Saturday, April 30, 2016

Medicine, Coded for Disaster

Pretty much all institutions, crafts, professions and pursuits go through a number of cyclical forces. At a high level we have things like centralized control vs decentralized, process vs art/craft, public / private, big factory "assembly line" sorts of approaches vs skilled craftsmen --- we could go on.

Writing computer code went from a highly individualized "art" prior to say "the 1970's" and then became an increasingly heavyweight "Design - review - Code - review - Test - review, with tracked "defects" at each phase with plenty of "metrics" to make the "Waterfall" a one shot through a supposedly constantly improving process. The process got way too heavy.

Then came the Internet and Open Source and it all blew up to free-lance "super coders" throwing source across the net with abandon  and rapid cycling new versions constantly. "Design" largely died and even "specifications". The coders took back control of software -- and it went pretty much back to being an "art" rather than a "profession".

Medicine has been both an art and very much a profession for at least hundreds if not thousands of years. It is the most personal and intimate of "personal services", with the level of trust required in your dealings with your doctor exceeding all other relationships in your life when the combination of trusting in both their care / concern / focus / wisdom / confidentiality / character AND highly skilled technical expertise as a package in a single person.

Much like religion, a government that seeks to entirely control your life cannot allow this sort of relationship to NOT be mediated by government and kept under strict control of government. The linked article gives a lot of detail of how we have slid into the hole we are now in, and how it is nearly certain to get MUCH worse.

Before long, these codes were attached to a fee schedule based upon the amount of time a medical professional had to devote to each patient, a concept perilously close to another Marxist relic: the labor theory of value. Named the Resource-Based Relative Value System (RBRVS), each procedure code was assigned a specific value, by a panel of experts, based supposedly upon the amount of time and labor it required. It didn’t matter if an operation was being performed by a renowned surgical expert—perhaps the inventor of the procedure—or by a doctor just out of residency doing the operation for the first time. They both got paid the same.
"Process" attempts to convert humans into plug compatible "parts". That was bad enough with programmers -- in which the best are able to produce 10-100x the "output" of the "average".  Measuring that output is exceedingly difficult -- "lines of code" are often used, but most assuredly "more is NOT better". As in writing, the tightest, best performing, most free of problems, easiest to understand, extendable, maintainable ... etc, etc makes programmers FAR from "plug compatible".

Doctors, having MUCH larger requirements relative to knowledge, skill, judgement, decision making, diagnostic acumen,  very personal communication / interaction, etc, etc are far far less "compatible" than programmers. I did a blog post discussing the difference between the pilots that crashed a plane in Buffalo a few years back and "Sully" Sullenberger who dead sticked an Airbus into the Hudson with no loss of life. Paying doctors "all the same" is insane  -- as is thinking that converting medicine into an "assembly line" with a bunch of "codes and process" is somehow going to "improve" it. What it does is shift power and renumeration to bureaucrats and devalues the unique skills of doctors.

So what we end up with is this:

In other words, we’re about to experience the two-tiered system that already exists in most parts of the world that provide “universal coverage.” Those who have the financial means will still be able to get prompt, courteous, personalized, state-of-the-art health care from providers who consider themselves professionals. But the majority can expect long lines, mediocre and impersonal care from shift-working providers, subtle but definite rationing, and slowly deteriorating outcomes.
The best doctors will end up in the private system, and a lot of solid doctors the next echelon down will just leave medicine because it is no longer a profession and they are professionals. What 90% of the population is increasingly left with is best described in this from Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged".

“Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover, in their operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man whose life they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it—and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn’t.”

Friday, April 29, 2016

57 One Way Streets To Perdition

Thoughts from the ammo line | Power Line:

I've covered at least very nearly all of these, but the litany is important, I highly recommend reading it. As you read the following paragraph, context is important -- the ex-wife of the person BO was running against (Jack Ryan) was 7 of 9 ... Jeri Ryan. Men have done strange things when involved with even less good looking women.

In Obama’s 2004 race for the U.S. Senate – which was the springboard a mere 105 “Present” votes later for his Presidential campaign – first his primary opponent’s, then his general election opponent’s SEALED divorce records were broken into and unsealed. In one case, some extremely minor mutual push-and-shove “abuse” and, in the second, some consensual but embarrassing sexual hijinks spilled out into the world. Obama prevailed. What are the chances that someone could catch such a lucky break? Twice?

I'm with Ammo Grrril on  the basic reason that BO's records all need to be sealed.

I’ll tell you what I think: I think he got into college as a foreign student, one born in Africa and raised in Indonesia. I’m not a “birther.” I do not believe he was born in Africa. I believe he was, in fact, born in Hawaii. But I believe Obama is the original “birther”; he lied and said he was born in Africa to get into college, just as he did in the bio his booking agency used. A bio he let stand for 18 years, uncorrected. I also think the old Choom Gang slacker had mediocre grades. And I’d bet my favorite gun that every lawyer on Power Line kicked his ass on the LSAT. Prove me wrong, Barry. Let’s see the records.
The book bio factoid above is absolutely true -- but of course, nobody cares. We are on a lot of one way streets and BO is a Democrat. Nuff said! Good God, Hillary Clinton is running for for president and Mr blue stain is still around! We live in a world where well over 50% of the population is purely following the script laid down by The Party and it's media / propaganda arm.
Nothing but One-Way Streets. No wonder we’re on the road to perdition and can’t even make a U-Turn.

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Too Simple Amygdala

The Psychopath, the Altruist and the Rest of Us - WSJ:

An interesting article, but very misleadingly simple.

There is an interesting book that I've read and will maybe blog on at some point called "The Psychopath Inside" about a neuroscientist that discovers he is a psychopath. It gives a much better perspective to the psychopath side.

YES, there are brain structures that play a distinctive part, but how you are brought up, your intelligence, your life choices, your relationships and a myriad of other things have HUGE influence as well.

We are a LONG way from looking at one part of the brain and stating "you are a psychopath" or "you are a hyper-altruist"!

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Compassionate Salt

Christians, Don't Fall for the 'Compassion' Trap:

The linked article is an excellent read for Christians that are concerned about standing up for Christian values to read. It just misses having one scriptural quote to complete it.

Matt 5-13 "You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless." 
A teaser ... but I recommend reading it all.
First, there is no inconsistency between defending our culture from the latest sexual “reform” and loving our neighbors. It is compassionate to women and children to argue that governments and businesses shouldn’t render them more vulnerable to sexual predators. And if you believe the words of the Bible, there is nothing compassionate about acquiescing in the latest cultural demand to normalize immoral and troubled behavior. Yes, transgender men and women need the love of Jesus, but if by our words or deeds we contribute to the notion that their “transitions” are perfectly acceptable, we’re contributing to their own tragic self-mutilation.

Arrest Louis C. K., Campaign Finance Law

In-kind political contributions from celebrities should be regulated like cash donations:

Louis C. K. is doing a fundraiser for de Blasio -- Louis typically gets $500K - $1 million for an appearance.

It is impossible to see how Louis C. K.’s donating his only major asset — his celebrity — to the cause of Bill de Blasio is anything other than an in-kind contribution. And, given that Louis C. K.’s ordinary rate (between $500,000 and $1 million minimum for U.S. appearances) far exceeds the legal limit on contributions to mayoral campaigns, it is difficult to see why this should be legal while other in-kind contributions valued at the same level are forbidden. Why should $1 million worth of photocopying be verboten while $1 million worth of high-value celebrity fund-raising is hunky-dory?
So why does Louis not get arrested like Dinesh D'Souza did?

We know this answer, de Blasio is a DEMOCRAT! If we didn't have laws on the books to criminalize political activity that opposes "The Party" (D), we would have this.

I am a First Amendment absolutist and a free-speech absolutist. I think Louis C. K. should be able to say what he likes, where he likes, how he likes, on behalf of whatever candidate he likes. But I also think the same thing about Charles and David Koch, Exxon, and Charles C. W. Cooke.
Anyone that takes even a TINY amount of time to look at "campaign finance" and "money in politics" knows that what is the problem from the ruling TP perspective is CONSERVATIVE money in politics! The only reason laws have been put on the books is to make it possible to put people like D'Souza in jail if TP desires. Louis C. K. is completely free to provide an in-kind donation of $500K-$1 Million to TP, in fact he is great guy in the eyes of TP for doing so! (surprise, surprise)

In California, if someone is accused of "coordination" with "outside spending groups", they are "Guilty until proven innocent" in direct violation of UN human rights law, to which the US is a signer.

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Criminalizing Politics, Dinesh D'Souza

Dinesh D’Souza avoids jail time, gets five years of probation for campaign finance violation - The Washington Post:

D'Souza's real crime is being a conservative. He has written books and done movies critical of left wing policies and politicians -- most prominently BO and Hildebeast.

"Campaign Finance laws" are simply laws to criminalize opposition to "The Party" (TP-D). The entire government bureaucracy and the vast majority of the legal system are controlled by TP. The idea of them "prosecuting" a Democrat for some campaign finance "infraction" isn't even in their imagination. The only campaign finance infraction a Democrat could possibly commit is NOT RAISING ENOUGH MONEY!

We live in a country run by and for TP -- so those that are willing to oppose TP need to be punished. How else will they get their minds right?

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

An Interest In Sheep

If I Lose Friends Over Trump, So Be It:

Back in the old days, US politics were a bit more like this old cartoon.

Both parties had a strong interest in the sheeple, just from a bit varied perspective. At the end of the day, they punched the clock and went off for a few drinks in some smoke filled room.

My personal theory is that they were all Christians, Americans, men (yes, and typically white) -- they believed in God, the Bible, Mom, Apple Pie and Chevrolet. They might argue over baseball, which highball was the best, brand of cigarette, "Ginger or Mary Ann", but they were generally "fine fellows well met".

My view of today's problem is that the coyotes have taken over Washington -- both "sides" are primarily concerned with dividing up the spoils, so they act like they really hate each other, but in fact what they TRUELY hate is Cruz or Trump.

The article tries to claim that Trump is some sort of aberration that is REALLY worth "losing friends over". I'm guessing the guy would hate Cruz at least as bad if not worse. BO was something we have never seen in American politics before either -- a man who stated his core identity as "Luo Tribesman" and his mission as "destruction of the colonial powers".

Hildebeast is a known criminal, pathological liar, and failed miserably at the only semi-real job she ever held (SOS). Everyone is thinks Trump is wrong about "She wouldn't even get 5% if she wasn't a woman".  It is hard to imagine her even existing as a candidate were she not a she -- her two "qualifications" are First Lady and Failed SOS. It is hard to be a "First Lady" without being a woman (so far), and she would have never been SOS if she hadn't been First Lady.

I'm a Cruz guy, but at least Trump is a "wild card". We know that Hildebeast is total corruption, absolutely self serving and grossly incompetent. Maybe Trump will surprise us -- who knows. I'll take Russian Roulette over a sure bullet to the brain.

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Eugenics: “The Thick-fingered Clowns We Call The People”

I'm starting to think that the New Yorker might be the victims of a "terrorist attack" if they keep this kind of reporting up. The quote in the title is from Oliver Wendell Holmes -- that paragon of American "progressivism". However, as one reads to the end, we discover that this fine column is yet another cautionary tale on "Trumpism" rather that the wonderful "progressivism" of our day.
Cohen writes that there was widespread skepticism about eugenics among those whom Oliver Wendell Holmes once referred to as “the thick-fingered clowns we call the people,” but the opposition wasn’t large or organized enough to effectively counter the influential network behind the movement.
Naturally, the New Yorker sees no similarity between BO's calling out "the bitter clingers" nor their own allusions to Trump supporters later in the article:
The 2016 Presidential campaign has reverberated with appeals to strength and victory and virility and contempt for weakness and failure and foreigners, hitting notes of blatant ugliness that we’re not used to hearing in the public sphere. The response in some quarters has been bafflement, as though this way of speaking had materialized out of nowhere.
Perhaps some "imbeciles" have been breeding in the Red States after all?
What is hardest to forget about “Imbeciles” is the stream of grandiose invective against the supposedly unfit—the diatribes concerning “germs of dependency and delinquency” and the “world peopled by a race of degenerates and defectives.” It’s a language that combines the detachment of scientific terminology with the heat of bigoted slurs.
Yes, apparently the "bitter clingers" in fly-over America are not yet fully "imbeciles", but one doesn't need to listen to very much NPR or read much NY Times to realize that those Trump supporters are certainly not much above genetic flotsam and jetsam.
As Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote to a friend, about his pleasure in writing the Buck decision, “Sooner or later one gets a chance to say what one thinks.”
I've read enough of the left to know that they have done plenty of "studies" about how "conservative brains" are more gullible, less prone to believe in "facts", etc -- they know they are superior and their big issue is how long they have to put up with the inferior conservatives!

I'm definitely "thick fingered", and no doubt Oliver Wendell Holmes would find me to be an "imbecile". That's OK. When I was young I spent some time with young adults that worked at a nursing home who were certainly "low IQ" which was referred to at that time as "retarded".

Personally, I prefer to be identified with them than with Oliver Wendell Holmes! I like to think that Oliver or even most of the New Yorker staff would treat me rather well 1 on 1 -- let's face it, intelligence isn't everything!

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Lucifer In the Flesh

John Boehner Describes Ted Cruz as 'Lucifer in the Flesh' - First Draft. Political News, Now. - The New York Times:

Boehner feels that Ted Cruz is "Lucifer in the Flesh". Here is a sample of the teary ones rhetoric on this topic.
“I have Democrat friends and Republican friends,” Mr. Boehner told David Kennedy, an emeritus history professor, at the event. “I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”
I'd be honored to have Mr Kleenex as an enemy -- as PJ O'Rourke has opined, "Christ said to love our enemies, he didn't say not to have any!"

I'll leave my comments on the crybaby with this from Revelation 3:16
"So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth."
My guess is that Christ approves of Lucifer over Boehner -- at least you KNOW where Satan stands! He DOESN'T have "friends" on both sides!

Why Is Productivity So Weak?

Why Is Productivity So Weak? Three Theories - The New York Times:

It's really weak ... like it was on the late 1970's. The NY Times helpfully gives us three theories:
  1. All "the good ideas" have been fully exploited -- computerization, outsourcing, management strategies, etc. It's not going to get better. 
  2. It's just a measurement error -- we don't really know how to count the value of all the current "good stuff". 
  3. We are "investing heavily" in new stuff like "driverless cars" that will come to fruition and "everything will be better". 
I'll give you another theory. You can either focus on government solving everything, making everything "more sustainable" and dealing with increased regulation, bureaucracy and the potential for endless new government programs -- BOcare, "green" this and that, open borders, higher minimum wages, etc ... **OR** you create new productive innovations, create new industries that MAKE STUFF, invest in the private sector with reasonable confidence that there will be REAL GROWTH, and assume that government will increasingly GET OUT OF THE WAY. 

Productivity stunk in the late 1970's and it stinks now since 2008 -- the first Carter administration sucked and the second one stunk worse -- we even labeled Carter II "BO". 

When you have a country that allows cheap labor to stream in by the millions, why would you focus on "increased productivity"? Why did people innovate and come of with fracking and lateral drilling when oil prices were HIGH? Duh ... because it PAID OFF! 

So when labor cost is a race to the bottom, the NY Times is "surprised" that investment in productivity is low? Perhaps they need to read Zero to One

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The Science Of Training White People

The scientific way to train white people to stop being racist — Quartz:

Back in 2007, the "progressives" were trying out the idea that "race was a social construct" ... it didn't really exist in the real world, it was mostly created in the US to support slavery and the continued oppression of blacks. At that time, Kevin Garnett was a big B-ball star and was forced to live his life of racial oppression on  $15 million a year.

The linked article would seem to say that in the case of race being a construct, the wisdom of "the latest is always most correct" ("progressivism") failed in 2007! Race is BACK! and it is more dug in that ever. In fact, it is a "core of our existence"!

When the core of our existence is brought into question, it gets emotional pretty quickly.
In this world, the greatest gift of religion (or transcendent philosophy) is that you have a core of your existence that is NOT your "race, income, health, gender, politics, intelligence, education ....".
When our reality as good and moral people feels threatened, up go the defenses and we stop listening. That “track-switching” process right there is actually a continuation and reinforcement of our privilege—whites get to walk away from the implications of race when people of color don’t have that luxury, so let’s get real about that for a second.
To be a Christian is to daily give up the idea that we are "good and moral people" and accept that we are broken and vile beggars seeking Grace. It's a perspective that makes viewpoints like the article's fall into the old song "and the things of this earth will grow strangely dim ..."

When all you have is your position of relative power in this world and there are no transcendent or sacred values, then EVERYTHING is about POWER. It's a Hobbesian world of tooth and claw (in this case intellectual / power / privilege meaning "life"), so it is (intellectually) "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." The assumption is that SOMEONE's "will to power" (Nietzsche) World View will rise to the top and force all others to bow to it. "The Party" is pretty darned sure that they have that World View well in hand ... in fact, they are exceedingly smug about it.

We have only really existed in a world nearly bereft of spirit, history and philosophy since "the 1950's" -- ("Closing of the American Mind"),  so today, a dogs breakfast of ideologies, grievance / minority groups of all sorts (in this case focused on race), now define the "cultural order".

In the absence of God, every person is their own "god", and quickly seeks to find some sort of group identification to replace the lost belonging once provided by religion, culture, nationality, etc. Race, gender, sexual preference, economic status, political leaning -- the list is endless and often frivolous -- "Gothic", tattooed, rides a Harley -- groups expand and they ALL seek for their group to be "the truth" and for "all other groups" to get used to their "very special" point of view as being ultimately right!  "All pigs are equal, but some are more equal than others!" (Orwell, Animal House)

In the case of the linked article, the fact the permeates all society is race and "white privilege", and THOU SHALT not question the pronouncements of the race industry on the matter -- thus, "science" is to be used to force your conversion to their world view!
There’s an understanding in the field that people of color may have a greater access to what it means to be white than white people, just as women have a greater understanding of what it means to be male than men—it’s a product of living as a minority. So calm yourself and try to listen, even if only because you look foolish grabbing at straws for an explanation of something much greater than your own small behaviors.
See, blacks know more about what it is to be white and women know more about males than men -- somewhat strangely, what they "know" is very negative, but never the less it is the "true facts", and obviously any white male is going to feel hideous about looking "foolish" in front of a black or a woman!  (the prospect is so humiliating it provokes anxiety to write it!) You may not understand the kind of smugness that is needed to reach those sort of conclusions, but they are kind enough to include a link in the article to an example!

It is amazing how often arguments for "superiority of perspective" in a world with no standards or truth, call for a time machine. I suppose if morality, truth, reason, philosophy and history are all "power constructs", a "time machine" is as good an argument as any. But the real core argument (to the extent there even is one beyond MIGHT IS RIGHT) is this.
You were born where you were born, your skin is the color that it is, and you grew up how you did, exposed to the media and a society that you had no control over, all of which led you to being exactly who you are today.
... The myth of meritocracy gets in the way of seeing this—we all want to hold onto our story that we’re strong, smart, and deserve everything we have.
Naturally, the "story" of the authors of the article is not a "story" at all, but "settled science".

There is no merit. "Who you are" is semi-randomly determined by your birth, your society, etc -- there is no purpose for your life. You have no "gifts, destiny, soul". There is no "merit" in building cathedrals, serving God, writing great literature, exploring the world or even going to the Moon. Chucking spears at a passing wildebeest, putting bones in your nose and dancing around the campfire to the rhythm of drums is at least equivalent, and as they say above, in their universe "superior", since black people know more about what it is to be white than white people do.

Why is it again that people have a hard time getting along when everyone's story is supposedly equally valid? Well, because that is a bold faced lie. The game is about POWER, and he who can destroy the "stories" of what was a great culture and replace them with the "Good Facts" of multiculturalism, diversity, socialism, gender identity, "tolerance" (for people that agree with "The Party"), feminism, environmentalism, etc can gain power and eventually FORCE compliance!

Somehow, as The Party gains greater and greater power, I suspect our own home brewed "National Socialists" will find even BETTER "Scientific Training" to convince any who fail to see the brilliance of their "truth" from daring to question them. If some refuse to consider themselves "foolish", it can be important for those people to be dead so that "the truth" doesn't get "confused".

As long as a few million of us are smart enough to fail to see the 2nd Amendment as an "ideological construct of a racist white patriarchy", we ought to be fine. No matter how smug someone is,  multiple rounds of .223 to head and chest tends to introduce some humility. There may not be such a thing as "merit", but there is such a thing as hitting the target.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Total Federal Taxes -- Income, FICA, Corporate

Here are the income quintiles for the US ... take the 320ish million people and divide into 5 groups by income. Each group will have about 6.5 million people in it (6.5 x 5 = "32") the bottom of the first quintile is 0 and the top is $21K. The bottom of the next is $21K and the top is $41K --- $68K, $112K, the top starts at $112 and the top is the highest income person in the US for that year.

*** Note, the right 5 columns are ALL relative to the top quintile since it is a HUGE income range.

Points to be taken away from this:
  • No matter how you slice it, people that make less than $100K really don't pay that much in FEDERAL taxes as a % 
  • Remember ... state, property, gas, sales, hotel, license fees, cigarette, liquor, etc, etc are NOT included here! It is still WAY short of "total tax". 
  • Taxes on business are paid by the customers, investors and workers of that business! MOSTLY by the customers -- because if they can't pass the tax along, they go out of business. 
  • It's pretty easy to see how a "flat tax" could work. If everyone paid "17-20%" in taxes and there were no corporate taxes, we would increase tax revenue, keep business in the country, increase incentives for old guys like me to work and maybe best of all, get out of the idea that the bottom 3 quintiles can get added benefits and have the top pay for it! 
 Good article overall and not that long. 

They Fear Critical Thinking, Ayaan Hirsi Ali i

Why Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Criticism of Islam Angers Western Liberals | Observer:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is hated by both Muslims and the Western left wing. I think the following paragraph sums it up completely why that is for BOTH parties.
“They want everyone to get out of their way,” she says. “They fear critical thinking. Anyone in the Islamic world with intelligence who takes a minute to think will not like what they see.”

They want all opposition out of their way and they fear critical thinking. Islam, the Western left,"The Party", students on American college campuses or the liberal relative or associate you deal with. They brook no opposition -- they fear it and they DON'T WANT IT TO EXIST!

But as Ms. Hirsi Ali works to combat those challenges, she finds herself battling the stubborn, unrelenting forces that would have her censored. The efforts to tar her with the tried-and-true epithet of “Islamophobic” come both from powerful Muslim enterprises that would like to squash her like a bug and some on the left, for whom a narrative of the Muslim world as victims and the West as victimizers is precious and comfortable. They regard Ms. Hirsi Ali as trouble. She is, after all, a Muslim-born woman who personally experienced the very abuse that she criticizes. The 46-year-old is also a superb writer, a winning speaker, inarguably courageous and telegenic to boot. She is an atheist as well. For those who wish to suppress criticism of the plight of women under Islam, she is, in short, a disaster.
If the left cared at all about the rights of women, they would never take the side of Islam. If they cared for the rights of gays, they would never take the side of Islam. They "care" for neither, what they care about is the destruction of Western civilization and POWER.

” She countered: “I embrace Muslims but I reject Islamic law … because it’s totalitarian, because it’s bigoted and especially bigoted against women.” The anger she stirs on the left confounds her. “You have to ask yourself why anyone would align with proponents of Islamic law,” she says with wonder. 
Ms. Hirsi Ali has no good answer to this question, and she is not the only one. “How do I get liberals to understand that we are the liberals in this debate?” television host Bill Maher asked her about the subjugation of women in Muslim communities around the world and the indulgence in violence that is taught there. Ms. Hirsi Ali is doing her best. What is terribly unclear is whether the left is prepared to listen.
Why is this answer hard for her and Bill Maher? If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, swims like a duck, flies like a duck, etc, are you going to believe it if it tells you it's an elephant???? "Liberals" stole the name "liberal", they are no more liberal than a duck is an elephant. Fascists, totalitarians, Statists, zealots, fundamentalists, etc -- THOSE are all worthy names for them, and for most Muslims as well!

For the left, it isn't just science that is "settled", IT'S EVERYTHING! -- and people that don't know that are just poorly informed or too stupid to understand it.

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Suicide And Bloodletting

There's Been A Startling Rise In Suicide Rates In The U.S.:

Around the time of the American Revolution, "Bloodletting" was considered pretty much a universal cure -- it is fairly commonly accepted that it killed President Washington. The theory was that your "humors" got out of balance, so everyone needed to let out a few pints from time to time. When you got sick, it needed to be done early. If you got sicker, you needed to let more blood. More was better and starting the process early was critical. If the patient died, clearly you didn't start early enough or let enough. More aggressive action was called for on the next case!

If you need any more proof that mental health disorders are a public health issue, look no further than rising suicide rates over the last decade and a half. 
Deaths from suicide have increased 24 percent from 1999 to 2014, according to an analysis of Americans aged 5 and up conducted by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Any of the rest of you notice a huge decline in government intervention in all aspects of health and mental care from 1999 to 2014? No? Anybody see the OPPOSITE? Anyone hear that drugs for depression and other mental illness are being prescribed at record levels?

As the article points out, suicide rates among high school educated whites are rising rapidly, but interestingly ...
Black men were the only racial and gender group to lower their rate of suicide; it declined 8 percent between 1999 and 2014.
Anyone want to bet that when you have something between 4-6K young black men murdering each other every year it cuts down on the suicide rate for the survivors? THERE might be the poster for "More Government" -- see, the largest government intervention in family lives in the nation is in the black inner city, and their suicide rate is lower!". Wonderful -- born to be shot you will never be hung. Dying by murder is a guarantee you won't commit suicide!

We have more and more government, but LESS people gainfully employed, LESS intact families, and LESS community coherence. For the common person, American life is meaningless and empty -- and suicide rates are rising rapidly.

Government is the modern equivalent of bloodletting -- no matter the condition, the assumed answer is to get it more involved quicker. If things don't seem to be improving, apply even MORE government to the problem!

Bloodletting still kills!

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Liberal Judgement

An excellent article by Dennis Prager (he pretty much only does excellent!), highly recommended to read the entire thing.

His point is that the left loathes all standards and judgement save their own.

Bible-based religions affirm a morally judging God. For the Left, that is anathema. For the Left, the only judging allowed is Leftist judging of others. No one judges the Left. Neither man nor God.
Since Western civilization was founded on Bible-based religion (Judaism and Christianity), the left hates Western civilization, so therefore the enemy of Western civilization is their friend.

The Left similarly describes any suggestion that anything Western is superior to anything non-Western. Likewise, the Left dismisses virtually all Western achievements, but regards criticism of anything non-Western as racist, chauvinistic, imperialist, colonialist, xenophobic, etc.

That is why the Left is so protective of Islam. America’s first left-wing president, Barack Obama, will not use, or allow the government to use, the words “Islamic terrorism”; and all criticism of Islam is labeled “Islamophobic,” thereby morally equating any such criticism with racism. It is not that the Left is sympathetic to Islam; the Left has contempt for all religions. It is that many Muslims loathe the West, and the enemies of my enemy (the West) must be protected.
Prager is smarter and more rational than I, so he doesn't take the next step. Revelation 12:10 "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."

Job is also an excellent source to see Satan the accuser in action. As Luther said, "Man is an ass, he is ridden by God or by Satan." As Christ says in Matt 11:30 "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Christ seeks to give those under his care peace, Satan seeks to make sure they are FULLY occupied! Satan WILL be cast down, but for some reason (my guess is that it is the price for "free will", he is still accusing today) 

So we see the left -- screaming, yelling, marching, demonstrating. Constantly angry, offended, outraged, oppressed, burdened with horrid unfairness -- all the while, seeking to "remove the burden of having standards"! 

Of course what is really meant is "no standards but theirs" -- Thou shalt bow before the altar of Global Warming, Gay Rights, Transexual Rights, support of ISLAM, women's rights, BLM, income equality. Gods standards are known and unchanging, and his Grace is freely available.  The "standards" (accusations) of Satan are explicitly designed to be a constant thorn, and there is no grace -- only constant accusation and ever greater demands for sin and depravity. 

You think you would draw the line and infant sacrifice to Baal? Try 60 million dead to the Baal of abortion already in what was once a great nation while Satan cackles and the flames rise. 

God is a just judge that judges from the standard of Truth, yet another name for Christ. If you are in Christ, you will be judged from the standard of God looking at Christ and imputing his righteousness to you . Satan is a capricious and evil judge -- he enjoys sentencing souls and whole nations to eternal damnation. Eternal misery loves eternal company. 

The power of Satan grows each day in the US. When someone loses their employment for saying that men and women need to use the bathrooms which align with their genitals, and you see the mass of the left leering with delight at their "moral" power, we are allowed a vision of Hell right here on earth. The evil schadenfreude false joy of casting your enemies down as you shift standards on a daily basis is palpable as the next barrier of common decency is breached and the noose of totalitarian enforcement of even the tiniest infraction of "The Party's" rules tightens. 

People are losing their jobs over men not using the women's bathroom -- how long before our currency reads "In Satan we trust"?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Thug By Any Other Name

Exciting New Progress:

I’m not sure, but I suspect that once upon a time “juvenile delinquent” was a liberal euphemism for “young criminal.” As often happens, however, eventually even the euphemism is thought to be too harsh, and so a better one has to be found. And so one has: This Obama-administration press release yesterday talked a lot about “justice-involved youth.”
From "Young Criminals" to "Juvenile Delinquents" to "Justice Involved Youth". Orwell would be proud!

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Fundamentalism Of The Smug Liberal

The smug style in American liberalism - Vox:

This article is a long but AMAZING read. Not so much for what is in it but because it exists at all. It is written by a liberal for a liberal site PLEADING for the liberal intelligentsia and hangers on to try their hardest to develop the merest hint of actual empathy!

I've covered all of this ground seven ways from Sunday, but to see an actual LIBERAL realize that maybe there is more to dealing with something possibly over half of the American Electorate than dismissing them with derision and smugness is a real treat.

This, I think, is fundamental to understanding the smug style. If good politics and good beliefs are just Good Facts and good tweets — that is, if there is no ideology beyond sensible conclusions drawn from a rational assessment of the world — then there are no moral fights, only lying liars and the stupid rubes who believe them.
Much of this goes back to "What's The Matter With Kansas" -- a book that SCREAMED about how STUPID poor people were to not be voting D and still clinging to tired old ridiculous Christian values to boot! "Good Facts" are critical -- liberals are sure of nothing if it isn't that THEY have ALL the FACTS on THEIR side! The following paragraph is a rare view of what a liberal might realize if they were to be a high school educated white Christian in some hick town in flyover country.

I am suggesting that they instead wonder what it might be like to have little left but one's values; to wake up one day to find your whole moral order destroyed; to look around and see the representatives of a new order call you a stupid, hypocritical hick without bothering, even, to wonder how your corner of your poor state found itself so alienated from them in the first place. To work with people who do not share their values or their tastes, who do not live where they live or like what they like or know their Good Facts or their jokes.
It's a worthy read, but we pretty much know it already -- liberals are smarter, better educated, better people, better looking, more tasteful, kinder, gentler, more moral, more culturally advanced, well, just BETTER! They are absolutely certain of it and they are even more certain that they have every right to be SMUG about it!

The thing that I would add from my experience is the quite large number of people who don't have the education, intelligence or money to actually be solid smug liberals, but they hang their entire sense of moral goodness on their embrace of liberal morality. They LOVE gay "marriage", they HATE the NRA, Faux News, they obsess about Climate Change -- they don't know a lot about many of these issues, but it gives them a chance to feel morally superior to their "hick neighbors". Often, it is the only sad "superiority" that they have.

Here is the Trump angle (doesn't everything have that these days?) :

Here's the conclusion I draw: If Donald Trump has a chance in November, it is because the knowing will dictate our [the liberal] strategy. Unable to countenance the real causes of their collapse, they will comfort with own impotence by shouting, "Idiots !" again and again, angrier and angrier, the handmaidens of their own destruction.
The smug style resists empathy for the unknowing. It denies the possibility of a politics whereby those who do not share knowing culture, who do not like the right things or know the Good Facts or recognize the intellectual bankruptcy of their own ideas can be worked with, in spite of these differences, toward a common goal. 
It is this attitude that has driven the dispossessed into the arms of a candidate who shares their fury. It is this attitude that may deliver him the White House, a "serious" threat, a threat to be mocked and called out and hated, but not to be taken seriously. 
The wages of smug is Trump.
The part of the Smug style that hurts personally is the requirement for "separation". I grew up in a Fundamentalist Baptist church that encouraged Christians to "be ye separate" -- not in heart and behavior only, but actually to separate yourself from the "world churches" and people who attended them -- which was basically everyone. ONLY the little General Association of Regular Baptists had the truth -- all else was error and sin.

Smug liberals can't associate with people who have "empathy for the unknowing", or even worse can enter a discussion with the smugly superior liberal in which the liberal ends up tongue tied and sputtering. They end up tongue tied and sputtering because their entire moral value as a person is tied up in the metaphysical correctness of their liberal world view, yet, since their view is dominant in media and culture, they have no knowledge of how to defend it. Like the fundamentalists of my youth, when faced with difficult questions, they have no choice but to say "get behind me Satan!"

The Fundamentalists of my youth put a lot of their self image into being "the ones in the right", but they DID believe in a God that was far superior to even them. The modern liberal is sure that somewhere between John Stewart, the NY Times, BO and a few really smart professors SOMEWHERE it is "all known and worked out" ("settled").

When liberals have trouble defending that faith, it gets VERY uncomfortable for them -- especially since they fervently believe that what they believe is not a "belief" at all, but proven and obvious FACT!  ("Good Facts") People who disagree with them MUST be either stupid or very poorly educated, and probably both. It makes it supremely embarrassing to not be EASILY winning a discussion with someone whom your entire world view depends on being as dumb as a box of rocks!

The urge to smugness is endemic to the human condition. Christ definitely came to discomfort the smug (ALL of us!) -- he was a LOT harder on the Scribes and Pharisees than he was on the immoral poor. The immoral poor knew they sinned -- the Scribes and Pharisees were very sure they didn't! (in those days / Jewish culture, they had the "Good Facts")

If Christ is in heaven and we will all be there for a lot longer than we will be here, we can enjoy earthy discussion about pretty much anything. Our worth as people is not be about our politics, our brilliance, our education or much of anything beyond God's Grace! Christian's could enjoy those discussions -- but "liberals" absolutely can't . They MUST be correct, and OBVIOUSLY / SMUGLY so!

The fact that a tiny fraction of liberals seem to understand how smug their movement has become and see it as a bad feature might be cause for hope, but I don't believe that humans can really cure their own smugness without God's Grace.

My soul weeps at the barrier that has been erected by the fundamentalist and smug secular humanist religion. It has destroyed the love of families far worse than even the divisions in the Church once did.

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Tiger SEAL, Prince Witness, Black Helicopters

How Tiger Woods' life unraveled in the years after father Earl Woods' death:

Prince as Jehovah's Witness 

So we find out that Tiger wanted to be a Navy SEAL and in fact did a lot of training with them and some of their contractors and it is likely doing THAT where he destroyed his body! The media never really cared enough to tell the public what this at one time most famous of all athletes was up to.

"To many people inside Tiger's circle, Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors wasn't as important to Tiger as it was to the golfing media and fans. He never mentioned it. Multiple people who've spent significant amounts of time with him say that. When Tiger did talk about it, someone else usually brought it up and he merely responded. The record instead became something to break so he could chase something that truly mattered. He loved the anonymity of wearing a uniform and being part of a team. "It was very, very serious," the friend says. "If he had had a hot two years and broken the record, he would have hung up his clubs and enlisted. No doubt.""
Many of us found out just over the weekend that Prince was a Jehovah's Witness -- although that was in the news more than the Tiger SEAL thing I believe. In our giant Democratic Party / Media / University / environmentalist / race industry / grievance group-driven pseudo culture of BOistan how DOES it get decided what stays undercover, what is worthy of destroying a given person, what must never be forgiven, what must never see the light of day, etc??

Does the fact that the Jehovah's Witnesses are a fairly obscure religious group that doesn't get involved in politics provide enough cover that a globally known artist like Prince is exempted from the destruction of his life and career for having had the gall to question the rightness and sanctity of TP in an interview in the New Yorker no less?? Is the fact of his small and fairly androgynous physical appearance enough to make the sin against The Party (D) of being BAPTIZED into a conservative CHRISTIAN church worthy of simply covering up rather than publicly humiliating him?

I can understand Tiger Woods a bit more. TP has a rather sketchy relationship with the military anyway. I can imagine somebody commenting on something about Tiger in that photo that stands out about as much as the fact he is dressed differently. I'm pretty sure the SEALS are happy to have anyone that can pass the training -- and **FEW** can pass it ... white, black, yellow, green or Klingon (although I bet they would be interesting to watch).

The biggest point that hits me is how much we "believe" that pretty much any "news" or even rumors/lies/ hearsay about anyone even as remotely famous as Prince and Tiger is CERTAINLY being shared even when it SHOULD NOT BE! We may believe it, but what we DON'T hear about is often way more important than what we do.

While there are things like "Journolist" that provide SOME level of coordination, it is likely more a case of "journalist interest" -- Prince seems like a decent guy that likes his privacy to them, probably the same with Tiger -- if Prince wants to join some weird church, Tiger wants to play with the military and have a bunch of women on the side, "no harm to foul". They hear about it, they let it pass. Not really "Black Helicopter conspiracy" ... but basically a "natural conspiracy".

Obviously a Ben Carson saying he "was offered a scholarship at West Point" vs somebody from West Point telling him he WOULD get in is completely another thing and enough for a giant multi-day story. A black man that runs as Republican needs to be "smoked out" ... clearly he has skeletons in his closet, bats in his belfry or  all manner of unholy predilections to leave the TP plantation THAT much!

The Tiger story is longish but fairly worth it. Trying to generate meaning in a meaningless life is not an easy thing. Once great athletes floundering upon retirement isn't unusual ... "I used to be Tiger Woods" can go through a mind -- a person that was defined by winning majors, chasing records, being on commercials and being the #1 golfer in the world. Bad back and bad knees with a lot of money isn't the same. Sometimes I think the epitaph for Western civilization will read "Man does not live by bread alone" (but by every word that comes from the mouth of God).

I seem to be WAY behind on what is/was going on in the lives of the rich and famous!

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Why Are Conservative Women So Pretty?

Why Conservative Women Are So Pretty:

The column author bases his observations on conservative gathering CPAC -- but you could just as well take a look at the conservative women that show up as candidates as draw the same conclusion. His wife (a European) had the short and definitive answer (as women often do):

 "Her answer was immediate, as if it was obvious, or should be. “It’s because they enjoy being a woman. And they’re glad they’re not men.”"
Being grateful in the gifts that God has given you and not having to tow some externally defined Politically Correct dogma is liberating. Sure, there are definite costs, but there really aren't any things in this world worth having that don't have costs.

Being an "oppressed victim" may seem to be low cost, but like countless addictions and false promises, often what appears cheap and easy is actually the most expensive. Being grateful is as close as it comes to a guarantee of happiness. Just being angry is nearly as much a guarantee of being ugly -- without the "thousands of years of injustice, oppression, unfairness, etc".

The women of the Right are allowed to believe things that the women of the Left are not. They are allowed to believe there is a difference between women and men, female and male, and that those differences are real, not a false cultural construct imposed by a self-interested, manipulative patriarchy. Unlike Gloria Steinem, they can express their femininity in any way they choose to, without fear of being accused of a calumnization of the sisterhood.
The author closed it well -- it could simply be that when we are grateful for what God has given us we are BLESSED!

Put another way, maybe what I’m noticing is simply women who have been liberated by their worldview to be who they are, uniquely and confidently, unabashedly and apologetically, unencumbered by the politically correct constraints imposed on women of the Left, and the result is a kind of essential womanhood that, far from being oppressive, as the Left would have it, is instead, miraculous and quintessential, and, you could say, God-given.

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Losing Life to Government

Rich People Are Living Longer. That’s Tilting Social Security in Their Favor. - The New York Times:

If the Bible was not divinely inspired, it was written by people who were alive thousands of years ago that understood human nature far better than the NY Times understands it today. The Bible understands that there are MANY distinctions between people and these cause envy (covetousness) even so far as a desire to kill those that "have more" in any form -- wealth, property, donkeys, beautiful wife (or wives in those days), etc.

For example, an American man who is consistently in the top 1 percent of earners — making $2 million last year — will, if he starts taking Social Security benefits at age 66 and lives to be 87, end up with more money than he and his employers paid into the system in taxes during his lifetime. In the language of finance, he would receive an inflation-adjusted “internal rate of return” of 1.07 percent. 
By contrast, if a member of Mr. Moneybags’s household staff, born the same year, made about $30,000 annually and also lived to be 87, he would receive a 2.57 percent return after inflation. That’s quite a decent return — a higher rate than any inflation-adjusted United States Treasury bonds pay, for example. 
That’s progressivity in action. Or rather, it would be if Mr. Moneybags and his gardener actually lived to the same age.
The best laid plans of mice and men  often go awry. As government has destroyed the family and the work ethic, the people MOST affected are those at the lower half of the income spectrum. As I've come close to harping on in this blog, white HS graduates with no college are dying in droves.  When you die at 40 or 50 your FICA collections aren't very good.

The research from Mr. Chetty and his colleagues indicates that the richest 1 percent of Americans gained three years of life expectancy from 2001 to 2014 alone, while the poorest had almost no gain (0.3 of a year).

People are EQUAL BEFORE GOD ... we all live and then die in a short span, and then comes the long eternity. Any kindergartner knows they are FAR from equal in any other way -- size, strength, intelligence, pluck, emotion, musical ability, athletic ability .... the list of differences is thankfully INFINITE! Thanks be to God!
But as Burke so eloquently told us "sophists, economists and calculators" seek to convert each eternally unique human into a number to be dealt with as they desire.

Life used to be a battle to maintain food, shelter and clothing in the face of nature. Now it is a battle to maintain a wisp of independent life in the face of cloying government intervention. When you lose your life to Christ, you gain it, when you lose your life to government, YOU LOSE IT!

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince Jehovah's Witness, I'll Have A Double!

Soup With Prince - The New Yorker:

They say you learn something every day, I certainly did today! Prince became a Jehovahs Witness in 2002! I find a few of his songs to be fine -- at one time I think pretty much everyone couldn't avoid "Party Like It's 1999" or "Purple Rain". Who knows why a little skinny guy is dead at '57 -- I suppose we will find out. He isn't an artist that I will be missing a lot, but OTOH, 57 is certainly too early to go for ANYONE, he certainly did have talent. LOTs more than me!

Since Curt Schilling is in the news, I found the following paragraph interesting from the New Yorker.

"When asked about his perspective on social issues—gay marriage, abortion—Prince tapped his Bible and said, “God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, ‘Enough.’ “"
So how is it that the New Yorker does that interview and nobody comes out with a massive "we gotta boycott his records!" campaign? We know that being black isn't as good a protection as it once was -- Cosby is an example of that. He only left the reservation enough to say that "black people need to take SOME personal responsibility" and all of a sudden his Slick Willie level of sexual license goes poof!

In the Secular Humanist religion is it possible to gain enough immunity so you can freely speak your mind if you androgynously slither around stage for enough years looking like you are "sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever"? He is even pretty clear that he thinks "The Party" has it wrong ... but then so do the Republicans. He might have been a 3rd party guy!

So here’s how it is: you’ve got the Republicans, and basically they want to live according to this.” He pointed to a Bible. “But there’s the problem of interpretation, and you’ve got some churches, some people, basically doing things and saying it comes from here, but it doesn’t. And then on the opposite end of the spectrum you’ve got blue, you’ve got the Democrats, and they’re, like, ‘You can do whatever you want.’ Gay marriage, whatever. But neither of them is right.”
How does a famous guy get away with heresy like that -- and poor Curt Schilling loses his job because he thinks people with dicks need to be in the mens bathroom rather than the women's. Hell, up to about 10 min ago that wasn't even an issue!

Somebody posted on FB that Prince was a Jehovahs Witness and I just didn't even believe it! If someone had said "Prince is a religious guy, what is he?". I would have said "Muslim ... Black Muslim like Mohammad Ali".

There must be something here that is so painful for TP it is like the Catholic Hierarchy finding out that they have a bunch of gay priests molesting little boys -- it is just too terrible for them to conceive of, and they just can't accept the reality of it. It is kind of like you are sitting in the local BWW, turn around and see Godzilla walking across the parking lot (or at least his feet and tail), but people are still going in and out and everything seems to be fine. Or Obama gets elected.

The smart thing to do is to just call up the bartender and say "I'll have a double!". That must be what the left all did when they read about Prince the Jehovahs Witness!

ADDENDUM: A current article covering the Jehovah's Witness conversion / life in more detail.

Will the media turn on Prince because he was a "terrible bigot" who did not approve of gay "marriage"?

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Canning Schilling Not Chilling

Curt Schilling, ESPN Analyst, Is Fired Over Offensive Social Media Post - The New York Times:

There was a time in America where the "maverick", the straight talking, honest, look you in the eye sort, that believed in the American right to say what was on your mind with the understanding that other Americans had that same right was highly respected. Being a mature, capable, member of the community meant that you could and would state your position and others DID respect people who did so because they believed that was at the core of the American ability to partially self-govern.  Freedom of thought, speech and belief were core values, and tolerance of others who differed in thought was considered a critical part of being an American. There was a solid reason we once had a First Amendment -- the government was required to follow it, but we all accepted and spoke up for others rights to their opinion.

Those times are long gone. Oh, you can burn the flag, march chanting "Pigs in blankets, fry'em like bacon", march naked down 5th Avenue espousing gay sex or attend an Islamic church that espouses raping women and "marrying" girls under the age of 10, but those things don't really count. They are 100% in line with the dogma of "The Party" (TP-D) -- wholly vetted, approved and required canonical beliefs that all good membership of TP MUST espouse whole-heartedly, and which disagreeing with can and does cause the loss of employment, friends, community standing and increasingly IRS and other alphabetic named named TP "investigations".

Can religion become too powerful? Yes, we hear about it endlessly, "The Spanish Inquisition", heretics being burned, etc. The Constitution prohibits a STATE CHURCH, but it DID NOT establish "freedom from having to see anything about God".  The Church is not a "perfect human institution", but contrary to what TP would have you believe, there are NONE of them, and Government is certainly not about to become even close to perfect.

Can government become too powerful? **NO**!!! Pay no attention to Socialist Germany, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Mao's China, Pol Pot, etc ... nor "that man behind the curtain"!

We have reached the point in this borderless land of the offended where things are simply not to be "discussed". If you don't get your mind right you are to SHUT THE F UP! and be damned quick about it. There are plenty of things that TP will tell you to scream about if you want to scream -- your "freedom" to follow the crowd is immense. They will even assure you that you are "courageous".

It's pretty obvious that Schilling had to be fired -- on FB he made himself out to be nearly as awful as can be imagined today.
Schilling describes himself on his Facebook account as a “Conservative pro life pro 2nd amendment American who wants to help those that cannot help themselves.”

Had he declared himself "Christian", he no doubt would have been fired long ago! As it is, ESPN was very open minded in keeping him on as long as they did -- modern society needs to have strict limits on how offensive it's citizens can be allowed to be!

He must have been awfully confused about what it meant to be "American" -- or at least he is now!

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The Rochester Mayo Fishbowl From Visiting Fish

I haven't read this whole series and doubt that I will. The Internet allows me to sign up / set up various "clipping services" that waft things with "Rochester" or "Mayo Clinic" and such by my stream of viewing from time to time. This is just one of them -- it isn't long, it is a couple of artists with neurological issues from Missoula MT interacting with the healthcare system and doing art.

It's like looking at your place from Google Maps -- which BTW has updated the Rochester view to I believe fall of 2014 when my pond was just installed.

We go out and walk around seeing a bunch of people, some of which we can sometimes guess are Mayo patients, "just visiting". This is our home fishbowl, we are used to it -- some of the features are different and strange to them.

But at least, unlike me, she knew where we were going. Many times in the past six days she’d traversed the underground arteries that branch from the mother ship Mayo; they minimize a person’s contact with Rochester’s harsh winter temperatures that average between 12 and 27 degrees. Fast food, fast souvenirs, fast art — in the mall, they’re all available for the 35,000 people who work at the Mayo and the thousands of patients who are killing time between heart-pounding visits to the medical specialists who’ll send them back to Riyadh or Rome, Marseille or Missoula with the most costly souvenir of all: a diagnosis that will change their lives.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Osteen, Anger, Hell, Homosexuality

Somebody posted the linked on FB and I read through it. It is full of discomfort for me -- and as a Christian, I think discomfort is often a good, or at least necessary thing.

First of all, my inclination is to dislike Osteen. He is a TV minister, a class that evokes the same sort of visceral reaction as "politician, used car salesman, etc". Being a Christian means one should ALWAYS feel at least uncomfortable about those reactions. We know we are supposed to LOVE even our ENEMIES.

The writer of the column doesn't get my vote either though -- very much "works righteousness", "holier than thou", "Scribes and Pharisee's", judgmental, etc I have a hard time understanding how any Christian can feel comfortable making the kinds of harsh judgements he is making.

I could go have a long scriptural "verse off" with some of the verses he quotes, but I don't feel like that today, nor do I feel "led" that way.  I went and visited my Dad yesterday and got to hear an MPR discussion about "political mixed marriages" that made "acceptance of homosexuality" one of those "we can't associate with people who fail that test!"

I overeat. I was sick over the weekend, so I've been trying to use that impetus to cut back AGAIN. Overeating is gluttony. Gluttony is sin, and it is just as bad as homosexuality. Do I "feel" that way? No, I find homosexuality especially yucky, not my temptation, but there are plenty of other sins that ARE tempting. Overeating is a nice clear not yucky, not embarrassing one to talk about.

Sexual sins are especially difficult sins. It is my firm belief that at our core we all know that "love, marriage, children,  family, extended family, community" are the human center of life. For those that are believers, God demands that we put HIM at the center of our lives -- which changes the focus of life.

Without (1) the sexual union of one man and one woman, none of us would be here. We also know that we will ultimately (2) face death, either alone or (3)with Jesus holding our hand. EVERYONE that is sane agrees with 1 and 2. Many, maybe even most, will try to deny or avoid thought about 2, but it's there.  We also have no choice on 1 and 2. We are here, we were born -- so we will die, end of story.

All human kind is in this boat. I find the fact there is not more love on the planet to be enough to prove the existence of Satan / evil on it's own! We are all short timers in a boat we did not choose to be in, and we KNOW that it ends in death! Why not love others in our shared situation?

In listening to the NPR show, reading this article  and dealing with atheists over the years, I'm convinced that the desire to judge others as being "less than ourselves" is an absolute hallmark of human nature. When Christ tells us to "love our enemies", he is giving us a command that is impossible for humans to follow -- like "love God with ALL your heart". The fact he would give such a command is proof that he is more than human. Humans have a hard time even conceiving of such things when they hear them, let alont think them up!

Have you ever met an atheist who even gives a HINT of loving their enemies? They are almost always pretty angry at those that disagree with them -- religious people, very much so! They are certain they are completely justified in their anger -- "righteous" even!

We all love ourselves. Even if we hate ourselves at times, it is always someone else's fault -- our parents, someone who abused us somehow, the political system, bad genetics (our parents again), racism, the system, ... maybe even God, sometimes even if we claim we don't believe he exists. We ended up "marooned" here with no way out but death unless we "give in" and subscribe to the "foolish idea" that there is a God and a potential for eternal life with him.

But many CAN'T accept that, because that comes with HELL, which is "immoral" according to  "our morality" since WE are  better judges of morality than the "certainly must be imagined" God who would conceive of such a terrible thing as eternal punishment.

I believe that accepting the moral authority that God has a RIGHT to actually judge us is one of those acts of humility that comes very very hard to many. I wrote on that some here. It is really a very mild humility asked of us compared that of almighty God being willing to suffer even unto death for our sin!

But in the meantime,  our natural desire is to feel better about ourselves by putting labels on some other groups and calling them "untouchables", "deploreables", ... "the evil".  If you go about 38min into the MPR piece (nearly the end), they finally get down to brass tacks -- "we can't be around people who are homophobic, racist, islamophobic or sexist ... these are non-negotiable". Let's ignore the fact that believers in Islam are "homophobic and sexist" by the MPR definition for the moment, we humans are also inescapably inconsistent. Humans are extremely limited beings.

Christ's forgiveness has no limits. I agree with Osteen that there will be people that have practiced homosexuality in heaven, and they will have sought forgiveness for their sin in this life. I pray fervently that there will be recovering gluttons in heaven as well as those fighting the sin of judging others in heaven, and especially those that have lusted after women in their hearts  -- and that I will be among them. Homosexual acts are sin, not homosexual desires, exactly like man or woman desiring a partner not their spouse. Sin is sin -- without Christ, it is like life, always terminal.

This somewhat long discussion for me is summarized by 1 John 1:8 " If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the TRUTH is not in us."

Christ is the Truth. Homosexuality is a sin, and it is not the unforgivable sin. Drinking to excess is a sin and alcoholics have a compulsion to drink to excess -- we don't tell them "go ahead and drink or you are not being true to your nature". Is it really possible to look at the wreckage of alcoholism, drug addiction, homosexuality, transgenderism and abortion and still say "these are not sin"?

Since ALL have sinned -- and even worse, struggle with sin each day, listing sins ought give no Christian comfort just because they can list a  group which happens not to tempt them personally. Any practicing Christian MUST have no problem pointing to a list which DOES NOT make them comfortable! Being a practicing Christian REQUIRES constant admission of our sinfulness!

Comfort, pleasure, ease ... Christians are NOT to seek these, but rather to serve the Lord!

For me, this analysis makes it clear why those without Christ are pretty much forced by human nature  to establish their own Secular Humanist religion with it's own "mortal sins" (homophobia, racism, etc above), and as the MPR program shows, they have done so, and it includes even "shunning" like the Amish.  I think Sapiens does a good job of covering the secular religion compulsion.

Matt 6:33  "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." We are in what to human eyes appears to be a hopeless situation, however ...

Matt 19:26  "Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

Hood Billionaire Brotha Bangle Beeps BO

Rapper Rick Ross's Ankle Monitor Goes Off During Minorty Youth Empowerment Program at White House - Breitbart:

Nothing says BO Whitehouse like a "Brotha Bangle" beeping in the background!

Bringing the role models of the BO world to our nations first house!

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Michelle Obama's Derriere

Michelle Obama's Derriere :

This meme has popped up enough on the web that I went to check Snopes. The picture is photoshopped, but the women are who they are labeled. Left to Right, Princess Letizia of Spain, French first lady Carla Bruni, and Mooch Obama.

The press enjoyed making fun of Ben Carson's wife's appearance. They naturally didn't enjoy Trump doing a comparison between his wife and Cruz's. So it goes.

The US sheep generally need to be fed a steady diet of propaganda that paints Europeans as "sophisticated, intelligent, discerning, etc" and at least most of the US, certainly the Red State swine, as well, swine.

Strangely, one of the "sophisticated, intelligent, discerning" things those wonderful Europeans do is "compare wives physical features".
Comparing the physical attractiveness and fashion style of the spouses of national leaders is common fodder for gossip magazines and newspaper columns, particularly in Europe.
I think we all knew that. The French didn't love Jackie Kennedy because of her great mind. Interestingly, one of the former lovers of Carla Bruni is supposed to be Donald Trump -- along with Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton and many others. Let's face it, once "virtue" is out, it is OUT!

We can be thankful at least that there is no chance of a "Pippa Incident" breaking the internet when Mooch walks down the street! It is also gratifying to know she is probably able to save valuable personal time by not lecturing the first ladies of Spain or France on their diet or exercise regime! (American school children are not so lucky!).

Is it "tacky" to compare how wives look? Sure, but it certainly is done -- apparently more in Europe, but plenty here as well. Is it "tacky" to make fun of NJ Gov Chris Christie's weight in a country where men and women are asserted to be equal? "Standards" are a very funny thing in a nation where there are no standards ... Outside of what THE PARTY DEMANDS of course, Heil BO and goose-step to the lavatory you feel most comfortable in today!

I'm actually glad that the press ISN'T making a bunch of sport of Mooch vs the "Ferrari's". It is hard to imagine if there was an R first lady who forced little kids to have sawdust and gruel for lunch to "keep their weight down" that there MIGHT not be a couple teensy weeny and RARE (oh so rare!) jokes don't you think?

Nah, we have an unbiased press and Europeans are just so mature and sophisticated.

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Criminalizing Politics (Frontpage)

The Criminalization of Political Activism on the Right | Frontpage Mag:

I've covered this a lot, but every once in awhile I like to post something showing that I'm not the ONLY loon thinking these things!

"What Obama and his party are doing is not Nixonian. Nixon never went this far. Neither did McCarthy. The closest parallels can be found in places like Venezuela or Iran. When the justice system is treated like the regime's secret police, then the Republic is in peril. When the authorities make a special effort to crack down on political opponents, then democratic elections become a mere technicality.

The law is not merely procedural. It is also moral. A corrupt system can selectively use the law to destroy the political opposition. The Democratic Party has begun traveling down that dark road."
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TV Cesspool

I don't watch very much TV ... just not that interested. I don't consider myself a "prude" -- I managed to make it through "Pulp Fiction". Probably the weirdest thing I ever watched was "Sin City" because I heard so much about how "brilliant and innovative" it was and it had Bruce Willis in it. I guess it's as "shocking" as anything here, but it's not on TV:
Thursday night, on ABC’s “Scandal,” Olivia Pope, the protagonist — long established in the show’s vernacular as a “white hat,” or good guy — beat a wheelchair-bound stroke victim to death by pulping his face with an aluminum chair. 
It was a lengthy scene, and even for a Shonda Rhimes soap that bills itself weekly on “OMG twists” — gruesome scenes of torture and dismemberment, politically expedient murders and illegitimate war, rape, kidnapping, blackmail, and one interminable scene where an imprisoned terrorist chewed through her own wrist to escape — this one was morally and artistically bankrupt.
There is a litany of such things in the article and this is the NY Post ... AFAIK, not exactly a "bastion of puritanism". They close with this observation:

“At a certain point, as always happens in Hollywood or culture in general, a set of superficial things come to stand in for quality: sex, violence, moral complication,” says Martin. “When done well, it’s the highest form of art. If it’s done poorly, and if that’s all you’ve got — the idea that quality is tied to immorality — you enter the realm of the absurd.”

"As always happens in Hollywood or culture in general"? So did Socialist Germany get into "absurd" on the first million Jews, or did it take a few? Did we get there on the first 10 million legally aborted babies, or are we there now at 60 million? Or maybe we have to double it.

"Immorality"? As near as I can tell currently from the culture that would be "Not applauding when an obvious male in a wig and a dress follows your 8 year old granddaughter unaccompanied into the ladies bathroom at the park".

"Morality" is applauding.

"Absurd"? What the hell does "absurd" mean these days?

They seem to think it will "cycle back" and evil will no longer be good and the guys in the white hats will be cheered once again. Perhaps my prayers will be answered.

No Mules Allowed

National Review:

I think Jonah went all "Pharisee" relative to Trump, so I have been miffed -- but I still love him. Usually he is truly "above the issues" in a religious / philosophical sense, not the narcissistic sense of BO -- I believe what our funders intended was for Americans to LIVE and spend most of their mental energy "above politics" in that religious / philosophical sense -- opposing teams in the NFL, not Shia and Sunni seeking to exterminate the other.

This paragraph especially hit me  (it is in reference to the Billy C defense of his crime bill and spat with BLM):
One fun consequence of all this is that Bill very well could turn out to be a liability for Hillary, which would be kind of hilarious given that Hillary would be just another left-wing activist lawyer were it not for her husband. She rode her Arkansas mule all of the way to the White House gates only to see the sign reading, “No Mules Allowed.”
I stand in awe of how much and how well Goldberg writes -- I liked this as well:

There’s a natural human tendency to think that because you can’t stand the other guy -- or gal -- he or she must therefore be your ideological opposite. The Brown Shirts and Red Shirts weren’t philosophical antipodes, they were Coke and Pepsi fighting for the same slice of the radical market by changing their recipes ever so slightly. Bill Clinton, as president, wasn’t that left-wing and Richard Nixon wasn’t that right-wing. But their enemies started from the assumption that any political opponent we hate this much must have a wholly different ideology from us. And when your enemies hate someone on your “side,” that causes you to embrace your guy even more.
My theory is that when we had RELIGION that was a real actual part of life, if the person you hated was in the church, you were absolutely required to at least fake that you didn't hate them -- and for the good of your soul, even ACTUALLY love them! Even if they were your ENEMY you were admonished to do the same!

We could have a few "ideologies" running around in our heads, but we KNEW that "this is ideology and THIS is RELIGION" -- one is temporal, one is eternal, we don't mix them up because that would be HERESY and that is VERY BAD.

Today,  "The Party" (TP-D) is the combination church/state. It's "encyclicals" -- sometimes actual "law", created lawfully by Congress, but increasingly "fiat" from the executive, some alphabet bureaucracy or the SCOTUS reading "penumbras"; increasingly MUST be obeyed by those who seek to maintain the good graces and favor of TP.  Thus "men in the women's bathroom" becomes a totem that must be bowed and scraped to by ALL. Gay "marriage" must not be just tolerated, it must be CELEBRATED by all -- or jobs will be lost, travel will be cut off, nay,  the infidels who disagree will be banished and purged from the Holy Church of TP!

On the right there is no such power as TP currently. The "Republican Party" is ill organized and has extremely poor "coordination" with the media that calls itself "conservative". Indeed, TP has declared it "illegal" for there to be "coordination" on the right, and in fact has declared that if so accused they are "guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent" in violation of UN human rights law!

Thus we have had "purity" issues for a LONG time as Jonah points out. Hoover, Nixon, W ... he could go MUCH farther. Even the sainted Reagan was far less doctrinaire than a BO on the left. The little history of W the "arch conservative" is painfully funny. I actually think LESS purity is better in this case -- as long as we don't lose track of who we are.

The whole thing is worth a read -- his left/right discussion is worth a refresher. If you haven't read mine on that I think it is decent as well.

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SCOTUS "Fails To Act" Gambit

I'm not going to spend any time on this other than to keep track of the insanity if it becomes more widely discussed. We already know that when truth, logic, morality, law, etc are all "questionable", there are NO LIMITS!

Liberals likely feel like conservatives did when Bork was rejected, BO was elected (twice!) and a thousand other little constant things like (unbelievably) a "new" calumny of Clarence Thomas!

The difference is that conservatives have to live with disappointment constantly, liberals believe they are entitled to always have things their way!

In his op-ed, Diskant—who is a lawyer with distinguished credentials—contends that the Senate can be deemed to have waived its “advice and consent” role on a Supreme Court nomination if it “fails to act” on the nomination within a “reasonable” time—and that President Obama could therefore proceed to appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court without the Senate’s ever having confirmed the Garland nomination . (Or, to be more precise, Diskant, in an apparent effort to preserve his professional credibility, claims that “it is possible to read” the Appointments Clause that way.)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Deep Personal Beliefs, Liberal Logic

This one pretty much summarizes "liberal logic".

This one might be the lasting legacy of BO -- for some strange reason it involves bathrooms.

BS Calls Hildebeast "Racist"

Bernie Sanders calls out Hillary Clinton for "racist" language.:

The Sanders comment came when NY1 host and debate moderator Errol Louis asked Sanders why he had criticized Bill Clinton for defending his wife when confronted by protesters holding a sign that said “Black people are not super predators”—a term Hillary Clinton used in 1996 while campaigning for her husband and his criminal justice policies. “Because it was a racist term and everybody knew it was a racist term,” Sanders responded to applause.
The cool thing about being a Democrat though is that even messing around with the "racist" term is merely a matter of "interest". Let's face it, the MSM knows that those D's are all "really good people"!

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Zero to One, Peter Thiel

A book that FAR exceeds it's promise. It has a LOT of great experiential documentation on startups, but the astute observations on attitudes around the world, misconceptions people have and just plain pithy contrarian wisdom is what really sets it apart. Thiel "failed" to get a SCOTUS clerkship (barely) and thus ended up founding PayPal which merged with Elon Musk's to become a very successful business -- many good stories about how those things happened.

First the title -- Doing more of what we already know takes us from 1 to N, creating something new takes us from 0 to 1. "Today's "best practices" lead to dead ends, best paths are new and untried.

The question that Thiel asks when he wants to understand someone is "What important truth do few people agree with you on"? His answer is; "Most people think that the world will be defined by globalization, but the truth is that technology matters more".

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE technology, but I think the future of the world will be defined by MEANING -- the West won't survive Islam (or the next "meaningful opponent") if we don't define a meaning and purpose for our existence -- and yes, expansion. To have a purpose, you have to believe, and if you believe, you believe that others would be served by believing. "I'm OK, You're OK" is not a meaningful philosophy!

I loved this line: "Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in shorter supply than genius". Again, it IS TODAY, because bowing to the "standard PC position" is more important than it was prior to the Reformation! Modern thought turns smaller and smaller molehills into mountains -- see NC!

My top favorite big ideas of the book are:

1) Monopoly is GOOD, competition is BAD. (in a static world, monopoly would be bad) I'm not going to argue the whole position here, but he does it very well. "The history of progress is the history of a better monopoly business replacing incumbents".  Think about it -- when Apple came along and created the expensive iPhone, people got violent in waiting lines to get at it. THAT is monopoly power, and you in fact WANT it -- badly, and it is the only way that our world will improve (technology wise).  "Creative monopolists give customers more choices by adding completely new categories of abundance to the world".

2). You are not a lottery ticket --  but first a couple one liners (I love one-liners!) "Elite students climb confidently until they reach a level of competition sufficiently intense to beat their dreams out of them."  ... thus,  "All Rhodes Scholars had a great future in their past"

" ... if you expect an indefinite future ruled by randomness, you'll give up on trying to master it. Indefinite attitudes to the future explain what's most dysfunctional in our world today. Process trumps substance..."

HELLO -- see "diverse financial portfolio", "well rounded education", etc, etc.

He covers 4 basic global attitudes and makes EXCELLENT cases for each:
  • Indefinite Pessimism -- something bad is going to happen but not sure what. This is where Europe is "Europeans just react to events and hope things don't get worse". 
  • Definite Pessimism -- The future is bleak and we know why. China is the prime example -- they know they are copying, they don't see how they can innovate their way to true prosperity, so they try to get their money out of the country. 
  • Definite Optimism -- The future is bright and we know why. Western Civilization from the 17th century to the Moon Landing. 
  • Indefinite Optimism -- The future is bright but we have no clue why. "He expects to profit from the future but sees no reason to design it concretely". The United States today.  "Indefinite optimists are so used to effortless progress that they feel entitled to it". "A whole generation learned from childhood to overrate the power of chance and underrate the importance of planning". 
For those of you that were sentenced to serve in an institution like IBM for some period of time, there is this: "...arguing over process has become a way to endlessly defer making concrete plans for a better future".  Oh, and you can "reorg" and have new buzzwords too! ;-) 

It's hard to believe this review is getting long. The whole book is a small 195 pages and I'm really only covering the first 75! IMHO, unless you are doing a startup, you COULD skip the last 90 or so pages, but that is not what I recommend. 

I'll close with what I think might turn out to the biggest mistake of human history so far -- Darwinism. "Actually, almost everybody in the modern world has already heard an answer to this question [how Indefinite Optimism MIGHT work] progress without planning is what we call "evolution"". 

Thiel goes on to point out that we may have a good deal more faith in this concept than is warranted. As I've pointed out, "it evolved" has become the modern answer to "it's God's will!", and while Western Civilization was optimistically marching to the real "God's Will" from the Reformation to the Moon Landing, we haven't really "evolved" all that well since -- or as Thiel puts it. 

"The smartphones that distract us from our surroundings also distract us from the fact that our surroundings are strangely old: only computers and communications have improved dramatically since midcentury."

He summarizes on Darwinism ... "Darwinism may be a fine theory in other contexts, but in startups, intelligent design works best". Startups don't have a billion years to get it right ... does Western civilization?

I'm NOT doing the book justice -- he has some great stuff on "power laws",  computer "substitution" vs man / machine partnership (his company Palantir), what founders of companies (or lots of things) ought to be like, and some great thoughts on what kinds of futures we may be choosing from as we check our smartphones.