feel happily cherished, as promised on TV.   It's a fraud and a cheat, just like everything else they sell you on TV.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Sleazy Susan

I have been telling people who have been buying Susan Collins' "moderate" PR snowe job for only slightly less long than I've told people the same about Olympia Snowe that, she's a fraud.  Now that she's done a 180, turn and is about to vote to kill the ACA by voting for the Republican billionaire tax bonanza on the flimsiest of pretexts, it's time to call a sleaze a sleaze. 

Susan Collins has always been the beneficiary of the virtual complete Republican control of the Maine media, including allegedly public radio and most of the newspapers, she has also benefitted from the habits of Mainers to want to think well of politicians, especially those you're supposed to think well of because your radio and TV tell you they're "moderate".

Susan Collins is going to vote to kick at least 13 million people off of their health insurance, drastically raise the cost of many millions more, raise the taxes of the poorest so the richest can reap a bountiful harvest from the money they've given Republican politicians.  She is a sleaze, she has always been a sleaze, it's just that now, at the end of her Senatorial career, as she mounts an attempt to become Governor of Maine, she wants that donor money to pull the wool over the eyes of those she is voting to rob.  She has the thinnest of excuses, guarantees from Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump.  She might be able to fool a lot of people but everything about her stinks with hypocrisy and mendacity as she does it.  What I said about the results of the media selling people on lies, Maine and the career of Susan Collins is a microcosm of that.  She's gotten too used to figuring that she and the Republican controlled Maine media can fool enough of The People all the time.  She's hoping the shit won't hit the fan before she is in the Blaine House, I hope she's wrong about that, finally. 

Leo Brouwer - Berceuse (sur un théme de Grenet)

I'm not sure because it's not listed but I think this might be Leo Brouwer playing his own piece.

The notes say that it's a popular song and give a history of it.  I'm no expert but the first time I heard it was on the recording they made of the great Mercedes Sosa singing it in her series of concerts given after the fall of the American backed junta and she could sing in Argentina again.  It was listed as a Cuban lullaby, Druma Negrita

The album notes attributed it to the Cuban cabaret artist, Bola de Nieve.

I'm no expert but that's what I know about it.  

Sorry, Should Have Included The Next Paragraph

And, Advent starting in two days, I'll give you the next example of using primal narrative to read other texts:

As Israel told the story with imaginative attentiveness to detail, the primal narrative became handled and illuminated in many different ways over a long period of time in many different circumstances.  In the same way, for the early church, it seems probable that different communities in different places told the stories in different ways.  The communities related to Matthew and Luke knew and valued the birth stories as the community of Mark did not.  Each community arranged the materials differently to serve its own purposes and each had different memories about Easter.  

The expanded narrative is a collection of all the ways in which the primal narrative has been perceived and handled..... 

Using The Primal Narrative To Read Other Parts Of The Scripture An Example

I will remind you that the reason I'm posting these excerpts from Walter Brueggemann's The Bible Makes Sense is in reaction to the recently open Museum of the Bible and the reportedly narrow and anachronistically presented "meaning" of the Bible through it.   Being raised a Catholic, which, though a biblical faith is not a bibliolatrous tradition, we never took the Scriptures in the same way described in the various accounts of the Museum.  Whatever else can be said about it, it's not a Catholic way of viewing the Scriptures.  I doubt it suffices for the Orthodox or Nestorian or even much of the Protestant points of view.

They say it costs about twenty-five bucks to get into the Bible Museum.  If you want to go look at a bunch of stuff and listen to some high tech shows, apparently that's what your money will get you.  If  you want to engage with the Scriptures,  spending the few dollars to get Brueggemann's book and a few others and going through them, reading the texts that he refers to and turn it into reality instead of a dead museum exhibit is a more biblical experience.    Or read it from a library, give your 25 dollars to some poor person or to someone who won't pay it back.  Though you'll probably want to read the book and refer to it more than once.

cont.  The substance of these kernels of biblical faith ( credo, kerygma ) presents the essentials of all biblical faith.  For Israel:

1) The promise made to our fathers in the midst of great precariousness.  

2) God delivered Israel from slavery to freedom with a great show of power which defeated the greatest power of the time. 

3) God led Israel in the wilderness a place of precarious pilgrimage, and there he nourished and sustained his people. 

4) God brought Israel to the good land which he had promised.

For the early church, as Dodd has summarized:

1) The prophecies are fulfilled, and the New Age i inaugurated by the coming of Christ.

2) He was born of the seed of David. 

3) He died according to the Scriptures,  to deliver us out of the present evil age. 

4)  He was buried.

5) He rose on the third day according to the Scriptures.

6)  He is exalted at the right hand of God, as son of God and Lord of the living and dead.

7)  He will come again as Judge and Savior of human kind.  

8)  To this summary might be added, although Dodd did not do so, the outpouring of the spirit as te effect of Jesus' exaltation. 

These two lists provide a summary of biblical faith in very broad outline and may provide us witha a way of understanding the strange ordering of the literature.

The Expanded Narrative

After understanding the primal narrative we may next speak of the expanded narrative.  Obviously the biblical text now presents to us all kinds of materials which do not have the clarity or conciseness of the credo or kerygma.  In the process of building the tradition, the primal narrative was expanded over a period of time in ways that seem to us not very careful or disciplined.  Rather, they give the impression of being careless and disordered.  The primal narratives have attracted to them all kinds of diverse material which may or may not be related to the themes of the primal narrative.  But they have been pressed into relationship with the primal themes and into their service.  That is, they have been brought into contact with this central story had have had their meanings changed by it.  In reading this more extended material,  it is helpful in each case to consider it as a more elaborate and complete presentation of the same theme found in the kernel,  which means that this literature also is confessional and not reportorial in character. 

And as an example of what that expansion of the primal narrative can mean, he relates it to the larger part of Genesis, the part we don't generally fight over in blog brawls (once you get past the typical atheist distortion and misreading of Abraham and Isaac).

Thus in the Old Testament,  Genesis,  chapters 12-50 the story of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, is an extended presentation of the promise made to "my father who is a wandering Aramean."    And in each unit of Gen. 12-50, we may look for the promise being kept tot he precarious ("wandering") one.  For those who read as insiders, the central issue of these texts is whether God will keep his promise.  The stories in their present form reflect doubt and uncertainty.  They also reflect calculation and manipulation by persons who could not res on the promises but had a better way of their own.  Often the stories agonize because God does not seem ready or able to keep his promise of giving a son;  the next generation then must also bear the promise.  Can the barren woman become the mother of the child of promise (Gen. 18: 1-15)?  Can the younger son secure the promise which should have gone elsewhere (Gen 27)?  Can the beloved son come out of the pit to power (Gen. 40-41)?  These are all dimensions of the singe statement of the old credo.  

If you don't have a Bible on hand, you can find it for free, all over the place online, in dozens and dozens of translations and in various editions. It's easier to look those up online than in paper and to compare different translations.   I'm not well versed in which of those are considered closer to the original language edition so I have to look to see who approved what.  If you've got an opinion on that, I'd welcome hearing it.  I do have to say that reading the Books of Moses as translated by Everett Fox has been a vivid and wonderful experience.

They Blinded Us With Free Speech

Once again the question is if the handful of Republican senators who, very occasionally, will do the right thing will or will not vote for the appalling tax bill, the final text of which was not announced as of my starting to type out this sentence.   Whatever they vote on, if the Senate does, it is known that it is a huge give-away to the filthiest of the filthy rich, it will severely damage the poorest of the poor and the working class and the middle class and even those in the upper middle class, graduate students, the janitorial staff at schools whose children get reduced or free tuition in lieu of better pay. etc.  And whatever votes are cast for it, we know those will be based on massive lies of the most transparent kind.   It's a sad day when something like this rests on the variable virtues of Susan Collins and John McCain.

I have heard Rachel Maddow and others express wonderment at how the Republicans could dream of voting in such a massively unpopular and gargantuanly irresponsible piece of crap but, really, that's not any kind of mystery.  It is a direct result of Supreme Court rulings supported by the Free Speech industry, the ACLU, many brand name civil liberties champions etc. which

A. made money equal speech and therefore free speech,  Buckley vs. Valeo.  Buckley vs. Valeo, joined in by even some of the icons of liberalism on the court, meant that the more money you have the more speech you have and the less money you have the less speech you have.  You'll still have your one voice, but, then, so will the billionaires who also have all of that "speech money" the courts created in that abominable ruling.

B. a series of rulings striking down campaign finance reform laws on the basis of free speech and the 1st Amendment, as defined by the civil liberties industry.

C.  the Citizens United case which made corporations "persons" with the full range of 1st Amendment rights that their other rulings have.

D. various and sundry other corporate personhood rulings, based not on the Constitution but a footnote inserted by a rather sleazy Supreme Court clerk.

Anyone who didn't realize that that free speech line of crap would end up enabling the filthiest of the filthy rich, enable them to control the media, swamping the democratic rights of people of good will, advocates of equality and justice and economic justice would have to be a drooling idiot because it was inevitable that those free speech rulings would do exactly what they have.  Among those drooling idiots have to count many liberals and the a duped public, none more so than liberals who were duped into sending their donations to the ACLU and other groups that briefed in those cases in favor of the billionaire oligarchs - would end up with the more corrupted of the parties, when they got power, voting in exactly this kind of massive giveaway, creating the kind of taxation system that the Roman Empire had at its worst where the poorer you are the more grinding your tax burden would be, the richest oligarchic class paying nothing and getting the massive benefits of the theft of everything the poor produced.

I point this out because, though I have great respect for Rachel Maddow, I remembered that recently she touted the increased level of donations to the ACLU in the wake of the Trump installation as some kind of wonderful thing when the ACLU has long been a total fraud on the left, making a few impotent noises about rights while enabling the worst of those who want to destroy what their PR work allegedly attempts to do.

The First Amendment as defined by the civil liberties industry and the Supreme Court is a tool of oligarchy, it has been used to swamp the right of Americans to a government of by and for The People because in order for that to happen THE PEOPLE must know the truth and they must be able to depend on enough of THE PEOPLE knowing the truth and having the good will necessary to elect honest people instead of the class of crooks that comprise the Republican majority in the Congress and way too many of the Democrats - though as far as I've heard, they don't expect any Democratic votes for this abomination of a tax bill.   So, Rachel, it's not great mystery how this happened.  The civil liberties industry, the Supreme Court first enabled the telling of lies, then they enabled the billionaires to lie and swamp the truth.  Egalitarian democracy, equal justice CANNOT exist under those conditions and a putrid oligarchy will rise, enabled by that "speech" a so conceived.

Until the First Amendment is held to not protect lies and the lying mass media that carries them, that money does not equal speech, that billionaire don't get to have more speech or to magnify theirs in the mass media, the oligarchs will rule As written and as understood, the Bill of Rights, and especially the first two amendments, is a guarantee of this.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Hate Mail: Which Would You Rather Have? To Not Be Raped Or To Be Able To Complain That You Didn't Get Justice?

There is a really, really stupid and entirely too common frame of mind these days that sees, literally, everything in terms of the law and legality and legal redress.  In few other areas of life is the inadequacy of that view of life and how we should conduct our lives so obvious as when it comes to matters of sexual violation.   The fact that many, most rapists get away with it should have clued you into the fact that depending on the law, the legal system, behavior codes, etc. is not a very smart way to keep yourself safe.

The fact is that even if the legal system was stacked in favor of the victim and they got to chop off the heads (or whatever) of those who raped them NOT BEING RAPED OR ATTACKED WOULD STILL BE ENTIRELY PREFERABLE TO TORTURING THE PERSON WHO RAPED YOU TO DEATH.  And no one is ever going to let you get away with doing that.

And the fact is that the system will never be stacked in the victims favor unless some overriding injustice - such as racism - does that and the fact is that in most cases proving a crime hinging on whether or not verbal consent was given will never be easy to prove and the inherent prejudice in favor of men which is felt by a large percentage of the population, if not the majority of it, including many women, will be at play in ways that no prosecutor or judge will be able to ferret out and eliminate.

Not doing stupid things that make you more liable to be a victim is certainly at least as important when it is your body and your health and feelings of self worth as not doing stupid things that make you more vulnerable in other areas of life.  My guess is that a lot of people might more readily take precautions to not get a bad cup of coffee than in this area.   Considering it's your body and your health and your life, it's entirely more important to be smart about it.  Yet the overwhelming encouragement to women, to young people - keeping in mind that men can be raped and are - is to do stupid stuff that makes them more vulnerable and, so, attractive to the kinds of scum who rape people.  All in the name of fun and "freedom" and kewelness.

The pretense that the legal system will make you whole or take care of it or that your college or university has a responsibility to do what you irresponsibly choose to not do, be smart - even as you whine about being infantilized if they try to do that -  is a big fat fraud being played on you by people who really do not give a damn about you.  They don't even give a darn, they just want you to click on their blog.   If you fall for it, it's your own fault and, while someone who rapes you deserves to go to prison for a long time, you're still a chump.  You should still go to the police, that's your responsibility and it's better to be responsible late than never.   Your favorite blogger and their community won't tell you the harsh truth but I just did.

The question in the title is a legitimate one but consider this, even if you got justice for a crime, wouldn't you still have been better off not needing that justice for a grave wrong done to you?  Wouldn't avoiding that be better than what the law and the legal system might, only might give you by way of punishing the one who wronged you?

Update:  There is no one who is a regular commentator at Eschaton whose opinion I care about, I'm ignoring them until after the new year and maybe after that.  Duncan seems to be trying to revive his writing but it's too little, too late to interest me.  It's flaccid.

they tell of God introducing the cause of freedom in a society which was characteristically oppressive. They tell of the capacity for life to be wrought out of situations of hopelessness and death

Continuing on from where I left off, yesterday,  Brueggemann gives a similar primal narrative of the New Testament and talks about the total difference both of those narratives make in viewing the world and changing the character of human life and conduct.  I will point out that in some of my online brawls with atheists try to turn the currently conceived chronology of the New Testament, putting the epistles of Paul as being written before the Gospels, to claim that Paul didn't know the substance of the Gospels, even though, as I pointed out, Paul talked about having given the communities he founded "the gospel" and implied that others deviated from that gospel which he got from the companions of Jesus and the witnesses of his ministry and life.  I think the chronology of texts, the short window in which they were produced, the relatively small numbers of Christians at the time, their obvious knowledge of each other makes assuming that Paul's gospel was substantially similar to the synoptic gospels reasonable.  Far more reasonable than to think he was preaching one of the more out of it gnostic gospels or, I've become persuaded, even the much touted Thomas gospel.  I was quite enthusiastic for Crossan's theory about that gospel in his The Historical Jesus, but find the more I read and think about it, the less convincing I find his assertions on that and a few other texts.

In a similar way C. H. Dodd, noted English scholar, has observed that in the New Testament, we may discern a primal narrative which brings to us the basic substance of the earliest preaching ( his word is kerygma) of the church and therefore the earliest faith of the church  It seems most likely that the earliest statements of such faith do not come from the gospel accounts but from statements in the letters of Paul.  Paul apparently relied on the oral traditions of the early church, the same oral traditions which were used for the forming of the gospels.  Thus the statements in the letters to Corinth are likely earlier than the gospel accounts though they surely report the same faith. 

a) In 1 Corinthians 1:23 it is articulated as the substance of preaching. 

b) In 1 Corinthians 3:1 it is presented as the foundation of all Christian faith, which means it is the most elemental statement of faith which can be made.  As for all narratives of this kind, there is no theological presuppositions or assertions behind them.  This is the bedrock of the faith of the church. 

c) In 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 it is presented as the essential tradition which is remembered by the church in its theological reflection.  

Now the credo of Israel discerned by von Rad and the kerygma of the church articulated by Dodd are quite different from each other for obvious reasons.  The one is formulated by a community concerned with Israel' faith and the other by a community focused on the events of Jesus' presence and ministry.  The one is cast in completely Semitic idiom and the other is presented in Hellenistic context.  The one is the product of long and not very well understood processes whereas the other appeared in a relatively short time.   But they have important similarities which are decisive for understanding the real intent of the biblical tradition.

a) Both are recitals of acts of God which have radically changed life for those who affirm them.  The decisive grammar of biblical faith presents an active verb with God himself as the subject and the church or the world as the object of the verb,  i.e., as the recipient of God's action.

b) Both are statements of confession or assertion which make no attempt to explain or prove.  They are bold primitive affirmations of faith, stripped of every ornamentation or justification. 

c. Both are narratives which recite ways in which God has acted in ways to change the shape of the entire historical process.  That is they tell of God introducing the cause of freedom in a society which was characteristically oppressive.   They tell of the capacity for life to be wrought out of situations of hopelessness and death.  And since these events have happened, human consciousness cannot be the same.  It is now known by those who have faced the evidence that real newness can come into human history that is not derived from old forms and patterns  Very concrete events like the healing of a man or the finding of a baby have now been given universal significance   The finding of a baby is an announcement to the arrangers of this world that a new world is promised by God and will come.  The healing of a man is understood as a dismantling of the old arrangements which kept people from being human.   The impact of these memories concerns both the shape of public life and the images we have of our personal existence.  The substance of these kernels of biblical faith (credo, kerygma) presents the essentials of all biblical faith.

Brueggeman goes on to give two lists of the essentials of biblical faith, for Israel and for the early church, which I'll give you tomorrow.  That is unless I get some kind of objection to this exercise in commentary. 

1 Corinthians 1:23

23 As for us, we proclaim the crucified Christ, a message that is offensive to the Jews and nonsense to the Gentiles;

1 Corinthians 3:1

Servants of God
3 As a matter of fact, my friends, I could not talk to you as I talk to people who have the Spirit; I had to talk to you as though you belonged to this world, as children in the Christian faith.

1 Corinthians 15:3-8

3 I passed on to you what I received, which is of the greatest importance: that Christ died for our sins, as written in the Scriptures; 4 that he was buried and that he was raised to life three days later, as written in the Scriptures; 5 that he appeared to Peter and then to all twelve apostles. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred of his followers at once, most of whom are still alive, although some have died. 7 Then he appeared to James, and afterward to all the apostles.
8 Last of all he appeared also to me—even though I am like someone whose birth was abnormal.

Again, I've used the Good News Translation.  I'm not sure to what extent that translation is similar to the one used by the community that produced The Gospel in Solentiname, Dios Leega Al Hombre but Ernesto Cardinal found it especially poetic and congenial to a community of besieged peasants who were being murdered by the puppets of a foreign power, the United States, much as those Jesus preached to and who Paul would have had much in common with.  The edition I have of the Spanish text is printed in parallel to the Good News New Testament.  I might go over some of that in relation to the Magnificat again this Advent.

Stepping Into The Huge Mess Of Sexual Abuse And Crime Again

Our media and our culture are in the hands of idiots who can't discern the difference between the sexual assault of a young child or an adult woman and someone accidentally touching someone's back, apparently (what we've been told of the firing of Garrison Keillor).  Or that they won't for fear of having someone jump down their throat if they point out that the multiple and supported accusations being made against Roy Moore, the reaction to complaints about him as far back as the 1970s are entirely different from the accusations made against Al Franken and, now Garrison Keillor.   Or they won't because they can work this for themselves and their owners.

None of this is simple, none of it is going to be handled with reason and good will, grandstanding and the competitive desire to be seen as the most outraged in the room and ever expanding definitions of wrong and mortal sin are already taking over even common sense.

In some ways, I would guess that this is a product of many years of corporations, companies and institutions sweeping these issues under many rugs and carpets and into confidentiality agreements. But there is certainly more to it than that.  Politically, it is convenient and desirable for the billionaire oligarchs to muddy the water to try to get Roy Moore elected in Alabama.  We have seen their hired goons trying to do exactly that by impersonating a bigots idea of a Jewish (Lenny Bernstein, really?) journalists from the Washington Post the ultra scumball of that sort, James O'Keefe and his hired scum are in the thick of it.  Why he isn't both in jail and being sued into the flames of hell as well as his backers, is just another example of how our laws and, especially their interpretation in the courts, are set up to create creatures like him.

And like it or not, some of it is a refusal to admit that this is a product of the touchy-feely-kissie stuff that came in starting in the 1960s when psycholalagists and the media promoted that kind of stuff as healthy and good.  And it's a product of the encouragement by the such and the entertainment media for everyone to start screwing everyone - that this latest mania started with the revelations of the truly horrific antics of a big Hollywood producer is certainly not a mere coincidence.   The Hollywoodization of American culture, through show biz led to some of it, though much of it is, indeed, a product of male entitlement and the double standard that gave men license to treat women as objects for their use.   The highly touted sexual revolution solved that in the stupidest way possible, to advocate that women copy the worst behavior of men, the theory being that everything was allowable as long as something called "consent" was given.   That such a means of solving the problem of the double standard would only encourage the perpetuation of the habits of double standards didn't seem to much occur to the advocates of "freedom," "free expression," etc.  That the show biz which was used to promote this was hardly a bastion of equality and mutual respect should have been a dead giveaway as to what that was likely to lead to.

Forgotten in that is that "consent" as it applies to sexual intercourse, never mind sexual expression short of penetration involves many preliminary steps, most of them including flirtation and touching.   And that all of the many intricate aspects of consenting to those as well as the big "C" CONSENT that defines whether or not sexual intercourse is rape are negotiated by people of less than stellar morals, of less than disciplined self-restraint (Hollywood and pop psychologists discourage disciplined self restraint as a mental illness or prudishness) and who are sometimes quite stupid, either naturally or made so by alcohol.   And that's all assuming that a good measure of ill will, covert or overt, conscious or unconscious, isn't bound to enter into it.   Our sex lives, especially relieved of the restraints on touching and screwing around that were stronger in the past, are not conducted by lawyers specializing in defining and prosecuting civil or criminal cases brought by those who have either been harmed in reality or who decide later that, even with consent given, that they didn't like what they consented to.  If you don't make as clear a distinction between those things instead of insisting that there isn't one you're not going to be able to sustain the level of societal outrage that is currently reigning.  I don't give that two years before an even worse reaction sets in.  And, as mentioned above, the results will favor the worst of men out of sheer habit.  This is a country which couldn't avoid Trump after the Hollywood Access tape was heard, the outrage of Republicans didn't even last a week and the news media found ways to attack Hillary Clinton even out of that.

I have noted in the past that Gloria Steinem was right about LGBT people as well as straight women, the sexual revolution wasn't our war.  It never will be a war that women are going to win during our lifetimes, fighting inequality won't benefit from figuring that all women, all LGBT people have to do is all figure we'll be able to practice the same things privileged men have been allowed to do to other people and that's freedom because "consent".  As we're seeing now, even the concept of consent by a competent adult is dissolving - especially when the "freedom" to get smash drunk is asserted to be able to turn yes into no.  That's about as likely to turn to disaster as the assertion of rape culture that no means yes. 

The whole thing is a mess, the only way to try to avoid it, and it isn't any guarantee that you won't get dragged into something, is to never, ever touch people.  Though some of the accusations that are part of the current furore involves inappropriate looking, or leering.  When things come down to that, there is no way to avoid the possibility of getting dragged into it.  That is unsustainable and the resulting reaction will not end up with women winning. 

I am afraid that the maniacal proliferation of sex crimes, the ever widening definition of what those are, will end up getting Roy Moore excused long enough to be elected in Alabama and the Republicans in Alabama and the Senate will either give him a pass or they will refuse to seat him and appoint someone with Roy Moore's politics but without his sleazy history.  The results for women, for LGBT people, for Black People, Latinos, and most cumulatively, poor people won't enhance any of their rights, their dignity, their freedom.  It will be the rich, the white and the Republican who will end up benefitting, just as they always do from an 18th century libertarian program of conduct and legal theory.

Legal Prophylaxis Should Be Used Every Time

Knowing that anything I say about this is going to be misrepresented and cherry picked and elided to make it into a simplistic misrepresentation, I will point out that when there is no question of the most serious level of criminality has occurred, a rape, without consent or with rejection, the rapist deserves all of the blame for what he did.  No matter how much flirtation might have preceded it, no matter how enticingly his victim was dressed (the victim could be of either gender, men get raped too, something many straight people don't seem to believe) no matter what.  No has to mean no, and actual, verbal consent to sex always has to precede sex or the penetrating partner has possibly raped someone. The concept of "nonverbal consent" should be abolished, entirely because it leads to rape and the absence of consent every time.   That is certainly true of intercourse, it should be true of any act of touching.  I think there's far too much touching and way, way too much kissing going on, consensual and not because the consensual is bound to encourage the non-consensual, but that's a different crime than rape and it should be considered to be.

That said, there is also a difference between people minding their own business who are attacked and people who have willingly put themselves in a state (such as inebriation) or in a place (such as an attacker's bedroom) where they have a far greater chance of being successfully raped.  While a rapist's share is 100% of the guilt for committing a sexual assault on someone else, people who put themselves in danger are responsible for putting themselves in danger.   To pretend people have no responsibility in their own protection isn't asserting a right or freedom, it is setting them up to be victims of crime.  There is no right to get drunk, there is no right to do stupid stuff.  There is a right of someone who has been victimized by a crime to have the one who violated them held to the full effect of the law, there is no right to have people ignore the fact that they were irresponsible in making it easier for their attacker to attack them.  Especially if it's someone you don't know and went home with them from a bar or party.   And you can howl till the crack of doom that that's not fair but they've also made it easier for their attacker to get away with it.  You can't prove you didn't consent if there are no witnesses and there almost never are.   If your attacker can point out that you went home with him, that will be persuasive to many if not most American juries. 

I don't want women I love or any woman or man, girl or boy to believe that they're going to get justice if they are raped, even with the best of laws, lots of rapists are going to get away with it, lesser level creeps will get away with stuff at even higher rates.  Being duped by the movies, by TV, by peer pressure, by the general society into putting yourself in danger is to give rapists, abusers and attackers a helping hand in stealing your rights and getting away with it.  That's true if the person trying to convince you into getting drunk and putting yourself in a situation where you will be taken advantage of writes a "make out artist" blog or an allegedly feminist one.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Footnotes To The Post Below

I don't know why it didn't occur to me until just now but I should have posted the texts that Walter Brueggemann cited in that passage, here they are in the Good News Translation.

 Deuteronomy 26:5-9

5 Then, in the Lord's presence you will recite these words: ‘My ancestor was a wandering Aramean, who took his family to Egypt to live. They were few in number when they went there, but they became a large and powerful nation. 6 The Egyptians treated us harshly and forced us to work as slaves. 7 Then we cried out for help to the Lord, the God of our ancestors. He heard us and saw our suffering, hardship, and misery. 8 By his great power and strength he rescued us from Egypt. He worked miracles and wonders, and caused terrifying things to happen. 9 He brought us here and gave us this rich and fertile land.

Deuteronomy 6:20-24

20 “In times to come your children will ask you, ‘Why did the Lord our God command us to obey all these laws?’ 21 Then tell them, ‘We were slaves of the king of Egypt, and the Lord rescued us by his great power. 22 With our own eyes we saw him work miracles and do terrifying things to the Egyptians and to their king and to all his officials. 23 He freed us from Egypt to bring us here and give us this land, as he had promised our ancestors he would. 24 Then the Lord our God commanded us to obey all these laws and to honor him. If we do, he will always watch over our nation and keep it prosperous.

Joshua 24:1-13

Joshua Speaks to the People at Shechem
24 Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel together at Shechem. He called the elders, the leaders, the judges, and the officers of Israel, and they came into the presence of God. 2 Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, has to say: ‘Long ago your ancestors lived on the other side of the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods. One of those ancestors was Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor. 3 Then I took Abraham, your ancestor, from the land across the Euphrates and led him through the whole land of Canaan. I gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac, 4 and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I gave Esau the hill country of Edom as his possession, but your ancestor Jacob and his children went down to Egypt. 5 Later I sent Moses and Aaron, and I brought great trouble on Egypt. But I led you out; 6 I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, and the Egyptians pursued them with chariots and cavalry. But when your ancestors got to the Red Sea 7 they cried out to me for help, and I put darkness between them and the Egyptians. I made the sea come rolling over the Egyptians and drown them. You know what I did to Egypt.

“‘You lived in the desert a long time. 8 Then I brought you to the land of the Amorites, who lived on the east side of the Jordan. They fought you, but I gave you victory over them. You took their land, and I destroyed them as you advanced. 9 Then the king of Moab, Balak son of Zippor, fought against you. He sent word to Balaam son of Beor and asked him to put a curse on you. 10 But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you, and in this way I rescued you from Balak. 11 You crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The men of Jericho fought you, as did the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. But I gave you victory over them all. 12 As you advanced, I threw them into panic in order to drive out the two Amorite kings. Your swords and bows had nothing to do with it. 13 I gave you a land that you had never worked and cities that you had not built. Now you are living there and eating grapes from vines that you did not plant, and olives from trees that you did not plant.’

Exodus 15:1-18

The Song of Moses
15 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:

“I will sing to the Lord, because he has won a glorious victory;
    he has thrown the horses and their riders into the sea.
2 The Lord is my strong defender;
    he is the one who has saved me.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
    my father's God, and I will sing about his greatness.
3 The Lord is a warrior;
    the Lord is his name.
4 “He threw Egypt's army and its chariots into the sea;
    the best of its officers were drowned in the Red Sea.
5 The deep sea covered them;
    they sank to the bottom like a stone.
6 “Your right hand, Lord, is awesome in power;
    it breaks the enemy in pieces.
7 In majestic triumph you overthrow your foes;
    your anger blazes out and burns them up like straw.
8 You blew on the sea and the water piled up high;
    it stood up straight like a wall;
    the deepest part of the sea became solid.
9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue them and catch them;
    I will divide their wealth and take all I want;
    I will draw my sword and take all they have.’
10 But one breath from you, Lord, and the Egyptians were drowned;
    they sank like lead in the terrible water.
11 “Lord, who among the gods is like you?
    Who is like you, wonderful in holiness?
    Who can work miracles and mighty acts like yours?
12 You stretched out your right hand,
    and the earth swallowed our enemies.
13 Faithful to your promise, you led the people you had rescued;
    by your strength you guided them to your sacred land.
14 The nations have heard, and they tremble with fear;
    the Philistines are seized with terror.
15 The leaders of Edom are terrified;
    Moab's mighty men are trembling;
    the people of Canaan lose their courage.
16 Terror and dread fall upon them.
They see your strength, O Lord,
    and stand helpless with fear
    until your people have marched past—
    the people you set free from slavery.
17 You bring them in and plant them on your mountain,
    the place that you, Lord, have chosen for your home,
    the Temple that you yourself have built.
18 You, Lord, will be king forever and ever.”

You can find dozens of different translations of the text online, Bible Gateway is just one source for them.  I like the GNT for a beginning place.  I don't particularly like the Easy-to Read Version, though I like the idea behind the translation.  I have used the Spanish version of that to practice reading spanish, you can find that online.  I have to admit, I do find the notes in the Geneva Bible to be interesting and at times rather startlingly liberal.

our partner in an ongoing dialogue about our life here and now

It will be one of the greatest regrets of my life that I spent several decades when I could have been seeing the light, instead being led down the dim cul de sac that the secular left encouraged us into starting when I was young.   Its elevation of a series of rather empty but bracing slogans to replace truth, generally in service to a pretty awful set of related ideologies is what accounts for the long detour they led American liberalism on.

But, I guess, better late than never to see the light, or at least to catch a bit of a glimpse of it.  If only, instead of picking up the stuff I was reading in the 70s, leading down one philosophical rathole after another,  I'd read The Prophetic Imagination or The Bible Makes Sense.

I am thinking of that because RMJ wrote an interesting post about the Washington Post review of the recently opened Museum of the Bible in which he notes that the simplistic view of The Bible taken by the Museum and the various journalists writing about it is true of only a small margin of fundamentalists who are nothing like even contemporary Christians in their thinking on the scriptures.   I'm still not feeling well and I got some bad news about my oldest friend's health so I don't feel like writing, right now.  So I'm going to type out some of the third chapter of The Bible Makes Sense, the best beginners book about the scriptures I know about.  It begins by describing why a simplistic, fundamentalist notion of The Bible is false and inadequate and will not lead to any understanding or good use of it.

Chapter 3  Making Sense as an Insider

The Bible is a strange book which is put together in an odd way.  It seems to have no order at all but is a jumbled collection hard to penetrate.   I t will not do to read it from "cover to cover" as faithful believers have often done, and it is not much better to try to read it chronologically (even if we could date all of the materials, which we can't).  It is not helpful to try to impose on the literature an order which reflects modern scientific understandings.  As much as we are able we can try to read the Bible like insiders and let the material itself determine the order for us.  Of course that is not completely possible, but if we take seriously the shape of tradition, we may discover clues which will let us see the material from the inside.  In what follows I shall try to be sensitive to the function of the literature.  It is likely the case that if we can determine the function of the literature,  we shall understand how it stands in relation to the other parts of the collection. 

The Primal Narrative

I suggest that the place to begin in determining the shape of the tradition is with the primal narrative, that most simple, elemental, and non-negotiable story line which lies at the heart of the biblical faith.  Such a narrative is presented with the passion of fresh believers and with the simplicity of a community wch had screened out all uncertainties and felt no reason to explain.  It is an affirmation in story form which asserts,  "This is the most important story we know, and we have come to believe it is decisively about us."  That story is clearly for the insiders and no effort at all is made to persuade or convince outsiders.

I will break in to point out that that alone means that unless someone is willing to take the Bible on the terms it was written in, by the people who wrote it, the people whose insights and beliefs and convictions it represents, you won't "understand it".   You might appropriate the material for your own use but, doing that, you can't honestly claim that you're representing the meaning of the authors but of yourself, for your purpose.  That is, of course, what fundamentalists do more than others who make more modest and self-effacing and limited and contingent claims about it, which is, actually, what many believers do and have done.  But the same is true of all human culture, even the sciences when those are brought outside of their narrowest focus on the simple physical phenomena that science treats successfully.  The farther outside of that narrow physical subject matter scientists and the sciency go, the more perilously liable to disaster they go.  If you want a practical example of that, consider that the North Korean missile test was a product of science as done by scientists.   Their scientific success could easily get tens, hundreds of millions or more killed in horrific violence, which would dwarf that which atheists love to point to in the narratives of the scripture.

Gerhard von Rad, noted German scholar, has suggested that Israel's primal narrative ( his word is credo)  can be located in three texts" ( By "credo" he means the root story which is most deeply and consistently believed and recited.  It is the story a community relies upon in crisis and one by which the truth or falseness of every other story is judged.)  

a) Deuteronomy 26:5-9, a liturgical confession which Israel recites before the altar as she brings her offering.   The offering is a crucial statement o loyalty and allegiance, and in that context Israel asserts her deepest and most precious story. 

 Deut.  6:20 - 24,  a teaching recital in response to the stylized question of a child.  It has been suggested that this is a formula for catechetical instruction,  though it is the child who asks and the parents who answer (not a bad catechetical method). 

c)  Joshua 24: 1-13,  a speech before a national assembly in which Israel is constituted as a self-conscious covenantal community, some think for the first time.   The assembly consists in all kinds of people with diverse stories.  Here is declared to them the one story which is now to be the shared ground for their common life. 

d)  Since von Rad, other scholars have suggested that Exodus 15: 1-18 may be a much earlier and more convincing example of the primal narrative than those cited by von Rad.  It is likely that Exodus 15 is the earliest presentation we have of such a normative statement of faith,  but that difference from von Rad is not important for the point being made here  It is a recital just after the deliverance from slavery in which Israel asserted her deepest confession in an exalted mood of jubilation. 

Von Rad has made it clear that these assertions come behind and before any reasoned theology or any apologetic concern to justify faith to outsiders.  They are the assertions which Israel knew intuitively to be true and which she eagerly asserted in situations of urgency when it was necessary to announce her peculiar historical identity.

And that's just the beginning of one way into The Bible, something which I doubt any of the exhibits in The Bible Museum will either start or encourage, much.

In his criticism of the temple that American journalism built for itself, the "Newseum" Jack Shaffer said that it was a distortion of journalism to try to capture it in exhibits and material artifacts, reporters dresses,  even entire offices.  Believe it or not they've got Tim Russert's entire office which would be a better monument to celebrity and bad journalism than to anything else.   And if you can say that about American journalism, it's far more true of  the far more varied far more obscure and poetic collection, composed over many varied centuries which is The Bible.

I have taken to encouraging people to read The Bible Makes Sense, not because it comes to any kind of definitive and exhaustive explanation of The Bible but it shows how those are not part of it and are not the point.  Even with that beginning (if you want to start there) it showed the early Israel explaining themselves to themselves in terms that they would have known and agreed to and it is not sufficient for us to explain ourselves to ourselves and our relationship to the Hebrew scriptures and the later Greek ones.   Brueggemann's book is, rather, what the introduction by its editor said,

... it is a unique how-to book about the Bible. Brueggemann proposes that Christians should approach the Bible not as a collection of ancient documents, but as our partner in an ongoing dialogue about our life here and now. This book explains how to enter into this dialogue, how to listen, and how to respond.

It's a beginning of a dialogue, not a summation of one.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Dušan Bogdanović - Sonata No. 3

 Victor Jara, guitar

I've posted this before but someone posted it with the score.  I love that format, you notice so much more when you can read along.

The Porn Industry Lawyers' and Columnists' Catch 22 Squared

The admirer of pedophiles who trolls me and dutifully reports distorted versions of what gets said here at the blog of a notable non-fan of a high age of consent has made the ultimate pseudo-lefty, pseudo-liberal Catch-22 assertion that because I did what any responsible person would do before making claims, check to see if those claims were accurate, I'm disqualified for having an opinion about porn.

Oddly, it's an argument I've never seen them claim for a proponent of porn, who can wax First Amendmenty on it ad nauseum without anyone claiming the only reason they want to have access to it is as an enhancement of their personal onanistic activities, the children, women, men, used up and spit out by the porn industry be damned.   I am pretty sure that the lawyers and judges and "civil" liberties advocates for the porn industry have looked at what's being sold, the same rule should disqualify all of them from supporting its publication and distribution. 

Well, last week I looked at the photo of Joe Barton before deciding not to write about it.  I can guarantee you,  I didn't do it for pleasure.  While my troll and the media advocates of porn might look at pictures of the rape of young children and find that arousing and want more of it available to them, I want it stopped and all of it removed and those who are involved with the rape of children to be prosecuted and imprisoned and policed so they can't inflict their sadism on other prisoners.  I would guess that the commentators at Eschaton who object to my post this morning want what I opposed to continue.  I wonder what Duncan would have to say to that.  

Update:  How do you know that civil liberties advocates have looked at porn? 

No, you don't get to make that argument because of what your argument claims.   The porn-industry-civil-liberties-industry Catch-22 starts by saying that if you haven't looked at porn you don't know what's in it and you can't judge it.  It only continues with the assertion that if you have looked at it, you're a hypocrite for looking at it and then opposing it.   If that's a valid claim then that applies even more for those who support it.  If they claim they're calling for its legal protection and distribution while claiming to find it personally distasteful, that's a far harder claim to make than that people who want it wiped out are being hypocrites for wanting it to be made UNAVAIABLE on the basis of its violation of the rights of those being raped, damaged and destroyed in its production. 

That the porn industry and its journalistic and legal hirees and supporters were ever able to sell that line of illogical crap to judges or anyone else has to count as one of the stupidest phenomena of the post-war period. 

Update 2:   The Gospels say that you cannot serve both God and Mammon, porn is the contemporary version of temple prostitution, which the scriptures also opposed.  It is the temple of Mammon and the civil liberties industry is its priesthood, corrupting even those who should know better.  You can look at it that way, too.   

And porn was the legalistic gateway to making political lying by of and for the oligarchs immune to legal consequences, it and the arguments made for it were always bound to end up empowering the worst among us.  Citizens United and the other rulings that have done so much to destroy democracy was the far right on the Supreme Court realizing they could use the ACLU "free speech" language to empower the oligarchs they serve.  It's no accident that the ACLU briefed in favor of those rulings handing the country to the Republican-fascists through "free speech" of the "free press" it was what their theory would have led to under any circumstances.   It's knowing the truth that frees you, lies given even First Amendment protection will always lead to oppression. 

Last Update:  There's no great big secret of it.  Look at the use of "free speech" by the Nazis and their allies all around us.  When that freedom includes lies and hate speech, advocating the denial of equality and justice and advocating everything up to and including death, who the hell do you think is going to benefit from that?  Not their intended victims. 

I Won't Be Fair To Fascists I Won't Be Nice To Nazis Even More Than I Wouldn't In 2006, Now Including the Red Ones

I have got a complex appointment in relation to a health problem, today.  I don't have time to finish what I'm working on but, in regard to the wonderful furor over the New York Times attempt to normalize Nazis, here is a piece I wrote within the first days of my blogging, more than eleven years ago.

I was against being nice to Nazis back when saying that was bound to get you called a Nazi by goody-two-shoes ACLU-free speech lefties.  I would, though point out that my thinking on that is more developed than it was then.  Given the very real history of fascism, of Nazism, and, today, I'd include Marxism, measurable in body counts in the tens of millions each, the only rational and just way to deal with those ideologies, all anti-egalitarian,  anti-democratic, pro-injustice groups and individuals who advocate oppressing and destroying other people is to make that fact determine how their ideas are treated.  You START by acknowledging they have forfeited their right to the kind of treatment they reject for their targets, you do that because to do the New York Times pose of impartial objectivity and a "level playing field (sports, again!)  already aids the Nazis and the fascists and the Stalinist-Maoist-KR- etc efforts to oppress and destroy people.  Though I'm sure as a good member of the journalistic profession and a conventional liberal Charles Pierce would disagree with a lot of what I said here, his column yesterday about Hoover trying to soft-sell doing business with Hitler right before the war started is a good example of what that gets you. 

First Posted in May, 2006

I won't be fair to fascists. I won’t be nice to Nazis. I will not give them a fair hearing. They've had their hearing and on their own terms. We've had their message aired universally, enthusiastically supported by conservatives here and abroad, and we have abundant examples of what happens when they achieve power. The combination constitutes probably the most ill-advised test of time given in recent history. And they've failed the viability test. We know the catalog of their crimes and we know that those crimes are the only part of their platform that they deliver on. They promise to kill people, to enslave people, to exclude people and to plunder the property of their victims. And that they can do. That is they can until either their own population or another has had enough and overthrows them. Victory, a higher standard of living, what they promise their supporters will be bought with that blood? No. They're not so good on that despite the lying Luce line.

Why anyone who pretends to be a liberal spends a second of their lives, though they live to be a hundred, being nice to them or defending their rights is one of the more idiotic results of the Code of Liberal Ethics. They've had their rights, as noted above. And their victims have had the full benefit of their exercise of those "rights". Why these liberal niceness scolds spend a second on the rights of fascists that they could spend on the rights of the victims of fascists is an exercise in ego of the worst kind. I will get to that in a minute after pointing out that I have made no guarantee of being such a nice person. No fascist should ever live in the expectation that they are going to see a benevolent smile from me. No liberal or leftist should expect me to be patient with the insistence that we be fair to them. As if the fascists were all going to attend a Developments in Contemporary Fascism seminar which will make living with them possible. Socialism develops, fascism has already found their true religion, racism, violence, slavery, theft and war.

If this apostasy isn't bad enough, it gets worse. I am an NMAS free speech absolutist. That, after L. Hansberry, means No More After Skokie. There is no reason for anyone on the left to come to the defense of the free speech rights of fascists.

Given their stated intentions and their history it is bizarre that any leftist would entertain considering the free speech rights of fascists. Why should any leftist give them the time of day nevermind a fully paid legal representation? The old reason given by the most easily stomached of our fairness monitors is that, "if they are silenced then we can be too". This argument has the virtue of replacing absolutist prissiness with an appeal to practicality. But it is empty. They haven't been silenced, they are all over the place. Ann Coulter's insane performance art is certainly not silent. And she's only one of the slew of dispund that fills the airwaves and makes it into print. We, dear friends, are entirely frozen out. Effectively blacklisted. The real left appears only slightly less often than plate spinners on our media. There is the pantomime of liberalism presented but it is such a transparent farce that even dismissing it gives it more attention than it deserves. Free speech sermons by liberal scolds is one of the more popular scenes of the farce.

As our friends in Canada sometimes point out, free speech is a right, it isn't the only right. Rights exist in tension, they don't exist outside of people and their owners don't exist in a vacuum. All rights may be absolute until they impinge on the rights of someone else. It is when they do impinge on other peoples' rights that things become less absolute than lends itself to facile philosophical contemplation between commercial pods and the length of a Village Voice column.

Let's take a variation on a classic. There is no right for a person to stand in the road outside your house and yell abuse at you for extended periods of time. Especially not at night. I doubt that someone could get away with standing outside your house and yelling adoration at you for several hours in the afternoon. It wouldn't be surprising if long and loud proclamations of affection met with a quicker and more forceful response by the police after your terrified call for help fifteen minutes into the incident. I have never heard a free speech absolutist defend this kind of speech and risk their own domestic tranquility. Why should a random night of sleep enjoy more protection than the one and only opportunity of an entire family to exercise the right granted by common decency, to hold a funeral free of the publicity stunts of hate cults? If a family can't bury their dead without the likes of the Phelps tribe turning their grief into a media availability, I don't want to be a part of your "free speech".

Free speech absolutists believe that they are acting out of high principle, I fervently want to believe it of some of them. There are free speech absolutists who I not only respect but love. But when you make free speech into an overriding absolute, an inflexible absolute, the principle becomes a petty scruple. It becomes moral schtick which includes the absolutist's imagined right, by virtue of their constitutional purity, to dispose of other peoples' rights without their consent and often in the face of their vigorous disapproval. The worst of them appropriate as the raw material of their media careers as "defenders of the constitution" the lives and rights of the victims of fascists, both past and future. Who the hell died and made them God?

An Answer

As I do, whenever I decide to write about porn, I checked out a number of Tumblr blogs and other venues of free online porn and can report that some of them do, indeed, carry what are obvious images of children being raped by adult men, posted as children being raped by adult men, in obvious contradiction to the stupid, lying claims that "all of the models [their dishonest word, not mine ] are believed to be over the age of 18" which is such an obvious lie that it wouldn't stand up in court unless the jurors were idiots or "free speech, free press" advocates.   

Some of the blogs have images of white adult men raping dark skinned children that could well be taken in Thailand* or other Asian countries which have thriving child rape industries, some are claimed to be images from Eastern Europe where the billionaire oligarchs like ours have no scruple against making money off of the rape and sexual use of children and women, even as they mount hate campaigns against LGBT people who don't engage in sexual exploitation and rape.  

Why isn't everyone who supports the availability of porn such as happens all over the internet and through other venues guilty of that?   They permit it to happen, that's as obvious as seeing the images online of children being raped, on blogs and pornsites that advertise the youth of those being raped or prostituted in the images they distribute.  Even as the movies, their writers, their directors and producers and actors, use the hostility towards the Catholic Church and Catholics in their plots and in their limelight speeches that the critics and audiences find so edifying, they and the billionaire owners of the media companies that own the movies are the biggest supporters of the system that has the rape of children and its encouragement as a big money maker for them.   And they and others support the perverted,  degenerate idea that favoring the chain of political and legal theories that led to that are some form of virtue and a positive good.  That is the nearly unanimous stand of American journalists, opinionists and other scribblers who have done their best to distort American liberalism out of any meaning and out of power. 

 *  I do have to wonder why Buddhism, the majority religion in Thailand, has escaped criticism for allowing the horrendously high and obviously allowed industrial rape of children and sex slaves, the same can be asked of Hinduism and every other religion and, obviously, of atheists who are some of the greatest advocates of what most of this piece talks about.  

I mean, if we've gotten to the point where you can get cheers for assigning guilt to people who didn't know what was happening, why should people who not only know what's happening and who not only support continuing the cause of it but champion them as a virtue escape their responsibility, even those involved in the groups and industries where it happens but who don't directly participate in it?   Why not non-porn Tumblr blog owners or on other hosting sites that don't keep child porn off of their blogs?

I say the "free speech, free press" lawyers, judges and journalists are as guilty as Cardinal Law, if not worse.  

Monday, November 27, 2017

You Can Take Your Hypocritical Movie Grandstanding And Shove It

I am told, hectored, really,  that there's some new movie set in middle America in which a character makes a speech to the effect that all Catholics, even those who had no idea it was going on,  are culpable for those priests who sexually abused children.  Apparently, from what I gather, the movie doesn't have to do with priests sexually abusing children so I don't know the context or even if the attribution is accurate.  I haven't and almost certainly won't see the movie and don't know that, which is the reason I'm not posting the comment the claim is made in.

I do have to ask that with the revelations of pedophilie rape and the more recent revelations of the sexual abuse of women, what financial, business or social-professional relationships exist between the people involved in making these movies and the child rapists and sexual harassers of Hollywood and other areas of the movie and entertainment industry.   You know how incredibly incestuous the business and other relationships in show biz are.   What responsibility do they have for the ongoing revelations of sexual use of minors and women - no one seems to worry too much about vulnerable adult men who are targeted - within their own community?   Does everyone who was ever associated with Harvey Weinstein share his guilt?  They knew about that because they told jokes about it at the Oscars.   How about the guilt of Kevin Spacey?  Does everyone who appeared at the Old Vic get tainted by him?

And the jerk who sent me the thing is an ex-journalist of sorts, obviously he has colleagues and professional associations with ties to sexual abuse of one form or another, not to mention his .... uh..... "journalism" was in the field of rock and roll, I know that quite recently he was defending his love of the music of Jerry Lee Lewis, demanding to know if he should stop listening to that just because Jerry Lee in his earlier years had a yen for little girls.  Well, since he's asking, why not, given his support for judging people who had no idea that there was a pedophile crime scandal happening among Catholic priests as guilty as hell, why isn't he responsible for being a paying fan of Jerry Lee Lewis even as the whole world knew he married a little girl who should have not been married to an adult man or anyone.   That's been known more than half a century.

The same guy whined like a rusty door hinge when I pointed out that Gore Vidal was a pedophile, an admitted one, who took frequent trips to the child rape industry center of Thailand, he objected to me saying that, defending him on the assertion that Gore Vidal was a "great author" a view of the rapidly fading literary light of the 50s-00s who I am pretty sure no one will be reading at all in a few years, I don't think really counts as a defense against child raping.  I used to like to read his cynical articles in The Nation, but that got old, and then I found out about his pedophilia and I don't think I could read him much after that.  I should have realized that years before I did, when he gave a speech to raise funds for the defense of men accused of pedophilia in Massachusetts and Idaho, though I certainly was in favor of the accused to have a competent defense, I objected even at the time to associating being gay with pedophilia.

And he also got upset when I pointed out that Alan Ginsburg was quite out front with his support for Nambla and an advocate of men having sex with boys, he included that in his poetry.

So, do the people associated with the publishers and magazines that published Vidal and Ginsburg share the same kind of guilt that this recent release advocates for all Catholics, or even just Catholic priests who had no idea it was going on?  Did their readers?   Because if that's the standard for assessing guilt, there aren't going to be a lot of us who escape that accusation.

I would love to know what the professional and other associations with the guy who wrote the speech and the actress who gave it in the movie are in that regard.  I looked her up and see her father is a minister in a Protestant denomination, though I haven't been able to find out if that denomination has had any sexual abuse scandal associated with it.  But, hey, if you're going to blame people who didn't know the abuse was going on, who knows who is being abused by ministers in that denomination, unknown to the rest of us?   Or anyone, anywhere? How do you know that the author of that edifying speech you paid to hear isn't?

The opportunistic use of the sexual abuse scandal to smear all Catholics is especially cheap and hypocritical when it comes out of the American entertainment industry which has presented children as sex objects since its beginning, that has certainly become more and not less the case.  It is especially cheap and hypocritical from the pseudo-liberals who support the porn industry because there is no separating out the porn which really does have only legal adults being prostituted through it and that which has children under the age of consent (so variable in so many places, where those really exist) who are raped in the production of porn.  They support its free distribution and the distribution of the message it carries, the encouragement for men to view children and women and anyone they can screw as available to them for that use.  That's one thing the Church can't be accused of, it never said what was done was a great thing for free speech, free press, a great thing for the First Amendment, some kind of progress.

The American entertainment industry, its allies in the publishing industry, the media and among pseudo liberals, especially those with law degrees and black robes have probably overseen or encouraged the rapes of more children than were raped in all of the Christian denominations who ever had a priest or minister commit what their own religion condemned as a sin.  But you're never going to see a movie come out of Hollywood that admits that.  "The Academy" won't give it an Oscar, they wouldn't even give it a nomination. 

Update:  Only a total idiot who had never read what I wrote could think I was in favor of letting Bernard Cardinal Law escape and avoid answering for the things he's been accused of.  I thought the authorities who allowed him to leave Massachusetts and the United States were criminally negligent to allow him to travel when he should have had his passport revoked, I thought and think the Vatican should have sent him back to the United States to face the accusations made against him, I faulted Pope John Paul II and then Cardinal Ratzinger, on that count, the Bush II administration and the administration of the acting governor, Jane Swift as well as all others involved in allowing him to flee prosecution.

I was certainly never a fan of Cardinal Law who was in thick as thieves with the Reagan and Bush I administrations as they were funding and backing terrorism in Central America (murdering tens of thousands of Catholics among others) and, if he hadn't taken it on the lam would have been with Bush II and probably even Trump now.   He was an absolute disgrace all round.  I despised Bernard Law before most of you online atheists ever heard of him.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Optimism of Religion Is A More Promising Framing For Making Progress Towards Equal Justice Than Secularism

In Wisdom is a spirit
intelligent, holy, unique,
Manifold, subtle, agile,
clear, unstained, certain,
Not baneful, loving the good, keen,
unhampered, beneficent, kindly,
Firm, secure, tranquil,
all-powerful, all-seeing,
And pervading all spirits,
though they be intelligent, pure and very subtle.
For Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion,
and she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity.
For she is an aura of the might of God
and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty;
therefore nought that is sullied enters into her.
For she is the refulgence of eternal light,
the spotless mirror of the power of God,
the image of his goodness.
And she, who is one, can do all things,
and renews everything while herself perduring;
And passing into holy souls from age to age,
she produces friends of God and prophets.
For there is nought God loves, be it not one who dwells with Wisdom.
For she is fairer than the sun
and surpasses every constellation of the stars.
Compared to light, she takes precedence;
for that, indeed, night supplants,
but wickedness prevails not over Wisdom.
The Book of Wisdom 7:22-30

Notice to start with, that Wisdom is a Woman.

This passage was part of the Catholic liturgy on November 16th, I made a note to myself to write a post about it, then I unwisely lost it and just found it again.  It was tempting to begin with a long account of an argument I got into with a callow old atheist at Media Matters, one in which it took me several days to realize he was arguing out of atheist blog posts that didn't know much of anything about such things as the difference between The Apocrypha and apocryphal gospels, the fact that Protestants, Orthodox and other Christians didn't depend on the Council of Trent to codify the Biblical canon(s) of various churches.  I tracked that bit of ignorance back to Wikipedia during the brawl.

But what I really wanted to note was how much more optimistic, in every way, the conception of wisdom in the Hebrew scriptures is, how much more of a value it places on wisdom and the nature of it than the materialist, scientistic, atheist view of intelligence and consciousness is.  How Wisdom, in this passage, is identified as the organizational principle and origin of the material universe as well as everything else, the instrument of the creation.   Compare that to the currently popular view of intelligence and consciousness as a problem for atheists to explain into insignificance or nonexistence because they cannot reduce those, as experienced by human beings, into elementary particles and gravity.  That is an ongoing project of atheists since well before the 19th century and though idiots scribbling popular books about Lucretius will identify it as some great cultural breakthrough into some fashion based view of "modernism" it cannot be done without coming up with something that demotes consciousness and intelligence into meaninglessness.

I don't remember which historian it was who noted that, contrary to current popular conceptions of things, that the early history of Christianity was the replacement of a pessimistic, negative paganism with the same kind of optimistic positive view of things that this passage represents.  The Christian view of life, derived from the Jewish view of life, elevated the status of people, including women, especially including Children from objects exploitable for use, into persons of entirely different status.  That was the meaning of The Gospels, the extent to which future Christian authorities and figures deviated from that was, generally, the extent to which they regressed to an anti-Christian, materialistic, view of human beings as objects for use and disposal.   There can be little question that if Christian leaders and rulers had stuck with the elevated, egalitarian view of poeple as rightly the possessors of rights and the receivers and givers of justice, there would be no negative association with the word "Christian".

Today's Catholic liturgy is named The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, which must be something fairly new because I don't remember it when I was younger.  What is striking about that is that the liturgy doesn't include weighty assertions of the supremacy of Jesus Christ, no involved theological discourses on the greatness of the Christ,  it includes the famous Gospel reading from Matthew 25 in which it is stated that people will be judged on how they treat the least among us.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.

And note that last one, in particular.  Prisoners, which would have béen understood to not have comprised, exclusively, those considered the deserving poor, but some of the worst criminals there were, people who did terrible things, committed terrible sins as well as those unjustly put there.

What a different view of the universe, of the human species than one based on survival of the fittest, in which the weak, the downtrodden, the mentally ill, etc. were to be wiped out on the basis of optimizing reproductive advantage and what is considered fitness.  Those, the least among us are given the status as deserving the same treatment that God would be given.  I don't know of any secular, any atheist political theory that takes such an elevated view of human beings, especially the least among us, or which is so liable to produce egalitarian democracy and justice as that.

Meet The Pences

Get ready for the presidential surrealist stuff to go in a similarly horrifically different direction.