Monday, December 11, 2017



39

Hate Mail - It's So Funny When Superannuated Jr. High Style Bullies Try To Pull That Stuff

A. I don't get embarrassed about unimportant things because I don't care a bit about peer pressure, by the way, if you were my peer I'd try to disappear.

B  If you want to try to shame me you started out in the worst possible way by giving me every reason to have no respect for you. 

C. Do your worst, I don't care.  There's no one at Duncan's whose respect I want or would miss, there is no one there whose disdain is going to cost me a second of worry.   I mean, between the whining about movies v TV shows, bragging about what you're having for lunch, invading the privacy of your cats .... the kind of things you guys use those big brains you're always on about for. 

I did think the recent whine someone sent me about Moe being pissed off over the people who discovered that cave saying they used a dowsing rod to find the entrance to it.... well, they found it,  Moe didn't.  I don't think most of you could find your own asses without someone drawing a map.  What was the reporter supposed to do?  Suppress them saying it so as not to hurt Moe's scientistic-materialist sensibilities?   And him a journalist. It's the kind of thing that reinforces point C. above.  As it is, I don't think I'd classify spelunking as a science, more of a hobby. 

Imagination without historicality tends to turn to undisciplined fantasy

Continuing on where I left off Saturday,  Brueggemann wrote a paragraph about how a biblical model of facing reality through a covenantal-historical  framework needs both imagination and historical rigor,

But the imagination of an insider is always an historical imagination.  It is not just any innovative thinking;  it is inventiveness driven and shaped by particular historical experiences  It is the capacity to return again and again to the concreteness of the past of this historical group,  Israel/the church, and to discern there new meanings.  The notions of “historical” (which means rooted in the meanings of a particular community) and “imagination” (which means open to surging pulses of meaning) are dialectical to each other.  That is,  the ideas of historical and imagination seem to move in opposite directions.  “Historical” points back to precise, concrete, identifiable experiences   “Imagination”  means to move out into new and fresh symbolic overlays from the experience.  Historical keeps the articulation concrete and particular, and the imagination loses it in unexpected directions.  But they are dialectical in that the two must be kept in tension, always correcting each other.  Historical without imagination tends to be arid and not compelling.  Imagination without historicality tends to turn to undisciplined fantasy.  

I will break in here to say that the rise of Trumpist fascism in the United States is nothing if not a product of undisciplined fantasy about history and the present.  It is a product of show-business presentations of a pseudo-historical narrative and contemporary events, that plague the United States.  The one Trumpists hold is based firmly on movie and fictional treatments of American history, in which white men, "rugged individualists" with guns are always the heroes, various others, Black people, Native people, Latinos are criminals that the heroic trail boss or some hired gun or Dirty Harry or C.O.P. S. has to eliminate.  It is one in which people with the most privileges, white males but who lack the privileges of rich white males are encouraged to focus their grievances and anger on those others with even less and to turn aspirations of equality into an attack on them when the rich deprive them of even what they once had.  Or what they imagine their fathers and grandfathers had through the nostalgic fiction of movies and TVs.  And that isn't when the movies present the KKK, the Confederacy and the slave owning - commercial pirates of the "founding fathers" in a false, heroic cinematic fabric of lies, encouraged by TV, the movies and hate-talk radio.

The war on reality, the attack on the truth decried even within the media that mounted that attack and by the professional writers and talkers on whose behalf the media was freed to lie with abandon is an inevitable result of the total freedom to fabricate a fictionalized reality, the reality that Trump supporters not only choose to inhabit but, when they are shown the truth, they feel freed by the American mythos of total and absolute freedom to reject reality.

The contrast is also in content - none of the pseudo-Christian entities that are part of the Republican-fascist, Trump-fascist or, for that matter Putin crime regime in Russia focus on the history that disciplines the kind of biblical view that Brueggemann advocates which was always centered on slaves being freed, the destitute being fed, of the common good instead of the accumulation of wealth by those who could set themselves up as Pharaohs in their own little world.  Keep in mind that the decisive difference in what is imagined must be disciplined by the right kind of historical memory or it quickly gets seduced by either a willingness to enslave yourself in the security promised by a strong man or by the temptation to try to be of the ruling class.  That accounts for way, way too much of what gets called "Christian" in the United States and other affluent countries, even by some of those who make the loudest professions of a faith they betray by their actions

It is imagination which keeps the biblical past from being one-dimensional,  dull and closed, so that it is only a boring recital from long gone days.   When handled with imagination the tradition is seen to be a live memory always pressing into the present as a demand and a resource.  It is a resource because the liberating energies given by God are found to be still given by God to the same confessing community.  It is a demand because in that tradition we always discern in new ways the expectations of God to which we are called.  Conversely,  it is history which keeps imagination rooted and particular and under the discipline appropriate to this particular community.  That discipline means that all imagination in the community of faith must be measured by the events and experiences remembers by us.  The Exodus event, for example, requires that our perception be shaped by the gift of freedom and the protest against oppression, and this community is not free to think otherwise.  Thus the imagination of Israel and the church is not any fanciful ruminating on any theme in any way;  it is reflection on a defined stock of memories which shape and inform our present perception, attitudes,  and behavior.  Being an insider means nurturing a sense of the historical imagination of this community so that we begin to perceive and reflect and act as this community has always done.

The next few paragraphs give the quintessential example of what he is talking about, centered around feeding hungry people, which is the condition we are all a few hours away from no matter how much we have, the dependency that we are all mere days away from at any given time.  I'm giving it becaue it is such a good example of what the previous material describes.

Bread In The Wilderness

Here we shall consider one such dimension of historical imagination as an illustration of how such a practice might help us understand the Bible and let us be insiders to it faith and power.  While we focus on one such dimension,  a variety of others might equally well be chosen.  Exodus 16 is the story of Israel being led and fed in the wilderness  It is a story which is very old and long treasured by Israel.  And we may believe it was an important one in Israel's historical imagination, i.e., in her inventive meditation on her particular past.  It is clear that the process of the Bible itself is a process of historical imagining exercised on stories like this one,  so that fresh nuances are continually discerned in the old story.  The narrative of Exodus 16 concerns this people having left the slavery of Egypt on the way to a land of promise  But between departure from slavery and the entry to secure,  good land, there is this long, demanding wilderness stay. 

Wilderness, a central Biblical image, is a place of precariousness without food, without defense or resource.  The center of this memory is in the wonder that,  in this place, where death seemed certain,  God himself is present,  having submitted himself also to the conditions of the desert.  He is there with surprising,  unexpected,  and unexplained food.  The Bible does not try to explain but only articulates amazement  Out of that event Israel formed a central focus on historical imagination:  the bread of the wilderness is the bread of heaven.  

That bread is contrasted with the bread of slavery which is safe but gives neither life nor freedom.  That bread is contrasted with the bread of the promised land which will be good but which we do not yet possess.  That bread is contrasted with the starvation of the desert, for Israel feared she would die and yet she lived!  Out of that event Israel learned something crucial about the Lord her God,  that he is a very present help in times of Trouble (cf Psalm. 46:1)* in order to do the strange life giving thing when it seems impossible. 

Israel learned about the wilderness of life,  that though it seems forlorn and hopeless, it is a place of nourishment because the LORD is there.  She learned something about her own life,  that she is to live in fragile dependence, not by submitting to secure slaveries nor by owning the predictable bakeries,  but by being present to the LORD eve in the wilderness and living by his remarkable bread.

That event has become a prism through which Israel and the church understand life.   It is not the only such prism,  but it is a central one among the several offered in the Bible.  The gift of manna is such an elemental event because of of us hunger and yearn to be filled:  all of us crave nourishment and sometimes receive and sometimes do not.  All of us have a chance to give food to others or withhold it.  And each time Israel/the church faced the event of feeding or being fed, this elemental story was turned to be seen in yet another way.  Israel and the church have been enormously inventive in handling this memory  but the community is disciplined and limited by the original prism :  that in a place of death,  life was given amazingly by the Lord.  This story with always new nuances is told from generation to generation among the faithful.  We live as insiders in a history in which feeding and being fed is a sign and a focus for faith.  Outside of this historical imagination,  such acts might be experienced but not loaded with these particular meanings.  But insiders discern in such moments that which is denied to and hidden from outsiders. 

I
will remind you that the Children of Israel got out of the wilderness after forty years, the American left has been led farther and farther into the political wilderness, led by the cult of absolute freedom from the requirement to tell the truth, the requirement to take responsibility, the requirements of The Torah and the Prophets, the responsibilities of moral, serious adulthood for half a century and counting.  The consequences of the cult of absolute freedom for even responsible, realistic, moral politicians is that they are severely limited in what they can possibly accomplish because the moral center that allowed compromised politicians to do great things in 1964 has shifted through people being entertained out of it since then.

*  Psalm 46:1 
God is our refuge and strength,  a very present help in trouble.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Staunching The Leakage From Post Literate Prats

I am taking a break from not mentioning Simps because he's got all of Duncan's "Brain Trusters" (they really do call themselves that)  in a swivet over a sentence in Garrison Keillor's piece and they're too stupid to understand what the snippet that Simps used means and are too lazy to come and look at the context of it. If they weren't slamming Keillor over what I'd posted, I wouldn't do it.  What Simps got the tots all worked up over, I've given in blue.

Unitarians listen to the Inner Voice and so they have no creed that they all stand up and recite in unison, and that's their perfect right, but it is wrong, wrong, wrong to rewrite "Silent Night." If you don't believe Jesus was God, OK, go write your own damn "Silent Night" and leave ours alone. This is spiritual piracy and cultural elitism, and we Christians have stood for it long enough. And all those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year, Rudolph and the chestnuts and the rest of that dreck. Did one of our guys write "Grab your loafers, come along if you wanna, and we'll blow that shofar for Rosh Hashanah"? No, we didn't.

Christmas is a Christian holiday - if you're not in the club, then buzz off. Celebrate Yule instead or dance around in druid robes for the solstice. Go light a big log, go wassailing and falalaing until you fall down, eat figgy pudding until you puke, but don't mess with the Messiah.

If you want to see the wider context of the passage you can by doing what the Eschatots didn't, reading the short piece I posted earlier today, below.  If you did you would see that passage comes after several paragraphs excoriating Unitarians for various and well earned reasons - by some of them, not all of them. Some UUs are peaches, lots of them are full of themselves - he referred to two of the number of holiday songs written by Jewish pop music scribblers AND POINTED OUT THAT NO CHRISTIANS HAD EVER WRITTEN OFFENSIVE SONGS DISTORTING AND DIMINISHING ROSH HASHANAH. 

Jeesh, you guys are so stupid that you couldn't see he wrote the words as an example of the kind of thing that is offensive but that gets written about Christmas by non-Christians (and some Christians and ex-Christians, Unitarians) all the time.  It was an example of the kind of offensiveness of the kind he was protesting against.

For crying out loud, didn't you ever learn about analyzing literary texts for meaning by 11th grade because that's the kind of thing we were at least exposed to in my rural, primitive high school.  And this isn't a Steinbeck short story* where you have to analyze the language and the structure to get the meaning.

I know Simps isn't so good with the old reading comprehension thing, he looks for stuff to take offense at so he can go get attention at Duncan' Daycare For Attention Seeking Geezers but I'd thought some of you knew how to read for meaning instead of distorting.   I know Tlaz is too stupid to know how to read from the time I quoted Feynman with a citation and a link to the source and the dumb dolly thought I'd written it, saying it showed I knew nothing about science.  But I guess I know how the rest of you can stand to spend time among your fellow post-literates.

It reminds me of nothing more than the time the "good Roger Ailes" a superior, former liberal-lefty blogger wrote about some bogus survey they did of bloggers eleven years back:

Twenty percent of blogs don't use text, but only ten percent don't invite comments from readers. That means 10 percent of blogs invite comments from readers without using text. How do they do it, with a friggin' rebus?

No, just stupid stuff.  No pictures needed.

I will bet he wouldn't have guessed that his friend in Philly would have provided a practical example of that kind of blogging eleven years later.

Now, back to ignoring Simps.

*  How well I remember Mrs. J.'s brilliant analysis of  The Flight, how the style of the story,  its language created the meaning of it in my 10th grade English lit. class.   She said she'd taught the story for more than 20 years and was finding new points to consider in it.   It was largely wasted on brats like us but it started something for some of us.

Torsten Nilsson - Consolamini, consolamini, popule meus


Kimberley Lynch, soprano
Adrian Foster, organ
Live performance at  St. James United Church, Montreal
August 1, 2017

Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Go up on to a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by his strong arm;
here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

Is 40:1-5, 9-11 (first reading from today's Catholic lectionary) 

This is a magnificent 1964 setting by a Swedish composer with whom I'm otherwise entirely unfamiliar.

Timely Quote

"No people ever recognize their dictator in advance. He never stands for election on the platform of dictatorship. He always represents himself as the instrument of the Incorporated National Will. When our dictator turns up you can depend on it that he will be one of the boys, and he will stand for everything traditionally American. And nobody will ever say 'Heil' to him, nor will they call him 'Führer' or 'Duce.' But they will greet him with one great big, universal, democratic, sheeplike bleat of 'O.K., Chief! Fix it like you wanna, Chief! Oh Kaaaay!'"

Dorothy Thompson 1935, the year after she became the first American journalist kicked out of Nazi Germany

Answer To Some Snark From The Usual Horses Asses

A.  You read my blog, you have to put up with the results of my limited visual acuity.  I don't see well and seeing well is a lot more important for editing than for writing.   I never promised you any more than I deliver. 

B.  The only English accents I really can't stand are upper class Brit received standard pronunciation - like Richard Dawkins has, the kind of old-line American, mid-atlantic ruling class accent you hardly ever hear anymore - trying to think of a current example, Katrina Vanden Heuvel is about the closest I can think of, off hand -  and, for reasons I can't fathom at all, New Zealand.   I didn't even realize that until a couple of months ago. 

I occasionally listen to Radio New Zealand for the content - some of which is very good - and for the drama, a bit of which I've posted, but for some reason I just can't not dislike the accent.  

Maybe it's because I now associate New Zealand with Peter Thiel who is such a massive a-hole.  If I ran the place, I'd exclude him on the basis of sociopathy.  I don't remember being too annoyed when, on the rare occasions I could get them in on shortwave, I heard more about the price of butter on their shortwave service than I ever did anywhere else. 

Of course, coming from Maine and sounding like it, who am I to talk?  Though you've never heard my voice or my accent.  Who are you, to?  

C. As to the snark about "is Maine even a real state?"  Where is it you come from?  Wisconsin, as I recall?  Or was it Michigan?  Yeah, the lefties in those states really have it together, don't they.   I just read that Wisconsin under the fascist thugs you've got as governor and in the legislature are about to impose mandatory drug testing on food stamp recipients.  We've blocked that, for the most part, here. 

Oh, and about those accents, there is the "Canadian dainty" accent but I've only heard that used to make fun of it or for villains in Canadian TV shows.   It doesn't bother me in that context. 

Update:  OK, I found this piece at the CBC website where you can hear examples of "Canadian Dainty" including Lorne Green when he was a radio announcer.  They point out the similarities to the kind of accent that Katherine Hepburn used in her movies, (no doubt how Cary Grant fit so well into the movies of the period, he'd had to learn that way to talk like a swell) what I mentioned about "mid-atlantic ruling class" accents.   They point out that Canadian Dainty is dying out, that it started dying out after the war as people got tired of the old ruling class.   Now we've got a more openly crude and vulgar ruling class that's just as bad.   

Update 2:  New Dictionary Entry 

es·cha·ton
ˈeskəˌtän

2.   A blog on a blue background featuring minimal content for conceited people who can't read, 2002.

Update 3:  You horses ass, you didn't know Cary Grant was a conservative Republican?   Here's his last on camera appearance, reading a message from his good buddy Ronald Reagan to American Nazi... uh "conservative" Clint Eastwood. 




There Is Even More Reason To Post This, This Year

If it's been an annual event on my blog, I don't know and haven't checked, but I have written about Garrison Keillor's  excellent article about Christmas, from 2009 at least a couple of times before.  I'm going to risk a cease and desist order and post the whole thing this year because who knows where else it's being suppressed. 

He doesn't say it, but I will, I would include FOX, Trump and just about all of the phony "war on Christmas" scum in the nonbelievers who should fuck off of using the day.

Nonbelievers, please leave Christmas alone

December 16, 2009|By Garrison Keillor

I've just come from Cambridge, that beehive of brilliance, where nerds don't feel self-conscious: There's always someone nerdier nearby. If you are the World's Leading Authority on the mating habits of the jabberwock beetle of the Lesser Jujube Archipelago, you can take comfort in knowing that the pinch-faced drone next to you at Starbucks may be the W.L.A. on 17th-century Huguenot hymnody or a niche of quantum physics that is understood by nobody but himself.

People in Cambridge learn to be wary of brilliance, having seen geniuses in the throes of deep thought step into potholes and disappear. Such as the brilliant economist Lawrence Summers, whose presidency brought Harvard to the verge of disaster. He, against the advice of his lessers, invested Harvard's operating funds in the stock market and lost the bet. In the cold light of day, this was dumber than dirt, like putting the kids' lunch money on Valiant's Fancy to win in the 5th. And now the genius is in the White House, two short flights of stairs above the Oval Office. This does not make Cantabrigians feel better about our nation's economic future.

You can blame Ralph Waldo Emerson for the brazen foolishness of the elite. He preached here at the First Church of Cambridge, a Unitarian outfit (where I discovered that "Silent Night" has been cleverly rewritten to make it more about silence and night and not so much about God), and Emerson tossed off little bon mots that have been leading people astray ever since. "To be great is to be misunderstood," for example. This tiny gem of self-pity has given license to a million arrogant and unlovable people to imagine that their unpopularity somehow was proof of their greatness.

And all his hoo-ha about listening to the voice within and don't follow the path, make your own path and leave a trail and so forth, encouraged people who might've been excellent janitors to become bold and innovative economists who run a wealthy university into the ditch.

Unitarians listen to the Inner Voice and so they have no creed that they all stand up and recite in unison, and that's their perfect right, but it is wrong, wrong, wrong to rewrite "Silent Night." If you don't believe Jesus was God, OK, go write your own damn "Silent Night" and leave ours alone. This is spiritual piracy and cultural elitism, and we Christians have stood for it long enough. And all those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year, Rudolph and the chestnuts and the rest of that dreck. Did one of our guys write "Grab your loafers, come along if you wanna, and we'll blow that shofar for Rosh Hashanah"? No, we didn't.

Christmas is a Christian holiday - if you're not in the club, then buzz off. Celebrate Yule instead or dance around in druid robes for the solstice. Go light a big log, go wassailing and falalaing until you fall down, eat figgy pudding until you puke, but don't mess with the Messiah.

Christmas does not need any improvements. It is a common, ordinary experience that resists brilliant innovation. Just make some gingerbread persons and light three candles and sing softly in dim light about the poor man gathering winter fu-u-el and the radiant beams and the holly and the ivy, and you've got it. Too many people work too hard to make Christmas perfect, find the perfect gifts, get a turkey that reaches 100 percent of potential. Perfection is a goal of brilliant people, and it is unnecessary where Christmas is concerned.

The most wonderful Christmas of my life was 1997, a quiet day with no gifts and no tree, waiting in a New York apartment for my daughter to be born. And the second most wonderful was one in the Norwegian Arctic, where it rained every day and the sun came up around 11 and set around 1, not that you ever actually saw the sun, and the food was abominable, boiled cod and watery potatoes, and the people were cold and resentful, and there was no brilliance whatsoever. And I had the flu. Why was I there? Good question. But every year it gladdens my heart to know that I will not be going to Norway for Christmas. A terrific investment. Mr. Summers should be so smart. For one week of misery, I get an annual joyfulness dividend of at least 25 percent. Merry Christmas, my dears.

Merry Christmas, Garrison Keillor.

Democrats Who Accept The Demand Of Absolute Purity Might As Well Be Working For Roger Stone and James O'Keefe

We will soon know if Democrats who hounded Al Franken out of his Senate seat and deprived the party and the country of one of our most effective Senators will be known to have made about as stupid a political blunder as ever has been made.  Or not.  If Alabamans elect Roy Moore one of the things I expect is that Republicans will shut down any kind of investigation into the pedophile harassment and likely worse he's not only accused of by multiple women who were teenagers when the adult Moore pursued them, it was known enough at the time to have gotten him banned from trolling a shopping mall.  Republicans will have succeeded beyond their hopes in removing an effective Senator and to have reinforced a double standard in which they can install a pedophile in the Senate in a state which will have proven to be able to elect one.  There is a chance Alabamans will prove to be better than they hope they are.

I have heard the term "zero tolerance" used by different people to describe the approach that equates what Al Franken was accused of with what Trump bragged about and Roy Moore is more credibly accused of  And what Franken has been held to be assumed to be guilty of, even when the photographic evidence of the events in the description and the scenarios described definitely do not support the claims.   That is even as FOX or as I've heard it more accurately called "Trump News" falsely attracts the credibility of Moore's accusers.  Clearly, as Mitch McConnell and other Republican Senators and politicians and their hired pundit liars have spun on Roy Moore, their tolerance is more like 90%, if not 99 44/100th percent for pedophiles and rapists, when they'll get them a certain Senate vote.

The standard that those who threw Franken under the bus demand of Democrats, in practical and political terms, will be adopted as the Democratic standard but Republicans will be allowed to get away with whatever Roy Moore actually did do - remembering that when he was accused of molesting teenage girls, he was banned from a mall for bothering girls.

There is are more general problems that this raises, the first is that Republican ratfuckers will exploit the double standard that is what is going to come out of this, the difference between what Republicans will be allowed to get away with, scott free, and the sky's the limit for what false, inflated, cooked up and entirely anonymous accusations will be made against Democrats.

The original accusation against Franken, Leanne Tweedens was, obviously, a part of a Republican ratfucking op, Roger Stone, one of Nixon's original ratfuckers knew about it before it became public, he tweeted about it.  She has a history of involvement with Trump News figures and the accusations she made are impossible to verify in one case - who can tell what happened in the mouths of people involved in a stage kiss during a rehearsal -  and, in the naughty joke photo it is clear then comedian Franken didn't touch the kevlar vest his hands were reaching for.   The other incidents with photographic evidence don't support the claims as don't the facts that there were witnesses present taking the pictures,  IN ONE CASE THE WOMAN'S HUSBAND.  None of which was reported during his original run for office nor during the more than nine years he has been in office.  That is a definite difference between Franken and Moore, Moore was known to be bothering girls in a mall during the time he's accused of molesting girls.  Clearly, during his for-show sanctimonious public career as an elected Alabama Supreme Court member and his phony use of "the 10 commandments"  that part of his record was successfully covered up by Republicans in Alabama.  Just as, now, FOX and the Republican establishment are trying to sweep it away so he can become a Senator with it before the public.

That is what the "zero tolerance" is and what it will revert to, entirely, when this is over. A "zero tolerance" that insists the accusations against Al Franken carry a penalty that Roy Moore will escape is politically untenable because it is not only unrealistic, it is also unjust.  It also goes entirely against the political records of the two politicians, Al Franken has been a champion of women's' rights, Roy Moore has been an opponent of all kinds of equality and for the privilege of rich white people, especially rich white men.   For Democratic politicians, such as those Senators who called for Al Franken to resign, to refuse to acknowledge not only the difference in political records - not to mention Al Franken's effectiveness which few of his Democratic opponents can claim - but the quality of the accusations and the identity of some if not most of those named accusers whose records can be checked, their call for his resignation wasn't high-minded, it was unjust and it was extremely stupid and irresponsible.

The acceptance of anonymous accusations against Al Franken is especially troubling because allowing and airing anonymous accusations is to hand the fate of any Democratic politician over to the level of verification practiced on unmoderated internet comment threads.  Putin paid trolls could make such accusations, scum like Roger Stone and Mike Cernovich and James O'Keefe could and, as this goes on, they will.   As the phony calls from the fake "Washington Post journalist Lenny Bernstein" to try to ratfuck the election in Alabama proves, they're already doing things like that.  And it isn't only FOX that has promoted the standard where anonymous accusations are aired and treated as if they are as reliable as those to which people with no history of Republican propaganda are willing to put their names on.

And it also will, inevitably, introduce into the mix people whose primary motive is the insane desire to have their face and name put on TV - which I think is the motive of at least one of the named Franken accusers, the one whose husband apparently didn't notice his wife was being touched inappropriately.   Anyone who thinks Al Franken is stupid enough to do something like that with the woman's husband as a witness, in public, at a State Fair is too stupid to be pay attention to.  Yet the American media did exactly that as did the Senators and journalists who hounded Franken from office.

Democrats, liberals have been suckered in this way, continually, for as long as I can remember, being assigned the impossible task to being not only above any justifiable reproach, but beyond even opportunistic suspicion.  There is a wide middle ground between that unrealistic, imaginary purity and the cesspool of Republican tolerance.  I suggest Democrats and especially those who hounded Franken from office, find a place in between where they might actually be able to function in political office and do things like those real sleeveen in the Johnson administration and the Congress of the mid-60s did, pass thing like The Voting Rights Act, The Civil Rights Act, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.  You know, exactly the kinds of things that Democrats were able to do only once during the Obama administration,  pass the American Care Act which only got through BECAUSE AL FRANKEN WON ELECTION TO THE SENATE.   If he hadn't been there, it would never have become law. If Moore wins, it's gone.  That's real.

I do think it's obvious that one Senator has probably ended her hopes of being president,  Kirsten Gillibrand with her grandstanding on this and on Bill Clinton has pretty much guaranteed that lots of Democrats will not support her.  I don't think I would have, anyway, I'm not impressed with her record and what I've read about her willingness to work with conservatives to get ahead reminds me of another politician I supported, though reluctantly, Barack Obama.  Who was hardly a great Democratic president.   Never in my lifetime did a Democrat piss away more chances to make progress than the scandal free Obama.    I have no affection for Bill Clinton whose idiotic sandbagging of Hillary Clinton in his meeting with Loretta Lynch meant that the only thing I ever want to hear from him again is nothing.    Al Franken doesn't  deserve to be put in the same classification as Bill Clinton.   If the gossip about Gillibrands unprincipled ambition isn't true, she can hardly complain about being judged by a standard she practiced.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Saturday Night Radio Drama - John Morton - 100 Everyday Menaces




100 Everyday Menaces tells the story of Joe, a man suffering from OCD and anxiety, returning to his home town to see his son. A dark incident from a year earlier threatens to overshadow his arrival as he struggles to stay positive, stay healthy and stay in control.

starring Gus Mc Donagh, Peter Daly, Janet Moran, Enda Oates, Eva Bartley and Aisling O'Neill.

As always, when it's from RTÉ, you've got to download the mp3 to listen to it.

Second Feature - Peter Sheridan - Forty-Seven Roses 


"Is that what we got the television for?", Peter Sheridan's mother asked in 1960 as she watched Queen Elizabeth on the box. That woman coming into my kitchen on a horse?".  Last March, Dublin theatre-goers got to see Peter Sheridan deliver his celebrated monologue, based on his memoir, "Forty-Seven Roses" at Bewleys Cafe Theatre. This Sunday we present the radio version, performed by the author himself.

It's not exactly a play, not a monodrama but here it is.

Again, you'll have to download the mp3.


You Didn't Hear The Good News?

Oh, you didn't know? 

We can tell the truth about those thing now, we don't have to be nice, 1960s style liberalish anti-anti-communists, anymore.  We don't have to let the scum who ran Red Channels, Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn or the like determine what we say, they're all dead. 

We can oppose communism because it killed tens of millions of people and oppressed many hundreds of millions more.  We can do that because Marxism is an anti-democratic ideology.  We can oppose it for exactly the same reason we oppose Nazism and fascism and Republican-fascism.   We can do that now. 

How?

BY TELLING THE TRUTH. 

The Imagination You Scorn Is The Same Imagination You Deny Using To Do It

In the second chapter of The Bible Makes Sense, Walter Brueggemann gives a list of things that have to be considered to come to even a pedestrian knowledge of the events, people and places contained in the Bible, names of peoples, countries, rulers, geography, etc.  And he gives a short bibliography of resources that would be helpful in gaining such knowledge and to use as references when knowledge or memory fails.

Then he does something really interesting, especially considering what he said in the first chapter about how a biblical understanding of reality is at odds with the "modern-industrial-scientific" view of reality, he says that even with all of that, you can't get the point of the Bible and what its purposes are without reliance on the use of creative imagination and, especially, recreative imagination*.  Being raised a Catholic, I would think what he advocates as a means of comprehending what the Bible is saying is close to the practice of  lectio divina, but I'm not going to go into that just now.  Here is the beginning of Brueggemann's section about the need of imagination to understand the Bible.

Such understanding is indispensable for serious study of the Bible.  But it will not make one an insider.  I suggest that the key to becoming an insider (which presumes the above dimensions of knowledge) and therefore a participant in this covenantal/historical understanding of reality is the nurturing of an historical imagination.  By imagination I mean an openness and sensitivity to the pulses of meaning that can be discerned in reflection upon historical experience preserved in an historical community.  The imagination of the biblical community plays primarily with images which have come from this particular history.  thus “Pharaoh” comes to be a symbolic reference to every form of oppression.  “Bread” comes to refer to the strange gift of nourishment which happens in the desert.  And the stories cluster around these images, so that every oppression-liberation event is a new dealing with Pharaoh.  Every surpassing gift of nourishment is another miracle in the wilderness where starvation is wondrously avoided.   This community, like every vital community, has its own energizing repertoire of images which give life and direction.

Such imagination of course opposes that kind of preoccupation with “facts” and “history” which believes only what can be proven and which limits belief to what is empirically demonstrable.  Imagination is the gift of vitality which enables the believing community to discern possibility and promise, to receive newness and healing where others only measure and count and analyze.  (The Pastoral letter of Roman Catholic Bishops on Powerlessness in Appalachia” is an example of such imaginative activity.  That those Bishops departed from tightly reasoned prose and utilized free verse which opens itself to impressionistic reception, was an exceedingly important event.  Perhaps the greatest impact of the letter was its use of a bold medium of expression.)  From generation to generation the transmission of the Bible in all its power and vitality has been possible because people with imagination have been sensitive to fresh dimensions of meaning, to new interconnections perceived for the first time, to new glimpses of holiness that lie within the text.  Conventionally this openness to new interconnections perceived for the first time, to new glimpses of holiness that lie within the text.  Conventionally this openness to fresh nuances in the text has been located in the discussion of “inspiration and revelation” and I do not wish to deny those dimensions.  But the need for imagination may also suggest that the handling of the text as an insider requires of us energy and boldness if its new pertinence is to be perceived and received among us.

As luck would have it, the pastoral letter he refers to is available online, This Land Is Home To Me, and while it addressed the poverty in the Appalachian region, it is certainly something that could have been written about just about anywhere, even in the neighborhoods of poverty close by the homes of the millionaires and billionaires, or, rather, their second or third or ninth homes.  While I read it last night I couldn't help but contrast the conceptions of the people, the region and the reasons for The Peoples' oppressive poverty contained in it, its ideas of how to remedy that, with the various programs of Marxists, the songs, the slogans, etc. over the last century and that the Bishops' approach was far more likely to have done something about it.  Considering that most of the Marxists who were involved in, or, rather, in most cases, romantically balladeered about poverty in that land were likely to be Stalinists and considering the living conditions of miners and the poor under Communism, there was never any reason to believe their approach would produce here what it didn't in the Soviet Union or other Marxist countries.

I added that because I read some idiot would-be lefty yearning for a revival of Marxism.  Considering what they produced by way of mass murder, genocide and mountains of corpses, and, I will add, the Putinesque model in Russia and Chinese Victorian capitalism on steroids, any would-be lefty who wants to revive it is as dementedly appalling as anyone who would want to revive the Nazi government.   To hell with the Hollywood 10 and the movies made about them.


* Anticipating the snark of the atheists, caught up in exactly the "modern-industrial-scientific" model to the extent they haven't thought much about what it is they do, every single act of intellect relies on imagination, even the most exacting of the sciences, physics and chemistry, rely, constantly on the imaginations of scientists about the simplest of objects and as those join to become more complex objects.  As I've pointed out before, René Thom, noted how a rigorous mathematical description rapidly becomes ineffective even in the relatively exact science of chemistry.

The excellent beginning made by quantum mechanics with the hydrogen atom peters out slowly in the sands of approximations in as much as we move toward more complex situations…. This decline in the efficiency of mathematical algorithms accelerates when we go into chemistry.   The interactions between two molecules of any degree of complexity evades precise mathematical description … In biology, if we make exceptions of the theory of population and of formal genetics, the use of mathematics is confined to modeling a few local situations (transmission of nerve impulses, blood flow in the arteries, etc.)  of slight theoretical interest and limited practical value… The relatively rapid degeneration of the possible use of mathematics when one moves from physics to biology is certainly known among specialists, but there is a reluctance to reveal it to the public at large … The feeling of security given by the reductionist approach is in fact illusory.

If scientists must rely on their imaginations to do even the hard sciences, the belief you can avoid using imagination to address the entirely more complex reality of human life and societies is rank superstition.  It is exactly the kind of superstition that the "modern-industrial-scientific" model of reality is based in, it can't withstand even that level of investigation, even as it destroys us all.

Hate Mail - OK, You Want To Play Rough, I'm Up To It - An Explanation

Oddly, enough, I didn't even know it was the anniversary of the murder of John Lennon, yesterday.  There were more important things about important things to be paying attention to.  I wasn't a fan of his music while he was alive and I'm not now.   Do you call to mind the date when Lee Morgan was murdered?  Or Bobby Timmons died?  Or Clifford Brown?  Do I send you snarky comments when you don't do that?  There is nothing stronger than the insistence of the phony non-conformists insistence that you conform to their thinking.

You know, considering you guys being such big fat First Amendment Absolutists, that it is known to an absolute certainty that icon of free speecyness, Salinger's "Catcher In The Rye" was what inspired Mark David Chapman to kill him, we know that from his own admission that he was obsessed with the book, he carried a copy of it with him as he killed Lennon, bought that day, for the occasion, as I recall now,  and he recited from it as his great statement explaining himself.   "More speech" didn't shield Lennon just as it hasn't against other movie and media inspired murderers.  Two words, baby,  "Helter Skelter".

As to your snark, all I can say is, "Imagine, no John Lennon." 

Update:  Imagine that, I know more about the actual event, the murder of John Lennon than his A #1 fanboy.   It's not debatable except in the realm that climate change denial, 9-11 conspiracy theory and the belief that movies are real reside that Chapman said he was inspired to murder Lennon by The Catcher In The Rye, that icon of free speecy, free pressy orthodoxy.  It's a matter of the court record and the official record as well as contemporary reportage, where I read about it decades ago.

Update 2:  HAVING FUN WITH THE CIVIL LIBERTARIANS

Oh, so it's unmentionable that Mark Chapman was inspired to murder John Lennon by "Catcher In The Rye" because it's a violation of free speechyness to say something that is completely backed up in the court record, the official police records and contemporary reporting because Salinger's shitty, boring, vastly overrated novel - what one woman brilliantly said was "like the longest date with a boy who can't stop talking about himself" - is an icon of free speechyness.  You're supposed to lie about that, I guess.  

Update 3:  Hecate can bite herself, with all three of her mouths. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Joshua Redman - The Deserving Many


Joshua Redman, Sax
Pat Metheny, Guitar
Charlie Haden, Bass
Billy Higgins, Drums

An Answer - Here's What I Have To Say - See if You Can Figure It Out


Lee Morgan, trumpet
Benny Golson, sax
Bobby Timmons, piano
Jymie Merritt, bass
Art Blakey, drums

Why Atheists Have Never Laid A Finger On God - David Bentley Hart - God, gods, and fairies

I listen to things like this while I'm doing housework, this one made me smile.  Knowing it's going to go miles over the head of the trolls who troll me is making me smile as I post it.


I'm typing out something to post later but I've got more woodwork to scrub down.

Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 25 in G Major, Op. 79:I. Presto alla tedesca


Russel Sherman, piano

Arthur Schnabel, piano


Wilhelm Backhaus

Hate Mail

I have no idea what that little brace of Duncan's Dunces were talking about, I didn't even know Duncan took piano lessons and if they think I'd be against someone trying to learn even one page of Beethoven's Sonatas - well, that's the kind of stuff that makes Duncan's Dunces dunces.

Why Duncan, who confesses he learned only part of a page of one of the Sonatas (I hope it was at least from Op. 10, not Op 49) feels like he could play them, well, we all have our fantasies.  Beethoven's Sonatas, even when they are relatively easy technically, are some of the most challenging in the repertoire.  As one of their greatest interpreters, Arthur Schnabel said,  it was music that was greater than could be played.  I have studied them and taught some of them, there are lots of them that I wouldn't have attempted in my best years and these days there aren't many of them that I'd even think of playing in a private recital. I don't have any problem with Duncan having his fantasy life over music but what he said is silly.  And I wouldn't have even read it if someone didn't flag what the dopes said about me concerning it.

I'm not that impressed with Ashkenazy's Beethoven playing.  Schnabel, of course was great, so have been Pariah, Kempf, Brendel, and so many others.  Rudolf Serkin is still my favorite Beethoven player though Russell Sherman's cycle has had a more profound influence on how I conceive of them than anything since hearing Serkin.  As always, even the things I thought were kind of nutty in his approach when I first heard him, he backed up with scholarship in the record of contemporary description of Beethoven's own playing.  I'm not sure that even Serkin and Schnable read those. 

Maybe the Sonatas are the hermitage I've been thinking of retiring to.  Though I'm still considering finding a cave someplace.  Can't keep a piano in one of those. 

As to the snark from the snobs about my state, read what I said about snobs yesterday.    It was New York's Senator who threw Franken under the bus as part of her presidential hopes.  I suspect Duncan has more of a chance of playing the Hammerklavier.

I'd give Duncan a lesson, if he paid me my full fee.  I only waive that for students too poor to pay or who are interesting to teach.  He can do one and I doubt he'd be the other.

Update:  I have to confess that they should never have let me know now much that bugs them.  Having wasted too many hours among them, before following the other adults who fled, leaving Eschaton to the perpetual jr. high population, I got their number. 

Update 2:  Geesh, I'd forgotten just how histrionic they are over there.  Happens with a bunch of attention seeking children, all that sturm und drang, they should be careful of that at their ages.  They might harsh Duncan's mellow.

American Liberalism In The Age Of Lies And Why They Are Only Able To Surrender

If yesterday was the stupidest day in American politics or not is debatable, that it was among the stupidest is not.   We will soon know if the bet that Democratic Senators who hounded one of the best of them out of office paid off, that Leanne Tweeden and Stephanie Kemplin* et al were not part of a Republican ratfucking op  and I doubt it will show they bet well.   The huge pending if of whether or not this will inspire Alabama voters to reject a serial child molester in favor of a prosecutor who took on the Klan and got a measure of justice for four young girls who they murdered.... We'll see.  As we will also see if, on the other end of the country Minnesota will be able to produce someone even nearly as good at being a Senator as Al Franken has been. That is, I'm afraid to say it, an even less sure thing.

I understand full well what happened, Democrats were responding to the double standard that means cable TV, these days primarily FOX and CNN but also hate-talk radio, the internet and the print media up to and including the New York Times, will turn any Democrat with the treatment they gave to Richard Jewell in which no lie or lying speculation will be too baseless to not air.  That is what all that free speechy, free pressy stuff has bought the American left, not the wet dream of the Marxists who developed it expecting that it would lead to Americans being suckered into voting them into power.  It means that normal moderate to moderately liberal Democrats hold office under a reign of gossip and that it has turned too many of them into cowards.  That none of them seems to have faced the reality that Joel Gora and the ACLU played us for suckers with that stuff doesn't seem to be sinking in, not even a little bit.

But, in the Age of Lies which the media did, in fact, create, with the help of the legal theorists and Judicial branch of government, we now have the spectacle of idiot dauphins such as Donald Trump JR. creating privileges to prevent his law breaking being exposed by congressional committees and, most repulsively of all, the women whose lies on behalf of Republican-fascism makes Sean Spicer to be merely the court jester of little white lies,  Sarah Huckabee Sanders had to fucking gall, in her full Arkansas white person persona, her Southern Strategy Republican-ness to lecture John Lewis about the true meaning of the Civil Rights Movement which her kind were on the wielding side of clubs, dogs, horses, guns and ropes as they attacked and murdered peaceful protesters who were fighting against the kind of lies that the Joel Goras and ACLU were not under attack as the filed briefs and made arguments before courts to allow for other white people in the media.

The use of the Civil Rights movement in their efforts on behalf of paying media barons and freeing the mass media to lie will have to wait for another day.  It's a longer argument than I'm prepared to make right now.

Liberals have been idiots to fall for this stuff that has led to their serial defeats.  In this Civil War, they've stuck with McClellan who can only think of letting the slave power win as a strategy.


*  Yeah, there's a photo of the incident of waist grabbing that she ratfucked Al Franken with, too and she looks real traumatized in it.   Just how high can a waist claimed to be?

Image result for Stephanie Kemplin


Update:  I haven't been looking at a lot of news the past 24 hours, apparently the estimable Charles Pierce was thinking along similar lines.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Olivier Messiaen - 20 Views Of The Infant Jesus - 1 The View of the Father


Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

I needed this tonight.

Messiaen put citations at the heading of  pieces in the set, the one from this is taken from Matthew's telling of the Transfiguration, after Jesus is transfigured the voice of God said, This is my Son in him I am well pleased.  An interesting text to start off the meditations on the Infant Jesus with. 

The Second Oldest Profession

I think what Don jr. was doing is setting things up so that if the Russian enuresis artistes are forced to testify before a  congressional committee they can cite watery-client privilege 

Update:  Well, it would be about as valid as what he claimed.  The Republicans would let him do it, he's gotten away with it so far. 

An Answer - What Happened To That Piece You Promised Us?

The saying is that this country was founded by geniuses so it could be run by idiots (and it often seems we've reached that pass).

Molly Ivins, November 11, 1999

Molly Ivins died in 2007, while George W. Bush was in office, she wrote that while Bill Clinton was president and Newt Gingrich was succeeded by Denny Hastert as Speaker of the House.  What she'd make of 2017 isn't hard to guess.

During her lifetime I wouldn't have stood second to anyone in my admiration of her but I think her faith in the ability to maintain democracy in the face of modern methods of lying in the modern media and with the fascists having access to computer technology and sophisticated data was entirely misplaced.  The fact is, democracy dies when the media lies and gets away with lying, it was already how we came to that pass in 1999, it has only gotten worse.   Somewhere, I can't locate it just now, I wrote a piece disagreeing with her on her faith in "free speech absolutism" because I'd already come to believe that democracy can't happen when billionaires can flood the nation's collective attention span with lies.  I believe I pointed out that, as a professional writer, Molly Ivins' and other journalists' affection for the right to lie, to print untruths (either believed or almost certainly known to be lies) had more than a bit of sacrificing the need of The People to know the truth to cast an informed vote to their professional advantage.  It's not as if seeing Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I and II elected on the power of lies, of seeing Newt Gingrich prosper on lies, of seeing Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes and hate talk radio doing the same thing and their elevation to power which all of the "more speech" that could be mustered didn't prevent wasn't obvious.

We have breached the limits of tolerance in which democracy can exist, those weren't set by the "genius" founders, they were largely a bunch of slaveholder crooks in the South and commerce crooks in the North and under the central group represented by such people as Madison and Hamilton, they set up the country so it could be rigged to favor them.   I'm still planning on getting back to that because the central mythology of the country, of the Constitution and, yes, the Bill of Rights - under which, I'll point out, genocide against the native people of North America happened, the enslavement and de facto enslavement under Jim Crow flourished and, with the attacks on the Voting Rights and Civil Rights acts, Republican fascists, the crook class of today, are trying their best to revive everything that was wrong with the original Constitution and the slave dominated country that document set up.   As one of the Black abolitionists pointed out at the time of the Civil War,  Black people had been slaves the entire time the Constitution and the Bill of Rights had been law.  Within ten years of the Emancipation Proclamation and as the Civil War amendments were in place, American Apartheid flourished for almost another century and those are being reinstalled by Republicans in the wake of Brown vs. Board and the long ago Supreme Court rulings that are being gutted. 

I have of late - and wherefore I know damned well—lost all my mirth

The folksy, jokey view of lies, as a minor fertilizer of humor, the kind of thing that Mark Twain wrote in his "My First Lie And How I Got Out Of It" one of his many pieces that don't stand up to time  isn't really very funny.  I've got a hard time believing anyone really thought it was ever funny.  I've stopped finding it amusing.   I still love Molly Ivins and frequently go back and read her columns, collected and those not in collections.   But this year I'm finding the humor about mendacity,  corruption and racism and bigotry pretty hard to take.  I don't know how people ever figured that kind of thing damaged the fascists, because if humor could overturn them, Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert and Seth Myers would have sent them packing by March.   Any week they tell more good jokes than the entire stand up community of the 50-and 60s told during those two decades and it's only getting worse.  If anyone is going to stop it, it's going to be the very unfunny Robert Mueller. 

What I want now isn't jokes, it's him with witnesses under oath and under threat of prison being compelled to tell the truth.  Only, the media will probably do their best to limit the effect of the truth with Constitutionally protected lies.

Hate Mail - Not Surprised, Not Interested

I'm not interested.  I'm not surprised that Duncan would mix up the distinct categories of the Apocrypha and apocryphal gospels, while claiming he knows more about it than most evangelical Christians.   He's a snob as are his regulars. 

I don't think that kind of snobbery is helpful, while a lot of evangelicals are ignorant, so are a lot of college credentialed atheists.   While I disagree with evangelicals a lot, their scholarship is often quite good.  

A Sad Day For Equality And The Rest Of The Agenda Of Real American Liberalism

Whatever else you can say about it, and there's lots that should be,  Al Franken's resignation speech is the classiest one I've ever heard.   I doubt the reaction to it will be. 

This is one of the stupidest tragedies in recent political history, an indictment of trial by cable TV and internet gossip leading to a disaster.  

I hope that his replacement is someone who is great and who can hold the seat.  I hope it isn't as stupid a choice as when Duval Patrick chose Paul Kirk jr. as a place holder when Edward Kennedy died, to have the seat go to the sleazy Ken Doll, Scott Brown.  I hope they thought of that in the process. 

How Many People Will Die Over Jerusalem Is The Question, Not If People Will Die: The Disaster That Fascism Is

I heard one of the pundits note that Trump gave away the Jerusalem issue to the Israeli government for free, but, actually, I think he gave it away to the likes of Sheldon Adelson for the millions he gave his and other Republicans' campaigns.  Or he gave it away to his son-in-law or someone else. The mentally deficient Trump is a chump of anyone who can get to him but when it comes to this disaster which is guaranteed to come with a body count, likely a very big one, it was one of his business deals.

This was always bound to happen, eventually, that the American system would throw up a president as bad as Trump who could be chumped by the fascists who have pretty much cemented their control of Israel in place. That has been an ongoing process since the beginning of Israel, it's way past time that anyone should be allowed to lie about that, it was something that in this week in 1948, the likes of Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt and Sidney Hook noted that the political faction that has, in fact, ruled Israel for much of its history has roots in fascism. 

I looked at the famous letter which was published by the New York Times 69 years and two days before Trump made his stunningly irresponsible and homicidal announcement, that it carries a warning to us, in the United States and a description of the Trump regime, the passage near the end of a "Leader State" as the goal of fascism made me think it was worth typing out the text from the original letter as published.  Also, re the likes of Adelson, note what it says about American conservative supporters of Zionism and their relationship with Begin's fascist party.   Also note, that the text as published in the Times consistently refers to him as "Menachen Begin"  which I copied.  I will, of course, correct any errors in my copy if you can point those out to me.

------------------------------------

New Palestine Party

Visit of Menachen Begin and Aims of Political Movement Discussed

 To the Editor of The New York Times:

Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our time is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the “Freedom Party” (Tnuat Harerut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties.  It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine. 

The current visit of Menachen Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States.  Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit.  It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin's political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents.

Before irreparable damage is done by way of financial contributions, public manifestations in Begin's behalf, and the creation in Palestine of the impression that a large segent of America supports Fascist elements in Israel,  the American public must be informed as to the record and objectives of Mr. Begin and his movement.

The public avowals of Begin's party are no guide whatever to its actual character.  Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state.  It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character;  from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future.

Attack on Arab Village

A shocking example was their behavior in the Arab village of Deir Yassin.  This village, off the main roads and surrounded by Jewish lands, had taken no part in the war, and had even fought off Arab bands who wanted to use the village as their base.  On April 9 (The New York Times), terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants – 240 men, women and children – and kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through the streets of Jerusalem.  Most of the Jewish community was horrified by the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of apology to King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan.  But the terrorists, far from being ashamed of their act, were proud of the massacre, publicized it widely, and invited all of the foreign correspondents present in the country to view the heaped corpses and the the general havoc at Deir Yassin. 

The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character and actions of the Freedom Party

Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultra-nationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority.   Like other Fascist parties they have been used to break strikes and have themselves pressed for the destruction of free trade unions.  In their stead they have proposed corporate unions on the Italian Fascist model.

During the last years of sporadic anti-British violence, the IZL and Stern groups inaugurated a reign of terror in the Palestine Jewish community.   Teachers were beaten for speaking against them, adults were shot for not letting their children join them.  By gangster methods, beatings, window-smashing, and wide-spread robberies, the terrorists intimidated the population and exacted a heavy tribute

The people of the Freedom Party have had no part in the constructive achievements in Palestine.  They have reclaimed no land, built no settlements, and only detracted from the Jewish defense activity.  Their much-publicized immigration endeavors were minute and devoted mainly to bringing in Fascist compatriots.

Discrepancies Seen

The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made by Begin and his party, and their record of past performance in Palestine bear the imprint of no ordinary political party.  This is the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs and British alike), and misrepresentation are means and a “Leader State” is the goal.

In the light of the foregoing considerations, it is imperative that the truth about Mr. Begin and his movement be made known in this country  It is all the more tragic that the top leadership of American Zionism has refused to campaign against Begin's efforts, or even to expose to its own constituents
the dangers to Israel from support to Begin.

The undersigned therefore take this means of publicly presenting a few salient facts concerning Begin and his party;  and of urging all concerned not to support this latest manifestation of fascism.

Isadore Abramowitz,  Hannah Arendt,  Abraham Brick, Rabbi Jessurun Cardozo,  Albert Einstein,  Herman Eisen, M.D.  Hayim Fineman, M. Gallen, M.D., H. H. Harris,  Zelig S. Harris, Sidney Hook, Fred Karush, Briuria Kaufman, Irma L. Lindheim,  Nachman Majesl,  Seymour Melman,  Myer D Mendelson, M.D.,  Harry M. Orlinsky,  Samuel Pitlick,  Fritz Rohrlich,  Louis P. Rocker Ruth Sager,
Itzhak Sankowsky,  I. J. Schoenberg, Samuel Schuman, M Znger, Irma Wolpe, Stefan Wolpe

New York, Dec 2 1948

---------

It's a disaster when a country is ruled by fascist thugs like Netanyahu and Trump, lots of people end up dying.   Israel might have the excuse of continual violence and the treat of violence for producing fascist rule there, though, as this letter proves, they were warned, as we were.  We don't have that excuse, it was imposed by TV and radio without any attacks.  Our Constitutional system finally demonstrated that it is quite capable of allowing disasters, if not over North Korea, over the powderkeg that the Middle East has been since the 1940s. 

I Wouldn't Advise Holding Your Breath For The Media To Hold Republicans To The Same Standard They Are Democrats On Sexual Harassment

We don't know if Al Franken is going to be forced out of the Senate by the allegations that he did a mild version of what Donald Trump bragged of doing by Billy Bush.  Well, actually, since Trump bragged about grabbing women's genitals as a privilege of being the kind of degraded royalty that show biz creates this day, I think what Franken has been accused of isn't, actually the same thing.  He's accused of touching women's back side while having a picture taken with him, taking a boorishly naughty picture in which it would appear no touching happened and for having a stage kiss go bad during a rehearsal.

I will stop here and say that the reliance on anonymous accusations in the case of Al Franken is also a difference in how he is being treated as opposed to others who have had similar accusations made against them.  There should be an absolute rule in the press, on the internet that unless someone is willing to put their name and their identity on this kind of accusation, those accusations shouldn't be treated as if they are credible.  While there are good reasons for anonymity if the accusation is against an organized criminal, a billionaire oligarch, or someone else who might reasonably destroy an accuser, Al Franken is none of those.  The accusers of Donald Trump and Roy Moore haven't hidden behind anonymity but the treatment of the cases are being handled by different rules.   Is anyone surprised that the rules favor the Republicans and definitely do not favor the Democrat?

The presence of Al Franken in the Senate is, of course, a less important public affair than what the results will be in legislation and laws and in who the Senate confirms.   Holding a public office isn't a right, it is the acceptance of a job to serve The People.   The job that gets done, in the end, is what matters in this and if Franken is replaced by someone who will do as good a job as he would in the Senate, his Democratic colleagues calling for him to resign, that might be a justification for them doing what so many of them did yesterday.

I wouldn't make such a call unless I knew that which ever entity in Minnesota will fill that seat had someone who was as excellent in the job as Al Franken has been ready to hit the ground running.  I would want to know who was going to replace him and that they were worth the price that will be paid for one of the most effective current sitting senators leaving.   I would also want something that can't be had, a guarantee that the media and the voters of Alabama will hold their own Senators to the same rules and defeat Roy Moore.  In the end, if Minnesota and Democrats can feel proud that they have higher morals than Republicans and Alabamans, that's useless unless the political results were worth it.   A warm self-regarding feeling of moral superiority is no replacement for Civil Rights, Social Security, the ACA, CHIP, and the full range of things that Republican-fascism will destroy even as Democrats feel morally superior.   There is nothing more useless than the feeling of your own moral rectitude as the Republicans trash everything decent.

If Roy Moore is elected, there will be a lot more to say on that and what it will show in terms of who voted for him.

Whoever replaces Franken, I would hope it is not someone from the world of show biz where what Franken is accused of would be considered a minor instance of amusing naughtiness, backstage hijinks.  You can tell that from the pictures and footage of Leanne Tweeden groping, kissing and twerking at men onstage, to put it plainly, she did a lot more of what she accused Franken of in public and no one is calling for her to pay any price for it.  She has also had ties with Republican ratfucking operations and FOX sleazes which should have been held up as discrediting her.  As you can see the double standards would always seem to favor even the sleaziest Republicans and to disfavor Democrats.  Leanne Tweeden is a sleaze.  If she were a male sleaze the pictures of her groping men etc. would have gotten her fired from the media and show biz in the last six weeks.  And she's a political sleaze, which is far worse.

If I were Al Franken and I knew there was more that I'd done that could be used by Republican ratfucker operations, FOX, hate-talk radio, I would resign.  If I were Al Franken and knew most of what I was accused of was a lie, I would only resign if there was an official investigation of the accusations that would include the identification of anonymous accusers and which held the likes of Leanne Tweeden to her own pretended standards of behavior.  I would also insist that such an investigation held Republicans to the same rules.  If I didn't have a reason to think those were going to happen, I would be disinclined to leave until the ethics investigation is completed and a promising replacement ready to go.  What he'll say, who knows?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

it is of course a shock and an affront to us to notice how the power of the Bible is especially received among the powerless. But we can not avoid the evidence that it was especially the poor and powerless who responded to Jesus and who were able to trust God's promises

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters.  Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?   But you have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court?  Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

Letter of James 2:5-7

Since I'm typing out so much of Brueggemann's The Bible Makes Sense, I've decided to make it a sort of Advent meditation.  Here's another section of the First Chapter, The Possibility of a Fresh Perspective.  He's talking about the nature of the Covenantal-Historical model of life that comes from and provides a particularly potent reading of the Bible.  It is especially relevant in our current political situation in which egalitarian democracy, justice and decency are under full attack through the lies of the free press as told on behalf of billionaire oligarchs, American as much as in Putin's crime regime.

Moreover, this future, which staggers us by envisioning what we think not possible, offers the dynamic of a Promise-Maker and a Promise-Keeper, God himself.  That is what is covenantal about this tradition.  We are not in covenant with a good idea which is simply there or with our best intentions which depend on us.  We are in covenant with an active. caring, intervening God who keeps his promise.  Thus the Bible strangely  affirms that we are to embrace the promise of a quite different society which God himself initiates.  Yet this future to which we look forward is peculiarly historical,  which is to say the future is breaking in now, and when it breaks in, it does so peculiarly among the powerless, despised, and weak.  Bible reading is for the sake of remembering where we peculiarly come from and what is not peculiarly promised by this God who is graciously committed especially to those who have lot their utility and who have been written off by the world.  The future here envisioned is not a withdrawal from history,  but a renewal of humanness in history, so that the new humanness may emerge especially among those whom we treat with disdain.  It is of course a shock and an affront to us to notice how the power of the Bible is especially received among the powerless.  But we can not avoid the evidence that it was especially the poor and powerless who responded to Jesus and who were able to trust God's promises  It may give us pause to wonder that the poor may be strangely open to such promises, and perhaps in our affluence, it becomes more difficult and problematic to let God's promises have power among us.

Brueggemann's last clause is, of course, entirely consistent with the prophesy of the scriptures, from the earliest books, certainly from Exodus right through to the very last words of the second testament.  I wonder how that insight would stack up against the predictions of economics and sociology, only my wondering is about how much more impressive the imagined "bronze age goat herders" ideas were than the affluent members of university faculties have been.  I can't recall anything as clueless in the Scriptures as Alan Dershowitz's current line of bilge.

Hate Mail - The Strange Obsession Of Atheists With Calvin's Theory Of Predestination.

To start with, I'll remind you I don't believe in predestination but am inclined to be convinced by the arguments of the Orthodox universalists.  Just so I'll have said it before you misrepresent what I'm about to say.

The only practical reason that anyone, especially an atheist,  would get worked up over Calvin-Augustinian style predestination, in which God creates people who he, from before their creation, knew he would later condemn to eternal suffering, is that those holding that belief would be believed to act differently in the here-and-now to those they figured were among the damned and those who they believe were the ones elected by God to eternal bliss in heaven.

Atheists, such as yourself, would certainly not care about an eternal damnation you don't believe in and you don't care that the consequences of believing in predestination is to believe in a god who is a monster, the most evil of all conceivable entities who created those unfortunate creatures who, through whatever accidental life history or intended plan, would fail to avoid eternal agony.  Well, why would you care about that since you don't believe in God or any god? 

The idea that you could expect people who held such predestinarian views to act monstrously or indifferently to those they figured were destined for eternal suffering, assumes that their belief in the final destiny of people should determine how you view them in the here-and-now. 

Well, if that's true for Calvinists and other predestinarians, why isn't it also true of atheists who, a I pointed out, believe in a far bleaker, far more depressing view of the ultimate destiny of obliteration for all, regardless of their goodness in life?  I pointed out that the materialism that is the basis of atheist faith did, in fact, lead many atheist thinkers to discount all aspects of human consciousness, human thought, human life as being either a nonexistent illusion, our very consciousness disdained as primitive, stupid "folk psychology*"  And, in a practical demonstration in the here-and-now, the officially atheist regimes have been uniformly blood baths exceeding anything in the age when theocracy was alleged (by some pretty biased and pretty bad historical assertion) to dominate. 

Atheism leads to habits of indifference towards other people** and contains no prohibition on treating anyone you want to harm or destroy that is in any sense ultimate.   The worst of the preaching of predestinarian Calvinists was at least done with a theoretical prospect of leading to a true repentance which would have to follow sin in order to keep the possibility of salvation open, atheism has no such prospect of salvation.  The worst of the actions of the Puritans, those who participated in genocidal campaigns against Indians, who hanged witches, went against Biblical prohibitions on murder and the words of Jesus.  Some of those involved came to see what they did as a serious sin that they had to repent of, an atheist might have some regrets for what they did but they'd find no basis for doing that in their scientistic materialism.  They'd have to do so through habits of thought, a remainder of the same kind of "folk" thinking that atheists love to deride.

The logical view of this is that the anti-predestinarian view where people can be saved through their own efforts by the grace of  God, since, if it were truly believed, it would necessitate the preservation of the lives of even the worst among us so that they would remain open to the possibility of repentance and redemption and so salvation.  If predestination is alleged to produce depravity in its believers - and there is no system of belief more bleakly predestinarian than atheist materialism - then those who did not believe in that could be expected to be less depraved than those who do.  And if the assumption is that a belief in the ultimate disposition of a person will tend to produce better treatment of those bound for glory, then, surely, the belief most likely to produce good treatment of all is the belief that all are, eventually, destined for salvation. 

All I've done here is to look at your claim and its logical consequences.  It's a widely held claim among the middle-brow college trained secularists, these days, and not a few of those with higher brows.  That doesn't mean it isn't total bull shit.   I think it is.

*  If you haven't read the Churchlands and the other, currently stylish, eliminativists on that and the total absurdity and irrationality of their "cognitive-philosophy" it is truly ridiculous.  We live in an age that has produced academic darkness and delusion far more insane than that of the middle-ages in the name of enlightenment and science. 

**  Reading the dismissal of the mass murders of Stalin, and Mao by Marxists of most of the 20th century and into today, of even people I used to revere demoting the murders of millions by Mao, Pol Pot to a lesser status than their ideological dogma has led me to believe that atheists do, in fact, have a far greater tendency to devalue human lives because they view them as material objects.  I've come to see that so many of those held up as some kind of figures of moral rectitude were far from what they were sold as being. 

You can say the same, of course, about many a religious figure but, while the religious figures were at odds with the moral content of religion - that they demonstrated less than decisive and effective belief in what they claimed to - you can't say that the atheists were at odds with a materialist view of people.  There is nothing inconsistent with atheism about participating in or overseeing genocide, there is with Christianity, even of the predestinarian kind.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Robin Eubanks - House of Jade


a solo electric trombone performance of Wayne Shorter's ballad, "House of Jade"

Robin Eubanks is one of the most sophisticated users of electronic music technology in the history of the medium, one of the ones who goes way beyond experimental music making.  This is genius level music.

And The Composer's Own Genius Abounds




Wayne Shorter — tenor saxophone
McCoy Tyner — piano
Reggie Workman — bass
Elvin Jones — drums

Update:  When I said his use of electronics was sophisticated, I didn't necessarily mean that he used lots of gear, it was that his MUSICAL USE OF THEM WAS MUSICALLY SOPHISTICATED, which depends on intelligence, and a great musical ear.  Which Robin Eubanks has.  So many others depend on flashy equipment which impresses those without intelligence or ears, instead

Things I'd Really Like To Know Before I Die #47

Why is Alan Dershowitz spouting such a load of bull shit in defense of Trump?    Is he being blackmailed?  Is he under orders from some foreign government?  Is he farther along in his senility than Trump?  Is he so hard up for getting his snotty, sour puss on cable TV that he'll say literally anything to get on FOX?  

His latest line of shit is so stupid and so obviously wrong that even if his brain has largely atrophied and died it would be hard to explain it. 

Harvard.  

Jacob Handl - Egredietur Virga de Radic Jesse - Isaiah 11


Merbecke Choir of Southwark Cathedral
directed by Huw Morgan


1  A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
2  The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
A spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
3 and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
4 But he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide fairly for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
5 Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
6  Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze,
together their young shall lie down;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
8 The baby shall play by the viper’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
9 They shall not harm or destroy on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.

As luck would have it, today's liturgy has one of the texts that leads me to hope that the reconciliation will include animals and that we'll all be vegetarians in heaven   Handl didn't set the entire text.