Saturday, April 27, 2019

"Lurker" - Stupid Mail

With ever decreasing regularity over the years, I used to go see if Duncan Black had written something only to find, usually, he'd written nothing or it was one or two sentences that indicated no more than that he has always been little more than a narcissistic fop.  I stopped looking long ago.  The comment threads have been the definition of ever diminishing returns since Obama was in office.  As a U. S. Senator.  

Update:  Tom Lehrer, proof that if you are very talented, a prodigy, even and write about 40 really clever songs that you perform well, then you do nothing for the next fifty years, those 40 songs get old.  I don't fault him for not keeping it up, he wasn't under any obligation to keep entertaining us.  As to the songs, heard them all to death long ago.  They ain't no Winterreise.  Cleverness gets old faster.  I think the one that aged best is Folk Song Army of which the spoken intro is probably the best part.  Compared to that the piece the same guys were whining about, me dissing Woody and Pete and the Almanac Singers a couple of weeks back, is mild stuff.  And even that can't sustain my interest after fifty years.  Hey, Lehrer couldn't sustain his interest in them and he was making money out of them, why should you expect me to?  

Update 2:  I listened to some of his stuff on Youtube, some of it was OK but he had a real dickish streak in him that I didn't remember so much.  I wonder how much of the humor I found in his stuff was due to my immaturity and not the inherent funniness in it.  So, yeah, fuck it. 

Comment Thread Idiot:

Someone who could read a post about alcoholism and things like fatal car accidents caused by drunk driving and come up with that hugest of assholes, H. L. Mencken's idiotic and stupid definition of "Puritanism".  There is nothing so predictable as how such an asshole will be an asshole, they never come up with anything original or new.   I think it should be a rule that anyone who resorts to Mencken has immediately defined themselves as a boob. 

I know when I write about alcoholism and the negative consequences of alcohol that idiots will troll me because, as I said, the idiocy of popular culture ignores those consequences while pretending that there are no negative consequences of drinking alcohol when that is so well established that to deny it is far, far stupider than to deny evolution or the neo-Copernican model of the solar system.  Denial of that is the equivalent of anti-vaxxer stuff. The science on that is so well established that here's what the Center for Disease Control says:

Fact Sheets - Alcohol Use and Your Health

Drinking too much can harm your health. Excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year in the United States from 2006 – 2010, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 30 years.1,2 Further, excessive drinking was responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years. The economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2010 were estimated at $249 billion, or $2.05 a drink.3 

Alcohol Use and Your Health PDF cover

What is a “drink”?
In the United States, a standard drink contains 0.6 ounces (14.0 grams or 1.2 tablespoons) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in

12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol content).
8-ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
5-ounces of wine (12% alcohol content).
1.5-ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).4
What is excessive drinking?
Excessive drinking includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, and any drinking by pregnant women or people younger than age 21.

Binge drinking, the most common form of excessive drinking, is defined as consuming
For women, 4 or more drinks during a single occasion.
For men, 5 or more drinks during a single occasion.
Heavy drinking is defined as consuming
For women, 8 or more drinks per week.
For men, 15 or more drinks per week.
Most people who drink excessively are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent.5

What is moderate drinking?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines moderate drinking as up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.4 In addition, the Dietary Guidelines do not recommend that individuals who do not drink alcohol start drinking for any reason.

However, there are some people who should not drink any alcohol, including those who are:

Younger than age 21.
Pregnant or may be pregnant.
Driving, planning to drive, or participating in other activities requiring skill, coordination, and alertness.
Taking certain prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol.
Suffering from certain medical conditions.
Recovering from alcoholism or are unable to control the amount they drink.
By adhering to the Dietary Guidelines, you can reduce the risk of harm to yourself or others.

Short-Term Health Risks
Excessive alcohol use has immediate effects that increase the risk of many harmful health conditions. These are most often the result of binge drinking and include the following:

Injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes, falls, drownings, and burns.6,7
Violence, including homicide, suicide, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence.6-10
Alcohol poisoning, a medical emergency that results from high blood alcohol levels.11
Risky sexual behaviors, including unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners. These behaviors can result in unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.12,13
Miscarriage and stillbirth or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) among pregnant women.6,12,14,15
Long-Term Health Risks
Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including:

High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems.6,16
Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon.6,17
Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance.6,18
Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.6,19
Social problems, including lost productivity, family problems, and unemployment.6,20,21
Alcohol dependence, or alcoholism.
By not drinking too much, you can reduce the risk of these short- and long-term health risks. 

Of course, by not drinking at all, you reduce these risks to yourself significantly.  That is apart from the possibility of things like getting killed by someone who's drunk driving, who has other kinds of accidents, sets buildings on fire, who flies into an alcohol induced rage, things like that. 

What a rip roarin' good time, that is.  I'm going to go there.  Since these things will befall someone may they happen to you and yours instead of someone else.  But I'd rather they not happen to anyone, unlike you. 

Stories We Tell Ourselves And Believe About Ourselves: I've Been Studying This Book, It Is Extremely Important

Firewater: How Alcohol Is Killing My People (and Yours)

In his fine study of alcohol and its destructive consequences, Firewater:  How Alcohol Is Killing My People (And Yours),  Harold R. Johnson, informed by his long experience of first hand observation of all levels of alcohol use as a young man growing up in modest circumstances up to and including as a defense lawyer and a prosecutor, he holds that the stories people tell themselves about themselves, the stories about themselves that they take in from other people, from tradition, from the media, etc. plays a crucial role  in drinking.  Being a member of the Cree People, he goes into a lot of that through the lens of the "drunken Indian" stereotype, mentioning, among other things, the role that the Canadian Supreme Court played in making alcoholism among First Nations worse using a conception of individual liberty without consultation of those most effected by their rulings.  That example should make anyone piously intoning the rote phrases of libertarianism and liberalish libertarianism stop and think about what really matters, in the end, the ends of following their preferred lines.*

Much of Harold R. Johnson's book revolves around the fact that how people imagine themselves has a dominant role in how they behave, what they choose to do how they believe they are compelled to behave.  If your story is that you are someone who never drinks alcohol,  you won't drink.  If your story is that you're a rowdy, rough and tough boozer,  you'll act out the role you create for yourself.  If you are told and believe that your alcoholism is a result of colonization and racial oppression (the first of four models of drinking presented in the book) , you will believe your power to stop drinking isn't sufficient to overcome forces out of your control - that's related to the "victim" story, the second one in the book.   Both of those models of why people who drink, drink are, obviously, stories that are both disempowering, preventing people from feeling they were capable of changing their lives to save their lives.  Both of them give drinkers one of their most cherished possessions, sometimes the last thing the hardest core drinkers will have, an excuse to keep drinking.  

I'm going to go through the third model he presents, the scientific one, the medical one in depth, his third model of how people see and think of alcohol abuse.

We've tried to understand and treat the problems of alcohol by telling stories of victimhood (Victim Model) and of historical trauma (Grief and Trauma Model).  There is also the standard Medical Model, which treats alcoholism as a disease.  The treatment is to quit drinking and with the use of support groups, a twelve-step program, surrendering oneself to something higher, and sheer willpower, and slowly, with time, the cravings should diminish and eventually stop. 

The idea of treating alcoholism as a disease is a  little misleading.  Even though it kills a lot of people, it is not the same as smallpox, for instance.  We have referred to alcoholism as a disease so that we could get our heads around the problem without blaming the alcoholic.   Before we considered it a disease we thought it was a moral problem or a willpower problem.   Calling it a disease helped us to search for solutions without putting all the blame on the person, who was obviously unable to change on his or her own. 

The problem with calling alcoholism a disease is that it takes control away from the alcoholic.  If it is a disease like muscular dystrophy or measles or tuberculosis, then the person cannot do anything about it;  that's just the way it is, a matter of chance or bad luck.  We have been telling the alcoholic that the solution is that they have to quit drinking completely and never drink again as long as they live, and if they have trouble doing that, they should seek out a higher power to help them, and if they follow the twelve steps recommended by Alcoholics Anonymous and it still doesn't work, then they are not being honest enough. 

We might be better off calling alcoholism an "injury."   Addictions and poor health from over consumption are similar to repetitive strain, like carpal tunnel syndrome, where we use a particular muscle too much in a poor way and injure ourselves as a result.  Excessive drinking in binges over a long period of time causes damage to our brains and other organs like the liver.  No matter how serious the damage that's done, we still cannot call it a disease.  Because here's the thing:  like a sprained muscle it starts to get better as soon as we quit using it.  Leprosy doesn't work that way and neither does cancer. 

The difference between calling addiction a disease and calling it an injury is how the person who has it deals with it.  If the person says,  "I have a disease.  It's God's will.  There is nothing I can do about it," then their power is taken away from them.  If the person says instead,  "I drank so much, so often, that I injured myself"  then they are in a position to do something about it.  It is something they control.  

As someone who has supported AA as, not a panacea but as something that has saved the lives of many people, I am sure that lots of people will take what Harold Johnson says here as a total repudiation of that.  I don't get that at all, Harold Johnson points out in part of the book which I'll discuss later that AA works for a percentage of those who try to stop drinking, as I recall elsewhere he said that it has a success rate of about 8%, which could be contrasted with the "scientific treatment" model of 2 to 6%.   Which points mainly to the fact that addiction is an extremely hard thing to fix or "cure" or "heal" or whatever way you choose to look at it.  For those it works for, AA works. For those it doesn't work for, who knows why?  Different AA groups are radically different, they are so different I think it makes no sense to consider AA as one thing.  I don't know if there have been studies to see what kind of variation in success different meetings might have and what is different about meetings that have better and worse rates of success.  That would be useful to know.  I don't know of any AA members who blame their alcoholism on God or any groups that would encourage that, though I've known enough alcoholics and addicts to know that many of them will grasp on to any assembly of words as an excuse to not stop drinking.  

As long as we're taking a critical look at the medical model of alcoholism - not to mention more casual, non-habitual alcohol use which kills people and leads to misery,  I think we need to ask if even obvious alcoholism can be assumed to spring from similar origins and tendencies and motives or be susceptible to one or a narrow range of ways to fix it.  I would guess there are alcoholics who become alcoholics because they like alcohol and its effects without there being any deep traumatic personal pain that leads to drinking, though there are certainly alcoholics like that, too.  I would bet that there are dozens if not hundreds of types of alcoholism and that what would work to treat alcoholism and alcohol abuse would be as variable in its success rate. 

And that's not to get to the harmful to deadly results that casual drinking and occasional drunkenness can cause.  Which, Harold Johnson includes in his treatment of the problem.

The biggest shortcoming with the Medical Model of approaching alcohol as a disease is not how it treats of fails to treat alcohol dependency.  The problem with alcohol is that people who are not addicted to it, people like the person who ran over my brother, simply drink too much at times and then make poor decisions.  Bassed upon the number of people I see in court who are charged with offenses committed while drinking, I estimate that among that population of drinkers, only about 15 to 20 per cent are at the stage where they have drunk too much, too often, and, in doing so, have rewired their brains to the point that they are compulsively and obsessively addicted to alcohol.  The Medical Model doesn't account for the 80 to 85 per cent of people experiencing problems with alcohol.   This model, therefore, the one that tells a story of alcohol and disease, fails to help our greater community with problems of alcohol.  The person who ran over Garry was not addicted to alcohol.  He or she did dink excessively that one night, but that was one night too many.  

That is such an important and so often overlooked point about drinking, you can get drunk or even slightly intoxicated with it and have an accident, in a car, in a house, with machinery, near the water, while tending young children, etc. and it can have live changing and life ending effects.  The emphasis on alcoholism when thinking about the problem of drinking masks that significant effect that alcohol, presented so positively in the media going back to the first depiction of the first jolly drunk (or merry drunk or hale goodfellow or cheerful tippler) falsifies.  In reading and re-reading Harold Johnson's book, in following up on his footnotes and citations, I thought about how drinking is presented in stories and can't think of many if any truly positive depictions of total abstainers.  I can't remember any models of happily sober people, of people who never drink and would always refuse drink as a role model.  Oddly, the only thing close to that I remember seeing on any TV show was the cartoon figure Mountie Paul Gross played in Due South and, while you might want to be able to depend on such a fictitious character come to life, he wasn't really presented as a role model anyone would want to copy.  It would have been a mighty hard thing to be Benton Fraser, though from what I've experienced an seen, going through life not being addicted to alcohol or other substances is a lot more pleasant and easy for everyone, especially the sober person.  The depiction of habitually sober people has been as falsely negative as the depiction of drunks has been falsely positive.  

I will go on with this.  One point that Harold Johnson which is important is that, contrary to the stereotype,  Native Americans, First Nations People, Indians have about the highest percentage of complete abstainers, of sobriety as measured.   

* I think it's clear that something called "freedom" "liberty" and even "equality under the law" divorced from the real life results of those will end up enslaving people, harming people, killing people.   If you can't see that from the free speech, free press granted he liquor industry, the corporate media, you might be able to understand that when you consider the gun industry and its lawyers' and hired hack writers' and yakkers' articulation of "freedom," "liberty" and "equality under the law."   It is one of the stupidest things in the "enlightenment" articulation of rights includes lots of things, lying, thieving, reckless behavior, being dangerously drunk, etc. as rights when there is no rational case to be made for including such negative choices in any enumeration of rights. 

Update:  Well, you know who agrees with me about Benton Fraser being a cartoon figure?  Paul Gross.  It took me all of five seconds to find this.

"I think it works through false nostalgia," says Gross, stretching out in a trailer that features a bust of Elvis and an austere diet of biscuits and Canadian spring water. "I mean, we know that nobody like Benton Fraser ever really existed."  

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Two By Peter Whalley - The Absent Guest

A sharp and tense whodunnit. When the absent guest from a dinner party is discovered murdered, the remaining guests, one by one, become suspects. 

Ian: Robert Plckavance
Lynn: Deborah Findlay
Mike: John Thomson
Julie: Katy Cavanagh
Claire: Denlse Welch
Alan: John Kazek
Producer/Director Pauline Harris.

Second Feature:  

A woman thinks someone is breaking into her house and calls the police. It is her estranged husband. 

Ian: Jason Done, 
Lauren: Sally Carmen
Tracy: Julia Roundthwaite, 
Sarah: Rachel Leskovac, 
Policeman: Stephen Fletcher, 
Policeman in Brighton: Eric Potts.
Producer-Director: Pauline Harris.

FINALLY! Indivisible Asks Candidates To Pledge To Respect The Will Of Democratic Voters

I started making noise that Democratic Voters should force candidates seeking the nomination to run for the Senate and Presidency and other office since the Lieberman Lamont race in Connecticut.   If a person wants the Democratic Voter's nomination, they should be forced to commit to respecting the will of Democratic voters and not run against the person who gets the most votes for the nomination.  The office they are asking to fill, temporarily, is not theirs, it is the Voters' seat, the nomination they are seeking, as well belongs to The Voters not the candidates.

Now that wonderful group, Indivisible has gone farther than that, asking candidates in the Democratic Presidential race to pledge their full and complete support for whichever one of them gets the Democratic nomination for president, they are asking that they encourage their supporters to also make that commitment which in 2020 is more important than it has been because it means defeating Trumpian-Republican-fascism.  

There are several candidates I would find it rather difficult to give my full support but as one representative of Indivisible said,  compared to Trump any of them would be Abraham Lincoln by comparison.  So I'm going to make that pledge.  There are two candidates who I think would actually be more like Millard Fillmore than Lincoln but that would still be better than Trump who will certainly surpass the worst presidents in our history,  Nixon, Reagan, Buchanan, Pierce, Hayes, . . . there have certainly been a lot of really, really awful presidents in our history. But there is little doubt that Donald Trump is the worst of them all. 

The same principle should be applied to nominations contests up and down the ballot.  In 2019 there are no principled Republicans in the Congress, they are all either Trumpian fascists or, at best, self-seeking cowards.  You would have to go to the very bottom of the Democratic Party barrel to outdo them in awfulness and even a bad Democrat can swing control of the Congress, a legislature or a municipal council.   

I would ask that Indivisible's pledge also be put to media figures who, on the left, are some of the most clueless if not collusive figures in enabling Republican-fascism and Trump.  I'd like to see Bernie Sanders who, to his credit, was the first to sign onto the Indivisible Pledge, make the demand of his supporters that they, as well, pledge to support the Democratic candidate so as to defeat Republican fascism.  I doubt you'd get the real quislings like Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald,  I doubt those in The Young Turks orbit would do it which would tell you all you need to know about their real motives and orientation.  I would be especially curious to see if those running the lefty magazines, The Nation, In These Times, The Progressive, etc. would take that pledge.  I think we could learn a lot that would expose the parts of the lefty media that don't really deserve the credibility extended to them.  I hope with Indivisible's efforts, a lot of that which is misplaced will be transferred to more reliable fighters for egalitarian democracy. 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Hey, You Want To See Me Gloating? Here's The First Thing I Wrote About Rosenstein. Note the First Footnote, I'm So Proud Of Them

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Cut Down The Ivy That Hides Criminals

I don't think I ever read anything about Rod Rosenstein before he was nominated to be the Deputy Attorney General a few weeks back, looking at his background, I'm not surprised to find that he is an Ivy product, University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law.  Pretty much everyone who you can name in such a position is going to be trailing ivy behind him, I am never surprised to find someone who does something sleazy like firing the head of an investigation into a sleazy president right after he asked for more resources because investigating possible crimes and even treason needs more resources.   I have a feeling that if every person who did something that is illegal or should be illegal in an honest country were prosecuted and convicted for it, the Ivy League universities would have a higher percentage of criminals than the most deprived and benighted inner-city high school.

I believe it was Senator Mark Warner who last night or this morning said he wished he could take back his vote to confirm Rod Rosenstein as Deputy Attorney General.   At the very least he has to be brought before someone who can get him under oath to answer questions about what he did and what role Jeff Sessions played in it, what role Donald Trump played in it.  I don't have any confidence that Rod Rosenstein will appoint someone to be a special prosecutor and anyone he might appoint will start out under a cloud.  The sleaze in the Sessions Justice Department and its parent Trump regime makes everything that comes from it suspect.  

As always happens with anything that happens in official Washington, you can find lots of good old boys in the Ivy League network to say nice things about anyone from one of their schools - rather hilariously, one of the experts so testifying is the ultra-sleazy Michael Mukasey (Columbia-Yale)who, along with his step-son, are up to their eyes in Republican sleaze in and around Rudy Giuliani.

If I were in the Senate, I think I'd have a blanket policy against voting for the product of the prep-school-Ivy League system, they've produced too much sleaze.

Update:  In case you wonder who the prescient six Senators who voted against Rosenstein's confirmation as Deputy Attorney General they were,  Cory Booker (N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.).   Who were right.

Update 2:  Gee, I didn't go looking for a prime example of Ivy propping up Ivy but I found that Leon Neyfakh published  an article in Slate about how poor, good Rod Rosenstein was used by Trump and Jeff Sessions, taking advantage of his goodness and uprightness and integrity, to dupe him into writing a report coming up with a non-Russia espionage with possible Trump collusion reason to can him, right after he asked Rosenstein for more resources with which to do a more thorough investigation.

In a piece last week, I asked whether the sober-minded Rosenstein could be a check on the politicization of the DOJ under Sessions, or whether his judiciousness would be squelched. The role the deputy attorney general played in Comey’s firing suggests a third way: Trump and Sessions will let the DOJ’s No. 2 man think he's acting on his principles but deploy him in such a way that those principles help them accomplish what they want to accomplish.

Geesh, I'm not a graduate of, not one but two Ivy League universities, in Rosenstein's case the U. of Pennsylvania's Wharton School (he was Sum Cum) and Harvard Law (Editor of the Law Review) a clerk for one of the most connected and influential judges in the Country, a member of the DC Circuit, Douglas Ginsburg (almost become a Supreme but it was back in the days Nina Totenberg still did reporting and found out he'd been a pot-head back when that mattered) a 27 year employee of the DoJ, with more experience and honors and praise than I'm intrested in going through..... and this is the guy we are supposed to believe was punked by Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump!  Punked because his sense of rectitude blinded him to the inevitable firestorm of scandal it was no doubt bound to bring?  I mean, the guy has worked in the Department of Justice for the past 27 years, lots of that time in friggin' Washington DC and he was too innocent and naive to understand what he was doing AND THAT HE WAS BEING PLAYED?   He didn't understand the possible motives of both Trump and Sessions - who, lest it be forgotten, during the Trump campaign met at least twice with Russian officials and who lied about it, under oath, during his confirmation hearings -  Maybe Rod Rosenstein was too busy polishing his halo when that was in the news.  

Um, hum.  I see.

In case you wanted to understand my point, the guy who wrote that is a Harvard product, he wrote for the Crimson.   They are always looking for another fellow's back to get.

If Rosenstein is that naive he should resign immediately.

Don't Let Me Stop You Or Make You - Stupid Mail

Well if the idiot wants to base his thinking on whether or not it's going to make me feel smug that says a lot more about the deficiency of the quality of his thinking than it says anything about me.   Believe, not believe, hey, your on you're on your own, 's just like you've always been. 

It's sort of neat, germinating date palms out of 2000 year old seeds but it's not that shocking. I've been thinking of trying these beans propagated from 1500 year old seeds but it would take a few years to grow enough seed stock to produce a crop big enough to be worth it for me.  Who knows how long I've got? 

Defined By Action Not By A Name

Though I haven't looked it up in my archive I know I've gone over the pop-atheist resort to the "No true Scotsman" line to show that it's not at all applicable to Christianity which means fidelity to, Gospel of Jesus, certainly, its central core teachings as set out.  It is not possible to define what it means to be a "Scotsman" which is determined by the nationality of ones ancestors.  The extent to which the named identity is not a matter of the choice of the person being labled is the extent to which that categorization doesn't apply.  

In the case of Christianity, the authenticity of the identity is, in every way, intimately tied to what Jesus taught by way of the conduct of his followers, conforming to his moral code in your life IS the definition of authenticity in being a follower of Jesus.  He, himself set that standard in a number of his sayings. 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13: 34-35

 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  Matthew 22: 37-39

. . . whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me . . .  whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me  Matthew 25: 31-46 

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.  Matthew 6: 24

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  Matthew 16: 24

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.  Matthew 7: 15-20

There are others along the same line, these are just what come to mind right now. 

Jesus is the definitive authority in how to be a true follower of Jesus, what the later word, which he never used, "Christian" is supposed to mean.  If you want to make the observation that that would disqualify a lot of the people who trade in that word and, especially, those who make themselves rich out of it, Jesus indicated he expected that to be the case, he certainly had deeper insights into human character and society than the traditional, superficial, I'd say insulting, conventionally pious presentation of him is.  

As even someone like Noam Chomsky has admitted, "the Gospel is radical".  The Gospel is radical as The Law and The Prophets are radical, even in terms of secular-materialist-atheist radicalism.  It has been one of the most important tasks of the devoted servants of money,*  Mammon in some translations, that they cover up the radicalism of the Gospel of Jesus in favor of turning it into a gossipy, dishy vehicle for salacious monitoring of other peoples' sex lives, often by those who enjoy the most evil uses of sex, themselves.  The "Most Christian Kings and Princes" of European history are full to the top with people like Henry VIII who were totally and completely self-indulgent, quite a few of those princes and monarchs were also ministers and priests during the long stretches of degeneracy in the "Christian" hierachies of various churches, Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant.   I will point out that as I'm typing this one of the most flagrant examples of that, the arch-enemy of Pope Francis, Cardinal Raymond Burke is making common cause with the neo-fascist Steve Bannon and those around Benedict XVI to mount a sort of modern anti-papacy because Francis is too Christian to suit them.  

Bannon, seeking new fields to conquer after being fired by Trump two years ago from his job as a White House adviser, says he has the support of powerful Americans and prominent Catholics, among them Cardinal Raymond Burke. Their rallying cry is the pope's failure to solve the sex abuse crisis which, Bannon says, threatens to bankrupt the church and force it to liquidate its properties. Perhaps it was the editing of Engel's reporting, but Bannon focuses on the property, not on the victims.

Bannon's populist nationalism remains an uneasy concept to fit into a Catholic framework. Ever since Paul convinced Peter that the church should forego mandatory circumcision for converts, emerge from its Judaic cocoon and fully embrace the Gentile world, Catholicism has stood for universalism. The papacy long battled European kings who wanted to control the church for nationalistic ends, and, when Catholics came to the United States, they were often perceived as agents of a hostile foreign state, charges that derailed the 1928 presidential campaign of Al Smith.

Now Bannon has taken up the nationalist mantle against the Pope. Following Trump's lead, he has advised European nationalist parties to continue their anti-immigrant agitation. This stands in marked contrast to Francis.

Engel also points to another part of the Bannon appeal. Francis still enjoys popularity ratings that Trump, for one, could only pray for. But there is a segment among Catholics who have heard Francis about the dangers of unbridled capitalism, echoing earlier popes yet with a greater fervor growing out of his Latino roots. That group doesn't like what it's hearing.

As Engel puts it, Bannon's movement is funded by those "who think the pope is bad for business."

Bannon, while taking that support with its promise of big money, takes the pope's view of Catholic teaching personally.

"This is the problem. … He's constantly putting all the faults of the world on the populist nationalist movement," Bannon told Engel about why he opposes Francis.

While support for Bannon's agenda may be negligible in the pews, the fact that he is claiming the allegiance of a sliver of influential Catholics is appalling. Bishops in particular need to be clear which side they are on: The pope's? Or Bannon's emerging anti-Francis movement? Nothing less than the very survival of a unified Catholic church is at stake.

This is a modern version of the hijacking of Jesus by the Antichrist of Mammonism.  As can be seen, many members of the hierarchy have been part of that. 

*  I have come to the conclusion that all materialist philosophy will, in the end, end up serving Mammon, serving injustice and inequality, I think Communism will always, in every case, end up creating its own oppressive, gangster elites as it has in every country where it has been tried.  There is no more oppressive billionaire class, anywhere, than the one which rules China, no more oppressive economic elite than the one in North Korea, no doubt that Putin and his band of post-Communist-former-communist gangsters aspire to those levels of control, in the fullness of time, in his case corrupting the Russian Orthodox leadership was a vehicle for him to get to where he has now.  It's no wonder that he's making common cause with the same crowd Bannon AND FRANKLIN GRAHAM serve.  They are all servants of money.  

Republicans Who Stay Republicans During The Trump Regime Are Not Honorable

As I am typing this I'm listening to a pirated video of Lawrence O'Donnell's The Last Word Program from last night.  He just asked J. W. Verrett an associate professor from the Scalia School of Law* at George Mason University, someone who worked on and quit Trump's transition team and who has announced that the Mueller Report has led to him braking with Trump - O'Donnell just asked, if he is disappointed with elected Republicans who are all standing with Trump or absolutely silent and the Republican took the opportunity to crap on Democrats in the House for not doing what they can't do without Republicans standing up to Trump.

That, in a single incident is what you can count on almost all current, Trump era Republicans to do.  

And now as I'm typing this out O'Donnell is playing a clip from a speech which Rod Rosenstein gave yesterday in which he is clearly holding the same line that William Barr has taken in this.  I never trusted that smarmy little piece of crap.  I think he's smart enough to know that his brief period of being given the benefit of the doubt during the active phase of the Mueller regime ended when he participated in Barr's cover-up and distortion campaign.  I think he 's just that smart which is why his stunned emu face sounded a bit heated in his speech but he's too much of a gangster punk and coward that he's going to stand with the big bullies hoping that he can become one of those Republican punks who reporters and columnists prop up as a respectable, honorable man for the record and he goes on to profitable positions in the private sector.  

Rod Rosenstein is a Republican punk, that became obvious to us who never knew who he was when his letter giving Trump a' transparently insincere reason for firing another piece of Republican crap but one who, finally, finally found a step too far for even him to take in letting Mike Flynn's Putin connections go.  It's not much to say about someone like Comey that they have more demonstrable character than Rod Rosenstein but it says a lot about Rosenstein that he demonstrably has less than James Comey and has thrown his lot in with William Barr who will likely join John Mitchell as the worst Attorneys General in the history of an often pretty dishonorable bunch. 

* I think anyone who would work at a "school of law" named for a fascist thug like Scalia is announcing to the world that they are that kind of person.  The former George Mason School of Law, named for the guy who forced his fellow slave owners and their northern gangster Founder cronies into adopting a "Bill of Rights" and whose draft proposal for one has some language that, if they'd adopted it, would have been superior to the one we got from those gangsters.  The name was changed for money, of course, American academia being pretty much an intellectual knocking shop,  ten million of it came from the Kochs, and twenty million came from an anonymous money bag which, no doubt Scalia had enriched by his time on the Supreme Court.  I'd guess it was one of the billionaires he went killing small birds with and got other emoluments from while he was their servant on the bench.  You know how sentimental the rich can be for their most devoted servants when they die and go to hell. 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

I'd Never Accuse Franklin Graham of Being A Christian Never Mind A Minister Of The Gospel

I am asked what I think about the "Christian minister" Franklin Graham calling on Pete Buttigieg to "repent" from being, unlike Franklin Graham, happily married in personal commitment, employed in a lifetime of public service, not bilking people on the basis of a hallelujah peddling PR operation inherited from his far from admirable father, running a cult of personality theme park where, or so I'm read, you can hardly turn a corner without coming onto a Billy Graham themed gift store.  

Like so many of his fellow Bible thumping hypocrites, Franklin Graham is in violation of the clearest teaching on sexual morality that Jesus ever gave banning remarriage after divorce - he never said a word about a faithful, committed same-sex relationship, the kind of marriage Pete Buttigieg and Chasten Glezman (another public servant) share.  Neither, by the way, did Paul who never addressed that kind of relationship or, I would guess, could have imagined it to comment on.  

And that's not to mention Franklin Graham's blessing on the morality of his fellow Mammonist and adulterer, Donald Trump.  I would also wonder why Graham has not commented on the universally known to be gay Lindsay Graham not to mention some other Republicans who are known to enjoy a swinging gay lifestyle while either pretending to be straight (some of them married to women) or just pretending.  

Franklin Graham is not a minister of God, he is a huckster of Mammon.  He is a hypocrite and a fraud whose words are meaningful only to his fellow Mammonist frauds and liars and hypocrites and most of them don't care anymore if they're true than they do that Trump's are.  What they know is they hate the same people and want the same things.  To do that they'd follow anyone.  

For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.  Mark 13:22  

Hate Mail From Some Bounder

It's funny that a musically retarded jerk is mocking what I said about the composer's set, notated tempo being important in their instructions of how their music is to be played.  As if he knows more than the composer, as if any performer who performs a composer's piece knows more about how it's supposed to sound than the person who wrote it.   When a composer goes to the bother of saying how fast their music should be, it's obviously important to them and any deviation from their music is a distortion of their stated intentions.*

It's especially funny considering how the pop records of crap that are easily 99% of what music is to the idiot never vary in their speed, assuming the play-back isn't as defective as his knowledge of music. 

*  When a composer doesn't give a set tempo in the period after the means of doing that was invented, either by pendulums or metronomes or other relatively accurate conventions, that's a different matter and also the composer's choice.  It's a question of following the composer's choice when they made a choice.  If you don't like that, don't play their music.   

Update:  And to prove my point, the eejit Teaneck is using an ancient, whiny bit of forgettable tripe by Mick and his old stones to insult me over this post.  What's funny about that is that the one time I heard it I seem to recall the lyrics said something about him thinking he should be put out of his misery.  Yeah, I can get on board with that.  

Should I say "Mopheads"?  

Fan Mail But Not From Some Flounder

A reader presses me as to why I don't produce a podcast version of this blog, someone apparently thinks it would be fun to have an accent that sounds like the late Joe Perham reading the kind of things I write.    

I do use recording and editing equipment to record music and produce instructive audio for my students regularly and have since I worked in a primitive electronic music lab in the day when that meant wading through miles and miles of patch cords finally getting the idea that you should label all of those and then forgetting to do it often enough so it wasn't really much help.  

Back when I had better eyesight I was a fair hand at editing reel to reel tape, which means I hated the cassette format and never much used the multi-track one I was forced to buy but found almost impossible to use and just loved it when digital, computer based audio got cheap enough to buy and found it was even infinitely easier and more effective than editing tape - the most overrated format in the history of audio recording.  The 130 dollar Zoom H1n I use is, in every way, better than the huge, very expensive reel to reel tape machines I grew up on.  And cassetts?  Even at double speed recording?  Give me a break if you can't hear that digital, set up well sounds better. 

I use the downloadable Acoustic Labs Audio Editor which was a steal when I bought it what now seems like a long time ago, alas the creator has discontinued his company so I have to make sure I have a backup copy.  I expect I'll be maintaining computers old enough to run it for as long as I'm doing editing.   By "modern" standards it's bare bones but it does more than everything I want to use it for, recording real sound and it is absolutely simple to use.  The last thing I want to spend my time doing it's wading through features I'll never use and learning complicated routines.   If I had gone into electronic music - after some experiments - I'd probably use something with more features, but, then, I always found musique concrète, using recorded natural sound more interesting than synthesized music. 

Some of the more recent experiments with microtonal synthesizers are interesting in potential but, other than Dolores Catherino's music, I don't find it very interesting to listen to.  As Virgil Thomson lamented about the legendary music of Harry Partch, it's too bad after all that effort the results weren't very interesting.  He said they lacked intellectual substance, which is true. But like the more interesting Ezra Sims and Ben Johnston he used acoustic instruments.  

See how easily I got off the topic of recording my voice for podcast?   I'll reconsider it but I wouldn't expect I'll change my mind.  Flattery will get you only so far. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Stupid Mail - Huis Clos HA! Try We Slow

If you really wanted to shock me with something it would be anything those idiots said that indicated they'd actually read something of any substance.  They are the ass end of the case proving that college in modern life is a for-profit, formal exercise in credentialing in most cases, a means of career building and advancement, not education.  Things started to go to hell with TV, I'd thought the internet would force people to at least practice literacy skills, but, no.  It's more on the level of Twitter and cat pictures. 

That is in most cases, there are exceptions.  But if you want an education, you're on your own, in college or out of it, with college or without it.  I'd bet on several high-school dropouts I know who read over those snobs. 

Leo Brouwer - Estudios Sencillos - again

A few years back I posted a Youtube of all 20 of Leo Brouwer's Estudios Sencillos which had the great virtue of showing the score along with the music.  I liked the pieces well enough that I got the score and was surprised to find that instead of time signatures, make that "metronome markings"  Brouwer had given a time duration indication at the end of the pieces, instead.  Those led me to the conclusion that that recording was, in almost every case, played far faster than the composer intended.  When a composer goes to the bother of giving an exact or close to exact tempo indication, deviating from that is a distortion of the piece.  

In the time between then and now, I've listened to several performances and haven't found any that, throughout the 20 pieces match Brouwer's time indications.  This series played by Patrik Kleemola does a better job with many of them though there are some that are, as well, played too fast.   I interesting to watch someone play the pieces, too, but I miss the score.   It's always interesting to see what different players will do with #20 in which Brouwer gives the player a bit of leeway in terms of improvisational choice. 

If the whole set won't play on this link, here's the link to the set

I Didn't Have Time To Write A Short Response So I Wrote A Long One Instead

There were two very interesting pieces in The New Yorker about the falling out between those two major figures in 20th century French literature,  Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre.  The first by Adam Gopnik,  Why We Love Camus,  the second by Richard Brody, Camus and France’s Algerian Wars.  Both are interesting to the, I'd imagine, diminishing number of people who care about mid-20th century existential philosophy and the Paris intellectual scene, though I would agree with the point that, as a writer, Camus was more interesting than Sartre, I don't find either of them especially convincing as thinkers or their articulated substitutes for a morality their materialist-atheist philosophy negated at all convincing.  There are lots and lots of these kinds of cultural fights in which a false dualism is set up with the pseudo-moralistic requirement of choosing one side or the other.  In the case of the falling out of Sartre and Camus there is no requirement that anyone choose either of them because, while there are understandable points in favor of one over the other, both of them had serious moral and intellectual positions that prove only that any of those preferable points probably had better advocates.   

I've been intending to write about this but current politics and my daily life don't let me do the background research and looking up citations remembered to do that. 

I think the most important part of the two pieces is Brody's articulation of just how entirely fucked up France and French intellectual life was in the aftermath of the Nazi occupation, though I would reject the bifurcation of that divide into those reactionaries, nominally and hierarchically Catholic on the one hand and communist-existentialist-atheist on the other.  There was a lot more going on in France at the time though in fashionable Parisian intellectual circles, it made things easier to ignore those.  There was a very real, very active and, as time would prove, more durable movement of what might be called a Christian left, though I don't think that Anglicization of it is very helpful - like the rest of it it has to be taken on its own terms and not translated.   One of the swampier manifestations of that I remember is the often flung around lefty accusation that this one or that one was a crypto or proto-Nazi philosophy.  That accusation made by some Marxists against Emmanuel Mounier's Personalism, that it was proto-Nazi in effect,  is the one that springs to mind.  History, that material god of Marxism has ironically proven, as Marxism aged under use it turned out to actually be the more likely precursor of fascism and neo-Nazism than the inter-war French articulation of Personalism.  That was more likely to produce the Christian, non-governmental anarchism of The Catholic Worker movement, both Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin were highly influenced by Mounier. 

Brody said something along the same lines here:

In “The Rebel,” Camus writes (in Philip Mairet’s translation):

He who dedicates himself to the duration of his life, to the house he builds, to the dignity of mankind, dedicates himself to the earth and reaps from it the harvest that sows its seed and sustains the world again and again. Finally, it is those who know how to rebel, at the appropriate moment, against history who really advance its interests.

In English, this can come across as merely sonorous. In France in 1951, the real meaning was barbed and apparent: only a moral idiot would give his allegiance to the Communist Party in the name of the coming revolution. Camus spotted the catch in Sartre’s account of fellow-travelling as a leap of faith. The only practical way to unlock the next guy’s chains, on Sartre’s premise, is to kill the guy next to that guy first, since he’s the one chaining him up; kill all the jailers and everyone will be free. This sounds great, Camus saw, until you’ve killed all the jailers and all you have is other jailers. There is no difference between dying in a Soviet camp and dying in a Nazi camp. We should be neither executioners nor victims; it is madness to sacrifice human lives today in the pursuit of a utopian future.

As people who have read this blog will know, the moment I realized that people murdered by Stalin were as murdered as those murdered by Hitler was a major turning point in my life.   I think the point made about why the anti-colonialist Camus, an Algerian-French pied-noir, whose mother labored as a servant, cited her as his reason for not officially joining in the Parisian sided of the anti-colonial struggle that the likes of Sartre probably did more to wound than to aid, that he chose his mother over the rights of self-determination by Algerians, is far more a sign of his limitations.  It reminded me of the minor figure in American literature Hannibal Hamlin Garland whose radicalism faded into marketable sentimentalism as soon as he could provide his mother with economic security.  

More generally these two pieces are useful for their brief introduction into how completely screwed up French politics continued to be after the liberation, something which, since even most of those with college credentials in the United States' idea of France goes not much further than what they saw in Casablanca and a few other American made movies, can be a rather startling revelation.

Camus wanted a better Republic. What he got was the Fourth Republic. De Gaulle is often given credit for the myth of the Resistance, which is no more of a myth than the American myth of emancipation; i.e., it really did happen, you just have to leave a lot of other stuff out to make what happened sound like it was mostly good. But he also created another myth: that of the failure of the Fourth Republic, in order to prove the necessity of his Fifth. In fact, the Fourth Republic, far more parliamentary than the Presidential-monarchical Fifth, was no more than normally corrupt and inefficient, and did a terrific job of moving France from paralysis to prosperity from 1945 to 1958. It foundered exactly on the insoluble problems of decolonization, about which it could be no wiser than its constituent parts.


The dissolution of the Fourth Republic and the return to power of General Charles de Gaulle was something close to a military coup. As Adam writes, the Fourth Republic was democratic and, in many ways, progressive, but it was unstable: France had twenty Prime Ministers between 1947 and 1958, some only serving several days. Its leaders waged war in Algeria, unleashing the army’s cruel might against Algerian insurgents and their sympathizers, but French military leaders there nonetheless feared that its will was weak. In May, 1958, rebels in the French army overthrew the French civil authorities in Algiers, then took Corsica and were preparing to do the same in Paris—to install an actual military dictatorship. Their condition for not doing so was the return to power of de Gaulle as head of state in a centralized Presidential government. Thus the Fifth Republic (the current French regime) was founded.

I think this, along with the horrific, violent and turbulent history of late 18th and 19th century France after the Revolution is worth thinking about among those idiots who want to take the romantic fantasy of revolution as a royal road to radical change.  As well as an example of how minds informed mostly by movies, Hollywood or other, end up as ignorant as those who went for some other, less reputed strain of pop-culture instead of watching Bogey and Bergman.   Whatever democracy France has managed to carve out of the wreckage of its post-revolutionary history, it wasn't because of that revolution.  That's something that can be said of that other great example of a "successful revolution," The United States, where we are in the process of losing everything gained by the post-revolutionary struggle for democracy, today. 

The most amusing part of it is the part about how the final coup de grâce in the partnership of these two vedettes. these two giants of post-war intellectual French philosophical scribbling was what Camus said about Sartre's arm chair.  I'll let you read the articles to find out what that was.  I don't often laugh out loud when I'm reading stuff but I did when I found that out. 

Hate Mail - Egalitarian Democracy Goes Way, Way Past Mere Democratic Socialism.

Got into it with a couple of Bernie Bros over the lies the Bernie Bro online media are spreading about what Pete Buttigieg said about the disaffection of both Bernie Sanders supporters and Trump supporters.  One of the things that startled me most about the argument was that the Bernie Bros seemed to think that my statements in favor of radical equality were unsound, perhaps proving something I've come to believe, that a lot of those "leftists" have a lot more in common with the fascist right through their materialist scientism.   

In the course of the argument I said I was to the left of Sanders to the skepticism, perhaps derision of the Bros.  Well, I gave them a sample which I would guess even they thought was going too far, it shut them up so I thought I'd give it here, with some important additions in square brackets.  From the way they dropped it,  I think I went way too far for them. 


Are you asking me what my wildest dreams are?   

I do believe all people are endowed with equality, beyond some kind of economic utilitarian scheme of valuation, that is a position to the left of Bernie Sanders. 

I believe that all essential services, including to education, medical care, fire, medical emergency and police protection, are part of that right.  

I would abolish all economic inequality because it is inevitably destructive of equality.  

I would abolish destitution entirely through a guaranteed income and guaranteed adquate housing to be administered on a local level with regulations to prevent discrimination.

 I would require that cooperation and equality be instilled through education and, more importantly, the media and that lessons in seeing through conjobs and seeing through the way the media inculcates amoral depravity would be part of that, as well.   

[I'd ban TV ads, which would go far in cutting down on the lies, conjobs, depravity.  I'd limit TV and radio and online media in elections to flat, policy based statements made by the candidate in the candidates voice without PR tactics.  I can't think of anything other than the public funding of campaigns that would clean up our politics more effectively.]

I would tax all of the elite private institutions for the support of, for example, public education pre-school through PhD,    

I think the unregulaged mass media is a danger to egalitarian democracy and everything good, up to and including life itself.   I would force the  mass media to serve the interests of government of, by and for The People instead of the oligarchs and the owners or they would not be allowed to broadcast or be distributed on cable or the internet. 

I would obliterate social media platforms that behave like Facebook in endangering democracy.  [I would do that as evidence comes in to demonstrate that danger to democracy.]

I would leave it to civil action to regulate the relatively harmless, by comparison,  print media through enabling those it lies about to sue for slander and libel as was possible before things started to really go to hell in 1964 with the Sullivan Decision. 

 Though in some cases of provable harm, such as the Turner Diaries, I would favor provisions to ban its distribution and ownership, altogether.  The rights of the victims of "free speech- free press" are entirely higher than the rights of words and media corporations.    

If you want I can go on.


I think any left that isn't based in the belief that God endowed all of us with equal rights will, almost inevitably, turn into government controlled by thugs.  Those endowed rights aren't enumerated in the traditional. "classical liberal" way,  in expression, most of all there is an equal right to seek and tell the truth, that you will know the truth and that will make you free is a huge part of it.  I do not believe there is any right to lie to deceive, to con and cheat.  Any "equal right" to do those things will get you straight into a hell of inequality, what we live in more with ever passing day.  I believe that we are endowed with the right to do to others what we would have them do to us (and the right to be treated along those lines).  I do not believe we are endowed with a right to oppress and cheat and hurt others in our own self-interest.  "Self-interest" the highest ersatz virtue of neo-liberalism, "classical-liberalism" is something that you can't reliably base democracy in.  

I think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might understand what I'm saying here better than the old Marxist would.  I've read some of what she's written, I think as a Woman Of Color, as a Christian of the kind who takes what Jesus said seriously, she'd get it.  I think AOC is to the left of Bernie if you want to put it in those terms.  Egalitarian democracy is the farthest to the left you're going to find.  Democratic socialism is a poor substitute.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

If, As Is The Case, Impeachment Won't Happen, That OLC Ruling Is Too Dangerous To Allow It To Stand

That infamous Office of Legal Counsel ruling against indicting a sitting president has the stinking hands of fascism on it through its real creator, then Solicitor General Robert Bork, the guy who was ready to carry out the Saturday Night Massacre for the criminal President Richard Nixon, it basically was designed to protect criminal presidents such as Nixon and others who have, actually, characterized the presidency after Nixon.  Ronald Reagan's administration was floridly corrupt, including George H. W. Bush who found it necessary to issue a number of pardons to protect himself as he left the presidency and the protection of that OLC ruling.   It certainly characterized the corrupt regime of his son, George W. Bush who was installed illegally by Republicans on the Supreme Court and who went on to be managed by the corrupt Dick Cheney.  It certainly has been true of the Trump regime imposed on us by a foreign billionaire oligarchic criminal regime working hand in glove with American millionaires and billionaires taking advantage of the corruption embedded in the American system through the Electoral College system and Republican state administrations who have rigged the systems in their own states.  By comparison the petty criminality of Bill Clinton, lying under oath about getting a blow job while in office, is hardly in the same class of criminality.  That it was at the very end of his term of office that the awful thing was revived in 2000 is telling.  By comparison, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama's presidencies have been oases of law abidance. * 

The excuse for putting even a legitimate president above the law other than the weight of office, something which we regularly overcome whenever there is a change of presidents, is that the Constitution has given Congress the power to remove presidents through impeachment.   That fact also refutes the excuse for that ruling, if a criminal trial would distract a sitting president from their responsibilities of office in an unacceptable way, an impeachment is no less disruptive, in every way it is more of a distraction because an impeachment through congress would be inherently a political as well as a quasi-judicial process.  The temptation of a president to go hammer and tongs against their political opposition would be, if anything, far more disruptive of their executive activities.  The Constitution didn't take what might be a rational response to such a concern, temporarily putting the Vice President in charge when a President is on trial or under an active impeachment action.  

That excuse for the likes of Robert Bork creating unstated Constitutional lore, that impeachment is the proper way to remove a criminal president is, itself, shown for its illegitimacy through the failure of Houses to impeach and Senates to remove presidents in every single instance of Presidential criminality in our history.  The fact that the Republicans in the Senate, refusing to remove Donald Trump with his record of criminality, even to the extent of not only failing to protect and defend the United States from enemies foreign as well as domestic BUT HAVING COLLABORATED WITH VLADIMIR PUTIN'S CRIME REGIME TO GAIN THE OFFICE shows the fact that depending on impeachment in lieu of indicting and convicting Donald Trump is about as dangerous an artifact as Robert Bork left to rot out American democracy.  

*  I would not include Gerald Ford because his pardon of Nixon was one of the most irresponsible and dangerous acts taken by an American president.  If Nixon had been indicted and convicted and sentenced for his crimes, the subsequent history of criminality by, mostly, Republican presidents may have been very different.  As far as I'm concerned, Ford was a part of one of the most dangerous cover-ups for crime in the history of the United States. 

Update;  Anticipating some objection to what I said, based in the failure of the fabled Founders to have taken this into consideration, the failure of Congresses to impeach and remove criminal presidents and others throughout our history refutes their Constitutional theories that impeachment is an adequate prevention for even as criminal an executive administration as they could imagine.  I think with Trump we've gone way past what those men, who relied so much on even their inadequate concept of "honor" could have possibly imagined would possibly happen under their system.   I think the last time we could depend on that level of "honor" among Republicans was when there were Republicans in the House who voted to impeach and, having come to the conclusion that Nixon would cost the Republican Party in the next election, some of the leading Senate Republicans told Nixon the jig was up, though that last one was hardly an act of honor instead of self-serving damage control.  If you're counting on the likes of Susan Collins and Mitt Romney in that regard, you are a hopeless chump. 

The thing doesn't work to keep us safe from the worst.  The Founders theory on this was clearly inadequate without the possibility of an indictment and trial of a sitting president.