Thursday, September 29, 2016

When Obese Men Tell Normal Weight Women That They're Too Fat And Expect Them To Vote For Them

It should be, of course, hilariously ironic for the never exactly lean Donald Trump to have called a young woman fat, it's even more hilarious for a bunch of his male surrogates, the porcine Alex Jones, and the quintessential big fat liar, Rush Limbaugh, and many other men with varying degrees of serious tubbiness to be parroting what their increasingly trollish and tubby Trump has said about her.   But there really isn't anything funny about the underlying conditions that make the fat men figure doing that is well within their realm of privilege. 

I knew nothing of Alicia Machado until Monday.  I looked at photos of her from all during the period under discussion and she doesn't look obese in any of them.  I've never seen a picture of Donald Trump where it wasn't obvious he could stand to loose more than a few stone of fat.  

I do have to wonder how this could go over among women who must be sick and tired of being told they're fat, no matter how normal their weight is but, also, when they are fat.  This demonstration has shown that women are penalized for being fat whereas men can not only get away with it but can pretend that they aren't fat when they are even monstrously fat.  The sexual objectification involved is the very definition of womens' oppression.  Women are never good enough to serve as the ideal, straight, male sex object, there is no woman too good for even the most repulsive man, in the minds of the Trumps of the world and other men who have to use a mirror to see their own phallus.  To have someone like Limbaugh who, at times could have played the part of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen to say that about a young woman of reasonably average weight should certainly piss off many.  I do wonder if the women in the media might not have an especially keen sense of that.  The women at FOX who have had to maintain the appearance of call-girls under the rule of the repulsive Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch must have some ideas about this.  It would certainly be nice to hear them honestly expound on it.  

As Those Great Minds Michael Moore and Ted Rall Declare Trump The Winner Of The Debate

Samantha Bee noticed this


If Hillary Clinton wins this election she will have done it while battling against more than a quarter of a century of the most overtly sexist campaign of character assassination in the history of American politics.  No, make that the longest and most no-holds barred vicious campaign of character assassination in the history of politics.  They have lied up stuff about Hillary Clinton they never did against Ted Kennedy, the target before Bill and, especially, Hillary Clinton drew the same fire.   The cabloids, the broadcast venues,  coast to coast hate-talk radio,  if Hillary Clinton defeats their decades of attacks aimed at embedding a content-free, hateful feeling against her, she will have performed a political miracle.  She will also have smashed more than the presidential glass ceiling, she'll have done a lot to put a clay cap over the stinking, leaking cholera and typhus ridden shit lagoon that our media has become in the era of all lies allowed, no standard is too low to stop with American journalism.  

And, yeah, Ted Rall did declare Trump the winner as did Michael Moore.  Even when she wins she loses.  But, then, Michael Moore is the same one who said that Romney was going to win on 2012.  I suspect there was always a lot less there than met the eye.  The camera adds ten times the gravitas, but almost only to men. 

Should The Nuclear Codes Be In The Hands Of A Pot Head? Shouldn't That Be A Question Gary Johnson is Asked?

Having slammed the Greens, I suppose I should note that the other third party candidate, the one who might actually have some effect in driving down Republican votes, Gary Johnson, had what he called "an Aleppo moment" yesterday, though "Sarah Palin moment" would have been more appropriate.   When asked to name a foreign leader he respected, he not only couldn't do that, he couldn't name any foreign leader.  Which is, you know, kind of remarkable considering the state he was governor of shares a border with an actual foreign country, Mexico.   And this is someone who is seriously presented in the media as an actual candidate for president of the United States.  Well, after his sniffing and waffling through a presidential debate, they're still presenting Donald Trump as a viable candidate, aren't they?

Third parties in the U.S. are a joke only they're no laughing matter.  I'd like to know what Jill Stein's answer would be.  Her answer, apparently,  might be Vladimir Putin, something she shares in common with Donald Trump. 

This is also the year, seeing how so many heroes of the alleged left have a thing for Putin, Stein, Julian Assange, Glenn Greenwald, obviously Edward Snowden, and that they share that with Donald Trump and some of his overtly neo-fascist supporters, I've got to wonder how they could figure he's some admirable world figure while thinking the Clinton Foundation - which does things like fight AIDS in Africa -  is the very font of evil.   I would love to have some journalist pin down Jill Stein or Julian Assange on a series of questions about that.  I'd also love to know what financial ties there might be  between such figures and the oligarchic government of Putin.

Consider how frequently the alleged left has held a preference for even the worst of foreign despots and dictators, all time champion mass murderers such as Stalin and Mao,  over the most liberal presidents and politicians American democracy produces.  That's something that has happened ever since Franklin Roosevelt was slammed by various Marxists and radicals, even as many of them were signing onto letters praising Stalin and defending his show trials and executions of his political rivals.  In this years Greens' and Jill Stein's choice of the total crackpot and nutcase Ajamu Baraka to be her one heartbeat away from the presidency,  an off kilter free-lance lefty huckster who knows he can get attention and who knows what else by hating on even such people as Bernie Sanders

Apparently getting elected by Americans  is what it takes to earn you the enmity of these guys.  Apparently they feel little to no such hostility for the choices of voters in Russia or other places with less than open elections or governments.

Apparently any politician who actually wins an American election, even the most liberal of them, will face the hostility of the Green type of left.  Though Jill Stein is in no danger of that happening to her - her pristine, purity will never have to face the oxidants of actually having to govern or legislate - I would imagine if she won she would come under the knee-jerk attention of the likes of her own vice presidential choice. 

That's another advantage of play-politics, you never have to actually do anything, all you have to do is babble and tell stories that chill and thrill and gratify the prejudices of your audience, you never have to pay any price or face any difficult decision, you never have to do anything but blab what the tiny, fringe audience who might support you will want to year and bask in their silly adulation.  That's what American third-party politics boils down to.  It is a play-time activity indulged in by people who don't really care about anything except striking a pose, maintaining a posture, asserting their own purity and brilliance.  And in such circles, they don't really care about the reality of life under Putin or even under a Mao or Stalin.   The list of present day heroes of such purity politicos who have almost as a reflex supported or endorsed some of the worst dictators of recent times is a long one.  The same are as ready to slam even the most liberal American politicians over wrongs far less and even when they do something admirable.  And yet they wonder why they can't gain more support  among the voters. 

I would bet that most of the Gary Johnson supporters wouldn't see it as disqualifying if he actually didn't  know the names of any foreign leaders.  I mean, you did see what the Libertarian convention is like.  Yes, that is the party that the American media actually presents as something other than a surreal joke.  You wonder if Johnson knows who Vladimir Putin is.  Or maybe it just slipped his mind while stoned.  It leads me to think that it might not be the best thing in the world for the man who travels with the nuclear codes to be a pot-head.  Or perhaps under the influence of other drugs.  But this is about third parties and their candidates.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Lefty Magazine Still Fiddling As Caesar Is Piling Up The Kindling

The basic problems of the American "left" come into sharpest relief in presidential election years, years when their biggest impact, politically, is in the question as to whether or not they will vote realistically for what can be instead of either not voting or voting for some never-could-win Green spoiler or other.   I've been having an argument about that at the, I now, in the past several weeks for the first time hope, fading venue of that kind of left, In These Times.

With just over a month to go in which American democracy, if not the human species, could receive the body blow of a Trump presidency, In These Times is running articles by the paid Green Party hack, David Cobb their 2004 "presidential candidate" and the current campaign manager for Jill Stein, encouraging people to vote for her.   Seeing it led me to ask the question of how many paid staffers and others the Greens support as opposed to the number of office holders it can lay any honest claim to.  In an competing article in which the meat-headed Kate Aronoff says that "The Left Deserves Better Than Jill Stein" she claims their current figure is 137, though when I looked at the list at a Green website, I couldn't get past 80, though I didn't count people who held appointed office. I'd like to know who gets the money that people are suckered into donating to them.  I assume Cobb gets a good chunk of it for what might, actually, be a full-time position.

Aronoff, as noted over the weekened, isn't going to suggest to readers of In These Times that they vote for the one and only candidate who stands between us and having the addled, perhaps coked up Donald Trump in the White House.   I have a feeling that she wouldn't think doing that would be good for her burgeoning career in lefty journalism, she might get accused of wanting to be another Sidney Blumenthal by the publisher and editor.

While I will say that In These times is among the most delusional of the lefty mags, it isn't alone.  To one extent or other all of them and their electronic equivalents such as The Young Turks and the .... well, I'm not sure they'd like being called "venerable" Democracy Now have been as riddled with non-reality.   Which forces the question of why these folks, all of them convinced of and ready to announced or at least imply their intellectual brilliance, insist on remaining in the political wilderness that their left has been in for its entire existence?

I noted in one of my comments there this morning that their "left" has been and to a stunning extent remains wedded to the delusion that Americans, able for the past 99 years to see what happens when Marxists take control of a government - violent, brutal, dictatorship - would ever tolerate the possibility of that happening here.  Marxists have sealed the coffin on their ideology shut, sealed the vault around it and dumped yards of reinforced concrete over it.  No one in their right mind, seeing that history repeated over and over again through the 20th and into the 21st century would give up even the most imperfect democracy for it.  Anyone on the left who maintains any residual claims of that as possible or, most delusional and discrediting of all, desirable, has sealed their fate as a crackpot.  Yet that "left" is present in most if not all of the media venues of the secular left.

I think it's time someone said that they should be seen as having the same status for the left that overt neo-Nazis should for the right.  Counted in numbers killed by Marxist regimes, many of which had the support of western European and North American lefties who, though, seldom chose to live in their imaginary paradises, themselves.  Such folks as Alexander Cockburn and Christopher Hitchens, in his Trotskyite days, chose to come here, to the right-wing hell hole that so many a lefty claimed the United States was.  Hitchens, of course, took that baby step from Trotskyite fascism to neo-con fascism, Cockburn didn't, even as he wrote some of the most offensive tripe about the virtues of the Soviet Union when even no one there still believed that kind of stuff.

Marxist and other "third parties" of some other fringe ideology and their perennial popularity among lefty romantics are a symptom of why that left never has and never will gain much more than marginal influence in American politics.   Those with control of lefty media, even when they're not frothing ideologues or megalomaniacal crack pots (Lyndon Larouche also started out on that"left"), are wedded to those insane ideas.  They are not going to ever be more than a problem for the real left, the left that is interested in doing what is possible to really take office, to really make and implement laws to really make life really better or even possible.

For In These Times, Democracy Now or anyone else on the left to be giving the Greens a soapbox from which to delude people into not stopping Trump is definitively discrediting and we should all look forward to their demise.  Their behavior in the face of a possible Trump or Cruz presidency, so soon after the disaster of the Green aided Bush II regime has certainly earned them the distrust if not hostility of the real left.

I hope that this is the year that finally shuts down the Greens, I'd start by asking for their books to be open so we can see how much money they've duped people into giving them and who got it.  I suspect there are a few tales to be told by those figures.

Monday, September 26, 2016

On Listening To The Psalms

Well, a while back I went through the exercise of down loading the audio collections of individual Psalms, I divided them into 30 separate computer files of five each day - to make a full cycle of all 150.  I didn't do so thematically, I merely started with 1-30 for each day of the month and then the four 30, 60, 90 and 120 more than the date.  So the first of the month I've listened to Psalms 1, 31, 61, 91 and 121.  There are loads of plans for reading through the Psalms, some of them are thematic or with some higher plan in mind, the one  I chose is kind of simple-minded but it is a way to go through all of them 12 times in a year without having to flip around in a book.   A less lazy person might read them but I'm having more eye-trouble than usual just now.   I, for the first time, can imagine that I might have to resort to signing up for Talking Books, eventually.  Though I imagine they do it a lot differently now than they did when my father used them.

The randomness of it can be beneficial,  interesting, listening to highly contrasting Psalms, one after another can be jarring, in a good way.

Someone in response to one of the videos I posted of Walter Brueggemann talking about Psalm 73 came up with one of the stupider lines from Brit TV comedy about how tiresome the Psalms are, I don't know how anyone who really paid attention to them could think they were tiresome.  Going through them can be like a exercise in emotional and intellectual stretching, as Brueggemann suggested in one lecture or interview, trying to imagine what would bring someone to say what is said in them, it can be an exercise in both empathic imagination and self-reflection.  I suspect doing that would be both a lot more useful and a lot cheaper than going to see a shrink, though, since they don't charge you three figures an hour to convince you that someone else is the reason you're unhappy, it wouldn't be as superficially gratifying.   I can imagine many of the texts of the Bible and other scriptures could do the same.  I can well imagine going through Suras of the Koran or scriptures from another religion in a similar way, given similar depth and contrast.

This short excerpt in which Brueggemann talks about the Psalms of Vengeance and how they could be used is a good way to deal with some of the most troubling of the texts.


One of my posts last week contained an excerpt that discussed the genocidal General Trotha accusing the Christian missionaries of whipping up the Herero people he was murdering with bloodthirsty passages from the Jewish scriptures, which is a pretty telling thing for a man responsible for scores of thousands of murders to accuse someone else of, as if people under an oppressive colonial regime which is enslaving and killing them couldn't get those ideas all on their own.  It certainly isn't how most people, even oppressed people have reacted to those texts.  They have a far deeper, far more serious use than the anti-religious bigots, either murderous colonial generals from the 19th century or tedious Brit-atheist comedians of the 1970s would like them to have.   I'm finding that they are a far deeper mental workout than the alternatives.   They're certainly a far deeper spiritual tool than a very partial, very superficial reading of them could find.

It's Official The "Journalists" Given A Star Turn AT the Debates Are To Allow Trump To Lie

I will not be listening to the alleged presidential debate tonight, I've known who I was going to vote for ever since the Democratic nominee was obvious, back in about March so there isn't any reason to put myself through the grief of listening to Trump lie, to the "moderator" and the alleged journalists asking the questions which will almost certainly be slanted to his benefit and her loss.   In the little I've seen of the set-up for them, the American media that matters, the TV and radio outlets, are declaring all he has to do is avoid killing a baby or eating a live chicken for him to win.  This is the year that the complete irresponsibility and corruption of the American media has reached a low, you wonder what the next new low will be, there doesn't seem to be any lowest level they can't find a lower one to sink to.

These  presidential "debates" are and have been a load of crap since the first one in 1960 and they've gotten steadily worse.   To show what a fraud they are Janet Brown the, now, long time head of the Presidential Debate Commission has already agreed with Donald Trump that when he lies the questioners and "moderator" shouldn't point out that he has lied.

Since the reason for having them in those positions are their status as alleged journalists, any of them who agreed to such a rule on such a potentially important occasion, to sit politely as someone who might be the president lies through his teeth, as they know they are lying is an outrageous rule.  The entire exercise, if not to compel truth-telling among the candidates, is turned into an empty fraud by Janet Brown's fiat.   Any alleged journalist who would abide by such a rule has no business getting the publicity of being a questioner or retaining the status as a journalist.  Any who agree to such a rule should stand as being discredited by their disservice to the truth and the right of The People to the truth.

I have looked to find out who Janet Brown is and why she has the position she does and I haven't been able to find out much.   Her connections have, tellingly, been through Republican politicians and officials.  This four-year-old blog post contains more information about her than I've been able to find elsewhere in the time I've got this morning.

Who is Janet H. Brown?

Very few people seem to know. Which would be fine, if she weren’t one of the most powerful people in politics. At least on paper. Ms. Brown has, for the past quarter century, been the head of the Commission on Presidential Debates, the bipartisan entity that controls every aspect of the three nationally televised debate-like events held every election cycle. With each cycle, they become a more important part of the electoral process — although they haven’t historically had as much impact on voters as most people think, that very misconception has become a self-fulfilling prophecy, causing them to become more and more popular. Pundits in the 24-hour news cycle obsess endlessly over them as a bellwether of each campaign’s momentum.

Just the two campaigns, that is. Janet H. Brown, year in and year out, makes sure of that.

Janet H. Brown, year in and year out, makes sure of that. A member of President Reagan’s budget staff, as well as a staffer for Sen. John C. Danforth (R-Missouri) and British Ambassador and former Nixon Defense Secretary Elliot L. Richardson, her identity is otherwise murky. The New York Times ran a Dewar’s Profile-style puff piece on her recently, a bit of fluff which revealed nothing deeper than her TV watching habits.

With her declaration that journalists who know that a presidential candidate is lying are to pretend they don't know it, she has certainly discredited herself and the entire show.

And it is a show, these aren't and haven't been debates.   A real debate doesn't have celebrity TV "journalists" asking fluff or tough questions based on who they obviously like, they have two sides taking opposite positions arguing the merits and faults of the positions on the question.   Though those are also a show, an entertainment, they actually could carry substantial information instead of the statements, gaffs and mistakes which will become the sum total of the "debate" in the entirely predictable instant analyses on the broadcast and cabloid venues and the morning radio and TV "news".   And, this year, in particular, those will slant against Hillary Clinton no matter how well she does.  They will not admit that she is probably the most qualified candidate for the American presidency in modern history whose opponent is certainly one of the two least qualified since Warren Harding, though that is a simple and hard fact which, suppressed, could lead the country into complete disaster next year.  Such is the result when journalism turns into a moutpiece of oligarchy and "debates" turn into TV reality shows.  TV "reality" made Donald Trump what he is today.   It has turned the profession of journalism into something that considers Lester Holt a wise and eminent journalist.  As an example of what a huge liar Trump is, he's already said Holt is a Democrat, he isn't, he's a registered Republican.   Another of the "journalists" tapped for the star turn is Chris Wallace, son of Mike, who says he doesn't see his role as making sure the candidates don't lie.  Since he's worked most of his career at FOX, that's no surprise.  His place of business is all about lying and has played a vital role in creating the Trump presidency through giving him a national soap box from which to lie for the past several years.

So I won't bother watching it.  I don't trust much of anything that gets on American TV or radio.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Brahms Variations Op.21/1


Sviatoslav Richter, piano

This piece has to be about the least overtly virtuosic virtuoso piece in the piano repertoire, though it is extremely difficult to play due to its unrelenting subtlety and depth.  Richter played it about as well as it could be imagined being possible.

The guitarist Paul Galbraith transcribed the piece for guitar and, in the process, designed a new eight string guitar with eight strings, a high string tuned to "a" above the high "e" string and a bass string below the low E tuned to the "A" below that.  The luthier he worked with to design and build this new guitar used an idea from the late Renaissance instrument, the opharion of having an expanding string length with fanned frets.   The instrument is held more like a cello and has a large resonator that the end-pin rests on.  It's really something to see and you can see pictures of it and a read a description at Galbraith's website.


I think the transcription is, generally, a real success though the use of tremolo in one of the variations isn't something I'd choose to do if it were me.  

Brahms Intermezzo op.117 no.2 in B flat minor


Wilhelm Kempff, piano

Don't know if Brahms meant this piece to be associated with a day in early fall but I think of it this time of year.  Wilhelm Kempff's recording of it is outstandingly beautiful.

The Secular Left Is What Has Failed, It Always Will Eventually

I can't find the text that this Guardian Long Read podcast says is there, which would be useful to addressing some of John Harris says in detail.   His question is Does The Left Have a Future?  He tells about how, all over the West, Britain, The United States, France, Germany, Spain,... that "the left" is floundering, unable to win elections and mount governments that can make laws and implement policies.   While a lot of what he says is worth thinking about, I do see one really big problem he leaves out, the systematic discrediting of the left by corporate and commercial media which serve the interests of the right.  That is true just about everywhere and the problem has gotten steadily worse as electronic, broadcast, cable, etc. media take over the majority of the attention of populations.   Unless such media is forced to a. not lie or distort reality, b. to carry information which is not favorable to the interest of their owners and control voters can't know the truth and their choices won't make them free or produce justice and egalitarian democracy. 

Beyond that, being a typical Brit leftist, Harris's focus takes in the failing unions and other things the left has relied on - the failures of which vary from place to place - he doesn't seem to take into account that people have to have some sense of morality which makes them think past their own interests and that sense of morality outside of the context of religious belief in moral obligations doesn't seem to be very strong or at all durable.

I think the decline of the real left, the left that can produce egalitarian democracy, not the Marxist or quasi-Marxist pseudo-left, is a predictable result of the decline of firm belief in the traditional religions that have produced egalitarian democracy.  To go back to the observation of the Marxist-atheist philosopher, Jurgen Habermas, all of those things which comprise the substance of that real left are a product of the Jewish principle of JUSTICE as expressed in the Christian commandment of LOVE.  His declaration is that all of real modernism, the dignity and autonomy of the individual, the moral obligation to respect equal rights, etc. have no other source and, even today, they are fed by nothing else as secularism has not produced anything that succeeds in producing and sustaining them.  Harris touches on one of the proposed replacements, the true but insufficiently strong or binding observation that the personal is political but that doesn't work to replace the firm belief that our Creator wants us to do to others what we would have them do to us, that what we do to the least among us we do to God, that we are to love each other with the love that Jesus's apostles felt he had for them and that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.  

Since January I've been studying the Old Testament guided by the observations of the great Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann and I am stunned how virtually everything we see as a crisis of the left, everything even down to the parched landscapes that come with global warming are not only mentioned in those old texts but they are extensively analyzed in terms of people failing to follow the practices of equal justice, love, treating the least among us with love and dignity, of abusing people, animals and the environments by those with power in a quest for endless acquisition. That is also something which America's greatest living writer, Marilynne Robinson has also addressed in powerful essays.  

I read that and see far more for the left to benefit from than virtually any secular centered vision.  That isn't to say that there isn't some valuable content in some secularists' thinking.  Many secularists are quite smart.  But it has, increasingly, failed politically, it has failed to produce results.  Such thinking can't be imposed by the fiat of the wise, it must be the result of the vote.   Without the firm belief in the moral obligations that produce a willingness to look past our own, narrow interest towards universal and equal justice in a sufficient number of people all of their secular analyses will be insufficient.  It's not as if the secular left isn't smart, it's that its areligious and, in too many cases, anti-religious motivation and content is guaranteed to defeat what is necessary to produce egalitarian democracy. 

Lacking the substance to produce egalitarian democracy in their very foundations, the detour that so many even very clever lefties took in everything from Marxism to Fabianism and various other, futile, often anti-religious and, ultimately, anti-democratic isms proves that cleverness is hardly enough.  I would wonder if any such past success that left has had, politically, wasn't a product of Christians and others with a sense of religious obligation voting for candidates who promised to produce policies enabling that.  I wonder if it isn't a decline in that basic religious belief as a firm obligation under a barrage of secular media which isn't the real cause of the failure of the Harris left.  And it does take a real belief that no one less than God requires us to not be selfish, narrowly concerned with ourselves and our tight circle of loved ones.  If voting isn't directed from the motivation of justice and love and moral obligation of a kind which will only be found with a belief that those are the will of God any vote will fail to produce the result of that moral obligation, an equal and just society governed by democratic rule. 

If The People are corrupted to the extent that an effective majority don't believe that God wants them to do unto others what they would have done unto them,  you will never achieve the end result, the goal of genuine liberalism.   I think a diet of mockery of Christianity and Judaism in Britian probably has a lot to do with why people don't vote for candidates who promise to produce the kind of society Jesus and the other Jewish prophets envisioned would result from equal justice powered by love.  Without the firm belief in a moral obligation to do what produces egalitarian democracy,  asking people to not be selfish, self-centered, ego-centric, ethnocentric, units of economic acquisition and utility makes no sense at all to them.   A secular left will always, eventually, fail as the Western left has in so many places. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Kate Aronoff Is A Friggin' Idiot

Kate Aronoff is a product of the Ivy-equivalent, Swarthmore College and has been published a lot in both the lefty and the leftish media.  I don't usually click on videos at online magazine sites but I couldn't believe I was reading the title to her prattling list of demands of what Hillary Clinton must do to "maybe, maybe" get Aronoff's pure and pristine vote.   If the idiocy that they've been putting out hadn't already convinced me that most of the lefty magazines were entirely more of a problem than part of the solution, her smug, uninformed, largely irrelevant and just plain stupid video and the decision of those who run In These Times to put it up epoxy-cemented that conclusion into place.

I'd love to see the educational and economic profile of these socialists and radicals at In These Times who figure risking having Donald Trump as president isn't worth the cost of their smug purity posturing.  How bad does it have to get for them to take that kind of danger seriously?   What an asshole.

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Stefanie Preissne - Solpadeine is My Boyfriend


Solpadeine is My Boyfriend

I'm not sure how much of an adaptation this is.  To hear it you'll have to open it at the website. 

And if you're in a mood for a drama about old people instead of young'uns: 

The Quiet Land 

by Malachy McKenna

And here's an article from American Theater about how actors and others are using audio drama podcasts to produce theater in the absence of expensive, formal, traditional productions.  I'm glad to see that the idea is taking root because I don't see much hope for new ideas otherwise.   It would be good if there were lots of local companies all over doing this.  Lots of garbage would be produced but some good things would get done, too. 

 

 

Bad As It Is Neo-Eugenics Is The Soft Edge Of Neo-Nazism

My looking at the resurgence of neo-eugenics is an outgrowth of my original investigation of the biological determinism I was rather shocked to see on blogs of the alleged left more than a decade ago.  All forms of determinism are obviously incompatible with democracy, in any form which is combined with the promotion of biological inequality they are a serious danger to it.  Any informed, rational left would reject all forms of biological determinism as demonstrably leading to horrific inequality and violence, but all too many would-be lefties buy into it as either "science" or as not dangerous since we are assumed to be protected by the U.S. Constitution or whatever other English language constitution which leads to our being lulled into not taking it seriously.  I seriously believe a lot of people assume the English language is some kind of protection against that, that we're safe as long as people aren't saying things with a bad Hollywood German accent.

The time I've spent on the history and nature of eugenics, before, during and after the second world war led me to the conclusion that whenever the Darwinian theory of natural selection is assumed to be a real and understood force of nature it will lead to a belief that our lives are determined by the physical facts of genetic inheritance and that there is a real, natural hierarchy of human valuation, ultimately in terms of economic value and social and political utility.  That is inevitable, at least in a dangerously large number of scientists and those who hold similar beliefs.  The absolute proof of that is found in the history of Darwinism, of which eugenics was an immediate result and a continuing feature of biological and genetic science as the continued eugenics beliefs of such eminent scientists as R. A Fisher, Francis Crick, Arthur Jensen (social sciences are especially prone to holding eugenics beliefs), Richard Dawkins, and even in the outrageous promotion of eugenics policy by a host of other eminent scientists such as the overt racist and Nobel Laureate William Shockley on the right and the double Nobel recipient Linus Pauling on the would-be left.  

Even the most absolutely stunning events of the 1930s and 40s when the Nazis and others demonstrated how seriously dangerous a belief in eugenics and a scientifically conducted imposition of the assumptions of natural selection in political, legal, medical and social life could become didn't lead such men of science to look hard at either the assumptions of eugenics or the theory on which all of it is based, Darwinian Natural Selection.  In fact, with the neo-Darwinian synthesis of Natural Selection with the pre-war conception of geneticss, I would think their belief in the real efficacy of eugenics as science was probably far stronger and assumed to be a settled fact.  

At the same time I was looking into that clean-nailed, academic form of turning people into biological units to be assigned economic and social value and utility I have also looked at the dirty, grimy show-biz, media practice of doing the same thing in pornography.  I've come to see that pornography is, also a promotion of the opposite of egalitarian democracy.  In its straight form that inequality is along the most accustomed of all lines, devaluing women and turning them into objects for the use of men.   That form of inequality is so ingrained in societies around the world, from the extreme theocracies of places such as Saudi Arabia to the most materialist-atheist of all countries such as North Korea and liberal democracy has not nearly eradicated it.  The most extreme expressions of male entitlement to use women as disposable objects or who they have a right to damage or destroy is rampant in the pornographied cultures of Europe and North America.  It has definitely gotten worse in the past fifty years, in the backlash to the brief period when "second-wave feminism" had some influence and, especially as access to the libertarian internet and Supreme Court rulings have allowed the distribution of pornography to explode. 

As a gay man I have concentrated on the fact that online gay porn is the foremost venue of expressing and promoting sadistic hatred of gay men, watching over the past decade as that hatred has become ever more extreme and, with the proliferation of such "social media" as Tumblr blogs ever worse and more hateful.   In the past years I've become shocked at how the combination of the two forms of objectification, the eugenic and the porographic have come together in many an overtly neo-Nazi, racist, porn blog asserted to be by a "country boy" a "red-neck" a "master" or other such entity.  I have been monitoring those and am alarmed enough about how dangerous they are becoming and how they are proliferating and how the hatred they are expressing has deepened for black people, for women, for gay men viewed as weaker than the "master" class of gay men and how some of them have taken on overtly right-wing, Trumpian and neo-Nazi identities that I have decided to change my policy of not posting links to some of the worst of them.   I hope that pressure can be brought to bear to shut it down.


1488 is a neo-Nazi symbol, the "88" to "Heil Hitler" H being the eighth letter of the alphabet, "14" referring to the Nazi slogan "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."  The Tumblr features neo-Nazi, neo-Confederate, white supremacist content and promotion of what, in the age of Trump is mainstream Republican content, for example a promotion of Patrick Buchanan earlier this week.  And, of course, hate filled gay porn.   

If that seems to be irrational, mixed up and incomprehensible, that's hardly my fault.  I can guarantee you that it is far, far from the only Tumblr blog of the kind.  Being a Tumblr, its "social media" method includes lists of like minded bloggers who liked what they saw.  And by clicking on the origin of the neo-Nazi, white-supremacist, hate content you can find scores, probably hundreds if not thousands of similar Tumblrs and other websites.  

I will call your attention to many of those blogs which assert the privileges of "alpha males" which show how close to biological thinking this phenomenon is.  While I am sure I will have to explain that to some of the people who won't understand that statement, I will leave with this, for now.  The gay-porn promotion of neo-Nazism and our domestic forms of white supremacy, especially white-violent-male supremacy is the bottom end of the lily white iceberg.   The Trump campaign and its promotion in the mainstream media is tip of it.  And it could be in power as soon as next January.  If you think that, with political control, appointing members of the Supreme Court, the American Constitution will keep it from happening here, you are deluded. 

I am sure this will develop.

Update:  Sorry, I posted a draft of this post.  I'll edit it right now. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Opening Some Scores

After the past month of listening to his music, never having heard it before, I'm looking at some of the scores to some of Dusan Bogdanovic's easier music, "7 Little Secrets" "7 Easier Polymetric Studies" and am impressed that he has written some of the most interesting student repertoire I've encountered.  Of course I'm reduced to reading it on piano, I'm not that much of a guitarist, though some of the "Little Secrets" don't look like they're that hard, merely that tricky.   Perhaps the easiest of them, #4 is quite elusively beautiful.


 #7 Is also beautiful and a bit harder, I guess.


These are definitely not on the same level of difficulty as even the "Easier Polymetric Studies" though they aren't musically lightweight.  There are polymetric and contrapuntal features in most of them.  #3 has a time signature 3/4/6/8 and it's not just an exercise in hemiola rhythms.  Most of them dispense with a time-signature, all together, which forces you to really think hard about how you're going to count the music, and, so, how you're going to think about it and even how you're going to hear it.  You couldn't play the 7 short pages of this without learning a lot about many aspects of music.  They are quite wonderful student pieces and quite listenable even if you haven't been a student for a long time.  It makes me wish he'd written about fifty or a hundred more of them. 

Among his few compositions for piano are the 6 Illuminations, also short pieces, though I'm having a harder time tracking down the score.  Though they are very good, the ones I've managed to hear seem a bit more conventional than the guitar music.   Here are #1 and 6.




In some way they remind me of the music that pianists have composed for guitar, though I can't say exactly why.  Maybe it's just feeling more at home on your own instrument, knowing where to stretch the technique and abilities of the player.  

Bogdanovic is one of the most important of living composers from what I've been able to hear and read through at the end of summer.   His music deserves to be more widely known.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

An Answer: You Guys Are The Origin of Ultimate Decadence

I very strongly suspect that if human beings survive much into the future in a state in which both science but, especially, philosophy continue, that our time will be seen as one in which atheism led science into some seriously scandalous misdirections.   

Everything from the present state of cosmology to biology to the so-called social sciences presently have serious aspects of decadence which are motivated by the desire to use science to refute the possibility of the existence of God.  Multiverse theory*, abiogenesis, neo-eugenics, various neo-determinisms .... everything up and to the inclusion of people alleged to be scientists and philosophers impeaching the existence of consciousness is an expression of the most extravagant state of decadence that western thought has ever been led to seriously consider serious.  Personally, I think it is possible only through the widespread belief that science is a species of magic by people who don't have the mathematical or logical equipment to understand it. 

At the bottom of all of those is ideological atheist hijacking of science, turning it into a tool of atheist polemic instead of a search for accurate or even logically plausible information or hypotheses.  

That isn't something that all atheists have responsibility for or which even enjoys the universal support of atheists but those who have brought us into this state of affairs have made their atheist-materialist ideology the dominant, practically required framing of, literally, everything.   It isn't sustainable, the need for atheist-materialist monism to impeach the validity and existence of consciousness, alone, renders it an unsustainable intellectual framing.  When your ideology needs to impeach the very means through which it could attain validity or the status of being the truth, it can't be sustained and it must lose credibility over time.   To point it out one more time, atheist-materialism is the only influential ideology which has to be false in order for it to be true. 

* The physicists and others who take seriously such notions that every one of our actions brings entire universes in which the opposite or even every possible variation of that action happen are certainly among the more decadent.  If we, unintentionally, have such creative power (and why not when we fail to do something, does that create the universe in which we do do it?) it is certainly far more parsimonious to believe that God had the power to create this universe that we know.  I wonder where the power to power such cosmology is supposed to come from or the power to enforce those schemes in which every possible probabilistic universe must exist.   What is the origin of that law, how would you ever, possibly, confirm that?  I think what they've actually done is, in their scientific naivete, is mistake motivated imagination for reality.   And those imagined schemes of multiverses seem to come into being in a remarkable number of variations, which their inventors don't seem to want to believe could all be true in their infinity of universes.  

 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

From Earlier In The Hate Mail File

No, I don't intend to go see "Sully", as you probably well suspect I wouldn't.  To start with, I'm allergic to Tom Hanks* (the first thing I saw him in was by being reluctantly exposed to "Sleepless in Seattle") and, your motive in asking, you know I loathe the Republican-fascist Clint Eastwood.

The only thing I saw about the movie notes that Eastwood, in line with his Republican-fascism, lacking the villain necessary for the intellectual and artistic vapidity of Hollywood film making invented one in where it didn't exist.

The real-life story of Capt. Chesley Sullenberger doesn’t come with a villain (well, unless you count the geese), so of course Clint Eastwood’s hit movie Sully had to invent one. And that’s fine. There’s no problem with using artistic license to inject a true story with the kind of conflict you need to fuel a feature-length Hollywood drama. And as Slate’s Dana Stevens put it in her review, “Isn’t Sully, of all the lionized male figures in recent American history, among the most … unsullied?”

But the conflict Sully invents is a fantasy that aligns itself with some of the dumbest and most dangerous ideas of our era. By making an enemy of bureaucrats, experts, and “facts,” Eastwood has made the perfect movie for the year of the Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump.

Well, I don't think the peddling of lies about even recent history and even such relatively minor events is fine, especially when the lies come in a movie and other venues of mass media.  And, especially, when they are the product of the imagination of the ideological motivation of someone like Eastwood.

Really, pitch me a harder ball to hit, next time.

* Literally allergic.  I was watching Ken Burns' movie, Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip, and kept getting more and more annoyed by it only to realize it was because it was Tom Hanks reading the part of Horatio Nelson.   And I will never forgive Hanks for his own role in dangerously falsifying important recent history in  Charlie Wilson's War so as to remove his and other real life political figures' culpability for one of the more disastrous foreign and military policies.   Reportedly Hanks didn't want his character to come off as flawed.  Though he was certainly not single-handedly responsible for peddling a falsified history that was to the benefit of Republican-fascists.   Hollywood almost always lies about historical events.  Hollywood is a lie factory.

The Time Wasted On St. Chuck Would Be Better Spent Overturning The Belief in The FOX Peddled Lies Of the Oil and Coal Industries

I don't see any significant difference in substance between what Darwin did and what Donald Trump does in peddling racist hatred.  Donald Trump might, actually, be the less dangerous because he doesn't pretend his racist prattling carries the reliability of science, pretending that has a more proven potency in modern history than mere racism minus such assertions of reliable knowledge.

For most people even a superstitious disbelief in evolution is probably less demonstrably dangerous than a faith in the ultimate explanatory power of natural selection.  The history of Darwinism as applied in the real world makes it one of the most dangerous of all 19th century hypotheses, perhaps only rivaled by Marxism and capitalism.  You can hear echos of that faith in all forms of biological determinism, even in what some of the most evolution denying fundamentalist-racists and sexists assert.   Though it is not the only form of biological determinism, it has been the most pervasive and powerful one.

The importance of evolution as the focus of a Kulturkampf is primarily due to its Darwinian interpretation, natural selection, being believed to be of utility to promote atheist materialism.  It was largely in reaction to that use of Darwinism from the weeks after the publication of On the Origin of Species by atheist-materialists that the Fundamentalists rose up in opposition to it.   And if you doubt that use of Darwinism from its inception, I invite you to read what such early readers of Origin of Species said on that count, people such as Darwin's cousin, the renowned British scientist, Francis Galton said as well as early reviewers such as Thomas Huxley (AKA Darwin's Bulldog) and, yes, Ernst Haeckel said on that count.

I can say that there is a major irony in Fundamentalism as it developed because as a boon to white supremacy, it shared in some of the worst aspects of Darwinism.  The various streams of development of both had considerable sharing of sewage.

For most people a knowledge of evolution is about as useful as a knowledge of the ancient Etruscan language, of which there is also only very partial and incomplete knowledge of, though, considering the vast time range and size of the problem of evolution, that percentage of fragmentary knowledge of Etruscan is enormous by comparison.

The time spent on lying Darwin into a plaster saint for atheism would be far better spent on, first and foremost, countering the oil and coal industry lies about the hardest of facts, THAT WE ARE DESTROYING OUR BIOSPHERE WITH MAN MADE GLOBAL WARMING.  I will point out that it is the media freed by the same dolts who deify Darwin who have sold that lie even as they carry water for the hardcore fundmentalists who do, actually, have the goods on St. Chuck, they've done their homework even as so many of his cult refuse to.

The sins and massive stupidity of such people is as great as that of the Republican-fascists who have so benefited from all of the various threads of atheist-materialist promotion in all of their dishonesty and stupidity.   I say a curse on all their houses.   I'm against both groups, the atheist-materialists of pseudo-liberalism and the vulgar materialists of the Republican-fascists, the British Tories, etc.

I think the ability of the cabloids and others in the corporate media to lie us into the state we are in are as much a product of the ideology of atheist-materialism as the greed of capitalism.  Neither of those groups really believe it is a sin to tell a lie so they unleashed the liars to lie us into our doom.

And if an absolutely accurate knowledge of that vast, always to be undiscovered country, evolution is of such vital importance as you claim, then no one in human history can honestly claim to have it.

If people think the present day conceptions of evolution are the last word in it, they are incredibly credulous dupes.  Evolution is such an enormous phenomenon, most of which will never be known, that the best that can be achieved is extremely fragmentary knowledge of it.  Scientists who claim to have pinned it down to anything like general laws are more useful to the deniers than they are to science.   If you doubt that go look at the hay the anti-evolutionists make of virtually every lapse in previously held ideas in the area.

Evolution is a fact, how it happened, if it is the product of one force or thousands or trillions of disparate events is not a matter of factual knowledge, it is ideological speculation and wishful thinking.

"That link is race branding, whereby it became possible not only to set a group apart as an enemy, but also to exterminate it with an easy conscience."

There is nothing easier to do or more guaranteed to win, maintain or establish esteem among the college educated elite than to parrot the common received wisdom concerning its idols.  Charles Darwin is highest among them.  Doing that is far easier than the far less done exercise of reading what he said.  I have found that the reading program of those who have deified Darwin is generally limited to reading perhaps, Voyage of the Beagle and, maybe, selected sections of the first edition of On the Origin of Species - though generally as found clipped and curried in secondary sources.  And that's the high end of the effort of the faithful.  A lot of them couldn't even correctly state the title of even those two most often mentioned books by their hero.

It is far more likely that those who are prepared to judge the case on the facts of what he said, and most of them are far more likely to be those who already have doubts about him are the ones who will read what he said and go into depth as to why he said such horrible things as:

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked (18. 'Anthropological Review,' April 1867, p. 236.), will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.

Anyone who, for a second, doesn't understand that the people whose extinction Darwin was enthusiastic for were definitely not white, Northern Europeans of Anglo Saxon ethnicity - you would think his reference to "Caucasian" would clue them off as to who he believed the victors would NOT be - and that Darwin knew his audience of educated Western white men and, to some extent, women would know he meant black people they are plainly lying about just what he's saying.   He explicitly, as science, advocated that the extinction of entire races "throughout the world" and their replacement by "the civilised races of man" would be a wonderful thing.  He clearly mean that it was a good thing that white Europeans would commit genocide against dark skinned people in Africa and elsewhere (he's explicitly hardest on those who live in South America, the Pacific islands and Australia).

I looked hard at that, rightly, infamous passage and found that he not only explicitly advocated genocide as a boon to "civilised races of man" he also likely lied about what Schaaffhausen said **to say it.  The agreement between himself and his esteemed friend and colleague Ernst Haeckel, saying the same kinds of things in German for a German scientific and popular audience, is complete and expansive in asserting the desirability of genocide.

Darwin wrote that passage in 1871, Victor Carus issued his German translation not long after that.  Darwin was already a major force in German biology due to the enthusiastic promotion of his writing by, most importantly, Victor Carus and Ernst Haeckel.   Just 33 years later a young German professor of medicine, anthropology and eugenics, Eugen Fischer was conducting biological experiments on children in a German concentration camp in  German South-West Africa, Namibia, today and shipping skulls of those killed there to  German universities.   I posted on that last year:

Fischer being employed as a scientist at the Kaisar Wilhelm Institute is especially eye-opening because he had participated, scientifically, in an earlier, pre-Nazi era genocide by the German government in German South-West Africa, Namibia, today from 1904-1907.  He worked at the University of Freiberg at the time, where he continued and advanced in the science faculty, no doubt the hundreds of skulls he'd sent from that genocide were considered in his favor.  More than 100,000 people were believed to have been killed in it.  Fischer conducted experiments on children held in the concentration camps where native Herero and Nama peoples and African-Germans were held in horrendous conditions and often killed, outright.  The descriptions I've read of the practices and conditions there sound like a dress rehearsal for the death camps of the 1940s.  He and other scientists collected body parts, notably skulls from "freshly dead" bodies for scientific purposes.

Fischer was born in 1874 and was, beyond doubt, one of key figures linking the generation of Darwin, those educated under the influence of Darwinism in science and the genocides in Germany in the 1930s and 40s.  There is absolutely no question that his activities in the genocide of the first years of the last century were exactly in line with what Darwin said in that passage.  The "civilised" even, perhaps "enlightened" scientist from the Kaisar Wilhelm Institute scientifically studying the members of  "the savage races"  being killed by members of  "the civilised races of man"  who were fulfilling Darwin's prophesy that they would  "almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.   Or, as Eugen Fischer may have reflected on the evolutionary character of his work:

In irgend einer künftigen Zeit, welche nach Jahrhunderten gemessen nicht einmal sehr entfernt ist, werden die civilisirten Rassen der Menschheit beinahe mit Bestimmtheit auf der ganzen Erde die wilden Rassen ausgerottet und ersetzt haben. Wie Professor Schaaffhausen bemerkt hat, werden zu derselben Zeit ohne Zweifel auch die anthropomorphen Affen ausgerottet sein. Der Abstand zwischen dem Menschen und seinen nächsten Verwandten wird dann noch weiter sein; denn er tritt dann zwischen dem Menschen in einem noch civilisirteren Zustande als dem kaukasischen, wie wir hoffen können, und irgend einem so tief in der Reihe stehenden Affen wie einem Pavian auf, statt dass er sich gegenwärtig zwischen dem Neger oder Australier und dem Gorilla findet.

As I mentioned before, with the work Eugen Fischer co-authored with Fritz Lenz and Erwin Baur on eugenic science about 18 years after his participation in that first genocide of the 20th century had advanced his position in science, the thinking of Charles Darwin  - cited throughout the book which rests solely and ultimately on the theory of natural selection - is indisputably tied to the thinking of Adolph Hitler***.  He was given the book in 1924  while he was in Landsberg prison by someone who thought it would help him develop his political theories.  It was while in prison he also wrote Mein Kampf, his own theory of "Lebensraum" was essentially the same idea as what Darwin articulated as hard science, merely being more specific about who were the "wilden Rassen" ["savage races"] were to be exterminated and replaced by which of "die civilisirten Rassen der Menschheit"[the civilised races of man].  

Of the three authors who gave Hitler his formal and developed idea of natural selection, Eugen Fischer survived the war and continued as a professional scientist.  He never suffered much from his direct participation in both of the genocides, the mostly forgotten one, hardly ever mentioned, in 1904 and the one in the 1930s and 40s.   He devoted his science to finding reasons for the Nazis to murder Jews but, as a man of science, he wasn't ever made to answer much for it.  He published a memoir after the war whitewashing his activities and can be said to have gotten away with it.  I can't help but wonder if a "civilised" scientific community had not, internationally, bought into the idea of natural selection, more or less with all of its racist - not to mention class - bigotry if the first one might not have been the one too many for such "civilised" men to tolerate.  As it was, you have to wonder how many of those who might, might have learned of the mass murder in Africa might not have thought they were witnessing what Darwin prophesied as an inevitable working out of a force of nature.

*  As he so often was, Darwin was even more explicit in who he believed were the superior races in his correspondence, and, wouldn't you know it, the Brits were way up their in the hierarchy.  His letter to G. A. Gaskell left little room for doubt on that count and that he was far more enthusiastic for the prospect of violent extermination than he was for the less violent forms of eugenics.

** As far as I was able to find Darwin not only lied about what Schaaffhausen said, what Schaaffhausen said in what Darwin was almost certainly referring to would have refuted what Darwin was claiming about the evolutionary significance of such a genocide.  I have to wonder how closely anyone ever checked Darwin's citations of other authors, it wasn't the only lapse in citation I found.

*** Fischer's importance in establishing the link between the theory of natural selection and the Nazi's mass murders can't be understated.  As Mahmood Mamdani pointed out:

The genocide of the Herero was the first genocide of the twentieth century. The links between it and the Holocaust go beyond the building of concentration camps and the execution of an annihilation policy and are worth exploring. It is surely of significance that when General Trotha wrote, as above, of destroying "African tribes with streams of blood," he saw this as some kind of a Social Darwinist "cleansing" after which "something new" would "emerge." It is also relevant that, when the general sought to distribute responsibility for the genocide, he accused the missions of inciting the Herero with images "of the bloodcurdling Jewish history of the Old Testament." It was also among the Herero in the concentration camps that the German geneticist, Eugen Fischer, first came to do his medical experiments on race, for which he used both Herero and mulatto offspring of Herero women and German men. Fischer later became chancellor of the University of Berlin, where he taught medicine to Nazi physicians. One of his prominent students was Josef Mengele, the notorious doctor who did unsavory genetic experiments on Jewish children at Auschwitz. It seems to me that Hannah Arendt erred when she presumed a relatively uncomplicated relationship between settlers' genocide in the colonies and the Nazi Holocaust at home: When Nazis set out to annihilate Jews, it is far more likely that they thought of themselves as natives, and Jews as settlers. Yet, there is a link that connects the genocide of the Herero and the Nazi Holocaust to the Rwandan genocide. That link is race branding, whereby it became possible not only to set a group apart as an enemy, but also to exterminate it with an easy conscience.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Carla Bley - Romantic notions 1. 3. 4 and 6

.



Emanuele Arciuli, piano

These are composed concert pieces, not improvisational compositions.  I believe they were commissioned by  Ursula Oppens to whom they are dedicated but my eyes hurt too much to look it up right now.  They remind me a bit of the pieces of Ben Weber for cello and piano but it's probable Carla Bley hadn't heard those, they're very seldom performed and I'm not sure they've ever been recorded.   The only of Carla Bley's set I'd heard before was #3 which Carla Bley played as a kind of prelude in a concert with Steve Swallow on a Youtube which I took to be a really marvelous piece of improvisation but which turns out to be a marvelous piece of composing of concert music.  I am looking for the music, I want to play them.

Note On The Worse Than Usual Editing

Yikes, I just finished breakfast and looked over my earlier post.  Two sentences, at least, got pasted together, one of them losing a lot.  

There is an excuse, I am arranging some music which has put considerable strain on my eyes.  Much as I love being able to enter it into music printing software  (Finale)  it has taken a toll on my eye-sight.  I'll rest them and re-edit later today.  For right now, I've got to go close my eyes for a while. 

Hate Mail - I Wasn't Planning On Writing About This This Week

Uh, no, I didn't misrepresent Charles Darwin, as anyone who bothered to read what he said would know.  Darwin was a firm believer in the inheritance of acquired characteristics, he was far more Lamarckian than anyone taught from many if not all English language biology textbooks in the post-war era would have been led to believe.   He repeatedly advanced a belief in the inheritance of acquired characteristics, something which those studying the relatively recent advances in the study of epigenetic inheritance are both coming to realize and to promote.  In his The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication Darwin, later editions of Origin of Species, The Descent of man, he expanded, greatly on his promotion of the idea of inherited characteristics.  He made no secret of that belief.   So many of his major promoters and their dupes, today, believe firmly that he shared their post-1930s faith in the neo-Darwinian synthesis that, among other things, depends on knowledge that Darwin never had or probably could imagine.   A reading of him which included more than the first edition of On the Origin of Species and Voyage of the Beagle would have disabused them of their foolish belief in a neo-synthesis Darwin as well as a eugenics-free Darwin.   I strongly suspect that at least a few of Darwin's greatest popular promoters among academics may not have even read that much of his work, including at least one or two names that would be on the tongue of virtually every one of you true believers in the cult of St. Charles Darwin.  

The extreme view of the universal explanatory power of the natural selection of genetically inherited traits that is the common currency in the college educated American and, I would imagine Brit, Canadian, Australian... and which also is the common belief of journalism,  is a product of ideological faith and wishful thinking in the completeness of their knowledge among some rapidly aging scientists and the power of the popular presentation of science by the publishing industry and science journalism.  It's not something that even someone as critical of ol' Chuck and as skeptical of his version of natural selection as I am would honestly blame on him. 

The truth is that Charles Darwin not only didn't hold with the current commonly held model of natural selection, the latest model of the neo-Darwinian synthesis of natural selection with genetics,  he couldn't have because he didn't have major portions of the substance of it.  No one did during his lifetime, that is the product of the information available to later generations of Darwinists.   Natural selection - which is his real claim to fame - not as some of you seem to believe as "the discoverer of evolution" -  has had to be propped up continually and modified into forms which I doubt he could recognize. 

Natural Selection is really not much like the laws of physics or even chemistry, I don't think it is a good idea to promote it as if it were.  At best it is a conventional and agreed to framing of phenomena that don't fit into it without constantly bending the theory to fit them in.  Quite often, and worst of all, it has been a rule for the creation of stories and lore and even myths to promote both the theory and the desires of those making up those fictions.  That is why as conventional a Darwinist Stephen Jay Gould called what they produced "Just-so stories".   The fact is that is what virtually all of natural selection is, the invention of scenarios of past events which not only haven't been but never will be observed at even the crudest levels of resolution.

As I noted in the series of pieces I wrote, previous generations of Darwinists, including his closest scientific colleagues, his children, etc. who actually knew the man had a far different view of him than that which is permitted to be articulated among the college educated English speaking people.  Their view of him included his eugenics promotion and advocacy, the only difference between those who knew him and many of us, today, was their full belief in and liking of the ideas of class, ethnic and racial superiority which he incorporated into his science  and which are, in fact, the basis of his adoption of Malthusian explanations of life and death and their effects on the changes in species over time.  Eugenics was a product of class prejudice far more than it was a dispassionate and disinterested investigation into possible means by which species evolved.  I believe the reason it was so extensively adopted was because it was the product of a shared faith in the merited superiority of the rich and privileged as a natural instead of an entirely artificial phenomenon.  That is the class which has had control of science, the law, government and virtually every other organ of power in even quasi-democratic countries.  That is the class which determines which ideas will be supported and made reputable, no matter how ill-considered or ill-founded or not.

Science, no more than most other human institutions, has not been removed from that fact of life.   You have to go to the few institutions and entities which resist those class based economic interests to even begin to escape that kind of control and they are not the ones held to be estimable by those who enjoy the results of inequality.  And they will be found more among individual entities than among institutions, most of them quite free of the burden of high esteem among the rich, the powerful and those who aspire after that status.  But I'm trying to limit the number of posts relying on Walter Brueggemann, James Cone, etc. and the prophetic tradition to no more than three a week.  As I've also learned in the past ten years, a radical-liberal political blogger could post about them seven days a week and never run out of relevant material.  It's no wonder that the most dishonest and extreme of neo-Darwinists have played such a major role in lying about religion and it's got a whole lot more to do with class and social ranking than it does with science.