Sunday, September 10, 2023

Iowa Has The Most Structurally Deficient Bridges!

Wow! That seems scary! 

Why did I decide to blog on it? Because "scary headlines" are what are pushed at us all the time, and they tend to have a political agenda, even if there may be neither anything political nor scary involved. 

If you read the whole article, you find: 

But despite the rankings, officials say drivers should not be worried.

“If there’s any concern about safety and the traveling public, they will either post a bridge for load, which means they’ll restrict the weight, or maybe truck traffic that crosses the bridge or in extreme cases, they may shut down a lane or the entire bridge,” ARTBA Chief Economist Alison Black said.

Officials say many cities may struggle to raise the money for necessary repairs, especially in rural areas.
I'm sure that headline will show up on a lot of papers in Iowa, and get a lot of political attacks on Republican officials.  Why are we so divided again?  While the article is "true",  I wanted to look at a little context, often missing in todays "headline news". The end of the article does give a hint ... 
Officials say many cities may struggle to raise the money for necessary repairs, especially in rural areas.

Iowa is blessed with a LOT of rural roads! Most people will read just the headline, and it will likely be endlessly repeated on social media.  

Why would Iowa have so many bridges? 

At least in NW Iowa there are mostly quite small bridges over the many tile drainage ditches. From my not super extensive travels around Iowa, this seems to be true for much of the state. A glance at this chart of where the defective bridges are at, shows that many of those states are in areas where there tend to be significant parts of the year that alternate between freezing and thawing, which means more salt as well as just the effects of the temperature changes. 

Minnesota and Wisconsin are an interesting challenge to my theory. Having traveled extensively in both states (grew up in WI, lived in MN for 40 years), one thought is that once they freeze, they tend to mostly stay frozen ... the frost doesn't tend to partially come out during the winter. 

Iowa has a lot more truck traffic than either MN or WI in rural areas.The above chart shows that neither makes the top 13 for number of bridges.

 Small dairy farms are pretty much replaced by multi-thousand cow herds, while in IA, the 23 million hogs are housed in 5,400 separate farms that need tending with big trucks. Why so many farms vs concentration?  Needing to knife in 10 billion gallons of hog manure demands a lot of dispersion, meaning a lot of 120,000 lb tank/tractor combinations running over mostly side roads with all those small bridges over tile drainage ditches.   

I don't really want to ramble on about the MN/WI rating possibly disproving my theory. Maybe they just really do have much better government, and Iowa is derelict. The main point is that the article doesn't really go to enough depth to tell much of anything beyond a ranking that causes attention to be focused. 

A lot of US infrastructure is in bad shape ... roads, bridges. canals. electrical grid, etc. About what one would expect in a rapidly failing nation, more focused on which bathroom to use rather than mundane things like infrastructure. 

Perhaps articles like this can "hide the decline", or at least divert attention from the federal government to red state governments. 

As I've often seen in Democrat writings in IA, the simple solution is to get rid of the hog farms! (while they enjoy their bacon. sausage on pizza, ribs, etc. Deep thought is often not a Democrat characteristic! 

I'm REALLY biased. I LOVE my pork and one year I worked for my brother in law as the team of 3 tank/tractor units running 24X7 pumped and knifed in a tiny fraction of the hog manure. A mere 50 million gallons. 

Friday, September 8, 2023

The Extinction of American Trust

This is mostly a "bookmark" for a solid chronicling of the many crimes of the Democrat Big Media lies and deceptions from 2015 to now. It is concise and like anything from Victor Davis Hanson (VDH), worthy of reading in it' entirety. A snippet: 

Yet the media can no longer hide the reality that the President of the United States [Biden] likely took bribes to influence or alter U.S. policy to suit his payers. Those two crimes—bribery and treason—are specifically delineated in the Constitution as impeachable offenses.

I pray that Victor is correct that the truth can no longer be hidden, but I fear not.  

A Google search with the string "percentage of americans that believe the media is trustworthy" gives you;

Just 7% of Americans have "a great deal" of trust and confidence in the media, and 27% have "a fair amount." Meanwhile, 28% of U.S. adults say they do not have very much confidence and 38% have none at all in newspapers, TV and radio.

OK, we don't trust the media. How about elections? 

In January 2021, shortly after the attack on the US Capitol, 59% of Americans said they had at least some confidence that US elections reflected the will of the people. That included 36% who were very confident that elections were representative of the public’s wishes.

Now, a year and a half later, only 42% have some confidence, and just 16% are very confident.

As I've often and recently commented on, those 42% that have "some confidence" must really not be paying attention. We have the worst election integrity in the developed world!  

Americans don't trust the media, and they don't trust the integrity of our elections, so at least a plurality of Americans are reality based. That is a bit of good news! 

HOWEVER, since our elections are not trustworthy, how can this be remedied?

The Democrats, likely to be in complete control after the 2024 elections that they are presently interfering with in plain sight,  using the politicized "justice" system to attempt to pick, (and possibly jail) the opposing presidential candidate, makes 2024 even LESS trustworthy! No hope there! 

The highly virulent and dangerous Electionyearicron variant is already being detected. Perhaps only 100% mail in ballots can save us from this terror? 

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Empire Of Pain

A book that gives a lot of opportunity to look at addiction, bias, human greed, government ineffectiveness, anti semitism, ongoing results of the Holocaust, family loyalty/disloyalty, corporate vs private ownership, how lawyers make a lot of money, how business works, creation and destruction of narratives, and much else.

It is a good book for those with a generally critical and especially self critical mind. For those whose worldview aligns with the authors, it will be pretty much pure enjoyment, For those of use whose don't, there will be challenges and soul searching. 

I could somewhat tongue in cheek summarize the book message as.
  • Never trust the FDA, (or any other government agency) of approval, disapproval, mandate, etc
  • Beware of Jews working hard to become wealthy to create a good name, and show their ability to rise from the Holocaust. 
  • If Jews are involved, the sins of the fathers should never be forgotten (unlike Germans, Kennedy's, etc) 
  • Big time lawyers that defend Democrats are absolved. Clark Clifford is mentioned, a VERY influential lawyer that defended the Sacklers, but there is no hint as to HOW "influential".
  • I believe everyone deserves legal representation, and bigger targets require stronger lawyer defence, and they understand they need to acquire it, and pay huge fees for it. 
  • In the case of Trump, "guilty until proven innocent beyond a reasonable doubt" (vs innocent until proven guilty ...) , lawyers pay a high price for defending even a president that the weaponized "justice" department will do anything to convict of SOMETHING (even while he is in office). 
It is reasonably well written, but there is a lot of ink spent on the negative soap opera of the Sackler family that seemed excessive. It instantly brought to mind the Kennedy family for me. and my reading the "Dark Side of Camelot" a long time ago. That book made no attempt at "fairness" either, as many books of this ilk don't, The only way to get anything like a clear picture is if there are multiple books on the same family, company, event, person, etc We all have an agenda, even if we don't want to admit it, and there is always something in the "closet" that can be brought out, sensationalised, or in the case of of information against your agenda, buried. 

Another personal bias. As a Christian,  I'm very pro-Jewish because my Savior is a Jew. Besides that, I have worked with a number of Jews and without exception I have been impressed with their dedication, intellect, and character.  

As I read the book, I kept wondering how many times I REALLY needed to reminded that the Sackler family was Jewish. So the review I chose is from The Jewish Insider . I find it to be a good review, and even though there were others out there that cautioned of the "odor" of anti semitism, the fact that this one didn't, led me to thinking that was less of a factor than it seemed to me. 

I found this quote from that Insider review to be interesting. 
JI: Is the implication that the Sackler family is kind of like a modern American drug cartel?

Keefe: No, I mean, I think [that’s] kind of pushing it too far, and I wouldn’t go that far. I guess this is what I would say: I’ve always been interested in the ways in which illegal drug organizations resemble legal businesses, and I became very interested in some specific ways in which legal Big Pharma practices sometimes resemble those of drug cartels — for instance, offering free samples to an addictive product. In the case of Purdue, they offered these coupons for a free prescription, and that’s something I know because I’ve looked into it at great length. When the Sinaloa cartel decided that methamphetamine was going to be their big new product, they started sending free samples to Chicago so that people would try it. But I think sometimes people get a little carried away with the rhetoric and they try and draw too precise an analogy there. Let’s remember, nobody’s suggesting that the Sacklers, or Purdue, had roving gangs of armed assassins, right? I mean, I think this is a business that did break the law and engage in crime. They pled guilty again in 2020, just a few months ago. So there’s illegality there, but it’s of a different category than the Sinaloa cartel, and I wouldn’t want to suggest otherwise.
Notwithstanding the quoted denial, the comparison to Mexican Drug Cartels in the book, especially relative to some of those drug lords losing all their wealth, while the Sackler family kept much of theirs, was brought up a few times. "Free samples for doctors", as well as trips, dinners, etc are a staple of Big Pharma. The idea that it was "special" with the Sacklers is just specious. 

 The idea that they "got away with it" even though their name has been erased on many of their huge philanthropic donations seemed like a special sort of "not getting away with it". The book made clear that their good name was very important to them. While very few of us outside the elite even have heard of the name, it's destruction was a major goal of the book and the research behind it. 

The laser focus on the Sackler family relative to their supposed "cause" of America's drug crisis was strange, along with the strong denial that our declining culture was not causal. I'm sure Oxy contributed, but it was far from "causal". Causality is notoriously hard to prove. Did someone die OF Covid, or WITH Covid? An important distinction depending on what narrative you want to push. 

Up until reading this book, I didn't have much interest in the origin of Fentanyl, just that it is an extreme problem killing 100K Americans a year at this point, heavily connected with the open Southern border -- although there is a strong push to claim the open border makes no difference. 

 Fentanyl, Where did it all go wrong? Turns out the FDA approved Fentanyl as well ... and again, my bias is involved. My wife needed Fentanyl to control extreme pain from having her spinal column expanded and rods  put in to save her from being paralyzed from the neck down. Should the FDA not have approved it because it could be misused and cause addiction? As much as I believe the FDA to be a corrupt inefficient agency primarily concerned with enriching officials via the revolving door to the drug companies, my answers is no. Inefficiency and corruption in government, private and corporate greed, and people unable to resist addiction are often the price we pay to get helpful drugs. We should work to limit damage, but not at the cost of killing ot submitting people to tortuous pain to protect the addicts. 

I wonder what percentage of people realize that the Nobel Prize is funded by the fortune of Arthur Nobel, the inventor of dynamite? Certainly the number of people killed by TNT and it's derivatives makes the opioid crisis look like nothing in comparison.  

Here is a list of the top explosives manufacturers. Certainly, there are MANY positive uses for explosives, there are also a lot of people killed by bombs of all sorts. Are the explosive manufacturers responsible? Should those companies be hounded like the Sacklers? Should the Nobel Prize be renamed? I say no, but other than being Jewish, why the Sacklers? 
Page 407, "In recent years , some observers have begun to suggest that the opioid crisis was actually just a symptom of a deeper set of social and economic problems in the United States, that suicide and alcohol related deaths were also on the rise, and that all of these fatalities should be understood as part of a larger category of "deaths of despair". 

On page 230 we see: 

"It is a particular hallmark of the American economy that you can produce dangerous products and effectively off-load any legal liability for whatever destruction that product may cause by pointing to the individual responsibility of the consumer".  

The removal of individual responsibility seems more to be a direction of Western civilization than uniquely "American". Naturally the author specifically points out guns ... indirectly asserting that gun manufacturers ought to be sued when their products are used for murder. The removal of personal or government responsibility, and moving it to external sources seems a large part of the books agenda,  

The idea that "deaths of despair" is somehow "caused" by Oxy because there seems to be a statistical correlation is quite naive. Basic statistics teaches the maxim "correlation is NOT causation"! It MAY be a hint, but often a poor one. Increased Ice Cream sales have a positive correlation with drownings. Ice Cream is fortunately not guilty of causation (lese it be banned!!), it is the fact that more people swim and eat ice cream on warmer days that leads to the correlation. 

Can there be a free society without individual responsibility? Should car companies, both domestic and international be held responsible because they produced cars that can exceed 200 MPH? People bought them, and people died. Increasingly, the companies that produce products are the targets of lawsuits because "that is where the money is". We are increasingly beset by paying large sums for insurance against litigation already ... the US legal system is the most expensive in the world, and that is a big contributor to why our medical system is expensive. 

Another admission of personal bias here. Both my wife and I have benefited from Oxy. The original reason for it's invention and approval by the FDA is that it's patented coating allowed it to be released over hours, thus avoiding the initial "hit" that was (and still is) considered a significant risk for addiction. The abuse of Oxy started out as people figuring out that by crushing the pills, they could defeat the timed release mechanism and get the "heroin rush" back. 

My wife's surgeon was especially outraged by her unwillingness to take Oxy for her pain because of fear of addiction based on the idea that "oxy is addictive". It is, if abused, it isn't if used as directed.

Much of the rancor against the Sacklers was their constant attempt to separate the family from Oxy, and their general arrogance (at least as portrayed by the author). In arrogant rich families of all races, religions, national origins, etc that is not at all uncommon. 

The Kennedy family immediately comes to mind, only because of the level their wealth enabled them to influence America. Joe made lots of money in correctly predicting the explosion of liquor sales in the US after prohibition investing accordingly, lots of real estate deals, sometimes shady with Mob connections. He also dabbled in Fascism.  
Kennedy thought solely in terms of economics. Although he said he cared about the fate of Jews and persecuted minorities, in the end he thought they would have to be sacrificed for the greater good of the United States and its allies. Like Hitler, Kennedy believed in a Jewish cabal, which had thwarted him and that was intent on instigating incidents that would draw America into a disastrous war. “To defeat fascism,” Kennedy argued in a memorandum, the United States would “have to adopt totalitarian methods” and strike deals with dictators.
The danger of wealthy privileged families is well known. That Teddy Kennedy was privileged enough to get away with murder. and the name still really didn't suffer, galls me the most relative to the Kennedys.  Perhaps Teddy being denied the presidency was enough punishment in that case. 

For many, the US has become an "Empire of Pain", somewhat because we have become lazy about questioning narratives, and enjoying our own biases without admitting them, even to ourselves. My deep bias is that "Culture Matters", and in our case, especially being "One Nation Under God". We lost God, and we have largely "gone under" as Reagan warned us. Without God, everyone really dies a death of despair. 

Like all technology, drugs are a two edged sword, as are wealth, power, ethnicity. We need to always understand that everything man creates has a dark side. 

Friday, September 1, 2023

What If Climate Change Is Real?

"When  all is said and done, more will be said than done". 

We are regularly admonished about the "Setted Science" of Climate Change. "Settled Science" is an oxymoron, because it is an inductive process of hypothesis, experiment, result, theory ... test, test. .Not even physics is "settled" by any means. The test case of monitoring the global climate over hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands and beyond is beyond our technical capacity. 

Induction is true until it isn't. The Thanksgiving turkey theorizes that humans are benevolent creatures that care for turkeys. Each day, this theory is validated  for around 16 weeks. Then it is invalidated, and we have a nice meal with our family. 

 The rebranding of Global Warming to Climate Change is a superb example of the power of branding. Global Warming is a hypothesis/theory that can be invalidated by data. It is science, just not "settled". Unless our climate would become absolutely static (in which case we would all be dead), Climate Change is unfalsifiable, therefore if you follow the link, you will see it is more similar to a conspiracy theory than science. 

We can look at history though, and while history is certainly supportive of Climate CHANGE it is not supportive of warming caused by man. (other than stasis, everything in climate supports change). 

History would indicate that we are likely to return to the climate that results in glaciers a mile thick covering much of the populated Northern Hemisphere.  

Let's just go with the theory that any warming is being caused by humans though, and this time is different, the warming will be so extreme that human life will be wiped out. 

If we believed that, what might we do? A tiny bit of study will show where our current energy comes from. 

Doesn't look at all that solar and wind have any chance of being significant sources to curb our increasing use of fossil fuels, even though government and huge Western corporations keep pumping 100s of billions into these unreliable and grossly inadequate "green" energy sources, along with NGOs marketing against nuclear.  
As in many cases there is an obvious climate friendly solution to the issue if those in power actually believed there was some sort of "crisis". 

We have 83 nuclear navy ships with no deaths caused by that form of power. 

Why is this the state of affairs? It is unlikely that we can trust any agency, company, or "study" to give us an answer. Governments fund studies that "prove" their case for renewables and against nuclear. Fossil fuel producers manipulate data and encourage usage of their energy. etc

So we have to speculate: 
  • Through a combination of some events (eg Three Mile Island, Chernobyl),  media nuclear horror movies (The China Syndrome), and the fact that "nuclear" just sounds dangerous, public opinion is swayed. 
  • As Rahm Emanuel declared "Never let a crisis go to waste". In a crisis, all normal rules are suspended ... see Covid. For government agencies, "crisis" is a good thing. Especially if it isn't real, but most everyone believes it anyway. 
  • Since Climate change is a conspiracy theory, you can write papers, books, have expensive conferences, get PHDs, awards,  be seen as "a really good person", get a ton of investments in technologies that may not be viable at all or extremely dangerous and damaging to the environment (Lithium). etc, etc Hey, no rules man! 
We will know Global Warming is actually thought to be "real" by our "betters" when the investments in nuclear power and the marketing thereof outpace investments in "Green Technology" by orders of magnitude. 

OTOH, if it turns out that climate history is a guide, we will be in for a few millennia of good snowmobiling! 

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The Benedict Option

 Link to The Benedict Option, "A strategy for Christians in a post-christian nation".

About 1/3 of the way through the book I realized that I had read another book by Rod Dreher, "How Dante Saved My Life". I enjoyed that book, and my wife actually enjoyed and made it through it as well, which is RARE for "Moose Books". I hope to blog on that book in the future as well, however this one is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL for anyone who believes that they are a Christian to read.

Rod agrees with me, and I think millions of Christians in the US that we are officially and totally in a post-Christian nation, as well as post Western civilization. This is a new "Dark Age", and as St Benedict, born in 480 decided sometime around 500 as he journeyed to the shadow of once great Rome, now ruled by barbarians, it was time to found a "remnant" to keep the core of the faith, which he did at Norica, and in his "Rule of St Benedict".

As Dreher says; "Professing orthodox biblical Christianity on sexual matters is now thought to be evidence of intolerable bogotry, Conservative Christians have been routed. We are living in a new country" ... one which I label as "BOistan", but the label makes no difference, it is a barbarian nation.

On page 154, Rod quotes from Phillip Reiff: "Barbarians are people without historical memory. Barbarism is the real meaning of contemporaneity. Released from all authoritative pasts, we progress towards barbarism, not away from it.".  I've covered this fact a number of times ... "Closing of the American Mind", "Ideas Have Consequences", and others. Technology is not "advancement", it is just giving monkeys nuclear weapons without theology, philosophy and history. The beginning of wisdom is humility ... and barbarians have none of that!

One of the topics that is explained very well in this book is nominalism, as opposd  to metaphysical realism (see pages 26-29). Metaphysical realism tells us that EVERYTHING that is created has MEANING -- as Charles Taylor would say "It is Enchanted" ... or in philosphical terms "teleological".

This ought not be so hard for us to understand today ... one by one, from phones, to watches, to locks on doors, to thermostats, to labels on products (RFID), more and more of our "objects" have built in "smarts", and are often even "connected". Does it REALLY seem so "magical" that an all powerful God can and does imbdue his creation with sacred meaning ?

Well, everyone thought that was reality up until William of Occam in the 1300s. Strangely, Occam thought he was "letting God off the hook" because being linked with his meaningful universe of laws "limited him" ... so Bill (William) decided that the Christian God was to be like the Muslim "god" ... able to call evil good and good evil at his whim -- an issue covered really well (and a bit ironically) in a great book based on a speech by Pope Benedict, "The Regensburg Lecture".

Occam convinced the west that "matter is just matter" -- it has no meaning except that imposed from outside it, so "parts is parts" ... matter (including life) only means whatever we decide -- and as we became atomized individuals, each supposedly "the measure of all things", we arrived at; "my view is just as good as yours" and of course I think BETTER, so I'll call it whatever I want -- cells, tissue, a baby, etc ... it's ALL UP TO ME!

This book is WAY too rich for me to cover the MANY great points that are well made, so a couple key points ...

  • We are in a post-Christian, post-virtue post-civilization age. A "dark age", likely to be FAR worse than the previous one. The World Wars and the Holocaust are likely just "warm ups" -- the ONLY thing our "culture" worships is gratification of the self!, and that has never ended well.
  • "To live "after virtue", then is to dwell in a society that not only can no longer agree on what constitutes virtuous belief and conduct, but also doubts that virtue exists. In a post-virtue society, individuals hold maximal freedom of thought and action, and society itself becomes a collection of strangers each pursuing his own interests under minimal constraints". (p16)
  • People feel they MUST "do things" ... have an affair, have a same sex relationship, etc because they would not be "true to themselves" if they did not. "It is in carnal desire that the modern individual believes that he affirms his individuality. The body must be the true 'subject' of desire because the individual must be the author of his own desire". (p43) 
In the end, this book also gives us at least the start on a "blueprint" to save Western civilization. We don't need to worry about saving Christianity ... God will do that. It just may well not be in "the west' -- as I increasingly believe from books like "The Divine Conspiracy". 

God REALLY means that we have free will! He is NOT going to be giving this or any other generation any huge "signs" to save us -- he gave us Christ and the Bible, as well as his divine and teleological creation pregnant with meaning. If we seek him, we WILL find him -- because as long as we are not actively turning our back on him as our current civilization is, it is absolutely not his will that ANY should perish -- UNLESS THEY ABSOLUTELY WANT TO! ... and it seems abundantly clear that the bulk of the people in the west DEARLY want to perish on their own terms, and in many cases, as rapidly as possible! 

I'll reluctantly close with this from page 234 ... 

"The mind of technological man cannot resist his heart's desires, because he has been trained by his culture not to question them. .... The Christian must rebel against this. The only impregnable fortress is metaphysical, the conviction that meaning transcends ourselves and is grounded in God. There are boundaries beyond which we cannot go if we want to live." 

We Christians need to build a lot of small communities following something like the Rule of St Benedict. Please read this book, contact me, and let's try to be the leaven ... Dreher gives us many ideas on on existing heroes of God already doing this work. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Where Election Integrity Dies

The US Has The Worst Election Integrity Of Long Established Democracies

That was according to the WaPo in 2016.

What do Argentina, Costa Rica and Brazil have in common?

They all outranked the United States in a comparison of election standards and procedures conducted by the Electoral Integrity Project. The United States ranked 47th worldwide, out of 139 countries.

That was an important fact to establish before the 2016 elections, because if a Democrat loses, the narrative will be that there is a high probability that there was "interference" in the election, possibly by a foreign power like Russia. 

During the first two years of Trump's term, the integrity of the 2016 election was constantly impugned. Trump and members of  his administration were investigated and even charged for conspiring with Russians.  There were accusations he was a "Russian Agent".  Members of Congress, the media, Hillary Clinton, and countless Democrats declared Trump "illegitimate" because the 2016 election was "rigged, interfered with, etc". 

Fast forward to 2020 and beyond. Suddenly, even though election integrity measures had been extensively damaged by mail-in ballots, ballot drop boxes, increased lack of voter ID, election observers being removed from ballot counting areas due to "broken water pipes", etc. Anyone questioning the integrity of our elections as the WaPo had in 2016, and Democrats at all levels including Hillary would for the entire Trump term,  is now at least a "conspiracy theorist", if not a downright criminal, as is supposedly the case with Trump. "Justice" depends on politics. 

Multiple indictments of the likely Republican nominee in the runup to 2024 are of course NOT "election interference" in any way. The suppression if the Hunter Biden laptop information immediately prior to the 2020 election was also NOT "election interference". The list of actions taken to interfere with 2020 is long, and the list of interference for 2024 gets longer by the day. 

If someone wanted election integrity, the measures to obtaining it are simple. Mandatory voter ID, no mail in ballots, no drop boxes, same day voting at voting places with bipartisan observers, and strictly limited absentee ballots only filled out onsite at a county / precinct office with video monitoring of ID / registration being verified. We could consult Argentin, Brazil, Costa Rica or even the "top 10" nations with the best election integrity. 

Anyone not wanting to cheat would be in total agreement with these measures. If you are not, you are actually a threat to democracy, since the integrity of your vote is the foundation of democracy. 

If we want to maintain our Democratic Republic, we need a system at least as trustworthy as our banking system, and ideally moreso, as the measures listed above are easier to understand than the measures taken to insure the integrity of our financial systems. 

If you want election integrity, these measures will seems obvious to you. If you have qualms about ensuring the integrity of our elections, please consider your reasons, and what that means relative to your support of democracy. 

We are NOT a "Banana Republic", we are a "Democrat Banana Republic"! 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Making Martyrs

A "martyr" used to be a person killed for their religious beliefs.

That is still true to a significant degree, it is just that the "religion" is secular. George Floyd, Gabby Giffords (she didn't die, but it still works), JFK, MLK, RFK ... etc. Today's religions are appropriately secular ... progressivism, state prosecution of people deemed dangerous to the Narrative,  Science", Climate Change, etc. 

The linked article exposes the fact that the far-right is nefariously attempting to get decent women into their evil fold so they can be martyrs. We can be gratified that we are assured there isn't such a thing as a "far-left", only people that correctly stay in complete sync with the always correct always malleable narrative of the day (NOD). So what do these poor "softly attracted" women do? 

They often work behind the scenes to advance conspiracy theories through social media and softly attract new women into the fold. But at the same time, in recent years “alt-right” women have also shifted to influential public-facing roles in right wing media production and far-right national politics.

Things that disagree with the Narrative are conspiracy theories, The 2 year headline story that Donald Trump was a Russian agent and the 2016 election was invalid because of that interference was NOT a conspiracy theory, because the FBI, CIA, Justice Department, media, etc all agreed it was gospel. The fact that it turned out to be baseless is thankfully forgotten. If radicals ever bring it up, it was at worst an "honest mistake",  NOT a conspiracy theory. Blessed be the Holy Narrative. 

The fact that 51 former security officials declared the Hunter Biden laptop to be "Russian Disinformation" right before the 2020 election is also NOT a conspiracy theory",  however the people that claimed it was real, and very damaging to Biden, WERE taking part in a far-right conspiracy theory. 

Today, the NY Times notes that the laptop is real, damaging to Biden, and has nothing to do with Russians. Again, at worst, apparently there was just another "honest mistake",  that somehow caused 51 former security officials to swear the whole laptop story was a conspiracy theory, and that 51 of them made the same honest mistake and decided to make a statement in no way had any intent of influencing the election.  That would be "bad", by definition, something only the "far" or "alt" right engage in. Anything that causes you any discomfort with the Holy Narrative is a lie perpetrated by the far-right.

The Narrative Creed needs to be imprinted on your heart!

I believe in the one true and ever changing Holy Narrative, 

Created by the Holy Trinity of the Holy Democratic Party,

The Holy Administrative State, 

and the Holy Media, 

for the eternal benefit of all who adhere to the doctrine of the Holy Narrative 

When Ashli Babbit was killed by Capitol Hill police during the January 6 attack, she was promoted as a martyr, with even the former US president Donald Trump calling her parents. “Women make better martyrs in the ‘alt-right’,” Jeppesen said about Babbit’s lingering effect."

How could anyone believe that Ashli, an unarmed female veteran taking part in a mostly peaceful demonstration, shot at point blank by an officer under no threat of death, great harm, or bodily injury be considered a martyr? It is not like she had a lethal dose of Fentanyl in her body, was passing counterfeit bills, and resisting arrest, whereby she could be a legitimate martyr. 

Anyone thinking such thoughts is obviously a heretic against the teachings of the Holy Deep State Narrative, and should gladly receive re-education. 

Tragically, the peril is even deeper! 

Another growing power on the far right is Moms for Liberty, a group that began as a small parents’ rights group but which has spread across the US and is a leading force in promoting book bans.

Some heretics claim that these books are not actually "banned", but only restricted to children of appropriate age, something like putting ratings on movies. Obviously this is dangerous misinformation, and it is absolutely clear that is this a ban. Even more tragically, there are primary school children being denied access to important education by loving Drag Queens, and important instruction in all aspects of health affirming gay, lesbian, and trans sexual practices! 

I tearfully confess I suffered the abuse of not even having Playboy on the library shelves in High School, and was forced to search for bare breasts in National Geographic, the horror of which is why I am demanding reparations. Hopefully the damage caused can be reduced by medication and counselling, but there is no substitute for reparative cash!

Apparently, our society had not progressed enough to realized that denying my access to Playboy was in fact a ban on Playboy in those ancient times. 

 Far-right mothers start building rapport with other parents, using the vulnerability of their children to open the door to QAnon conspiracy theories and anti-government sentiment.

This far-right conspiracy to interact and possibly influence other parents to become so confused that they become vulnerable to conspiracy theories,  possibly even anti-government sentiment, is so frightening I really suggest you avoid the horror of reading the article! We need to constantly repeat the government prayer ... "The government is great, the government is good, we thank it for our daily bread"! 

One can only applaud the Guardian for their staunch support of the Holy Narrative, and even though painful, having the courage to warn us against the creeping disinformation of the far-right! 

Praise be to Biden! 


Monday, August 21, 2023

Anantomy Of An Explosion (SEMINEX)

 In an attempt to understand more about the split between the ELCA and the LCMS, I was directed to the subject book. To some degree, even though I made it through the book, there was a bit of the "asking the time and being told how to build a watch" effect. I'm not saying I "understood" the book, which would require multiple readings and reading other referenced works. It was an "exercise" which I would not recommend to anyone but a Lutheran theological scholar. 

SEMINEX -- "Concordia Seminary in Exile". It existed from 1974 to 1987 because of issues on inerrancy of scripture, represented by the begun to utilize the Historical Critical method to understand the Bible vs the traditional Historical Grammatical method hat considered scripture to be the "inerrant Word of God". (assuming the translations, attention to what the authors were able to write at the time they wrote it, etc) 

There seems to me to be a bit of correlation between an "originalist" interpretation of the US Constitution, vs a "living" interpretation, however there is difficulty with that analogy. Biblical texts are FAR older, writing in ancient languages, and derived from oral traditions. As a Christian, I believe that the KJV translation is "good", however, "good" is still problematic. An example that I beat to death because I am far from a Biblical scholar is "thou shalt not kill". The following from Google's AI;

The Hebrew phrase for "Thou shalt not kill" is "lo tirṣaḥ" (לֹא תִּרְצָח). The phrase translates to "You shall not murder". In biblical Hebrew, "harag" means "killing" and "ratzah" means "murder". The two words have different moral connotations.
In the US, some religions demand their members be conscientious objectors from military service, or even pacifists because of this apparently "clear" text in the KJV, which is less clear than it seems. 

To quote from Wikipedia on SEMINEX: 

After attempts at compromise failed, the LCMS president, Jacob Preus, moved to suspend the seminary president John Tietjen, leading to a walkout of most faculty and students, and the formation of Seminex. Seminex existed as an institution until its last graduating class of 1983 and was formally dissolved and merged with Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in 1987. Concordia Seminary quickly rebuilt and by the late 1970s had regained its place as one of the largest Lutheran seminaries in the United States.

 My title for the book would be "Anatomy of a Slippery Slope".  I find humans to be Manichean by nature (black and white). Even though a computer scientist sees the utility of a binary world. (there are 10 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who don't), binary like decimal is just a numbering system ... a way to represent numbers. 

The more I read the Bible, the more convinced I am that God is not a Manichean. He converses with Satan and allows him to test one of his favorite servants, Job. Moses talks him out of destroying the Israelites three times. Abraham bargains with him over Sodom ... the list goes on. I like to believe that my prayers, and the prayers of 3 or more gathered together can have an effect on God. Perhaps not the effect we want, but sometimes, maybe even frequently, yes. I can't find historical evidence for this, yet I believe it. 

Witing is a way to represent language, which is a way to communicate. Meaning is another kettle of fish (maybe 153 of them?).  This is ALL a misleading simplification, only partially because there is a whole branch of philosophy, " Epistemology" about what can we know and how can we know it.

Our "reality" is perceived through a brain that we have nearly no understanding of. It may well be more like a TV than a computer

Secularly, Socrates was the wisest man because he knew that he knew nothing. Solomon is declared so in the Bible. "All is vanity, chasing after the wind" seems to give that assertion support. 

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The view of "fundamentalists", "pure text" is that once you "question" any verse in the Bible, you are never going to consider it definitive on anything. Once you take a step on a "slippery slope", it's over ... you are going to the bottom. Probably atheism. 

Speech is a tool. Language is a tool. Writing is a tool. Theology, methods of textual analysis, science, etc are all tools. 

Just because you have a gun does not mean you are going to kill someone. Just because you go into a skid on ice doesn't, mean you can't recover. (although watching drivers in Texas, there seem to be cases where that is not true), Respect for "slippery slopes" is warranted, however there is such a thing as an inordinate fear. I like to go out a do a few practice skids in a parking lot when the snow comes. 

The book goes into great detail on historical schisms, power struggles. politics, etc 

Page 51 seemed to approach a little theological humility. Even Luther did not consider all books in the Bible to have the same authority ... specifically Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation. 

I often say "there are always two ditches", with the highway as a metaphor. Because humans tend toward the Manichean, we tend to be ditch drivers. The road analogy fails for a lot of reasons, one of which is because almost always there are MANY ditches. It could be that the ELCA, the LCMS, the Evangelicals, and the Catholics are all either in a ditch, or riding a shoulder. 

The ELCA seems to have gone deep into the way of Nietzsche - "all things are permissible" ditch. We may all be ditch drivers, but that looks like a fatal crash to me. If you lose the divinity of Christ, Virgin Birth, Body and Blood, etc, it seems you are lost. God will be the judge. 

I believe in the Creeds, so I definitely believe God created everything, including man. The Bible says very little about "how" in a scientific sense, it doesn't claim to be a scientific work, nor should it. All humans ever "understand" is a "story", we live by narrative embedded in a worldview. God the Creator, God the Redeemer, God the Paraclete ... all being one. I believe this. How is this possible? I don't know, I only believe. 

We may want to have some sort of 2+2=4 kind of airtight "proof" of all in the Bible, but even Thomas desired and needed to physically put his hand in the wound, after walking around with Jesus for a couple years. JESUS is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Mark 16:16 "All who believe and are baptized will be saved". We often love to be "right" more than we love. Yes, theology is important, faith in Christ is essential. 

The history of big theological controversy, sometimes including a lot of blood like the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the 30 years war, etc are not helpful for leading souls to Christ. Like the Fall, they don't seem like Gods will, OTOH, he did allow them ...  

Our understanding of reality is murky at best. Our understanding of God's ways are only through a really dark lense at great distance. 

Isaiah 55:8-9
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.

9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
We have much to be humble about! 

Hubble Deep Field. 10,000 galaxies in portion of sky 1/100th of the moon


Tuesday, August 8, 2023

The Toxic War On Masculinity (How Christianity Reconciles The Sexes)

I learned about this book on an Issues Etc podcast. If you are not a reader, that is a good option.

The review leaves out what I consider to be a key insight of the book. Page 15:  "Compared to secular men, devout Christian family men who attend church regularly are more loving husbands and more engaged fathers. They have the lowest rate of domestic violence of any major group in America."

On the same page, "Surprisingly, research has found that nominal Christian men have the highest rates of divorce and domestic violence -- even higher than secular men". 

I don't find this "surprising" and believe that "nominal Christians" who are CINOs (Christians In Name Only) are a greater threat to the church than the secular culture because they their bad behaviour allows the secular culture to (correctly) based on statistics, say that Christian homes are "on average" the same as non-Christian homes.  The CINO men pick and choose what parts of doctrine they like (man as ruler of home and wife, whatever he does wrong ... drinking, womanizing, staying out late, etc is "the wife's fault" because she is not "meeting his needs". He ignores the need to be willing to sacrifice his life for his wife and family if required, and to treat her gently as the "weaker vessel". 

Page 19 gives us the modern world model of a "real man". "To be a real man, means to be tough, strong, never show weakness, win at all costs, suck it up, play through pain, be competitive, get rich, get laid". 

Significant contrast. 

While she does discuss some of the contributing reasons for this ... women's rights, women in the workforce, feminism, the secular message to woman after the pill and abortion that women have a right to all the sexual freedom that men had, etc, she lays most of the responsibility on men. Since God calls men to be leaders, there is certainly truth there. 

She leaves out what I see as another major contributing factor, the many supposedly "Christian" denominations (ELCA) that are CINOs ... even if they are "regular attenders", they likely have the same numbers as secular, since they really are. 

Not emphasized much however, is that when modern "liberated" women set themselves up as the "stronger vessel", and take on traditional male characteristics as not communicating, taking charge of how children are raised, etc, the story is not quite so simple, and may put the "not so real men" -- more sensitive, more emotional, less willing to fight, needy of strong communication, etc in positions similar to the traditional woman dealing with a CINO man. 

On balance, a worthy book.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Illegal Biolabs In US

The power elite used to have the common courtesy to do their dangerous bioengineering offshore -- say Wuhan China or Ukraine. I'm guessing pretty much everyone outside of the Brain/Biden damaged US, has better security than a supposed  "nation" without a southern border, so why not just do it here? 

Surprise! Looks like we have some not so professional biolabs right here in what used to be a country with borders, non-political law enforcement and even local people that kept their eyes open and reported odd things.

An illegal lab in California containing nearly 1,000 bioengineered mice has officials concerned after improperly stored tissue samples were tested and discovered to contain infectious diseases including HIV and Hepatitis.

"This is an unusual situation. I've been in government for 25 years. I've never seen anything like this," Reedley City Manager Nicole Zieba said, per local news outlet KRON4.

The makeshift lab contained roughly 30 refrigerators and freezers — some of which were non-operational — as well as incubators, medical testing supplies, and hundreds of mice. Several disease samples tested from the lab included infectious agents like herpes, coronavirus, E. Coli, and malaria, SFist reported.

What could possibly go wrong?