Saturday, March 16, 2019

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Jonathan Myerson - Mueller: Trump Tower Moscow

Disclaimer:  Ripped out of the headlines!!!   I've never issued a disclaimer on one of these SNRDs.  This is a drama based on topical topics which have developed and still are.   I had deep reservations and still do but it's interesting to hear this SO LONG AS YOU DON'T MISTAKE IT FOR MORE THAN A STORY.

When Hunter and Najib are given the job of looking into the proposed Trump Tower in Moscow, their investigation soon throws up some startling results - particularly in relation to Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen, the man who said he’d "take a bullet" for his Presidential client.

This up-to-the-minute contemporary drama sheds light on a story that continues to unfold. Jonathan Myerson, award winning dramatist whose previous work includes The Republicans and The Clintons, unravels the story so far, following investigators as they uncover the truth behind Cohen’s dealings on behalf of the man known to the inquiry as Individual One. 

Robert Mueller's investigation is still ongoing, although it has produced several convictions already. The Special Counsel himself, former head of the FBI and a highly respected public servant, is an almost unknowable figure, shunning all publicity throughout his career and especially since being appointed to the Russia probe. Mueller: Trump Tower Moscow imagines the goings-on at the heart of the investigation.

With Kerry Shale as Michael Cohen, Nancy Crane as Stormy Daniels and Nathan Osgood as Felix Sater, appearing alongside a group of invented characters playing the staffers on the Mueller team.

Hunter Christy Meyer
Najib Robert Gilbert
Saloman Ako Mitchell
Felix Sater Nathan Osgood
George Pandora Colin
Stormy Daniels Nancy Crane
Michael Cohen Kerry Shale

Written by Jonathan Myerson
Sound design by Alisdair McGregor
Produced and directed by Boz Temple-Morris

A Holy Mountain production for BBC Radio 4

Another Instance.

Here's an important example of where the paper goes wrong through inadequate research: 

Shortly after the publication of Origin, the question of how these theories might apply to human populations arose. Historically, in contexts ranging from European imperialism to eugenics, this tendency to apply Darwin’s core theories to society has extended to justifications of racial violence and genocide. In an attempt to defend Darwin’s theory in his 1893 essay “Evolution and Ethics,” Huxley pointed out that the idea that evolution was directly connected to morality had “risen out of the unfortunate ambiguity of the phrase ‘survival of fittest’. ‘Fittest’ has a connotation of ‘best’; and about ‘best’ there hangs a moral favour” (501), pointing to the influence Spencer and his book Principles of Biology were to have on the reception and future human applications of Darwin’s work.

You can contrast this passage in which she cites Thomas Huxley in 1893 attributing "ambiguity" to the use of "survival of the fittest" in association with "evolution" when by doing so Huxley would have to have known if he wanted to honestly blame some misunderstanding on that phrase he would have had to blame no one other than Charles Darwin who, in that 5th edition of On the Origin of Species, Chapter IV  Natural Selection; Or The Survival Of The Fittest, said:

"This preservation of favourable variations, and the destruction of injurious variations, I call Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest."

As he also explained in an important letter to his co-inventor of natural selection, Alfred Russell Wallace:

Natural selection, is, when understood, so necessary & self evident a principle, that it is a pity it should be in any way obscured; & it therefore occurs to me, that the free use of “survival of the fittest”,—which is a compact & accurate definition of it,—would tend much to its being more widely accepted and prevent its being so much misrepresented & misunderstood.

Which would rather contradict Thomas Huxley's claims about Spencer's famous phrase being responsible for sowing confusion.  If anyone reads The Descent of Man or his many letters, they will see that any claim that even Darwin, as he was inventing the idea really separated questions of assigning comparative ranking of value on people and other organisms in terms of superiority or inferiority from some fictitious "objective" view of natural selection, is total crap.  Darwin continually assigned such categories, no doubt included in Huxley's British materialistic Victorian notions of "morality,"to people as individuals, members of classes, societies, ethnicities and what we would call races.  Even according to gender, which, given what natural selection claims is totally irrational. 

I haven't researched the Thomas Huxley - Herbert Spencer falling out other than to have read there was one late in their lives.  I know Huxley, not at all immune from the habit of lying for his own purposes*  might have been taking a jab at Spencer in that claim.   You shouldn't let the Victorian language fool you, these guys were as able to get down and dirty as Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer were though I don't know if there were every any drunken fist fights involved. 

*  The often repeated, costume-drama presented accounts of his "debate" with Bishop Wilberforce is not only unreliable, it's discredited by the contemporary record.  Even Darwin said that Wilberforce understood the weaknesses in his theory.  

The Never-Ending Troll

I suppose if you've got to have someone accusing you of antisemitism it's better to have an especially stupid pathological liar make that accusation than someone who thinking people might mistake as credible.  Of course, if he's making the accusation to especially stupid people whose minds are stuck in the common received wisdom of pop culture c. 1965, it might stick but I take comfort in knowing: 

a. I don't care what the untellectuals of the unlightenment think they think ("thinking" for them meaning matching statements to their pre-existing repertoire which is rote learned and repetitiously repeated,) 

b. It's a waste of time to continue to continue giving quotes and factually based, cited evidence to refute what they say because they either won't take it in or they'll just continue lying about it.  As I said the other day, they're really not different in method from the Trump supporters, they just started out in a different place which they, also, have not moved from. 

c.  While I know they love to believe that Krugmann or this or that real media figure pays attention to them, they are deluding themselves.  No one who has a real life of the mind bothers paying attention to them anymore.  Most of the most active members of the commenting community such as those who, in the ever receding and distant past organized "Eschacon" didn't stay with it much past the 2008 election.  Not that many ever did. 

The fact is that Nazism was, from its origin, an anti-Christian,  Nazi-self-identified scientifically based ideology, based explicitly and organized entirely around a not at all uncommon contemporary understanding of Darwinism, natural selection, the classification of human beings on the basis of fitness and the benefits to the survivors of murdering entire classes of human beings.  That view of Darwinism was hardly limited to German speaking people but was ubiquitous among those in Britain, the United States, etc. wherever eugenics in all of its forms arose.   That is something that you can find in the scientific literature of Darwinism starting as early as the early writings of Francis Galton and Thomas Huxley and, especially, Ernst Haeckel before Darwin did it, himself, in The Descent of Man in 1871, citing all three of those authors expounding proto-Nazi thinking without any possible doubt.  I've documented that exhaustively, beyond any honest refutation for the past eleven years.  It isn't something that was unknown before, it has been commented on since the rise of Nazism as an ideology, its presence in the pre-Nazi thinking of German scientists and military officers, some of whom formed Nazism, is documented by Vernon Kellogg in the years immediately preceding the beginning of the Nazi party.   I've documented that, that idiotic liar has never documented anything and the idiots who frequent his home-blog don't care for the reasons I posted above. 

I've also addressed the entirely different character and nature of anti-Jewish history in the Christian churches.  I've never denied that, no one honestly could.   But Nazism was the creation of a mixture of 19th century pseudo-scientific ethnology based in the then contemporary linguistic theory given its genocidal motives and potentials directly from the theory of natural selection.  

Note:  The objection that I pointed out that the Anti-Defamation League calling the Shoah a "tragedy" when it was no tragedy but a massive crime reminded me of something that I had to go back to check the videos (you can hear it here with English translation).   When he was on trial in Israel,  Eichmann, trying to excuse his role in the genocide of Jews and others used the same language, trying to distance himself from his own role in killing millions by putting it in the language of "tragedy".  "Tragedy" is a weasel word that allows people to blame their own choices on outside forces, that is exactly how Eichmann used it in his own defense.   It is interesting how he began by saying that if the Nazis had been explicit in the extent of their intentions in regard to disposing of the Jews, they never would have been successful in the election of 1932.     Apparently Eichmann believed that the German people would never have accepted that, which is telling. The Nazis didn't, of course, win a majority in that terrible election, even with their cover up of their intentions.  As an aside, I think anyone who believes that America's problems will be solved if only another "third party" is formed should consider the role that fractured, multi-party politics played in bringing the Nazis to power even as the Greens and others have enabled Republican-fascism here.  

It also shows that the Nazis plan was to take power and to, step by step, reveal and implement their master plan.   The role of terror and propaganda in that is clear from what they did as soon as they took power, gradually introducing a graded series of ever more immoral and evil measures.   


And I should mention that I've read this paper by Emily Wollmuth as cited in refutation of my research on the connection between Darwinism and Nazism.   While I did find some value to some of the things said in the paper, any paper on this topic which cites only two works by Charles Darwin, the 2nd Edition of On the Origin of Species (not even the 5th in which Darwin made his most explicit connection to his theory of natural selection and Spencer's "Survival of the Fittest") and The Voyage of the Beagle without citing the most relevant major work of Darwin for the study of the topic, The Descent of Man, cannot be considered in any way adequate on even a basic level.   

As well as ignoring the most relevant work by Darwin on the topic she failed to consult the major authors cited by Darwin in The Descent of Man,  Francis Galton's earliest works constructing eugenics and, most of all, Ernst Haeckel's Natürliche schöpfungsgeschichte, no, not even in the English language translation made during Darwin's lifetime by one of his closest inner circle, E. Ray Lankester, The History of Creation, with which Darwin cited when he asserted the inequality of people based on ethnicity and other biological traits and, most relevantly, the benefits to the survivors of the deaths, even the killing of those deemed biologically inferior, through everything from infanticide and abortion to what would now be called genocide.  

She, as well, has no citation of the one biological work which Hitler and his fellow Nazi inmates in prison were definitely reading as he ranted out Mein Kampf, Menschliche Erblichkeitslehrer und Rassenhygiene by Baur, Fischer and Lenz.   I strongly suspect from the citations in the paper that the author doesn't read German which is a fatal defect for anyone who wants to write on this topic as there are important documents which haven't been translated and others which have been translated badly, even, especially if you're citing them from papers instead of from the works, themselves, ideologically. 

No paper on the stated topic, "Darwinian Evolutionary Theory and Constructions of Race in Nazi Germany: A Literary and Cultural Analysis of Darwin’s Works and Nazi Rhetoric" which failed to consult those and many other works I could list could possibly come to anything like a "definitive" judgement on the matter.  In fairness, Ms. Wollmuth didn't make such a claim for her paper.  If I'd been her professor, knowing what I've learned FROM READING THE PRIMARY SOURCES I'd have sent her back to do more research before accepting the paper as even an undergraduate assignment.  Perhaps her professor didn't know the literature, either, so few do. 

You Can't Understand The Motives Of Murderers Without Looking At The Media That Informs Their Decisions

I haven't looked at the New Zealand mass murderer's so-called manifesto yet, though I understand among perhaps others it credits Americans like Trump and Candice Owens who he could only have seen in the media as inspiring him to open fire on peaceful Muslims killing children as well as adults.   Some are saying he mentioned being inspired by Owens as a joke, I've listened to her bizarre act of promoting white supremacist tropes while having a black face - the typical act of Black conservatives in the United States - and think we have to assume he really meant it.  The skank LOLed the actual shootings, as far as I'm concerned, she proved her own guilt in that.  She isn't the only neo-fascist youth celebrity that had the kind of reaction she did.     Milo Yiannopoulos did too.   These people shouldn't have any place in mass media because they inspire these kinds of things. 

That the murderer was Australian instantly reminded me of the comment on Chris Hayes show about the three countries Rupert Murdoch had his greatest success in, Australia, Britain and the United States all being in the control of successful right-wing movements.   I don't know the extent to which New Zealand joins in that but I was kind of shocked to find that he could buy the high power military style weapons that he used to kill his victims there.  I'd have imagined New Zealand wouldn't be as loony as the United States in that regard.   Of course, now Trump is warning that if he is removed from power, his followers among bikers and the police will do similar things.  He's actually saying that he can depend on the police turning on people to keep him in power.  

Since it's clear that the killer was, by his own admission, inspired by things he saw in the media, there is no rational case to make that the hate talk and paranoia and racism and fiction-based envy  that English speaking media is full of had nothing to do with what he did.  It doesn't matter how many dozens or hundreds of the imbibers of that hatred and paranoia and racism and fiction-based envy don't do what these people do,  it's clear as anything in real life ever is that despite what the ACLU and pseudo-liberalism claim that hate talk is dangerous and it kills people.    

Friday, March 15, 2019

Someone Gave Me Scotty Bower's Full Service

I'm not surprised to find out that everything about tinsel town is a lie and a PR fraud, including the legendary romance of Hepburn and Tracy.  The place is a hall of distorting mirrors at its best, the father and mother of lies. 

You have to wonder about a tell-all about a place where a tireless procurer-hustler is the one who comes off as the most likable and the one with the most integrity.   Only since it's Hollywood, you don't have to wonder for long. 

Now, please excuse me,  I need to take another shower. 

They're Saying Beto Wants To Be The Next JFK? Why Settle For That?

They're saying that Beto O'Rourke is trying to cast himself as the JFK for this generation,  the estimable Charles Pierce, starting with a Norman Mailer quote says:

"Yes, this candidate for all his record; his good, sound, conventional liberal record has a patina of that other life, the second American life, the long electric night with the fires of neon leading down the highway to the murmur of jazz."

It is not idle musing to conclude that every subsequent Democratic presidential candidate has taken up the quest to find a suitable variation of that murmur of jazz that Kennedy heard. The technology changed. The imperatives changed. The candidates changed. But somewhere in all of them was a vision of their own private new frontier. In my lifetime, Barack Obama came the closest to finding one.

Comes now Beto O'Rourke, finally deciding to run for president after spending a few months as the Jack Kerouac of Instagram, and off to Keokuk to make his first stop as an actual candidate. Nobody—not even Obama—was so clearly and so obviously looking for whatever that new frontier looks like in 2019. Nobody—not even Obama—was so clearly and so obviously trying to tap into whatever the energy stream is today into which that old energy that Mailer felt long ago flowed.

Oh, dear.  The first thing that springs to mind is that when someone asked Jackie Kennedy what the president's favorite music was, she gave one of the greatest quotes, ever,  from any First Lady,  "Hail To The Chief."  Norman Mailer's jazz background was all in his head, not Kennedy's nor in Barack Obama's who likely shared JFK's taste.   I don't see that he aspired to anything higher than merely achieving the title. 

And as to liberalism, I will never, ever, ever fail to point out that the president with the greatest achievement in striving towards egalitarian democracy of all wasn't the fabled Kennedys, it was the man they despised and suspected, Lyndon Johnson.  If the Harvard holdovers hadn't worked with Republicans to sucker Johnson into expanding the Vietnam involvement, he would be, hands down, the greatest figure in the history of American egalitarian democracy.  I'd rather have Beto turn out to be another LBJ, albeit one who learned the real lessons of Vietnam and Cambodia and Iraq and Afghanistan and . . . 

Until I read Pierce's piece I wasn't actually uneasy about the prospect of Beto running, though the last two dynamic, young(ish) Democratic, campaigner-talented presidents have given me, perhaps not an allergy but a sensitivity to dynamic young, still wet-behind-the-ears charismatic Democratic men, especially those who are running against women of far greater experience.  

The next to the last thing the Democratic Party needs is another Obama presidency or another Bill Clinton presidency.  And Beto, with his delusional talk about reaching out to Republicans - exactly the thing that comprised the self-sandbagging of both Clinton and Obama - is making me ever more nervous in that regard.  

And the rest of Pierce's piece doesn't make me feel any more reassured.  It, frankly, disturbs me.  I'm not sure that Beto is any less ego-maniacally motivated than Bernie Sanders 2020 is.  

In the Vanity Fair profile that kicked things off for him, O'Rourke made it as plain as it possibly could be.

Settling into an armchair in his living room, he tries to make sense of his rise. “I honestly don’t know how much of it was me,” he says. “But there is something abnormal, super-normal, or I don’t know what the hell to call it, that we both experience when we’re out on the campaign trail.”

O’Rourke and his wife, Amy, an educator nine years his junior, both describe the moment they first witnessed the power of O’Rourke’s gift. It was in Houston, the third stop on O’Rourke’s two-year Senate campaign against Ted Cruz. “Every seat was taken, every wall, every space in the room was filled with probably a thousand people,” recalls Amy O’Rourke. “You could feel the floor moving almost. It was not totally clear that Beto was what everybody was looking for, but just like that people were so ready for something. So that was totally shocking. I mean, like, took-my-breath-away shocking.”

For O’Rourke, what followed was a near-mystical experience. “I don’t ever prepare a speech,” he says. “I don’t write out what I’m going to say. I remember driving to that, I was, like, ‘What do I say? Maybe I’ll just introduce myself. I’ll take questions.’ I got in there, and I don’t know if it’s a speech or not, but it felt amazing. Because every word was pulled out of me. Like, by some greater force, which was just the people there. Everything that I said, I was, like, watching myself, being like, How am I saying this stuff? Where is this coming from?

This is more than slightly astonishing. JFK's bone-deep sense of irony and detachment kept him from saying anything like this, and he'd have laughed out of the room anyone who'd dared suggest that the frenzied reaction of young voters to him was a manifestation of some invisible power. Obama reckoned with it, but he generally gave credit to his audiences for the power that moved him. What O'Rourke is talking about here is more akin to some revelation in the wilderness, like a wandering prophet in the Sinai coming to terms with the mystic. Beto O'Rourke is the candidate of the desert, of the redemptive power of heat and thirst. No wonder he wants everyone to move to El Paso.

It is a big gamble. It requires a surefooted sense of who you are and who you are not. If O'Rourke is able to do this, then this is now a very different campaign. As Mailer observed:

...America was also the country in which the dynamic myth of the Renaissance—that every man was potentially extraordinary—knew its most passionate persistence. Simply, America was the land where people still believed in heroes: George Washington; Billy the Kid; Lincoln, Jefferson; Mark Twain, Jack London, Hemingway; Joe Louis, Dempsey, Gentleman Jim; America believed in athletes, rum-runners, aviators; even lovers, by the time Valentino died. It was a country which had grown by the leap of one hero past another—is there a county in all of our ground which does not have its legendary figure?

Suddenly, somebody's running for hero. Somebody had to, I guess.

I have had several recent examples  of actual heroism forced in front of me in the past several months, the real thing,  and it isn't running for president.  I will not dishonor the utter selflessness of the real thing by calling a presidential candidacy an act of heroism. 

That kind of liability to cult of personality is one of the worst aspects of the American presidency, the American presidential system of government which is so prone to producing the string of everything from mediocrity to florid criminality and corruption and, in Trump fascism as the history of the American presidency, as told in truths instead of sanitized Encyclopedia articles and PR bull shit.  

I would, of course, vote for Beto if he got the nomination because the alternative is so terrible a prospect but I would no more expect the kind of greatness from him than the ersatz stuff we got from Obama.   I remember, sometime in about 2010, while sitting with my mother as she watched the MSNBC liberal ghetto lineup that they started playing that old inspirational TV spot that had Obama's voice over.  They played it for only enough time to recognize what it was, then took it off, I assumed because it sounded so hollow, so inappropriate for the utter failure of Obama to make the best hand a Democrat had been handed in many decades work any better than he did.  I don't want another handsome, charismatic, tall, lean, youngish Democrat who is going to blow another opportunity like that and if this is who Beto is, I think he will be that kind of president.   

I hope Beto takes a good hard look at the achievements of Kennedy as opposed to LBJ because LBJ's presidency has a lot more to teach a Democratic president, both in terms of greatness and terms of failure by the kind of president who has the potential of greatness*.  That is clearly something which neither Bill Clinton nor Barack Obama had and which JFK, frankly, didn't show he that much potential for.  Between him and Bobby, there was too much proto-Clintonesque triangulation.   LBJ not only dared to do what was truly great, he had the decades of experience to carry it off.  If a smart, handsome, charismatic, youngish man could do that, I've got my doubts, though I hope he does. 

*  Getting led astray by the neo-cons, the billionaires and the Harvard boys of today(some of whom went to other schools) is a huge lesson any Democrat who wants to succeed should learn.   I will point out that one thing Beto could do to prove to me, at least, that he's got something to him is to say he will never appoint a Secretary of Education who is not a product, from K through PhD of public schools and public universities.   That position should only ever be filled by someone whose family has a stake in the public system.  It's a smallish thing but an important one. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Taking A Lunch Break

Still eldersitting.   

For Lent I've been reading the central narratives of The Bible again and again, the first of those being the Exodus narrative.   Just in time for that, from The Bible for Normal People:

Pete Enns - Pete Ruins Exodus (Part 1)

I don't always agree with or accept everything that they say on this podcast but it's always worth looking into and thinking about.  It's fun, too. 

What Was It With The Dork With The "This Is A Sign" Sign Behind The Lying Scumbag Liar Kevin Downing?

Image result for manafort's lawyer

Who was the guy (or gal, couldn't tell) in the purple fluffy hat standing behind Kevin Downing who was holding a sign and who turned it when the protester turned his sign around?  Was he there to try to deflect attention from the protester's sign?  Have you seen this before?  Is this some kind of Republican tactic like having a person of color behind Trump's right shoulder at his rallies? 

Kevin Downing, like Paul Manafort, is a product of the Catholic elite school system.   You have to wonder, especially after the Kavanaugh hearings, how the people in charge of those could get away without addressing the amoral scum they turn out onto the world.  As Charles Pierce noted, after the scummy behavior of Kavanaugh and his possee came out, this isn't the blue-collar Catholic schools that normal people who aren't rich know about.


I have said it before but will say it again: The Catholic Church in this country was in danger of becoming an upper-class club for people with conservative politics and conservative sexual ethics. The influx of Latino immigrants has combined with the leadership of Francis to make that danger far more remote.

Michael Sean Winters: Sixth year may go down as the most decisive in Francis' papacy

What Michael Brooks Said

This segment in which Michael Brooks analyzes his own performance in a so-called debate with a smear artist on Israeli TV seems so familiar to me from my own experience with getting smeared while saying the same things that Brooks does.  I agree with almost everything he said and I especially agree with his analysis of the smear tactics that have been used against Jeremy Corbyn and British Labour so effectively  and how the Israel lobby and Republican fascists are trying to reproduce that here using Ilhan Omar's identity as a Muslim Woman.   I've got my own critique of Corbyn as an ineffective opposition leader but that's got nothing to do with the smearing of him by the Israeli propaganda campaign.   As a short instruction of how not to be cowed by the terrifying prospect of having someone smear you as an antisemite in the typical late 20th century Commentary crowd way, it is worth reviewing a few times.   That prospect is what accounts for Democrats in leadership and elsewhere, I hope temporarily, running for cover in regard to Congresswoman Omar, though I will note there have been notable exceptions to that, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky has handled it fairly well, pointing out that Ilhan Omar apologized for saying that support for Israel was "all about money" while pointing out that Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said the same thing without anyone calling him out for it.

“STOP IT! It is bad enough that anti-Semitism has dramatically increased in the United States, but it certainly has no place in Congress,” Schakowsky said. “I am glad Rep. Omar apologized, as she should, for saying support for Israel is just about money, but we have yet to hear from Minority Leader McCarthy who citied well-known Jewish donors in the same way.”

As Michael Brooks pointed out,  Ilhan Omar has hardly been one-sided in her criticism of countries that spread money around to American politicians.  She has taking some radical positions in regard to Saudi wrong doing, including saying people should consider not participating in the Hajj over the Saudi establishment's appalling violation of rights

No doubt this will go on, it will take years for people to start handling these issues rationally and for them to get a clue as to the nature of these well established tactics.  Don't worry, the PR industry is cooking up new ones as people get wise to the old ones.  Duping people is what the PR and advertising and media industries do, governments only hire them to do it for them.  That, as Paul Manafort's trial shows, is all about money. 

I've got to go sit with a relative this morning, I'll try to write something substantial later. 

Update:   And What Samantha Bee Said, Too

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

It Ain't Necessarily What The American Media Says Is So

I do actually research what I write, sometimes.  Much of the time, actually.  In researching the aftermath of the Vatican's conference on dealing with clerical sex abuse, late in February, I came across a fascinating article, How did George Pell get to where he was? about the disgraced, convicted, sentenced (6 years), man who will almost certainly follow Mr. (formerly Cardinal) Theodore McCarrick into that rarest of ranks, a Cardinal who has been totally defrocked by the Pope.  

The article is useful for those of us who aren't deeply involved with the workings, machinations and intrigues that are the Vatican and its politics.  The author points out many things that outsiders seem to have mistaken as honors and an expression of confidence by Pope Francis as being entirely something else.  A few examples. 

However, there are three reasons why Cardinal Pell reached the Vatican and they are very revealing for those who want to know how the Vatican actually works.The first reason was that Cardinal Pell was a significant figure at the time Pope Francis was elected Pope. He was believed to be the person organizing the numbers for the election of the candidate for the papacy preferred by Pope Benedict – Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan.  Scola was such a favorite among the Italians that the local bishops' conference sent a congratulatory note to Cardinal Scola when the white smoke appeared to say a candidate had been elected only to be disappointed when it turned out to be someone else – Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Buenos Aires!

As the "numbers man" for a competitor to Pope Francis he needed to be taken seriously.

During the previous two pontificates, he had become a well-known and influential figure in Rome. He was a member of two of the most significant Congregations in the Vatican bureaucracy – Bishops and Doctrine of the Faith – and so became a force to be reckoned with.That prominence would lead any new pope to the advice of Machiavelli: keep your friends close and your enemies closer!

Far from honoring Pell by assigning him to the Vatican, it was a means of keeping tabs on an infamous reactionary and thuggish theocratic gangster while, in the way of governments and ecclesiastical establishments, not admitting to the true character what Pell must have understood about his position, himself. 

And there were even better reasons to get him out of Australia:

But his arrival in Rome had other reasons than simply containing his impact on a pontificate he never warmed to.  Pell was generally unpopular as archbishop in both Sydney and the See he led before Sydney – Melbourne which is the largest archdiocese in Australia.

His departure from Sydney was a relief to the Catholics of that city and beyond, defusing the Catholic culture wars and allowing the church to regroup after almost two decades during which Pell was the most visible, divisive and controversial Catholic in the country.

It may come as a surprise to those whose idea of Catholics is limited to the sappy piety of old-line Hollywood movies, but I've heard, many times, when a priest, bishop or cardinal were reassigned somewhere else, many lay Catholics and religious and members of the clergy said "thank God and good riddance."  

And, in that most clerical of ways,  Pope Francis made use of Pell's skills as he kept his eye on him.

But there was one more reason to welcome Pell to Rome. The Vatican's finances – a small affair by comparison with what he had been responsible for in Sydney and Melbourne whose assets, staff numbers and turnover dwarf the Vatican – were a running sore for the popes for decades.

When Pope Francis came to Rome, he had a simple solution: close the Vatican's bank and hand financial responsibility to a suitably qualified and professional organization whose dedicated task was transparency and accountability – virtues never reached by the Vatican's bank.

The fact that the Vatican bank – the IOR – was a purpose built entity during WW2 which did not collapse with the Italian finance system, meant those influential in the Vatican prevailed on the new pope to retain the institution. But who could run it?

Enter George Pell. Though his reputation in Australia was one for being a big spender, internationally he appears to have developed a name for administrative and financial skills.

The fit was perfect: Pell got a job Francis didn't really care about.

What was presented in the secular and even some Catholic media as Pope Francis putting trust in Pell (who he certainly knew he couldn't trust) and as his honoring, was anything but that.  I think that I'll remember that from now on, that what appears to be honor and trust from the outside, when it's inside the Vatican, might not be what it seems and even what it's presented as being.  This article was a real lesson to me so I decided to share it. 

I will also include this from another article because it shows, contrary to the apparent inertia in the glacial rate of change at the Vatican, things have actually changed:

The Cardinal Pell case is a warningIn an interview with one of Austria's most respected dailies, Die Presse, Schüller noted that, only 48 hours after the conclusion of the Vatican abuse summit, it was officially announced that Australian Cardinal George Pell had been convicted of sexual abuse.

He said the "remarkable" thing about the Pell case was that Pope Francis had made no attempt to protect the Australian cardinal at the Vatican. Rather, he told Pell to report to the police in Melbourne where he'd been accused."That is very different from former times when Church officials who committed offences did not turn themselves in," Schüller said.

The Pell case certainly indicates a shift from the way the Vatican previously has dealt with sexual abuse involving senior Church officials, he said."Pell was one of a group of the pope's closest advisors," the Austrian priest said. "His case is a warning for the many who have up to now not taken the abuse cases seriously enough."

You can contrast what John Paul II and Benedict XVI did, especially in the infamous case of Bernard Law who fled the United States before they could arrest him or even serve him with papers.  JPII (who I will not honor with the title "saint") put him in charge of one of the major Churches in the Vatican, a definite honor.   Bernard Law should probably have served time.  I think it's regrettable that Francis didn't order him back to the States to face the consequences, thought I don't know if he'd have still been liable for prosecution.    

I do think that the case of Richard Malone now of the Buffalo Archdiocese is a case that is pending demotion, at the very least.  I haven't seen any news about his case resulting in consequences, yet.  The Pope shouldn't wait for him to be convicted in an American court to remove him from that office. 

Hate Mail - But . .. But. . . What About The Poor Pornographers!

You must be new to my blog.   It's one of my longest standing positions that liberals got sold the hugest load of bullshit when the lawyers getting paid by media companies and thinkers living lives as contented ivy-fed cattle and the lefty scribbling class convinced them that the ability of the porn industry to freely publish, sell and otherwise distribute the photographed and filmed abuse and degradation and commodification of people was in some way a worthy liberal cause.   

Pornography is, literally, against everything to do with the inherent equality and status of people as being above the level of commodities for use, exhaustion and disposal, porography is an anti-liberal entity,especially as it is a profit-making industry that destroys the health and lives of the children, women and men it uses as raw material.  
Search in the box at the upper left hand corner for the word "pornography" and you can see that I have no sympathy for porn.  Idiots in the scribbling and singer-songwriter class who champion porn are slimy idiots or just idiots who adopted their position by rote without ever thinking it through.  Phil Ochs was just one such idiot. 

Liberal politicians who sacrificed anything in a real liberal agenda so they could speak up in favor of pornographers are too stupid to trust.

I am not a knee-jerk, rote-line-learning liberal.  I take equal justice seriously, I take the status of people as the possessors of inherent rights beyond commodification and assigned value seriously,  I take every persons status as being created in the image of God, seriously.  No one who does that could favor pornography.   I'm ashamed of how many alleged liberals sacrifice real liberalism for that line of libertarian crap. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Don't Blame Pelosi That Removing A Criminal President By Impeachment Is A Myth

Nancy Pelosi is the most effective Democratic leader in the House, certainly since at least the days of Sam Rayburn, maybe before.   Jim Wright may have lived up to the potential to have that title as I suspected he could have, but he was sandbagged by the putridly corrupt and amoral liar Newt Gingrich, the media and the then idiotic leadership of Common Cause.  

Nancy Pelosi has certainly had to work against those who have opposed her,  Republicans, the media, the play-left, all of whom are always gunning for her, the reason her colleagues have kept her in her position for so long has something to do with her enormous skill at internal politics, it also is because she is probably as smart as anyone who has had that position and she is a political realist who knows, in the end, having the ability to do things and take them to completion is the real limit in politics.  Lofty principles and alleged ideals sound nice and make people feel good, mostly about themselves, but in the end it is writing legislation, having the ability to pass legislation and to implement it that is the goal of all real politics instead of play politics. 

If the limits of real politics are something your lofty principles and alleged ideals render you unable to live with, you should avoid going into elective office or even trying to get there, you should certainly avoid any leadership position because if you can't accept reality you're only going to be useful for your opponents, the corrupt, unprincipled, most definitely not lofty and even more allegedly idealistic Republican-fascists.  

Nancy Pelosi has every reason to hold the position on impeaching Trump that she does because, unless things change very radically in ways they haven't in the two plus years of mounting scandal and exposed corruption, the Republicans in the Senate will never remove him from office no matter what he does.  The only thing that would move those corrupt scumbags to remove him is if they thought keeping him there would endanger the thing they value most THEMSELVES.   If it's not going to happen there is less of a reason to go through the exercise and she can be certain of one thing, impeaching Trump will allow him to rally his duped disciples and would rally the corporate media to his side in even more overt ways than they have been, all along.  Look what impeachment did for Bill Clinton*

If you don't like that you have the friggin' Founders to blame because they made it almost impossible to remove a president by impeachment, it's never happened in our history and the media which first created Trump and then put him in the office against the most massively qualified person to have ever run for that office - not without some little help from the very play-lefty and lefty magazines and other media outlets who never miss a chance to slam Nancy Pelosi no matter how brilliantly she does the possible with what she can do it with.   

The play left should fucking shut their stupid mouths because they prove themselves to be idiots and dupes and fools.  They never learn. Never.  

*  It amazes me how many of those who now slam Nancy Pelosi stood by Bill Clinton as he blew his presidency through the most putrid of personal self-indulgence.   That would be Bill Clinton who also aided those who sandbagged Hillary Clinton by both saying stupid things and by such things as his idiotic meeting with Loretta Lynch, something both of them should have known was a gift to Republican-fascists.  If I never hear another word about or from Bill Clinton it will be OK with me, if it turns out he was involved with the Epstein scandals, I hope he rots in prison with the rest of them.  Nancy Pelosi is worth all of the Bill Clintons there ever were or ever will be.   I suspect that for more than a few of the detractors of Nancy Pelosi, it has everything  has everything to do with her gender in the way it never does for the Bill Clintons.   

Just As An Experiment Here is a passage from Hans Kung's Does God Exist?

from p. 622

Thus the God of the Fathers, who had borne no name, made known his proper name.  And perhaps no exegete could have paraphrased better its meaning also for our post-Marxist, post-Freudian society than the Jewish philosopher Ernst Bloch:  "The Exodus God is differently constituted'  he proved in the prophets his hostility to masters and to opium.  Above all, he is not statically constituted like all the pagan gods before him.  For the YWHW of Moses at the very beginning gave himself a definition, a continually breathtaking definition, which makes all staticism pointless:  'God spoke to Moses:  I will be who I will be' (Exodus 3:14) . . . In order to judge the singularity of this passage, we should compare it with another interpretation, the later commentary on another name of a god, that of Apollo.  Plutarch tells us (De EI apud Delphos, Maralia III) that over the door of the temple of Apollo at Delphi there is carved the sign EI:  he attempts to give the two letters the meaning of a mystic number, but in the end comes to the conclusion that EI grammatically and metaphysically means the same thing:  that is,  'Thou art' in the sense of timelessly unchanging divine existence.  Ehyeh asher ehyeh, on the other hand, on the very threshold of the YHWH manifest ion, sets up a God of the end of time, with the future as his state of being.   This End and Omega God would have been a nonsense in Delphi,  as in any religion where God is not a God of the Exodus."  

The God of the Bible is indeed a God of historical dynamism.  But can God be the end-and-omega God if he is not first of all the beginning-and-alpha God?  The Exodus God and the Creator God are not opposed to one another in the Old Testament, as Bloch thinks.  It is a question of one and the same living God in one and the same history of Israel. 

I post this knowing what the childish might make of one word in it, Oh, well, you can't let the childish mind limit what you do or you'll end up doing nothing. 

Let me know if this is easier on your eyes.  I'm hoping not to have to go to a larger font for my everyday posting, scrolling is kind of annoying as it is. 
I'm having a lot of eye trouble today.  I'm not going to be able to edit effectively but will keep on, begging your indulgence.   I might alter the format of my blog so I can do more in large print, maybe going to a san-serif type face for ease of reading.  Or at least that's what the American Federation of the Blind advises.  I'll have to change format for lengthy quotes because it advises against using italics.  

Either Suppress Lies Or Trade Egalitarian Democracy For Gangster Fascism., Those Are The Alternatives

Trump came to power on the power of lies told in and spread by the media, "social media" as famously hacked and manipulated by American and Russian billionaires and, as we are now finding, billionaires and millionaires from elsewhere.  He came to power on the wings of lies told on FOX and other overtly Republican-fascist media, cabloid, hate-talk radio and on those lies repeated and joined by others on allegedly less biased stations and networks.  He was aided by lies told in print from everything from the sewer level tabloids up to and including the allegedly great papers such as and definitely including the New York Times, some of those lies leaked from or rumored out of places such as the New York City offices of the FBI.  Those last ones were aided by the deeply ambiguous figure of James Comey whose inflated view of his own morality seems to me to likely spawn a nuanced archetype of the particular type of whited sepulcher he is.  When Comey is held to be a man of integrity, the age that does that is a deeply corrupted time.

Everyone's talking about "post-truth" and even sometimes calling it what it is, an age of lies.  The "L" word, something rarely used in the past in the media that was certainly not adverse to spreading what that letter stands for as "it's being said" has even become far more openly used to describe the lies that are drowning American democracy just as they have always drowned decency and equality and the kind of justice of which peace is the fruit.

Everyone's talking about lies as if they were some atavistic force which we are powerless to do anything about overtly giving up on this evil which is proving to be a proven killer of equality, justice, democracy and, in so many places, life.

We have a choice, either we find ways to suppress and stop this lying, to make it cost enough to liars when they lie in order to stop them from lying or modern egalitarian democracy is not going to survive.  I think as most other things in life, that is a matter of choice, we're going to have to give up some things in order to make other things possible. 

The choice is between allowing the media, social and commercial to continue to carry lies and, so, lose decency and democracy or we can choose to make the constant effort to stop the lies and to save some measure of those.  The fear that any attempt to inhibit lying will become oppressive is absurd, there are mechanisms to control speech when the speech is considered property, there are mechanisms to control speech when it is considered to be "in the national interest" or "a matter of security" when we know those inhibitions of speech are fraught with all kinds of dangers but that they are also necessary.   I think the difference between egalitarian democracy and the only other alternative of some form of government by gangsters, from the worst depravity to what is merely relatively milder, is as worth taking that chance on as whether or not some corporation or individual can keep other people from profiting off of their commercial speech.  It's as worth taking a chance of as the restrictions for "national security and national interest". 

This is something that is going to be a choice and if we choose to be too cowardly to protect egalitarian democracy from lies, the lives of minorities, the lives of women, the lives of even school children whose lives are taken on lies told on behalf of the gun industry, to take an especially vivid example, then we will lose all of those on behalf of the slogans of the "free speech -free press" industry, most of them lawyers and other liars in the employ of corporations and billionaires who are in the business of using that to lie for their own profit.

It's not as facile as those slogans such as "The First Amendment" which is exactly as facile as "The Second Amendment" and both of which are destroying us and certainly democracy.   In my darker moods I am afraid that that tiny margin of simplification will be what defeats and destroys egalitarian democracy. And much of that overly simplistic thinking has been a result of indoctrination in universities and colleges and in the lefty media, that's where I learned lots of that empty jargon.

This is inspired by my listening to Chris Hayes All In, something I don't generally get around to doing and someone, I think it was Hayes, pointing out that Australia, Britain and the United States, all countries in which Rupert Murdoch has had enormous success in his promotion of fascism, all of them were in the control of "revanchist" reactionary governments.  That's what going on fifty-five years of "free speech - free press" absolutism have resulted in in the real world laboratory of real life.  All of the theories that those slogans and legal rulings and laws were based in are as disproved to produce progress as any now laughably disproved scientific or cosmological theory of the dead past.  It is exactly as disproved as the Ptolemaic cosmology or medical care based on the theory of the humors. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Donald Trump Probably Thinks He Wrote The Bible As Well As The Art Of The Deal

The recent news story about Donald Trump signing Bibles led to the whole range of response from religious people, from those who PTL (praise the liar) to those who condemn it as heretical.  I am on the side of those who say it's heretical, or would be if any more thought went into it than it does when Trump does his zig-zag scrawl on some MAGA item.  I wonder if the Orchids of Asia madame got him to sign her bejeweled MAGA bag.  I wonder if she's got a Bible signed by Trump in it.

Some claim that presidents signing Bibles is an old custom, though the examples I saw, such as FDR signing the family Bible used to swear him in are hardly the same thing as what Trump did.  I mean, I suspect FDR may have had some familiarity with the book, as I've mentioned before, when Trump revisited the Presbyterian Church he was confirmed in as a teenager, he had to ask the pastor if Presbyterians are Christians?   Trump is a full blown Pope of Mammon, he is the first overtly pagan "president" as Christian as the sleaziest Las Vegas style show.

What is remarkable about the nominally Christian support that Trump has is that it proves how entirely phony so much of Christianity in the United States is.  There is no way you can serve Mammon and serve the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, not to mention Moses and Jesus, the extent to which someone serves Mammon is a fairly used measure of how much they don't serve God.

As I've been studying Hans Kung's work this year, here is a relevant passage from page 619 of Does God Exist:

Faith in the one God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob means the fall of both ancient and modern gods.  It prevents both the deification of natural powers and the turning of political powers and rulers into idols.

If there is one thing that is obvious among the nominally Christian and other members of the Trump cult it is that he is just such an idol.  Such an idol as is shown in his most depraved and cruel and anti-Christian acts.  Just a few particulars:

- his purposely cruel detention of children after he has ripped them away from their parents,

- his incitement to violence and his peddling the "goodness" of neo-Nazis and fascists and white supremacists,

- his cruel inflictions on the already destitute and those who are made destitute by his policies,

- his robbery of the poor and middle class for his fellow billionaires and multi-millionaires,

- his sexual and other debauchery,

none of that has been enough to overcome the idolatry of TV and radio and mega-church "pastors" and the Bible-thumping racists and TV trained-envious paranoiacs and the marginally rational.

There is no way that it is compatible to support Trump and to support The Law, the Prophets and The Gospel.   To support Trump is a definitive discrediting of the Christianity of those who do so.  To call them Christians is to discredit Christianity and to aid their lies.  There is no reason for mainstream Christians to maintain that policy of niceness when it means the discrediting of the Gospel, The Prophets and The Law.

The one-God faith of course does not involve a social program, but it has incisive social consequences.  It dethrones the divine world powers in favor of the one true God.  In primitive societies, it means the radical repudiation of the deified natural forces in the ever-recurring cosmic dying and coming-to-be.  But even in our apparently atheistic age, it means a radical repudiation of the many gods without divine titles that are worshiped by men today:  of all earthly agencies with divine functions, on which man thinks that everything depends,  in which he hopes and which he fears more than anything else in the world.  In all of which, it is of no importance whether modern man - sometimes a monotheist, at other times a polytheist - addresses his

Holy God, we praise thy name;
Lord of All, we bow before thee*

to the great God Mammon or the great God Sex, or the great God Power, or the great God Science, the great God Nation or the great God Party..  The one-God faith is utterly opposed to any quasi-religion.  It throws down all false Gods.

To that list I would add the great God Fame, the great God Celebrity, the great God, TV, the great God, Media, the great God Hollywood.  Donald Trump is the son of those gods, the gods that are, actually worshiped by such who call themselves Christians while idolizing Trump.   I take their asking Trump to sign those books as evidence of that idolatry, not at all dissimilar from the idolatry of other despots in the modern age, especially in those officially secular-atheist states.

A while back I said that one of the reasons I thought "mainstream" churches were in trouble was that they either were embarrassed to discuss their boldest claims, to own their boldest convictions, such as the meaning of The Incarnation.  I think another reason they are in trouble is that out of feelings of gentility and niceness and a pose of fairness of the free-speechy kind, they don't call out this kind of idolatry in those pseudo-Christian churches and sects that practice it.  It is one of the things which, especially as the Kavanaugh hearings forced me to look at it with more focus, the affluent prep-elite University style of Catholicism, I find ever more disgusting about the church to which I am still a member of, though I now find the order of Roman Catholic Women Priests** more credible than the Vatican and the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops.  I think we're way overdue some real old-fashioned fights on these matters and the longer we put them off the worse it will get.

*  I should point out that Kung's use of that text is not intended to be impious but to point out how profound that idolatry is.

**  Looking at Bridget Mary's Blog, I was interested to see that the noted Bible scholar John Dominic Crossan celebrated Mass with her community the other day.  He gave an interesting homily.

Sunday, March 10, 2019


I wasn't going to mention it but I have a peripheral connection to those around Captain Joel Barnes, the fire fighter who died in an apartment fire using his body, giving his life to save another fire fighter in Southern Maine on March 1st.  He was so much younger than I was and doing something so much more important than I've ever done.  I went to his memorial service and I really don't feel like blogging.  It all seems so minor and petty after that.