Saturday, October 19, 2019

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Tanika Gupta - The Parting

Four men miss the 6.32 train and end up stranded overnight at the station. Sam the station man becomes their confidante as each tells him why he wanted to be on that particular train. 
With Trevor Peacock, Don McCorkindale, Ewan Bailey, Danny Dyer, Calum Callahagn. 
Directed by Tracey Neale.
One of your nice, warm, optimistic Brit stories.   Just kidding.   Well written and interesting, even if I don't endorse the conclusion.  

Two Points

A.  Why anyone would care about who Michael Moore is endorsing for president is one of the minor mysteries of life.   I don't care, what he thinks about that is, I suspect, important for him and is temporarily important for the people on cabloid news networks and the impotent play-lefty media and for them it's only filling time.   I'd rather watch a re-run of a Jiffy-Pop popcorn commercial from the early 60s. 

Watching it happen was sort of fun but I'll bet no one in the world didn't burn that crap on the bottom.  So, it's a lot like Michael Moore's political endorsements.   And it stank. 

B. Speaking of inflation.   It may not have been Tulsi Gabbard's intention to become the idol of RT and Republican-fascist-Russian-bot media, but her stupid, ill-timed and ill-considered stunt presidential bid has had that real life effect. 

If she wants to get from under that, the best way for her to do it is to admit that she's being used and she should put a stop to her usefulness to them by admitting that Hillary Clinton has a point.   AND GETTING OUT OF PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS. 

Now that she's denied she will run a third-party spoiler campaign, if she goes back on that - even using the out that she didn't promise to not run as an "independent" - she will confirm the wisdom of Hillary Clinton, giving us more reason to regret that media lies for a quarter of a century lost us the most qualified candidate in history and put Trump in power. 

Trump As Erdogan's Bitch

Make Anatolia Great Again!

No Easy Answers - Science Has Limits That It Can't Avoid - Pretending It Doesn't Is Immoral And Dangerous

My mother was, in her early career, a nurse who had worked in hospitals in Boston in the late 1930s and through WWII.  She saw many of the major advances in modern medicine, first hand.  I remember her talking about life before and after the discovery and distribution of penicillin, how she said it was like a miracle to see patients who she would have seen die of what became easily treatable infections get better in days and leave the hospital healthy people.  

She also saw the enormous expansion of blood donation and transfusion during WWII as she worked in hospitals which received large numbers of soldiers, sailors and marines as they were sent back to the U.S. many of whom had survived due to field hospital transfusions.   My father was one of those, they met in the hospital where she worked.  So, I owe my existence to that combination of a war and modern medical advances.   That is part of the enormous complexity of so many lives of those at that time and after.   What that tells us about the relationship between supreme evil and the human experience of what is good is too complicated for me to figure out.  I think it's too complex to tease any simple and coherent meaning from.  We can just be aware of it and think about it but I wouldn't look for anything so easy as a general conclusion from it.  Any general conclusions asserted will have to leave out so much as to likely be false.

Going through paperwork in my duties as an executor, I found a record of blood donations made by another relative who died of hepatitis C.   Most of the blood donations were made in the 1950s through the 1970s.   Hepatitis as classified today, into types A, B, and C was a progressive thing, the different strains were identified at different times.  Though a "non A- non B" strain of hepatitis had been known for a long time, the actual discovery of  type C wasn't until 1989.   It was two years after that that my own father was diagnosed with hepatitis-C.   In looking at his medical history which, since his enlistment in the military after Pearl Harbor was quite complete, they said the only known way he could have gotten the virus was through the field hospital transfusion that had saved his life.   He was a frequent blood donor as so many veterans of his age were.  It was the right thing to do, based on the knowledge of the time.   Thinking about the paperwork I've just been through, I have to wonder how many people were infected, unknowingly, with a serious and often fatal disease through what was, based in the scientific knowledge and best practice available based on that scientific knowledge, a good thing, a generous thing to do.  Who knows if there are other, unidentified types of hepatitis. 

I am not saying this to attack the practice of blood donation, to which, as I said, I owe my existence and to which my father owed his life and the more than four decades he lived carrying a blood borne disease no one knew about.  I'm saying this, first, to give an example of the extremely limited success of science, especially in areas of enormous complexity which biological and medical science must deal with.  Every time we introduce foreign matter into a body, the full range of consequences of that decision are unknowable.  If the foreign matter is tissue from another living being or blood components which can carry viral, bacterial or other infection, the potential to do harm is always going to be there.  Certainly one of the things we know is that only a tiny number of such potential infectious agents is known to us at any time, new ones can either become common in the human population or arise through mutation of existing organisms, micro-organisms reproduce at such a huge rate, in relation to the bodies they inhabit, that that potential is not something which will ever end.  

I am also saying this because of what it tell us about human inability to make fully informed moral decisions.  Based on what was known, what my father, what my other relative did was generous and good, though unknown to them, they may well have been infecting unknown numbers of people with a deadly infection.  That is certainly true at least as a potential whenever we give blood.  Ironically, due to the policy decisions around the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, my blood was not wanted - though I didn't practice the kinds of sex that left me open to HIV (and hepatitis)* transmission, men of my identity was told not to donate - my relative was still occasionally donating during that period.   What we know today would make what was - for all he could have known - a morally laudable act, immorally irresponsible. 

I don't have any general moral assertions to make,  this is given as something to think about.  Having been bitten by a tick this last week, with all of the rising knowledge of the dangers of that indirect transmission of blood borne pathogens between mammals, it makes me wonder what we don't know about donation by those who have been bitten by ticks.  But without taking the very serious leap into that darkness, we know people will die for want of a blood transfusion. 

*  I've mentioned before that one of the reasons I would not engage in anal sex was because I knew, even in the 1960s that it was a very likely means to transmit or be infected with hepatitis and other, untreatable sexually transmitted diseases.   Not to mention other problem with it.  I saw the period in which anal sex was normalized as "the real gay sex" among gay men, mostly through porn of the period, the same way it has become normalized for the far larger numbers of straight people who engage in it, today.    It is one of the most ridiculously amoral things I've found online that those who proclaim, loudest, their devotion to science will, as easily as the most scientifically illiterate, disregard it when their preferences and desire to appear kewelly transgressive mandates they pretend it's not there.   I have never had a sexually transmitted disease because I engaged only in non-penetrative sex with one man.  I assume he was faithful to me, I've never had any evidence he wasn't, though we didn't live together.  Promiscuity is another major means of infection, who needs ticks when people choose to infect each other.  One of the major and most dangerous limits of science is when people choose to ignore it.

Friday, October 18, 2019

I've Finally Figured Out How To Address Trump "Mr. Prostitute"

Came to me as I made a comment at RMJ's blog just now which notes that Trump is Erdogan's Bitch. 

It makes me think of the line in The Lion in Winter, when Henry II taunts Eleanor of Aquitaine only with Trump its like he's an anti-democratic draw bridge. He'll put out for any gangster he figures he can get money from. I once told someone I couldn't think of Melania without thinking of her as "The First Prostitute" but I think it's just as true for her husband. Mr. Prostitute. 

Update:  Stupy, I didn't call Trump a prostitute as a joke, I stated a fact.  

Just to let you know, when I make a joke, it'll go right over your head. 

The Play Left Ridin' It Down Like Slim Pickens

How tedious, I am taunted with one of Duncan Black's longer posts of recent years, 127 words, 78 of which he clipped from the Pew forum.  The entire effort, with link reads


I suspect the number of true believers hasn't changed all that much, but that people increasingly don't identify themselves as culturally Christian is interesting. When I was younger, if you weren't Other (Jewish, etc.), you were default Christian, and people thought it was weird if you claimed otherwise.

The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip. In Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.

The Pew organization has found out it can get the most attention and media buzz by periodically providing anti-Christian content for the news cycle, every so often, giving discouragement to religious believers, Christians, most of all.  It's kind of like how the "ethics" industry gets attention for itself by periodically assuring us of some group of people or other it's OK, even good to kill.   It's part of the longstanding habits of the publishing industries, the commercial one and the academic one.  I'm tempted to go into a particularly stupid example from that which has been on my mind lately but that's for a longer post.  

I have answered the various points in Duncan's article many times, especially the bogus category of "Nones" which was explicitly created by an ideological atheist-sociologist explicitly to inflate the number of atheists in the bogus science he and Pew practice.  I mean, he said it as explicitly as Mick Mulvaney admitted that there was a quid pro quo yesterday, but the science of sociology takes absolutely no notice of the fact that they are peddling ideological junk science as ersatz fact.   If I wanted to try to remember where I read it,  I'd point out that such scientific surveying has turned up some rather odd things, including atheists who believe in a god, but the way in which the explicit statement of how "Nones" were created out of the data to promote an ideological viewpoint has made no difference so that debunking of the methods of such ersatz science isn't likely to, either. 

I'm not greatly troubled about the survey, I'd have to read what was asked, how it was asked, who the scientifically invalid sample of the population were (there is no such thing as a really random sample in surveying and polling so ALL SUCH SCIENCE RESTS ON AN UNSCIENTIFICALLY CONSTRUCTED SAMPLE).  

I have recently reused this passage from Eric Alterman's book, Why We're Liberals 

To what degree, asks the political philosopher Michael Sandel, are our liberal virtues fashioned in relative isolation, and to what extent can they be found embedded in relations with others?   Are we, ultimately, atomistic, individual beings or members of various interlocking communities?   "Rawlsian liberalism defines certain actions as beyond the bounds of a decent society,"  Sandel complains, "but wherein lies its commitment to the good, the noble of purpose, the meaning, as it were, of life?"
For guidance in these intractable liberal positions,  the historian James T. Kloppenberg suggests we turn to one of civilizations oldest moral traditions, and one whose roots are shared by most Americans:  Christianity.  Conceptually,  Kloppenberg notes, the central virtues of liberalism descend directly from the cardinal virtues of early Christianity:  "prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice."   He adds that "the liberal virtues of tolerance, respect, generosity, and benevolence likewise extend St. Paul's admonition to the Colossians that they should practice forbearance, patience, kindness and charity." 
This view is reinforced by the arguments of Jurgen Habermas, post war Europe's most significant liberal philosopher and perhaps the last great voice of the once preeminent (and neo-Marxist) Frankfurt School. "Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civiliaztion,"  Habermas told then cardinal Joseph Ratinger, now Pope Benedict, during a January 2004 conversation,  "To this day, we have no other option [than Christianity].  We continue to nourish ourselves from this source.  Everything else is postmodern chatter."  No one understood this better than Franklin Delano Roosevelt.   Asked by a reporter about his political philosophy,  FDR replied, "Philosophy?  I am a Christian and a Democrat -  that is all."
Why We're Liberals: A Political Handbook for Post-Bush America
 By Eric Alterman

I have asked what if Habermas, if Kloppenberg and, I assume Alterman are right about the ultimate source of that type of Western liberalism. the kind on which egalitarian democracy may well depend?   Why would anyone of even Duncan Blacks's sluggardly style of liberalism rejoice in the decline of the source of that liberalism?   Especially as one of the most renowned and acclaimed atheist-quasi-Marxist philosophers and scholar of political-economy in the post-WWII era points out "TO THIS DAY, WE HAVE NO OTHER OPTION [TO CHRISTIANITY]" AS "THE ULTIMATE FOUNDATION OF LIBERTY, CONSCIENCE, HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY, THE BENCHMARKS OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION."

The stupidity of the play-left is longstanding and complete.  I see it here, I see it in Britain (Jeremy Corbyn is a total failure and a completely stupid ass) I have been a witness to that for more than half a century, now.   Eventually you have to figure they're never going to change, they will willingly ride their hobbyhorse down to total destruction just as - well, they aren't great readers so, here's an audio-visual aid.

Why do I think I'd have to explain where this comes from and what it means to the younger kiddies?   Hey, Duncan, if the troll is right and you were taunting me, let me know, you know what this film clip is? 

Update:  I should mention that I doubt that Duncan Black encountered much of the claimed Christian cultural hegemony he based his squib on.  The middle-aged boy was born in 1972, well after the Supreme Court rulings removing religion from governmental events and venues were issued.   The media he grew up with was hardly pushing that POV.  I suspect he's exaggerating it out of the same habit of expression I mentioned is common to the college-credentialed class in the English speaking world.   I was an adult when he was born, I remember that period as an adult. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Probate sucks.  This is going to be a lot harder than I anticipated.

Read It And Weep Stupy

Cell Press
A bacterial species that hunts other bacteria has attracted interest as a potential antibiotic, but exactly how this predator tracks down its prey has not been clear. A new study reveals that the bacterial predator Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus homes in on its target by taking advantage of fluid forces generated by its own swimming movements and those of its prey. These bring the bacteria in close proximity, giving BV a greater chance of successful attack. 
Here's the article in Science Daily.
That's the difference between us, Stupy, I read things, you and the Eschatots opine, which is why you've never changed since you were 20, or 12.   You remind me of my mother's childless cousins who only ever interacted with people from their own age cohort and till thought it was 1938 in the 2000s.   Only they were nice if eccentric, you're a 12 year old a-hole. 

Update:  Yeah, that one was intentional, to see if he'd bite.  He does but not in that sense of the word. 

Who Am I Supposed To Believe? A Recognized Scientist At A Major Research University In The Field For Four Decades Or Simps?

Forty years' experience as a bacterial geneticist has taught me that bacteria possess many cognitive, computational and evolutionary capabilities unimaginable in the first six decades of the twentieth century. Analysis of cellular processes such as metabolism, regulation of protein synthesis, and DNA repair established that bacteria continually monitor their external and internal environments and compute functional outputs based on information provided by their sensory apparatus. Studies of genetic recombination, lysogeny, antibiotic resistance and my own work on transposable elements revealed multiple widespread bacterial systems for mobilizing and engineering DNA molecules. Examination of colony development and organization led me to appreciate how extensive multicellular collaboration is among the majority of bacterial species. Contemporary research in many laboratories on cell-cell signaling, symbiosis and pathogenesis show that bacteria utilise sophisticated mechanisms for intercellular communication and even have the ability to commandeer the basic cell biology of 'higher' plants and animals to meet their own needs. This remarkable series of observations requires us to revise basic ideas about biological information processing and recognise that even the smallest cells are sentient beings.
Especially when his paper supports his contention in way the old mechanistic biologists can't respond to.

1. Introduction

The philosophy of microbiology is not well defined, at least for practicing microbiologists like me. If we think about it, I suppose most microbiologists see microorganisms as constituting a special branch of living organisms. Some, like myself, appreciate microbial virtuosity and emphasize the essential role microorganisms play in maintaining the biosphere and carrying out the bulk of energetic and microchemical transformations on the planet (Lovelock & Margulis, 1974; Lento & van Oijen, 2002). Others follow conventional wisdom and think of microbes as ‘lower’ forms of life, simpler and less capable the eukaryotes because of their smaller size and apparent lack of internal celluar structure. The conventional wisdom is an extension of the mechanistic views that came to dominate biological thought in the early years of the twentieth century. The idea is that microbes, particularly prokaryotes, exemplify the basic properties of living cells reduced to their simplest configurations. The goal of researchers who subscribe to this view is to find or construct the minimal living organism (Luisi et al; 2006).

Molecular biology came into being on the promise of confirming mechanistic views of life by defining how living cells worked at a physico-chemical level (Judson, 1979). Ironically, molecular biology has uncovered a vast realm of complex intracellular machinery, signal transduction, regulatory networks and sophisticated control processes that were unanticipated in the early days of this new approach to life (Alberts et al.; 2002). Increasingly, computational rather than mechanical models are invoked to account for the operation of subcellular systems, the cell cycle, cellular differentiation, and the development of multicellular organisms (Bray, 1990, 1995; Gearhart & Kirschner, 1997)

James Shapiro, goes on to contend that:
. . . we are witnessing a major paradigm shift in the life sciences in the sense that Kuhn (1962) described that process. Matter, the focus of classical molecular biology, is giving way to information as the essential feature used to understand how living systems work. Informatics rather than mechanics is now the key to explaining cell biology and cell activities. The traditional mechanistic view held that the structure of biological molecules determines the actions of cells in some kind of linear fashion. But today we know that biological molecules change their structures as they interact with other molecules and that these internal structural changes contain information about the external environment and conditions within the cell. As illustrated below, we have abundant results showing that what a cell does is a function of the information it has about itself and its surroundings (i.e. about past molecular interactions). Much contemporary research aims to understand how cellular processes are controlled adaptively to guarantee survival and reproduction in response to the millions of molecular events that occur in each cell cycle. This informatic approach is richer than a mechanistic one because it allows us to discuss complex, non-linear, goal-oriented processes with all kinds of feedbacks and decision points (See O’Malley & Dubpre, this section, for further discussion about the inadequacy of mechanistic thinking).

Which certainly is why his colleague and old-fashioned materialist ideologue, Jerry Coyne, has raged and raged against James Shapiro without really addressing what he says - he KNOWS, GODDAMNIT that this can't be true because of his faith in what I referred to the other day as that hold-over of late 19th century materialism into modernism.  Only, in physics, in biology, etc. that materialism can't explain what scientists have observed when they looked hard and deep into their fields, even starting out with, as Shapiro notes, "the promise of confirming mechanistic views of life."

Every dominant ideological framing of the past has fallen due to the internal skeleton it was based on proving inadequate and failing.  In the social-science, that has happened so regularly in just the 20th century, that people don't notice that the stinking, dead carcasses pile up a lot higher than the current occupant of the field.  The same is true, in a slower rate of attrition, in real biology.   If Shapiro is right, and he makes a very good case in his paper that he is,  this is big news.  Only, as Planck said, progress for biology, in general, will probably depend on the devotees of old-fashioned mechanistic biology to die off, too.  It will take stupid people with college-credentials who haven't looked at anything to do with current science since the 1960s longer to die off, the popular (mis)understanding of science is thoroughly stuck in the 19th century because it was so easy to describe with physical models.  Which scientists who should have known better encourage because they love that paradigm as well.  

Of course, what they really get stuck on was mentioned in passing by Shapiro, something I'm not sure even he understands the logical implications of nature exhibiting "goal-oriented processes" something which has been a taboo in biology since the publication of On the Origin of Species and which was imposed on science, without any evidence, by force of materialist-atheist ideology.  

This exposure of the enormous complexity of the "simplest" organisms which must provide the great ideological scientific effort of abiogenesis its modeling for the "first organism" makes the hurdles of those who claim it life arose by random chance processes ever higher.   Every complexity in these 'simplest' organism, every aspect of their metabolism and reproduction and interaction with other organisms which gain in complexity only adds to the improbability of it ever having happened by random chance events working on molecules in the early Earth or any other place in the universe. 

Only, you have to read the paper to know that.  I know Simps didn't and neither did his tag-team buddies at the Eschaton "brain trust" as they love to call themselves. 

I was a fairly good student of biology back in the 1960s, two of my teachers tried to get me to change my major.  Only, when I look back, so much of what I was taught has now been shown to have been rather naive or just wrong.   If that was where my thinking about it stopped, what I got A's for then would be laughably inadequate now.   What it seems to me is that even as they are faced with evidence that should have led them to abandon their ideological framing decades ago, they can't admit that it doesn't work, anymore.  It's no different from those who can't give up their literalist 6-day creation beliefs.  Just more respectable in academic culture.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Proof Is In The Pudding Head - Stupid Mail

No, it wasn't from "bizarro world" it was from Studies In History and Philosophy of Biological and Biometical Science (as they request be mentioned when citing it), also from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, of the University of Chicago, where James Shapiro works.

Bacteria are small but not stupid: Cognition, natural genetic engineering and socio-bacteriology

Clearly, though much bigger, Stupy is a Simp. 


"theology is shit" - Hate Mail - With thanks to RMJ for Citing The Book Which I Just Started Reading

The most persistent error of modern educators and moralists is the assumption that our social difficulties are due to the failure of the social sciences to keep pace with the physical sciences which have created our technological civilisation.  The invariable implication of this assumption is that, with a little more time, a little more adequate moral and social pedagogy and a generally higher development of human intelligence our social problems will approach solution.  

"It is," declares Professor John Dewey, "our human intelligence and our human courage which is on trial  it is incredible that men who have brought the technique of physical discovery, invention and use to such a pitch of perfection will abdicate in the face of the infinitely more important human problem."

"What stands in the way (of a planned economy) is a lot of outworn traditions, moth-eaten slogans and catchwords that do substitute duty for thought, as well as our entrenched predatory self-interest.  We shall only make a real beginning in intelligent thought when we cease mouthing platitudes . . . Just as soon as we begin to use the knowledge and skills we have, to control social consequences in the interest of a shared, abundant and secured life, we shall cease to complain of the backwardness of our social knowledge ...  We shall then take the road which leads to the assured building up of social science just as men built up physical science when they actively used techniques and tools and numbers in physical experimentation."  (John Dewey,  Philosophy and Civilization [New York:  Minton, Balch], p. 329)  

In spite of Professor Dewey's great interest in and understanding of the modern social problem there is very little clarity in this statement.  The real cause of social inertia, "our predatory self-interest,"  is mentioned only in passing without influencing his reasoning and with no indication that he understands how much conservatism is due to the economic interests of the owning classes.

On the whole, social conservatism is ascribed to ignorance, a viewpoint which states only part of the truth and reveals the natural bias of the educator.  The suggestion that we will only make a beginning in intelligent thought when we "cease mouthing platitudes" is itself so platitudinous that it rather betrays the confusion of an analyst who has no clear counsels about the way to overcome social inertia.  The idea that we cannot be socially intelligent until we begin experimentation in social problems in the way that the physical scientists experimented fails to take account of an important difference between the physical and social sciences.  The physical sciences gained their freedom when they overcame the traditionalism based on ignorance, but the traditionalism which the social sciences face is based upon the economic interest of the dominant social classes who are trying to maintain their special privileges in society.  Nor can the difference between the very character of social and physical sciences be overlooked.   Complete rational objectivity in a social situation is impossible.  The very social scientists who are so anxious to offer our our generation counsels of salvation and are disappointed that an ignorant and slothful people are so slow to accept their wisdom, betray middle-class prejudices in almost everything they write.  Since reason is always, to some degree, the servant of interest in a social situation, social injustice cannot be resolved by moral and rational suasion alone, as the educator and social scientist usually believes

Reinhold Niebuhr:  Moral Man and Immoral Society - Introduction

This was written in 1932, the movement which John Dewey considered himself a part of is today's conventional wisdom as can be seen in just about every newspaper and magazine article, as can be heard in just about every statement made in the media, that comes out of academia (including many who have been to divinity school and should have read Niebuhr's critique) and which finds its own status as "outworn traditions, moth-eaten slogans and catchwords that do substitute duty for thought, as well as our entrenched predatory self-interest."  Such is the success of John Dewey's ideological program that it has become what he condemned, incorporating everything which Reinhold Niebuhr said it did into that new orthodoxy.  

The past 87 years has only demonstrated that the theologian,  Niebuhr, clearly understood, not only his own field but the physical and social sciences better than the hero of conventional scientistic modernism, John Dewey and his followers. My only criticism of Niebuhr is that he was far too generous to the social sciences which have always been a fraud.  And I say that acknowledging that, though he was full of crap,  Dewey's devotion to the idea of democracy was sincere.   I hadn't thought of it but he might be a good specimen to study in how the left got it so wrong and has been led in the wilderness for so many decades, convinced it was on the right road that only goes round in circles, getting nowhere.  He is also quite generous in asserting that the physical sciences had achieved their goal of "overcoming the traditionalism based on ignorance."  As Max Planck had long before noted, that success was spotty, at best, even in the most rigorous of the sciences.  I would say that things have gotten steadily worse, since then.

I found what might be a pirated version of Niebuhr's book online, which I took this from.  I don't own it on paper.  I will be getting it, though.   Maybe I'm going to have to go back to my intention of reading his work, though I don't regret swapping him out for Walter Brueggemann, Elizabeth Johnson and, now Hans Kung.    It's one of my greatest regrets that I got suckered out of reading theology for so long by such idiots as gulled me into thinking it was pointless.  That's the complaint of someone who got gulled and swindled but who has only himself to blame for that.

We Should Have Let The Republicans Kill NPR In The 80s It's A Disgrace

As I'm typing this I'm listening to NPR which has on a Trump regime lawyer lying his head off, so nothing new there.  In my state that is juxtaposed with Maine Public Broadcasting and the ever hackitudinous Irwin Gratz.  It's good I have never met him in public because I don't think I could keep myself from calling him a stinking Republican shill.  I can't listen to MPBN without regretting every dollar I once contributed to them.

American radio absolutely sucks.  There's hardly any reason to have one, anymore.  NPR made that decline worse, "public radio" used to be better when it was a shoe-string, largely college based phenomenon.  It often wasn't great but it didn't absolutely suck like NPR does. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

"What Do You Think Of The Death of Harold Bloom?"

Oh, he was still alive? 

There was a time I could waste my time on people who wanted to pull up the ladder after everyone they wanted to allow into "the canon" had gotten in but I don't care anymore.  I'm not that gone on the concept of "the canon" having wondered why anyone would consider someone who hadn't read the items on their canon to be uncouth when no one in the world has read all of the worthwhile books that have been written.  I'm not bothered that younger people seem to get out of high school and into college not having read the books I was assigned in high school, some of which were great works, some lesser works. I looked at Harold Bloom's "canon" and, while I have nothing against any or the works on it, it's kind of both absurdly expansive (I doubt  .001 percent of people with doctorates in lit have read all of those books) and oddly inadequate.  And weird, I mean, John Barth but not Karl Barth?  

It's bizarre to think anyone could be considered adequately educated as defined by familiarity with a reading list if whole areas of important thinking are left out.  I'd have to say that I couldn't consider anyone adequately educated if they left out the sciences in the way Bloom did, though those books are hardly ever read even by scientists.  I cracked Laplace open a bit and am wondering how I ever got by without having read his essay on probability before, I doubt .000001 percent of those who cite Laplace have ever actually read anything he wrote instead of that one quote which is not even known to be accurate, it being a second hand or third hand report what was supposed to have been said by him.   Eddington on the philosophy of physical science has been indispensable to me as has, oddly, Darwin, but not for the reasons his fans would read him.   I think you have to consider anyone who hasn't read James Shapiro's essay about bacteria being small but not stupid to be seriously out of touch with the current state of knowledge.   

I will give Bloom this, he included one book which I looked for but was not expecting to see on such a list, Winesburg Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, a book that was extremely important to me when I was a gay teenager in early 60s rural America.   But if someone told me they'd never read it I wouldn't consider them uneducated.  I would if they told me they'd never read Eddington or Gwendolyn Brooks.   Or Marie Sandoz - my nominee for the most underrated writer of her generation.  Or, make that "most underrated American writer".   For all I know there's a brilliant novelist who wrote in a language I don't read or may never have heard of who hasn't been recognized.  I had Under The Yoke by the Bulgarian writer Ivan Vazov recommended to me but was warned off of the English translation, in favor of the one in Esperanto (Sub la Jugo).   I haven't read it yet in either because I can't get hold of the one on E-o.  

Harold Bloom was culturally conservative, even reactionary but he was apparently a moderately liberal Democrat who was deeply distressed at the direction the country was headed in.  He liked jazz and kept a foothold in New York so he could hear live jazz.   That's to his favor.  He apparently mentored Camille Paglia (hadn't known that before) which is nothing anyone should want to take credit for.   I wonder what he really thought of her nonsense. But not enough to go looking for it.

I doubt I will think much about Harold Bloom in the future. 

Judges 4 1-10 - On The Candidacy of Elizabeth Warren At This Time, In This Country

Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead. So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help.
Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’”

Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”

“Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 There Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali, and ten thousand men went up under his command. Deborah also went up with him.

Just thought I'd raise that provocative idea.   I'll try to write a post later in the day.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Last Word On Barr At The Disgraceful Notre Dame University - Stupid Mail

Look up "elite Catholic education" in my archive (search window, upper left of the screen) and you will read post after post in which I condemn elite Catholic schools, especially prep schools and the elite ones that may as well be Ivy.  I've slammed them for their elitism, I've slammed them for their graduate and undergraduate rich boys and gals, I'VE SLAMMED THEM FOR THEIR COMPLETE MORAL HYPOCRISY.   I slammed them for being football factories, naming Notre Dame as well as Boston College, as I recall, on that count.

The law school of Notre Dame invited the criminal AG, the servant of our latter day Nero to wax in total and complete hypocrisy on religion with full knowledge of his service to the anti-Christ here and now.  The response to what they did clearly gives greater scandal in regard to the Catholic Church than all of the excommunicated advocates of equality within the church ever have or ever will.  

Notre Dame is just another of the things that Jesus warned of will arise, people and institutions that claim to follow him when they do not.   

Catholics who want to be Christians will have to leave all of that old crap behind.  Notre Dame is nominally a Catholic institution, there are still Catholics who work there - how they can stand the majority of those at that place, I don't know.  I suspect that the loyalty of such Catholic and Christian scholars who work there as it does such disgusting things, as it turns out some of the vile servants of Mammon that it does is a manifestation of the idolatry that such "institutionalism" becomes.   As we can see in the FBI, the Department of "Justice" that's what it comes down to as such "institutionalists" cravenly serve the destroyers of democracy.  At Notre Dame, we see them serving those who destroy Christianity, hollowing it out and living in the renovated luxury apartments built behind the retained ecclesiastical facade. 

I've got more respect for the seediest soup kitchen and fleabag mission than I do the most elite of Catholic universities.
Against my typical practice, I will guarantee you that Trump's betrayal of the Kurds at the request of Edrogan was a result of Trump being offered something of value to do it.  Flattery might have gotten him far on that road but it would have taken something of value being offered, a real-estate deal is most likely, getting them to gin up lies about his political opponents a close second in what was most likely involved. 

Which of his associates visited Turkey or has associations with gangsters around Erdogan?  That will likely tell you the nature of the quid Erdogan bought himself a carte blanche to commit genocide with. 

The powers behind Erdogan should be given an ultimatum, get rid of him or get out of "the West".  They should make good on the empty words of Trump, a gangster government's weakest point is the money.  That's why Trump went to his empty threat, which everyone knows he'd never have the balls to do.  Especially against a fellow gangster he's stupidly given evidence to. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Stupid Mail - Accepting Universal Equality Ensures That You Can't Ever Return To Any Past

I am accused of making common cause with another person who I oppose at least as much as I do those on the secularist, atheist, modernist  play-left.  I'd been marginally aware of yet another load of crap from Canada* in the form of Stefan Molyneux, but until I was accused of being influenced by him, I'd never really paid any attention to him. 

The idiotic idea that anyone who is a critic of modernism wants to return to something from the past is widespread.  I am a critic of modernism because I live in a time and in a place where modernism is the dominant ideology.   I will note that one of the things I'm most critical of modernism about is its retaining and expanding a pre-modernist superstition, the late 19th century, Victorian era ideology of scientistic materialism.  Some of the most furious statements I've read of such as rail against "post-modernism" do it from the imaginary security of being bound in that kind of scientistic materialism that physics pretty much had destroyed by the late 1920s and mathematics shattered forever in the 1930s.   The old men and young ones of CSICOP were and are, to a person, champions of a scientistic ideology that science had already disposed of, I would say the same about its Darwinism, starting about the time that smoke-screen of organized atheism arose in the 70s.  Marxism shares that heritage as does every form of fascism I'm aware of, including those relying on bullshit social science.

The basic and controlling belief which I have but which Molyneux rejects, universal equality, is enough to make everything about my critique of modernism entirely different from his.   I don't want to go back, I want to get beyond all of that.   On every single particular in the shit-pile that is Molyneux's product, I am in complete disagreement with him.  We meet at no point, even our rejection of modernism is different.  

The stupid and superficial - I call it the "play-left" for a reason - can't deal with more complexity than either-or, black or white, us or them, in this case most importantly, NOW OR THEN.   I think that's something that the like of Molyneux shares with them, a rejection of pluralism is characteristic of the superficial, the immature and the stupid. I don't want to return to any past, I believe that change is part of the working out of the universe, the creation to its final end, but that's a religious view from the Jewish tradition that would require a long series of posts to go through.  What accepting it means is I think it's immoral to yearn for a past which, inevitably, is imagined even as those who lived it wanted to get past it.  Molyneux seems to want to return to a time you can't get back to and no one should want to return to.  There's a lot of that around, these days.  It's what fascism redux is based in.

*  Canada does, actually, produce entirely better than the likes of Jordan Peterson and Molyneux, it's just that it is disappeared in the filter of stupidity that post-literacy and the mass media is.   

Update:  Not directly related, but haven't I been telling you that E-ton is essentially Harry Hope's bar without a resident Larry?   Larry left a long time ago.   Maybe he joined AA and sobered up, maybe his liver just finally gave out.   It's like the time I outraged them by saying the worst thing about prohibition was that it didn't work.

Genocide Now With American Support

Erdogan is apparently carrying out another Turkish genocide, this time against the Kurds and with the support of American Republicans and the Trump crime regime, no doubt with the approval of his patron, Putin and the ruling Saudi crime family.  

Remember this when you hear one of them say "never again."   We have clearly learned nothing from all of that Holocaust remembrance activity of the 1980s and after.    Nothing that has kept the United States from being a party to this slaughter.   The "never again" said here is as substantial as the wind expelled while saying it and as ephemeral.  

That Turkey is allowed to remain in NATO after this is only matched by Trump being allowed to remain as the ruler of the United States.   This kind of thing discredits us all.

No One With A Working Mind Would Accuse William Barr Of Doing Christianity In Public - Hate Mail

There may be some place where it is different, in the United States one of the most widespread of motives of those who go into the profession of lawyering is because lawyers get paid a lot.  Even a fairly provincial country lawyer will spend a great deal of his professional life in figuring out "billable hours" and getting clients to pay for things like them answering the phone.  And, as is the way of the world, with wealth comes the aura of respectability.  That's such a bad habit that it even goes for lawyers. 

I know there are lawyers who are not entirely motivated by money, there are some who are actually rather admirable - a lot of them go into politics and stop practicing law, some just stop practicing and go into less seedy work because they have more substance to them than that.  I rather like some of the lawyers I've known and, even more so, some who got law degrees but gave it up.

William Barr is not such a noble character, he is an elite, rich lawyerly scumbag.  His posing on the matter of religion is not matched by any evidence of him suffering the burdens of any morality or moral sense or a belief that enabling injustice will ever result in him suffering for the evil he does.  His job, as a lawyer is what the amorality of the law - as it is practiced by his mercenary profession - encourages.  He is a fixer, just as Michael Cohen has been, as many of the most famous of lawyers are, he specializes in telling rich people how to do terrible things to People and other living beings and not suffer any consequences for the harm they do.  That is what he does, it is his profession as it is the profession of Rudy Giuliani and Alan Dershowitz*l   The list of scumbag lawyer enablers of the rich and powerful who want to do evil and profit from it would probably account for most of the insider lawyers of DC, NYC, LA, etc.  

That is one of the reasons that elevating lawyers, judges, Supreme Court "justices" as if theirs is any more than a deeply ambivalent profession is as stupid as elevating sports stars or movie actors and directors to a similar status.  

The practice of the law is largely to find ways to grant permissions for the clients of lawyers - who can generally pay them - ways to do what they want to do without suffering consequences for the harm they do as they reap the maximum benefits.   That is certainly the law as Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, . . . pontificate it.   But the less scummy judicial lawyering of those who do not share their overtly evil motives are not free of the same tendencies as the general practice of the law have made habitual.  I pointed out yesterday that the majority in the disastrous Buckley v. Valeo would, by today's standard be considered liberals.   The declaration that money equals speech is exactly that kind of habitual servicing of the rich that is endemic in the profession of the law.  

There is no Constitution or any other law that any human being or group of human beings can devise that will not be prone to the concerted efforts of a group of intelligent fixers and gangsters with law degrees to find loopholes that they can expand into "principles" that they can grow into the permission of their well off clients and prospective clients to get away with theft and everything up to and including murder.   It is often on the basis of loftily asserted "principles," many of them derived from the ambiguity of the minor 18th century poetry of the Bill of Rights, that liberal judges have made some of their worst rulings.  The ACLU specializes in asserting such disastrously counterproductive "principles" that, in a telling history of their consequences, end up benefiting, primarily, the rich and evil.  I came to my conclusions about the real life consequences of these habits of the law in relation to their lofty proclamations of such principle as they refuse to acknowledge the wreckage they've helped produce.  That wreckage is best seen in the triumph of Trumpian fascism, brought in on the power of "free speech - free press".  

The ACLU in its "non establishment" activity did so much to create the reaction that William Barr joined many another mafia** lawyer in exploiting when he flapped his fat face on "protecting religious freedom" to about as seedy an assemblage of Mammon worshipers as have ever gathered under the cover of "Christianity".   None of them are followers or doings of the teachings of Jesus, of Paul, of the Prophets but they all make money off of the suckers they can rope in.   I think it is a direct result of all of those stupid manger scene cases, even more so than the school prayer decision, if there's something that can get those guys riled up it's an attack on the secondary Mammonist holiday,  commercial, American-style Christmas, the principle commercial holiday in the year.   If the stupid ACLU and others had let them carry on the tradition, I'll bet easily most of that opportunity for scum like Barr would never have arisen.   

While I'll admit to the principle of "non establishment" and the "wall of separation" in principle,  the price of pushing it in practice was far higher than it would be to have not made a fuss about them putting up one of the few non-commercial symbols of Christmas that is used on public property or including numbers with religious content in school concerts.  The price of so much of the ACLU style pushing of legal principle has been so high for the left, it could only seem reasonable to lawyers who have spent much time in figuring out "billable hours". 

And don't get me started on the price we paid for the porn merchants - so many of them right wing Republicans, apparently - to turn peoples' bodies into disposable commodities.  

The law, as it turns out, really is an ass.

*  Whatever postures of less sleazy activity the Dersh has done for publicity are many times cancelled out by what else he does.  

**  I remember when the widow of John Gotti, who Rudy Giuliani used in his climb to fame, pointed out that while her husband had been a gangster, he was no where near as big a gangster as those in the Bush-Cheney crime spree that was going on.   I don't know if she's still alive but a part of me hopes she gets to see Giuliani disbarred and behind bars.  Something I deeply hope to see for William Barr and so many others, as well. 

It is one of the most potent examples of why it is stupid to grant a lawyer like Robert Mueller the kind of phony halo that is granted to people like him that he could be a good buddy of William Barr as Barr was enabling far worse criminality - opening up those loopholes and expanding them with "principles" -  than the FBI generally put in jail.   The same kind of ersatz respectability surrounds the Supreme Court which is the foremost venue of legal service to the rich and evil.