Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Modern Jazz Quartet - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Milt Jackson, Vibes
John Lewis, Piano
Percy Heath, bass,
Connie Kay, drums

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.

O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
the expected One of the Nations and their Savior
come to save us, Lord our God!

Healey Willan 

Vancouver's Christ Church Cathedral Choir
Rupert Lang, director

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Alf Silver - Clean Sweep - The Head Cheese

The freezing rain they predicted would follow the snow is here and, anticipating that we might lose our electricity for several days, again,  I posted my December 24th post below.  I haven't had much time to look for something with a Christmas theme so I decided to post these Christmas episodes of Clean Sweep,  

If we don't lose power and the internet before I get to it, I'll try to post the credits and, maybe, another play later. 

But science cannot serve in the place of religion because it cannot generate an ethics or a morality. It can give us no reason to prefer a child to a dog, or to choose honorable poverty over fraudulent wealth. It can give us no grounds for preferring what is excellent to what is sensationalistic. And this is more or less where we are now.

"Medieval People Set Aside December 24 As The Feastday of Adam and Eve."

Of course I believe in evolution, or, rather, that the physical evidence as subjected to modern physics and geology and genetics and cladistic analysis points to it as the most likely means by which the present day and past diversity of life came about.  That's a far cry from avowing that on the basis of what was known about that in Britain in 1859, which filled in just about everything from that list of science - excepting contemporary geology and a different system of classification than is used now  - with the atrocity of Malthusian economics and the greatest wishes of the aristocratic class under the British caste sytem that controlled science got it right in natural selection. 

I say that because it is certain that all right thinking secular, moderny people will be scandalized, shocked and infuriated by what Marilynne Robinson said at the end of her great and long essay, "Darwinism" from her great book,  The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought.  I worked my way back from the ending and the essay is so great, such a brilliant line of thinking, it was hard to decide where to break into it.  I started here. . .

I am sure I would risk offending if I were to say outright that modern thought is a failed project.  Still, clearly it partakes as much of error as the worst thinking that it has displaced.  Daniel Dennett scolds Judeo-Christianity for Genesis 1:28, in which humankind is given dominion over all the earth,  as if it licensed depredation [I will post more about that after Christmas].  Notions of this kind go unchallenged now because the Bible is so little known.  In the recapitulation of creation that occurred after the waters have receded in the narrative of the Flood (Genesis 9:1-4) people are told, as if for the first time, that they may eat the flesh of animals.  It would appear the Edenic regime was meant to be rather mild.  And of course the most reassuring images of the lordliness of God in both Testaments describe him as a shepherd.  Over against this we have Darwin and Nietzsche and their talk of extermination. 

If it is objected - and there would be grounds for alarm if it were not objected - that the passages I have quoted from Darwin and Nietzsche are misread by those who take issue with them,  their defenders must make some little effort  to be fair to the context of Genesis.  It may be true historically that people have justified brutal misuse of nature on the authority of Genesis 1:28, but it is surely true that they have taken a high hand against the whole of creation on the pretext offered them by "the survival of the fittest" or "the will to power."  The verse in Genesis 9 that permits the eating of animals is followed by a verse that forbids the shedding of human blood, pointedly invoking the protection of the divine image  This is the human exceptionalism which Dennett and the whole tribe of Darwinians reject as if on a moral scruple.  But its effect is to limit violence, not to authorize it. 

In nothing  is the retrograde character of modern thought more apparent.  These ancients were never guilty of the parochialism of suggesting that any ambiguity surrounds the word "human," or that there is any doubt about human consanguinity, though such notions would be forgivable in a people surrounded by tribes and nations with which their relations were often desperately hostile.  To say this is to grant what is clearly true,  that they often failed to live up to their own most dearly held beliefs.  This can be looked at from another side. however.  They were loyal over many centuries to standards by which they themselves (though less, no doubt, than human kind in general) were found guilty and wanting.  This is a burden they could have put down.  It is the burden Western civilization has put down, in the degree that it has rejected the assertion of human uniqueness.  Darwin's response to objections to the idea of kinship with monkeys was, better a monkey than a Fuegian, a naked savage. 

History is a nightmare, generally speaking, and the effect of religion, where its authority has been claimed, has been horrific as well as benign.  Even in saying this, however, we are judging history in terms religion has supplied.  The proof of this is that,  in the twentieth century, "scientific" policies of extermination, undertaken in the case of Stalin to purge society of parasitic or degenerate or recalcitrant elements, and in the case of Hitler to purge it of the weak or defective or, racially speaking, marginally human, have taken horror to new extremes.  Their scale and relentlessness have been owed to the disarming of moral response by theories authorized by the word "science," which quite inappropriately, has been used as if it meant "truth."  Surely it is fair to say that science is to the "science" that inspired exterminations as Christianity is to the "Christianity" that inspired Crusades.  In both cases the human genius for finding pretexts seized upon the most prestigious institution of the culture and appropriated the great part of its language and resources and legitimacy.  In the case of religion, the best and the worst of it have been discredited together.  In the case of science, neither has been discredited.  The failure in both science and religion are effectively lost to us in terms of disciplining or enlarging our thinking. 

These are not the worst consequences, however.   The modern fable is that science exposed religion as a delusion and more or less supplanted it.  But science cannot serve in the place of religion because it cannot generate an ethics or a morality.  It can give us no reason to prefer a child to a dog, or to choose honorable poverty over fraudulent wealth.  It can give us no grounds for preferring what is excellent to what is sensationalistic.  And this is more or less where we are now. 

"Worship" means the assigning or acknowledging of worth.  Language, in its wisdom, understands this to be a function of creative, imaginative behavior.  The suffix "-ship" is kin to the word "shape."  It is no wonder that the major arts in virtually every civilization have centered around religion.  Darwin, always eager to find analogues and therefore inferred origins for human behavior among the animals, said that, to a dog, his master is a god.  But this is to speak of religion as if it were mere credulous awe in the face of an apparently greater power and wisdom, as if there were only one natural religion, only the Watchmaker.  The relationship between creation and discover - as Greek sculpture, for example, might be said to have discovered the human form, or mathematics might be said to have discovered the universe - is wholly disallowed in this comparison .  

Religion is inconceivable because it draws on the human mind in ways for which nature, as understood by Darwinists, offers no way of accounting.  Collaboratively, people articulate perceptions of value and meaning and worth, which are perhaps right and wrong, that is, profoundly insightful, or else self-interested or delusional at about the rate of the best science.   We forget that it is only fairly recently that the continents have been known to drift.  Until very recently the biomass of the sea at middle and great depths has been fantastically underestimated,  and the mass and impact of microbial life in the earth has been virtually unreckoned.  We know almost nothing about the biology of the air, that great medium of migration for infections agents, among other things.  The wonderful Big Bang is beset with problems.  In other words, our best information about the planet has been full of enormous lacunae,  and is, and will be.  Every grand venture at understanding is hypothesis, not so different from metaphysics.  Daniel Dennett attributes the brilliance of J. S. Bach to the fortuitous accumulation of favorable adaptations of his nervous system.  Bach, of all people, is not to be imagined without a distinctive, highly elaborated conception of God, and life in a culture that invoked the idea of God by means of music.  That is why his work is profound, rather than merely clever.  And it is profound.  It is not about illusion, it is not about superstition or denial or human vainglory or the peculiarities of one sensorium. 

We try now to establish  value in economic terms, lacking better, and this has no doubt contributed to the bluntly mercenary character of contemporary culture.  But economic value is extraordinarily slippery. Buying cheap and selling dear is the essence of profit making.  The consumer is forever investing in ephemera, cars or watches that are made into symbols of prosperity, and are therefore desirable because they are expensive.  So people spend a great deal of money for the advantages of being perceived to have spent a great deal of money.  These advantages are diminished continuously by the change of styles either toward or away from the thing they have bought, which is either commonplace or passé.  

Or manufacture is taken from a setting in which adults work for reasonable wages and there are meaningful protections of the environment, and moved into a setting where children work for meager wages and the environment is desolated.  This creates poverty among workers in both settings and destroys the wealth that is represented in a wholesome environment - toxins in the air or water are great destroyers of wealth.  So economic value is created at a cost of the economic value of workers who are made unable to figure as consumers, and of resources that are made unsuitable for any use.  A few people may get rich, but the transaction altogether is a loss, perhaps a staggering loss.  A global economy organized on these principles will be full of poor, sick,dispirited people, and shoddy goods, since they will be cheapened to suit the dwindling prosperity of the workforce, who are also the buying public.  An objective accounting of value would find disaster here.  Human limits to the exploitation of people would solve the problem, but that would interfere with competition which is the great law of nature, supposedly, and which therefore functions as a value, because "science" has supplanted religion. 

How much misery and premature death (most of it out of sight, granted) do we agree to when we accept this new economic order?  Is it in any way an advance on colonialism?  Do we imagine, as the colonists sometimes did, that we are bringing benefits of civilization to the far reaches of the world?  Are we not in fact decivilizing ourselves as we decivilize them?  Why is there no outcry?  Is it because we have cast off the delusion of human sanctity?  I think we should study our silence for insight into other momentous silences of recent history. 

This is not the worst of it.  Now that the mystery of motive is solved - there are only self-seeking and aggression, and the illusions that conceal them from us - there is no place left for a soul, or even the self.  Moral behavior has little real meaning, and inwardness, in the traditional sense, is not necessary or possible.  We use analysts and therapists to discover the content of our experience.  Equivalent trauma is assumed to produce more or less equivalent manifestations in every case, so there is little use for the mind, the orderer and reconciler, the artist of the interior world.  Whatever it has made will only be pulled apart.  The old mystery of subjectivity is dispelled; individuality is a pointless complication of a very straightforward organic life.  Our hypertrophic brain, that prodigal indulgence, that house of many mansions, with its stores and competences, and all its deep terrors and very rich pleasures, which was so long believed to be the essence of our lives, and a claim on one another's sympathy and courtesy and attention, is going the way of every part of collective life that was addressed to it - religion, art, dignity, graciousness.  Philosophy, ethics politics, properly so called.  It is a thing that bears reflecting upon, how much was destroyed, when modern thought declared the death of Adam. 

Mikołaj Zieleński - Magnificat

Warsaw Philharmonic Choir
Henryk  Wojnarowski, director

Several Advents ago, when I posted a couple of settings of the Magnificat every day, this one, by a fine polish composer I'd never heard of before was one of the really great surprises for me.  As you might guess, there are a lot of Polish performing groups who have posted performances of it.  Some use instrumental doublings of the vocal parts, but the effect of the three choirs is so glorious that they don't need it.


Friday, December 22, 2017

O Rex Gentium

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!

Bob Chilcott

Queens' College Choir, Cambridge

Conductor: Silas Wollston

Let's Hope That Finally And For Good, The Real Susan Collins Will Be The One Voters Reject Next Time

Naw, Bill Nemitz, I don't buy that part of it, I don't buy that Susan Collins got "played" over her betrayal of her state and the nation.   Susan Collins has been in and around the Senate and government jobs for forty-two years, she was on William Cohen's senate staff beginning in 1975, you can read a pretty accurate version of her CV on Wikipedia - my guess is it was written by someone on her staff.

Born in Caribou, Maine, Collins is a graduate of St. Lawrence University. Beginning her career as a staff assistant for Senator William Cohen in 1975, Collins later became the staff director of the Oversight of Government Management Subcommittee of the Committee on Governmental Affairs (which later became the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs[2]) in 1981. She was then appointed as the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation by Governor John R. McKernan, Jr. in 1987. In 1992 she was appointed by President George H. W. Bush as the director of the Small Business Administration's regional office in Boston. Staying in Massachusetts, Collins became that state's Deputy State Treasurer in 1993.

After moving back to Maine in 1994, Collins became the Republican nominee for governor in the 1994 general election. Becoming the first woman to become the nominee of a major party for Governor of Maine, Collins finished third in a four-way race with 23% of the vote. After her bid for governor in 1994, Collins became the founding director of the Center for Family Business at Husson University. Collins was first elected to the Senate in 1996. She has been re-elected three times, in 2002, 2008, and 2014. After former New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte lost reelection in 2016, Collins became the only Republican in the U.S. Senate currently representing a state in New England.

To believe Susan Collins got played instead of walking into what she did with her eyes wide open and knowing there would be no mitigation of the damage to the Affordable Care Act you would have to believe she didn't know how a bill becomes law, that he was unaware of the politics of her own party and that she wouldn't know the nature of the Republican Congressional leadership and the fact that Donald Trump is a pathological liar with a long, long record of not paying those he owes even what he's legally contracted to pay them.   Susan Collins did this for some other reason than that she believed the guarantees which provided her with cover for her betrayal.   Most absurd of all is her using the month old threat by Chuck Schumer that if they did what they did, Democrats were not going to help them in the cover up as her excuse for the "iron clad" promises by Republican leadership getting shelved.   Actually, Bill Nemitz doesn't buy it either. 

While Trump boasted Wednesday outside the White House that “we have essentially repealed Obamacare” (the tax bill eliminates Obamacare’s fiscal cornerstone – the “individual mandate” requiring all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty – starting in 2019), Collins could only point fingers at those who, in her view, torpedoed her deal with McConnell.

She blamed Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, who announced last week that Democrats in the Senate would not support the Obamacare rescue legislation as part of a year-end stopgap spending bill.

It was indeed a deal killer: With the Obamacare bills and other add-ons attached, the spending bill would need 60 votes to pass the Senate.

“Maybe I should have been more cynical or skeptical of the Democrats on this, but it never occurred to me that they would pull back on their support. It truly didn’t,” Collins said.

So, Susan Collins is trying to blame Democrats for McConnell, Ryan and Trump lying to her and immediately exposing her excuse as a lie, or "her being played".  Na, uh, she' not going to get away with it. 

Seriously? When Schumer said on the Senate floor over a month ago that Democrats “will not go for” the so-called Alexander-Murray bill, which restores cost-sharing subsidies to insurers, if the individual mandate is repealed?

If that’s not a warning sign of danger ahead, what is?

Collins also blamed House Republicans for passing a “skinny version” of the stopgap funding bill. That measure left no room for either Alexander-Murray or the bill Collins co-sponsored with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, that would lower insurance premiums through the use of high-risk pools.

Again, did Collins not hear the rumblings from House Republicans that any life buoy for Obamacare, now or whenever, was out of the question?

Put another way, is Collins, a 20-year veteran of the Senate, still so naïve that she simply failed to notice the cracks in her deal with McConnell? Or did she quietly calculate that, if and when the bottom fell out, she’d somehow manage a hasty escape?

Even now, when she’s supposed to be busy meting out all those “consequences,” Collins continues to skate.

She points to the call she received Wednesday, after her vote in favor of the tax bill, from House Speaker Paul Ryan. He promised her, she said, that the Obamacare bills will be taken up first thing next session.

“Paul Ryan called me and volunteered this,” Collins said, “If he were going to say, ‘Phew, that’s over with!’ why would he affirmatively call me?”

I dunno, maybe because Mitch McConnell begged him to?

Collins also noted that the Congressional Budget Office plans to roll out a new model for evaluating the fiscal impact of legislation after the new year and – as Ryan was quick to remind her – the Obamacare legislation will “score” higher and thus direct more money toward shoring up the health insurance markets.

So … the new CBO model isn’t official yet, the Obamacare bills haven’t been scored, and already she knows the outcome? How so?

“I had my staff economist call the CBO and talk to them about it,” Collins replied. “Believe me, I’m not taking anyone’s word for anything.”

Oh, but she is. Her entire game plan right now is based on promises from Trump, whose word is about as trustworthy as an email from Nigeria; from McConnell, who just failed to deliver on one whopper of a promise to Collins; and from Ryan, who’s widely rumored to already have one foot out the door.

Little wonder that much of Washington, D.C., not to mention Maine, now snickers about how Collins got played.

“If I get the bills that I’ve been advocating for passed, but they’re passed six to eight weeks later than I expected, how does that mean I’ve been played?” she asked.

“How do you know you’re going to get them in six to eight weeks?” I countered.

“How do you know I’m not?” she replied.

I don’t.

But like most common-sense Mainers, I know enough to stay off thin ice.

The spectacle that Susan Collins who, for the first time in her public life is having to face the consequences of her biggest betrayal of the residents of Maine, being so very bad at doing it from never having gotten this kind of look before is a kind of satisfaction that I'd rather not be getting, I'd rather have 13 million people keep their healthcare, Medicaid expanding as Maine Voters supported in November and jillionaires and their corporations not pillaging the country, etc. 

Susan Collins is a disgrace, she has been all along, though never at this level of disgracefulness, no one should let her off the hook she so willingly put herself on, banking on the Maine media snow job that she has benefitted from all along.  She shouldn't be able to elected to a school board after what she did.

Gee, Skepsy, When's The Last Time Your Host Whined The Age Of Consent Is Too High?

Well, it seems Simps made some hay over at Duncan's over my little joke wondering why no one has ever done a Broadway musical about Daleks in drag - my point being that it's no stupider a premise for a musical than the ones that they produce successfully, over and over and over and....  For anyone who thinks vinyl was dead, Broadway is essentially the worlds biggest skipping record. 

His good buddy,  Skeptic Tank - or whatever he's calling himself after I pointed out that, like him, a Skeptic Tank could be expected to be full of shit - used the occasion to ask why I didn't propose one about a Cardinal involved in sexual abuse who is protected by the Vatican.  Well, why not Vern Bullough, a man who openly advocated child rape and, even as they acknowledged his role in a group that called for the legalization of child rape was honored by atheists as "Humanist of the Year" and was the chair of the International Humanist and Ethical Union,  and given the position by Paul Kurtz as the "human sexuality editor" at his Prometheus publishing label, the Regnery of American atheism.   

Of course, they didn't have to protect him because in that period famous atheists who openly advocated or practiced pedophilia were never made the subject of a scandal in the same way that someone in the clergy was.   I believe I've mentioned the letter in The Nation when, after their cartoonist Edward Sorel did a panel about "Religion In The News" dedicated to incidents of ministers and priests and church employees accused of pedophile abuse, someone asked him why he never mentioned the many people in secular jobs who were convicted of the same or similar crimes.  As I recall Sorel said that they didn't hold that the rape of children was a sin, as if that's a real answer instead of a dodge.   I do have to say that in the past two decades, as I've learned more about him, my opinion of Edward Sorel has suffered.  I hadn't known he'd adopted his pseudonym from Julian Sorel, the central figure in the pretty silly novel, Le Rouge et Le Noir, due to Julian's anti-clericalism.  Considering that Julian Sorel was a social climber who used the church and the favor of many clerics, one his greatest patrons being a Jansenist, and when he wasn't doing that he was sleeping around, the results of which led to his execution....  Geesh, I could write a whole post on how Edward Sorel's hero's story parallels that of Cardinal Law, except Law didn't shoot one of his mistresses.   Holding him as a hero is typical of an atheist "ethics".  

I can't say I wasn't a bit gladdened to have heard that Cardinal Law possibly now had to face a judgement over his crimes in the pedophile sex abuse scandal.  If he really believed what he claimed to, Law would have had to fear such a judgement over his many earthly sins of the kind an ambitious cleric might commit, just as anyone with ambition is tempted to.   Even if he had never been involved in his most famous scandal, his sins in other things were serious and many.    I never was a fan of Law whose sins in relation to the Reagan-Bush era terrorism in Central America were openly known and which should have led to his defrocking decades before the pedophile scandal broke.  I doubt anyone at Eschaton was ever as critical of him, of Pope JP II and  Benedict XVI (and Ratzinger as he was then).   And I have always been in favor of the criminal prosecution of men who have sex with children and a responsible age of consent.  For an atheist asshole to imply I wouldn't on a blog of a man who has a record of whining about the age of consent being too high is something I can't help but point out.   

If "Daleks in Drag" were a thing and if it became a smash hit, Simps and the other Escatots who love the glitter and crap of musicals would be it' biggest fans.  After the right critics had told them what to think about it.  I doubt I'd bother to see it.  I wouldn't even go to see Duncan in Drag.  Especially if there was choreography, fitted costumes and special effects, involved. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

O Oriens

O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol iustitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris et umbra mortis.

O Dawn, splendid, eternal light, and sun of justice,
Come and light those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

A good one for the first day of winter as we descend into injustice, darkness and the shadow of death.

Paweł Łukaszewski

Yale Recital Chorus

Patrick Murray, conductor

Dalek The Halls

ugly tree

Someone sent me some "ugliest Christmas trees" photos and this one I interpret as a Dalek in its holiday finery?   Now, why no one has ever done a Broadway musical on the idea of Daleks in drag, I can't imagine.  It would make a change from the eternal revival of those few war horse musicals they're always doing.   It would probably be more fun than a lot of it.  And it wouldn't be peddling the founders fetish, leading another generation of history ignorant people into that anti-democratic cult.  Forgive me, my country's being taken over by Federalist fascists whose logo is James Madison and I'm kind of fixed on the topic.

Update:  Nope, never was a fan of the Dalek story lines.  They were too automatic villains to have any emotional or intellectual interest.  And, from my time working in an electronic music studio of the late 60s, early 70s era, I grew to hate the over-used sound of ring modulation.   Couldn't stand the sound of it.  

... and like the Last Morning of the world when all the fragments of Adam will return from death at the voice of Hagia Sophia, and will know where they stand

Solstice, schmolstice, it's just matter doing what matter does, nothing to get excited about.   I can't  be bothered to even repost the things I usually do pointing out the jolly olde pagan customs of animal and human sacrifice on the Yule.  To today's Pagans, other than being omitted from their ahistorical depictions, human sacrifice is about as foreign as the commemoration of The Birth of Jesus Christ is to Saturnalia - RMJ has written about why that mythic association is ahistorical, as well. As I said, he does good Advent posts.   Given that, I definitely like our Pagans better than those old ones.  As long as they can the SS and other Nazi content that white supremacists have foisted on them in their ahistorical naivety.


I. Dawn.  The Hour of Lauds.

There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness.  This mysterious Unity and Integrity is Wisdom, the Mother of all, Natura naturans.  There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fount of action and joy.  It rises up in wordless gentleness and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being, welcoming me tenderly, saluting me with indescribable humility.  This is at once my own being, my own nature, and the Gift of my Creator’s Thought and Art within me, speaking as Hagia Sophia, speaking as my sister, Wisdom.

I am awakened, I am born again at the voice of this my Sister, sent to me from the depths of the divine fecundity.

Let us suppose I am a man lying asleep in a hospital.  I am indeed this man lying asleep.  It is July the second, the Feast of Our Lady’s Visitation.  A Feast of Wisdom.

At five-thirty in the morning I am dreaming in a very quiet room when a soft voice awakens me from my dream.  I am like all mankind awakening from all the dreams that ever were dreamed in all the nights of the world.  It is like the One Christ awakening in all the separate selves that ever were separate and isolated and alone in all the lands of the earth.  It is like all minds coming back together into awareness from all distractions, cross-purposes and confusions, into unity of love.  It is like the first morning of the world (when Adam, at the sweet voice of Wisdom awoke from nonentity and knew her), and like the Last Morning of the world when all the fragments of Adam will return from death at the voice of Hagia Sophia, and will know where they stand.

Such is the awakening of one man, one morning, at the voice of a nurse in the hospital.   Awakening out of languor and darkness, out of helplessness, out of sleep, newly confronting reality and finding it to be gentleness.

It is like being awakened by Eve.  It is like being awakened by the Blessed Virgin.  It is like coming forth from primordial nothingness and standing in clarity, in Paradise.

You can read the rest of Thomas Merton's great poem, Hagia Sophia, here.

Apocalypse Soon

The Contestants of 1972, The Winner 2017

Image result for monty python twit

Image result for donald trump jr

Hate Mail From An Uncivil Libertarian

I am challenged - I would guess by an admirer of the late phony baloney Nat Hentoff and Joel Gora, who I guess is still alive - to say what it is about the First Amendment that I would change.

First, why limit it to that?  I'd start with the Second Amendment and be specific that people could own one gun, not a semi-automatic or automatic weapon, nor one tricked out to be one though not admitted to be one by the ass that lawyers and judges make of their profession and, so, all of us.  I would certainly make it clear that Congress, state legislatures, municipal councils and, more than any of those THE VOTERS have a right to regulate gun sales, gun ownership, gun manufacture, gun sales and importation.  And that the insane, the violent, wife abusers, abusive boyfriends, stalkers, etc. can have the limited rights to guns removed from them - in fact, I don't think I'd ever assert there was any right to own guns that didn't contain a provision that such people with a record of violence can be banned from buying or owning or carrying guns.   I don't trust state legislatures or municipal councils to not do what the Republican fascists under the influence and patronage of our contemporary version of Murder inc, the gun lobby have done in that regard.

Now that that's out of the way.  I would specifically need any amended First Amendment have language that would prevent the abominations that Supreme Courts have created out of it - we don't need to conjecture as to whether the vague, minor, 18th century poetry the "founders" set out has the potential to destroy democracy because they've already done their darndest to do that USING THE VERY LANGUAGE THAT IS PRESENTLY IN THAT OBJECT OF WORSHIP. 

It would have to specifically:

- Reject the invitation to corruption placed in the lore of Constitutional interpretation by a sleazy law clerk and a perhaps even sleazier Chief Justice, corporate personhood.  Democracy will never be safe as long as that Supreme Court invention that the "originalists," "strict-constructionists" and "Federalist(fascists), don't seem to mind though it appears no where in the text.   Of course, that's probably more a 14th Amendment issue but it is the one that Republicans on the Supreme Court, with some concurrence by some Democratic members, used to make money into speech and so gave billionaires like the Kochs, the Mercers, putrid Peter Thiel, etc.  and corporations,  as much more speech as dollars they have over real people.

- Reject that there is a right to lie with impunity in the Constitution and include the fact that democracy lives on the truth and it dies from lies, especially those told by the mass media.

- Speaking of that, it would have to stop pretending we live in the 18th century when hand written letter and the printing press decentralized "the press" that they said Congress had no power to regulate.   One of the stupidest and biggest mistakes in letting long dead, White slave owners and corrupt businessmen, aka "the founders" determine our law is that they had no idea of what we would learn about the power of mass media, modern methods of  advertising, market research to destroy democracy through mass deception designed to prey on peoples' weakness.  Regulating the electronic media may have its dangers, failure to require they not churn out FOXian or even the lesser cabloid and radio network propaganda our media largely has for the past fifty years is guaranteed to be a fatal poison to democracy.  Pretending that a FOX-Sinclair world is the same as the quill pen and hand set type is as stupid as pretending a bump-stock virtual semiautomatic murder machine is the same as an 18th century Pennsylvania single ball musket

But we don't need to go to regulation of the mass media, making violation of laws a crime*, we just have to say that those they choose to lie about have a right to sue them on the same basis as everyone else does and that media which has lied about people have to restore what they've destroyed, retracting the lie in the same way it was told, with as many repetitions as prominently displayed as the lies, payment for damages and court costs.  I'd prefer to let that part of it depend on civil processes instead of criminal ones.   That said, any electronic mass media, including cable and internet, should have their ability to continue in that business of lying removed.  Lies being so dangerous to democracy, self-government and beleaguered people who they lie about.

I mentioned things like the undemocratic Senate, the Jim Crow, New Jim Crow voter suppressing extensions of 3/5ths into 5/5ths for congressional representation of people who are the ones suppressing the votes and the electoral college all being abolished or changed.   I think that anyone who doesn't see the need for the right to vote being contained in the Constitution, one real, human person - one vote, is an idiot, especially after Scalia, from the friggin'  Supreme Court bench deny that there was right to vote and to have those votes count.   Corporate personhood arose from the corrupt clerk quoting a remark of the corrupt Justice in a headnote in a decision.  What those asses say can have the most far reaching dangers.

And as to what else you said in the comment that I'm not posting, fuck you and anyone who looks like you.

* Though if that were necessary to defend egalitarian democracy and the right to self-government on the basis of a truthfully informed electorate, it will be a necessary step.  "The press" is an artificial, corporate entity, artificial corporate entities don't have natural rights which only belong to people because they are living entities.  The natural rights of people to equal justice, egalitarian democracy and the blessings of self-government on the basis of reality is over and above that of any artificial entity.  The "right" to "freedom of the press" should be explicitly stated to exist only in so far as "the press" serves the right of The People to accurate and sufficient information necessary for them to cast informed votes and so representatives who will really serve them instead of the crew of pirates who hijacked the United States and so many of the individual state governments and so many of our courts. 

Painted Screens That Mask What Is Going On Behind Them

When I first heard about the Baltimore tradition of painted window screens, I was intrigued by the idea, painting pictures and patterns on window screens that would keep people from seeing what is going on behind them while letting light and air in.  This morning I realized that's what TV has been doing with American politics for decades.

But, to get into that,  I told you Susan Collins wouldn't take criticism well, she's used to being treated like the Queen of England instead of as a politician, if you think that's bad in the national media, the Maine media is ever so much worse.   She's used to the protection of one of those screens.

Raise your hands anyone who believes that Susan Collins didn't get that her ironclad guarantee of a vote on the reinsurance provisions she claims were her motive to betray the people of her state and the country for the billionaire oligarchs, wouldn't be taken up by Paul Ryan or passed in anything like a real mitigation by the House.  Bearing in mind that before she was a Senator, Collins was a staffer of Senator William Cohen (former "moderate" Republican) and spent her entire adult life making a living off of governments, state and federal.  She has and she will try to present her betrayal of her state, weeks after, by a large margin, the voters here voted to expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act which she knowingly voted to destroy, as a scene in which she was the innocent victim.

No, this was just another of the screens painted with a still life of "principle" and "moderation" so as to masque what was really going on behind them from the People of her state.  If she can mount another screen through the Maine media that has put those between the people of Maine and the real Susan Collins, sheer habit of training in how to think about her might pull her fat from the flames of democracy.

And anyone who believes she doesn't understand the peril this bill puts Medicaid, Medicare and even Social Security in, is the kind of sucker that she and the rest of the Republicans depend on buying the most transparent lies.

The Tax vote in the Senate has shown that there really are no decent, principled Republican  members of that body, they are all the vassals of the billionaires and millionaires to whom they just delivered homage and allegiance.   The corrupt media of the country has such a hold on the people who put them in office as they're told to, by the media, that they know their ability to hold office to do terrible things depends on the billionaires who own the media and fund their lie campaigns.  As I will never stop pointing out, all the "more speech" in the bull shit guarantees of Nat Hentoff and Joel Gora has not prevented the multiple treasons of Trumpian-Republicanism because it is drowned out by the "speech money" of the billionaires.  And the Republicans who voted in this guarantee that, at the very least, the economic implosion they almost caused as recently as 2008 will come back.  I am hoping it will come much faster than we anticipate because Republicans will have to be swept out in a tidal wave to prevent even worse to come. 

Susan Collins deserves to wear the results of her vote just as she so much deserved to wear something like it years ago.   But that's not the most important thing in this, now that she's been unmasked the media's presentation of "moderate" Republicanism that covered up the essentially anti-democratic and fascistic elements that have made up the party since the 1980s.  The party that covered up the massive corruption of the Reagan and Bush administrations and now the Neronian corruption AND TREASON WITH PUTIN is, in fact, a fascist party.  A real, American style fascism of the kind that Dorothy Thompson warned would be what it would look like.

"No people ever recognize their dictator in advance. He never stands for election on the platform of dictatorship. He always represents himself as the instrument of the Incorporated National Will. When our dictator turns up you can depend on it that he will be one of the boys, and he will stand for everything traditionally American. And nobody will ever say 'Heil' to him, nor will they call him 'Führer' or 'Duce.' But they will greet him with one great big, universal, democratic, sheeplike bleat of 'O.K., Chief! Fix it like you wanna, Chief! Oh Kaaaay!'"

Dorothy Thompson 1935, the year after she became the first American journalist kicked out of Nazi Germany

And sometimes what brings it into power doesn't look like what its presented a either, "moderate" Republicans, "free speech free press" rulings, "entertainment TV".  That's what got us here. Lies, the lying liars who tell them, and the media that peddles them because they're allowed to.

Every anti-democratic political ideology and system depends on lies, democracy depends on the truth,  egalitarian democracy not only depends on the truth, it is damaged by lies.   When lies are given legal protection, they flourish in a pattern predictably enabling the wealthiest and, so most powerful and those sufficiently amoral to serve their lying purposes,  that is inevitably fatal to democracy.   That is the overriding lesson to be learned from this, but you won't hear that from the media that enjoys its privilege to lie.  They'll be putting up the deceptive pictures that shield us from what's really going on.  The minority of the who sort of don't do that haven't saved us from this and they never will as things stand.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Dusan Bogdanovic - Seven Little Secrets








Dusan Bogdanovic, guitar

These are about the best set of miniatures on this scale I know of, maybe since the much smaller pieces Webern wrote for Cello and Piano or the 6 Canons.  I've got the score and have tried to play a couple of the easier ones, 4 and 7 and easy they aren't.   They are extremely beautiful.  

O Clavis David

O come, you Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

22 I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open.  Isaiah 22:22

Peter Hallock

St. Mark's Cathedral Choir: Compline Choir
David Suess, conductor.

Patrick Cornelius - Christmas Gift

Patrick Cornelius, sax
Gerald Clayton, piano
Peter Slavov, bass
Kendrick Scott, drums

I know I posted this more than a month ago because I liked it so much.  But it's seasonal now and so exciting and fine.  All of them great players, a wonderful composition.

My Friends We Are In A Constitutional Crisis, We Have Been All Along

I will again recommend that if you haven't now, you should read The Constitution a Pro-Slavery Compact, or Excerpts From The Madison Papers, etc selected by Wendell Phillips because of what happened last night, which if Charles Pierce and many other erudite, astute observers are right, could lead us all into serfdom for generations.   And what happened is a direct result of the compromise that the commercial aristocrats of the northern states (or in late 18th century usage the "eastern states") made with the slave-holding aristocracy of the southern states, a series of threats, blackmail and overt bribes which is the real story of how the peculiar federal system of the United States was formed.  For example, the slave holders insisted on and got

- The disproportionate representation of small, slave-holding states in the undemocratically constituted Senate.

- The ability to count slaves for purposes of representation in the House of Representatives though the representatives so chosen would only represent the slave-owners.  The infamous 3/5th provision, adopted under explicit blackmail by the slave owners.  You might hear the argument made that that disappeared with the post-civil war amendments but as "free" Black People were disenfranchised under Jim Crow, the de facto slave power increased their representation by the 2/5th while making sure those representatives didn't represent the Black  residents of the state who they would never have to answer to.  That is something that is being made more general across the country, exacerbated in the form of Republican vote suppression laws.

- The electoral college which incorporates the disproportionate representation contained in the two previous items and which grants a grotesque share of voting power to the residents of the smallest states while diminishing the voting power of the largest states.   It has also produced two presidents who took office with a minority of the popular vote in the last 17 years, resulting in Trump.

- The various parts of the Bill of Rights - drastically altered from the original proposal of George Mason and set in such generalized and vague 18th century rhetoric that Supreme Courts, either through malicious intent or the starry-eyed stupidity of impractical idealists, has handed the politically effective media over to the oligarchs on whose behalf the Republicans in Congress acted even while their own constituents opposed what they were doing.  In many cases even as the provisions in the putrid bill was padded to further enrich the members of the House and Senate who voted for it and the Trump regime  .

The bleats of the media about an allegedly impending "constitutional crisis" which is almost certain to arise as the Trumpian fascists and their supporters in the government, the courts and the media, try to make the gangster traitor into an absolute ruler are way too late.  The constitutional crisis has been an ongoing feature of life in the United States since the day the Constitution was adopted.   It was a crisis for Black slaves, for free Black People, for the Native inhabitants of North America, for various disenfranchised White People - you should read how the "founders" considered allegedly "free" White residents of the north in terms not much different from the ones they regarded the overt slaves of the slave states (including those in the North.   For poor people, for members of minority groups, for workers, for the unemployed, etc. we are in a crisis that is the direct result of the Constitution of the United States and the government and courts that operate under its corruptions.

The Constitution of the United States is what generated this catastrophe for egalitarian democracy because the "founders" almost all hated equality, they preferred their own privilege, they disdained "The Common Man".   That is apparent in just about every page of James Madison's and the other "founders" own writing as the great abolitionist Wendell Phillips documented.

I have mentioned before that with Trump, a Putin crime family asset as President of the United States and the corrupt Republican Party which will certainly do what they can to keep the known traitor and babbling, incompetent crook in office - and if not him than the equally treasonous and criminal Pence, we are already in the gravest crisis this country has faced since the slave-power started the Civil War.   The start to reform the corrupt slave-power Constitution made after the Civil War was quickly ended by the Electoral College and the corrupt bargain that put Rutherford Hayes in the presidency, who allowed the slave owners to reimpose a de facto continuation of the antebellum regime and continued with the florid corruption that had already started under the presidency of Ulysses Grant.  The same northern commercial interests were not really interested in reforming such a useful vehicle that was producing the corruptions of the gilded-age that Pierce believes a revival of is the goal of the Paul Ryans of the Republican-fascists.   That we have not managed to get rid of even at least the Electoral College, at the very least quarantining the anti-democratic features the slave power insisted on in the Congress is definitive evidence that it cannot continue.   The Trump regime proves that we cannot continue this way.

If the only answer to getting rid of the vestiges of slave power which the Republicans-fascists have used to bring us to the crisis we're in is for parts of the country unwilling to live with it to leave, it might be the only way to save egalitarian democracy in some of the states.  I hate "states rights" with all the passion I have against the slave-apartheid ideology that invented the slogan.  This isn't "states rights" it's salvaging democracy from the ruins left from the ripping off of the various, partial patches that have been being put on the Constitution since the 19th century reform movements, the abolition movement and that for Women's suffrage, foremost.  That is what the Republicans are doing, dismantling anything that made living under the corrupt Constitution tolerable for a week, never mind decades and lifetimes.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Susan Collins Will Not Take Criticism Well, She's Used To The Maine Media Kid Gloves Treatment

HRH Susan Collins is not amused that people don't trust her after so soon flipping on what is certainly one of the worst bills not dealing directly with war making to come out of Congress in decades, possibly the worst tax bill in modern history, which is designed to destroy the very American Care Act which she and two other Republican flippers made such a show of saving mere weeks ago.  She had no problem basking in the praise she got then, now she's royally pissed that people are asking what she got for what she did.  

Her phony fig-leaves, her alleged promises from Trump and McConnell to allow her to make a show of mitigating the damage to the healthcare of 13 million immediately and, as the market blows up, to many tens of millions more, are dead before arrival - the House will certainly never vote for them, Trump whose attention span often left him contradicting himself within the same tweet  BEFORE THE CHARACTER LIMIT WAS DOUBLED - well, that part of her song and dance of distraction was never credible for a second.  

She got something for herself, the quid for the quo.   Some have speculated it's a promise of a position in the administration, some have speculated it was other things, I wouldn't be surprised at anything, including a money payment.   Why should anyone be with what they did to get Bob Corker to flip when they introduced measures that would make him a bundle?  

Susan Collins will not handle this well, she isn't used to critical attention and it's going to be interesting to see how she takes it.  Her tactic of calling sexism is extremely rich, considering who the President of her party is, who the Congressional leadership of it is, who her colleagues are, who the Republican governor of her state WHO SHE ENDORSED is.   Her party is the locus of sexism even as it is the locus of racism in American politics.  

I hope this means that her reign as the Queen of Maine is over and now we can treat her as the politician from a totally corrupt party that she is.  

O Radix Jesse

O Root of Jesse, who stands for an ensign of the people,
At Who the kings shut their mouths,
Whom the Gentiles will seek,
Come to deliver us, do not delay.

This is essentially the same as the fourth verse of the popularized chant,  Come, oh Come Emanuel,

O Come, Thou Rod of Jesse’s stem,
from ev’ry foe deliver them
that trust Thy mighty power to save,
and give them vict’ry o’er the grave.

Walter Brueggemann, later in the 4th chapter of the book I promise to get back to when I'm feeling up to it says:

"Emmanuel,  Which Means God With Us"

Thus the Christmas announcement of Jesus is precisely out of the war tradition of the LORD fighting for his people.   It is the angel Gabriel who announces his birth (Luke 1:19, 26)  and it is no accident that the name of Gabriel means "mighty man of war."  The birth announcement is the assertion that God is powerfully at work for those who cannot fight their own battles.  The coming of Jesus is the Lord Radically and powerfully with his people in times of distress to rescue them.  Jesus is the mean through which God's faithful covenanting is evident to his people (Luke 1:72-74).   In the announcement narratives Jesus is given two names:

a) . . . she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus,  for he will save his people from their sins. 
b)  Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son,  and his name shall be called Emmanuel (which means God with us) (Matthew 1:21, 23).   

The first name calls to mind the great heroes of Israel who intervened on behalf of his people in time of trouble (cf. the book of Judges).   The second is a quite from Isaiah 7:14 concerning the LORD's assurances that he will invert the situation of political oppression and historical hopelessness.  

I think this Christmas, a lot of us are feeling like those who cannot fight their own battles.  Or at least in need of divine help and a higher moral authority than secular political struggle and media is ever going to produce.  I know I do.

The "root of Jesse" refers to the prophesy of Isaiah that from the "stump of Jesse" (the father of David, David's the "stump") a root will come that brings .... Here's what it says, Isaiah (11:10)t.

10 On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

Earlier in the same chapter, he also talked about what would come from "the stump of Jesse".  in Isaiah,

Peter Witte - O Radix Jesse

Corona Vocalis
Michael Schmoll, director

Update:  I should add that, as with RMJ's post this morning, the lectionary readings for the third Tuesday in Advent start with the birth of Samson from the Book of Judges 13 to keep with the point Brueggemann made. 

What "More Speech" Buys

Some news operation with the capability should come up with a list of members of Congress who voted to enrich themselves with a list of the ways they did it through the Billionaire Tax Bonanza Bill and an estimate of how much they might be expected to benefit from it. 

I'd like to know how Susan Collins and her Husband will personally benefit from her betrayal of Maine residents and others around the country,  I've read Bob Corker is expected to benefit mightily from provisions put into the bill to get him to switch his vote.   

This is what happens when, in the Age of Lies all the goddamned "more speech" of those without billions of dollars are swamped by the "money speech" of the billionaires, an invention of the Supreme Court in the Buckely vs Valeo ruling.   That line of "free speech" "free press" rulings was always guaranteed to result in one of the parties, the one who promised the billionaires the most, would end up governing - if you can call it that - and going against the will of a very large majority to do the bidding of the billionaire oligarchs who the Supreme Court handed the country to.   

There's no mystery about it.  Any journalist, any commentator, anyone who marvels at how the Republicans did what they did is lying because it's entirely obvious why they did it.  As I quoted Justice Byron White's dissent to part of Buckley vs Valeo, it was bound to result in a mortal danger to democracy.  Our government is in the hands of crooks who will change "principled" votes when they are given something that will enrich them.   I wonder what they really gave Susan Collins because the verbal promises that she got from Trump and McConnell aren't worth a cc of flatus. 

Hate Mail - "Word Salad"

So, what you're saying is this.  

" So, anybody want to explain it? . . . Just remember, no big words."

(Seth Meyers doing while impression of Donald Trump last night.) 

I keep telling you guys, you've got more in common with Trump than you'd ever want to believe possible 

RMJ Does Good Advent Posts

RMJ, who knows a lot more about the Bible and its riches than I'm ever going to has been putting up a really fine series of posts this Advent,  I like the one he has today comparing different nativity stories in the Scriptures.  Starting with one of the figures in the Bible I like the most,  Hagar the slave girl with whom Abram (aka Abraham) has a son before his official wife get rid of her and her son.   

It might be because, as a gay man, it just didn't occur to me before, or it was due to those regrettable years I didn't spend with it because I was following various other things as a good little college educated, American, secularist, agnostic, but I'd never really noticed how the pivotal figures at so many points are the product of unexpected or difficult or that one unprecedented birth.   It's given me something to think about. 

I've got a health issue that I've got to deal with.  I will post something later.  If you haven't, you should read RMJ's posts on these things.   

Neuralgia, it's a real pain. 

Susan Collins is A Disgrace

Susan Collins deserves to be considered the most cynical and hypocritical of the Senate Republicans in her announcement that she will vote for the Billionaire Tax Bonanza.  She has traded on a phony image as a "moderate"  "principled" Republican for her entire political career while almost never, in her entire career having done anything good except when it was inevitable based on mostly Democratic support for bills or when her "no" vote would make no difference because Republicans could pass some atrocity or other.

Now it's only her dirty hands covering her shame, the hands in which she grasps and holds up the "promises" she got from those towers, no, sink holes of integrity,  Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell.   And anyone who believes those are going to be made law is as stupid as she hopes her supporters are.

Susan Collins has finally, unmistakably, undeniably shown what she has always been, a right-wing Republican who needs to sometimes act as a "moderate" to have gulled enough Maine voters into putting and keeping her in office.   She has traded on the Maine tradition of treating women in politics well, and to be polite to them - that's something that if you don't live in Maine and follow Maine politics you might consider a sexist remark but this is political reality and that phenomenon is something she and Olympia Snowe used to gull voters in Maine with for decades.   She did it in a party which has consistently treated women and poor people, of whom Maine has a very large number, abominably,

Susan Collins has also benefitted from the effective one-party media in Maine - previously the print media but now mostly the media with a real political effect, the electronic media.   In Maine even the "public radio" has an obvious and strong pro-Republican bias.   It has always and still does treat Susan Collins like a queen about whom nothing bad is to be said.   Well, let's hope at least that much is over, though I doubt it as they're touting Paul LePage's wife and a proposed Constitutional Amendment she's pushing as I type this out.  

Monday, December 18, 2017

O Adonai

O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!

A rather concise but direct translation but one which  has the approval of the Catholic church. 

O Adonai - Healey Willan 

Vancouver's Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Rupert Lang, director

Monday Night Radio Drama - Sara Paretsky - VI Warshawski, Killing Orders Episode 5 of 6

If you listened to the previous four episodes, here is VI Warshawski, Killing Orders Episode 5 of 6

Chicago private eye, VI Warshawski, is not happy to be asked for help by her Aunt Rosa who hates her - and the feeling's mutual...

Sara Paretsky's thriller stars Kathleen Turner as VI Warshawski.

With Martin Shaw as Roger Ferrant, Avril Clark as Gabriella, William Hootkins as Albert, Eileen Way as Rosa, Don Fellows as Father Carroll, Colin Stinton as Father Pelly and Peter Penry-Jones as Father Jablonski.

Sara Paretsky created one of the most popular female sleuths in modern crime fiction. Her heroine, VI Warshawski, is a strong female character in a male-dominated world. VI is comfortable packing heat and trailing nasty suspects but she never loses touch with her basic femininity. Paretsky says of her Warshawski: "I was troubled by the way women were portrayed in (detective fiction) they always seemed either evil or powerless. I thought it was time for a tough, smart, likeable female private investigator".

Kathleen Turner did a really good job with the role. I wasn't sure I was going to like it but it grew on me.   If you haven't heard the first four episodes, you can find them here along with this one

Narcissistic Nihilists, Not Able To Know New Knowledge

One of the atheists mentioned in the First Cause Faux Pas post sent me a bit of hate just now saying if there "was a God he'd" have kept me from writing that piece.

Well, there you go, atheists figure God would have to be someone like Stalin or Mussolini or Mao or Pol Pot or Martin Bormann or Erich Honecker or..... They figure God is like they'd be if they had God-like powers, they imagine God to be themselves as God.   Does anyone need to be reminded that whenever atheists have had control of a government the results have been the biggest mass murders in the history of the species?   Or that they almost always mounted a personality cult around them that a Roman Emperor worshiped as a god would think was way over the top?   How many of them lie in glass cases getting chemicals pumped into them in a continuous embalming?  A planned eternal veneration?    It's weirder than any veneration of relics I know about.  And if you disagree with that point, it's at least exactly as weird as you think the other is. 

I tried writing at a level that such people could comprehend, it was very difficult if not impossible to put what I need to say in 3rd grade vocabulary and sentence structure.  And they still didn't get it.   Not even when I kept it VERY, VERY EASY.  Even with their college credentials (I've stopped thinking of it in terms of "an education" due in no small part to encountering such credentialed though ignorant snobs online) they can't learn, they can only agree with what they already think or they can get pissy when they sort of get the feeling that someone else doesn't think that way.   Of course, there's no chance that the blog-rat atheists are going to come to power.  They're too friggin' lazy and mostly stupid to do that.    How they ever passed themselves off as "Brights" is amazing.  

Thank You New York Times, ACLU, Joel Gora, Actually, Go To Hell

Though I doubt Ben Chin was the first Maine progressive or Democrat to be defeated by Republican-fascist lies, he's the first one they're identifying as obviously defeated by the "free speech" that those in the title freed up to lie him out of winning an election.

The progressive activist lost by 145 votes to Mayor-elect Shane Bouchard, a Republican, after he was rocked during the last nine days of the race by seven stories from a new website that caught fire on social media with help from the Maine Republican Party.

One Maine Examiner headline said “Leaked Email: Ben Chin Says Lewiston Voters ‘Bunch of Racists’” and featured an email apparently forwarded out of his campaign. In it, Chin describes a day of canvassing when he had positive interactions but also ran into “a bunch of racists.”

On Election Day, a middle-aged man leaving the polls said goodbye to Bouchard. To Chin, he said “not a racist” and refused to talk to a reporter.

Chin may be the first Maine politician derailed by a new phenomenon: Anonymous conservative “news” websites whose most effective pieces blend a kernel of truth from opposition research with large factual and rhetorical leaps that traditional media ethics would prohibit.

Um, if you think media "traditions" can be relied on to prevent that kind of thing, the New York Times lying about, slandering, making false claims about, Hillary Clinton's  goes back a quarter of a century, that's long enough to be a tradition, it's certainly a habit.  If Maureen Dowd's bitchy smears against her aren't a tradition at the Gray Drab, nothing is. 

No profession can be trusted to police itself, certainly not one which goes to court to win itself a right to publish lies and, so, gains the same right to lie for everything right down to the gutters of the NY Post, FOX, Breitbart and the scumbag who ran (and recently sold) the website* that the racists of Lewiston - the epicenter of racist activity in Maine, to defeat someone who tried to take a higher road.   It takes the ability of those they lie about to sue them into not lying, an ability the Supreme Court removed in 1964 for the New York Times - if you didn't see what that led to in later cases that made things ever worse, see my post the other day.

Multiply that effect all over the country and it's obvious that the "traditional media" which throws up its hands and wines about the war on reality that Trump and Republican-fascists like Gaetz, Gomert, Nunes, .. are winning are the ones that really got it going because, as in Lewiston, the Republicans are acting hand-in-glove with the fascist media.

Garrett Murch, a spokesman for the Maine Republican Party, which pushed Maine Examiner posts on social media and in party emails denouncing Chin, said he didn’t know who ran the site and declined comment after being asked if the party coordinated with them.

Maine First Media was run by Bangor pastor Matthew McDonald, who said Friday that he sold it in November for “thousands” of dollars to a Nebraska man. (The Bangor Daily News isn’t naming the man because he couldn’t be reached for comment.)

Note:  I am not sure that the Matthew McDonald ("pastor") is the same as the Congregationalist minister Matt McDonald in this Portland Press Herald piece, who was a Bernie Sanders supporter who also supported George W. Bush and Ron Paul.   If he's the same person, I doubt he supported Sanders hoping he'd win but that he'd lose.   If he's not the same person, he's seriously screwy.

Hate Mail - First Cause Faux Pas

The drool of dunces at Duncan's who made the remarks about me in regard to "first cause" proofs of the existence of God, of course, never read anything I said because the only time I posted anything about those, I said "proofs" of God's existence were not very interesting to me.  I said it the only time I posted something from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy about one such proof , that of Dun Scotus, which I didn't endorse or even claim I found persuasive as a "proof".  

The atheist snark "what caused the first cause" only proves they don't understand that the Hebrew tradition, of which Christianity is a apart and apart from which you can't really be a Christian holds that God is eternal and created time and the universe in the act of creation, including the network of causation.  God didn't have a cause and the "turtles all the way down" argument into an infinite regression isn't a Jewish or a Christian claim, God has no cause.  God is uncaused, the agent of creation would have to be.  As I pointed out last week, they don't understand the difference between what the Hebrew scriptures said about God and their movie, TV, pop-culture equivalent of Bulfinch's Mythology.   Theirs is more Bullshit Mythology. 

Because they're lazy and ignorant - lolling their days and nights away rehashing ancient and aging pop music, movies, TV show and cat pictures, mixed in with occasional recitations of the kind of nonsense that has made liberalism anathema among normal people - due in no small part to the snob content of it, they aren't aware that atheist cosmologists, Larry Krauss, Sean Carroll, even the great Stephen Hawkins are the ones in a pickle because current science points to an absolute and finite beginning of the physical universe in the Big Bang and have had to go through all kinds of gyrations to try to avoid that fact because, when considered in terms of what cause the Big Bang, saying God willed the universe into being out of a physical nothing isn't an unreasonable speculation.   

One after another come the parade of the cosmologies proposed by atheists to avoid even the merest implications of a finite beginning of space-time, of causation at the Big Bang, fluctuating universes that go in and out of existence (why that doesn't imply the dream of Brahma model, I don't know.  Maybe it does among Indian atheists) into an actually logically incoherent infinite regress of the kind Bertrand Russell made fun of (he did it during the time he held the universe, itself, was past eternal, before the Big Bang was accepted as sound science).  or jillions of universes in which every possible universe must be held to exist (which may - or may not- pop into existence continually with ever event in our - every? - without any evidence of their existence, whatsoever, and that's what is called science, now) so that atheists can get over the problem of why the Big Bang happened - and it doesn't because you have to explain where the multiverse came from and why the God of this universe couldn't have created all of the imaginary atheist universes.    Stephen Hawking's' claims that cosmology doesn't need to do any testing of their claims in his book, The Grand Design, was about the most decadent claim about science I've ever read.   He called for science to be reduced to accepting the standards of science-fiction writing except writing it in equations instead of bad pulp level writing, rejecting the need for theory to be tested and verified in actual physical evidence.  Why not dispense with the math as well?   

I don't need a "proof" of God because I believe in God, I don't hold God to be an hypothesis susceptible to proof in the way that physical phenomena of sufficient simplicity and susceptible to sufficient observation, measurement and studied analysis might be.  All of that is the creation of God,  God isn't the God of everything that can't be explained, God is the God of everything, what can and what is yet to or never will be explained but which exists.  

So, no, Duncateers, I've never resorted to arguing "first causes" that's a product of your hopeful imagination because you think in your third hand knowledge of a rather dubious fable that Bertrand Russell told, you've got it covered.  What you've got is an inapt slogan that serves as a cliquish shibboleth of  ignorance and snobbery.  It's what you guys rely on because atheism is a symptom of lazy snobbery.   Tlaz is an idiot savant, apparently she can do some kind of needlework and input data into a spreadsheet.   Freki is just a malicious liar, the rest just comprise the drool of dunces at Duncan's Daycare for Dotty Duffers, 

I Never Thought I'd Be Posting A Piece By A Republican Governor But This Is So Sane And Decent It Has To Be Heard

The former Republican governor of Minnesota, Arne Carlson,  has called on Al Franken to rescind his resignation from the Senate and demand that due process be followed.   It's not only a matter of justice, he points out, it is a matter of keeping one of the, perhaps the most effective Senator who has countered Trump and his poisonous regime for the good of the country.   You should read his blog post where he said it, here is what he says after retelling an incident when he, as a boy, nearly had his life ruined by a false accusation.

Being a victim can be painful but the answer to an injustice cannot be to create another injustice.

I am deeply troubled by the resignation of Al Franken and the complete absence of anything resembling due process.

Now reports are surfacing that Leeann Tweeden, Franken’s prime accuser, may have been coached by Roger Stone, a major Trump operator. Since there was no vetting, we only heard her story. But there has been no explanation as to why she attended a USO event in 2009 honoring Franken and was captured on tape joking around with him. This is three years after she claimed to be traumatized by Franken.

She continued in 2011 with a tweet containing a photo of her and Franken together.

This is all very troubling. A rush to judgment is, unfortunately, all too human. But a rush to punishment is totally unacceptable.

Perhaps this is a time for reconsideration. We now know that the right wing attempted to plant a false accusation with the Washington Post.  On the other side, we also know that an accuser against Roy Moore of Alabama fudged the truth in her allegations.

Further, we know that Senate Democrats who asked for Franken’s resignation may have been motivated more by the politics of the Alabama Senate race than the seriousness of the allegations.

And now we have the supreme insult of New York Senator Schumer “advising” Governor Dayton on how to pick a successor. That is a certainty for GOP advertising in 2018.

It is time for all of us to sober up. Our nation is in peril with Donald Trump in the White House and Republicans yielding to his demands. We are increasingly moving towards authoritarianism and continued GOP subservience could possibly lead to the dissolution of the Mueller investigation.

While I am not always in agreement with Senator Al Franken, I firmly believe in due process which is a cornerstone of our democratic way of living. Whenever in history we abandoned it, we severely damaged ourselves. Just think about the lynching of Blacks in the South, the internment of people of Japanese descent in World War II, or the era of McCarthyism when lives were destroyed based solely on allegations.

The simple fact is that Al Franken has been the Senate’s most effective challenge to Trump and his subordinates. The possibility of any rigging by Roger Stone and his associates should cause all of us to call for a rescinding of the Franken resignation and a prompt and thorough review of all allegations by the Senate Ethics Committee.

He was elected by we, the people, and he should continue to serve until a legal determination has been made.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

O Sapientia - Magnificat - O Sapientia

Schola Gregoriana Hispana

O Wisdom, which earnest out of the mouth of the Most High, and readiest from one end to another, mightily and sweetly ordering all things : Come and teach us the way of prudence.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his humble servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed,
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear Him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen. Alleluia

As I noted recently, the Jewish-Christian view of wisdom is different from materialist assertions about its equivalent   To start with,  Wisdom,  Wisdom, is a woman, that Wisdom was that by which the universe was created and is and will be created and ordered.   I won't go into how materialism inevitably demotes wisdom into pretty much a nothing. 

It's no coincidence that O Sapientia is the first of the "O' Antiphons sung in the days preceding Christmas, sung before the daily singing of the Magnificat, the original Christmas song I also mentioned the other day, the Song of Mary which I've posted many, many settings of over the years.  I'll do that again before Christmas if I live long enough to do it and the context is right 

Vulc Tadeja: O SAPIENTIA

Chamber Choir of the Ljubljana Conservatory for Music and Ballet
Ambrož Čopi, conductor

I've never heard of Vulc Tadeja, a Slovenian composer.   She's very good, this isn't like any of the other settings I've heard, the sweep and power of creation seems to be her inspiration for most of it. There are many other Youtubes of her music if you want to hear more.