Friday, February 28, 2014

COMCAST springs the trap. Or maybe HBO.

Though I don't subscribe, right up through episode six I have been watching HBO's True Detective on COMCAST's On Demand.

Tonight the gate came down, as I knew it eventually would, and to watch past or future episodes I must now subscribe.

Like Hell, I will.

America's most dangerous immigrant

He ought to be deported in chains.

"Sexual misconduct"

Why is this a crime?

Christian sex rules.

Man arrested for sex with a cow

Awfully hard to believe the cow was hurt.

Communism, of a most un-Marxist kind, not entirely dead

India Maoists kill seven policemen

You remember Marx?

The revolt that ends history, the exploitation of man by man, class society, and the state is the revolt of the industrial proletariat?

That guy?

Not a lot of him in Mao.

Or Castro, really, when you think of it.

A lot less in Guzman and really none at all in Pol Pot.

Marx, of course, was bad enough.

But it all really started to go to Hell with Lenin.

Such slender evidence

On the testimony of sixteen Korean women the accusation of so vast a crime is considered proved?

Japan to examine sex slave apology

Historians as overzealous prosecutors?

How much of what passes for history is false?

Victor's history, especially?

Well, what do we think of newspaper accounts and personal memoirs?

What do we think of trial evidence or jury verdicts?

People are such liars.

And boobs into the bargain, who believe such fantastic absurdities, or anyway will swear they do, and even risk their lives for them, whether religious, moral, political - or historical.

Which, of course, does not mean it didn't happen.

But historians, journos, witnesses, and the machinery of law enforcement insist far too much that we others can know what happened - or at least believe beyond a reasonable doubt - when what is actually reasonable is so often and so obviously just withholding judgment.

They are far too interested, taking things all in all, to be taken very seriously, are they not?

As to China's new V-J Day, why September 3rd and not 2nd?

And why did they take so long to establish an official commemoration day?

Just another part of the machinery of left wing globalism

Some might call it left wing imperialism.

Spain curbs judges' worldwide remit

Exactly who you would have guessed is for it or against it.

Another Crimean War?

'Russians occupy' Crimea airports

US, stay out of this crisis.

World's policeman?

To Hell with that.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The scariest part

The scariest part about ageing is the added costs

No, it's not.

It's the danger of Alzheimers.

Or the danger of physical incapacity and dependency.

Or just running out of money.

"Old age is a shipwreck."

- Charles de Gaulle.

"I have always relied on the kindness of strangers."

- Blanche DuBois.

And we know how that worked out.

Obama the race man. The American racial spoils system


No, not any or every minority.

Only Hispanic and black youths.

He says their high criminality, sexual irresponsibility, and exceptionally stupid life choices are a moral issue.

He does not mean their behavior is morally damnable but that everybody else has a duty, society has a duty, the country has a duty to try to improve the behavior of future black and Hispanic youths so they will be less dramatically inferior in so many ways to whites, East Asians, South Asians, Middle Easterners, and in fact just about everybody else.

Not that they have failed themselves, you understand.

Not even that their parents, communities, or community leaders have failed them.

Everybody else has failed them.

The same Obama who has several times offered to throw the mostly white elderly under the bus for Republicans (chained CPI, privatization) and has already hurt them by undermining Medicare Advantage programs.

An unexpected and unwanted form of spreading the wealth around.

Did he throw in the Hispanics just for cover?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

American Atheists kicked out of CPAC convention

The hell.

Atheist conservatives are like gay conservatives.

The only thing that matters to them is their money.

Update.

Except for the Jews, for whom it's mostly about Israel and not the money.

This does not make me change my mind.

And what a pussy he is about the New Atheists.

Interesting list of atheist conservatives, though.

And interesting this is published in Bozell's ancestral home, the home of fusion, movement conservatism since before Bozell the Elder ghost-wrote The Conscience of a Conservative, since Buckley founded the thing.

But aren't they all pundits?

And, really, what the hell?

This is what conservatives think of atheists.

Hard to believe but apparently true, they hate us more than they hate gays.

Eat your hearts out, Will and Krauthammer.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

From $80 a month to $15

For two flip phones used only for talk.

I dropped a contract plan for a no-contract plan with a different company.

Kept the same numbers.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The transcendental Ego is a mere prejudice

Cohle, in one of the early episodes of True Detective, says something in the car to Hart, to the effect that the self is an illusion.

Can't quite recall which.

Ah, yes.

The first.

The very first.

Buckley to Ian Smith

I think it is quite true that if the 250,000 white people in Rhodesia were to awake tomorrow with black skins, there would be absolutely no resentment over the fact that five percent of the country was really governing 95 percent.

This would be rather more than in most African states.

Transcript of Firing Line, "The Question of Rhodesia." Prime Minister Ian Smith. Taped in Salisbury, Rhodesia, March 15, 1974 and broadcast April 28, 1974.

The Firing Line television series is a production of the Southern Educational Communications Association[.]

Columbia, South Carolina.

Buckley's conservatism always had solid ties to the Deep South.

Video and transcript archives at Stanford, the Hoover Institute.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Chomsky: Nixon was the last liberal president

Right here.

But you heard it from me, first.

Land of the free

First Amendment?

Free speech?

They so want to flay these guys in public, those hypocrites over at the ACLU had better show up.

Three sought over US college noose

Federal and state authorities?

Obama and his AG have neither of them shown any respect for law or liberty when their racial funnybones get tickled.

Repeatedly, they have done the wrong thing, in such cases.

Just a little too much of the race man in both of them.

Enough Mr. Moderate, already. It didn’t help at all, at all.


Good news for geezers, many of whom – Fox News fans – won’t even realize that he’s the one on their side, and the Republicans are out to scuttle them.

The Big O rejects chained CPI, about which here is Roger Hickey.

The chained CPI was always a negotiating ploy - an offer by the White House to show Republicans (and their corporate backers) that Democrats were willing to ignore the real retirement crisis in America in order to validate the conservative claim that Social Security was somehow contributing to an overblown deficit crisis.

Social Security has its own funding stream and contributes not a penny to federal deficits.

But the chained CPI, which would have meant immediate and serious cuts to people on Social Security, was repeatedly offered as a way for the White House to prove they were so serious about deficit-cutting they were willing to harm one of the most vulnerable groups that Democrats profess to care about.

This new victory over the Pete Peterson-style austerity-mongers is only the latest battle in a long war.

And with each fight a stronger and stronger grassroots movement has been growing to protect - and expand - the very popular crown jewels of the New Deal and Great Society.

We turned President Clinton away from his dalliance with partial privatization of Social Security - and then we stopped George W. Bush dead in his tracks when he tried to make real privatization the centerpiece of his second term.

As we mobilized with facts about the crucial importance of Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid in an era of recurring economic crises, the pro-social insurance movement grew - led by seniors and unions, the groups who got those programs passed in the first place.

But organizations representing women and African Americans and Hispanics reminded their constituencies how important Social Security is to their economic security.

And activist young people, now burdened by student loans and a lousy job market, came to realize the value of retirement and health care systems they could count on.

All which is Roger blowing his own horn.

The main thing is that by dumping this item, and in fact dumping useless attempts to entice Republican cooperation by playing the role of a conservative president to the point where the Republicans can pretend he is the enemy of seniors they are trying to protect, Obama increases the chance of Democrats holding the senate and getting stronger in the house.

That’s because the Republicans will have to openly oppose an agenda most of America will strongly approve.

That has to help.

Hickey, again, at Huffpo.

Now Democrats are free - in the run-up to the midterm congressional elections - to campaign as strong defenders of Social Security, Medicare (without means-testing) and Medicaid.

This liberation comes just in time because Republicans, opportunists that they are, have never been shy about accusing Democrats with trying to cut these programs.

The chained CPI proposal gave a ring of truth to Republican lies.

He’s over the top, a bit, since in fact on this matter both the White House and the Republicans were playing against those dependent on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

It’s just that, as you would expect, the Democrats were throughout the battle the lesser rather than the greater evil.

Dropping chained CPI makes them even more lesser.

So to speak.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The world is all that is the case

As Wittgenstein said, the world is the totality of facts, not of things.

Past, present, and future.

It is written, even now; all is written.

Things could have been otherwise.

There is not only one possible world.

But they are not otherwise.

They are as they are, past, present, and to come.

That is logical determinism, the doctrine that all disjuncts are settled, all propositions are true or else false, all contingents have a truth-value, future ones included.

That is fatalism.

Not that the future cannot be otherwise but that it will not be otherwise.

Not that you could do no other but that you will do no other.

The Book of the World is written entirely and nothing, not the least jot, has been left out.

And you did not write it.

Nor did anyone else, by the way.

Not even God.

Not least because he doesn't exist, yes.

But even if he existed he would only be a character in the Book of the World, like you and me and anyone and everyone. 

Just another character though, yes, certainly, as free as you please.

Just another character in the Book.

P.S.

For all argument I can say only that it seems to me that the practice of foresight presupposes a determinate future to foresee.

On the other hand, would not Nietzsche laugh at that argument?

Though he himself was a believer.

And, anyway, successful prediction does not require that foresight be thus possible.

It is enough if, when the time comes, the prediction is borne out by present experience.

Alexander, anxious, says to Aristotle, "There will be a sea battle tomorrow."

The morrow comes, and there is a sea battle.

For this there is no need for a prediction to be accurate, correct, right, that is to say, true when it is made.

Still, we are apt to think that if your prediction is borne out then you were right when you made it.

Oh, well.

Humans are easily and chronically confused.

It is part of our charm.

P.P.S.

All the same, like Nietzsche, I still believe the future, like the past, is determinate, while neither is necessary.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The white people of Georgia

License plates.

A hundred and fifty years later, they still want to celebrate the Confederacy and its Lost Cause?

Do a lot of Germans want to celebrate the Nazis?

Do a lot of Russians - or Khmers - want to celebrate the Communist cause?

And the officials did not consider this inappropriate.

Have no Republicans repudiated Ted Nugent?

Just asking.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Anslo Garrick

In episode 9 of Blacklist, Red tells us why he doesn't want to die.

Not a word about fear of death, nothingness, or Hell.

It's all about things he wants to do that, of course, he can't do if he's dead.

That he would not regret missing out on those things if he were dead, while true, is not a reason not to want those things, and wanting them remains reason to stay alive.

In case, having taken Camus too seriously, you were wondering.

Or in case, having read Schopenhauer, you were thinking people live out of fear of death, and find ways to keep busy so as not to be bored by the emptiness and fatuity of existence.

The secret fate of all life

Episode 5 of True Detective.

It's Nietzsche's eternal return of the same or, as Reggie Ledoux puts it to Cohle, "Time is a flat circle."

But of course if there is an eternal succession of repetitions of the same sequence of events time is as linear as you please while events form a circle.

Cohle says we have no recollection of past lives, so it is a secret.

Drama queen that he is, like all pessimists, absurdists, and existentialists, he says bitterly that we are trapped.

Others seem to feel that way about logical determinism, a doctrine Nietzsche ties to the eternal return of the same, revaluing both with his vaunted, "life-affirming" amor fati.

Cohle is not Nietzsche.

And Cohle is not the killer of Dora Lange.

In 2002, the drugstore killer convinces him the true killer of Dora Lange - if it is only one - is still out there and he goes to check out the ruined school he and Hart got distracted from by the hunt for Ledoux in 95.

In 2002, he is trying to finish that unfinished business.

And maybe he still is in 2012, when others think he is that killer.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cohle explains sex to Marty's wife

Episode 4, True Detective.

None of it's supposed to work, he says, except to produce babies.

Anyway, none of it needs to, and so it doesn't, very well.

Schopenhauer couldn't have said it better, nor any sociobiologist.

Shouldn't a novel be interesting?

Why is Zola's Nana supposed to be interesting?

I'm not saying it's a crashing bore, but it's not tremendously engaging, either.

But then it doesn't strike the modern reader as especially daring.

In his time it was quite shocking stuff.

"Some are born to be ridden, and others born booted and spurred to ride them."

The real face of conservatism

Tom Perkins "believes in government of the wealthy, by the wealthy, for the wealthy."

Yes, he does.

From Tom Perkins to the tea party to Rush Limbaugh to Paul Ryan, the Right truly believes that the wealthy are better than everyone else. . . . 

We have to understand what progressivism is up against. 

Our belief in the fundamental equality of all people is not shared by our opponents. 

Our belief that all Americans should have equal rights and an equal voice in our democracy is not shared by our opponents.

Conservative rejections of the kind of political equality asserted in the Declaration of Independence and again in the Gettysburg Address to be founded in natural and divine law go all the way back to the revolution, when those who weren't loyalists were anyway monarchists and proud upholders of the ancien regime, based squarely on the hereditary power of the king and the lords temporal, and the power ex officio of the lords spiritual.

The ones who prefer Burke to Locke are the ones who come closest to being honest about it, though even Locke was not committed to republicanism without reservation and did not see any but absolute monarchy as firmly excluded by natural law.

The conservatives of America sided firmly with Britain, attacking republicanism on the continent in defense of monarchies far closer to being genuinely absolute than the British.

Within the last week, an article was published at the American Conservative extolling the virtues of the Russian autocracy of the 19th Century, the most absolutist of European monarchies at every phase of its history, praising it as a laudable exemplar of conservative government, both in form and in policy.

And it was unsurprisingly the conservatives, after all, who defended or at least found it easiest to accept slavery in America, right up to the Civil War, as consistent with their basic political views.

Conservatives fundamentally loathe popular government, and accepted the American Republic from the beginning only with the gravest reservations and most profound resentment, realizing full well the American plebs would have killed them all rather than accept monarchy and aristocracy here, where they had for practical purposes never existed.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Camels in Genesis

Biblical anachronism.

The People of God vs. those who lead them

Bad Catholics

Without them and their Protestant cohorts, the anti-clericalist sexual revolution in America wouldn't have a prayer.

Loss of faith

The Chinese communists seem to have lost faith in radical leftism, and they never had any in the less radical sort.

Not so the Cubans, so far as one can tell.

As the former and present communists of South America come in from the cold and begin to shift the politics of their countries toward a realistic, achievable, and sustainable leftism, will they point a way forward for Cuba?

On the other hand, the communists of Italy converted to social democratic reformism decades ago.

Did that move the politics of Italy to the left?

Or did they just melt away, Italy sliding to the right?

On the other hand, they and the French had never been the revolutionaries the Latin Americans were.

The New Nazis, the New Jews

The Kansas GOP legalizes hate

They have specialized in championship of the worst in Christianity and the most cruel and hateful impulses of gutter Christians.

In this photo, triumphant Republican lawmakers look like so many Nazis clapping each other on the back after a good day's work, passing a raft of new anti-Semitic legislation in their early days in power in Germany.

I could not help mentally seeing these political sadists in brown shirts and Sam Browne belts.

One hopes the federal courts make short work of this.

Enemies of the State

The real class warriors.

Their neoliberal war against the state marches on.

Free Trade on ice

So says Biden, anyway.

We knew O was like this as far back as the primary season of 2008.

The Center for Worker Freedom

US car workers vote no to union plan

Like reading Jack London, or maybe Sinclair Lewis.

Decades of Fox News.

Gotta love those real Americans down in Tennessee.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Good enough for po' fokes

At just over one third the price, Black Velvet doesn't really have to be as good as Jameson, does it?

P.S.

But it's better than any bourbon that doesn't cost three times the price.

And I don't much care for scotch, either.

Or actual rye.

What is government for?


Ask Tom Perkins, who thinks people should have a number of votes equal to the number of dollars in taxes they pay.

It was an off-the-cuff remark intended to be provocative, but it reveals a very serious and widespread and increasingly shameless desire of the impudent, insolent, arrogant rich of America for constitutional reforms aimed at cutting the power of the non-rich in order to kill progressivism once and for all.

Recall the many calls for repeal of the 17th Amendment and the revival of Lochner law, for example.

Way things are going, it might not be so long before changes begin that take things in that direction.

Imagine the effect on turnout of a one dollar poll tax, to be paid at the polling place in cash, no dollar no ballot.

When conservatives let their fangs show in this way, they make Lenin's mistrust of and contempt for bourgeois democracy credible.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Guilt-trip politics

Seven decades of bitternes

Read the story.

The Chinese woman demands that Japanese who were mere children at the time feel guilt about what other Japanese than themselves did to other Chinese than herself.

Regret, already more than humans really feel about historic crimes of people long dead against other people long dead, personal interests apart (though of course the wise do take such things as fair warning), is not enough for her.

She is their enemy.

She hates them.

The Japanese who resent and reject her demand have my sympathies.

Well, that far, anyway.

Update, February 28.

Denial to refuse guilt and defy such hate is perfectly understandable, of course, even if mendacious or anyway careless of the truth.

When truth is thus abused, who can blame the innocent for using such means to defend themselves?

As for the Chinese, do they have it coming?

Being called liars by the Japanese, I mean, though they tell the truth (assuming they do)?

Serve them right?

Perhaps.

Mayor of the working people

Winter storm engulfs US east coast

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio was criticised for keeping schools open despite the snow piling on the ground.

"Why [aren't] schools all around NYC closed? It's going to take some kid or kids getting hurt before this goofball policy gets changed," Al Roker, a prominent meteorologist and television figure on NBC, wrote on Twitter.

He is currently in Sochi, Russia, for the Olympics, but has a child in a city school.

Mr de Blasio responded that many parents depended on schools to watch over their children while they work.

Someone who understands and cares.

My wife, who raised my stepdaughter as a single parent here in Pittsburgh, was very impressed. 

The right thing to do

Euthanasia for children

You wouldn't make a kitten suffer, would you?

Ancient math

Very ancient.

Bible Math

1 Kings 7:23

“Now he made the sea of cast metal ten cubits from brim to brim, circular in form, and its height was five cubits, and thirty cubits in circumference.”

Pi = c/d, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

So, yes, Pi = 3, according to this interesting and ancient passage of the Bible. 

And every word in the Bible is the literal, God's own truth, as some would have it. 

Though there are lots of absurdities in the Good Book people who glibly insist they believe that have no idea of.

Some but not all of them represent differences between what, of a non-religious nature, was known or believed about the world when the Bible text at issue was fixed, once and for all, and what is believed or known today.

The massive evidence of natural history for a very long period of evolution of life on Earth, wholly unknown to the Bible's authors, while the most egregious example, is just the tip of the iceberg.



P.S.

During the Middle Ages, the Church condemned as heretical the Aristotelian idea that species were fixed and the world and the species inhabiting it were eternal.

The Church agreed with the fixity of species but insisted the world had a beginning, and that this was not contrary to reason in any way. 

Only much later did a Protestant bishop settle the date of creation famously mentioned during the Scopes trial. 

Leaving popular American Protestantism committed to an account of things doubly contradicted by the evidence of natural history.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Religious Censorship by remote control

First the Muslims, now the Hindus, reaching halfway across the world to crush press freedom in the West.

The cowardice of the Occident on this matter is shameful.

But at 700 pages I was certainly not going to read this book.

Why not to ever, ever vote for a Republican

GOP senators kill unemployment extension

Because the GOP is completely dominated by the conservative movement of whom the tea-baggers are only the most radical as regards means.

They are all equally radical as regards ends, and the best known media conservatives like George Will and many others are firmly with the tea-baggers on both ends and means.

The single over-arching end being to undo over a century of progressive achievement and maximally expose a helpless America to the power of the plutocracy to do its worst in pursuit of its own maximum enrichment.

Democracy enables the people to protect their own interests, if they have the wit and the will to do so.

It does not ensure they have either the wit or the will.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

By the way, they made him a dictator

New Nicaragua constitution is law

As I said, some constitutions are too easy to change. 

Rule by decree was all Hitler needed.

But let's be fair.

Hitler used his power, after all, to impose his Nazi agenda.

The result was a global disaster that engulfed even Germany.

But what will be Ortega's agenda?

And how far will he push it with this new grant of autocratic power?

A radical left that has got over the utopian dreams of Marxism may also have gotten over the delusions of collectivization, the command economy, and Socialist Man.

Leaving more realistic aims such as are typical of progressivism and social democracy, though perhaps in doses too strong for the Optimates to accept without at least grumbling about a coup.

Perhaps, under some circumstances, such doses can only be achieved and safeguarded through deft infringements on democracy, the latter being too easily manipulated by the plutes.

There is surely at least that much truth in the Leninist attitude toward the realities of bourgeois democracy.

Wait and see.

No concern of Uncle Sam, in any case.

Nor is Venezuela, Cuba, Argentina, Bolivia, or Uruguay.

Though that is not and never has been the way conservatives see it.

If anything, the idea of peaceful and relatively inoffensive, realistic, successful, and popular leftism scares them even more than communism.

Pat Robertson was far from the only one who hated Chavez enough to want to bring him down.

And why is there still a Cuban embargo?

As art, right up there with Pittsburgh's McDonald's Memorial French Fries

Let's unpack the debate over a nearly-naked man statue at a women's college | Jill Filipovic

Wishing won't make it so.

Nothing can make trash like this art.

No matter how much blockheads are willing to pay,

Emperor.

Clothes.

Get it?

We will die not knowing

EU defies opposition to GM maize

Is global warming for real?

Is spreading use of GM crops a boon or a threat?

Is widespread use of nukes a safer alternative for the future world than continued reliance on fossil fuels?

Will the browning of America result in significant harm to the position of ordinary future whites, in America or elsewhere?

How quickly will come the decline of America from lone superpower status, and how painful will be the fall - not necessarily for Americans, but for anyone?

Things no ordinary person can know.

Or perhaps anyone.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Who is the Ugliest of them all?

National Review, January 21,1977. In Athwart History.

Well deserved attack on Lillian Hellman's Scoundrel Time.

Revealing vignettes of Paul Robeson and Dashiell Hammett as snotty hypocrites about civil liberties, as was she.

Why federalism?

Buckley, Athwart History, Return to States' Rights, National Review, April 18,1956.

WFB points out that if more federal taxes are collected in state A than the federal government spends there while the reverse is true in state B, this is an intolerable affront to the principle that rich people should never have to pay a penny in taxes from which they do not personally benefit.

Oops.

I mean it is an affront to the sacred American principle of federalism.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A day in Laos, and an evening

December 15, 1969, The National Review.

In Athwart History, Buckley.

Any place not governed by communists was, for the American right, part of the free world.

Any soldier of any non-communist government fighting communists was a free man fighting for freedom.

The conservatives' simplified theory of political liberty.

Contra Nietzsche, bombastic drama queen

It's the assaults of malevolent fortune that don't kill you that can ruin your life and destroy your happiness.

What merely kills you saves you from all further harm.

Dead-Red

Not the least idiocies of the Cold War were interminable debates of the question, better red than dead?

The appalling stupidity of the question threatens dumb paralysis, but let us reply, "of course!" - if only to get it on the record.

Such, at any rate, has been the view, literally, of billions of humans from 1917 to our own time.

All the same, many notable and widely respected authorities during the later years of the Cold War, the years of nuclear stalemate, insisted resistance, even at the price of human extinction or vast devastation frightfully close to that, was better than surrender to World Communism.

Thus did Western leaders defend repeated walks to the brink, consciously risking the destruction of civilization, possibly for centuries or millennia, if not the annihilation of humanity, over historically routine political crises.

Forays that did not at all amuse people who were not part of the Eastern or Western Blocs.

In any event, "Live free or die!" and "Better die on your feet than live on your knees!" are follies for bumper stickers, license-plates, and propaganda to be shouted at troops.

Humans by more than overwhelming majorities have never believed them.

Fortunately, neither side, throughout those decades, was really interested in such apocalyptic conflict.

The official doctrine of the East was that the world would go their way, anyway, without them needing to risk much for it.

And the official doctrine of the West was that the official doctrine of the East was silly.

And so we all survived.

The Russians never confronted us, the world, or anyone with an ultimatum, "Surender now to World Communism or we will destroy all human civilization and with it, possibly, all humanity."

Nor did anyone else.

They never even threatened to merely destroy us - a threat they could not credibly have made, in any case, in the face of massive retaliation.

Buckley, of course, harangued the troops, and the entire population of the western world, so far as he could.

The right wanted us to be terrified of living under communism.

Not to be terrified of paying an insane price to avoid it.

Buckley, Athwart History, Dead-Red, November, 1962, National Review.

Worse than Duranty

Buckley, Athwart History, "I got my job through the New York Times," March, 1961, The American Legion Magazine.

Herbert Matthews did more than any other jouno, it seems, to put Castro in power.

A fan of Clement Attlee's Labour government, from the beginning he painted Castro and his little band of rebels as non-communist, even anti-communist heroes of democracy, liberty, and (ahem) social justice.

Not only of him but of those who bought in we must say, "None so blind as they who will not see."

Makes you think again about Allende, eh?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Against all pessimisms

Death has nothing to teach to life.

It is death that has no meaning.

As for life, it has plenty of affairs of its own to attend to.

It is they that must concern us.

Those beautiful granddaughters on whom you dote will some day be dust in the wind, yes, of course, as will you.

But they are not now dust in the wind.

Now, they are beautiful little girls.

And you are still alive to rejoice in them.

Dote, by all means.

Well, there's that

I do not have to forgive my enemies. I have had them all shot.

Ramon Maria Narvaez, quoted in Pratt, The Dark Side.

On the thoughtful

But the truth is that no man is much regarded by the rest of the world.

He that considers how little he dwells upon the condition of others will learn how little the attention of others is attracted by himself.

Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, quoted by Pratt in The Dark Side.

On the worthwhile life

Only a slave has to justify his life by being useful.

The misanthrope

In the final years of his life, Swift bid his guests farewell with "Good night; I hope I shall never see you again."

Alan Pratt, The Dark Side.

Sherlock

Cumberbatch.

Very funny.

The Dark Side

More than one of Alan Pratt's ancients points to as folly killing oneself out of dismay at death.

As did Bismarck, perhaps quoting.

Making short work of it.

Took Camus an entire bloody book.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Leader of the free world

People - some people - even now are calling the US president that.

It was utter eyewash, back in the day.

It is even more vacuous, now.

Buckley, March 10, 1952, Dean Acheson's Record, in The Freeman.

A furious, relentless, one might say remorseless advocate, sometimes of intervention and rollback (Hungary), sometimes for impossible or anyway pointless containment (China, Korea, Vietnam), but always for war cold or hot, ideological, political, economic, or military, to extirpate communism throughout the world.

We could and should have skipped it.

As we could and should have done with both world wars, with every war our country has fought since the Revolution.

Talk about an inordinate fear of communism, real or feigned, reading the hysteria of this guy is quite something.

The progressive income tax violates the 14th Amendment

Buckley, August, 1993.

Not everyone wants to kiss and make up

Colombia army dismissal over spying

If they come in from the cold the members of the FARC will shift Colombia's politics markedly to the left.

Everyone sees that.

Not everyone is prepared to accept it.

OK, I don't get it

How can footprints in sand so fragile the sea washes them away be 800,000 years old?

Some kind of hoax?

Piltdown Man, revisited.

Earliest UK human footprints found

When will they ever learn?

Why, never, of course.

The same kind of great power stupidity that created The Great War, and every great war before or since.

Meddling in Russia's front yard.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Why we need a black president in 1980

Buckley, 1970, Look magazine.

A good thing for the reasons he gives and others, it took 28 years longer than he thought.

But he never dropped his opposition to affirmative action, forced integration, civil rights legislation, or federal control of voting in southern states. 

In 1984, Jesse Jackson was not the one, in his eyes.

July, 1984, Penthouse, Run, Jesse, Run.

He was right, and he was right about why.

In 2008, Obama was the one.

Revenge?

Sam Ervin, North Carolina Democrat and US senator, opposed Brown v. Board of Education and every step in the assault on Jim Crow, championed in the senate by Republican Vice President, Richard Nixon.

Later, he led the effort in the senate to destroy President Nixon.

The National Review, William F. Buckley, and the conservative movement, including their hero Barry Goldwater, were firmly on the side of Democrat Ervin, and opposed to Republicans Eisenhower and Nixon.

The "southern strategy" was only a very natural symptom of the conservative takeover of the GOP.

Not really strategy, at all.

Instinct.

As natural as breathing.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Haters

Still reading Bill Buckley, Athwart History.

Newsday, July 11, 1964, The Case for Goldwater.

Here again, WFB makes it clear as day his conservative movement stands for repeal of every achievement of the progressive movement since the last decade of the 19th Century and the utter extirpation of communism in every furthest and tiniest corner of the world.

An agenda of unremitting domestic and global class war for capitalism and plutocracy, in other words.

Tough sell, that, with ordinary voters, you would think.

Not to worry.

The "southern strategy" avant la lettre was there from the beginning.

Whites who hate non-whites, men who hate women, fervent Christians who hate those who aren't all gravitate, by invitation subtle or not, to the conservative movement.

And similarly non-whites who hate whites, women who hate men, and those who aren't who hate fervent Christians gravitate to the progressives, often by considerably less subtle invitation.

There to join those who will not be sidetracked or distracted, but aim to defend and advance the progressive effort to win control of the government and through it of the economy for the good of the 99+% who are prospective victims of the plutocracy and the wholly untrammeled capitalism at which they aim.

On the conservative side there are only the greedy rich supported by crackpots, fools, extremists, and haters.

On the progressive side there are fools crackpots, extremists, and haters, too.

But there are also just ordinary, non-rich folks trying to stave off the unremitting rapacity of the plutes and get a better, fairer deal.

[Aside:

Many are they of left and right who nowadays insist the ordinary folk of America do not deserve a better deal, and are unjustly well off even now.

Steadfast friends of ordinary Americans such cosmopolitan leftists are not.

/Aside.]

That was a great thing about the communists and the Trots.

They published a lot of excellent labor history.

Nothing like it to bring out class consciousness.

An invaluable perspective sure to be lost, I fear, or rather dropped utterly by the corporate dominated press.

One last note.

In one of his presidential campaign speeches, FDR, only too aware, spoke of the plutocracy's hatred for him.

And with a grim smile, to the applause of the crowd, he said, "I welcome their hatred."

From the lowliest union organizer to the president of the United States, that is the sentiment with which the ruling class and its servants greet resistance.

From Joe Hill to LBJ, such folks are all, in their eyes, "uppity niggers."

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Koba the Dread.

Most of the literature, historical or fictional, about what was horrible in communism says why liberals and the entire democratic left, back in the day, hated and feared it as much as or more than fascism or even Nazism.

This is true even about books written by men of the right, in the main.

When they tell you what particularly frightens or enrages them about communism, conservatives tell you quite frankly it's the abolition of private property in the means of production.

In their eyes the crime of revolution and collectivization was violation of the property rights of the dispossesed owners of nationalized or collectivized enterprises.

And the abolition of the right of anyone to build or aquire such property.

In the eyes of the democratic left it was the terror, the camps, and the seas of blood spilled to stay in power or to achieve wicked or stupid, sometimes almost mad purposes.

The Black Book of Communism, despite inaccuracies, says it all.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Damned shame

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman dies

He was wonderfully talented and had many fine years yet to go.

Reading William Buckley: Athwart History

As revealed in these writings from as far back as the late forties, WFB and the conservatives he led aimed to destroy every vestige of the New Deal in America by all lawful means and every trace of Marxism on the planet by wars cold, hot, military, and ideological.

Those were his and their top priorities, amply demonstrated in this collection, covering most of the Cold War and the rise of conservatism to absolute control of the Republican Party, the last half of the 20th Century.

The articles are loaded with the standard conservative polemical bilge, just as one would expect.

Interesting historical documents revealing details of the particular issues fought out over those years that covered so much of my lifetime.

I was born in 1949, the year China fell to Mao.

Buckley volubly disapproved of Eisenhower and Nixon, regarding both as collectivists, statists, and big government liberals.

He and his kind aimed to make sure the Republican Party had no room for the likes of them.

And they have succeeded.

Nixon wrote a great deal after he was driven from the White House.

I wonder if he ever had much to say about the takeover of his party by people IKE thought were crackpots and who hated him almost as much as the Democrats who eventually brought him down.

Or about how far the "southern strategy," a creation of the conservatives even before Goldwater tried it and as unnecessary to Nixon's 1972 victory as the Watergate burglaries, helped secure and safeguard the conservative conquest of the GOP.

Could the ridiculous and lying rhetoric of perfectly orthodox and mainstream conservatives, equating liberalism, the New Deal, Social Security, Medicare, the interstate highway system, progressive income taxation, and the federal minimum wage with communism, Marxism, tyranny, slavery, and totalitarianism, be responsible for so many people refusing to believe Reagan's perfectly correct charge that the Soviet Union was an evil empire? 

For so easily believing Uncle Ho was a sincere admirer of the American Revolution and the values of Jefferson? 

If communist tyranny is just Social Security and Medicare, how can anyone believe it's an evil empire?

Philistinism advancing

Philosophy is not religion. It must not be taught that way | Charlie Duncan Saffrey

Apparently, soon not to be taught at all.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Master and Margarita

For the third time, I failed to get through it.

No accounting for taste.

Undistinguished prose, I suppose inevitable in translation, it just didn't seem to be about anything.

And so I found it tedious and pointless, and without interest.

Others love it.

But not I.

Victimhood, everywhere and neverending

Redskins

Dead clade walking

A fossil, odd circumstances aside, is not an archaeological treasure, the writers of Elementary notwithstanding.

Odd sort of mistake for them to make.

Ought the world to exist?

Like everything else about us, human conation has evolved subject to the pressures of natural selection to fit, more or less, the contours and confines of human life.

Human desires, aversions, and preferences do not naturally extend to every imaginable or abstractly possible set of opportunities, options, or alternatives.

Hence the economist's or mathematician's invocation of indifferences to cover over massive lacunae.

And they most certainly do not extend to the creation of worlds, to the set of all possible worlds, or to choices among them.

All the same, some religions posit, more or less explicitly, a divine choice whether to create a world and which world, among all possible, to create.

Moral theology then faces the questions how that choice was made and whether it was well made.

Imaginary questions concerning imaginary choices of imaginary divinity, appealing to wholly imaginary criteria, for which natural human preferences are entirely unsuited, which humans nevertheless imagine they can or must answer.

Questions inherited and perpetuated by existentialism and pessimism.

Questions to which humans can provide only imaginary answers.