Saturday, September 15, 2018

Ian Tyson - Lost Herd

I just felt like it.

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Stephen Jones - From Eden

Two lost individuals, Alan and Eva find themselves locked in a bathroom together on New Year's Eve. Duration 43minutes 43 seconds

The author played the part of Alan

Eva  was played by Seána Kerslake 

Sound Supervision was by Ciarán CullenFrom Eden by Stephen Jones  was Directed by Gorretti Slavin

Hate Mail

Give me a list of the rigorous tests of natural selection, in nature (it would have to be in nature to be "natural" selection) as a proof of it producing a new species.  You've claimed that it's been rigorously tested, give me your citations.  I'd like to issue that general challenge because I've seen that claim made (by the likes of Sean Carroll, who comes immediately to mind) but I think that's a real stretcher.   

I think what natural selection is is a mandatory, required ideological framing which anyone who doesn't fit their language into will be brow beat and coerced into doing so at risk of their careers and reputation.  I don't have a career to defend and I don't care what they say about me as long as it isn't true.  That last thing is something I've never had to worry about in the entire time I've been a critic of natural selection.  The most ardent defenders of it use Trumpian tactics, not evidenced reason. 

Grassley Provided The Smoking Evidence That He Knew Kavanaugh Was Vulnerable To A Charge of Sexual Abuse

Since the Republican-fascist judge-making machine of Trump+McConnell+Grassley have hidden the largest part of Brett Kavanaugh's record from the Senate Judiciary Committee and the public, we are forced to form our judgment out of other things, and that is entirely their own fault and Brett Kavanaugh's.

The latest piece of what we're left with, a woman who apparently said he assaulted her when he was a teenager shouldn't have been needed to defeat his nomination to the Supreme Court, the little we have of his public record, especially public speeches and rulings he's made should have been enough to have the phony "moderate" Republicans a firm "nay" when the vote is called.  But they're as much a part of the Republican-fascist judge-making machine as anyone else in the Senate.

So, what are we to make of the phenomenon of this accusation, I don't know.  Unlike when Anita Hill was dragged into the public view and she did the responsible thing in light of that exposure, give evidence to a hostile, sexist and dishonorable Senate Judiciary Committee of old, biased men, we aren't likely to have the chance to judge it on that evidence, so tested.

I think the most telling bit of evidence we do have was pointed to by Charles Pierce yesterday and it came right from Chuck Grassley.

Senator Chuck Grassley—who has stayed too long at the fair—and the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee released a letter from 65 women who allege that they knew Kavanaugh in high school and that he was at all times a perfect gentleman. This was enormously stupid on Grassley's part.

I, for example, went to an all-boys Catholic high school, just as Kavanaugh did. I can say with perfect honesty that I didn't know 65 girls while I was in high school, let alone 65 who would know me enough to vouch for my gentlemanliness four decades later. And I am supposed to believe that Grassley and his staff mustered these women in the past two days? That dog slumbers on the porch and will not hunt. The Republicans on the committee knew, and they knew there might be some substance behind it, and they had a rapid-response document ready to go. And...

I doubt that any man in the country could have a letter signed by 65 women they knew decades before attesting to their "gentlemanliness" pulled out of the hat on that short notice,  the speed with which Grassley produced it is, actually, the evidence that it was suspected such a letter might be needed and it is doubtful that they would have gone to the bother of assembling one in the time such a letter would take to assemble unless they knew it would likely be needed.

The evidence that Grassley provided in the form of that letter leads me to think that there is more than one woman who might have evidence pertinent to this issue that is not in Kavanaugh's favor and that there is every reason in the world to think that the Republicans are ready, this time with foreknowledge, to put a second likely sexual abuser on the Supreme Court.   They have one in the White House, he nominated this one, so it's clear that "me too" is a dead letter in the Republican Senate as it is in the Trump regime.   Collins and Murkowski, Flake and Sasse, all of them are in on it.  The evidence of that is that none of them have called for a pause to the process and demanded that the full record be made available to the Senate.   We are all complicit if we let them and the media that will try to cover for them get away with it another time. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

This Is The American Republican Party In The World


Massimo Pigliucci is a professional philosopher with some scientific credentials, so he's not as stupidly dismissive of philosophy as his fellows in pro and semi-pro pseudo-skepticism.  That only means that, as is often the case outside of the English language science field, he's informed about philosophy and so he knows how stupid it is when his fellow materialist-atheist believers in scientism dismiss philosophy.  That stupid scientific bigotry is something that English language scientists from the level of Stephen Hawking down to Neil deGrasse Tyson and down to the dregs of Richard Dawkins have endorsed.  I think it's an artifact of the kind of vulgar Brit pragmatic dismissal of things that are inconvenient for the upper-classes. The question of profitability and commerce enter into it, as well.  That is among things which infests the United States through being influenced by British intellectual culture. That's why I said Pigliucci wasn't as bad as the typical atheist-materialist-bigots who mostly populate his ideological community.

I think his philosophical knowledge allows him to go beyond the typical bigotries allowable within his ideological community, allowing him to realize that the vulgar, fundamentalist Darwinism that is typical of current uninformed culture was legitimately criticized by other members of organized and semi-organized atheism, such as Stephen Jay Gould.  And that Dawkins' style Darwinian fundamentalism can't keep up with the evidence.  But he won't go any farther than Gould et al would have in admitting the nature of Darwinism as an ideology imposed on biology instead of a well-supported scientific theory.   An ideological framing that was born in, adopted for and maintained for its support of the class interests of those who controlled and control biology and who adopted it for its use to atheist-materialist hegemony in academia and the wider culture.  I think that's one of the reasons that even such relatively open minded people such as Gould could never get to the root of that. 

As I've pointed out, Marx noticed it after he'd first written to Engels that Darwinism would be useful for their ideological campaign, he reconsidered and saw that it was just Darwin twisting Malthusian economics to impose the structure of the British class system on all of nature.

Pigliucci does, otherwise, share in all of the same bigotries of his ideological side.   I can't say I respect him or consider him honest.   I see him as being a typical product of atheist-Roman anti-clericalism.  If that's unfair of me, it's certainly not as unfair as his dismissal of the reviewed, published research into parapsychology which far surpasses in quality and critical review much of the science he accepts as valid.

Stupid Mail - Don't You People Know How To Do An Online Word Search Yet?

For crying out loud, there have been more than one person named "Nabokov" otherwise there would never have been any little "Nabokovs" to do things like write one naughty book so people can endlessly talk about that while totally ignoring his many other, more worthwhile and much more complex novels.  Admit it, "Lolita" is the only reason you even know the writer's name.  I didn't get the first name wrong in mentioning Nicolas Nabokov yesterday. 

Nicolas Nabokov was Vladimir's cousin, he was a composer, commentator on music and a major critic of Soviet Communism.  He's probably most famous for embarrassing Shostakovitch, exposing him as acting as a Stalin puppet on a publicity tour of the United States.  Which, since it was true, he had a right to do though considering the consequences for Shostakovitch if he didn't play along seems somewhat unfair.  He was living under a reign of terror.  

Nabokov wasn't a major composer,  I'm unaware of any widespread or extensive performances of his music.  Like his more famous cousin he is probably more widely known for words he wrote than his compositions.  I've found current listings of his book but can't find any recordings of his music currently available for sale online.  I would imagine that, in the United States at least, I'm only just old enough to remember him and he will be discontinued here, though apparently he's remembered in Russia. 

Youtube has two of his works, one recorded fifty-two years ago, I suspect as part of the great and famous Louisville Orchestra commission-performance-recording project.  

Christian Symbols 

William Pickett, baritone
The Louisville Orchestra, directed by Robert Whitney

Six Poems by A. Akhmatova

Tatiana Gavrilova, soprano 
Yuri Blinov, piano

Concert at Mir Castle during the 2nd Nicolas Nabokov Festival in His Homeland (September 2013, Artistic director - Yuri Blinov). 
European premiere of Six Poems by Anna Akhmatova (1966) - based on famous "Requiem" (1935-40)

Unless Collins and Murkowski Put The Breaks On The Kavanaugh Nomination Now, They Deserve To Be Judged In The Same Way As McConnell and Grassley

As some of the people with long experience with Senate Judiciary Committee rules and procedures on Supreme Court nominations have pointed out, if Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley hadn't been gutting those rules and procedures  to jam through the Brett Kavanaugh nomination hearings on him wouldn't have even started yet.  So the accusation that Dianne Feinstein's referring an allegation that Kavanaugh committed at least one sexual assault is "last minute" isn't true in any way, it's brought up within the typical time table of such nominations.  If there's anything "last minute" it's Mitch and Chuck trying to force through Kavanaugh before they believe they might lose the Senate and, so, their dream of cementing Federalist Fascism on the Supreme Court where their thugs can prevent democracy when Democrats control the democratic parts of the government.

The totally sleazy scheme of preventing the last legitimate president of the United States from appointing a centrist to the court in order to pack it with Federalist Society approved fascists is what is outrageous, it is especially outrageous in that with the illegitimate Trump appointing an unprecidentedly partisan hypocrite like Kavanaugh who Trump sees as his get out of jail free card, with a long history of perjury before the Senate elsewhere, one of the sleaziest careers in partisan bias and thuggery, it's clear the Republican Caucus is more than OK with a biased court with perjurers liars and partisan thugs on it.  We've got at least three of those already, in Roberts, Alito and Thomas, Gorsuch is rapidly racking up a record to make a fourth, but none of them were as obviously one as Brett Kavanaugh is.

If this doesn't force Collins and Murkowski to tell Mitch and Chuck that they put the breaks on this until ALL OF THE MURKY, STINKING MESS THAT IS KAVANAUGH IS THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATED then they deserve to be seen in the same light as the old men who are running this show. 

If  Democrats can manage it, they should impeach Kavanaugh and remove him from the Supreme Court or the federal judiciary.   They should push through the charges of perjury against him that they should have a long time ago.   It's time that "equal justice before the law" really mean holding criminals like Kavanaugh to the same rules they apply to poor People, People in minority groups, Women.   To hell with the niceness that people with power grant to other people with power and people with money.   We The People should demand that those long empty words be made real or they should be dumped as a false slogan for the justice system and the Constitution.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Stupid Mail - From Now On Nothin' But Nihil Nisi

I don't know why Stupy would try to pull out that dumb "So You Want To Write A Fugue" on me.  I don't recall ever writing about it before.  It's not Glenn Gould's best exercise in composition, it's not important as a piece of music and it's no better than one that a good, advanced student in academic counterpoint might write.  I'd guess many universities have students who have written better.  Considering how Stupy inevitably pulls out the ultimate middle-brow insult against music, that it's "academic" so often, it's ironic that Gould obviously wrote it to represent an academic counterpoint exercise.  That's why it's considered "satirical," though its satire is of the entirely predictable and rather tedious kind.  A pinned specimen of that, as well.

It's not an especially complex fugue (see, or, rather, hear and read The Art of Fugue)  it's the kind of fugue that would impress the kind of person who hadn't listened to or played Bach's famous 48 or his other fugues or had played and listened to fugues by his successors, notably Beethoven,  Max Reger, Bartok . . . if I go on that list will fill the page.  It can't possibly hold a candle to any of the vocal fugues from any of Bach's cantatas and other great vocal works (hear and see Youtubes and IMSLP scores).

I am certain of one thing, Glenn Gould would never make the claim that it was anything like a rival of those. He was a nut case, he wasn't a pathological, self-aggrandizing, egomaniac.  It's what Nicolas Nabokov called "tissue paper music".  One of the comments I read claimed that Gould had summed up the entirety of baroque musical practice in the piece which would have to stand as about the stupidest things I've ever read about music if I hadn't gotten responses from Stupy that are in the same stationary race to nowhere.

I have got no problem with people listening to it if they want to, I'd note that this performance, for a CBC radio show - NOT for distribution as a disposable disc by that ad-flyer Simps used to hack for - is the only one I've ever heard of.   It hasn't entered into the repertoire.  I don't think it's at all as interesting as Gould's  musique concrète work, such as The Idea of North.  I've written that his career is a tragedy of a composer who was trapped by his easy, too early virtuosity which led to him being a musical spoiled brat and his deep emotional disturbances.  I think that effective treatment of that might have freed him to be more than someone who churned out discs that distorted other composers' music to be used as musical wallpaper by the middle to mid-high brow at cocktail parties.

Glenn Gould had some really attractive and even admirable personal traits and even some musical ones, those always were at risk from his tragic mental illness and terrible immaturity which the pampering he received by his public exacerbated.   I'd rather concentrate on those whenever I mention him from now on rather than the many unfortunate ones.  Maybe I'll just resist the temptation to point out what an idiot Simps is when he brings up Gould the next time.  I'd rather not participate in that use of him anymore.

Update:  Testing my resolve Simps produces a Youtube of  Gould playing the Grieg Sonata in e minor, Op.7 which demonstrates everything I said.  The boob posted a Youtube with the score so Gould's distortions are there with the evidence.  Just one example, early on there is a ff passage that he plays p which destroys a contrast the ff was obviously meant to be setting up, something  I don't think could have been anything but an intentional flouting of the composer's intentions. Then there are the slooooowww tempos, he adds about eight minutes to the time that most of the performers do. And they don't match the written tempos.  Believe me, I'm cutting the critique short.

Simps claims to know the piece "backwards and forwards" claiming to have played it.  If he understood what it would mean to know it "backwards and forwards" - I doubt he means in the manner of a canon cancrizans, only because I doubt he knows what one is -  he'd know that was an absurd claim to make. I doubt he could play the first 3 Hanon exercises backwards and forwards.

I won't post the one he sent but here's Alicia de Larrocha to give you an idea.

It's hardly my favorite piece, though as is often the case with Grieg it's generally better music than it's performances would lead you to believe.  De Larrocha plays it as well as I've heard it played. She was a very great artist.  It might be the best performance of a piece by Grieg I've heard, though his music isn't one of my enthusiasms. I've never performed him, not even when I played what my teacher told me to.  I've never taught him, either. That doesn't mean it's not good music, it just means you can only do so much in one lifetime.  If you like it, you're right to go right on liking it.


Collins The Hypocrite Complains When The Campaign Fiance System Her Supreme Court Majority Put In Place Is Used By Common People

Susan Collins and her fellow Republican Gilded Agers are whining that those nasty non-billionaries are using the system their appointees to the Supreme Court created.

On Monday, Sen. Susan Collins accused political opponents of Judge Brett Kavanaugh of attempted “bribery.” The charge itself is without any legal merit whatsoever. That complaints about the campaign finance effort came from Collins, Republican election lawyer Cleta Mitchell, and an aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell make the episode almost too rich to be believed. Their cries of bribery, illegality, and lack of principle lay bare the bankrupt campaign finance system that Mitchell and McConnell helped create and that Collins has contributed to with previous Supreme Court votes and will supersize with her likely vote to confirm Kavanaugh.

Collins labeled as a “bribe” a fundraising plan by two progressive Maine groups, aided by the company Crowdpac, to raise funds for Collins’ eventual opponent in 2020. People are pledging to give money via Crowdpac to that unknown future opponent, but donors will only be charged for the donation if Collins votes “yes” on Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. As of Tuesday night, the groups reported pledged donations of more than $1 million, with a $1.3 million goal. There were more than 39,000 individual pledges ranging from $1 to the maximum allowable donation to a candidate of $2,700.

If there's any comfort to be had in the impending disaster that having the likes of Kavanaugh making law from the bench it's in the exposure of the fraud that Susan Collins is and always has been that leaves her and her supporters in the media as naked as a naked emperor.  She voted to confirm all of the current servants of the billionaires on the court and now that We The People are using it to pressure her to not cement oligarchic depravity into place for decades, she's whining like a rusty hinge. 

It's more than likely that Susan Collins will use this as an excuse to do what she was planning on doing anyway, putting the purjurer, Republican-fascist hack and coat-hanger abortion revivalist on the court.  She will strike a pose of principled resistence to pressure, the kind of pressure she welcomes when it comes from the rich.  And the media will play it up for her.  She'll either strike that pose or in her other Susan The Sucker persona, she'll fall back on Kavanaugh's obviously phony assurances to her about Roe being settled.   She's always been the same old hypocrite, it's just that in this it's all coming back on her and she's got nowhere to run and hide. 

Anyone who had a shred of decency left the Republican Party a long time ago, no one who is part of it in 2018 has any excuse to remain in it.  Susan Collins has no shred of decency left.

Claiming You Have Science On Your Side Is No Safe Guarantee That You're Not Going To Resist Reality

I think that kind of resistance to evidence and reason mentioned demonstrated here last night is a not only a hallmark of the vulgar materialism of Republican-fascism, such as in Trump, it's also a hallmark of supposedly elite materialism of the intellectual kind.  A while back I listened to an informal debate between the life-long, conventional scientist Rupert Sheldrake and Massimo Pigliucci the materialist-atheist-scientistic philosopher from the epicenter for such  fundamentalist faith, City College New York.  Rupert Sheldrake who has a life-long career of producing experimental procedures and producing not only theory but practical results pointed out that Pigliucci's atheist ("skeptic") ideology not only never did experiments into what they pontificated about, but when presented with rigorous experimental results which produced highly significant statistical results met with a wall of (badly reasoned) theoretical response that refused to look at the results.  The excuse that such results might upset the delicate balance in the elite-atheist-materialist understand of reality, when Sheldrake responded, correctly with historical precedents showing that not to be true and not to be a problem,  Pigliucci just piled it on.  And Pigliucci is somewhat less of an irrational bigot of that sort than most of his fellows in organized, semi-pro atheism.   And he also relies on argument from authority, that authority being untested as an assumption.  The ass even resorted to Carl Sagan.

No, the pretense that they have science on their side turns out to be no less of an excuse to be a lazy, bigoted ideologue than other forms of refusing to look at evidence and facts.  There is no overall framing of reality that will make someone immune from that, whichever one is taken as having supremacy at any given time and in any given context has the potential to be used to close your mind as any other one.  I mean, if science can be used that way, anything can be.   I think Sheldrake is one of the most eminently reasonable representatives of scientific methodology, far more reasonable than Sean Carroll or Jerry Coyne, certainly more so than P.Z. Myers (the rapidly fading one) and that's due to his good will and reason than any ideological inclination he has.  To start with, he doesn't misrepresent the issues under discussion in an ideological way.

Materialism is as much an ideology as anything else, it is the faith of many of the biggest mouths who claim to represent science and ignorant people, such as those in the media, are as big a bunch of suckers for that out of their near complete ignorance of science as they would be out of ignorance of any other topic.  Really, Trump's resistance to reality is just another flavor of something that's widespread.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

It Was Way Way Back To July 10 That I Had To Explain This To One Of The Brite Lites of Duncan's Brain Trust

I have to ask, is it immoral for me to continue to brawl with someone as incredibly stupid as Stupy?   This was just part of tonight's brawl as seen on the comment thread immediately below this one.  UPDATE:  It just occured to me that Simels is exhibiting exactly the same kind of behavior that Bob Woodward described in Trump when he was totally resistant to his highest level administration members pointing out reality - even numerical reality in such things as the percentage of trade cases found in favor of the U.S. - against Trump's long held, fervently believed but totally bonkers beliefs.  I guess it really is a characteristic not uncommon to those of the NYC area.  Even mathematics can't make a dent in such stupidity

steve simelsSeptember 12, 2018 at 8:40 PM
Says the guy who thinks the boro of Queens can't be more diverse than the rest of New York City because Queens is in New York City.


The Thought CriminalSeptember 12, 2018 at 8:46 PM
I knew you wouldn't understand that when I explained it to you using elementary set theory. You must have been in remedial math from 7th - 12th grade. A subset of a universal set might be AS diverse as the universal set but it can't be more diverse than the universal set because any element contained in the subset is also an element of the universal set. And all it would take is one member of the universal set that wasn't contained in the subset for it to be more diverse than the subset. Of course, it, to some extent, would depend on how you defined that because anyone who didn't live in Queens but lived in NYC would have the characteristic of not being a resident of Queens. You cold come up with numerous definitions that would work that way to defeat your idiotic belief.

steve simelsSeptember 12, 2018 at 8:53 PM
Queens is a separate entity from New York City. You're a blithering fucking idiot. It's quite amazing.

The Thought CriminalSeptember 12, 2018 at 8:56 PM
This is rich, me having to explain to you AGAIN [for the second time in one summer] that Queens is one of the boroughs of New York City, it is a part of New York City. I know you figure it's the hub of the universe but even Boston's most parochial class gave up that absurd notion about that city a long time ago.

Your parents must have found the most idiotic of "progressive schools" to send their special needs child to. I'd just have gotten rid of the TV.

steve simelsSeptember 12, 2018 at 8:59 PM
Nobody can be that stupid unless they're doing a performance art piece.

The Thought CriminalSeptember 12, 2018 at 9:08 PM
If you were always this stupid, Stupy, you would have to be considered feeble minded.

Try this list of the members of the City Council of New York City in which #19 through 32 are listed as from Queens.

I don't know if it's stupidity or just what I've pointed out so recently that everything you say is a lie, including "and" everything you just pull out of your butt.

Go tell your fellow Eschatots about this exchange, Stupy, I'd love to see them failing to support your idiocy and love even more to see them trying to support it.

Imagine that, me, a hick from the woods of Maine and I know more about the political system of New York City than an ass who thinks he's a big City wise guy.

Will Frasier Reboot As A Jordan Peterson YouTube Clone?

This is hilarious.  It starts out with a caller to Majority Report about  far right-wing  Hollywood has-been  Kelsey Grammar trying to reboot his TV show and morphs into a discussion of Jordan Peterson's all meat diet and his claim of how apple juice is his kryptonite. 

The culture of the American-fascist right is gross.  If Canada were smart they'd make sure Peterson got on this side of the border and seal it against him.

I'm going to go eat some apples. Maybe it will keep both of them away.

Dusan Bogdanovic - Lullaby for Angel Fire

Dusan Bogdanovic, Lullaby for Angel Fire, with Charlie Haden. Charlie Haden, bass and Dusan Bogdanovic, guitar recorded in 1983. Produced by Lee Townsend. Published by Singidunum Music.

Image: R.C.Gorman, Navajo Woman watching close.

An extremely beautiful piece from Dusan Bogdanovic with Charlie Haden

Neil deGrasse Tyson Endorsed Trump's Space Force Fantasy

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an ass who doesn't understand what Trump's "Space Force" is.   The ass said he doesn't know anything about it on Stephen Colbert's show.  But he thinks he, as Carl Sagan's heir of America's Sci-Geek position has an ability to support the creation of the program. 

Neil deGrasse Tyson proves that a TV scientist who doesn't know what he's talking about can be as big an idiot as someone who spouts ignorantly while not having a PhD in science from an Ivy League university.  Colbert knew more about what Trump is proposing than Tyson did.  Colbert should have on someone who knows what the issue is actually about to tell people about it, probably someone without the TV celebrity.  As Seen on TV geniuses are just hype. 

Computers As Vampires Of Democracy: It's Time For People Willing To Put Their Names To Things To Be In Charge, Not Computers Programmed By Cyber Whores

The other day when I wanted to read more about George Papadopoulos's changing, post sentencing claims about what he said to the Australian diplomat, I noticed while searching on Google I got a whole listing of right wing-Putin-Trump friendly outlets in the "news" listing.  My first inclination was to suspect that Putin-Republican or other geeks had ratfucked the search algorithms of Google to give such a weird result that is certainly not based on my clicking.  I've been experimenting with trying the same search on lesser used, lesser known browsers and am not finding the same results.  I  find it very hard to believe that most of the people who were searching the topics I got that result from are clicking on right-wing-Putin-Trump friendly lie spouting sources so I conclude that it's probably a result of artificial manipulation.  I think that's inevitably a possibility in any algorithm driven system, that people who can buy sophisticated nerds without any morals will skew what the search engines, etc. do.

I had to scoff the other day when the generally sensible people at Majority Report gave the conventional claim that the demonstrably rat-fucked Wikipedias are reliable.  I think they share the common faith in science and technology to an unrealistic degree, even the most sci-skeptical of them, Michael Brooks.  My conclusion from looking at controversial topics on Wikipedia is that you don't get reliable reliability without people putting their names on reference materials.  When it's not only anonymous people who hijack an online source but it's the bots hacked by anonymous and amoral nerds, it's compounding the unreliability of these things.

I predict that we're going to find that these systems, driven by anonymity and liable to manipulation of the kind that we are finding is ubiquitous are a danger to democracy and the world and that, as with the world fed on lies, the choice is between those and the possibility of democracy and decency.  I don't think it is going to be possible to make such things safe for democracy, I think it's going to be a matter of banning them or removing them from the kind of amoral geek-businessmen for whom "don't be evil" is just a sales slogan, not a moral absolute.

Democracy is under attack from many things, many of those driven by the intentions of geeks in the pay of people like Putin, others choosing to ignore them because it enhances the profitability of their companies.  When you put computers in control, automated "decision making" instead of people making those decisions, the potential for it to damage democracy increases.  "Demos" the common people can't be replaced by bots, algorithms, automatic pilots susceptible to that kind of manipulation without it damaging democracy.  The People knowing the truth, the real truth, the truth, not a result of popular delusion is the life blood of democracy.  Computers, under their for-profit development since the internet came into wide use, turn out to be more like vampires than servants of The People.

Media Fed Racism Puts Us In Danger From Racists And They're Found Everywhere

One of the things we found out about Donald Trump since he became president is that he carries the anti-Puerto Rican bigotry that wasn't uncommonly found among white New York City residents in the 1950s.  That goes along with his other forms of racism, certainly against Black Americans, the entire population of Africa, and even ethnic groups with white skin.  The man is every racist stereotype embodied in fat and troll hair.  There is a lot of evidence he inherited the tendency from his father, Fred Trump, active in the 1920s KKK, but Trump's racism has certainly been formed by the force in his life which probably rivals his father, his consumption of electronic media.  Given his obvious TV based attention deficiency I would bet that any tendency gained from his father is long ago swamped by what he sees on the screen.

Given his administration is the one which is trying to bring back WWII style detention camps, only instead of Japanese Americans it would be children, I think we are within reason to believe his racism is the reason he sees close to 3,000 Puerto Ricans dead in a hurricane, most of them during his administration's criminally negligent response to it.  His racism is the why the funding of his concentration camps led to his Department of Justice raiding FEMA funds right as hurricane season was starting this year.   Some of the dead from Hurricane Florence will be a direct result of the racism Trump learned in New York City as he was growing up, the racism of people like his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is also responsible.  Not to mention the racism of people like Rupert Murdoch and the staff of FOX and CNN.  Trump being in office is directly attributable to the American media, the cabloids, hate talk radio and everything up to and including the New York Times which did its best to sandbag Trumps opponent in 2016.

I am sure that A. G. Sulzberger would be among those in the media who deny that they are racists, or, at least, that their publications are racist.  Whatever personal habits he has in that regard are not the issue, it is in the media he produces.  He, like his father, grandfather, etc. are justifiably held responsible for what they produce, its biases are rightly attributed to them, as the racism of their media justifiably attributed to Rupert Murdoch and the owners of Sinclair and other, more overt distributors of racism.

I wonder how far they've come from this bizarre 1977 article about anti-Puerto Rican bias as a burden to those of the middle class that seems to contain as many negative stereotypes as it calls out.  Glancing at it again, the stereotypes promoted are far more.  As I've mentioned before, that was the time that there was something of a fashion of vicious racism among some gay men in New York City, I think it was a reflection of elite media in the city of that time.   I think that elite was trying to harness racism to move New York city politics to its liking not much different from how it has been done on the national level by Republicans and Republican media.  We know Trump was probably absorbing that fashion for racism, either first or second hand.  Probably the far more overt form of it in NYC TV and hate talk radio.  Now, in office, he and his appointees are bringing in the crop sown back then.

Americans know, or at least have the most recent updated body count that Trump declares constitutes a great job because he doesn't see the people who died as important, as someone pointed out the current number is close to the ones who died in the 9-11 attacks, being commemorated as the Boob In Chief was patting himself on his back.   Figuring out what the factor of racism is in those figures would take more calculation but we certainly know that it was a major contributing factor, as it was in the Hurricane Katrina flooding and its aftermath in 2005.   I strongly suspect the numbers dead in Puerto Rico will go higher, I wouldn't be surprised if the numbers released so long after the event are a low estimate.  I'll bet that the number of those dead from racism in just that disaster are higher than those who died in 9-11.  When you add those from New Orleans, they certainly are larger.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Kavanaugh Is a Perjurer Who Kamala Will Nail

This exchange should be front and center for as long as Kavanaugh is on any  federal bench. 

Sam Seder nearly spoils it by trying to be too sympathetic to the scumbucket.

Monday, September 10, 2018

I've been called away on a family emergency, I told you it could happen anytime.  I will not post anything until tomorrow evening Eastern Daylight Time in the Western Hemisphere.  

Stupid Mail

Freki's the idiot who's agreeing with Stupy. why should I care what the Brit skank says?   She's as big a liar as he is, only she's not as stupid as he is so she does it by choice. 

I Haven't Heard Anyone Say It So I Will

I think what Kamala Harris was doing with her seemingly mysterious question that Kavanaugh dodged and weaved around for two days about his meeting with Trump's lawyers, was looking forward to the time when the question of Kavanaugh  recusing himself or not over Trump corruption issues is relevant.  If that's the case then there is every reason for her not to release it now knowing that when Collins, Murkowski, Flake, etc. rubber-stamp Donald Trump's perjurer and liar to the court that they'd declare that a moot point.   That and the Democrats were preparing the groundwork for impeaching his lying ass and removing him from the Court.  I think one of the greatest services Democrats could do, if they were able to, is to start real impeachment of members of the Supreme Court when they have cause and finally making impeachment at that level a real way to remove criminals.  If they could get rid of Trump that way, it's high time they started making that real.  Otherwise we should just admit we have an elected monarchy. 

An Excellent Though Not Immediately Obvious Example of How Natural Selection ("Adaptation") Is Useful For Producing Bull Shit Science

RMJ has a very good post up about some soc-sci claims about a recent one of those soc-sci things that they write a paper about, maybe it gets picked up by some other allied soc-sci guys but most likely not many and not for long before the next new thing comes by and it is cast onto the enormous pile which is the boneyard of discontinued science, the largest part of it, the soc-sci side.

I read through the paper the Salon-Raw article by Paul Rosenberg RMJ references is based in, "A “Need for Chaos” and the Sharing of Hostile Political Rumors in Advanced Democracies" or, rather the pre-print pdf available through the link and it's a mix of references (almost all the ones by authors I recognize in that major section in the boneyard, evo-psych),  some pretty obvious truisms, some of which, like the fact that dictators and genocidalists such as the ones in Rwanda use the mass media to instigate and promote mass murders.

I will stop to note that dictators have had no problem understanding that going back into classical times and they have been far better than so-called scientists in understanding the fact that advances in communications technology has the effect of entirely enhancing the usefulness of such things as electronic mass media to lie and gull those prone to doing their will into doing it.  I doubt that a single dictator who got and used a radio station or TV network to propagandize through sensational lies needed science to tell them it worked. That is so obvious and widely known that science can hardly lay claim to the idea.  I doubt that Félicien Kabuga needed social science to bankroll Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines, the major instigator of the genocide in Rwanda.


I will stop here to note that when I went to Raw Story to read the interview with one of the paper's author, there was a Zergnet hook to a story "JFK Files Reveal A Potentially Disturbing Concern About Hitler" the usual one, that he didn't die in the Fuhrerbunker but survived the war.   That even as they decried the effect that rumors have on politics.  Just an amusing point of interest.  I will forego the temptation to point out that ad-votainment appearing at Raw Story is what comes of depending on computer based algorithms instead of human judgement, as mentioned below.


Reading over the methodology of the cited research (from the bottom of page 8), it was so baroque, so complex, so prone to make absurd claims such as the Danish and U.S. "rights" and "lefts" being comparable and their adherents were comparable  and that their motivations in spreading diverse rumors could be rationally considered to even be the same.

They announce their purpose as universal,  "The goal of the present manuscript is to identify the psychological underpinnings that motivates citizens to share hostile political rumors within advanced democracies."  so, their methodologies and their subject sample is supposed to tell us that about anywhere from hundreds of millions to billions of people who live in different societies and different cultural milieus with different political systems and contexts.  Their own research was done on 1006 subjects, asked to respond to 6 different rumors. Since it is a virtual certainty that any one of them responding in exactly the same way as even one other of the 1006 is much, much less than fifty-fifty, their actual sample sizes in determining different "identities" are far, far smaller than 1006.  Considering  what they are claiming to be able to do,  I'd say for it to mean anything, you have to calculate the odds based on the fraction of identical responses among the fractions of those placed in each country and political identity within those national contexts.  As is almost always the case with these kinds of supposedly scientific studies, the conclusions are based on tiny, tiny percentages of the universal set of all people they are making those claims about and the more complex and varied the vectors they are claiming constitutes their "data" the more far-fetched the entire thing becomes*.  Often the claims stated, especially in the media, in black and white terms are based on extremely small differences in percentages which are as able to be wrong as not.  Their usefulness in telling you anything in practical terms is swamped by the kind of folk lore that is what is actually used to decide to spread a lie you like. 

And if you think that last paragraph is complex, read the methodology and claims made in the paper.  If one person in the audience of political scientists this paper was presented to had the same understand as the man presenting the paper is doubtful. I doubt more than one in 10,000 of them could have understood the numbers included in the paper or what their alleged significance is.  I doubt 10,000 people will ever read the paper, I wonder if its reviewers actually did.  I doubt that any two of the authors actually has the same understanding of what they're claiming.  I am almost certain that the Salon-Raw Story journalist doesn't.

I conclude nothing new about the use of rumors and sensational gossip and lies about politics from having spent more time on the bogus paper than I suspect the political scientists spent with it at its presentation.   What I do conclude is that a lot of this stuff consists of nothing more than them having software they can plug numbers into, pressing enter and getting it to chug out other numbers which they peddle as evidence supporting a "new syndrome" which is a truism that, as I noted, people have known from time immemorial.

The potential for such software-based "science" to create a conventional consensus view of the world as "science" when it tells you not much if anything about reality is far more in need of being named as a "syndrome" than what these people have published as science.  The institute where the research is was done. "The Politics And Evolution Lab" is just another example of the generally bad effect that Darwinism, natural selection, has had on science. Their motto is, "The Politics and Evolution Lab (PoNE Lab) is a research unit dedicated to investigating how the adaptive challenges of human evolutionary history shape the way modern citizens think about mass politics."  If you scoffed, rightly, at the claim that ancient Rome and China could produce "data" of knowable usefulness in doing that, the idea that you could get it from our ancient hominid, vertebrate or even the ancestors we share with ants could give you data points is even more ridiculous.

The use of the words "evolution" "natural selection" "adaptive" etc. to peddle bull shit as science would seem to be one of the most wide spread of delusional phenomena among the college-credentialed set, today.  It always seems to work no matter how big a load it is, no matter how blatantly they violate scientific method to make those claims.  I do think the ultimate just-so story of natural selection played a large role in that, though it began farther back than that, Darwin was the one who set all hell loose in that regard.

*  Consider the use of the word "data" in this sentence from Paul Rosenberg's Raw Story-Salon article:

Turchin describes and presents data for several contributing factors and processes, which he identifies in societies from ancient Rome and China to the present.

I'd like to know exactly what "data" from ancient Rome and China means and who, exactly collected that data and what their sample size was.  And, a question almost as ridiculous in today's social-science as it would be to ask about then, was theirs a valid random sample of the population?   Did they rank their feelings on a scale of one to six, or ten?  Would their answers have been the same six moths after if tested again?

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Old Business

I am asked what I was talking about the other day about my big blow up at the blog I used to write for.  I wrote it up at the time in three pieces I posted here right after it happened.  It's probably more complicated than anyone really wants to go through, but  . . .

The incident I referred to was when the journalist Lindsay Beyerstein posted an inaccurate and seriously distorted piece about a post I wrote dealing with Sugar Ray Leonard's claim that his bad behavior was related to an alleged incident of someone making a gay pass at him when he was an adult.  She misrepresented what I said in her piece which was then used by Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon who repreated distortions of what I said to get a column out of it.  Lindsay Beyerstein is the daughter of Barry Beyerstein who, dead by that time,  had been an active but minor figure in professional atheism ("skepticism") of the pre-Dawkins period, one of the CSICOP gang.   His writing as a psychologist directly supported what I had said in the piece that his daughter misrepresented.  Which I thought was entirely legitimate to point out.  And still do.

Lindsay Beyerstein has had what I assume is a paid role in that kind of organized "skepticism" though I don't follow their antics much while I'm not writing about them I do know that much about her.  It's how I figured out the connection to Barry Beyerstein who I knew about years before that.

In looking at her then "Big Think" blog to research that piece, to see if my name appeared on it before that incident,  I found out that one fan of the CSICOP cult, maybe a member (they posted under a pseudonym) had earlier posted a comment on Beyerstein's blog calling out the flying monkey squad to attack me when I criticized Martin Gardner.   Beyerstein answered the comment so she knew I'd written critically about CSICOP and Gardner,  a, then, major figure in her family side-line of pseudo-skepticism.  Which I found and do find relevant to what she said about me. 

That incident did play a minor but crucial part in my developing thinking about the role that ideological atheism played in damaging a regard for the truth which, in turn, did serious damage to the real left instead of the secular (read "atheist") play-left, something I had written about a number of times before the piece about Sugar Ray Leonard's claim.  To understand it you do have to read the post that started it all and the firestorm of comments (which I think are probably taken down - I haven't bothered to look) which led to me coming to some important conclusions about the uses of stereotypes and accusations and how what was used against gay men was different from what was used to advantage straight men and to damage women and similar issues.

It's complicated but lots of things are.  Now, aren't you sorry you asked?