Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Goodnight Dad

Death remains a reality that we would love to deny, however, like actual real facts, it is a stubborn reality. In this age of postmodern woke relativism, "facts" are very hard to agree on, however death remains a stark fact in defiance of relativism. It is a worthy reality to reflect on rather than avoid.

My dad and I could argue for hours on virtually any topic, and exceeding rare in our time, we truly enjoyed it, He detested Reagan, big business, the military/industrial complex, all the oil companies "in cahoots", and "the rich". Everyone should be limited to a maximum of $50K in wages, anything else was gouging. The idea of an expanding economic pie was always "malarky" for him -- there was only so much, and when you took more, someone else got less.

So, being I thought Reagan was great, the USSR deserved the ash heap of history, I worked for IBM (in the old days, the poster child for big business), I found most military (and other) technology to be cool, I thought oil prices were controlled by supply and demand ... and a host of other differences, we always had great plenty to discuss / argue about -- and then we had ice cream.

This miracle was possible because both of us were trained to discuss without "losing it" by true masters  -- he by his dad, me by him. Men could discuss any issue, it was the foundation of America for sure, and probably just being a man. Being able to state and defend positions was a key virtue.

It was also possible because both of our priority systems at least desired to put God first, then followed by family, friends, and then in some order, things like work, baseball, fishing, FLOWERS (for dad), books (for both of us). At times, on some issues, politics might make it to "5 or 6", but that was was the max -- with God, family and friends being locked at top, and the virtue of NEVER "losing it" being so critical that the shame of such was unconscionable. It worked.

Aside from his perpetually sunny outlook that I will always covet, our age symmetry was a special blessing -- we were 30 years apart, so the 30/60 and 60/90 birthdays allowed us to see things in a perspective that was somewhat unique. I wrote on this after the 60/90. http://www.moosetracksblog.com/2016/12/30-60-90.html

So the last month or so, I've taken a vacation from Facebook. While dad and I loved to discuss, we never "solved" anything. When the USSR fell, Reagan had nothing to do with it, it was all the greatness of Gorbachev (NPR agreed with him on that).

The discussions WERE "good" -- they certainly helped me know him better, and I assume vice versa. They sharpened our minds. As I retreated from FB, I time travelled back to the Civil War through first "Fierce Patriot" and now Chernow's "Grant", one of the last books dad read.

As BLM shows us, Jim Crow, the 60's riots and much else makes obvious, there isn't much of anything "solved" in this vale of tears. What does sadden me is that not only are we definitely not "progressing", we are clearly regressing. Longstreet was Grant's best man, and after the war, they were friends. Grant's (and Lincoln's) wives were slave holders. Grant and Lee amicably shook hands at Appomattox and had respect for each other as men and warriors.

Today many find the wearing or not wearing of a mask being of more importance than God, family, friends, etc. That doesn't strike me as "progress", however I'm certain that nothing that I say will change any hearts and minds. Only Christ can do that.

In but a little while I will be able to discuss with dad for eternity. I believe there will be discussion in Heaven. Moses and Hezekiah changed God's mind, Jacob wrestled with God and at least sort of prevailed. I personally look forward to shore lunch with Jesus -- and dad.

Facebook is high on my list of temporal trivia. In the face of eternity (or even 100 years) it is as significant as one hand clapping. I'm sure I'll be drawn back in -- I enjoy the "good stuff". The kids and grandkids, the pretty views, support for those going through challenges, important info from my Pastor and other Christian leaders -- I certainly don't want to be a social media scold, especially since it would be just more evidence of my being a hypocrite. All things in moderation.

As a Christian, I suppose I "should" not feel as sad as I do ("should" is a word I seek to banish) -- I have faith, though certainly short of a mustard seed, and no doubt "little" even compared to disciples on stormy seas. A great light in the my existence has been extinguished -- for "a little while".

Goodnight Dad, and sleep tight. When Christ returns for all to see, we will enjoy that eternal morning together.

NY, NJ, MA, Half Of Covid Deaths


"There are lies, damed lies, and statistics"  ... maybe Disraeli, maybe Balfour, apparently through Twain. 
Why is it a true statement? Because one can select the stat that appears to "prove" your point, while ignoring statistics that would appear to disprove it. Like the blind men describing an elephant by which part of it they are feeling, stats strongly depend on selection -- often both in the sampling and in the reporting.

Pretty much, if anyone quotes a raw number, you know that they are lying to you. Without scaling, the information is useless. Scaling to magnitude is the MINIMUM to engage in anything approaching statistical honesty.

Indeed, Sweden’s death rate is remarkably close to that of France, which Williams praised as a model in contrast to the “utter disaster” in the US. However, the US actually has a lower per capita death rate than both Sweden and France—at least for now. (While it’s true COVID cases are on the rise again in the US, deaths recently reached three-month lows.)
So NY, NJ and MA account for nearly half of all the Covid deaths in the US. Seems like anyone interested in understanding how to deal with Covid or future similar viruses would be focusing there as opposed to surges in CASES elsewhere. 

However, in this age of everything being political, the only really important part of the narrative is "Orange Man BAD"! 

Masks, Drunks, Streetlights


Not far down in the linked it makes the common assessment of many "safety things" ... "why not"?

The classic joke is of the drunk looking for his keys under a streetlamp. Somebody is trying to be helpful in the search and asks if he is certain he lost them here. "No, he replies, I lost them up there, but the light is better here!"

Good for a laugh, but so true of a lot of "science", especially the social type. Why are we looking here or in this way? Because we CAN ... we have data, or can get it somehow! (or often extrapolate based on other data, selected by similar availability)

Our modern world is full of "can't hurt, good light here" logic. The real world is notoriously hard to measure, and  there are VERY few "can't hurts" in that real world.  The real world tends not to give mercy for being certain, but wrong. Telling kids to wait an hour after they eat to swim "can't hurt" ... so maybe they go off to another spot with nobody around, swim anyway, and drown.

Doing a lot of keeping kids from dirt and doing a bunch of disinfecting "couldn't hurt" -- except their immune systems didn't develop and various allergies, Asthma, and who knows what else exploded.

We could go on to nausea, and the REALLY nasty stuff is the stuff we don't even think about, or is purposely hidden -- think statins, fish oil, ???? The "unknown unknowns" can be especially viscous. They are the shadows behind the mysterious "how did we get HERE???" We are SURE we followed all the expert direction!

I certainly DO NOT know if masks hurt anything beyond critical thinking, independent thought,  and "common sense" ( now called "stupidity, not caring for others, etc) by the mask zealots. You MUST comply or we will call you names -- oh, and who knows what we may do later. Rest assured, it will be for your own good! The smart folks just know better! (and today we are assured that words definitely DO hurt you, unlike the old "sticks and stones" admonishment in the less "progressed" time.) Name call away -- hurting "bad and uncaring people" would be GOOD!

This is the age of "If all your friends are jumping off a cliff, are you going to follow them?" Having the correct answer of; YES, OF COURSE! for the culture at large today.

The authorities are mostly certain now that masking is so good it needs to be mandatory. (like most left wing ideas) Are they as certain as they were in the 1970's that we were out of oil, in the 1980's that the USSR was never going away, in the 1990's that "the Internet Economy" has made things like profits obsolete, or up until like 2005, the "food pyramid" -- the primary reason Americans are fat. Look at those carbs at the base!

I'm not wearing masks outside because it makes no sense to me. If the virus is THAT contagious, it IS going to you unless you are in HEAVY isolation.  Yes, I understand that to some folks, that will make me foolish and worthy of mask shaming.

In situations where there are "clear majority masks" or mandated, I'll go along to get along. Yes, I also understand that for some folks, that means that I'm "stupid, don't care about others, rebellious, etc" -- again, that is their judgment, and in the virtue signalling world, judgement is a virtue (the harsher the better)!

I'll never criticize somebody for wearing a mask, lifting it, rubbing their nose, etc  -- even if their nose is totally out (as is common), it doesn't cover completely, or whatever. They are trying to do what they see as best for whatever reason -- they hope it protects them, protects others, they don't want to be shamed, they want to look smart, or they have a PHD in public health, virology, etc I respect their choice.

I'm one of those old idiot Bible type Christians that believe that judgement of others -- even about things much more eternally serious than Covid, is above my pay grade. My creed declares that I even need to love those that judge me harshly and possibly even hate me.

Not that I do that well at all -- my mask of being Christlike certainly leaks (badly) and I trust in his Grace to see me home -- by his plan, which IS being carried out in spite of Covid, accidents, and perils unlimited. I'm safe in his eternal care.

Resigning From The Times


Bari Weiss was hired by the NY Times to try to get the paper to have some concept of what "average Americans" were thinking. She has been fired -- the entire linked is worth reading, I found the following especially compelling.

But the lessons that ought to have followed the election—lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society—have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

It is the age of "woke orthodoxy", and those who fail to comply must be "punished" in the terms of our current left -- "cancelled".

Are they really so certain? Eventually "power" will boil down to pure physical power. How will they do then? Is the pen truly mightier than the sword? Or just wishfully.

Perhaps just "arming themselves" will be insufficient.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

The Democrat Plantation

I maintain that the biggest example of the power of media, the Administrative/Deep State, and public "education"(indoctrination) was the conversion of the party of Slavery and Jim Crow to the party where Joe Biden can truthfully say "If you vote for Trump, you ain't black". Like much of left wing truth, this so true it must not be stated. It is a Democrat truth like "we care more for left wing women's votes than we do for the lives of babies", or "we believe that totalitarianism is the best form of government" (because people that don't agree with us are BAD)!

It is the conversion of leftist politics and the "progressive" world view into a religion that killed America. America required a religious people, it also required that a specific political orthodoxy could never become a state religion. "Progressiveness" became the state religion, and those not of the "progressive" faith became heretics. Understanding our inability to have faith in SOMETHING is well described in "Moral Believing Animals".

It took reading the excellent book "The Great Society" for me to finally understand how this marvel of national brainwashing was achieved. The simple answer is that they bought the blacks with government money. They created massive spending programs to funnel money through a myriad of agencies that worked with the Black Panthers, unions, etc. They created positions like "Community Organizers" ( A Saul Alinsky innovation) paid by the Federal government to act as "Democrat bosses" in the manner of the Daley machine in Chicago, or the old Boss Tweed in NYC. The difference being that now these "bosses" had the Federal bureaucracy and purse behind them!

As Welfare increasingly replaced fathers in the black community, families were destroyed and the federal bureaucracy became "daddy" -- as a black person, you OF COURSE voted for "daddy"!

So blacks still live on the Democrat plantation -- just as they did through the age of Slavery and Jim Crow. They MUST obey their Democrat masters, or they will even lose their racial identity. In many ways, the Antebellum South was better -- at least 2/3 of black families were 2 parent families, compared with only 40% today.

Living in a stable two parent family is indeed a privilege -- one which the modern Democrat Plantation Slavery has denied blacks.

Yale, Honoring Slave Traders!


Yes, Yale was named in honor of a slave trader.

We are living in a time of slavery to "woke". It is our master, and it's rules are whatever the purveyors  of "woke" decide they are. As always, consistency is NOT an issue!

My guess is that Yale's name will not be changed because ... well, just BECAUSE! For "reasons" similar to why ancient charges against Brent Kavenaugh are very very serious, and similar charges against Joe Biden are scurrilous and of no interest at all.

What do I think? As anyone that follows me knows, as long as we live in the age of "PC, tribalism, Post Modernism, BLM,  etc", it doesn't matter what I think. I'm not in power in any manner -- "truth" is whatever the latest pronouncement from the "woke" is.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

VDH, The Ministry Of Untruth, The Narrative


Whatever your media mythology may say, the reality of today, is that what most see as "reality" is a fake media created "virtual reality"  -- pure media manipulation for political purposes. Since we continue our slide into totalitarianism, EVERYTHING is political! That is what "totalitarian" means -- "reality" is whatever those in power say it is.

So the narrative of the US "failing" in responding to Covid is just a narrative with minimal connection to reality.

By such rubrics, the United States, so far, has fared better than most of the major European countries—France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, Sweden, and Belgium—in terms of deaths per million. Germany is the one major exception. But if blame is to be allotted to public officials for the United States having a higher fatality rate than Germany, then the cause is most likely governors of high-death, Eastern Seaboard states—New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in particular. They either sent the infected into rest homes, or did not early on ensure that their mass transit systems were sanitized daily as well as practicing social distancing.
Just to be clear, just because events are USED to achieve a political result DOES NOT mean that one believes the event itself is a "hoax". The RESPONSE to the event may share characteristics of a "hoax" because the treatment of the event is well out of line with "reasonable" ( as in having some sense of things like proportion, scaling to similar events, etc).

For example, about 650K Americans die of heart disease every year. There are between 9-45 million CASES of flu in the US each year. Here is a ranking of causes of death per year -- to the extent you believe it, Corona is looking to be "Alzheimers like" for deaths. However, if someone is diabetic, dies, and then tests positive for Corona, what is the "cause" of death? It sees nearly certain that Corona will be somewhat overstated because we are LOOKING FOR IT! Many people have not seen the ISS fly over, because they were not looking -- if the look on a clear night, they WILL see it!

So we are certainly looking for Covid big time. In '18 - '19 we think we had 46-96K deaths in the US, but we were not particularly LOOKING ... if one decides to use relay team aircraft around the world flying above the clouds to "look for" the ISS, the "sightings" could rise to near infinite -- same phenomenon, different sampling. I think we can be certain that Covid numbers will be big, however like pretty much every budget / deficit, etc being "a record" (inflation, rising population, etc), or even simpler, my achieving a "personal record age" on each birthday, any number without context is just a number.

A "reasonable view" (note, not necessarily "correct", just common sense rational) would be that past flu was likely quite vastly under reported relative to Covid since there was a lot less focus on testing for it, and Covid is heavily over reported. How much? No real way to perfectly know, but I'd guess "big", in if normal flu was tested like Covid now is, most years would see 100's of millions of cases to even billions, and deaths in the millions. Around 60 million people die in the world each year   ... pretty small changes in reporting of diagnosis and causes of death can VASTLY change people's perceptions.

TB kills order 1.5 million per year, and it is a bacterium, masks would be very effective ... don’t tell anybody!

A billion $ is still a decent definition of "rich" for a person, however since a typical human brain has 86 billion neurons, one would be in a sad state if they had "only" a billion neurons! We won't even talk US debt and obligations -- order $150 TRILLION!

As Stalin said, "One death a tragedy, a million is a statistic". Actually it is much worse than that -- 60 million babies aborted isn't even a "concern" to most. 50K ish and rising suicides in the US is of a lot less concern than Covid, and the suicide deaths are YEARLY and RISING!

Pretty much any death outside of those you know, or those that are canonized by media isn't even "noise" -- we MUST filter reality since it is simply too large for our brains. The best we can do is be aware of how vulnerable we are to narrative and choose our filters wisely! You likely recognize the name of George Floyd, but not David Dorn ... that is because you are being manipulated by a media narrative -- we all are, all the time.

It is all about the narrative, and right now, the narrative is all about defeating Trump.

The truth is that the COVID-19 epidemic, the lockdown, and the rioting were seen by the Left, the media, and now the Democratic Party as a renewed effort in this election year to do what Robert Mueller, Ukraine, and impeachment had not—abort the presidency of Donald Trump, or make it impossible for him to be reelected.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

VDH, Time For The Big Stick?


I tend to rip the bandage off rather than soak it. I'd rather get Corona now and see if I survive. At some point, avoidance fails -- especially relative to death. One can let the Cold War go on forever, or you can take the big risk and elect Reagan.

You can also try appeasement of the "puppies of war" with their BLM, masks, and "cancel culture" as we have been doing, or you can call their bluff. I'm pretty sure they are not the Wehrmacht, the Confederacy, or even Saddam's army -- but one can never be certain until the band-aid is yanked!

The game of chicken continues with passive or nonexistent local and regional policing and veritable free rein to looting, destruction, and vandalism. In response, Trump only squares his hesitation to call in federal troops, with loud rhetoric about law and order. But until the swing voter himself gets off his fence and decides either ‘enough is enough,’ Trump has put himself into a dilemma of talking loudly with a twig rather than softly with a real club. 
He will soon have to seize the moment with allies in Congress and his cabinet to galvanize the country to squash a veritable revolution that wishes to remake America in its 244th year into something more aligned with the visions of Robespierre and Saint-Just than with Washington and Jefferson — replete with a new foundational myth, a new national anthem, a rebooted constitution without an Electoral College, but with proportionally allotted senators, a huge new Supreme Court, and new array of revolutionary statuary and icons. A cult of the Supreme Green Being and dunce caps for wayward or incorrect intellectuals are not far away.

We haven't been the America of Washington, Lincoln, Grant or even Reagan for a good long while.   It's been time to quit pretending as we have been for a least a decade if not 30 years.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Fierce Patriot, The Tanngled Lives of William Tecumseh Stherman


The linked provides a "normal review" of this excellent book.

A big reason that it speaks to me as a fellow veteran of mental illness is that it really brings home that three of of the men that saved the union ... Lincoln, Grant, and Sherman, struggled with psychological issues.

Lincoln had suffered from deep bouts of depression since early manhood (he called it the “hypo”), and it’s likely he recognized a similar condition lurking behind Sherman’s excessive pessimism.52 He also must have known from his own experience that these bleak episodes eventually passed and so remained open to giving his fellow sufferer additional responsibility once he recovered. Mental illness of any sort carried a tremendous stigma in nineteenth-century America, but not with Lincoln when it came to a general he instinctively liked and believed in.

Sherman was all about the big picture. He had a superb grasp of terrain and a passion for a unified America "From Sea to Shining Sea".

Sherman was a prodigy of geography. During the Civil War, no matter how befuddling the swamp or forest or mountain range, if Sherman had been there, he remembered it exactly.
If Jefferson was the architect of continental expansion, Sherman would become the general contractor.

As I age, I suspect that the tendency to depression is a "gift" that is likely to give you a thirst to gather knowledge as a (false) way to obtain the illusion of security. You will be driven to scratch to see at least what you mistakenly imagine to be THE big picture, when it is of course only YOUR big picture.

His chief problem continued to be his contingent relationship with reality, a complex and ambiguous problem for any military strategist. If the perceptual filters that had allowed him to ignore the coming of secession were in abeyance, there remained those that would exaggerate danger—a potentially paralyzing affliction in warfare, and nearly Sherman’s undoing before he finally learned to effectively balance limited information with an ever-changing reality.
The map is never the territory, plans are invalid when the first shot is fired, etc. Sherman LEARNED ... and one of the things he learned was that the Civil War was maybe more than most wars, a psychological war, because it was largely a guerrilla war. The will of the population had to be broken ...  not just Lee's army. Thus, the often maligned "March to the Sea". As we were never able to do in Vietnam, Sherman broke the spirit of the rebellion -- though not their racism, as a century of Jim Crow would prove.

I have somewhat retreated into the past in this time of crazy that has many parallels to the mid 1800s. Tearing down statues shows that history is repeating itself. Slavery is slavery, often especially if it is not declared as such. When the people who you disagree with are "deplorable". or their very race ("whiteness") is enough to allow you to hate them, or even their not wearing a mask becomes somewhat analogous to "wearing a hood", then you are most certainly a "House Divided".

I firmly believe that division is the natural state of man, only driven to abeyance by the grace of God. "One nation under GOD" absolutely required GOD! Sherman's goal of unifying America was possible then because at least the North believed  both the God of the Bible, and the Constitution -- and the south at least claimed to believe in that same God as well. It is hard to defend slavery as an act of Christian love, though the South certainly tried!

Perhaps the time has come for those that believe in the God of the Bible, the Constitution, family, community, and such old and tired values as loving your enemies, to finally separate from those that worship only power?

Certainly Sherman, Lincoln and Grant would disagree -- the Union was sacred to them. In an era when nothing but complete adherence to "woke" dogma is acceptable to at least an apparent majority under penalty of violence, how can there be a nation under nothing but mass demands  of conflicting "rights".

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Whig History, The "Inevitable Arc"


A good little article on what most people believe is happening -- generally, they don't KNOW they believe it, because they just see it as a "fact". supposedly and metaphysically truthful. To deny it would make you a "denier", and denying Whig history (even if you have no idea what it is) shows you as gravely stupid -- even though the people labeling you thus, are only doing so because you are not agreeing with what they see as "obvious truth" ("progress") ... though they don't understand what that means. They are "morally certain", the only modern "virtue" -- blindly following "progressivism".

The superstition of a Moore’s Law for social betterment, like the superstitious belief that freedom is the “hope of every human heart” or that certain politicians are “on the right side of History,” is a part of the long tradition sometimes known as “Whig history,” the belief that human society marches inevitably toward progress, enlightenment, and liberty. As Professor Glenn Loury once put it, the essence of conservatism is the idea that human nature has no history. George Will expands on that: “The idea that human nature has a history — that human beings only have a nature contingent on their time and place — is the idea that has animated modern tyrannies.”