Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Halsey Stevens - Magnificat



The Good News Singers of Los Angeles, performed on February 17, 1973 at the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles. Kent Kimball, conductor. Rob Skinell, trumpet. Becky Edwards, piano. Sopranos: Claudia Haynes, Norma Krummel, Peggy Schmid. Altos: Valerie Loskota, Gail Ferris, Becky Edwards. Tenors: Charles Bunnell, Hayden Jones, Rob Skinell. Basses: Mark Stevens, Huey Weatherby, Darrel Estel.

Text in English

The conductor of this performance posted it, I like how he gave full credit to everyone, wish they did that more often.  I also like how Halsey Stevens and his wife were acknowledged at the end of the recording.

Halsey Stevens was a very good composer and scholar, probably most known for his biography of Bela Bartok and editor of a collection of his letters.   You can, at times, hear the influence of Bartok but Stevens' style was always original enough so that you could hear his music was his own.   I wish people recorded more of his many choral works because those I've seen and the few I've read through are very fine. 

A Standardized Paper Ballot Marked By Hand, Counted And Kept Is The Only Standard That Is Acceptable In A Real Democracy

About the corrupt, Republican dominated Alabama Supreme Court ruling that allowed the destruction of the voting record in yesterday's election.  Here's what I said in 2008

We can't ignore this any longer. It's not exciting, it's not trendy, it's not sexy, it's entirely clear how it could be fixed so no one is going to gain a reputation for brilliance and become the toast of the scribbling class over it. It's only a question of whether the United States is a nation of laws and not of richmen, a democracy or a despotic oligarchy.

- We need one national ballot form for the national constitutional offices, President, Vice-President, Senator, Congressman. These are the only four offices that have a direct impact on us all. The citizens of the entire country have a right to these four offices being filled in a completely honest way. Everyone has a right to know that every congressman was chosen honestly, even in the district farthest from where they live. They make the laws that govern all of us. There is an overriding interest in the citizens of the entire country having an honestly chosen federal government strong enough to overcome constitutional objections. This is THE question of national integrity, not a detail of petty federalism.

- We need one form of ballot for those offices, no butterflies, no esthetic tampering. One form that a child learns in fourth grade and that doesn't change for as long as our form of government doesn't change. President, Vice-President, Congressman, Senator. One ballot for each office if there are that many candidates in a district but one form that is as familiar to a voter as a Lincoln penny.

- We need those ballots to be on paper, marked clearly by hand with an X or a check mark, either a valid mark. One ballot form, one thing for the voter to do. Both have worked for decades and there is no reason to fool with it. People unable to mark their own ballots is an issue, but it is one that can be solved without recourse to unreliable machine voting. 

- We need them to be counted by hand with observers from all parties. Those ballots are to be counted honestly, everywhere, every time. If local officials can't run a clean election it will be run by a higher level of government. If you don't like that, look at those clean, honest, simple and quick elections they've got in Canada run by Elections Canada. You can go to their web site and see how those practical people have managed simple methods for dealing with problems of disabled voters. Look now before the Conservative government starts trying to copy cat the United States to steal elections for themselves. They manage to pull it off in a matter of weeks, our system, designed for corruption, can’t get it right in as many months. 

No electronic voting for the federal constitutional offices is to be tolerated. We have seen that electronic voting and vote tabulation is certain to give an inaccurate count and that's even when it isn't rigged to steal the election.

The results of two almost certainly stolen presidential elections in a row are all the proof anyone needs that a crooked election gives us a crooked government. We might get a crook in an honest election, we are certain to get one from a crooked election. The elections of 2000 and 2004 have given us the disaster of Iraq and will produce at least one more disaster, probably in Iran. The Republicans who stole these elections are costing us in blood, in honor and in money. We cannot afford to nickel and dime democracy, the cost is staggeringly high if we continue to cheat ourselves out of honest elections.

Computers and modern research have allowed the Republican Party to destroy the last and best hope for a free people to govern themselves. We aren't living in an age where genteel comity and a bit of indulgence of petty theft can be smiled at. If the DC-NY scribblers and the law professors had the blood of their children and themselves at risk they might see it more clearly. It is only a matter of who lives and who dies. 

As The Knots In My Spine Relax In Relief

Until it had unknotted when I heard that Doug Jones had narrowly won over Roy Moore in Alabama, I hadn't realized how tense I'd gotten over the Senate race there.   Alabamans have proven that they are better than Steve Bannon and the billionaire oligarchs who fund his fascism hoped they were, they also proved they are better than Republicans who managed to barely make it over that lowest of bars but still hoped for Moore's vote or to use his victory to install an appointed Republican in the seat. 

I am all in favor of encouraging Alabamans to realize they've deserved better all along.  To look hard at their recent history of incredibly corrupt politicians and judges and to use this as their turning point away from that, proving to the country that in every state there are people of good will and good intentions.  Alabama is hardly the only state that has had terrible corruption and terrible people elected,  I know, Paul LePage is still governor here. 

The coverage of the election said that Doug Jones ran a very aggressive campaign with a huge get out the vote effort - one Alabaman I heard said he'd had to build that up from nothing.   I took that to mean that this is another vindication of the 50-state-strategy that Howard Dean implemented only to have it destroyed by Rahm Emanuel and, let's face it, Barack Obama who was faulted for refusing to share resources with lots of Democrats down the ticket from him. 

It was a defeat for Republican depravity but it was also a defeat for snobbery, especially regional snobbery which has given Republicans a tool with which to gull a margin of voters in many places targeted by snobs to win over and over again.  That is something which they've been doing successfully for decades, now, and the snobs have bought us nothing but defeat.  Smart people who wanted decency to rule would have learned a lesson by now, the snobs aren't smart people and they don't care about decency as much as their high opinion of themselves. 

There isn't any time to lose, I heard a Republican from Alabama say that Doug Jones will lose the seat in 2020.  I hope that Jones gives such great constituent service, that he is such a good Senator for his state and the country that that is wrong but Republicans will be trying to make lies and hate and resentment and bigotry work for them.  If they can be blocked from doing that in Alabama it will be a huge defeat.   There would be nothing greater than to see things turn back in the direction of decency, the pivot back based on Alabama. 

Right now, there's a terrible tax bill to defeat,  Susan Collins and one or two other Republicans have to be talked out of voting for whatever deparavity they cook up in conference, there are lots of Republican House members from "blue states" that need to be convinced to vote for The People, not for Steve Bannon's patron. 

Duncan, Know Thyself

I don't know if Duncan was referring to the series I've been posting with passages from The Bible Makes Sense,  I don't know if he is aware of more about what I do here than what a few of his regulars misrepresent and lie about on his blog, I am certain he knows about that because it happens there every day.   That post where he accuses Christians of not knowing, as he put it in his jr. high level way, the "buy-bell" made me think first of the time Richard Dawkins embarrassed himself on BBC 4 while declaring that most Christians weren't Christians because they didn't know the Bible or were unable to answer questions about it.   When pressed by the Rev Giles Fraser to state the full title of On the Origin of Species, after assuring him that he could, he couldn't do it.   And he's the self ordained high priest of Darwinism.

To take just a typical example of the same kind of thing among the atheists and secularists, I can guarantee you that almost none of the Darwin fan club, including those among Duncan's regulars have read him or understand his theory of natural selection and his own support for its appalling social and political applications and the rest of what I was shocked to discover over about the last decade and a half.   I know that because I was both one of the regulars at his blog and I was someone who bought the common received wisdom about the phony, post-war Charles Darwin which fell apart as soon as I did what I hadn't done before, read the first hundred pages of his second book,  The Descent of Man and realized that his citations proved I'd been sold a whopper of a lie ever since high school.   A lie which  I would guess, most American atheists believe with all their hearts, though I'm certain Dawkins knows better because he certainly has read the books and read Darwin's glowing endorsements of Galton and Greg and Haeckel and made his own assertions about the great benefits of letting poor people, sick people, the disabled die of neglect if not by outright slaughter, complaining about the dysgenic effects of vaccination, medical care and the horrifically bad level of support given the destitute by the work houses of Victorian Britain.  It's right there for all to see. 

In short, Charles Darwin would have fit right in with the worst of the Republicans on economics, provided they didn't oppose the teaching of evolution.  It was one of the first things I realized,  that Darwin's belief in his own theory led to him agreeing with the worst of economic theory.   And if Richard Dawkins bothered to read the fifth and sixth editions of On the Origin of Species, he would know that Darwin, himself, said that Natural Selection, proper, was identical to Herbert Spencer's Social Darwinism and that he said so at the urging of his co-inventor of the idea,  Alfred Russell Wallace.

As any number of people who have read the scriptures could tell you, the economics laid down in the Bible not only might serve as the source of American liberal economic thinking (I'm convinced it is the actual origin of it), it is more radically redistributive downward than anything that any radical economic expert ever thought of.  In practice the theories of Marx produced a horror.   It certainly makes the program of the British Labour Party, even today, look like the trafficking in pittances that Marilynne Robinson pointed out it was in her great and neglected book,  Mother Country.   Darwinian economics are so brutal and so awful that even Richard Dawkins has said the human society they produced is one no one would want to live in.  I'd add no one except the most depraved of the Darwinists*.  And those have, actually, shown us what can happen when you base a political regime on Darwinian biology.

So, are the regulars at Duncan's blog who don't know that because they never read any of Darwin's science not true believers in Darwinism?   Not to mention the other, enormous areas of science that they believe in on pretty much the same basis as a devotee of some alleged supernatural apparition believes in that?  That's something that we all have no choice in doing because no one, not even the most accomplished scientists can know more than a small bit of science and have to take most of what they accept as knowledge in that area on faith.

And when it comes to the social sciences, what a naive faith it must be because the social sciences are about the most faith-based academic fields there are.  I do find it funny that someone whose claim to intellectual credibility is based on his PhD in economics would fault someone else for faith in something that is too big to know and which is, pretty much, in the business of selling assertions about a huge and mysterious phenomenon they neither can know or understand.

So much more could be said about the house religion of Duncan's regulars but I've got to get back to regular business.   I think we could agree on one thing, too many people who profess Christianity aren't very good at knowing it and doing it - something, which, by the way,  Jesus predicted and warned about - if American Christians really believed that they were to do unto others as they would have done unto them, American democracy and a genuinely traditional American liberal economics would flourish.  The entirety of egalitarian democracy with economic and social justice is warranted under that saying and reinforced and extended by others.  Atheism provides nothing similar, materialism undermines and rejects it.

*  Including his own son who ran for a seat in parliament on a Darwinist program, including opposing vaccinations.   Luckily he lost.   But I will point out again that as Francis Galton's successor as the leader of British eugenics,  he agitated for Germany to adopt eugenics, despairing that they wouldn't until he was thrilled as could be when the Nazis came to power and instituted their eugenics laws.  If Duncan missed me pointing it out,  Leonard Darwin said in April of 1939 that his father's thinking had led to Germany being turned "in the right direction".  The same year they started the actual, industrial program of mass murder and started World War Two to implement an overtly Darwinian program of replacing the population of Poland with "Aryans".

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Do You Have To Have It Spelled Out For You?

Jack Benny:  I know this is awful sudden, Marilyn, but will you marry me?

Marilyn Monroe: Marry you?   But look at the difference in our ages!

J.B.  Well, there isn't much difference, Marilyn,  You're 25 and I'm 39. 

M.M.  Yes!  But what about 25 years from now?   When I'm 50 and you're 39?

Jack Benny:   Gee,  I never thought of that.  

I was tempted to post the video from Youtube but I'm sure it will be lost on the idiots who troll me that Jack Benny was making fun of male conceit and ego in his daydream of being with Marilyn Monroe.   I'm sure it would be taken the wrong way because even TV comedy of that era depended too much on it's audience knowing something.   She was a great comic actress too, such a tragedy. 

Update:  I adored Jack Benny, anyone who didn't love Jack Benny has no soul. 

Extra Hate Mail

So, let me get this straight.   Simps says he'll stop lying about me at Duncan's if I'll apologize for him? 


Sarah Huckabee Sanders Is A Professional Liar

As Al Franken is hounded out of the Senate on the basis of just about nothing,  Think Progress got the list of the exoneration witnesses that Sarah Huckabee Sanders said cleared Trump of the multiple accusations that confirm what he  bragged about doing  on tape and publicly on Howard Stern's radio show, grabbing women by their genitals and walking in on young girls in a dressing room because he owned the pageant they were dressing for.

Katie Blair 
Katie Blair is offered by the White House as an “eyewitness” who disputes the account of Samantha Holvey, who alleges “Trump personally inspected each of the contestants” at an event prior to the 2006 Miss USA pageant. Holvey said it was “the dirtiest I felt in my entire life.” She also said that Trump went into a dressing room while some of the contestants were getting ready.

Blair, however, was not even a contestant at the 2006 Miss USA pageant and has not publicly commented on Holvey’s claims. She was the winner of Miss Teen USA in 2006, which is a different event. Miss Teen USA was held in August 2006 in Palm Springs. Miss USA was held in April 2006 in Baltimore.

Blair spoke out after “multiple other former contestants claimed he walked in on girls changing during a different pageant in 1997.” Blair said that nothing similar had happened to her. She did not rule out that Trump come into a dressing room while contestants were changing but suggested that, if it did happen, it’s because the women wanted to expose themselves to Trump. “[I]f anything like that ever occurred, the women involved were probably ‘well aware’ that Trump was coming back there,” Blair told the New York Daily News.

Melissa Young
Melissa Young was also offered as an “eyewitness” who disputes the account of Samantha Holvey. The White House list describes Young as someone who “Also Competed In The 2005 Miss USA Pageant.”

But Holvey was not a contestant in the 2005 Miss USA pageant. In fact, Holvey represented North Carolina in the 2006 Miss USA Pageant, while Young represented Wisconsin in the 2005 Miss USA Pageant. (A different contestant named Chelsea Cooley represented North Carolina in 2005; she won.)

An inquiry to the White House press office about this apparent error was not immediately returned.

Young has not publicly commented on Holvey’s account. She says that Trump was kind to her several years later when she had a blood clot that sent her to the hospital. Young described Trump as a “gentleman.”

Notably, one person who says Trump walked into dressing rooms while beauty pageant contestants were changing is Donald Trump himself.  Here is what Trump told Howard Stern in 2005:

Well, I’ll tell you the funniest [sic] is that before a show, I’ll go backstage and everyone’s getting dressed, and everything else, and you know, no men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it. You know they’re standing there with no clothes… And you see these incredible-looking women, and so, I sort of get away with things like that.

Trump’s language, that he “inspected” the contestants, matches Holvey’s account.

Anthony Gilberthorpe
Anthony Gilberthorpe first emerged during Trump’s presidential campaign and claimed to be an eyewitness disputing the account of Jessica Leeds, who says Trump groped her on an airplane in 1980. Gilberthorpe’s name does not appear on the document provided by the White House, which simply refers to him as “an eyewitness.”

Gliberthorpe’s specific claim about Leeds has no independent backing but is based on his “self-described excellent memory.” He claims that, as an 18-year-old British boy, he was in the first class cabin of a U.S. domestic flight. Although he claims “nothing inappropriate” happened, he says he remembers the interactions between Trump and Leeds exactly and monitored their behavior the entire flight. According to Gilberthorpe, Leeds was flirting with Trump. Later Gilberthorpe claims that Leeds, then in her 30s, confided in him (an 18-year-old stranger) that she wanted to marry Trump.

But even more significantly, as ThinkProgress has previously reported, Gilberthorpe is a notorious liar:

In 1987, for example, he told newspapers in England that he was engaged to fashion designer in California named Miss Leah Bergdorf-Hunt. “Both our families are delighted,” he told The Gloucester Express. It was later revealed that he was not engaged. Also there was no Miss Bergdorf-Hunt. He invented the whole thing.

He later won a substantial libel judgment from British newspapers that reported he had AIDS. But it eventually came out that Gilberthorpe himself was the source for the story. The newspapers appealed and Gilberthorpe ended up settling after the newspapers agreed to offset a small portion of his legal fees. The incident left him “very much out of pocket and with egg all over his face.”

Gilberthorpe also contends that, as a young man, he was “paid to recruit underage rent boys for orgies attended by ministers from Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet.” There is no evidence to support his salacious claims.

So the White House’s list of “eyewitnesses” consists of two women who don’t even claim to be eyewitnesses and a British man with an incredible story and a documented history of deception. The White House is suggesting that these “eyewitnesses” mean the claims of more than 14 women are “totally disputed.”

So, one who wasn't there to "witness" the event in the accusation, one who hasn't claimed what she was claimed to have said and a known and court-proven liar who not only almost certainly wasn't on the plane he says he was but who, in other details, said things that couldn't possible and almost certainly weren't true.  I'd love to see what a prosecutor would do to such exonerating witnesses.

Tuesday Night Radio Drama - Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe - The Squirt And The Monkey


Stars: Mavor Moore, Don Francks, Cec Linder, Frank Perry, Alfie Scott
Special Guest Stars: Jack Krealy, Patricia Collins, Sheri Flet, David Hemlin

I was going to post this tomorrow night but, again, the electricity is flickering here and the last time that happened it was about five days before we got it back full time.   I wish the CBC would revive its audio drama department, they produced some really good stuff. 

Hate Mail - Oh, Goody, Let's Continue The Brawl Over Christmas Songs

It is amusing in a mildly nauseating way for not only atheists but atheists who are hostile to the Jewish religion (though nominally Jewish, in some cases) to be pretending they're offended about what they falsely insist is a slight against Rosh Hashanah and a shofar.   If they'd done something really offensive on some Comedy Channel show or Saturday Night Live, you'd be yucking it up like Eschatots dumping on "monotheism" or sniping about circumcision or something like that.

You don't get to have it both ways, either you get to live within your "nothing sacred" claims or you can abandon them but you don't get to pretend you really believe nothing is sacred when it suits you and then to claim what you want to - temporarily - assert  something is to be temporarily held to be sacred as you vent for show.

And since post-literate levels of reading comprehension would seem to be a major contributing factor to the current form of atheism, let me point out that the reason Keillor had to invent that absurd example - OF THE KIND OF THING HE WAS OPPOSING - is because Christians don't write disrespectful, jokey songs diminishing the Jewish Holy Days.   I've never come across anything that could serve as an example of that.  I can't imagine anyone doing that, if you can find an example, send it to me and I'll comment.

I read online that approximately half of the top of the pop-chart Christmas songs are written by Jewish songwriters, some of them not half-bad as pop songs but none of them exactly Christian in content.  I can say that my all time most hated Christmas pop song, ever, which I absolutely hate  Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas seems to be the product of gentile Hollywood song hacks.

I haven't seen anything definitive but looking up that bit of trivia, I did find out that the long told story of the composer of one of the most popular of the serious Christian content Christmas songs, O Holy Night, Cantique de Noël, that Adolphe Adam was Jewish and that the Archbishop of Paris wanted the song suppressed for that reason, would seem to be a myth.   From what I've read someone who was writing on the topic for a dissertation tried to find confirmation that Adam was Jewish and couldn't find any, including that none of the people who knew Adam seems to have identified him as Jewish, as didn't the Nazis when they were compiling anti-semitic reference books about music.  I haven't read deeply on the subject but if that's true then how the myth got started and spread is more interesting than the myth, itself.  It's kind of disappointing if it's not true that he was Jewish. I liked the irony.  If I can be excused for using the "i" word.

It was thrilling, last year,  to find the recording of the great, great late 19th century- earliest 20th century French bass, Pol Plaçon singing it because he would almost certainly have known how Adam would have expected to hear it sung.


One thing is absolutely certain, the first Christmas song, the most often sung, the most widely sung, from even before Christmas was part of the official church calendar, the most translated, most often set Christmas song was composed and sung by a Jew, the mother of one of the most famous of all Jews, Mary the mother of Jesus, whose birth is what Christmas is all about, the occasion of her composing My Soul Doth Magnify The Lord.   The entire content of it is absolutely saturated with Jewish content, the original Christmas song is a Jewish song.  You can hear that passage from Isaiah reflected in what it says about the powerful being thrown down from their high seats, the poor being filled with good things and the rich sent away empty.   I really love this simple setting by George Dyson,  Freeman Dyson's father who was an Anglican church composer.




Score

I know Dyson expected it to be sung by boys' voices but it would be nice to hear it sung by Mary's fellow  women.  We really need either a gender neutral or a female equivalent of "fellow" for just such statements .

Hungry People Don't Need To Be Told About The Centrality Of Giving And Receiving Food To Religious Practice

It's true, the observation made by John Dominic Crossan, to people who are used to not missing meals, who never had to worry about where their food was going to come from into the foreseeable future, realizing how much of the Bible centers on food can be kind of a surprise.  Our inability to appreciate that in a superficial reading of the Bible or to even get it is a good example of the position of affluent people, even affluent in the way of second or third generation middle-class Americans, as biblical outsiders and of people who can't possibly understand the Scriptures without an intentional exercise of the kind of historical imagination the sections of his book posted here the last couple of days advocate. 

The next section of Chapter 2 deals with some of the major examples of how food, its giving and receiving, of getting it in a context where that is unexpected and out of the natural realm of expectation is central to understanding the Bible and really biblical religion.   I will note that I think that since this was written, forty years ago,  Brueggemann, in his more recent talks and writing, would emphasize the role that neighborliness plays in the miracles asserted in poetic form in the Bible.  I've inserted the passages that the book cites, for the convenience of those who don't have a Bible handy, they are from the Revised Standard Verson.

Some Biblical Uses of This Story

Among the uses made of this story in the subsequent retellings are at least the following.  In Isaiah 55:1-3, a poem for exiles when the community of Israel in the sixth century B.C. is hopeless, starved for faith as well as for bread,  it is asserted that bread is freshly given and milk is for the taking.

Isaiah 55:1-3

An Invitation to Abundant Life

55 “Ho, every one who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Hearken diligently to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in fatness.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
    hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
    my steadfast, sure love for David.


This poet, one of our comrades in faith, has taken the manna story and has presented it in yet another form so that his contemporaries can see their situation differently.  Exile, like the wilderness sojourn, seems hopeless and without signs of life.   But for people who remember imaginatively, exile, like wilderness, is seen to be a place where God freely nourishes his desperate people.  Deathly places, wilderness, or exile are, because of Yahweh, places of life.  In this poetry of Isaiah 55, it is not self-evident that the poet consciously alludes to Exodus 16, and perhaps he does not.  But the theme floats in the life of his people, and listeners of such poetry make connections out of their stock of historical memory.  And quite clearly,  whether intended by the poet or not,  the link between the old narrative and the new poetry enlivens both.  Both take on fresh meanings which yield power and insight for a community in a seemingly hopeless situation.  

In the New Testament, the Gospel of Mark records two feeding actions of Jesus.  In 6:30-44 he feeds fie thousand in in 8:1-10 he feeds four thousand,  

Mark 6:30-44

30 The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them. 34 As he landed he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a lonely place, and the hour is now late; 36 send them away, to go into the country and villages round about and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii[a] worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down by companies upon the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

Mark 8:1-10

In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him, and said to them, 2 “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days, and have nothing to eat; 3 and if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come a long way.” 4 And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these men with bread here in the desert?” 5 And he asked them, “How many loaves have you?” They said, “Seven.” 6 And he commanded the crowd to sit down on the ground; and he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. 7 And they had a few small fish; and having blessed them, he commanded that these also should be set before them. 8 And they ate, and were satisfied; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. 9 And there were about four thousand people. 10 And he sent them away; and immediately he got into the boat with his disciples, and went to the district of Dalmanu′tha.

Obviously the actions of Jesus are understood quite differently because the remembering church saw his actions through the prism of the manna story, and no doubt Jesus himself also did. It is clearly intended to suggest that this old history of life-giving food in a place of death is happening again. The narrative in Mark is quite self-consciously inventive in the use of history. It is imaginative in its presentation, but its imagination is rooted in a precise historical memory. As a result, Jesus is presented not imply as a miracle-worker or a bread-maker but as the action of God transforming a “wilderness” (cf. Mark 6:35, 8:4) into a place of nourishment, a place of abandonment into one of caring power, a place of death into a time of life. Jesus, as the power of God, transforms the situation. And as the church remembered and told this story and reflected on it, she drew a powerful conclusion: We are in covenant with the transforming one It has been so since our fathers and mothers in Exodus 16, and it is so each time we eat in the presence of holy power.

It will be clear to you that in reporting this story I have handled it like an insider.  By “insider” I do not mean one who has special expertise or technical learning.  Rather I mean one who lives in and derives life from the community which believes these materials.  Insiders are all the people who believe that these memories tell us about our past and these promises tell us about our future.  Outsiders, by contrast, do not take the materials that seriously but regard them only as interesting  materials which we can take or leave as they suit us.  Only an insider would take the connections to Exodus 16 in a way which energizes and informs the Mark narrative.  This connection has been made by the narrators of Mark who are also insiders, but they do it so subtly that it takes insiders to recognize the sensitivity and suggestion of the way the story is told.  We are engaged in serious Bible study when we are alert and responses to such interactions among the texts.

The piracy of hijacking the name and what would be the identity of Christianity by politicians even as they cut food stamps, wipe out the WIC program, stigmatize and vilify those on food stamps and subject them to useless drug testing for entry into the program (they also want to cut drug treatment programs) are guilty of as anti-Christian a violation of the very center of Christian morality and its world view.   I have said recently that after decades of thinking the last book of the New Testament had been a mistake, if it can be used as a lense to give a name to this hijacking of Christianity, maybe it is of more value than I'd believed.

There is no more characteristically Biblical act than feeding people who are hungry, making sure they have enough food.   Feeding the "unworthy" probably the most profoundly Biblical act of them all.  The very concept that there could be people who are properly placed in the category of "unworthy" is a sure sign of reversion to a Roman style of paganism.   With all the talk about the "de-Christianization" of Europe, there's plenty of that among those who proclaim their Christianity the loudest.  They're obviously too removed from the experience of needing food.  Which would be in line with what it says about it being harder for a rich person to get into heaven than for a poor one to. 

More of this, later. 



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.