Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Bonhoeffer, Metaxis

 Since I read this on Kindle, here is a link to my highlights and notes on Goodreads.

Here is a link to decent review of the book.

A major part of the book is documenting Bonhoeffer's deep theological challenge of living our faith in Christ. His question of "What is the church"?  is directly applicable today. Is the church a social organization of people that gather together on Sunday to be entertained, to be identified as "virtuous", "woke", etc or is it a set of committed, confessing, devoted followers of Christ who humbly seek to live their lives increasingly in his example of being wholly human and wholy holy (spiritual)?

The very troubling part of the book is how easy it is to map Nazi Germany to "America" today -- which is much the same as Nazi Germany not being "Germany". We are clearly no longer the Constitutional Republic that we were founded as. We are largely a fascist pagan state. Hitler killed 6 million Jews, our holocaust of abortion has killed 60 million babies.  

In Nazisim, the ideology of Fascism -- massive government bureaucracy, media control, church control, big business cronyism, the judicial system, education all collaborating to create creeping totalitarianism; was combined with nationalism, racism, paganism, and idolatry (for the swastika and the person of Hitler). 

Today, massive government bureaucracy, media, liberal churches, big business, the judiciary, the educational system, etc are combined in censoring ("cancelling") alternate views, paganism through "wokeism", and increasing idolatry through symbols like rainbows, BLM, the earth (environmentalism), masks, etc. covered here

So far we are missing the "strongman focus, our "Hitler", who the mass of the population worship. Is that a requirement?, or will worship of wealth, pleasure, etc, and the people who embody those (Musk, Bezos, Gates, etc) suffice? 

Some interesting quotes from the book: 

You cannot claim you believe something if you don’t live like you believe it. God is not fooled by our claiming to believe the words of some well-crafted statement of faith—or by our dutiful church attendance—any more than your neighbors are fooled by it, or the devil is fooled by it.
Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. God will not hold us guiltless.
God is the one who invented reality, and reality can only be seen truly as it exists in God. Nothing that exists is outside his realm. So there are no ethics apart from doing God’s will, and God—indeed, Jesus Christ—is the nonnegotiable given in the equation of human ethics:
Hitler must be called a Nietzschean, although he likely would have bristled at the term since it implied that he believed in something beyond himself. This clashed with the idea of an invincible F├╝hrer figure, above whom none could stand. Still, Hitler visited the Nietzsche museum in Weimar many times, and there are photos of him posed, staring rapturously at a huge bust of the philosopher. He devoutly believed in what Nietzsche said about the “will to power.” Hitler worshiped power, while truth was a phantasm to be ignored; and his sworn enemy was not falsehood but weakness. For Hitler, ruthlessness was a great virtue, and mercy, a great sin.

Here in the early 21st century it is an important book for us to "read and weep" as we ponder it's message. Is our silence violence? 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Chauvin Babbit Standards 

The linked contains a solid analysis of the Chauvin "trial". Yes, the prosecution did well. Yes, the defence did poorly. It was a made for TV "drama", and the script was followed. 

I thought the key point was made first in the linked post. 

This entire case could not have happened just 10 or 15 years ago. The prosecution was driven by the global phenomenon of a bystander video that was posted to social media. In years gone by, there would have been no controversy. George Floyd would have been recorded as the 5,000th or so opioid death in Minnesota.
I propose the following as what the "standards" of law enforcement in Wokeistan are.:

The standard for police being involved in the death of a black man in any way during attempted or actual arrest is for them to be maximum "imaginable" crime, after with the assumption will be “Guilty until proven innocent beyond any doubt.” (prove there are no unicorns beyond any doubt, prior to a not guilty verdict)

The “Chauvin amendment to standard” : “If declared guilty a priori by public officials, large lawsuit awards, threats of rioting and looting, killing jurors, etc. Useless “deliberation” must be short.

Note: The standard for the killing of an unarmed white woman military veteran by police shall be, “no charges filed, identity of officer not to be released”. ( The Ashley Babbitt standard)

Wright vs Babbit

It's so obvious it really doesn't require any more explanation -- "it's literally black and white". 

Of course, “weapons confusion” cases are often caused by an officer’s acting out of “fear, mistake, panic, misperception, negligence, or poor judgment.” Yet, in one case an officer is charged and in the other the officer is cleared.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Kimberly Porter, Resisting Arrest

 Choosing a firearm vs a taser is a bad mistake. This video gives a little insight as to why officers may feel some pressure in these situations. 

Have you ever confused left vs right? If you have, consider how being in a high pressure situation that could cost your life might affect your ability to choose the proper hand. 

Chris Rock provides some practical insight on how to not get your ass kicked in a police interaction here. It would also very much decrease your chances of getting shot. 

The person resisting arrest HAS A CHOICE! They make the decision to put their own life, AND THE OFFICERS life at risk. The officer -- committed to doing his/her job, protecting the community, and likely other officers at the scene, really does not have a choice. 

This PL post discusses the Duante Wright shooting and officer (Kimberly Porter) being charged. 

So why would anyone become or stay a police officer? 

Friday, April 16, 2021

The Dollar Demise 

I've been predicting the death of the dollar for a long time -- when will the global economy pull the plug on the ailing dollar? 

And greenbacks are the world economy’s most important medium of exchange, unit of account, and store of value. If they don’t use U.S. dollars, it’s a lot more difficult – and expensive – for countries, companies, and people to buy oil or gold, sell toys or cars, or invest in hotels or bridges.

At a gut level we all understand this. Inflation is vastly understated -- look at your medical and insurance bills for example. Look at taxes on your internet and cell phone bills, and the increasing cost of the services themselves. Everything with few exceptions is rising in price, and it is rising faster than whatever you put in your savings. The government reports the inflation numbers, and they claim they do COLA (Cost Of Living Adjustments) for things like Social Security, military and government pensions, inflation protected bonds (TIPs) etc. Artificially keeping those numbers and interest rates artificially low is a way to heavily tax the masses without letting the "little people" know.

Put it all together, and 78% of all dollars that have ever been made, have been created over the past 12 months. (And… none of that, of course, includes the proposed $2 trillion infrastructure plan announced by the White House in late March.)

The federal deficit is forecasted to hit 15% of GDP in 2021, the biggest deficit since World War II. That’s compared with 2.4% as recently as 2015… and 9.7% in 2009, in the depths of the global financial crisis.

Debt, like most degenerative diseases, doesn't happen quickly, although also like degenerative diseases, when the end does come, that will be quick.  All of a sudden, Bitcoin or some other digical currency is very likely to replace it. 

Most likely is that the U.S. dollar continues to be nudged out of the ring. The other reserve currency options – euro, yen, renminbi, digital renminbi – may become more palatable in relation to a debauched dollar. And in time, bitcoin – or a future cryptocurrency standard-bearer – may also be used as a reserve currency.

When that happens (and it is inevitable unless policies drastically change)  the dollar will drop in value very quickly. Something that cost $1 will cost $1.50,  $2?,  $5? ... no real way to know. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Reality Is Experience

A likely important article that I may return to and dig deeper into. Apparently the physical universe can be replaced with "a conscious entity" and at least this new model "still works".
As a conscious realist, I am postulating conscious experiences as ontological primitives, the most basic ingredients of the world. I’m claiming that experiences are the real coin of the realm. The experiences of everyday life—my real feeling of a headache, my real taste of chocolate—that really is the ultimate nature of reality.
"Ontological" -- being ... what IS.  The territory "real" as opposed to the map ... those being words like virtual, representation, metaphorical. This computer analogy gives a good idea why seeing "what is the most useful to the designer, or random chance" makes more sense than the "most realistic detail".

There’s a metaphor that’s only been available to us in the past 30 or 40 years, and that’s the desktop interface. Suppose there’s a blue rectangular icon on the lower right corner of your computer’s desktop — does that mean that the file itself is blue and rectangular and lives in the lower right corner of your computer? Of course not. But those are the only things that can be asserted about anything on the desktop — it has color, position, and shape. Those are the only categories available to you, and yet none of them are true about the file itself or anything in the computer. 
They couldn’t possibly be true. That’s an interesting thing. You could not form a true description of the innards of the computer if your entire view of reality was confined to the desktop. And yet the desktop is useful. That blue rectangular icon guides my behavior, and it hides a complex reality that I don’t need to know. That’s the key idea. 
Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. They guide adaptive behaviors. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know. And that’s pretty much all of reality, whatever reality might be. If you had to spend all that time figuring it out, the tiger would eat you.
It's always intriguing to me that a super intelligent guy, so non-traditional he is willing to question the MOST fundamental aspects of the nature of existence, still finds "evolution " as somehow a worthy explanation for how we came to be (or maybe "not **BE** as in being physical", but rather "be" experience only) in this non-physical reality. It is always possible that the computer desktop "just evolved" after all. Actually, if you are an evolutionist, the development of the computer and the desktop metaphor is simply evolution still operating in what we have no doubt mistakenly labeled "consciousness", meaning "something special", but in evolutionary "reality",  just more evolutionary adaptive algorithms.

 (column author) But if there’s a W, are you saying there is an external world?
Hoffman: Here’s the striking thing about that. I can pull the W out of the model and stick a conscious agent in its place and get a circuit of conscious agents. In fact, you can have whole networks of arbitrary complexity. And that’s the world.
So a mathematic attempt to understand consciousness replaces "the world" with "a conscious agent"  and it all works ... and it doesn't give him any inking that God would fill that "conscious agent" role quite nicely?

The discoveries of quantum mechanics, the mystery of consciousness and things like the insane small amount of information that seems to be coming in through our optic nerves for us to create what we are "seeing" all point to some fundamental misconceptions about what "reality" is -- if it "is" (ontology again) at all! 

"I think, therefore I am" was always tenuous -- perhaps, a universal consciousness is reality and "I" am an illusion. Perhaps when God speaks to Moses and says "I am that I am" he was really de-referencing the THAT!  (C++ programming, the "this pointer" is the pointer to the object itself) "I'm THAT  "I am" ... the ultimate base of existence.  You (Moses) are another "I am", created in my image.

Roger Scruton has covered this philosophically quite well

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Life Of The Party: Biography of Pamela Churchill Harriman

As her 2nd husband said of her, she was "the greatest courtesan of the 20th century ".

This forced me to look up "courtesan", which in modern terms is simply "whore to wealthy men ". The Wikipedia definition is enlightening ... for ages, when marriage was more for political than emotional purposes, a courtesan was a member of "the court" of a monarch, somewhat a trusted confidant and purveyor of inside gossip, and usually "eye candy" as well. 

As daughter in law of Winston Churchill, wife if Randolph Churchill, close friend of Lord Beaverbrook (wealthy newspaperman, head of aircraft production for England during the war), and mistress of Averell Harriman (US envoy for filling war material to England during the war), Pamela was a critical conduit of information, between key power players. 

After the war, she became the "world expert on rich mens ceilings", and at the end of that career married Averell Harriman, became a major Democrat fundraiser, and was appointed Ambassador to France by Bill Clinton ... no irony there! She died February 1998. 

The link gives more detail, and the book gives more detail on her "mother in absentia" role to her son Winston Churchill the younger. 

She trod (or "laid") a rather longer path to power than more current women who used their relationships to men of power for power ... Hillary Clinton and Kamala Harris being current examples. 

The book gives a lot of insight into how the 1% amorally  lives, and how many actual "women of power" got their power. I would not generally recommend it, however for Churchill aficionados, it does give another perspective. 

I also "enjoyed" page 6 in the introduction; "Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that gabble of out of touch men that  botched the hearings of SCOTUS nominee Clarence Thomas". 

Biden has been "out of touch" for his whole career, and now in his waning years, he is out of touch with reality itself. An amoral nation gets the "leaders" it deserves.

Monday, April 12, 2021

BLM Founder, White Neighborhood Dacha

History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes. 

The BLM co-founder has purchased a $1.4 million home in a wealthy section of LA that is 1.8% black. 

In the old USSR, the proletariat lived in ugly cinder block abodes, while the "more equal than others" party leaders lived in nice rural dachas. BLM is one of the organs of the current Wokeistan state. 

Twitter blocked the account Jason Whitlock who posted this info. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Officially Renaming "America"

The linked article opens with a nice summary of what needs to be completed to complete the transition to Wokeistan.

Twenty-First-century progressive liberalism sees the American nation as a problem. There are three core points of contention: 1) the concept of nation-state sovereignty; 2) the actual American nation itself—its culture, history, and people; and finally, 3) the prospects for constitutional republican self-government in America.

While "I told you so" can give twinge of sinful pride to humans, the profound sadness of loss of the loved is existentially painful. It is something like the loved teen you have admonished to quit their reckless driving actually being killed in a car accident. There is really no excuse for this happening, but of course but the excuses are many; loss of religion as an ultimate foundation, failure to take the time to pass the legacy of the miracle of what was America on from generation to generation, distraction by wealth, entertainment, government handouts providing false "security", loss of community, ...

The path to destruction is well paved, well travelled, and distressingly easy. 

Fifty-eight percent of “very liberal” respondents, and 44% of plain liberals, supported removing the “four white male presidents at Mount Rushmore, as they presided over the conquest of Native people and the repression of women and minorities.” Significantly, 41% of very liberals and 33% of plain liberals would “move, after an open public process, to a new name for our country that better reflects…our diversity as a people.”

"The Fascist State of Wokeistan" seems sadly appropriate for the new name. 

The linked article is a nice short summary. The list of books showing the steps we have trod to this tragedy is long. Had we maintained an educational system that schooled our young in being grateful for the miracle they had been bequeathed, we would not have reached this tragic end. 

"Why Liberalism Failed" is high on my list. "The Suicide of the West" by Jonah Goldberg is excellent, although Jonah sadly intellectually succumbed to TDR (Trump Derangement Syndrome). May he rest in obscurity. "The Stakes" is an excellent description of how we could have maintained America in a coma for at least one more election cycle, but let voter fraud pull the plug. 

Some declines to death are more painful than others. America didn't deserve to die, but the good often die young. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Hillsdale, Faith And The University

Excellent podcast from Good Friday on the proper role of the university in culture. I enjoyed the message on Catholics and Protestants getting along especially. 

Ashli Babbitt Memorial?

 It takes awhile to find the video if the moment that Ashli Babitt was murdered. Lots of the sites have removed it, some say it is "offensive" ... you see no blood, it is just "bang you are dead", and I could not make out the officer, although the persistent report is that he is black. 

We still don't know the name of the officer that killed this unarmed military veteran, and it sounds there will be no charges against him. I'm guessing we will never know his name or see his picture. His life will go on.

Here is a picture of Ashli, a person identified by the left media as deserving of death for not obeying a police officer -- a capital offence if you are an unarmed white female veteran with no criminal record, not even a crime at all if you are black. (even if you are armed and shooting)

Here is a link ABC news reporting that George Floyd died of a "cardiopulmonary arrest" - a heart attack. The widely spread media story is now that he died of asphyxiation due to the officers knee on his neck, which was "determined" by an expert who Floyds family contracted. Floyds family received a $27 million settlement from Minneapolis while the jury was being selected for the trial of the officer charged with murder for Floyds drug overdose death. So much for a fair "trial". 

Everyone naturally knows the name of Derek Chauvin

UPDATE: We now know. No charges against the officer, and it unlikely we will ever know his/her name.

In contrast to the "insurrection" at the US Capitol, the Floyd death was protested by "mostly peaceful" demonstrations. Here is a photo of the Minneapolis precinct house "peacefully" burning. 

How can you run when you know? 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Muggerich, Holocaust, Death Wish 

Muggerich is yet another author who I would like to read more of. I'm pretty sure he was on "Firing Line" with William F Buckley a number of times. I was lucky enough to see at least one of those, but have no remembrance of which one. 

The link is to a lecture at Hillsdale College, yet another institution which I follow a bit as much as I can manage to find the time. It focuses on "why liberals seem to want to destroy lives"? Through time Communist and Fascist holocausts, through abortion/euthanasia, as well as the somewhat more subtle methods of consumerism, homosexuality, transgender, etc 

Let’s look again at the humane holocaust. What happened in Germany was that long before the Nazis got into power, a great propaganda was undertaken to sterilize people who were considered to be useless or a liability to society, and after that to introduce what they called “mercy killing.” This happened long before the Nazis set up their extermination camps at Auschwitz and elsewhere, and was based upon the highest humanitarian considerations. You see what I’m getting at? On a basis of liberal-humanism, there is no creature in the universe greater than man, and the future of the human race rests only with human beings themselves, which leads infallibly to some sort of suicidal situation. It’s to me quite clear that that is so, the evidence is on every hand. The efforts that men make to bring about their own happiness, their own ease of life, their own self-indulgence, will in due course produce the opposite, leading me to the absolutely inescapable conclusion that human beings cannot live and operate in this world without some concept of a being greater than themselves, and of a purpose which transcends their own egotistic or greedy desires. Once you eliminate the notion of a God, a creator, once you eliminate the notion that the creator has a purpose for us, and that life consists essentially in fulfilling that purpose, then you are bound, as Pascal points out, to induce the megalomania of which we’ve seen so many manifestations in our time—in the crazy dictators, as in the lunacies of people who are rich, or who consider themselves to be important or celebrated in the western world. Alternatively, human beings relapse into mere carnality, into being animals. I see this process going on irresistibly, of which the holocaust is only just one example. If you envisage men as being only men, you are bound to see human society, not in Christian terms as a family, but as a factory-farm in which the only consideration that matters is the well-being of the livestock and the prosperity or productivity of the enterprise. That’s where you land yourself. And it is in that situation that western man is increasingly finding himself.

Muggerich considers this obvious truth of life being devalued through abortion, euthanasia, etc  as a way to see in our time the truth of what Christ told us so clearly. 

... when it’s a question of choosing whether to save your soul or your body, the man who chooses to save his soul gathers strength thereby to go on living, whereas the man who chooses to save his body at the expense of his soul loses both body and soul. In other words, fulfilling exactly what our Lord said, that he who hates his life in this world shall keep his life for all eternity, as those who love their lives in this world will assuredly lose them.

As a Lutheran, we believe that it is not human choice that leads to faith, however those of us not baptized as infants do have the strong illusion of choice -- verses like Joshua  24:15 "But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

It is very worthwhile to read the whole piece -- and to look up Muggerich if you are not familiar with him. 

The essential feature, and necessity of life is to know reality, which means knowing God. Otherwise our mortal existence is, as Saint Teresa of Avila said, no more than a night in a second-class hotel.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

WTF Happened In 1971?

That site will show a bunch of charts that seem to indicate that going off the gold standard was a bad idea. It should be pointed out that 9 out of 10 economists disagree with that assessment.  

OTOH, a visit to "Worst Economic Predictions" will show they are far from always right. My favorite of is this quote from Keynes, the godfather of economists in 1927, who claimed to solved the problem of recessions: “We will not have any more crashes in our time.” Perhaps he meant we will just call them depressions now?
I think all economists would agree with Galbraith, who said "Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists." 

We ought not be too hard on them. As the baseball philosopher Yogi Berra informed us; "Predictions are hard to make, especially about the future". 

A look at this site will give you some background on the charts. 

I continue to believe that having "5%" or maybe a bit more of your wealth in metals. I prefer gold and silver coins in a safety deposit box.