Saturday, February 2, 2019

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Tom Stoppard - The Dog It Was That Died

As I said I got called out on a family thing.  I have to go back out so I'm reduced to posting a classic but at least it's one that was written to be played on radio.  I haven't listened to this posting of it but it's the right length.  I'll listen to it later and look for a cast list. 

Saturday Night Radio Drama Delayed

Got called out suddenly.   I'll post a drama later or tomorrow. 

Between Seasons

RMJ has an excellent article up about Candlemas, February 2, the ancient end of the Christmas season.  It's a mixed blessing that Americans don't extend the Christmas season till today, though they'd just find a way of turning it into a sales opportunity so maybe not that mixed.

It did remind me that this year Ash Wednesday, the next big liturgical occasion, the beginning of the lovely Lenten season, isn't until March 6.     Which strikes me as way too late, though not as late as it can get. That would be March 10, I just looked it up, I didn't know that. That means Easter is not till way into April, which just doesn't seem right to me.  Ash Wednesday can also be as early as February 4th, two days after the end of the Christmas season.  Movable feasts, what-ya-gonna-do?

Nostalgic yearning for lent, what an odd habit.   I guess I could find something to give up in the meanwhile.   Can austerity turn into a personal indulgence?  I know wanting it for other people can, that is all too common.  I'd better stop that before this turns into another rant about billionaires, especially those who want to renew Trump so they can keep even more money than they'll ever use in a thousand lifetimes.  I'd rather be the opposite of that, compared to being a billionaire, it's a sign of mental health.

On The Ralph Northam Controversy

First, I'm not from Virginia, Ralph Northam isn't my governor, so what I think isn't important.  The Governorship of Virginia belongs to the People of Virginia, not other people, not even the people who hold it.  They are just given the PRIVILEGE of serving as Governor.

Second, considering the piece of racist-Republican-fascist shit who held the Maine governorship for eight years WITHOUT THE NATIONAL MEDIA CALLING ON HIM TO RESIGN EVEN AS HE SPOUTED RACISM AS A MIDDLE-AGED ADULT WHILE HOLDING A GOVERNORSHIP, what Ralph Northam has admitted to having done as a dopey student thirty years ago, with decades of intervening BEHAVIOR to judge him on, this is what the Republican-fascists who exposed that picture wanted it to be, a hit job on a relatively progressive Democrat.

Third, far be it from me to tell Black People in Virginia or elsewhere how they should think about this but, I'm sure, if Democratic politicians could be knocked off for things they did more than three decades ago or things they said about LGBTQ People, the Republican-fascists could probably destroy any chance of change.  I am a firm believer in personal change and personal redemption from things worse than Northam did when he was an idiot of a Med student.   I would judge him on what he's done in the past ten years, the past twenty years, not on what happened before those years of evidence intervened.

This isn't like Brett Kavanaugh whose public career has been of a piece with his behavior when he was trying to rape women and PUBLICLY, WITH WITNESSES, assaulting women. 

A decade of good work should certainly cancel out what Northam did as an idiot twenty-something.

Fourth, to those who are worried that Northam not doing what so many are calling on him to do, resign, would be to not be pure enough, no one is pure.  No one is without shame.  How many of them would be able to withstand a hard look at their behavior during their twenties and teen years.   I will point out that when Joy Reid's far more recent online comments regarding LGBT people came out I said the same thing about that.  And she was a lot older than Northam was when he did stupid shit.  I'm willing to judge people on what they do at their best, not what they say at their stupidest.  I'd never want Joy Reid to resign for some stupid thing she said as an adult.  She's too good for that, I say judge Northam by what he does now, too.

Hate Mail - You've Led Me To Decide That February Will Concentrate On This Topic

Show me anything from any atheist organization like the Freedom From Religion Foundation, even those allegedly of the left, as that fraud started out claiming to be, that matches just this passage from Walter Brueggemann, based completely and forcefully on both the First and Second Testament of the Bible you mock.

And we have to recognize that the totalism in which we live is a system of incredible militarization, so that on the one hand what we are seeing is the militarization of the police, and on the other hand we are seeing the militarization of sports.

It turns out that the NFL is really the great military liturgy. And now at NFL football games, the announcer says, “Please stand, and place your hand on your heart.” It's kind of coerced patriotism. And we are able to see, if you just look at anything on television, that the totalism is committed to consumerism. It believes that more stuff will somehow make us safe, and will somehow make us happy. So, this combination of acquisitiveness, militarization, and consumerism adds up to a doctrine of exceptionalism, which then gets translated into "Make America Great Again." And it is all blessed by an anemic God who has no function except to bless white nationalism.

If you just take the case of Colin Kaepernick, you can see that this system is ready to ruthlessly silence anyone who speaks or acts to the contrary. So what prophetic judgment amounts to is making the case that acquisitiveness leads to violence, that militarization leads to bankruptcy, that consumerism leads to the evaporation of citizenship, that ecological exploitation leads to chaotic weather, that silencing leads to brutality, and that exceptionalism leads to white tribalism. It is a package that needs to be exposed at the teaching level of the religious community.

So the first task is to identify the totalism. The second task is to identify the contradictions that put us on the route to death, because one can see that we now live in a society that is engaged in its self-destruction.

Organized atheism is no alternative to that totalism, it shares in the exact same foundation in materialist scientistic worship of technology and the cargo-cult of ever multiplying products to make at an enormous environmental cost and cost in slave labor, to sell, to use briefly (using environmentally damaging energy production), then to send to the landfill or to be broken up for the poisonous components of it in third-world hell holes, some of those in the Marxist paradises such as China.   All of which is based on the profit-making and wealth concentrating system of slave labor and wage slavery.   In all too many instances "work" is slavery with a pittance being paid to those kept in bare subsistence if that. 

Nothing in organized atheism, not even the remnants of the Marxist atheists, is as radical as what Brueggemann lays out in that article, some of what he said in the talk I posted yesterday strikes me as being even more radical.  If the ecnonomic laws of Deuteronomy were the law of the land, billionaires would disappear, destitution would disappear, the leveling effect would be profound, debt slavery would end.  Debt slavery is, as Brueggemann has pointed out, one of the issues that is constantly addressed in The Bible from Exodus to the last mention of it in the epistles.  His argument about how the story of Joseph and Pharaoh's dreams about famine and the system that was set up to turn The People into slaves and how the central narrative of the Bible, the Exodus story is not only a complaint about that but a practical means of ending and avoiding such things should be at the center of a real egalitarian democratic left.   Not some lame-asssed Ronald Reagan jr. fame fucking promotion of the scientistic materialism that is one of the central pillars of the totalism that oppresses us and which any real left has to fight.   Atheism is inherently totalistic, its central ideology, materialism is a totalistic ideological holding. It will always end up oppressing people.

The Superbowl is the central religious holiday of the American Mammonist part of that totalism.  It is the most anti-Christian day of the year.  As Brueggemann has pointed out, the football industry has claimed "We own Sunday" a day which used to be devoted, at least in theory, to God.  The extent to which any christian institution or sect or denomination tolerates that is the extent to which it has joined the totalism.  As can be seen in much of Brueggemann's work, religion is self critical, atheism never is as the Mammonism that it is a part of never is, either.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Reagan jr, Ronald Reagan jr. . . . I'm so Tired Of Getting Trolled Over That Stupid Ad on During Rachel's Program.

Anyone who would choose the banal, historically inaccurate and dishonest propaganda of The Freedom From Religion Foundation over Walter Brueggemann's  radical alternative to even that adjunct of the market totalism is too stupid to argue with. 

I think I'll either find where this talk is published as text or transcribe it over the next month in lieu of reposting my series on the history of abolitionism from several years ago.  This talk is all about how we are enslaved even as slavery is abolished, especially those who were alleged to be emancipated. 

"Ronald Reagan jr. . . ."  It's all you talk about. 

He's not God, you know.

In Denial Knows No Bounds - Do These Guys Ever Listen To What They're Saying?

A comment which will not be posted complains that I noted Hillary Clinton was originally from Illinois in listing the states Democratic nominees for president and vice president have been from for the past 100 years.   The claim is that, contrary to geography, Chicago isn't in Illinois or, since it was the point I was making, I guess, the mid-west.   I will note that the guy, who has a distinct problem withe women and, in particular, women of color doesn't seem to be upset that I noted Barack Obama was from Illinois (originally Hawaii), he didn't complain about  the fact that that meant he moved to Chicago as an adult.   

Unlike Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton grew up in Illinois.  Unlike Barack Obama who attended exclusively private schools, in Indonesia and Hawaii, the state of his Birth, Hillary Clinton attended public schools in Illinois until she went to college.  Since another point I was making yesterday was about the egalitarian, leveling effect of public schooling, that was a notable lapse in the commentator's attention.  Hillary Clinton was certainly the most qualified person to have ever gotten the nomination of a real party (or any party) on the basis of her job experience and education and her experience of living in different places for significant lengths of time. 

I think Hillary Clinton would have very possibly been a great president, though the Republican-fascists in the Congress, on the Court and in the media would have attacked her constantly.   I think the sandbagging of her by the media from the sewers of FOX and Sinclair to the grubby rich rag, the NY Times which installed Trump is a crime against the American People.  I think they'll do the same thing in 2020 because the billionaires who own the media* have the psychosis that leads almost every billionaire to be obsessed with keeping more money than they could ever spend in thousands of lifetimes by all of their family members.  Misogyny and racism will also be a part of that, it already is.  Clearly you don't have to be a billionaire to participate in that,  I mean, this guy is denying geography you should have learned in 4th grade.

*  I don't know if the Sulzberger family are billionaires but they're a malignant force in American life.  What the NYT gives, it takes away several fold.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

On The Accusation That Democrats Don't Respect The South And Mid-West

Giving some thought to what was said about "neglected regions" in the country in my first post.  I was curious to see where the presidential and vice-presidential candidates for the two parties came from, which I think is as good an indication of regional respect as anything short of appropriations of money.    I have gone back 100 years for the Democrats, the results tell quite a tale of honoring the sons and daughter of "the heartland" not to mention the South and other places Democrats are alleged to not respect.  I might get around to comparing it with Republicans and where their candidates come from, someday.  If someone wants to make the list for me to copy and post, I'd do that.

Hillary Clinton New York, (originally Ill., then Arkansas) -  Tim Kaine (Virginia)

Barack Obama, Illinois (originally Hawaii)  -  Joe Biden, Delaware

John Kerry Massachusetts -  John Edwards, North Carolina

Al Gore, Tennessee - Joe Lieberman Connecticut

Bill Clinton, Arkansas  -  Al Gore, Tennessee

Michael Dukakis, Massachusetts - Lloyd Bentsen, Texas

Walter Mondale, Minnesota  -  Geraldine Ferraro,  New York

Jimmy Carter Georgia -  Walter Mondale Minnesota

George McGovern, South Dakota - Thomas Eagleton Missouri (won the nomination then was replaced by Sargent Shriver, Maryland)

Hubert Humphrey, Minnesota -  Edmund Muskie,  Maine

Lyndon Johnson,  Texas -  Hubert Humphrey, Minnesota

John Kennedy,  Massachusetts -   Lyndon Johnson, Texas

Adlai Stevenson, Illinois  - John Sparkman, Alabama

Adlai Stevenson, Illinois -  Estes Kefaver Tennessee

Harry Truman, Missouri -  Alben Barkley, Kentucky

Franklin D. Roosevelt, New York -  Harry Truman, Missouri

Franklin D Roosevelt,  New York - Henry Wallace, Iowa

Franklin D Roosevelt,  New York - John Nance Garner, Texas

Al Smith, New York  - Joseph Taylor Robinson, Arkansas

John W. Davis, West Virginia  -  Charles W. Bryan, Nebraska

James M. Cox.  Ohio  -  Franklin D. Roosevelt. New York

Woodrow Wilson.  New Jersey -  Thomas R. Marshall.  Indiana       

It would be even more interesting to get back farther but I figured a cut off within the lives of those still living would be as good a test as any.   Thomas Marshall, who I read a bit about last year, was quite an interesting figure.  He should be remembered for more than that quip about a good 5 cent cigar.

Is Pete Buttigieg Going Places?

First, Pete Buttigieg,  the mayor of  South Bend, Indiana can't be faulted for a lack of ambition,  a gay, 37 year old mayor of a mid-sized city that doesn't get in the national news much who declares as a candidate for president is shooting higher than a rational person would.  Hearing him on the radio he doesn't sound either stupid or delusional so I assume this is him getting ready to run for an office higher than Mayor but lower than President.  So I don't take his candidacy as being anything but that. I don't usually approve of futile candidacies but I don't think his is an exercise in futility, at his age.   I don't know much about him so I don't know if I'd like him and his policies.  He is a Harvard product and, if that wasn't enough, a Rhodes Scholar (Oxford, sheesh!).  I think we've tried enough of those to be unimpressed with them as public servants.  I can hear some point out that one of those who I will probably  support, Elizabeth Warren has links to Harvard.  Well, she taught there but she got her law degree from Rutgers, a public university.   Buttigieg's being a prep-school grad, St. Joseph's, attached to the Catholic Ivy-equivalent,  Notre Dame, doesn't inspire my confidence, either.   I'm not saying that someone with his background couldn't get my support but how he supports public schools is a make or break issue for a prep-Ivy guy.  And by that I mean real public schools not public financed preps, "charters." Those should be abolished.  I don't know his record on that, it might be excellent.  For all I know he's an exception to the prep-Ivy elite.  More on that in a minute.

The only reason I'm writing this is that during his interview on NPR this morning Buttigieg talked about Indiana being "a part of the country that has been neglected" something you often hear from people in the mid-west.  Well, actually, you hear it from states and regions all over the country.   Like people love to think of their region as characterized by "rugged individualism," and other such bromides but we all seem to love to think of ourselves as "neglected".  All those "rugged individualists" everywhere also seem to have a whiny streak of self-pity, as part of it. 

And it's not as if areas in those places most paid attention to, New York City, Washington DC, Los Angeles, etc. don't have neighborhoods and even boroughs that are as neglected as the most obscure counties in every state.   I think what that means is that the media ignores most of the country, which it does.  If the largely wealthy, largely white, largely prep-Ivy owners and gate keepers of the media either don't know about or don't care about the people who live where you do, it is "a part of the country that has been neglected."   The decline of local media, local newspapers, LOCALLY OWNED electronic media WHICH IS REQUIRED TO SERVE ITS LOCAL AREA BY LAW, contributes to that.

And, I don't think that Indiana is all that neglected, to tell you the truth, its rejected media-figure governor is likely to become president once Trump is forced out, he's probably already come to the corrupt deal of pardoning him and his family members - Republicans are the champions of saving the asses of their criminals by pardon.  Pence will, I predict, be as incompetent and sleazy and, in the end, despised as president as he was as Indiana's Governor.  Even the Republicans hated him.

Its congressional delegations have certainly held at least as much if not more power than the size of the state warrants, many of them going on to have control of departments and agencies in the executive branch.   Indiana comes in at #17 in terms of population so there are 16 states that have the right to complain that it has more influence in the Senate per person than their states.  Mine comes in at #42 and I admit that my having as many Senators as California and New York is wrong.

I am looking forward to getting to know more about Pete Buttigieg who may be the real thing, he seems and sounds credible.  From the little I've read about him online, he seems to be willing to make hard decisions that might cost him politically, no politician who is worthy of higher office chickens out of making those.  If he overcomes my allergy to Ivy I could even see supporting him in about a decade.  I would certainly like to see him serve in the House to get to know something about DC while avoiding becoming ensnared in the slimier parts of that mire.   I hope he is authentic.  I've supported a number of people from the middle of the country, Tom Harkin, Mo Udall, George McGovern . . . come to think of it, maybe I'd jinx him by supporting him.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Abolish Billionaires They Will Always Be A Danger To Egalitarian Democracy

Whoever that guy was who heckled the Starbucks billionaire Howard Schultz at a Barnes and Nobel so well was my hero of the week.  He said it so well, I'll just quote him.

"Don't help elect Trump you egotistical billionaire asshole!"

If that will keep the creep from doing the "independent" spoiler thing to help Trump, who knows.  Reportedly Alexandria Occasio-Cortez has billionaires so shook that they're itching to block the possibility of economic justice and they don't care who it enables. 

If there's one thing that having Trump in power proves, it's that billionaires are a danger to us all.  I don't think it's possible for a democracy to survive having billionaires, a lot of the damage that started in the 1950s and 60s was due to the influence of the likes of David Rockefeller.  We should be dispossessing them back into being merely obscenely rich and relatively limited in danger instead of a clear and present danger to democracy and even life on Earth. I think that it's time for us to start speaking about what a danger it is to have people that rich in the world.   If people want to know why working people are getting stiffed, what else can you expect to be the result of there being so many billionaires, who, let's be honest, all are either crooks and gangsters or they are almost certain to quickly turn into those.   A guy who has two million dollars who gets pissed off when his wealth is taxed at a fair rate for the common good might be a menace to the common good on a local or even a state level, billionaires, individually and collectively are dangerous to a far greater degree. 

Since I was so hard on the Majority Report crew yesterday,  I'll post their mostlly excellent take on this, noting what Howard Schultz said about "democracy" hearing his use of the word because, hearing that just now, it is a demonstration of what I posted earlier this morning.

I do think that Jamie Peck needs to get over Bernie Sanders, there are lots of people who do need to get over him.  His running another campaign would have more of the same effect that Howard Schultz running would have than helping things to change.  If a Democrat doesn't win, if Democrats don't win, the extent to which the "left" Green or Bernie or Buster prevents them winning, is the extent to which they are doing exactly the same thing this Starbucks billionaire is doing.

I have never been so glad that I've never, once, been in a Starbucks as I am since Schultz started this.  I'm proud to say I drink rot-gut, store brand instant with a pinch of salt and watered down to make the taste tolerable.  It's no where near as bitter as it would be to know I'd enabled this jerk.

Hate Mail - "What's your reason for writing this shit?"

Oh, that's not very interesting to me.  More interesting to me is why people read it. I have had relatively few people comment on what I write as compared to the statistics on who reads it.  I don't look at those very often but I've never been able to figure out anything about that from looking at those.

Why did you read what you're complaining about?  You asked so you go first. 

Democracy Dying On The Altar Of "Democracy" And "Liberty"

It's necessary when using the word "democracy" to be more specific because there are forms of democracy that are fundamentally different from egalitarian democracy.  Frankly, if it were possible to drop the word "democracy" and be understood to mean what I mean I'd do it because "democracy" is a word that, if anything, is even more damaged than "socialism" by those who have latched onto it, everyone from Marx to Hitler and many others of that ilk, in the later, pretty much everyone, these days, when it's "democracy".

The original "democracy," the Athenian democracy,was by modern standards, a seriously awful system in which a small group of Athenian men, defined in terms of gender, family lineage and class, had some say in the governance of Athens and its occupied territories.  They maintained a terrible and harshly oppressive rule over Women, People held in slavery, minors, foreigners, etc.   I mentioned recently that even an Athenian citizen could lose his status by being the passive partner in sex, even, in some cases, if it was not voluntary on their part.   Their phallocentric despotism was, as one gay scholar I heard say in the early 70s, "fucked up."*  It was, in effect, rule of a territory by hereditary male gang who, granted, had a taste for a life of the mind. Which only goes to show that without the Jewish ethic of justice and the kind of love that is the central ethic of Christianity, even a life of the mind will serve greed and oppression, oppression which is based in violence.  Why the Athenian democracy maintains anything like its status as a role model for egalitarian democracy is only proof of how a word can formally mean very different things but even educated people will simplify on the basis of convenience and laziness. It is nothing like what I mean.

The American democracy, which, of course, the friggin' Founders never wanted, was and still is far from perfect.  Lots of it was based in their 18th century conception of the even less democratic Roman Republic.  It a form of gangster governance in practice, despite the rhetoric of Madison and Hamilton* and Jefferson.  That it incorporated both the system of slavery and the subjugation of Women as well as other features to prevent direct democracy proves that it, as well, is no model for a modern democracy based in equality, in justice and in love as an ethical foundation.  As long as Women, Black People, members of other groups were kept from voting it was more in line with the kind of thing that the vaunted Athenian democracy was instead of what any egalitarian democrat wants.   The extent to which equality is absent from democracy is the extent to which it shares in the oppression of its opposite, gangster governance. 

I think one of the biggest obstacles in understanding this has been that the ethical foundation that is as essential to egalitarian democracy, the things which keep it from devolving into just another flavor of the poison that gangster governance is, have been ignored or demoted because male academics and writers think it's girly to consider things they believe to be soft, what Athenians might have called "effeminate".  Education and accurate information - also essential for good government - is no where near close to being enough.  Without those ethical foundations intelligence will only make tyrants, gangsters more effective.  The homicidal regimes of the 20th century were so effective BECAUSE they were scientifically informed and they harnessed modern, science-based technology.  As mentioned here the other day, a smart person who is bent on oppressing other people to benefit themselves is just a more effective bad guy. 

Our legal system is totally inadequate to avoid gangster governance, look at how it hasn't even been able to avoid or oust Trump, a particularly stupid and irrational gangster after two years in which it has become known that he not only is a crook and creep himself, he is the puppet of billionaires foreign as well as domestic.  It is a legal system which puts legalism ahead of not only justice but even reality.  The Supreme Court is dominated by apparatchiks of out domestic billionaire gangsters - as are the law schools that produced them - our laws are totally inadequate to protect us from them.  And what you say of the Courts and Senate is as true for the mass media which is owned by billionaires and serves them by lying, by undermining not only a sense of decency and fairness but by making us stupid, credulous and debased.  A startlingly large percentage of the population has imbibed so much of that poison, racist, misogynist, regionalist, suspicious,  paranoid, etc. that even when they are presented with the truth about Trump, they aren't much bothered by it as long as that strong man on The Apprentice is protecting them from whatever danger FOX and Sinclair are peddling to them now.  People who vote on that kind of a basis will vote themselves into tyranny by gangsters, it's why in so many places newly freed from colonial oppression, there is one and only one free election, if that.  The United States under the "free speech - free press" absolutism given to us by the courts has produced where we are now.   Under a far more restricted media, even in the Great Depression, as Europe was falling under fascism, we managed to advance towards egalitarian democracy under a restricted media who were liable to be sued for lying and which was required to serve the public.  The theories on which so much of what was mistaken as liberalism in the 1950s till today is based have been given and have failed the test of time.  Trump is the failing grade for it.  Those theories have to be scrapped and the residue scraped out of our legal system. 

One of my now very tarnished heroes I. F. Stone, in his still fine book The Trial of Socrates, constantly missed the chance to point out the anti-egalitarian features of the Athenian democracy were the very things that its aristocratic enemies used to damage and destroy it.  He also made the mistake of thinking that the Athenian system was admirable and that it had anything to teach us about democratic governance except through cautionary tales to be taken from it.  I think if we get hung up on the word "democracy" will will never understand why we're in so much trouble.  Without equality, democracy is just another kind of gangster governance and its more attractive features will give way, in the end.  Equality, those ethics mentioned justice, love, are the only safe and effective means of preventing bad governance, without those you can have all the intelligence and wit in the world and it will only serve the gangsters, in the end.   Those modern standards I mentioned in the first paragraph are based, as Jurgen Habermas did, in fact say, are only based in and nourished by the ethics of justice and love.  Nothing else produces them. 

*  The romanitic 18th-19th-20th century notions of European paganism are about as realistic as any goofy, fact-free fairy tales.  I think the "enlightenment" authors were continuing a practice that started in the Renaissance period of creating a largely make-believe past during that era based on the nice statues and literature.   I don't think that the European motives in that are in any way divorced from the aristocracies interests in practicing imperialism and slavery.   Needless to day, I don't think we should be looking to ancient Greece and Rome for models for egalitarian democracy.

**  Which is why peddling bullshit like "Hamilton" during a time when the Federalist-fascists are throttling democracy in the courts and the Senate is as dangerous as it is fictitious.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Having A Joshua Fit: The Battle of Jericho And The Wails That Tumble Down

It's beginning to feel a lot like a winter power outage here, if I don't post the piece I'm working on tomorrow, that's the reason.

In the meantime here's a really interesting episode of The Bible For Normal People with Brent Strawn

This week, Jared & Pete talk to Brent Strawn about the Old Testament. They discuss some of the common criticisms of the Old Testament and how the modern Church has over-emphasized the New Testament much to its detriment.

Especially good is said about the most violent book of the Old Testament, Joshua, and how its violence seemed to trouble the authors of other books in the Bible who seem to have tried to quarantine the violence into it.  It is a book that covers a very long period.  I especially liked the point that the people who complain about the violence in "the Bible" don't seem to have the same problem with what they watch on TV which is extremely and popularly violent.   I've come to see that a lot of such back handed moral indignation surrounding religion doesn't stand up when you look at the lives of those white-washed tombs and what they say about other things.  I've been brawling with them online for almost 20 years, those people who will throw a fit over some passage in Joshua on a dime just looooove! them their violent TV.  I should look up my ancient brawls over the promotion of torture as sold on 24.   Naw, you can imagine what was said easily enough.

I really like this podcast.  Even when I don't agree with it it's interesting to hear peoples' reasons for thinking as they do.  It's not as if I believe anyone has the whole truth about it. or that what truth we have isn't mixed with folly.

Kurt Rosenwinkel group with Joshua Redman - Jazz a Vienne (2004)

01. Use Of Light
02. The Next Step

Kurt Rosenwinkel (Guitar)
Brad Mehldau (Piano)
Joshua Redman (Saxophone)
Larry Grenadier (Bass)
All Jackson (Drums)

Hate Mail - They Belong On The Scrap Heap Of History

You know, those show trials that so many of those dear old commies supported by signing onto An Open Letter to American Liberals in 1937 in support of the results of those trials, killed more Communists, more lefties than all of the activities of HUAC and Red Channels and the black list combined.  And there were plenty of killings that fell outside of that small framework.

It's just plain disgusting that American Communists, many of them considered as martyrs because, for a while, they couldn't make big bucks in Hollywood were either championed by people who signed that letter in support of Stalin's show trials in 1937, at the height of his great purge which some estimate killed 750,000 and some believe, through such things as sending people to the gulags, killed far more, or signed it, themselves.  They were more than OK with Stalin, for example, killing all of his fellow Bolsheviks who had survived till that time.  They approved of it with their signatures.    I maintained affection for quite a number of them for a long time but they were supporters of the equivalent of Hitler and Nazism.   Oh, and I don't for a second believe that if Trotsky had won the power struggle with Stalin he wouldn't have killed loads of people too,  Communism has a history written in blood, lots of it the blood of rival commies.

It's way, way, way past time that the left dumps people who maintain a romantic, lying view of those people and what they did.  Keeping up that pretense to spare the feelings of a few superannuated Commies and pseudo-lefties gets us nothing and discredits important things.   Dump them.  Dump the romantic, Hollywood-Broadway-Fiction lies about it.

I Like Majority Report And Most Of Its Crew But This Clip Is Just Plain Wrong And, Literally, Stupid

I must have missed the meeting where it was decided that it was OK for parents to allow their children to grow up without an education because they let them skip school.  I don't know which of the Majority Report crew might have teachers in their family or be familiar with the real schools for most of us, public schools, but my family members who teach in public schools can tell them, year after year, of parents who let their kids never go to school or to skip most of it.

I am old enough so that people on the left figured that an education WAS A RIGHT FOR THE CHILD.  I seem to remember a long and hard struggle, going back well into the 19th century for equal access to school for all children as a basic right.  I SEEM TO RECALL THIS OBSCURE SUPREME COURT CASE CALLED  BROWN v. BOARD OF EDUCATION.  As I recall in the slamming of Hillary Clinton because she wouldn't call for free college, it was howled, almost certainty by the people at Majority Report, certainly their fan base, that "education is a right, not a privilege" or some such construction.  If they believe it is for college, it is even more so for elementary through high school.

Kamala Harris isn't "my candidate" I don't have one of those yet.   I'm inclined to think it would be better if she stayed in the Senate for a while THOUGH SHE IS ALREADY FAR, FAR MORE QUALIFIED THAN BARACK OBAMA WAS WHEN HE RAN FOR PRESIDENT.   But this video is just plain stupid and wrong on so many levels.  One of those is, I think, the kind of condescension for poor people that is rampant on the college-credentialed, white collar kids left*, that thinks things they would never figure were OK for children in their own families is OK for poor, especially minority people.

I would like to know what the opinion of those who Sam Seder,Michael Brooks et al. imagine are the victims of Kamala Harris's crack-down on parents who allow their kids to grow up in ignorance was and is.  What most of the people who live in the impoverished communities for which such truancy is a huge problem think of it.

It's my observation that not infrequently what affluent lefties imagine as a terrible wrong done to poor people can, sometimes, be seen BY THEM  as a helping hand**.  The mother they were horrified to hear told her children that if they skipped school Kamala Harris was going to put her in jail might have welcomed the help in convincing her children that not getting an education was going to hurt them, as, in fact, not getting an education does hurt children.  I don't know how many people they know who were allowed to skip school and who grew up to pay for it, in their generation and, through them, their children, but I've seen lots of families like that, here in the whitest state in the union.  TRUANCY IS A CRIME AGAINST THE POOR, ESPECIALLY AGAINST POOR CHILDREN. To point out how wrong-headed this segment of Majority Report was, would it be OK with Sam and Michael and Jamie if parents refused to allow their children to go to school, convincing them that they didn't want to?   Why is it OK with them if the kid is the one who makes that choice to blight their future.  Kids are immature and almost always, frequently stupid.  That's one of the reasons we require them to be in school.

No, I might not end up supporting Harris in 2020 but it won't be because she did that in 2010.

*  Seder, whose mother, Mari, is an artist and whose father, J. Robert, is a prominent Worcester attorney, considered becoming a lawyer. But, to the dismay of his dad, he dropped out of Boston University Law School to pursue a career in comedy.

I wonder if Sam would be OK with his kids being chronically truant, would he be OK with that FOR THEM? 

I don't have time to try to find out the family and financial backgrounds of the rest of the Majority Report crew but I doubt they're a product of the underclass.

**  I was just telling someone the other day about the TV round table I heard from Boston in which the issue of legalizing prostitution was brought up and the White, Boston liberalish, affluent members of the panel were shocked when a couple of the Black members of the panel said they opposed legalization of prostitution.  One of the participants pointed out that, unlike the affluent White liberalish types, she knew people who had fallen into prostitution and been harmed by it.   The underclass so often doesn't see these things the same way as the affluent who have only theoretical knowledge of those things in real life and who don't have family members who are likely to be the victims of the "rights" and "civil liberties" they favor from the Olympus that affluence and whiteness AND EDUCATION produces.

Update:  I should mention that bringing up Bill Clinton's disgusting use of an execution warrant during his 1992 campaign against Kamala Harris is especially disgusting as she, as a prosecutor, refused to seek the death penalty in a high profile killing of a police officer, something which she could and can expect to pay a political price for.  Bringing that up against her was about as cheap a shot as I've seen on the left.   From the comments it would seem that the always truth challenged Greens and Bernie or Busters are laying for Kamala Harris, providing them with ammunition to use against someone who might be the only thing between us and four more years of Trump is entirely irresponsible.

Hate Mail - Not All Of The Hollywood 10 Were Jewish, Apparently Only The Ones You Care About

First, not all of the Hollywood 10 were Jewish, Dalton Trumbo's ancestry was  Swiss Protestant, Adrian Scott's was Irish Catholic, some of the others I'm not sure of.  [Update:  I forgot Ring Lardner jr. was also one of the 10.]

Obviously there was no black list against people for being Jewish BECAUSE ALL OF THEM HAD BEEN WORKING IN THE FILM INDUSTRY FOR A LONG TIME. Considering how many of the big studios were owned by Jewish producers that idea is ridiculous. They were black listed because they had been or were Communists, members of the Communist Party which was, at the start of that era, a Stalinist party, supported by and supporting the most vicious living mass murderer, as I've pointed out before, as Communist writers, directors, actors in the United States were finding it impossible to find work under their names, their great hero was murdering writers, directors, actors, etc. etc. etc. and was mounting pogroms against Jews.  He had conducted purges and show trials for two decades by that time, something which American Communists not only knew of but organized petition campaigns IN SUPPORT OF.  Some of the most lauded heroes of the anti-anti-Communist legends signed onto a petition supporting Stalin's show trials and executions.  That many of those Stalin murdered were his fellow Communists, more than a few of them Jewish, as well, dissolves your accusations on that count into hypocritical hypocrisy.   There's a lot of that in the play-left, that's its strongest weakness.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Stupid Atheist Dicks - Maybe I Should Make This An Ongoing Series

It's too hilarious, a bunch of college-credentialed atheists who think someone named "Anthony Patrick McCarthy" who was raised as a Catholic and who is now a radical non-denominational Christian-still considered Catholic USED THE FRIGGIN' KING JAMES VERSION OF THE BIBLE!  

They are about as clueless as Inspector Clouseau's stupider brother. 

For the record, other than to criticize it - especially on the basis of James I commissioning the original King James Version because the Geneva Bible said that people weren't morally obliged to obey kings - and to post a couple of texts from it as used by composers whose pieces I posted, I haven't had much truck with it. 

Atheism is a more certain sign of over-specialization in one topic and complete stupidity in every other one than it is a sign that the atheist is just brilliant.  Those of my age cohort are, if anything, stupider than the older ones. 

Black Lists, Ours And Theirs - Hate Mail

I was well into my 50s by the time my state didn't, in effect, give legal protection to a de facto employment blacklist against me because I'm gay.  In most states I still can be discriminated against in a legally protected de facto black list.  The Republican-fascist Supreme Court says I can be.  So, cis- straight White Boy, don't start telling me about black lists.

But race, gender, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation are not the same thing as political ideology.

And I never was a Stalinist or a Maoist.  Personally, I would have no problem with someone choosing to not employ a Nazi or an admirer of Mussolini or Franco or Jair Messias Bolsonaro or Rodrigo Roa Duterte - especially to teach children -so I don't understand why I should be that worked up over people not wanting to employ people who supported Stalin more than a half a century ago.  Do you think there's something wrong with people not choosing to hire someone who thinks the Kim regime in North Korea is something we should emulate, a model for America?  I am guessing you would have no problem with someone discriminating against someone like that.

I think the issues involved in the 1950s - 60s era blacklisting of Communists are a lot less cut and dried than we were all brought up to believe.  Especially that of Stalinists even as Stalin was still alive and murdering people.  I would love to ask Victor Navasky if he thinks it would be wrong to choose to not hire people who were big fat fans of various members of that list of fascist and modern Marxist dictators I list above.  I'd love to press him on why that's different.  If he thinks that it would be tolerable to have a Duterte or Kim regime supporter teaching children on the basis of some principle, he can take his principle and stuff it back where it came from.

I think religion is an interesting matter to put into the mix because I'm sure there are plenty of staunch opponents of that ancient black list who would have no problem with discriminating against people on the basis of their religion.  The old case of Scientific American and Forrest Mims III would be interesting to consider.  I suspect that there aren't many of those staunch opponents who wouldn't approve of his blacklisting.  However, religion is a protected class under the Civil Rights Act, for as long as the Republican-fascist Supreme Court doesn't totally destroy it.

Kurt Rosenwinkel and OJM - Dream of The Old

Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone -- João Mortágua
Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, João Pedro Brandão
Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet -- Rui Teixeira
Clarinet -- Nuno Pínto
Conductor, Arranged By -- Carlos Azevedo
Double Bass -- Demian Cabaud
Drums -- Marcos Cavaleiro
Engineer -- João Bessa, Mário Barreiros
Flugelhorn -- Susana Santos Silva
Guitar -- Kurt Rosenwinkel
Mastered By -- Greg Calbi
Mixed By -- James Farber
Orchestra -- Orquestra De Jazz De Matosinhos
Piano -- Abe Rábade, Carlos Azevedo
Producer -- Pedro Guedes
Producer, Guitar, Composed By -- Kurt Rosenwinkel
Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet -- Mário Santos
Tenor Saxophone, Flute -- José Pedro Coelho
Trombone -- Daniel Dias, Gonçalo Dias, Michaël Joussein, Álvaro Pinto
Trumpet -- Erick Poirrier, José Silva, Nick Marchione, Rogério Ribeiro
Vocals -- Kurt Rosenwinkel

Recorded at Boom Studios, Porto on September 7-9, 2009

If You Think I'm Going To Pass Up Pointing Out This Kind Of Corroboration, Think Again

This morning's e-mail includes a link to this New Yorker article by the estimable and heroic Masha Gessen about what sounds like a pretty bizarre commercial museum opened up in NYC that illustrates some of the things I talked about in one of my most recent posts.  The museum is New York’s new K.G.B. Spy Museum, which Gessen is quite qualified to review.  Her description of it, her point that Putin's gangster regime makes the issues she raises timely and a question she poses is exactly to the point of my post.

The new museum in New York resembles a museum one might find in Russia itself—the country that has been ruled by a former K.G.B. colonel for the past nineteen years, a place where the K.G.B. is not only glorified and romanticized but also simply normalized. In fact, this museum reminded me most of a small display I once saw in a Russian prison colony. Billed as a “Gulag museum,” it featured, among other things, items confiscated from inmates during barracks searches. In the absence of any historical or political context, everything becomes an exhibit. And, with enough cheer and an address in Chelsea, anything can be kitsch.

Imagine if the tyrant in question were not Joseph Stalin but Adolf Hitler. Imagine seeing a giant likeness of his head on a Manhattan sidewalk. Imagine a museum that offered people the option of dialling in to hear a speech by Hitler or Himmler, or invited them to be photographed in an S.S. uniform. It’s hard to imagine the Times giving such a museum an amused review, complete with a picture of the co-curators wearing Nazi uniforms.

The comparison between these two totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century is not gratuitous—it is common in historical and political scholarship. And yet, for the American public, an entertaining presentation of what was probably the most murderous secret-police organization in history seems both unproblematic and commercially promising. It’s a peculiar thing to observe, particularly at a moment when Russia—and Russian espionage in particular—looms so large in the American imagination.

Something like that has been a feature of the atheist-secular pseudo-left for pretty much the entire time that the Soviet Union was up and running and, as can be seen in remnants in the secular-lefty media, it is an ongoing thing.  The Nation's scandalous behavior during and concerning the Putin regime's ratfucking of our elections, other so-called lefty magazines I've named and documented even some of the recent proclamations of the likes of Noam Chomsky * exhibit everything from collusion for money (the Communist Party documented as getting money from the Soviets) to willful dismissal of not only murder but suppression of every civil liberty that American communists whined about being denied in order to promote Stalinism here.

The secular-atheist left, to the extent that they have been part of this cover up, should be looked at with the same harshness that is used to look at Nazism and those parts of that history should be denounced and divorced from any future left. Anyone who downplayed the murder and oppression of  Communist regimes, from Lenin to Stalin to Mao, to Pol Pot, to the Kims is the moral and intellectual equivalent of Hitler apologists, they have the same moral and intellectual standing as David Irving.  That some of them have been anti-fascist while endorsing those who practiced a different form of the same thing is best seen as rival gangsters in rival crime families.   Mistaking Stalinists or Maoists as being anything like egalitarian democrats on the basis of their opposition to only one faction of gangsters was always stupid.  There's more than a world of difference between the alliance forced on FDR in WWII and the idiotic acceptance of Stalinism and, later, Maoism by people on the left, the American left has never been forced to accept such an alliance through the hardest of exigencies, it was suckered into it by the sob stories told by communists about how their rival gangsters in the American right got the upper hand on them.

There is a huge part of the romanticized, cinematic left that has to be left behind in shame because it is shameful.  It always has been and it always will be and it is a load of infectious crap that a real, egalitarian-democratic left can't carry into the future.  Anyone who wants to hold out in affection to their red-diaper upbringing or in affection for their beloved commie gramps and granny or their dear old professor or mentor is too friggin' stupid to keep around.  They'll only end up doing things like getting Trump in office.  They really don't mind that because their ideology really is more like his than it is egalitarian democracy, they are romantics for gangsterism of the past, not a future of equality.   I'd rather not lose that so that a bunch of people with "secular" or "free thinking" upbringings can promote their personal nostalgia in schlocky, sentimental movies and magazine pieces and as a framing for their "journalism".

* Amy Goodman is another one I can't listen to anymore.

On Skepticism That Trump Supporters Are Bad For LGBTQ People

There has been a rise in violence against LGBTQetc. people since Trump's campaign started.  The Human Rights Campaign has posted a detailed record of just some of the anti-LGBTQetc. actions and appointments that have been hostile to us.  I like it because it points out that things like their attacks on the Affordable Care Act have a serious impact on LGBT people and it points out that attacks on other groups, Muslims, Latinos, etc. are attacks on us, as well.  Here are some things from just the start of the Trump regime to some of the latest.

- Less than two hours after Trump and his virulently anti-LGBTQ activist Vice President Mike Pence were sworn into office, all mentions of LGBTQ issues were removed from the official White House webpage.

- Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Gorsuch has a long and troubling career opposing civil rights, including for LGBTQ people.

- Vice President Pence cast the tie-breaking vote to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, after all Democratic Senators and two Republican Senators voted against her confirmation. DeVos' family foundation funded major anti-LGBTQ orgnazations and campaigns. Her anti-equality record was denounced by major civil rights organizations, including HRC, which actively worked to stop her confirmation.

- On a party line vote, Senate Republicans vote to confirm Jeff Sessions as the U.S. Attorney General. HRC and civil rights organization across the country protested Sessions anti-equality record from when he served as Alabama’s Attorney General and as a U.S. Senator.

- Sessions' very public record of hostility towards the LGBTQ community and federal legislation designed to protect vulnerable Americans makes it nearly impossible to believe that he will vigorously enforce this statute that he worked so hard to defeat.  – Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard who was murdered by a hate crime

-  The Senate confirmed anti-equality Tom Price as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), who has spent years in Congress trying to repeal the ACA and opposing every LGBTQ equality measure.

- The Trump Administration received hundreds of letters from the parents of transgender children in opposition to the rescinding of protections for transgender students.

- Under the direction of Sessions and DeVos, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education revoked the Obama Administration’s guidance detailing school protections for transgender students under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

- The Senate confirmed equality opponent Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Carson has made clear he opposes equality for LGBTQ people. His harmful rhetoric has included equating marriage equality with bestiality, opposed laws that protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination, suggested transgender people be required to use separate bathrooms, and joked that same-sex couples might have their wedding cakes poisoned by anti-equality bakers.

- Trump’s HUD -- led by anti-LGBTQ proponent Secretary Ben Carson -- took two steps backwards on protecting LGBTQ people. First, they withdrew a requirement for emergency shelters receiving HUD funding to post information about LGBTQ people’s rights to access the shelter safely and in accordance with their gender identity. Then, they withdrew critical data collection and evaluation guidelines for a homelessness prevention initiative targeting LGBTQ youth.

. . . 

-  HRC sent a FOIA request to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in response to news that the Trump-Pence White House and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue are attacking LGBTQ youth by pressuring the national 4-H youth organization to rescind a policy welcoming LGBTQ participants.

I will point out that a lot of the worst and most violent and most damaging discrimination suffered by LGBTQ people is visited on us when we are youngest, in school, of school age.  What straight people might see as less serious violence and discrimination is, actually, some of the most damaging so the hatred expressed through people like DeVos is some of the worst.

Other groups who track violence and discrimination against LGBTQ people have pointed out one of the things that has been done under Trump is to stop collecting information about violence and discrimination against LGBT people so it's not possible to know what the actual figures on that are though there is every reason to believe it is higher than the private groups can find out with their own resources.

The MAGA hat is a symbol of Trumpism and Trumpism is actively and openly hostile to the rights of LGBTQ people, Women, Black People, Latinos, Muslims, etc.  It, along with the Confederate flag, symbols of haters who have a history of violence against anyone who isn't part of their hate cult.  Anyone who is in any of the groups they have targeted with hate has every right to consider a gang of White MAGA wearing boys to be a danger to them.  I don't expect their supporters to get that, they wouldn't be Trump supporters or those diminishing the impact of Trumpian hatred if they did get it.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Same Old Same Old Gets Old

I wonder how many uses of the word "ignorant" mean "doesn't agree with me" or, more in line with what you tell me, "I don't like that".   That would seem to be what even college-credentialed people use to to mean quite often. 

OK, those idiots bore me.  I don't care what they're saying.  

I Have To Have A Very Good Reason To Exploit The Mentally Deficient

I wrote what I did about Randy Credico yesterday because he is an idiot play- lefty of marginal mental capacity and even more marginal rationality who has a tiny little fringe following in New York state, magnified by marginal pseudo-lefty play-media in the same and a few other states.   Anyone who can present such a figure as a legitimate figure of the left, someone who was involved with the Nixon --> Trump Republican-fascist ratfucker Roger Stone who used the credulous Credico as cover for his collusion with Julian Assange (Credico is a hanger-on of the remnant of the estate of the celebrity lefty-gangster lawyer William Kunstler,  Kunstler's widow is Assange's lawyer, just to keep up the play-lefty theme) someone who when he failed to submit enough signatures to get on the New York State ballot to run for Senate threatened to support the racist, Republican-fascist Carl Paladino if he didn't get his way . . .

I wrote about him because he is a very minor somebody of the play-left but mostly as a vehicle to demonstrate the totally stupid and counter-productive character of the play-left he is a figure in.  Someone who can, apparently, get more than 20,000 votes from idiots in NY state.  Someone should tell him his real political rivals aren't Democrats who can win, it's never-will-win Greens.   And there are those who have provided Credico with his cred.  Anyone on that play-left who would represent the Trump-Putin asset Julian Assange as a laywer is just another ingredient in the cow pie that is the play-left.  It's something you should deal with before you step in it by mistake.  I was a bit surprised to find out that the futile legacy of William Kunstler a lawyer who wasn't much of a step up from Rudy Giuliani was still up and running so long after he kicked the bucket.  It's too bad he wasn't left behind in the futile past he was a figure in.

That pathetic atheist-gal blog-rat whose slam against me you bring to my attention, someone whose expertise would seem to reside in such stuff as she reads at Hemant's blog is obviously of marginal mental health, she doesn't have anywhere near the position that even the pathetic Credico does, it would be wrong to exploit someone as sick as she is.  I understand her condition has caused even some of her buddies to suggest she is in critical need of help.  That's what she needs, not encouragement and reinforcement of her thinking.   They're using her, I think she should get treatment.