Saturday, July 7, 2018

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Alastair Jessiman - The Sensitive

First in a series of off-beat thrillers about a psychic detective.
Police call in a psychic to help find a missing woman. Thomas Soutar is adept at solving crimes - but is his extraordinary gift a blessing or a curse? 

Thomas - Jimmy Chisholm
Mrs Soutar - Sheila Donald
DC Sharon Webb - Julie Austin
Mrs Allsop - Mary Riggans
Mhairi - Kathryn Howden
Calum - Chris Young
Duncan/Attendant - James Bryce
Produced and directed by Bruce Young

It was hot as hell here all week and I wasn't in the mood for listening much. I heard some of this series a while ago.  It's entertaining and it's nice to have something set in Scotland, for a change.  

Here's the next one. 

The Hanged Man

Alastair Jessiman's second play about a psychic who uses his gifts to help police investigations. Thomas Soutar discovers some unsettling connections between his own uncle's past and the murder of a young boy. 

Thomas ......................................... Robin Laing
Mrs Soutar ................................... Sheila Donald 
Uncle Rory ............................... Michael Mackenzie 
Murdo Lawson ................................... Alec Heggie 
Dr Caldwell ................................... John Shedden 
Mark Bukowski ................................. Finlay Welsh 
Inspector Crawford .............................. Simon Tait 
Thomas as a boy ............................. William Barlow 
Directed by David Jackson Young 

The Pantomime Martyrdom of Alan Dershowitz The Gilderoy Lockhart of Harvard Law

I am reading in the New York Times that Alan Dershowitz is enjoying his pose as a martyr of civil liberties, which, of course, is a total lie.   What he's being deprived of was the status of social celebrity that he used  to take for granted among the elite of Martha's Vineyard, something which is not a "civil liberty" but a privilege granted to rich, largely white guys who taught the scions and servants of the rich at Harvard and who have whipped up a rather gaudy and flashy media career by being a lawyer to rich murderers and the like.   Given my experience of the rich and famous, I'd rather have dinner with blue collar folk.

That a Harvard law prof, emeritus, could get away with equating his privilege with  rights and even civil liberties is a symptom of how totally screwd-up the matter of civil liberties became under the regime of the civil liberties industry of the post-war period.   That same civil liberties industry which has made such a total cock-up of the First Amendment and other issues to the benefit of fascists like Trump.  That Alan Dershowitz, a celebrity of that civil liberties industry is getting his kicks lying on behalf of the most blatantly fascistic man in the presidency in our history on venues of that fascism, and then, when his former friends drop him turns himself into a martyr is all the proof of how basically hypocritical and stupid that whole line of crap has been. 

What happened to the right of his former hosts to free association, which also includes the right to free disassociation?    I'd have practiced my right of free association to have never invited him to dinner on the basis of him advocating torture, an advocate of war crimes and crimes against humanity on the part of Israel, though even before that I'd have done it on the basis of him being a total and complete jerk and a loudmouthed asshole and a liar. 

Alan Dershowitz will present himself  as a hero no matter what happens, it's what his personal PR largely consists of.  The guy is a monumental egomaniac.   As I said he's the Gilderoy Lockhart of Harvard Law, a dandy of the the superficial media, a fraud.   But there's no reason for us to let up just because he's a jerk.  What he thinks of himself isn't important, his discrediting is.
Patricia Okoumou, Great American 

"the difference as to the State was imaginary only"

Thinking more about the text I posted yesterday, I would have say I slightly disagree with this statement which is especially consequential for us as we face a fascist domination of the Supreme Court which we unwisely accept as having the authority to define what the Constitution means. 

the Constitution was meant to be, what it has always been esteemed, a compromise between slavery and freedom

If you read the actual words of the Founders that Wendell Phillips presents you find that the situation was more complex than that and the compromise was largely  one between those two groups of aristocrats and it was clear from their deliberations that while freedom or liberty might have been discussed, the relevant compromise was between aristocratic privileges by people intent on maintaining their privilege against most other people.   The privileges of the aristocrats won, largely and in the case of Black People and Native Americans it was at the cost of all of their freedom and as to Poor Whites, much of theirs.   That is why the only thing inspirational about American history is the struggle of Black People, of Native Americans of poor and working White People, Women, especially, against the theft of their labor and their subjugation for the benefit of those the Constitution and subsequent Supreme Courts and Congresses and Presidents have mostly favored, the descendants of the original congress of aristocrats that imposed the corrupt and otherwise flawed document on the country.

That's probably easier for a lot of  White people to understand if they read the language of how even the tiny percentage of officially anti-slavery Founders talked about working people, both Black and White.   The first chapter in the book and the discussion of "free" as opposed to slave labor and the laborers who do that labor will probably take some White readers back a bit, though they wouldn't be surprised to hear the "Founders" talking that way about Black laborers.

Extracts from Debates in the Congress of Confederation, preserved by Thomas Jefferson, 1776.

CONGRESS proceeded the same day to consider the Declaration of Independence * * * 

The clause reprobating the enslaving the inhabitants of Africa was struck out, in compliance to South Carolina and Georgia, who had never attempted to restrain the importation of slaves, and who, on the contrary, still wished to continue it.   Our Northern brethren also, I believe, felt a little tender under those censures;  for though their people have very few slaves themselves, yet they had been pretty considerable carriers of them to others, *  -  p. 18. 

* [The clause was as follows:  "He [viz.,   King George 3rd]  has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him,  captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere,or to incur a miserable death in their transportation thither.  This piratical warfare the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN King of Great Britain.  Determined to keep a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce." -  EDITOR.]

NOTE:  I will put footnotes after the paragraph in which they are signaled, book pages being irrelevant to the form of a blog post.

On Friday, the twelfth of July, 1776, the committee appointed to draw the articles of Confederation reported them, and on the twenty-second the House resolved themselves into a committee to take them into consideration.  On the thirtieth and thirty-first of that month, and the first of the ensuing, those articles were debated which determined the proportion or quota of money which each State should furnish to the common treasury and the manner of voting in Congress. The first of these articles was expressed in the original draught in these words: - 

Article 11.  All charges of war, and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defence or general welfare and allowed by the United States assembled, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several Colonies in proportion to the number of inhabitants of very age, sex, and quality, except Indians not paying taxes, in each Colony, a true account of which, distinguishing the white inhabitants shall be triennially taken and transmitted to the Assembly of the United States 

Mr.  [Samuel] CHASE (of Maryland) moved, that the quotas should be paid, not by the number of inhabitants of every condition, but that of the "white inhabitants."  He admitted that taxation should be always in proportion to property;  that this was in theory the true rule;  but that from a variety of difficulties it was a rule which could never be adopted in practice.  The value of property in every State could never be estimated justly and equally.  Some other measure for the wealth of the State must therefore be devised,  some standard referred to which would be more simple.  He considered the number of inhabitants as a tolerable good criterion of property, and that this might always be obtained.  He, therefore, thought it best mode we could adopt, with one exception only.  He observed that negroes are property, and as such cannot be distinguished from the lands or personalities held in those States where there are few slaves.  That the surplus of profit with a Northern farmer was able to lay by, he invests in cattle, horses, &c. ' whereas, a Southern farmer lays out the same surplus in slaves. There is no more reason, therefore, for taxing the Southern States on the farmer's head and on his slave's head, than the Northern ones on their farmer's heads and the heads of their cattle.  That the method proposed would, therefore, tax the Southern States according to their numbers and their wealth conjointly, while the Northern would be taxed on numbers only;  that negroes, in fact, should not be considered as members of the State more than cattle, and that they have no more interest in it. 

MR. JOHN ADAMS (of Massachusetts) observed, that the numbers of people were taken by this article as an index of the wealth of the State, and not as subjects of taxation. That as to this matter, it was of no consequence by what name you called your people, whether by that of freemen or of slaves.  That in some countries the laboring poor were called freemen, in others they were called slaves:  but that the difference as to the State was imaginary only.  What matters it whether a landlord employing ten laborers on his farm gives them annually as much money as will buy them the necessaries of life, or gives them those necessaries in short hand?  The ten laborers add as much wealth annually to the State, increase its exports as much, in the one case as the other.  Certainly, five hundred freemen produce no more profits, no greater surplus for the payment of taxes, than five hundred slaves.  Therefore the State in which the laborers called freemen, should be taxed no more than that in which are those called slaves.  Suppose, by any extraordinary operation of nature of of law, one half the laborers of a State could, in the course of one night, be transformed into slaves, - would the State be made the poorer, or the less able to pay taxes?   That the condition of the laboring poor in most countries, - that of the fishermen, particularly of the Northern States - is as abject as that of slaves.  It is the number of laborers which produces the surplus for taxation;  and numbers, therefore, indiscriminately, are the fair index of wealth.  That it is the use of the word "property" here, and its application to some of the people of the State, which produces the fallacy.  How does the Southern farmer procure slaves?  Either by importation or by purchase from his neighbor.  If he imports a slave, he adds one to the number of laborers in his country, and proportionably to its profits and abilities to pay taxes;  if he buys from his neighbor, it is only a transfer of a laborer from one farm to another, which does not change the annual produce of the State and therefore should not change its tax;  that if a Northern farmer works ten laborers on his farm, he can, it is true, invest the surplus of ten mens labor in cattle ; but so may the Southern farmer working ten slaves.  That a State of one hundred thousand freemen can maintain no more cattle than one of one hundred thousand slaves;  therefore they have no more of that kind of property.  That a slave may, indeed, from the custom of speech, be more properly called the wealth of his master, than the free laborer might be called the wealth of his employer;  but as to the State, both are equally its wealth and should therefore equally add to the quota of its tax. 

MR. [Benjamin] HARRISON (of Virginia) proposed, as a compromise that two salves should be counted as one freeman.  He affirmed that slaves did not work as much work as freemen, and doubted if two effected more than one.  That this was proved by the price of labor;  the hire of a laborers in the Southern colonies being from 8 pounds to 12 pounds while in the Northern it was generally 24 pounds.

That last claim by Benjamin Harrison should jump out at you, it obviously didn't occur to him that it was the price of work for poor whites in slave owning regions that was driven down by the presence of unpaid labor and that where workers were paid their employers were forced to pay them more because it increased their ability to keep more of what they produced, not the overall value of their labor. 

No doubt John Adams mentioning the deplorable conditions fishermen worked in was inspired by Samuel Chase being from Maryland, where there were many
slaves who worked in the fishing industry.  Adams' position as one of the very few of the Founders who never held anyone in slavery is intersting as is the fact that he and his son John Quincy Adams were the only two of the presidents before Lincoln who had never held anyone in slavery.

The pattern of these aristocrats trying to get out of paying taxes on their wealth was already well established, as was their taking for-granted that they had a right to the value of the product of other peoples' labor, granting them no more than a subsistence from any surplus.  Even John Adams seemed to figure there was nothing unusual about that.  And the curse of regionalism was there, exacerbated by the interests of slave-holding aristocrats, something that has persisted up till today, when official slavery is supposed to have ended almost a century and a half ago.  The Constitutional mechanisms demanded by the slave-holders to give them the advantage that was very real in the United States up to and after the Civil War were already in the works even as the ink was drying on the Declaration of Independence,  It would be two weeks after this debate when the document reached England.   In reality some of that had preceded the final draft of the document as slave-owners, including Benjamin Franklin working, watered down some of Jefferson's youthful enthusiasms for the ideals of freedom and equality on the basis that it would be unacceptable to Southern aristocracy.

But the jockeying by delegates from Northern States to get Southern States to pay what they saw as a fair share of taxes and the Southern States threatening to sink their joint scheme of aristocrats in the North to protect their financial interests only got worse in the Constitutional Convention.  Once the revolution was won, once the aristocrats who fomented the revolution got what they wanted,  all that inspirational talk of equality and freedom and rights, which they used to fuel their revolution, could be left behind.  Like other revolutions, the French, the Russian, etc. once the revolutionaries got what they wanted, they didn't need to keep their bargain with the common soldiers they suckered into doing the fighting.

That was what the Constitutional Convention was motivated by, the inconvenience to rich men of poor men demanding what they had been promised and the chance that having seen what the revolution they fought could do, they might impose that equality and freedom more literally than the "Founders" found gratifying.   It was a certainty that the Constitutional Congress had no intention of giving them more than they could get away with keeping for themselves.   They certainly didn't intend to live up to that "all men are created equal" "endowed by their Creator with rights" stuff in so far as it concerned Black People, Native Americans, and anyone else they could get away with stiffing, entirely.   Jefferson found his enthusiasm for holding Black People in slavery increased even as the Constitution was being written and Constitutional government was getting off the ground.  His youthful  - and useful - language about "all men" "endowed by their Creator" "inalienable rights" which fueled a revolution no longer necessary.

While poor White People have gotten stiffed significantly less than members of other minorities, men less so than women of all groups, they got stiffed in the corrupt bargain, too.

The period in which Wendell Phillips compiled and published his records of the words of the Founders was a period of incredible corruption and injustice and theft, what the Constitution produced.   Every measure of justice that working people, poor people, Women,  Slaves, etc. got was a struggle against the established Constitutional order and it still is.   We should all realize that hard fact of American history as the Roberts Court, enhanced by illegitimate members appointed by an illegitimate "president" the loser of an election, roll back as much of that progress won through two centuries of struggle and more.   We should realize that because it was the very mechanisms the slave-owners and Northern money men put into the Constitution to protect their privilege that gave us both Trump and McConnell. 


It also occurred to me in that discussion of the Article about insurrections in the introduction to the book I posted over the past two days, that there were plenty of insurrections by the slave power which were not put down effectively,  the one in which anti-abolitionists burned the printing press and murdered Elijah Lovejoy.  The insurrection of lynch mobs was effectively protected by the anti-democratic formulation of the Senate right up till this century. Anti-lynching laws were passed by the proportionally representative House of Representatives but were continually blocked by the neo-slave power in the Senate.   The anti-democratic constitution of the Senate was part of the compromise with slave-holders.  Lynch mobs were the successor of the slave patrols (protected by the 2nd Amendment) as are the continuation of that in the arsenels of automatic weapons that we all know the fascists have and which even Republican politicians have warned would be turned on us.  As John Adams said, using the abysmal conditions of even "free labor" at the time of the Constitution, calling the same thing by different names doesn't change the fact of what they are.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Stupid Mail - It's Hardly A Point I Was The First To Make - Dorothy Parker Said It When I Was About 10

I think if Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl had been gentiles Simps wouldn't have quibbled with me noting that lots of humor gets old and isn't funny anymore.  Only Lenny Bruce wasn't very funny much,  at all.  Mort Sahl was about as funny for as long as the newspapers he held under his arm were fresh.  

W. C. Fields trying to sleep on the porch, that's something I've been able to watch at least a dozen times, thinking it was still funny.  But I doubt I could watch it 100 times and it would stay fresh.  Simps is a specialist in repeating things 100 times, and that's after whoever originally said it wore it out. 

Update:  Stupy thinks that Bach's B Minor Mass is the intellectual, spiritual and artistic equivalent of a gag in a Hollywood movie.  I'm not making that up. 


As the text of Wendell Phillips' book runs to about 207 pages and a lot of it consists of notes on debates, presumably verbatim or as close to a verbatim record as we're going to get, I have decided to post the complete text on a new blog.  I will be posting at least selected extracts with commentary on it here  concentrating on how what the original corrupt bargain between aristocratic slave holders and aristocratic rich men in the North relates to the unmentioned fact that in that bargain both groups of wealthy and wishing to be wealthy aristocrats got what they wanted and how what they wanted has been continually used against Black People and other members of subjugated groups starting then and continuing till today.   And the equal fact that the inspirational part of American history, despite what you'll read in high school textbooks and hear in the media, consists largely of groups having to fight to gain their rights in opposition to the text of the Constitution, both as originally and intentionally written and as applied by Supreme Courts, Congresses, Presidents and lower courts and states. 

I have put a link to this new blog in the blog list on the left sidebar.  As  I have  said, if you want to read the book it is available at the invaluable resource  I suspect it's going to take a long time for me to type through the entire text, never mind comment on passages, so I'd recommend you read it.

The book has been a continuing source of revelation and food for thought since I first read it, I find I'm continually going back to it to correct the lies and misconceptions about American history that I was taught and as the media, alleged news, documentary and entertainment teaches most people.  It's something that I wish someone would get Lin Manuel Miranda to go through, especially as it reveals his great hero was up to his monarchical, aristocratic forehead in the filthy bargain.  Maybe he could figure out a way to rap and boogie about accurate history on Broadway as well as phony hagiographic pop history, suckering a new generation into the Founders fetish and the unfortunate political and legal beliefs that are the reason it was promulgated to push.

slaveholders monopolizing the offices and dictating the policy of the Government; - prostituting the strength and influence of the nation to the support of slavery here and elsewhere; trampling on the rights of the free States, and making the courts of the country their tools.

It started raining so I can't work in the garden.   I've continued typing out the rest of Wendell Phillips' introduction.  Posts 1 and 2 of this introduction are at these links.

I will repeat before you read what Phillips said in regard to slavery that it is also as relevant to the other half of the corrupt bargain that installed slavery and enhanced the power of the slave-holding subset of the aristocracy that wrote the Constitution ("Forty of the shrewdest men and lawyers in the land").   What he said about the enhancement of the privilege and profit of the slave-holders was as true of the privileges and profits of the northern financial, mercantile and banking interests and provisions and laws installed for the enhancement and perpetuation of their class interests.  Those are exactly the same mechanisms that have been used by courts and legislatures and presidents to thwart equality and real democracy with few exceptions, ever since, they are exactly the same things that gave us Bush II installed by Supreme Court fiat and then Trump through the Electoral College and the manipulation by propaganda of billionaires both foreign and domestic.

But the purpose, for which we have thrown these pages before the community, is this.  Some men, finding the nation unanimously deciding that the Constitution tolerates slavery, have tried to prove that this false construction, as they think it, has been foisted into the instrument by the corrupting influence of slavery itself, tainting all it touches.   They assert that the known anti-slavery spirit of revolutionary times never could have consented to so infamous a bargain as the Constitution is represented to be, and has in its present hands become.   Now these pages prove the melancholy fact, that willingly, with deliberate purpose, our fathers bartered honesty for gain, and became partners with tyrants, that they might share in the profits of their tyranny.

And in view of this fact, will it not require a very strong argument to make any candid man believe, that the bargain which the fathers tell us they meant to incorporate into the Constitution, and which the sons have always thought they found there incorporated, does not exists there, after all   Forty of the shrewdest men and lawyers in the land assemble to make a bargain, among other things, about slaves.  After months of anxious deliberation, they put it into writing, and sign their names to the instrument.  Fifty years roll away, - twenty millions, at least, of their children pass over the stage of life, - courts sit and pass judgment, - parties arise and struggle fiercely;  still, all concur in finding in the instrument just the meaning which the fathers tell us they intended to express:  - must not he be a desperate man, who, after all this, sets out to prove that the fathers were bunglers and the sons fools, and that slavery is not referred to at all?

Besides, the advocates of this new theory of the Anti-slavery character of the Constitution quote some portions of the Madison Papers in support of their views, - and this makes it proper that the community should hear all that these Debates have to say on the subject.  The further we explore them, the clearer it becomes the fact, that the Constitution was meant to be, what it has always been esteemed, a compromise between slavery and freedom. 

If, then, the Constitution be, what these Debates show that our fathers intended to make it, and what, too, their descendants, this nation, say they did make it and agree to uphold,  - then we affirm that it is "a covenant with death and an agreement with hell," and ought to be immediately annulled.  No abolitionist can consistently take office under it, or swear to support it. 

But if, on the contrary, our fathers failed in their purpose, and the Constitution is all pure and untouched by slavery - then Union itself is impossible without guilt.  For it is undeniable that the fifty years passed under this (anti-slavery) Constitution show us the slaves trebling in numbers; - slaveholders monopolizing the offices and dictating the policy of the Government; - prostituting the strength and influence of the nation to the support of slavery here and elsewhere; trampling on the rights of the free States, and making the courts of the country their tools.  To continue this disastrous alliance longer is madness.   The trial of fifty year with the best of men and the best of Constitutions, on this supposition, only proves that it is impossible for free and slave States to unite on any terms, without all becoming partners in the guilt, and responsible for the sin of slavery.  We dare not prolong the experiment, and with double earnestness we repeat our demand upon every honest man to join in the outcry of the American Anti-Slavery Society, - 


What the Constitution may become a century hence, we know not; we speak of it as it is, and repudiate it as it is.

On July 4th, I  began to post the text of Wendell Phillips' documentation that the real character of the United States Constitution, far from its reputation as a landmark in freedom was, actually, a corrupt bargain between the slave holding class of aristocrats and those aristocrats in the North who, though they got their wealth in other ways benefited from the slave labor of the slave economy, mostly concentrated, but not exclusive to the South.  At the time the Constitution was adopted, I believe slavery was practiced in very one of the 13 original states, including the one I live in, a part of Massachusetts until 1820.

Before continuing with Phillips' excellently argued introduction, I will point out that the benefits to the slave holders was only a subset of the general purpose of the Constitution, the corrupt bargain that Phillips' documented was made by two groups of aristocrats, those who held slaves and those who didn't.   The Northern money interests had the same goal as the slave owners did, in protecting and perpetuating their position as an aristocratic ruling class who explicitly sought to benefit themselves through the Constitution they were writing and to protect themselves against an inconvenient rising of egalitarian democracy.   I have come to see the entire history of the United States, ever since, of being a struggle by people oppressed by aristocracy, by the wealthy and against the Constitution of the United States,  Slaves, Women, Poor White Men, Native Americans, Latinos, Asians, members of minority religions and ethnicity have had to struggle against the Constitution that sought to empower the wealthy and succeeded in inserting all kinds of safety valves to inhibit people seeking equal rights and equality under the law. 

In a lot of cases the few sections of the Constitution and, especially, in the reluctantly adopted and, in so many ways botched Bill of Rights, the common people, members of beleaguered minorities and others have had to make recourse to those things in the Bill of Rights which were put there for the convenience of the aristocrats and, more so, to appeal to the populations of states where, for example, large numbers of Catholics or Baptists lived - the aristocrats who were pushing the Constitution needed it to be ratified through state legislatures, which were more likely to contain people who were not and never would be of the aristocratic class who wrote the thing.   The real balancing act was not to achieve a balance but to write something that would favor the power and interest of the aristocratic minority while giving just enough, in just such a way so as to get the legislators in the various states to adopt the thing. 

Phillips continued by listing those provisions in the Constitution that were explicitly written for and which had the effect of installing slavery as a permanent aspect of the American Constitutional government.   As I have argued, the abolition of de jure slavey after the Civil War was quickly followed by a reimposition of slavery, in fact though not in name and with slight modification, by the end of Reconstruction under Rutherford Hayes* and which courts ratified by using the Constitution to support the Jim Crow system in the South and, in reality, elsewhere in the United States.   The Roberts court, following on the efforts of the Rehnquist Court, is abolishing the means by which the court for a few decades ended Jim Crow using the language of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to do so.

As Phillips answered those Constitutional mythologists and romantics of his day, the proof is in what courts, the Congress, the Executive branch have done and gotten away with.   Now that the Court is siding with those who want to install a permanent Republican rule even when they consistently don't get a majority of the vote, facing the dangers of the parts of the Constitution they cite to come up with their transparently false excuses to do that is vital.  Until those are changed, they will always be a danger of being put to the use that the Federalist fascists on the court have put them to.

Starting with the first of the slavery empowering Articles cited in the book.

ART. 1, SECT. 2 -Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states, which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other persons.

ART. 1 SECT. 8.  - Congress shall have power . . . to suppress insurrections. 

ART. 1, SECT. 9. - The migration or importation of such persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight:  but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars each person. 

ART. 4, SECT. 2.  - No person, held in service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor;  but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.

ART. 4, SECT. 4 - The United States shall guarantee to every State in the Union a republican form of government; and shall protect each of them against invasion; and, on application of the legislature, or of the executive, (when the legislature cannot be convened,) against domestic violence. 

The first of these clauses, relating to representation confers on a slave-holding community additional political power for every slave held among them, and thus tempts them to continue to uphold the system:   the second and last, relating to insurrection and domestic violence, perfectly innocent in themselves, yet being made with the fact directly in view that slavery exists among us, do deliberately pledge the whole national force against the unhappy slave if he imitate our fathers and resist oppression - thus making us partners in the guilt of sustaining slavery:  The third, relating to the slave trade, disgraces the nation by a pledge not to abolish that traffic till after twenty years, without obliging Congress to do so even then, and thus the slave trade may be legalized tomorrow if Congress choose:  the fourth is a promise on the part of the whole nation to return fugitive slaves to their masters, a deed which God's law expressly condemns and which every noble feeling of our nature repudiates with loathing and contempt.  

These are the articles of the "Compromise,"  so much talked of between the North and South.

We do not produce the extracts which make up these pages to show what is the meaning of the clauses above cited.  For no man or party, of any authority is such matters, has ever pretended to doubt to what subject they all relate.  If indeed they were ambiguous in their terms, a resort to the history of those times would set the matter at rest forever.  A few persons, to be sure, of late years, to serve the purposes of a party, have tried to prove that the Constitution makes no compromise with slavery.  Notwithstanding the clear light of history; - the unanimous decision of all the courts in the land, both State and Federal - the action of Congress and the State Legislature; - the constant practice of the Executive in all its branches;  - and the deliberate aquiescence of the whole people for half a century,  still they contend that the nation does not know its own meaning, and that the Constitution does not tolerate slavery!   Every candid mind, however, must acknowledge that the language of the Constitution is clear and explicit. 

Its terms are so broad, it is said, that they include many others besides slaves, and hence it is wisely (!) inferred that they cannot include the slaves themselves!  Many persons besides slaves in this country doubtless are "held in service and labor under the laws of the States,"  but that does not at all show that slaves are not "held to service;"  many persons beside the slaves may take part "in insurrections,"  but that does not prove that when the slaves rise, the National Government is not bound to put them down by force.  Such a thing has been heard of before as one description including a great variety of persons,  - and this is the case in the present instance. 

But granting the terms of the Constitution are ambiguous - that they are susceptible to two meanings - if the unanimous, concurrent, unbroken practice of every department of the Government, judicial, legislative, and executive, and the acquiescence of the whole people for fifty years, do not prove which is the true construction, then how and where can such a question ever be settled?   If the people and the courts of the land do not know what they themselves mean, who has authority to settle their meaning for them?  

If, then, the people and the courts of a country are to be allowed to determine what their own laws mean, it follows that at this time, and for the last half century, the Constitution of the United States has been, and still is, a pro-slavery instrument, and that any one who swears to support it, swears to do pro-slavery acts, and violates his duty both as a man and an abolitionist.  What the Constitution may become a century hence, we know not;  we speak of it as it is, and repudiate it as it is. 

The idiocy of the common belief on the left that all kinds of obvious corruption, such as corporate person hood, such as the declaration by Republican justices such as Scalia that there is no right to vote and by the Republican majority of the present court that there is no right to have your vote matter, should just be accepted as settled once the Supreme Court cites the Constitution to impose that corruption is one of the worst habits of thought on the alleged left.   As the abolitionists pointed out from the beginning of the struggle, clear injustice and clear immorality should never just be accepted because some 18th century aristocrats wrote some words and sold them to others in the 18th century,  All Men, all White Men doing the writing, mostly at least White Men aspiring to wealth in the legislatures that adopted them.   The immorality of much of the Constitution was known, even as it was being adopted, there was certainly not unanimous agreement on its adoption, especially within state legislatures where some of the dissent was on the basis of the immorality and inequality that was and still is a part of the document.   That's why I'm posting this, to help people break out of that ACLU, as seen in the movies and made for TV movies and heard on NPR and PBS legalistic romanticism about the document INCLUDING THE IDOLIZED BILL OF RIGHTS which is being used by Republican-fascists to destroy egalitarian democracy which, for a brief few years, managed to win out over the Constitutional corrupt deal. 

Remember that the next time you hear Nina or someone else waxing piously about the Court, the "rule of law" and the Constitution on NPR or PBS or some other venue of the media.   The biggest mouthpiece for "freedom of speech" these days are fascists and overt neo-Nazis, white and male supremacists.  You can thank the likes of Nat Hentoff and Joel Gora and Oliver Wendell Holmes jr. and all manner of alleged liberals in the media and academica for making that possible.

*  I will never stop pointing out that Rutherford Hayes, the man who ended Reconstruction and started the period of American apartheid and de facto reimposition of slavery, came to power through the Electoral College, one of the inventions of the aristocrats to prevent democracy from happening.   The same provision that led to Bush II and now Trump can hardly be held to be a dead letter or something that can be safely accepted.   AND IT SHOULD NOT BE FORGOTTEN THAT ALONG WITH OUR DOMESTIC BILLIONAIRES, PUTIN PLAYED THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE TO PUT HIS STOOGE IN THE WHITE HOUSE.  Its abolition is a necessity if egalitarian democracy is not to be turned to fascism.  

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Democrats Must Get Over Barack Obama, He's No More Going To Save Us Now Than He Did Then

As with just about everyone who has made his living in our fabled "free press" I think Charles Pierce will probably never really address the part that the Bill of Rights, as interpreted by courts in the past century has played in the corruption of our democracy.   Democracy only being as good, or possible, as the accuracy of the information on which people vote and, I would hold even more so, the good-will and generosity of the American People, anything that is successfully sold in by the "free press" through "free speech" which discourages that in an effective percentage of the population will destroy egalitarian democracy.  Our free press through its unleashed free speech has spent most of the past sixty years doing its best to discourage that, entertainment probably even more effectively than what passes as news. 

I think that some of my heroes of journalism,  Mr. Pierce, Rachel Maddow, of those living, such figures as Molly Ivins, now no longer with us, are too invested in the culture of their profession to ever face the fatal consequences of allowing lies to flourish with impunity, the promotion of fascism, Nazism and Marxism as well as a whole host of other isms under the absolutist, literalist interpretation of the First Amendment.   The proof, though, is in Donald Trump's ascendancy and continuation, he being 100% a creation of the media, news and, more effectively, entertainment. 

The rise of fascism through the media here isn't an isolated phenomenon, Mussolini was a journalist, Burlusconi is a media mogul.  Though I think the media here, under the cultural myth of the First Amendment has proven to be a uniquely American aroma of that rotted corpse. The media, freed of any responsibility to tell the truth, isn't just as likely to destroy democracy as to protect it, lies being easier to craft for sale than the truth generally is, appealing to peoples' weakness being easier than appealing to their reason, an absolutely free press will, almost inevitably, serve the promotion of fascism which is more easily sold than the truth.  And that's not even beginning to mention the financial interests of those who own the largest and so most influential media with the most resources. 

That's all a very long introduction before I say that Charles Pierce's article of two days ago is something that everyone should read.  The piece analyzes the role that Barack Obama's at times absurd and not infrequently dangerous idealism was in aiding the rise of Trump.   The article is titled,  Barack Obama Needs to Get His Hands Dirty.  I don't know why anyone would think that Obama will do as an ex-president what he didn't do while president.  I barely remember him being willing to break a sweat, never mind dirty his hands.  I know he worked very hard, especially as compared to Trump, but he was never willing to risk anything past a certain point, that point being far, far short of what was needed.   While he clearly didn't mind disappointing his own supporters and base, which he always took annoyingly for granted, he was never willing to court the dislike of Republicans who never lost a chance to kick his ass.  Or, rather, his supporters'.

The list of problems with the Obama presidency - his appointment of a sleazy crook like Tim Geithner,* his absurd courting of Republicans to support his policies, years after they proved they never would, the cloying centrist idealism of his rhetoric and his failed attempts to court his opponents, it makes you wonder why anyone would think at this way-too-late stage of things him making the empty gestures to do anything would be a good idea. 

I could write a weeks worth of posts on the points that Charles Pierce makes, I agree with most of what he says though there are points I completely disagree with.   You should read the piece if you haven't already,  I don't share Pierce's guise as a cynic (I don't think he really is one) because I don't think it had or has to be the way it is, though I think anyone who expects a man of Obama's age, of Obama's self-concept, of his, yes, his conceit and arrogance and his wishy-washy, at best, concern about the disaster he helped bring about to do a turn about and suddenly, as an ex-president take an important role in defeating Trumpian fascism is doing more wishful thinking than I've ever done in my whole life.

I can't remember when it first occurred to me that Barack Obama was probably as much a TV creation as Trump.   I think the totally unrealistic and so dangerous fantasy of Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing probably had more than a little to do with his election.  I remember people talking about him as if they expected him to be President Bartlett and his staff to be like CJ and Toby and Josh and Leo.  Well, they weren't.  They were Obama and Axelrod and Rahm and the rest of those who blew the best chance Democrats had had since 1964 when they didn't have to.  I think a lot of the disaster of 2010 was due to people being disillusioned when it didn't play out as seen on TV.   I'm not sure Barack Obama is able to understand what a disaster it was, I don't think he has the character to face that, I don't think he ever did and I doubt he intends to now. 

It's time for Democrats to leave the past behind and find new leaders who are not so caught up in their own myth.   I would include Joe Biden in that.  I hope like anything that he doesn't run.

* For anyone who doesn't take the advice to read the article, after a long description of the legalized loan-sharking that is the American financial system, even with Obama's reforms that have been so short lived, he points out that the owner of the loan sharking operation is Tim Geithner's company.

Mariner Finance is owned and managed by a $11.2 billion private equity fund controlled by Warburg Pincus, a storied New York firm. The president of Warburg Pincus is Timothy F. Geithner, who, as treasury secretary in the Obama administration, condemned predatory lenders. The firm’s co-chief executives, Charles R. Kaye and Joseph P. Landy, are established figures in New York’s financial world. The minimum investment in the fund is $20 million.

Anyone who reads the account and trusts Barack Obama's judgement is deluded.  In order to trust his judgement you'd have to conclude that Obama intended what happened under Geithner's regime (not to mention others in his cabinet such as Eric Holder) to happen.  I believe he did, he certainly didn't do much of anything to correct if he was surprised.

Hey, Jim, When Your Buddies Are Admitting That You Knew The Team Doctor Was Molesting Students You Should Face The Fact

I have to admit, especially after his performance as a member of the corrupted House Judiciary Committee, proving he was both corrupt and incompetent ("subpoena phone-calls"), I found satisfying the revelations that, as a wrestling coach, Jim Jordan turned a blind eye to sexually molestation of students by his staff.   My first reaction was that it couldn't have happened to a more deserving creep.  And that's on top of his role as one of the Republican-fascist inquisitors in the corrupt Republican House majority.   If he doesn't at the least lose his seat over this, it is an injustice.  And there is 100% more reason to believe he is guilty as accused than there ever was that Hillary Clinton was guilty of something.

Even his friends are saying he knew about it.

Jordan, a prominent Republican from Ohio, was an assistant coach at OSU from 1986-94. NBC reported on Tuesday that three former OSU wrestlers described the alleged abuse by Strauss as common knowledge and that he assaulted as many as 2,000 student athletes from 1978-98.

“I considered Jim Jordan a friend,” Mike DiSabato, one of Strauss’s accusers, told NBC. “But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on.”

If there's one thing we have learned in the various sports sex abuse scandals of the past decade, it is that the culture of sports is, if anything, worse than the culture of clerical hierarchy at protecting coaches and other athletic staff.   Penn State was all the proof you need of that, years and years of deified, lionized coaches and assistant coaches covering up the rape of young boys in the locker room, witnessed and discussed among themselves, not reported to the police.   Something that went on for years and years, not exposed until someone else revealed it.   Watch for Jordan and his Republican supporters to try to rally support for him on the basis that he was a sports coach.  That's what generally happens when jocks rape and sexually harass people, it's how they get away with it for years if not decades.  There is something really twisted about the culture of sports.

I am not inclined to allow politicians who have practiced inquisitorial methods in public hearings to be held to a standard more lenient than the one they, themselves, engage in and hope to profit from.  Jordan deserves the same treatment he and his colleagues gave to Rod Rosenstein, Hillary Clinton and others who they decided to use for their political gain.   I think politicians, judges, justices, public officials living by the rules they practice should be the rule for them.

Abolish The Title "Commander In Chief" By Law

A democracy doesn't have a "commander" when one does, it ceases to be a democracy. 

The use of the title "Commander  in Chief," something that should never have been allowed to have escaped the context of the CIVILIAN leadership of the military, got totally out of hand under the Bush-Cheney use of para-militarism as a political tool in the wake of 9-11, Bush II's appearance in a jet pilot costume which the likes of Chris Matthews drooled over was an outrageous use of what could turn very dangerous and has under Trumpist fascism.   It was one of the things that Barack Obama got right that he dialed that kind of thing back a bit, though I think the title was used entirely too often during his administration.

The only title that anyone should apply to the President of the United States is "President."   The United States had a chance to have a military commander if that was what was chosen, it was one of the chief claims of the greatness of George Washington, later such Civil War generals Grant and Sherman, that they rejected the possibilities of becoming military rulers of the country. 

To have a sleazy, crooked organized criminal and TV personality AND DRAFT DODGER like Trump called "Commander in Chief" especially by the pro-fascist media like FOX should be all anyone needs to see why that title should be abolished, by law.  We have the lesson right before our eyes at how dangerous that kind of thinking is because Trump does aspire to fascist rule with the encouragement of his patron, the foremost patron of fascism today, Putin. 

If the military feels the need to be reminded of civilian rule of the military, it should adopt the civilian usage, modifying it.   To give the civilian head of the executive branch a military title was always a bad ide.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Curtis Curtis Smith - The Great American Symphony (GAS!)

Kazoo Blues
Northern Harmony
Dido's Dance

This piece was controversial and was included in what must have been an interesting concert of the American Composers Orchestra, October 31, 1999, under the heading "PROTEST".

The liner notes for the disc says:

GAS! was commissioned and premiered by Yoshimi Takeda and the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra in 1982, supported by a grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts. The New York premiere was conducted by Dennis Russell Davies with the American Composers Orchestra on the “Great Performers Series” in Avery Fisher Hall, November 6, 1983. Since then, Davies has championed the piece with performances in Stuttgart, Germany, the Cabrillo Music Festival, The Indianapolis Symphony, and the West German Radio Orchestra in Cologne, and most recently, a second performance with the American Composers Orchestra in Carnegie Hall on October 31, 1999. 

The audacious title is as mischievous as it is ridiculous, and as American as a slick Madison Avenue advertising slogan (The Great American Spaghetti Factory, et al). There are allusions to sundry aspects of Americana, from New Orleans jazz to acid rock; from gospel harmonies to boisterous marches to quaint southern folk hymns and Broadway show tunes. On one level, the piece may be heard as fun-and-games entertainment, while on another level, it may be heard as an ironic and satirical commentary on the very tunes and styles it purports to trifle with. The piece has certainly enjoyed widely diverse reactions, from those finding it a “masterpiece” to those thinking it a travesty. Ross Lee Finney called GAS! “a controversial piece,” and David Diamond, while finding the title a “happy impertinence,” admitted to lacking “the requisite sense of humour about the title.” Another listener objected to my “irreverent” treatment of the Star Spangled Banner in the last movement. I have never before, nor since, written such a brazen, outlandish, ill-behaved piece—yet GAS! is not malicious; it's more like a clown working things into his act.

The first movement, Kazoo Blues, begins in the low register, in the middle of a phrase, unfolds to quasi-bluesy progressions and ends again in the dark low register, presaging the beginning of the fourth movement.

 The second movement is a noisy and rambunctious March, with allusions to “barbershop” harmonies. In the trio, the pungent banjo (the voice of the pullet) twangs its way through the smooth, near-blues string chords. At the very end of the movement, in a three-note banjo solo, the chicken gives voice: “The Chicken Speaks!”

The third movement, Northern Harmony, was inspired by the Southern Harmony tradition. Southern Harmony is a collection of folk hymnody first published in 1835 and still in use today in a few rural southern communities. Called the Sacred Harp tradition, the singing style is very nasal and pungent with the melody in the tenor voice and frequent doubling of parts. The harmonic progressions are often unorthodox with parallel fifths and “wrong” inversions. In Northern Harmony, certain elements of this tradition are evoked and parodied. The pentatonic melody is scored for double reeds and muted trombone to simulate the nasal quality of the Sacred Harp style.

The fourth movement, Dido's Dance, is a phantasmagoria of rock, parodies of Purcell's Dido's Lament, a mock-rock monster waltz, the Dies Irae, and a tightly woven quodlibet on five tunes including I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo, The National Anthem, The Blue Danube, On Top of Old Smoky, and Glory, Glory Hallelujah. All five tunes share the characteristic ascending triad in their initial phrase.

Despite its playfulness, Dido's Dance is psychologically complex. It is funny and fiendish at the same time. While there are musical “jokes,” these jokes conceal ironic motives behind the laughing mask. (Behind the comic mask lurks the Requiem Mass.) In Dido's Dance, I have wedded Purcell and rock. I have always been struck by the uncanny resemblance between Purcell's chaconne bass lines and rock ostinati. The musicologist Paul Nettle, in The Story of Dance Music, says that the Spanish chaconne, which Purcell and other Baroque composers adapted for their own purposes, actually originated in the West Indies. Coincidentally, the Caribbean also contributed some of the rhythms and dances which were to shape early jazz and eventually rock. In Dido's Dance, the five-bar chaconne of Dido's Lament is compressed into a frenzied 15/8 rock pattern. Purcell's lamenting bass is taken into the higher registers and treated melodically (as did, ironically, the earliest 17th century chaconnes).

In the “Great Monster Waltz,” the mocking E-flat clarinet, playing with its bell held high, twists and distorts Purcell's divine melody into a sardonic miscreant. This clumsy waltz is scored for bizarre combinations of instruments with the celeste painting a glassy-eyed glaze over contra bassoon and tuba groans. The monster slowly dies—soothed by the bass clarinet—and from his ashes rises the American eagle (phoenix?) to sing out the National Anthem in combat with the last contorted writhings of the expiring monster.

William Bolcom said about his colleague:

 "Curtis Curtis-Smith is one of the best-kept secrets in contemporary music. It is high time that listeners and musicians alike become acquainted with this music of passion and humor, intellectual agility and disarming emotional directness. I have long been its advocate to our best performers, who have played it enthusiastically worldwide, and I envy anyone who is becoming acquainted with it for the first time." 

Fireworks by PES

I may as well come out with it, now that I've dissed Phil Spector and his tedious wall of sound crap, that I've outgrown fireworks.   You've seen 58 fireworks displays, you've seen them all.  Not to mention the heavy metal and other poison they spread, not to mention the frequent forest fire danger.   I'm surprised we haven't had a huge one here in Maine since the Republican idiots legalized private fireworks displays,  it's just a matter of time before there is one.  If not here then in New Hampshire where that spread from.

I watched my boot-leg copy of the Jean Shepherd 4th of July movie again and I've found that that's gotten old, too.   Love Jean Shepherd but only his more obscure work, now.  There isn't much that doesn't get old.  Well, apart from genius, Laura Nyro, for example.  Never get tired of her music.

I'm getting too much fun out of causing outrage by blaspheming pop culture.  It's so funny when the self-appointed anti-snobs go all Hyacinth Bucket when you diss pop culture.

Well, I'd better cut this out, despite it being hellishly not.  Those beans aren't weeding themselves.

Laura Nyro - Save The Country - This Should Be The National Anthem

This should be the national anthem.

Is There A More Whiny-Ass Cry-Baby Than The Big Tough Self-Appointed Champion of Civil Liberties, The Dersh?


A Poem for Alan Dershowitz

For Alan Dershowitz, who seems to have been having a really bad time on Martha’s Vineyard.

With Martha’s Vineyard shunning me,
Over the kids the White House stole,
I thank whatever gods may be
Opinion pages let me troll.

When invitations don’t arrive
I have not winced or cried aloud.
Watching my social prospects dive,
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond the ferry to Oak Bluffs
Loom lonely days and lonely nights,
Because when things start getting tough,
I call my friends McCarthyites.

From Clinton to Henry the Eighth,
I’ll speak to power flattery,
I am the master of bad faith,
I am the captain of TV. 

Having loathed Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard asshole as seen on millions of TVs, who can be counted on to get millionaire wife killers off,  advocate torture because he's an Israel-fascists right or wrong kind of guy and an all around two-faced a-hole, I realize that my despising him doesn't matter to him because I'm not PLU, "people like us" to him.  His self-pitying whine about how the PLUs of his set at Martha's Vinyard are avoiding him like a case of ringworm is making me smile.

Dershowitz was always what he is now, it's just that he's so hungry to get his smug, sour puss on TV so badly and he's figured that being Trumps "liberal" (though the Dersh has always been the kind of "liberal" who is a Republican-fascist enabler of the kind I talked about below) will get him pretty much on whenever he wants to get on. 

I have come to hope that I've been wrong and that there is a hell for the likes of those who advocate torture and prop up the Trump-fascist regime.  Those who defend him even as he puts babies and children into concentration camps, you would think that would have been a step too far for the Dersh, but, no.

Hell for the Dersh will be a very, very, very long time with people ignoring him completely as he seeks attention and having his every asinine statement taken as serious because he's had his ass at Harvard Law for decades.   Harvard is a whore house, by and large, Harvard Law has been one, with very few exceptions, for a good part of its existence as THE elite law school of the country.   Trump reportedly wants either a Yalie or Harvard product for his next Supreme Court pick.  Either school can be counted on to give him someone who will rubber stamp fascism.

Update:  I should have added that Dershowitz is a predictable and boundless and outrageous libeler and slanderer of his opponents, whether Noam Chomsky or Norman Finkelstein or whoever.   I'd have cut him off over that decades ago.  Can't stand a sanctimonious liar. 

There Couldn't Be A More Appropriate Day To Say It: Announcement Of A Long Term Series

OK, I've been going around the web reading news, reading commentary and I've decided that this Founders fetish has gotten totally out of hand and as the founders words are continually used to destroy egalitarian democracy, it is seriously dangerous.   I am going to start posting that book I've been advocating for most of the past year to show what a bunch of sleazy operators the likes of Madison and Hamilton and the rest of the Founders were as they betrayed every lofty ideal floated in the Declaration of Independence (which was actually a watered down version of the original draft, due to similar interests of slave owners and the aristocrats who wrote it) when they drafted the real deal in the Constitution. 

The book was written after the abolitionists were shocked by the 1840 publication the papers of James Madison surrounding the writing and adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, which forced them to reconsider what they, as Americans, had been taught and had assumed, that the fabled founders were men of integrity and honesty who really believed the empty words of the Declaration that "all men are created equal".   Empty not because that's not true but because virtually all of them, starting with the man who penned the words,  Thomas Jefferson, proved that they really didn't mean it.  Once that little matter of a revolution that swept British rule away, Jefferson discovered how much he liked owning slaves and he set about not only getting more slaves for himself but in figuring out by scientific methods, how to extract more value from them in the form of slave labor.   He was not anywhere near the only one of the Founders who did that, once they could safely abandon those "enlightenment" sentiments carried in the Declaration.  They competed with anything King George did by way of injustice and wrong once they were the ones in charge.  In so far as it concerned non-white people, they outdid him.

For anyone who wants to read it now, the book by one of the greatest of 19th century abolitionists is The Constitution a pro-slavery compact; or, Extracts from the Madison papers, etc. selected by Wendell Phillips, you can find it at   It is shocking, especially things like the revelation that the guy who they're rapping and boogieing over on Broadway, Alexander Hamilton, was up to his aristocracy loving neck in enhancing the slave power even as he pretended to oppose it. 

As I mentioned, when you look at our current politics, the state of the law, the corruption of our elections, virtually everything the Supreme Court and lawyers and hacks for the oligarchs have used to thwart equality and democracy and even the rule of the majority has its origins in the Constitution as written by those Founders that people worship like pagan idols in ancient Rome.   And they intended it to do just the things that they do do now.   I have pointed out that they have even figured out how to turn Lincoln's emancipation to their advantage, disenfranchising former slaves now counted as 5/5ths of a person for apportioning representation in the House of Representatives gives the descendants of the slave owners two-fifths more power than they had before the Civil War.  That is the genius of the corruption contained within the Constitution.   Any prospect we have for defeating Republican fascism depends on understanding how Republican-fascists on the Court have used those slave-owner enhancing features of the Constitution to do what they were intended to do, merely putting the words of the slave owners in modern guise. 

The Constitution a pro-slavery compact; or, Extracts from the Madison papers, etc. selected by Wendell Phillips


Every one knows that the "Madison Papers" contain a Report from the pen of James Madison, of the Debates in the Old Congress of the Confederation, and in the Convention which formed the Constitution of the United States.  We have extracted from them, in these pages, all the Debates on those clauses of the Constitution which relate to slavery.  To these we have added all that is found, on the same topic, in the Debates of the several State Conventions which ratified the Constitution; together with much of the speech of Luther Martin before the Legislature of Maryland, and of the Federalist, as relate to our subject;  with some extracts, also, from the Debates of the first Federal Congress on slavery.  These are all printed without alteration except that, in some instances, we have inserted in brackets, after the name of the speaker, the name of the State from which he came.  The notes and italics are those of the original, but the editor has added a note on page 11, and two notes on page 52, which are marked as his and we have taken the liberty of printing in capitals one sentiment of Rufus King's and two of James Madison's - a distinction which the importance of the statements seemed to demand - otherwise we have reprinted exactly from the originals. 

These extracts develop most clearly all the details of that "compromise," which was made between freedom and slavery, in 1787; granting to the slaveholder distinct privileges and protection for his slave property, in return for certain commercial concessions on his part toward the North.  They prove also that the nation at large were fully aware of this bargain at the time, and entered into it willingly and with open eyes. 

We have added the late "Address of the American Anti-Slavery," and the letter of Francis Jackson to Governor Briggs, resigning his commission of Justice of the Peace - as bold and honorable protests against the guilt and infamy of this national bargain and as proving most clearly the duty of each individual to trample it under his feet. 

The clauses of the Constitution to which we refer as a pro-slavery character are the following.

ART. 1, SECT. 2 -Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states, which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other persons.

That passage of the Constitution, that infamous act of counting slaves for purposes of representatives while giving that representation to their enslavers is almost universally believed to have been abolished in the post-Civil War amendments to the Constitution, and if not then then in the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of 1965.   But that is a lie.  First the end of reconstruction and Jim Crow and the various acts of the Supreme Court before the Warren era and after, which deprived Black People and others of the right to vote but to count them as full people when it comes to giving the neo-Jim Crow states congressional representation is an enhancement of the voting power of those who deprive them of their rights and who use that power to further disempower and exploit them.  It is how the Republican Supreme Court in the Rehnquist and Roberts era have made it the law of the land that Republicans get to win even when they have fewer votes, not unrelated to the infamous Bush v. Gore ruling that put Roberts and Alito on the court. 

The corruption of our country flows directly from the choices that Madison and Hamilton and the rest of the Founders made in the corrupt deal that Wendell Phillips documented in the very words of those men.   It is why Republican-fascism is on the verge of destroying democracy today.

To be continued:

And There's This

Another Right-Wing White Male Republican Ex-Wrestling Coach Involved In A Gay Sex Abuse Scandal

Several former Ohio State wrestlers say Jordan, who before becoming one of the House’s most conservative lawmakers was a champion college wrestler and assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State from 1986 to 1994, failed to stop the team doctor from molesting student athletes.

The university has been conducting an investigation into Dr. Richard Strauss, who died in 2005, for repeated reports of sexual assault and rape. According to student testimony, Strauss is estimated to have sexually assaulted or raped at least 1,500 — and possibly up to 2,000 — athletes at Ohio State between 1978 through 1998. VOX

As the sex scandal that he was in up to his eyeballs has hit the news, judge Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan according to the rules that he and his allies in the Republican-fascist House Caucus follow.  Don't let them get rules that they don't apply to other people.   That should be a rule with politicians, judges, "justices" and other public officials, when they go after other people using the sleaziest, FOX, Sinclair, Breitbart, 4-Chan, pleasing methods of inquisition, they set the rules for themselves when almost inevitably they are embroiled in scandals, themselves.

The media will, of course, try to apply more lenient rules for Jim Jordan's Penn State style sexual abuse scandal, first, he's a Republican, second, he's white, third he's a jock, all of whom get special rules that favor them applied.  Oh, yeah, he's a man, no woman would be given the kind of special treatment that Jim Jordan can expect from the media. 

Republicans, in office and in the Republican-fascist media will express anger and outrage that anyone judge Jordan by the same rules he applied to Hillary Clinton and which he demonstrated in his stupidly incompetent attacks on Rod Rosenstein last week ("subpoena phone calls!").  It is always held to be different when it's a white-male-Republican and that goes twice when it's a square jawed white jock. 

A few years ago I began to figure it's a rule, you can finally name it the Hastert-Jordan rule, that when a white jock and coach goes into Republican politics of the hard-right variety, that you should suspect there's some kind of sex scandal in their past.  Or, considering how many figure Jordan is next in line to Paul Ryan,  you could call it the Newt Gingrich - Bob Livingston - Denny Hastert rule that you should suspect that whatever piece of slime the Republican caucus elects as speaker or leader has a good chance to have a sex scandal in their past if not present and future.   Especially those who apply hard rules against Democrats who have been accused in relatively minor "scandals".  And that's not to mention such Republicans who prosecuted Bill Clinton over lying about a totally consensual affair, such as Henry Hyde and Lindsay Graham.

And if you think that's unfair, you have to be a Republican or you have to have ignored how they have been getting away with rigging the rules in their favor for the past three decades.

And as to that last one,  you could be a mouthpiece for a pseudo-liberal group that bleats out how we must not fall to their level and must allow them to be judged by the presumption of innocence when said pseudo-liberals only get media attention when they want that applied to Republicans.  You can call that the Fred Wertheimer rule.   That would be after "the dean of campaign finance reformers" the "legendary open-government activist" who played such a huge role in magnifying piddling little "scandals" that aided the Republicans in their take over of the house, one of those who stupidly and ineptly (if you take him at his word) engineered Newt Gingrich's plan on using such "scandals" as Jim Wright's "book deal scandal" and the "post-office" scandal, which I defy you to explain.   He's exactly the kind of "liberal" who the media will reach for as they demand that the rules in the Jim Jordan scandal be those that are seldom if ever applied to anyone who are not white Republicans and especially when they are conservative white men who have been groomed for leadership on the basis of their photogenicity. 

We should demand that Republicans get judged by the same rules they applied to Hillary Clinton in their quarter-century campaign to smear her.  We should demand that the media, everything from NPR and the New York Times down to the sewers of CNN and FOX and the tabloids, not get away with the same double standard they have practiced for as long.   We should demand that idiot establishment pseudo-liberals cut their bull shit or we should defund them.   That last one is something we could do all by ourselves. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Lie Stupy Lie, Lie Across The Baby Blue Blog

Everything he says is a lie, including the punctuation.  

I do a little garden work, teach a few lessons, do a little reading, turn on my computer and have a message that Simps is lying about me at Escahton.  Typical day.  


The comment system that came with this blog format doesn't allow me to do anything with comments I've chosen to post except delete them.  If I want to edit my comments I edit those, delete the original - which I do ONLY IF SOMEONE HASN'T ALREADY COMMENTED ON WHAT I SAID IN ONE - and post the revised version.  

You don't have to worry, Stupy, no one at Duncan's Cash Cow that he keeps only to pretend he's got a job bothers to read what anyone else says,  they don't even read Duncan's Tweet length production.   

An Atheist God

Image result for ethyl alcohol molecule

A while back I had occasion to help move some furniture out the apartment of a close relative, a long-term alcoholic as he lost the ability to pay rent.  He's in terrible shape with late-state liver disease, his skin a horrible green yellow, his abdomen swollen with his diseased liver, his legs covered with the worse angiomas I've ever seen.   And there is the terrible smell of fetor hepaticus, which no amount of laundering and showering can rid him of, him or anything in his apartment that the smell could permeate.  Most of his stuff had to be binned due to the smell.   I look at him and think my one brother who died of alcoholism rather more quickly than he has was fortunate it didn't go on as long. 

What brings that to mind is thinking about the reaction big-mouth blog atheists have had to posts like the one below, either echoing (ignorantly and incompletely) Marx's slogan that religion is an "opiate" or in some less articulate barroom atheist form.   What I thought of was the argument I got in with one who goes by "Moe" which I've mentioned here before, how during the event of Ken Burns' "Prohibition" being on PBS, I said that the biggest problem with prohibition was that it didn't work, that if they had been able to get rid of drinking alcohol the results would have been almost exclusively positive and beneficial.   The reaction was the horrific accusation that I wanted to deprive "working men" the chance to relax with a drink at the end of the day.    Now, I don't specifically recall "Moe" calling religion an "opiate" or a "crutch" though I don't doubt those sentiments are shared by him, not to mention the Larrys and Curleys who are the milieu he hangs out in.   

Think of that lapse in logic among those who won't hesitate to tell you they are the champions of reason and scientific evidence.  Religion, which actually has been found to have positive correlations with health and well-being (those guys are all suckers for the social-sciences, so I don't hesitate to bring this up, much of which is far more accurate research) is an "opiate" while alcohol, which is associated with alcoholism, car crashes and other accidents, violence, crimes, and general stupid behavior is a boon to humanity.   I didn't think of it till I read the reactions in today's hate-mail, that it's the same as the stupid slogans used against AA.  Atheists are perfectly fine with people making the ethyl alcohol molecule their higher power, the all consuming god that they sacrifice their lives and the lives of others, their spouses, their children, the victims of their accidents and violence to, but they get in a swivet if someone non-violently recommends that God would be a better choice.  

It's been a long, long time since an atheist said something I haven't heard an atheist say decades ago, they follow a typical rote series of insipid and stupid ideological holdings along with mouthing such empty pieties as those they hold for alcohol, pornography, prostitution, crap pop culture, Hollywood crap movies, . . .  Their gods, a whole pantheon of pathetic substitutes, almost all of them leading to those base miseries, foolishly and weakly self-induced, often with the encouragement of jr. high level peer pressure.  

Karl Rahner's Wintry Christianity For Today - An Answer To Some Impotent and Ignorant Atheist Mockery

From Quest For The Living God by Elizabeth A. Johnson


A wintry season:  such is [Karl] Rahner's metaphor for the situation of faith in the modern world.  Keeping his eye on middle-class, educated European persons who are trying to live a Christian life,  he sees that this is a world that no longer easily communicates the faith.  First off, a person can no longer be a Christian out of social convention or inherited customs.  To be a Christian now requires a personal decision, the kind of decision that brings about a change of heart and sustains long-term commitment.  Not cultural Christianity but a diaspora church, scattered among unbelievers and believers of various stripes, becomes the setting for this free act of faith.  Furthermore , when a person does come to engage belief in a personal way, society makes this difficult to do.  For modern society is marked not only by atheism and agnosticism but also by positivism, which restricts what we can know to data accessible from the natural sciences;  secularism, which gets on with the business at hand, impatient of ultimate questions, with a wealth of humanistic[*] values that allow a life of ethical integrity without faith;  and religious pluralism, which demonstrates that there is more than one path to holy and ethical living.  All of these call into question the very validity of Christian belief.   

When, nevertheless, persons do make a free act of faith, the factors characteristic of the modern world impart a distinctive stamp to their spiritual experience.  This is not surprising, since the path to God always winds through the historical circumstances of peoples times and places  Inhabiting a secular, pluralistic culture, breathing its atmosphere and conducting their daily lives according to its pragmatic tenets,  Christians today have absorbed the concrete pattern of modernity into their very soul.  It runs right through their own heart, shaping their mind-set and psychology.  As Rahner observed, agnosticism which knows it doesn't know . . . is the way God is experienced today."  Certainly this is not true of all believers.  For psychological and historical reasons, some still dwell with an unperturbed God-filled heart in the framework of a previous era.  But as Rahner once famously noted, not all who live at the same time are contemporaries.  His concern is focused on Christians who are people of their own modern times, surrounded by spiritual ambiguity.  When such people "come to church,"  they do not leave their complex inner and outer worlds at the door but bring the ambiguities right up to the altar.  Since mature spirituality requires integrating the basic experience of one's life into a wholeness before God, modernity forms a crucial element in the act of faith.  

Thus the metaphor of winter.  The luxuriant growth of devotions and secondary beliefs, all of these leaves and fruits that unfurled in the season when Christianity was dominant in the culture, have fallen away.  The trees are left bare and the cold wind blows.  In such a season belief must get back to basics.  It will not do to spend energy on what is peripheral and unessential, as if it were high summer.  To survive, people of faith need to return to the center, to the inmost core that alone can nourish and warm the heart in winter.  In this situation there is only one big issue, and that is the question of God.  

It is a source of never-ending concern to Rahner that much of what people hear in the preaching and teaching of the church draws on a primitive idea of God unworthy of belief[**],rather than communicating the reality, the beauty, the wonder, and the strange generosity of the mystery of God.  The average sermon, along with the popular piety it encourages, has a basically retarded notion of God, he judged, acknowledging neither the absolute difference of God from the world nor the marvelous truth that God's own self has drawn near as the inmost dynamism and goal offered to the world.  All too often sermons work with the tired ideas of modern theism, reflecting a precritical mentality that sees God as someone whom we can calculate from our formula of how things work, thus replacing the incomprehensible God with an idol. They fashion the Holy in the image of our own concerns, our neurotic fears, our puny hearts, rather than honoring the impossible outpouring of love by which God not only sets up the world in its own integrity but, while remaining radically distinct, gives the divine self away to the world.  They neglect to inform us of the most tremendous truth, that we are called into loving immediacy with the mystery of God who self-communicates to us in unspeakable nearness.  After listening to such dismal sermons can we really say that the world "God" brightens up our lives?   Unfortunately Rahner wrote, it is more often the case that the words of the preacher fall powerlessly from the pulpit,  "like birds frozen to death and falling from a winter sky."  

To be continued.

* I would agree with the use of "humanistic" if with two conditions.  One is that these days most people mean nothing more than atheist-materialist-scientism when they say "humanist" and such "humanism" is bound to quickly be at odds with any durable assertions of ethics, corroding those with allowing whatever is culturally dominant at any time to comprise "ethics" never mind "holiness."  Atheism as it almost always exists consists of what demands that such ideas as "ethics" and "holiness" can be denied as soon as it becomes desirable and any inhibition on what such a "humanist" wants to be taken as nothing to bother about.  The god(less) father of "Humanism" as it is known today,  Corliss Lamont, was an unrehabilitated Stalinist right up till the last moment he figured that was viable in the wake of Stalin's death.  If Stalin had lived to be 100, I have no doubt Lamont would have stuck with him as long as he was in power.  I don't think his successor, Paul Kurtz was any more bound to ethics, as his various schemes and antics prove. 

Second, any humanism that makes human being's the measure of all things is an ideology that is bound to have a narrow, parochial and ideological limitation to it.

**  That is the same God that atheists want to be everyone's God so they can knock it over.   It's been my experience that few things will annoy an atheist like pointing out that you don't believe in the God that they don't believe in and that you've either never believed in that God or you left that God behind in childhood.

I think it's one of the things that will increasingly characterize Christianity that it is a religion that is adopted by adults and will be the product of mature reflection instead of a catechism read before you, as a child, are "confirmed" in a faith you don't believe.