Wednesday, June 7, 2023

The Age Of Reagan: The fall of the old liberal order, Steven Hayward

 https://www.amazon.com/Age-Reagan-Liberal-Order-1964-1980/dp/0307453693

I'm an unabashed Power Line blog, and especially Steven Hayward fan. Steve has written a number of books, this one, "The Age Of Reagan" covers the period from 1964 to 1980. 

Being born in '56, this covers my childhood since I entered Kindergarten in the fall of 1960 at the age of 4 (turning 5 in October). I've been behind my age cohort ever since. 

The book is 717 pages long, but Hayward is an interesting writer. While Reagan is often the focus, the book is really the tale of how LBJ and Jimmy Carter crippled both the country and the Democrat "liberal" order, thus creating the Reagan presidency and significant change in US foreign and domestic policy that consigned the USSR to "the ash heap of history", and ignited a US and world economic boom that lasted until Obama in 2008. Trump was able to create a bit of a "boomlet" from 2017-Covid, and then Biden in a "It's deja vu all over again" trip back to '70s stagflation, sinking stocks, global military peril, and "leadership" you can cry over. 

On page 52, there is discussion about how Johnson used the CIA, FBI, etc to spy on the Goldwater campaign. E Howard Hunt of the CIA would reprise the role in the '72 Nixon campaign. Then, as we see now with the Russia Hoax, Hunder Laptop, etc the use of the "justice" department for political purposes is a very old strategy for the Democrat party. As in Watergate, Republicans have attempted to engage in it as well, but the Deep State is an enemy of Republicans, because no matter how ineffective they are at reigning in the Administrative State, they have tried, which makes them "dangerous to democracy",  which from the POV of Democrats and their allies in the Administrative State, is "dangerous to single party rule". 

Nixon's 2nd term, and the election of Trump to a 2nd term were "existential threats" to the Deep/Administrative State, so all means were of attack were justified. If the ironclad hold of the Deep/Administrative State was loosened a bit, their powers might not be total anymore, and Americans might see some actual truth about what has been happening for a long time. That MUST be prevented!

on page 123, there is a great "adventures in irony" tale. Ernesto Miranda, the defendant in the famous case was stabbed to death in an Arizona bar. The police detained a solid suspect, who stating his "Miranda Rights" refused questioning and was released. The case was never solved. 

Johnson never really cared about Vietnam, and he assiduously avoided calling it a "war", to not offend China or the USSR. You can LOSE a war, but "Peacekeeping" and  Nation Building" are just nice moral actions which may kill 10's of thousands of American troops, and many times that number of "allies" and "enemies", but at least you didn't start a "war" or "lose". Afghanistan is another great example, and our panicked exit was a duplicate of our embarrassment in Vietnam. 

What he cared about was his massive spending to "finish FDR's work"  by a massive Administrative State welfare program called "The Great Society". The government engaged in "The War On Poverty". As with many leftist ideas, it's promises were grand, it's results were disaster. Both the poor and the American taxpayer lost, and continue to lose that war as well. 

On page 293,  a statistic that explains a lot of things is revealed. The total cost of the decade long moon landing project was less than three months of federal social program spending in 1969! Mondale especially hated the "waste" of money in the Apollo program, but loved the "Great Society". 

The combination of the "War on Poverty" and "The War In Vietnam", was essentially a "War on the United States" which many of the left then, and still today thought to be very good idea. On page 193, 

"...what happens when the financial system is backed by a central bank promising redeem deposits in gold? If a crisis of confidence occurs, then you have run on the banks, but a run on the whole countries currency and gold reserves. This is what happened in 1968. The episode brought to an abrupt halt to the lofty promise of "growth liberalism" or "the new economics", and set the stage for rising inflation and economic instability that took 20 years to remedy." 

Carter, Obama and Biden prove that ideologues never learn. When you believe that more government and more spending are the answer to whatever seems to be the problem, that is what you do. 

I loved both books because they brought back a lot of memories of my life from kindergarten to kids. If you have either and open or moderately conservative mind (or both) and are not afraid of thick books, highly recommended. 

 

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

University Of Chicago Freedom Of Speech

University of Chicago Statement on freedom of speech at the university

In these days of "cancel culture", censorship of "disinformation", and "safe spaces", the University of Chicago has stood up to defend freedom of speech on their campus. 

35 universities have signed up in support of this statement. As the linked article says, "1,606 to go". One might add the majority of the media social, printed, and otherwise, to follow suit. Is it possible that if enough people read this and thought about it, the accusation of "hate speech" would become a signal that the person or institution making the charge is outside the community of free speech, and needs to be counselled  as to what free speech means in a civil society. 

The statement is short and well worth the read. A few excerpts stating what was once obvious to all Americans, especially those with some level of university education (when a university education was in fact education as opposed to today's indoctrination).

In a word, the University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed. It is for the individual members of the University community, not for the University as an institution, to make those judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose. Indeed, fostering the ability of members of the University community to engage in such debate and deliberation in an effective and responsible manner is an essential part of the University’s educational mission.

.. President Hanna Holborn Gray observed that “education should not be intended to make people comfortable, it is meant to make them think. Universities should be expected to provide the conditions within which hard thought, and therefore strong disagreement, independent judgment, and the questioning of stubborn assumptions, can flourish in an environment of the greatest freedom.

Much of our social interaction today is all about comfort, and if anyone, any institution, any group, or anything at all gives you a pang of discomfort, that person, institution, media outlet, business, etc needs to be "cancelled", either publicly, or just by you as you shun the person, business, or institution that has "offended" you. 

For Christians, this is especially problematic, since if the message of Christ does NOT offend you regularly as you fail to follow his teachings presented by a pastor with the authority given to a pastor, it is not clear you are an actual practicing Christian. 

Certainly you will be able to find a church with female, gay, trans, etc members and clergy, that believes that "love for all" rather than following Christ in a body of believers and regularly taking part in the sacrament of Holy Communion. In the age of "it's all about me", the concept of "love the sinner, hate the sin" is impossible for many in today's culture to understand. 

"The Rise And Triumph of the Modern Self" does an excellent job of explaining why we got to this point. 


  

Two Cents To Save America, Perry Johnson

 Perry Johnson (politician) - Wikipedia

"Quixotic", as in "exceedingly idealistic, unrealistic, and impractical" are the thoughts that I had as I looked at Mr Johnson's presidential aspirations. 

My not politically involved brother in law, and my equally not politically involved son both a got free hardcover copies of the book. Strange. My wife is co-chair of our county Republican party, and Johnson is running as a Republican

As I looked around a bit to see who this guy is/was, I came across his involvement with ISO 9000 as well as his failed attempt to get the Republican nomination to run against Gretchen Whitmer for governor of Michigan in 2022 because he failed to get the required number of signatures to be on the ballot. 

Failing to get on the ballot is not that impressive. 

As to ISO 9000, my wife and I have had some experience with this in our IBM careers. Basically, ISO requires that you have a documented process for software development, and that you follow it. You pay fairly significant amount of money to have an ISO auditor come into your company and verify that you are doing what you say you are doing. There is no evaluation of your process as to if it makes any sort of rational sense, or actually improves quality, only that you are doing what you say you do. 

"Standards" are an issue that can have a long discussion. "UL" or "Underwriters Laboratories" is one of the best known and widely used. It MAY mean that the product you are buying is "independently tested", however, like ISO, the specifics of that testing vary widely, and there is always the distinct possibility of some form or corruption ... kickbacks, bribes, etc. 

Essentially we are talking about "Non Government Organization" (NGO)  certification, or to put it in my words "NGO equivalent of a countries Administrative State". Are such things needed? Certainly .. the FAA, and the international equivalents certainly help insure aircraft, pilot, navigation and airport safety and ability to interact effectively. (like all international air communication being in English). However, as in the Boeing 737 Max crashes of an internationally certified aircraft, there will be failures. 

We live in a world of trade-offs. How much testing?, how much regulation?, who does the testing?, who "regulates the regulators" to prevent them from creating massive ineffective bureaucracies that end up doing little but lining the pockets of various bureaucratic organizations. It is necessary, but when does it become a necessary evil, and how much "evil" (increased costs, corruption, ineffectiveness, etc) are acceptable? 

Such things are not to be answered in a blog post. 

A lot of the things Johnson's "Two Cents" book suggests ... reducing size of government in general and especially the Administrative State. energy independence, reduced taxes, reduced regulation, secure borders, free trade, "reigniting the American Spirit", incentivizing work and innovation, etc are obvious to all but hardcore Democrats of the Carter, Obama, Biden ilk. 

Reagan tried and was significantly successful and changed the game enough so that the economy, markets, and real income growth, and with the election of a Republican congress for the first time in 50 years combined with a compliant president (Clinton), and the Internet Bubble, even balanced the budget for a couple years! 

The Reagan Recovery, (although far from perfect) lasted until Obama ... a lot of the principles Johnson espouses are essentially Reagan all over again. Trump largely revived a number of those principles with positive results until Covid. Biden has taken us back to at least Jimmy Carter, and I believe has established a new benchmark in dangerous government overreach, unfortunately including further reducing the integrity of elections, weaponizing the government against any opposition, and of course tanking the economy, returning us to "Stagflation", pulling us ever closer to a shooting war with nuclear weapons, and much else. The hope of "Peace Through Wokeness" is believable as "no environment impact energy", or "Military Intelligence". 

In short, Johnson is tilting at the right windmills, so if you need a short refresher on reality relative to government means, it is useful. However like Don Quixote, the effectiveness of someone with a background in international bureaucracy actually practicing what he now preaches is vanishingly small.  

If long shots appeal to you, I would recommend Vivek Ramaswamy

DeSantis is my current pick. 

It is a long way to go, but I'll be voting for whoever is the most likely to beat Biden, even if that is a third party candidate with conservative leanings. My guess is that would be Trump, and if he looks to have the best chance of beating Biden because DeSantis is the nominee, but looks to lose in a three party race, I won't have to hold my nose at all for Trump. I believe that 2020 was clearly stolen by a LOT of measures (see "Rigged"), but Trump ought to have let it go after Pence caved. 

The 2016 election and the Trump administration were "rigged" by Hillary, the FBI, and the compliant media, as the Durham Report exposes (way too late). Having a Constitutional/National crisis on how horrible our election system is might of been the best alternative available, but that water is well past the dam.

After 2020 and 2022,  I suspect that it will take bloodshed to prevent us from either "electing", to be run by or like the PRC,  or forced to do so. 

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Election Interference Is Not Bipartisan

 https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2023/05/russian-disinformation-memo-was-a-biden-campaign-op.php

We have known for a long time that the Steele “dossier” was created by and for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. It was the most successful bit of disinformation of modern times. The second most successful, perhaps, was the absurd claim that the obviously-authentic Hunter Biden laptop somehow constituted “Russian disinformation.” How and why that could be true, no one ever explained. The provenance of the laptop has never been disputed, even by Hunter: he left it at a repair shop and didn’t pick it up.

As Biden has declared many times, Trump, Republicans, Deplorables (but I repeat myself) are "threats to our Democracy". What he means by that is that they are a threat to the Democrat/Deep State/Big Corporate/Big Media Oligarchy, and more important to him. The Biden Crime Family.   

We now know that the dismissal of the authenticity of the documents contained on Hunter’s computer was organized on behalf of, and likely at the instigation of, the Joe Biden presidential campaign. Emails have now come to light that show the organizers of the “Dirty 51” were, by their own description, creating “talking points” for Joe Biden to use in the upcoming presidential debate.

To the extent that a significant number of Americans ever find out about all of this, it will be stated as "without evidence" ... the fact that we are looking at evidence right here is immaterial to the Narrative. 

Is It Time For Manly Christianity to be Unleashed?

 https://www.nationalreview.com/2023/05/against-the-new-paganism/

A little long, but an article that needs to read in its entirety in order to understand where Western culture are today, and may need to be in the future.

The most prominent exponent of vitalism today is Costin Alamariu, a Romanian political-science Ph.D. (Yale), who goes by the moniker “Bronze Age Pervert” (BAP). As BAP, he is the author of Bronze Age Mindset, an intentionally provocative, discursive, and ungrammatical “exhortation” outlining his thought. In two previous essays, one in the Daily Beast and one in National Review, I described the work, attempted to explain the origin and nature of its popularity, and assessed it critically

So what is vitalism? 

a call for the deepest possible return of all: a breaking of the fetters of secular liberalism and Judaism and Christianity alike, a recovery of a more elemental way of being-in-the-world. The nostalgia of neo-vitalism is for humanity’s most ancient days: for blood and war and shamans and the fierce exaltation of the kill.
The post makes a number of references to "Bronze Age Pervert" which I covered here.

We are all familiar with the current state of affairs in Christianity, 
Over the past few decades, Christianity has both retreated from the public square and from mass culture and been pushed from them. Its once-venerable pillars in this country have atrophied. Catholics continue to disaffiliate, and many Protestant denominations can barely be distinguished from unbelief. “The crisis of the Western world exists to the degree in which it is indifferent to God,”

One of my many weird and possibly heretical paths of thinking is correlating the OT with the NT, and Yahweh with Christ.  On one level God is presented as "unchanging",  and Christ as "fully God and fully man". The OT God seems very different from Christ ... 

Deuteronomy 20:16-18 New International Version (NIV)
"However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the LORD your God has commanded you."

Certainly in the Judgement, God will kill all the wicked ... eternally. He is a God who desires to show his mercy, but if it is refused, Judgment is his. .  

A book that helped me at least understand the problem a bit was "Jesus and Yahweh, The Names Divine".
The following quote is from the post linked at the top, not the previous line. 
Easter reminds us that the Resurrection remains true — even if the work of revitalizing Christianity today might require an approach different from the one Paul took in the Areopagus, with an emphasis not only on the truth of the Christian faith but also on its muscular application.
During the Reformation, Christians certainly fought valiantly. It was basically the equivalent of the American Civil War. Can/must Christians today be more like the Christians of the the Crusades, who "turned the other cheek" until the battle of Covadonga?

Today we are often given the message to "stand down", and "obey the authorities" because "God is in control". I agree with God being in control, but his often explicit battle plans in the OT. 
Malachi 3:6
“For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed."

God "allows" a lot of things, and "directs" a lot of other things. Which is which is "seen darkly" at best by even the most devout Christian.

Is it time for a new Reformation or Crusade? God will decide. 




Understanding "Disinformation"

 https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/guide-understanding-hoax-century-thirteen-ways-looking-disinformation

In his last days in office, President Barack Obama made the decision to set the country on a new course. On Dec. 23, 2016, he signed into law the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act, which used the language of defending the homeland to launch an open-ended, offensive information war.

We live in the "disinformation age". Pilate asked Christ; "What is truth"? The correct eternal answer being a "who" rather than a "what" ... Christ.  Even scientists and philosophers are starting to understand this. "The Matter With Things" would be a good place to start your road to that understanding as well.

Since 2016, the federal government has spent billions of dollars on turning the counter-disinformation complex into one of the most powerful forces in the modern world: a sprawling leviathan with tentacles reaching into both the public and private sector, which the government uses to direct a “whole of society” effort that aims to seize total control over the internet and achieve nothing less than the eradication of human error.

The set of things "known for sure" is exceedingly small since our only method of determining such is using our brains, something we believe to be a "thing", however Quantum Field Theory (the current "standard model") says there are no "things", only fields. One thing we do know for certain that is a constant is human error.

Ah yes, an agency/process/bureaucracy to "eradicate human error". Fascinating. 

In the fall of 2020. the New York Post began publishing incriminating information from Hunter Biden's laptop that he had forgotten at a computer repair shop. The disinformation police detected "human error", so they rounded up 68 "security experts" to correct (and suppress) this error. 

Hamilton 68 simply collected a handful of mostly real, mostly American accounts and described their organic conversations as Russian scheming.” The discovery prompted Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth, to suggest in an October 2017 email that the company take action to expose the hoax and “call this out on the bullshit it is.”

Irony would suggest that there were really 69, with the two participants being big tech and the Deep State. But I digress. So once it was clear that the Hamilton 68 were the ones peddling "disinformation" (in simpler terms, "bullshit") the hoax was globally exposed, right? Well, in a sane world, that might be expected, but that is not the world in which we live. 

The American press, once the guardian of democracy, was hollowed out to the point that it could be worn like a hand puppet by the U.S. security agencies and party operatives.

 To those that have never wavered from reality, this is as newsworthy as the sun rising in the east. To readers of my blogs, the following quote will be just as "shocking". 

What we are seeing now, in the revelations exposing the inner workings of the state-corporate censorship regime, is only the end of the beginning. The United States is still in the earliest stages of a mass mobilization that aims to harness every sector of society under a singular technocratic rule.
Another; "Duh" quote for frequent readers ...
Disinformation, now and for all time, is whatever they say it is. That is not a sign that the concept is being misused or corrupted; it is the precise functioning of a totalitarian system.

Much like Dr Strangelove, the government created a "truth doomsday machine" out of social media parts. 

Weapons created to fight ISIS and al-Qaeda were turned against Americans who entertained incorrect thoughts about the president or vaccine boosters or gender pronouns or the war in Ukraine.

If you actually listen to Biden and the media, the greatest threat to our "our democracy" is the "MAGA Republicans" ... or to be more accurate, anyone that questions the narrative. Look closely at "our democracy",  "their oligarchy" is the message we need to get. "Our Democracy" is just propaganda. 

In the days of the internet “freedom agenda,” the popular mythology of Silicon Valley depicted it as a laboratory of freaks, self-starters, free thinkers, and libertarian tinkerers who just wanted to make cool things without the government slowing them down. The alternative history, outlined in Levine’s book, highlights that the internet “always had a dual-use nature rooted in intelligence gathering and war.” There is truth in both versions, but after 2001 the distinction disappeared.

While the Internet was originally built by the military working with universities to be a distributed robust network that would allow communications to be maintained during a nuclear attack, it quickly became the information equivalent of the Interstate Highway system ... a low cost means of mass two way communication that quickly subsumed TV and phones. and allowed everyone to have a voice, and the distinct possibility that some of them would become more followed than the Democrat lapdog media. 

Certainly, that was not allowed, so the voices that persisted in not getting their minds right needed to be silenced. 



  

 

Monday, May 1, 2023

The Road To Celebrating Pedophillia

https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2023/04/democrats-for-pedophilia.php

I dropped my subscription to Time Magazine in the early '90s as they had and editorial defending a teacher that had been fired because they were a member of NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association). 

Now we have "Downstate" a play about a set of pederasts living in a shelter because they can't live anywhere else. The Washington Post and the NY Times have reviewed the play mostly sympathetically 

The NY Times review closes with: 

That, more than the menace of the housemates, is the reason the tension of “Downstate” trails us so tenaciously out of the theater. The thought of all the damage these men have wrought, and the severity of their exile, gets knotted up with questions of mercy.

How much retribution is enough? And what quantity of compassion — bestowed on whom — is too much? Let the wrestling with your conscience begin.

I've been wrong about the "progress" of "progressivism".  After the Stonewall Riots and Roe, it was pretty clear that the SCOTUS could and would legislate any "morality" it imagined. The acceptance of gays into general society was hastened by AIDs. as the terrible deaths that many gays suffered caused natural sympathy for it's victims. Magic Johnson's announcement that he had AIDs in 1991 blurred and destigmatized AIDs and with it gays as immoral, and the gut felt (but rarely admitted) sense that AIDs was a punishment from God for the sin of Sodomy, as in Sodom and Gomorrah was suppressed.

Gays, and "GLBT" was increasingly celebrated with obscene marches, rainbow flags, etc. It was clear that "progress" would demand that same-sex activity would be "protected by the Constitution", as it was in "Lawrence vs Texas" in 2003. 

"Progressivism" (regressivism to a Hobbesian existence) demanded that a direct attack on a critical foundation of civilization, marriage between a man and a woman, be attacked. 

As late as 2008, the idea that marriage was a sacred institution held sway, with all presidential hopefuls in either party making clear statements in opposition to gay "marriage". 

By 2012, the Democrats had changed their minds ( they often equate "morality" with "survey says"). In 2015, the SCOTUS conjured another "right" out of the penumbra of the Constitution in "Obergefell vs Hodges", and gay "marriage" was a reality.

My belief was that sex with children would proceed genital mutilation of prepubescent children. At this point it appears I had the ordering wrong ... but perhaps it will be a tie. 

As is well covered in "The Rise And Triumph of the Modern Self", "progressivism" is not a "live and let live" ideology. While it may lie to you saying it is all about "diversity", that claim is strictly ordered by the  specific, rigid hierarchy of "identities".  What trumps what? While it is clear that heterosextual white males are the bottom, is the next rung hetero white females? Certainly political and religious affiliations affect the discrimination hierarchy. What is the top? Possibly a black, trans woman who is non-binary and has a criminal record? My imagination fails me, but I'm confident that "progressives" will work it out. 

As we see with gay and trans, it is not enough to "accept", you must openly CELEBRATE whatever identity is manufactured. As is now also clear, if you "love" children they must be "groomed" (indoctrinated) to fit into some acceptable category, and stigmatized if they are unfortunate enough to come from a white, two parent, Christian family! Thus we must have "Sanctuary Cities" where genital mutilation is protected without the consent of parents. After all, if some poor child is trapped in a white two parent Christian family, isn't it society's duty to free them from that oppression, which will disadvantage them for life? 

Without appropriate grooming in the public schools through pornographic books, classes, Drag Queen Story Hours, etc, how are these vulnerable children even to be aware of the horror of their situation? Indeed, these vulnerable children are being indoctrinated to think that a two parent Christian home with restrictions on access to social media, internet, etc and possibly even chores and respect for elders being foisted on them! 

Since men having sex with boys was a staple of Greek and Roman civilization, and men having sex with MUCH younger women. (Muhammad's favorite wife Aisha was married to him at 6 or seven, and the marriage was consummated sometime between then and when she reached age 10), it is surprising to me that a Constitutional right to sex with children has yet to be discovered in the Constitution. It certainly seems to be clear evidence of Islamophobia that this right has been overlooked to date. 

The "progressive" road is plain. First you "understand", then you "empathize", then you accept, then you celebrate, then you force all others to celebrate or be discriminated against, up to and including taking their children away if they fail to comply. 

 How can you stand in the way of"progress"??

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Walking Through the Fire, Steve King

 Having only heard the mainstream, swamp, and RINO side of the Steve King story, all I was concerned about was what candidate was most likely to win the 4th district of Iowa for Republicans. Given that the powers that be, media, Democrat, and RINO had successfully slimed him, I voted for Feenstra. Having become fairly active in Republican politics in NW Iowa, I've met and listened to Feenstra on a number of occasions. He seems like a decent guy, more a follower than a leader, but a reliable Republican vote. In today's hyper partisan politics, that is all  that matters, certainly at the federal level. "Bipartisanship" in a war is a fantasy. 

King's book is a surprisingly interesting read. The story of the "Miracle Children" from Tanzania would convince most people that King is anything but a "racist". 

All that was needed was securing of passports, visas, and some way to get the critically injured children from Tanzania all the way to Sioux City, Iowa. That inspired a 60-hour ordeal of phone calls, prayerful pleading, governmental lobbying and faith beyond reason. Dr. Meyer’s first call to trusted friend, Congressman Steve King ultimately proved to be the difference-maker.

Despite being on a tour of the Balkan countries, Steve King pledged his complete support. Impassioned phone calls were made to Senators, Congressmen, friends of legislators, State and Defense departments, the embassy and anyone who had any potential connection. By Tuesday night Dr. Meyer was told to expect a phone call from Steve Bannon who was to bring the case to Vice President Pence, but that call never came.

King's biography is the classic "Horatio Alger" rise from humble beginnings to the halls of power. 

It is also a classic roadmap of how today's Washington Swamp, in concert with media and operatives from both parties decide who can have power. A few misquotes hammered home from NY Times, WaPo and their surrogates in your own district, plus the decisions from your supposed allies in your party ... Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, Liz Cheney, Kim Reynolds, etc, and you are dead. Kevin McCarthy and the Iowa Republicans arranged to have King primaried in 2020. The bullet to the brain was McCarthy removing King from all his committee assignments, thus making him a walking deadman. 

King was actually not a Trump guy at the start, he was the regional co-chair for Ted Cruz in 2016, and aided in the Cruz victory in the Iowa Caucuses. I was also a Cruz guy, but when it came down to a vote between Trump and the Clinton Crime family, I happily voted for Trump. I was worried that he would not be effective, but I found my worries were totally unfounded. Even with being attacked at every turn, including having the entire "justice" department weaponized against him, he was remarkable. He received 10.1 million more votes in 2020 than he did in 2016. It is highly unusual for a candidate for president to receive more votes for his second term.

In 2008, Obama got 70 million votes, in 2012 he got 66 million (what typically happens to an incumbent president) Trump received 74 million votes in 2020, exceeding Obama's previous record. Of course, Sleepy Joe, campaigning from his basement,  drawing "crowds" of 100's when he rarely poked his head out of his basement received 81 million "votes".   46% of "voters" either voted absentee or mail in. 

If I'm ever going to believe in election results again, all voting will be in person on election day, or absentee filled out at a county/precinct office. ALL voting needs to be monitored by representatives of the top two parties. including absentee. 

What happened to King, what happened (and is happening) to Trump, what happened to Kavanaugh. what happened (and continues to happen to Thomas) ... I could go on forever. We live in an Administrative State, Democrat, Big Media, Big Business Oligarchy. We were a Democratic Republic, we are now an Oligarchy with a small elite ruling over our largely indoctrinated and distracted populace. 

It is a surprisingly good book. If you are interested in some "inside the Swamp" reporting, this is a good pick. 

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Welcome To The Revolutioin

 https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2023/04/victor-davis-hanson-were-in-a-revolution.php

What is America? Once it was a Constitutional Republic founded preserve a set of rights that were declared to self evident, endowed by our creator. Natural Law rights, the ones that God gave us, 

Now? Nothing is sacred, nothing is agreed. 

As Victor Davis Hanson says of the Trump "prosecution":

It’s the worst example of third-world election tampering. They don’t have a message, so whether it’s symbolically tearing up the State of the Union or denying the Speaker or the Minority Leader in the House appointments or trying to threaten the filibuster to be ended or the electoral college or pack the court, it’s all processed because they don’t have a message and they’re desperate. They’re revolutionaries.

Actually, I think they do have a message ... destroy the family, destroy Christianity, destroy Western Civilization, ...  It's a woke revolution, and the asylum is more sane than society. 

The politicization that began in the DOJ in 2009 has now spread its venomous tentacles into all aspects of our government. Even the military, perhaps the most highly revered U.S. institution of all, has been infiltrated by leftists.

The result is that we are living in a country we barely recognize. In addition to the persecution of Trump, mainstream institutions, from media outlets to hospitals, want the public to believe that men can get pregnant and that children should be allowed to make life-altering decisions about their gender. These same institutions tell us that climate change and white supremacy are the deadliest threats we face. Our southern border sits wide open and our military struggles to meet basic recruitment quotas. Equity has replaced meritocracy. In everything from sports to children’s entertainment, wokeism has taken over.

The linked is a good little short depressing read. In case you find yourself short on depression.  

For Whom The Charge Is Directed

 https://www.theepochtimes.com/appeals-court-upholds-dojs-novel-use-of-obstruction-law-against-jan-6-defendants_5179650.html

The statute that Jan 6 protestors are charged with was intended to be for tampering with evidence. 

Brushing aside the statute’s history stemming from evidence tampering in the Enron scandal, Pan’s opinion said the law applies to any effort to obstruct an “official proceeding,” including the ceremonial tallying of Electoral College votes by the U.S. Congress.
Normally, "mostly peaceful", or even mostly NOT peaceful protests (see BLM and many such) are NOT prosecuted, since protest is covered as speech under the first amendment. 

"Section 1512(c)(2) has been on the books for two decades and charged in thousands of cases—yet until the prosecutions arising from the January 6 riot, it was uniformly treated as an evidence-impairment crime,” Katsas wrote. “This settled understanding is a ‘powerful indication’ against the government’s novel position.”

"Equal protection under the law" was once a foundation of the Democratic Republic of the United States. 

Now, to any sense there is any statute at all needed, any obscure statute can be used to prosecute you if you challenge the Narrative. 

On the other hand, when the Tennessee Capitol was stormed by a mob that included a trio of "lawmakers" (law breakers?), there were no arrests and no charges. 

If it wasn't for double standards, The Totalitarian Banana Republic of Wokeristan would have no standards at all. 


Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Gender Dysphoria, Riley Gains

https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2023/04/more-trans-violence.php

The video in the post is something that needs to be seen by all. A male coming into a woman's locker room, unannounced needs to be removed and criminally prosecuted. In a decent society he would be beaten to at least near death by boyfriends, brothers, fathers, etc in protection of the women dishonored. 

There is no "Trans",  there is only a serious mental health issue of Gender Dysphoria, that needs to treated as such, and gender impersonation, which is simple perversion. There is nothing new in reality under the sun, only "new" in the sense of the fantasies of people following the leadership of Satan. 

There is no "issue" here, there are male and female, XY and XX chromosomes in every cell of all our bodies. For anyone that believes "the science", or the plain order of God's creation, this is as real as death. While many go to great length to deny death, at least we all will get the chance to understand that truth eventually, with eternal jpy as believers, and with eternal horror for the unbelieving. 

Now we have mentally ill gender dysphoric 'beings" shooting up a Christian School, and the problem is stated by our Democrat/Administrative State/Media "rulers" to be guns. 

People living in an imaginary world are more prone than the rest of us to do terrible things. Mental illness is not a reasonable basis for society, yet the psychiatric pathology of Gender Dysphoria  is justified and celebrated by our media, treated as a positive thing by some in our medical community (affirming a psychological disorder is akin to providing more drugs to a drug addict). 

We have an insane situation where an obvious illness is celebrated as a another new "basic human right" on the same level as "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". 

"Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" are special because they are Natural Law rights ... "endowed by our Creator (God) and unalienable. 

There was a lot of discussion of having a bill of rights at all because it gives the impression that the ONLY rights "given" to the people are enumerated there.  In fact all the rights come from God, through the people. As the tenth amendment makes clear. 

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The creation of "rights" out of thin air is dangerous in a number of ways but to name just two:

  1. A human created "right" comes with responsibility, it is not given, from the creator like Grace and Salvation. Up to Roe, the right to life was correctly understood to be a natural right, requiring no enumeration. The people of some states restricted that right, but in the correctly understood framework of our Constitutional Republic, they had that right to be wrong. Roe manufactured a "right" to kill the unborn out of thin air, and prohibited the states from protecting life. Dobbs returned that right to the states and the people. 

  2. The right to self defence is a natural right. A moment of reflection makes us all aware that when our lives, or those of our children and loved ones are in peril, our natural creaturely nature will cause us to use any means at hand to protect ourselves and loved ones. A strongly held religious belief MAY cause us to "turn the other cheek", but none of us really knows how we will react unless faced with that peril. Since this right, (like religious freedom) was so dear to the newly independent colonists who had freed themselves from religious and economic tyranny by bearing arms, they were very aware that the federal power may be used against them, thus, they (incorrectly I believe) thought it needed to be enumerated. 
Satan is the father of lies. There are a number of turning points on our way to being somewhat worse than Sodom and Gomorrah, a key one is Engel vs Vitale in 1962, prohibiting prayer in schools., since children are the foundation of our nation, and we were once a nation under God, our schools changed to indoctrination children with the religion of Secular Humanism, and God gave America over to Satan. 

Friday, April 14, 2023

Eliott's Still Point, The Crucifixion and Resurrection

 https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2023/04/sir-roger-on-easter.php

When something comes in threes, I take note. (see Holy Trinity)

I was reading The New Criterion on the evening of Good Friday, That talked of Elliott's "Still Point"  

Digging into that article I found some quality quotes: 

Was there any condition, any reality, that stood apart from the violence of history? A place where force was not simply met by competing force, but where stillness, silence, and peace might reign?
Being Good Friday, my mind quickly went to the Crucifixion and Resurrection as being "outside of time"  ... always present. 
In Eliot’s day, the reduction of human life and the world to what Nietzsche called “the will to power” was a dominant idea that drove the ideologies of communism and fascism and haunted the life of the liberal West. In our day we see that, for the mainstream of our intellectuals and the broader population as well, the possibility that life could consist of anything other than power and its abuse seems nearly unimaginable. The story of Eliot’s life and work, in this regard, seems a salutary reminder that genuine peace is possible, even if it is a peace “not as the world gives.”

I have often lamented the modern situation of "living" in a materialist machine, with more and more realizing that they are not living at all.  

Either life is a natural tragic cycle of violence and revenge, which we may enact but never escape, or we must surrender “self-possession” and allow ourselves by supernatural grace to be possessed. Only complete abstention from action can allow divine grace to lead us beyond history and its busy motions to the “Peace which passeth understanding” (to use the words of St. Paul quoted in the notes to The Waste Land).
We cannot hope to remake ourselves by force of will but must surrender to being transformed by a will superior to our own. In the second, Eliot states directly that all that lies within history, including moral values, is mere flux. The principles of truth and goodness exist beyond time, and only in surrendering to them and judging in terms of them can we live in contact with that which is permanent. God’s eternity is the reality by which the unreality of time must be understood.
Most religions and mystics talk of this "point of possession by the eternal". As for all eternally important matters, we need to be aware that Satan is real, and is extremely willing to possess you. Baptism into Christ and a life lived in the power of the Holy Spirit, maintained by accepting Grace through daily Bible reading and prayer, regular reception of Holy Preaching, and regular Holy Communion is the only way I know to stay connected to that  "still point". Perhaps there are other ways, but Christ states that he is the way, the truth, and the life. And so I believe. 

Much to my surprise, as the sermon on Easter Vigil began, here is the opening:

To borrow a phrase from T. S. Eliot’s epic poem about time, tonight is a “still point in the turning world.” The Creation of the world, from darkness to light, and chaos to order; the Exodus out of Egypt, in which the angel of death passed over the faithful and the Israelites passed over the Red Sea on dry ground; the Passion of our Lord, instituting His Supper, His betrayal in the garden, the unjust trial and His bloody crucifixion; the Resurrection from the tomb; your Resurrection on the final day. All this, the past and the future of redemption is right now. This, your redemption, is not merely celebrated like a birthday or an anniversary, but it is re-lived in us by faith this very night.

  I do believe that the Trinity is present with us in the form of the Holy Spirit at all times. Was this a coincidence, or concilliance? As I read the linked post at the top, "coincidence" fell from my radar. 


As covered in the link at the top of the post, here is Sir Roger Scruton  (a man I struggle to not idolize) on the topic:

Leaving aside all learned theology, but taking inspiration from the poets, painters and composers who have treated this subject, I would say that Christ’s resurrection, like his death, is an event in eternity. It occurs in me and in you, just so long as we put our trust in the possibility of renewal. It is a re-affirmation of the creative principle, and of the love that brought about Christ’s death. The darkness that came over the world on that first Easter Saturday could be dispelled only by a renewal of this love, and this renewal comes through us. The Cross is a display of supreme forgiveness, which invites us to forgive in our turn.

Seeing the Christian mystery in that way we open a path to reconciliation with the other Abrahamic faiths. Christ’s death is not a once- off event in ordinary time but, to borrow T. S. Eliot’s words, ‘the point of intersection of the timeless with time’. The wonderful concretion of the Gospels, which give us the shape and feel of Christ’s earthly life, show love shining from a source beyond those vivid moments. To translate that idea into theological terms is not necessary. It is enough to see that there is a love that overcomes all suffering, all resentment, all negativity, and that this love is the source of our own renewal.

Give me a clue once, twice, but THREE TIMES? As a computer scientist, my training leads to skepticism, however, like Thomas, sometimes we Christians need to thrust our hands into the reality of the Crucifiction and Resurrection!  

Christ is risen! 

He is risen indeed! 

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story - Biography Of David Foster Wallace

 The obligatory other review that goes into much more detail

Being  a "mostly out" person blessed with depression and anxiety, this book hits somewhat close to home on a personal level. I say "blessed" because anxiety and depression force you to stop and smell the "excrement" (bad stuff) of our existence, rather than skating on by.

On Wallace; 

He was familiar with his anxiety and may even have associated it with depression, but this was a more intense version of whatever he had routinely dealt with in high school; it was as if some switch in him had been flipped. He felt despair and thought of killing himself. He held on for a few weeks, trying to white-knuckle his way back to being himself.

Up to a "serendipitous" observation of a TV show that talked about panic attacks when I was 22, I just thought I was "crazy", and it was just getting worse as I increasingly isolated myself "just in case" an attack would happen ... and then of course, they started happening when I was alone. "Fearing fear" is a bad hole to fall into. 

We are all different, so my experience is not the same as David's or anyone else's. Similarities? Sure. If you have it, see someone ... a pastor, a therapist, a psychiatrist, even just a family doctor. The medications work, at least they did for me to some extent, as they did for Wallace. As much as to are compelled to, don't isolate, and don't self medicate. 

 A bit like having brain surgery, seizures, and lots of meds to try to prevent more seizures. (1.5 years since my last seizure, a new record! The previous record was 1 year). 

The famous quote goes something like "No man ever steps into the same river twice, since it is not the same river, and he is not the same man". (life, and rivers are flows, not static "things")  Prayer Works. Mindfulness works. DBT works. Exercise works. Forced exposure to fears works. Some combination of all of them works best. "Results will vary, Past Results are no Guarantee of Future Results". 

If it wasn't for fear of Hell, suicide quite likely have happened in my case in my early 20's. I believe suicide is a sin, what I'm not so sure about is if it is a case where we really "make a choice" ... if we believe in Christ, it seems likely that he will understand and forgive even taking "our" life (which is really his)

One thing clear about Wallace is that he was not a Christian: 

Faith was something he could admire in others but never quite countenance for himself. He liked to paraphrase Bertrand Russell that there were certain philosophical issues he could bear to think about only for a few minutes a year and once told his old Arizona sponsor Rich C. that he couldn’t go to church because “I always get the giggles.”
Like many "geniuses" he was too smart for God. I put genius in quotes because I firmly believe that as humans, we can know nothing about everything, or everything about nothing. Those that get the "genius" moniker are very. exceptionally deep in a specific area (literature/writing for Wallace), or so exceptionally wide that they are very shallow in most areas. 
The American generation born after, say, 1955 is the first for whom television is something to be lived with, not just looked at. Our parents regard the set rather as the Flapper did the automobile: a curiosity turned treat turned seduction. For us, their children, TV’s as much a part of reality as Toyotas and gridlock. We quite literally cannot “imagine” life without it.

That is my generation (born in 1956). For a lot of reasons, mass media, especially TV, movies, internet, video games, sports, etc never really grabbed me. I'm just not drawn to mindless entertainment for some strange reason.  

Wallace saw that shallowness of consumerist, entertainment addicted, and addicted in general America and thought that writing a really hard book on purpose ("Infinite Jest") was his mission. As very much an addict himself, he knew of what he spoke.  His alcohol and marijuana addictions nearly killed him. AA was a huge help to him and he became a faithful attendee of recovery meetings, and pushed the envelope of the "anonymous" part in his writing. 

He did however maintain a lifelong addiction to nicotine, smoked and chewed, and strangely, TV ... often 10-13 hours a day. He was also at least a borderline sex addict with a long stream of shallow sexual affairs.

As the culture collapsed into the anecdote and sound bite, Infinite Jest was one of the few books that seemed to anticipate the change and even prepare the reader for it. It suggested that literary sense might emerge from the coming cultural shifts, possibly even meanings too diffused to see before.

Jest was published in 1996, the cultural collapse has went from sound bites to Twitter, FB, YouTube, binge watching NetFlix, and Tik Tok. 

Wallace and Jest may be the poster child for why "The Matter With Things" is critical to understanding our time.  Wallace was the prophet of shallow fragmentation, hopefully McGilcrest is the prophet of deep unification. 



Sanity Has A Friend In Germany

 https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2023/04/pro-trump-mp-kicks-a-hornets-nest-in-bundestag-the-united-states-of-the-clintons-and-epsteins-of-soros-biden-and-zuckerberg-is-not-our-friend.php

Not a very long post about a speech in the German Bundestag. Certainly worth reading. 

The Biden administration stands for a woke, globalist ideology that has as little to do with original American values as the left-green ideology in Germany.

The United States of the Clintons and Epstein's, of Soros, Biden and Zuckerberg, is not our friend.

Going all in protecting Ukraine's borders while not protecting our own southern border as 100K+ people die of drug OD each year. is not sane. 

For comparison, total gun deaths by murder (suicide/accidental excluded) was 19,384 in 2020 (last year reported). Let's focus on guns! Making drugs illegal has certainly been effective! 

Meanwhile, Russia, China, Iran and North Korea work together on how to give the US bully with an Alzheimer's victim "in charge", a solid kick in the groin while we are focused on what a woman is, prosecuting an ex president for a "crime" that is outside the statute of limitations (if a "crime" at all), and whether it was a man or a woman that shot up a Christian School killing 6 including 3 children. 

Our elites are at least certain it was NOT a "hate crime" ... blacks, trans, and Democrats are incapable of hate! You can tell that by how civilly they treat people that disagree with their views. 

Getting involved in foreign wars since we achieved a "draw" in Korea has been so successful, why not go for more! Never mind Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq, and of course Afghanistan, where our bug out made our ignominious exit from Vietnam look almost "triumphant" by comparison. 

Even a marginal sense of reality in the US would be very refreshing, and may even prevent likely war. 

Nothing encourages violence against a nation like weakness, especially when that nation has been an arrogant global bully for 80 years, 



Tuesday, April 4, 2023

The Coddling Of the American Mind

 https://www.jamesgmartin.center/2018/09/universities-and-the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/


I linked to a review rather than the book this time. I L O V E D the book! I consider it the 2nd important book of the year after "Suicide of the West" both are critical ... if you are more left / academic, read this one, otherwise Suicide if you can only do one, BUT, you kinda owe it to yourself to read them both!

They coin the term "safetyism" and they use the well known peanut allergy example. To oversimplify, it young kids get peanut exposure when infants, SOME (a small number) will have a reaction that is concerning but not life threatening. HOWEVER, by being "safe", we have RADICALLY increased the number of children with very serious peanut allergies , so a LARGER number is exposed to severe reactions up to and including death. By "trying to be safe" we create a larger problem.

This is one of the problems of mans greater ability to "take action" -- preventing forest fires is similar. We prevent them for a long time, and then when one breaks out, it is catastophic. Many of the plants in certain ecosystems REQUIRE regular fire in order for their seeds to germinate!

There is quite a long list of these sorts of issues ... the book "The Black Swan" and "Unfragile" are referenced in "coddling", and cover these issues in more detail.

For the really politically ideological, on page 216 the authors find it necessary to testify that "neither of us has ever voted for a Republican for congress or the presidency"! Essentially, one author is an avowed centrist, the other identifies as "left" -- a "centrist" in BOistan acedemia is a rare rare thing all on it's own! What they want to have is NOT a "political book" -- their purpose is the save the university along with a few young lives from depression, anxiety, addiction and suicide.

I STRONGLY recommend this book! In summary, it's points that resonated with me are:

  1. We are greatly harming our young by preventing them from learning through normal youthful errors and social development through "free play". We don't know if this is even "recoverable" -- we strongly need to get kids out playing with each other and away from the screens! 
  2. The universities are teaching three great untruths ... 1. That which does not kill you makes you weaker 2. Always trust your feelings 3. Life is a battle between good people and evil people  ... the picture below shows a nice chart from page 263 with these untruths and the proper ancient wisdom to answer them. 
  3. Chapter 2 is devoted to how the great untruths lead to living life via "emotional reasoning" -- I feel anxious, therefore something must be happening "out there" that justifies my anxiety! (Always trust your feelings). This is what is known in psychology as a "cognitive distortion", and the very successful treatment approach of "Cognitive Behavioural Therapy" has been devoted to rooting out these thinking errors 
  4. If we are to have a prayer of recovery, nearly ALL of our universities need to sign up for something like "The Chicago Statement"  the FOUNDATION of a university is free expression, civil dialogue, ability to air ALL points of view, ESPECAILLY those that are not popular and even abhorrent to groups of people. Words ARE NOT violence! We need to get over that great untruth! 

There is no doing a book like this justice in a short blog post. READ IT! If you really can’t, this Atlantic article gives the jist. The following picture is a great summary of a core of the book.
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/




The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Religion and Politics

 The Righteous Mind, highly recommended!

Read and blogged on in 2012, but some recent reading caused me to move it forward to this blog. 

For people with a conservative bent, a lot of this book will be "didn't everyone know this already"? But for folks of the liberal bent -- like Haidt, although his research for this book migrated him to what he sees as "moderate", it will be something of a struggle.

Sadly, I'm sure that Haidt is due to discover that his observations about human nature may be hyper proven as the liberal establishment punishes him for his heresy of using actual science to point out some fairly obvious things about human nature that would seem to indicate that conservatives are not exclusively just "stupid and evil".

First, we are not rational beings, we are RATIONALIZING beings. The book carries on  the excellent rider/elephant analogy from "The Happiness Hypothesis" and builds off it. The Rider is best seen as the Press Secretary for the elephant -- the elephant does something or "leans" in some direction and the rider dutifully develops a case for the elephant. Humans developed into "hive creatures" (like bees) that could specialize labor and cooperate without all having to be related. Morality is the "wetware" that we use to create and enforce the rules to do that -- our "rider" (consciousness) was created so that our "elephants" (subconscious) could operate this way.

The Six Moral Senses:
  1. Care/Harm
  2. Liberty/Oppression
  3. Fairness/Cheating
  4. Loyalty/Betrayal
  5. Authority/Subversion
  6. Sanctity/Degradation
Liberals tend to be very heavily focused on #1 ... although interestingly, conservatives seem to "care" almost as much, they just don't "care" to the exclusion of all other moral senses. On #2, liberals and libertarians are somewhat close -- although liberals see corporate power as much worse and "oppressive" than government power, which they have a hard time even equating with oppression.

On #3, liberals think of "equality" and completely forget about proportionality -- or Karma. One of the huge problems in cooperation is the "free rider problem". Haidt covers this and why it is impossible to have cooperation without "punishment" (sanctions) against free riders.

Liberals are nearly blind (or claim to be) on 4,5 and 6. It turns out that when tested, the "moral modules" for even Sanctity are there and working in the liberal brain just fine -- they just don't want to admit it because in their view it seems "less enlightened" to admit that degrading things are degrading.

I believe that this book is an EXCELLENT base to at least attempt to open some lines of communication between liberals and conservatives, but I suspect that Haidt is in for a shock -- maybe somewhat equivalent to the shock that Edward O Wilson wrote "Sociobiology" back in the '70s.

The "divine faith" of liberals is that there is no God and man is an infinitely malleable blank slate. While proving that there is no god (or that there is) is not going to happen, it is scientifically known that man is NOT a blank slate, and at least in the "next few millennia" not likely to be improved upon much. Wilson was trashed for stating the basic outline of what a "human nature" was likely to be, now here comes Haidt with some fairly solid research showing what it actually is.

As Wilson outlined in "Consilience", the more science moves forward, the more we begin to see the fact of an intricate and complex human that is no less difficult to mold to our desires than ecologists are realizing the ecology of the planet is. We are each little ecosystems honed by selection (or created by God) to interact within the the planetary and social constructs that we are born with and into.

Reality has never been very much of interest to the Progressive Project -- now about 100 years in, with all of the progressive nations facing economic demise, even the social sciences start to point out that reality is not in line with the progressive vision. My guess is that the response is not likely to be very reasoned, but rather very emotional.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Funding Viral Warfare

https://thespectator.com/topic/funding-gain-function-research-biodefense-fauci-covid-ebright/ 

For SOME??? Reason, we are still funding "Gain Of Function Research", the kind of reasearch that nearly certainly gave us Covid19. 

At the heart of such research lies an idea that can be difficult to understand: danger is not an incidental byproduct of the research; it is central to it. “The nature of this work is to start with a potential pandemic pathogen and enhance either its ability to transmit or its ability to cause disease,” says Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers who has been a vocal opponent of gain-of-function research. “These are pathogens that are not present in nature, not circulating in nature, not circulating in humans or in livestock, in crops or even in the wild. These are pathogens that might not come to exist in years, decades, centuries or millennia, but which are brought into existence through laboratory manipulation.”

This notion — creating viruses that can cause a pandemic in order to study how they behave — is easy to miss because there is no scientific equivalent, even in weapons research. Ebright, also a member of Biosafety Now, characterizes this laboratory risk as “existential, extinction-level risk.”

And much of it is, of course, funded by taxpayer dollars; even today, there is still almost no congressional oversight into what kind of virological experimentation is being done, or how it’s funded.

So we are funding, allowing research to continue even in populated areas, and the crazy train is still running! At least there are some probably useless attempts to stop it.  

The pandemic changed that calculus, upsetting the status quo in ways that even loyalists find difficult to resist. In Congress, this has translated into a wave of oversight that the biodefense sector has never before encountered. In 2021, Iowa senator Joni Ernst introduced the Fairness and Accountability in Underwriting Chinese Institutions (FAUCI) Act that would ban gain-of-function research funding. Jim Comer, now chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, have used their powers to bring new information to light, including with calls for testimony. And Florida senator Marco Rubio last year called for Harvard to clarify its involvement with Fauci and the Chinese real estate firm Evergrande (in response to my reporting for The Spectator).

One of our Iowa senators has at least attempted to keep us from paying for "existential, extinction level risk".  Thanks Joni! If there are two choices for human extinction in the next 100 years; 1. Climate Change 2. Release of a "global" killer enhanced virus, I think #2 is an easy bet.  

So WHY???? 

What’s clear, however, is that the political impetus remains squarely on one side of the aisle. That is largely to do with an equivalent of “Trump Derangement Syndrome” that we might call the Fauci Effect. “Antho
ny Fauci had the great privilege in 2020 of sharing a screen with Donald Trump,” says Ebright. “He face-palmed on television once and that made him a Democratic Party icon to those unaware of his actual role and his actual actions.”

 




While Fauci’s famous face-palm at a March 2020 press conference certainly helped his cause, it’s only part of the story. The other part is money. As biodefense funding has ramped up, a quiet but effective lobbying effort has bloomed around it. The heavyweight in the field is the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense, or BCB, an organization whose “team” web page lists a who’s-who of DC powerbrokers, including co-chairs Joseph Lieberman and Tom Ridge and commissioners Donna Shalala, Tom Daschle and Fred Upton. Donors include Danish pharmaceutical company Bavarian Nordic, which makes vaccines for viruses like monkeypox and Ebola; the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a biotech trade association; and Open Philanthropy, the philanthropy of Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskowitz and his wife Cari Tuna.

We are just not a serious nation, TDS is a disease that may prove fatal to human life ... so I guess that is Trump's fault since he was so evil as to inspire the hate. Right? I'm sure that makes sense to the left. 

Regardless of new pushback, gain-of-function research isn’t going anywhere but forward. What’s clear is that the public is awakening to the gain-of-function arms race — some military, some private, some scientific. Unlike the nuclear arms race, which requires massive resources, this race can be pursued in tiny spaces, with relatively small budgets. Despite this, the effects of error or unforeseen outcomes will be nothing short of global.

It could "just" be about the massive wealth that could be created by killing a few more millions with a virus like enhanced Ebola, and then selling an actual vaccination for huge amounts of money. Covid ought to have shown people of even less than average intellect that the elites care nothing about the masses. They will lock them down no matter what the cost to those that aren't billionaires ... in lives, hopelessness, loss of their livelihoods, damage to their children, etc. 

We are told that Climate Change is an "existential threat". It isn't hard for me to imagine the .01% deciding that killing everyone else to save the planet, and starting all over again with a utopian world is really best for everyone in even the medium term. 


Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The Matter With Things Volume 2

 To quote an Oxford professor from the dust jacket, "This is one of the most important books ever published, and yes, I do mean ever".

I'll be following Iain McGilchrist as I do Jordan Peterson ... which means I'll be reading a couple more of his books and attempting to keep of with as much of his thinking as I can. 

Why? 

A quote from the heading of his channel (which can be found from the link with his name above): 

I believe that we are engaged in committing suicide: intellectual suicide, moral suicide and physical suicide. If there is anything as important as stopping us poisoning our seas and destroying our forests, it is stopping us poisoning our minds and destroying our souls.

Our dominant value – sometimes I fear our only value – has, very clearly, become that of power. This aligns us with a brain system, that of the left hemisphere, the raison d’ĂȘtre of which is to control and manipulate the world. But not to understand it: that, for evolutionary reasons that I explain, has come to be more the raison d’ĂȘtre of our – more intelligent, in every sense – right hemisphere. Unfortunately the left hemisphere, knowing less, thinks it knows more. It is a good servant, but a ruinous – a peremptory – master. And the predictable outcome of assuming the role of master is the devastation of all that is important to us – or should be important, if we really know what we are about.

Even if we could, by some miracle, reverse the course on which we are set, unless we change our way of thinking, of being in the world – the way that is destroying us as we speak – it would all be in vain. This is why I have written the last long book I will ever write: The Matter with Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World.

In it I search out what it is we have lost sight of, all that is there for us to see, if only we were not blinded to it: an inexhaustibly, truly wondrous, creative, living universe, not a meaningless, moribund mechanism. By bringing to bear up-to-the-minute neuropsychology, physics and philosophy, I show not only that these are in no way in conflict with one another, but that they all lead us, time and again, to the same insights. And that this is not in opposition to, but rather corroborates, the wisdom of the great spiritual traditions across the world.

All this converges on a vision that is necessary if we are to survive; and, even more importantly, if we are to deserve to survive. What I hope for my readers is that, if they are willing to accompany me on this adventure, they will never see the world in quite the same way again.

I am largely in agreement with his analysis, and those that have followed my blogs know this to be the case. His ability to present two key models of thought is invaluable. 

  • The clear difference between the left  and right brain views of the world.

  • The increasingly observed physics and philosophical view that what we perceive as matter is actually a series of quantum fields. Quantum Field Theory (QFT), possibly described a bit in the book "Helgoland".
The analogy of our brains being more like a TV set receiving fields from some universal underlying field or set of fields, finally gives me a model that makes sense to me of "God, the universe, and everything". It is a way to explain consciousness that I had never considered. Being stuck in the Cartesian body/mind dualism model of our consciousness/spirit being a "ghost in the machine", with the brain being a sort of wetware computer that somehow generated consciousness, I just didn't have a model that I really believed to be reasonable.

A mind bending assertion is that we need to give up our conception of matter: 
Page 1053, "If you believe matter is the only reality, and you then learn that matter as you think of it is illusion, you will conclude that reality is illusory. But it is not. It is matter as we think of it, that is an illusion. And there is more to reality than matter. It was your thinking that misled you. 

No, I haven't become a believer in Climate Change, and man "destroying the planet", but rather view that narrative as merely another play for power. Since I'm at least somewhat a right brained guy, I could be wrong.  

Chapter 28 gets into "The Sense of the Sacred". On 1194, 

"How does it come about that there is a process. or motion, or a point in time at all - now or ever" The answer to this question cannot be answered in terms of a physical entity or process, because that already presupposes what we are questioning -- why there are physical processes and entities. The proper object of of this question is that which underlies timelessly and eternally, whatever is: in other words, the ground of Being." 

Humans all have some concept of this, covered in "The Elementary Forms Of Religious Life". 

Page 1295 is tragic. 

"It is in dealing with death that that one is most forcibly we have yielded hands down to the forgetting of Being." 

Even though McGilchrist can't practice religion for some reason, when his parents died, he and his brother wanted words from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer to be repeated as written,  but the priest was unable to comply. "Too gloomy". 

Appendix 8: "Incompatibility" of Science and Religion points out that the religion of our times is Scientism, and it is arid in the extreme. 

"That the religious, both communally and individually are happier, and dramatically healthier both mentally and physically, as well as better adjusted, more resilient and more prosocial in their habits, also does not prove that religion is true. But it suggests that we and our societies function poorly when we neglect it, and that human thriving and fulfillment depend on it to a considerable extent." 

 I want to help reconcile the critical need for religion in the lives of individuals, families, communities, countries, and the world. This book is the best I've seen to date as a way to help move our western culture from the materialist path to destruction we are on.

Based on my life, and what I observe today, a quote from page 1333 seems critical to moving to unified truth. "... it is dogma we must avoid at all costs. Dogma is the besetting sin of the age; and if one wanted one, it would be be hard to find a better expression of left hemisphere's take on the world than dogma. 

Matt 23 11-15 

11 The greatest among you will be your servant. [ the left brain is to be the servant of the right ]

12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

13  Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. 

15  Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

The left brain is the Pharisee brain, and since our society post the Enlightenment is left brain biased, we are biased toward dogma in everything ... religion, philosophy, science, politics, interpersonal relationships ... we are living on half a brain, and it is killing us, temportally and eternally. 

This does NOT (as is covered many times in the book) mean "there is no such thing as truth", or "anything goes" ... it is the opposite. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God. Humility. 

Pray without ceasing. 


Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Matter and Consciousness

 I continue to somewhat struggle and significantly enjoy the 1375 pages of "The Matter With Things" -- I'm on page 1225, so God willing, I'm going to make it. 

It is undeniable that there is significant hard work in reading, meditating on, noting, attempting to understand,  a work like this. I regularly reflect that real life was never intended to happy, easy, distracting, entertaining, etc. Only in the very latest of modernity has it been possible to very nearly do nothing at all. Our water, food, sanitary systems, electrical power, transportation, shelter, communication, entertainment, etc are increasingly effortless. This is all courtesy of our left brain that sees the world as a problem to be "solved" either by physical means or an equation, a project to be completed, a challenge to be defeated, an enemy to be conquered, or an unmeasurable "thing" to be ignored. 

The left brain has been a servant that has provided us much, however, as McGilchrist laments it is increasingly our master, converting our enchanted universe to a DISenchanted one. Well described by Charles Taylor in a nearly as massive book, "The Secular Age", probably best approached via a an attempted summary

So what are "we"? 

Conscious beings with no clue what consciousness is. Our left brain helpfully finds a simple solution based in the material world to get this supposed problem out of the way as rapidly as possible. Perhaps consciousness is an illusion that doesn't really "exist", since it can't be measured, and in a materialist universe, things that can't be measured do not exist by definition (according to the left brain)? No problem to even solve! 

Perhaps it "somehow emerges" when you get enough neural stuff together ? 

On page 1037, McGilchrist provides a simple model that blew my mind. 

"But do we know that matter can give rise to consciousness? This is merely an assumption. When a TV set malfunctions, it can distort the image or sound it relays in a large number of ways, depending where the system malfunction lies. To an engineer, the nature of the distortion may be a clue to the location of the problem, as the nature of brain pathology is to the neurologist. To an observer from another planet, it might prove impossible to tell if the TV set did not generate, but merely transmitted it's output. Pull the plug and the show ceases to exist. 

The intimacy of the relationship between two parties has in itself nothing to say about its nature. In the history of the cosmos, matter might give rise to mind, or mind to matter; or each might equally give rise to the other interdependently; or might run in parallel, because they are different aspects of some ultimately unified phenomenon. When it comes to the brain, the intimate relation between brain activity and states of mind cannot in itself help distinguish between theories of emission, transmission, and permission as its basis. In other words, the same findings are equally compatible with the brain emitting, transmitting, or permitting consciousness. (the last two are similar, excerpt that permitting substitutes the the idea of a constraint that is creative, fashioning what it allows come into being, for the merely passive idea of transmission)." 

McGilchrist goes for the latter explanation as most likely. The commonly accepted first option is based on the left brain idea that while we don't understand consciousness, we do understand matter, ergo ... It must all be matter! 

This is akin to the drunk looking for his keys under a streetlamp because the light is better there. The sad part here is that there is no "streetlamp" which the left brain assumed! Quantum Field Theory (QFT) has now assured us that we DON'T understand matter, and the left brain has again thrown up "helpful" models like the "many worlds", which postulates 10 to the 400th<400> universes. More comforting for modern man to believe than "God" (or another "thing" we don't understand,) although explaining nothing. What caused all those universes to happen? 
<400>
<400>The BIG model shift is to one where mind PRECEDES matter! It turns out that many of our famous physicists; Einstein, Pauli, Bohr, Feynman, etc either hinted at, grasped faintly, or decided that "it's all fields".  No particles, thus no "matter" in the sense we think of it. 

Consciousness seems to be a field rather than a "thing" (matter). If the base of the universe is a field rather than stuff, what do we refer to it as? "The Force"? 

It seems that every civilization has an "un-word" that is sacred and if spoken, spoken in awe ... Logos, Tao, li, Brahman, ri, Allah, YHWH -- and "God". "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name".  “And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am". I found that Harold Bloom gave some insight into some of the "naming issue" in "Jesus and Yahweh. The Names Divine". 

The title "The Matter With Things" shines out as increasingly appropriate. We have been duped by our left brains into believing a hopelessly meaningless materialist view of life, the universe and everything, while our right brains scream "Is this ALL there is???". We think all is matter, and therefore, a "thing". Our materialist model is so deep it affects everyTHING (I'm not going to keep doing that, but you get the point -- our very language is materialist) even increasingly, our religion. 

We are drawn to a materialist view of God as some sort of old guy in the sky, and the Bible as a history book of THINGS and literal events.  If someone can cast doubt on the material "fact" of anything in the Bible it isn't "true". We confuse "truth" with a materialist chain of actual material events, even though the Bible itself really tries to dissuade us.

One small example ... John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. ...". First he says "I AM" (hint, hint), then "the way", clearly not a material path, then "the truth" ... he is at that point a "fully man" physical person (but what is physical?), that is also the conceptual truth, and "the life" -- which gives us another good hint that we are beyond words here. Materialistically today, we don't know what "life" is, only that we can't create "it". It certainly isn't an "it" (thing"/matter). 

No, there seems to be WAY more. Our "seemingly physical" bodies, and our much more real consciousness may be much better represented as "eddies" in the universal conscious field, that is "God".  

Tragically, the important "sense" does not translate into words hardly at all. Music, art, awe, poetry ... all much better, and unfortunately all of which I am grossly untutored and therefore insufficiently appreciative of.  I'm hoping the last few hundred pages move me along, but in all probability, it may be something like attempting to describe "blue" to a man blind from birth.. 

To a writer, the fact that text is a left brain, dangerous abstraction from the wonder, mystery, awe, and deep meaning of the much better right brained "whole" is disconcerting. Is it too late for me to become a poet? Perhaps writing with appropriate warnings that what I'm struggling to express is ultimately beyond textual representation.

Monday, March 13, 2023

White What?

 "Privilege" you say? 

I'm still waiting for mine. Why do we have an MLK day, when his values have been brutally rejected? 

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” (MLK) 

This Spectator article does a decent job of explaining why it is a very bad idea to judge people by the color of their skin.
Underlying the white-privilege thesis are two basic claims: first that “white” is a useful category in which to place everyone from Elon Musk to a cleaner in a Tesla factory, and second that being in such a category imbues people with privileges denied to those outside it.

Are Jews "white"? Are Asians? This article points out the fact that US colleges discriminate against Asians and Jews ... and it is increasing.  Why? Based on merit, the majority of our top universities would be Asians or Jews. Are they smarter? No, they have a culture that values education, hard work and strong families, even  when living in a country that in general values neither. High achieving Black students are often castigated by their same race peers as "acting white"? 

JD Vance covered some not so privileged whites in "Hillbilly Elegy". 

There are a lot of poor white people that have started to have the same culture as is common among blacks ... broken homes, addiction, welfare, no parental or community push to be educated, etc. 

Could the real factor be culture, community, family, hard work, and the concept that nobody owes you anything at all? Nah, it must be my White Privilege thinking heresy like that! 

We are already at the front edge of the time where your pilot or surgeon might have been more a product of DIE (Diversity, Inclusion, Equity)  ... of course they prefer the acronym DEI, because when your surgeon was primarily "qualified" by his contribution to the high DEI score of the hospital, DIE may be a bit too accurate. 


It MUST Be Climate Change

 I had never heard of an "Atmospheric River", but of course they are all the rage now. Here, the WaPo helpfully tells us how Climate Change will make them "worse". 

In 2022, the problem was record drought

The WaPo story, posted in early January, proclaimed that although these Atmospheric Rivers were providing a lot of water, they were providing less snow. 

Atmospheric rivers play a critical role in supplying mountain snowpack, which serves as an important source of freshwater as it melts in the spring and summer. Some research shows the weather systems provide about a quarter of the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. Yet as temperatures rise, snowfall is decreasing.

 On March the 3rd, the NY Times helpfully reported that California was getting record snowfall and freezing temps. 

Record snowfall and freezing temperatures have altered the landscape and lives of millions of people in California in recent weeks. The mountains behind the iconic Hollywood sign in Los Angeles are dusted in white. Yosemite National Park is closed to the public, and mountain roads are coated with black ice.

Vineyards in Napa Valley were dusted with powdery snow. Snow met the sand on a beach in Santa Cruz.

The climate industry still really pushes "Global Warming" as "The Science", but in brilliant marketing, they have rebranded as "Climate Change".  Heads I win, tails you lose. 

The climate tech market was $13.8 billion in 2022, with a healthy CAGR of 24.2%, it should be $147.5 by 2032. Compare that growth rate with how your stock portfolio is doing! 

We have learned so much about climate in the past few years ... things we were unaware of before. Record cold is now caused by "Polar Vortexes" which are a result of Climate Change. I'd never heard of a "Derecho" until one hit Iowa in 2020.

"Haboob" is another term that has showed up in the past few years. 

We used to use pedestrian terms like "lots of rain". "cold weather", "high winds", and "dust storm". How could we be so stupid to use such non-descriptive terms when the master communicators are much more precise with terms like "Atmospheric River"! It pretty much nails what you need to know! 

Keeping the suckers off balance by changing what things are called is a way to make them think something new is happening. Well, the WORD is new ... or at least it's public use is new. 

One of the most read posts from my old blog was "-36, It's Toasted" that gives a bit of insight into the relationship between marketing and reality. 

We have gotten a lot more gullible since 2017. At this rate, we soon won't even know what a woman is! ... oops

I don't post much on climate anymore, after all, unless you are some evil denier, IT'S SETTLED! 


 

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Christian Nationalists

 https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2023/02/24/idaho-christian-nationalism-marjorie-taylor-greene/

The linked article is intended to put "the fear of God" or maybe more precisely, 
fear of the Godly" into WaPo readers. Most likely it makes many of them quite afraid. 

Earlier this month, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia Republican, addressed the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, whose purview runs from this small resort city up along the Washington state border. Before she spoke, a local pastor and onetime Idaho state representative named Tim Remington, wearing an American-flag-themed tie, revved up the crowd: “If we put God back in Idaho, then God will always protect Idaho.”

I'm not convinced at all that this particular movement is "the one", however the fact that a few people are organizing to attempt to alter the downward spiral of America is hopeful to me. Is there likely to be a price? Almost certainly. Was the 30 years war too high a price for allowing people to read and follow the Bible? I'm not going to judge that, I'm just saying that religious freedom came at a cost. 

What about "nationalism"? Historically, and even today, many people are patriotic ... to America, to  Canada, to Ukraine, to Russia, etc. 




Morality requires a shared set of standards. Adams assumed Christian morality found in the Bible. Officials are still sworn in on the Bible, although today, few of them even know of, let alone attempt to practice the moral principles found there. We once were a nation founded "under God", even though that didn't go into our pledge until 1954, largely to clearly differentiate the US from the USSR which was proudly atheistic. 

A scan of the article contains a lot of things that I definitely don't agree with, however this summary paragraph is more comforting. 

While sectarian varieties of Christian nationalism certainly exist, the version most ascendant — and the kind activists say is working its way through the state legislature — relies not on theological purity but an alliance between conservative Christians who collectively oppose liberal policies and what they deride as secular culture

I'd like to have a modern Christian revival where in somewhat MLK fashion, there could be a a leader and organization following a  sort of -- "I have a vision of an America founded on a transcendent God, where "love your neighbor as yourself" was shared by nearly all. Where being Christian meant following the Bible, and Secularists honestly declared that they had no fixed moral principles rather than falsely claiming to be "Christian"". 

That is a "flavor", not intended to be even close to what a reality of such a statement might be. 

While it certainly sounds corny, the Beatles "All We Need Is Love" if it is interpreted as all we need is love of God, might even be in the running. If you love God, you love your neighbor. Every religion other than Islam could fit under this banner. Reading the "Regensburg Lecture" by Pope Benedict gives a decent understanding as to why Islam is an issue. 

Secular Humanism? I'm probably overly optimistic that the rise in drug use, suicide, crime and hopeless broken lives may cause more people to understand the folly of that ideology, as they have at least began toi understand the problems with the totalitarian ideologies oif fascism and communism. (they have a longer path to understanding the problems with the world oligarchy they live in). 

Are we ripe for the flowering of revival, or "ripe" in the sense of stinky rotten decay? A seek must fall to the ground and die before a new shoot of life can grow ... let us pray for the cleansing sunlight of God's power. Much like the start of foundation of Christianity through Christ, the trieals of the "Dark Ages", the Reformation, and the founding of America, to road that God has decreed as been promised to include much pain in the way to Christ's return. Based on the path traveled so far, it does seem mostly a downward spiral, however it is not entirely a dark path. 

We WILL suffer, however it is our mission to reduce that suffering where possible. 


John 16:33 NIV

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”