Friday, June 5, 2020

A voice in the political wilderness

I think this video is worth three minutes and forty-one seconds of everyone's time:

Never Cave To the Rage Mob, Drew Brees

Maybe we're dealing with the Left incorrectly by trying to understand their behavior. Perhaps they're like Christopher Nolan's Joker, as described by Alfred the butler:

"Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."

The Dark Knight - Some Men Just Want To Watch The World Burn



A dearth of honesty

Human beings tend to think of things in terms of good and bad. This is hard wired into us, regardless of what the individual believes is the source of that wiring. I would opine on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but some might object.

We humans are quite clever. We tend to do a decent job processing information, but that processing is enhanced or limited by the amount of, and quality of, the information available.

For that reason, sometimes with the best of intentions, we get it wrong.

We all want justice. We can all agree on that. What we can't seem to agree on is what true justice looks like.

To me, justice looks like a world where people do see the color of my skin, because it's absurd to think anyone could possibly be color blind, but only judge me on the content of my character. Doesn't that sound familiar? Yes, that's correct; it's the vision Martin Luther King Jr. had for his children.

To me, justice looks like a world where people who do evil are punished for it, regardless of skin color or position in life, and the punishment always fits the crime.

To some others though, that's not their vision. Justice for them is not just an eye for an eye, but also the rest of the body, the family it's related to, the business that the family owns, every single person who ever walked in the door, and all their progeny for successive generations. The end justifies the means, yada yada yada.

Let's be honest. The vast majority of people you see in every day life, at work, out shopping, at the gym, wherever...they're not there to hurt you or take anything from you. So why does any group want to keep hating others of a different group, and telling themselves and each other that every person from the other group is racist, evil and out to harm them?

I don't have an answer that will satisfy conclusively, and judging from the contrasting views of the riots that raged across our country recently, neither does anyone else. Apparently you either condemn the wanton destruction of private businesses that had nothing to do with George Floyd's tragic death, or you think the rioting and looting was understandable and necessary.

Similar to Ronald Reagan's comment about today's conservative is yesterday's liberal who got mugged, I can only say this:

Would any of you who think the current violence and destruction is justified still feel the same way if it were your means of feeding your family being destroyed?

Oops, I forgot to mention at the beginning of this essay about the terrible time we humans have being honest with ourselves.



Thursday, June 4, 2020

Apple lies, dates do not

Everyone thinks Jobs was such a genius by producing the iPhone. However, few are aware of the following dates:

LG Prada announcement date: December 12, 2006
Apple iPhone announcement date: January 9, 2007

LG Prada release date: May 2007
Apple iPhone release date: June 2007

So much for Apple's undying reputation as an innovator. Didn't Apple sue Samsung for "rounded corners"? Apparently they forgot that the LG Prada, which existed before the iPhone, had the same rounded corners. Apple stole the idea, then filed a  patent for it, which was eventually granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office in a stunning display of obtuse discernment.

Apple finally gets its patent on a rectangle with rounded corners

More information here reveals Apple's unscrupulous attempts to win the smart phone wars by using additional ridiculous patent restrictions:

In Apple v. Samsung, SCOTUS Sided With Reason Over Rounded Corners

"As patent law developed, it’s no surprise that lawmakers failed to predict that we would one day carry around miniature computers integrating more than 250,000 individual patents in our pockets." --from the Apple vs. Samsung article.

That of course wasn't the first time the "innovators" at Apple stole a game changing idea.

Remember the now famous story of how Bill Gates conned Steve Jobs into loaning some as yet unreleased Apple Macintoshes to Microsoft, and then proceeded to reverse engineer their operating system to produce Windows? So the mantra was Microsoft stole from Apple.

But wait...before Microsoft stole from Apple, Apple stole from Xerox, the company that first created the GUI interface we all use today. The Macintosh was seen as brilliant innovation, but all the pretty outside would have been pointless without the crown jewel of the mouse/desktop interface invented by Xerox engineers at the Palo Alto Research Center.

Wait you say! How about the iPod? You gotta give props to Apple for that innovation.

No, not at all. The first digital audio player was invented by Kane Kramer who had working prototypes that could play for an hour on a single charge in 1979. Due to Kramer not having 60,000 pounds (British monetary units) to renew his patent in 1988, his patent entered the public domain, which of course allowed the opportunistic Apple to be "inspired" by his invention.

"But I still love Apple stuff." Hey, to each their own I say. But don't lie to yourself and others about Apple's innovation. Their contributions are a testimony to packaging and marketing. The last time Apple did something truly innovative was when Steve Wozniak created their first Apple computer back in 1976.

In a world where VHS overpowers Betamax and Microsoft squashes Apple due to lower prices and market proliferation, I suppose Apple has to find some way to compete.

Perhaps for a company that produces cheaply made and overpriced products, elitist marketing hype and patent chicanery are the most lucrative strategies.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Enemies of the truth

Ray Comfort does this clever shtick where he gets people to admit their past includes some form of lying, stealing, using God's name in vain, lusting after someone who is not his or her spouse, so then he tells them, "You've just admitted you're a lying, thieving, blasphemous adulterer at heart."

An example:

This video could reveal that you're not really a Christian

Trickery aside, Comfort has a point to make regarding subjective interpretations of objective concepts.

One thing that I have had a hard time letting go of is not just how the MSM (mainstream media) lies to us about all kinds of things, but more disappointingly, how so many of us repeat these deceptions to each other as though they were facts. I've expressed negative opinions regarding people like AOC, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff and Hillary Clinton at times, despite never having met any of them.

This web site is devoted to listing lies by all the mainstream media, not just right or left:

MSMlies.com

I have friends and family members who look at the world differently than I do, and that's fine. They must certainly look at me and wonder why I think as I do. But there is something about the willingness to parrot gossip that agitates me to no end.

I gave it more thought, did some more reading, and came to this conclusion, which was also expressed by someone on Reddit:

"If you allow lies to be spread against someone you don't like, then you are an enemy of the truth."

I get that there are people in the public square each of us could do without. Who these people are most likely depends on how we view the world.

But if one is completely honest with one's self, there's no escaping the fact that if we believe and repeat lies about others, we are committing false witness, and are punishable under the Law.

Am I a Trump fan? I don't know what that's supposed to mean, as I support Trump's political platform of prosperity and security, I could do without his combative nature on some occasions but sometimes I think his abrasiveness is justified, I enjoy his rally speeches because they're often funny, and I think it would be ungrateful of me to ignore all the good things he's done for the US while in office.

Does Trump tell the truth about everything? Probably not, because no one does, politician or not.

When we applaud slander, we support the destruction of another human being's reputation. When we allow others to slander, we are complicit in our silence. For those reasons, it's nearly intolerable to watch media commentary disguised as reporting anymore.

Should the merciless obtain mercy? Should the unforgiving obtain forgiveness?

Word has it that God does not play favorites in that regard.



Travis Baldree is the Man

Not familiar with the name? That wouldn't be a surprise. Travis Baldree is a rock star in the game-making world, but he has maintained a low profile ala Jeff Lynne.

I bring Baldree up because I'm playing Fate (again) right now. Excellent game! Everyone's heard of Torchlight and Torchlight II, but not Fate so much. It's interesting because Travis Baldree designed and programmed Fate (WildTangent Games) and also created both Torchlights (Runic Games).

Torchlight was released in 2009, and many people saw it as a Diablo killer because it included everything that was great about Diablo I and II, and added features  that lessened the grindy nature of both Diablos (e.g. pets going to town to sell your loot). The graphics were much better than Diablo II. The first Torchlight came out a full three years before Diablo III was released, and everyone who loves dungeon crawlers thought, whoa, this is better than Diablo II, 1/3 the price (only $20 upon release), and the best part: no annoying DRM.

Torchlight sold very well for a game that didn't have near the advertising dollar of a company like Blizzard. Over 5 million units sold between both Torchlights as of 2015. And players really appreciated the respect they were shown by the lack of intrusive DRM. The Torchlight franchise's sales numbers are proof positive that incorporating DRM is how publishers demonstrate a lack of faith in a game's ability to sell itself.

Imagine what Torchlight's sales would have been if they were as well advertised as Blizzard's games.

Baldree originally formed Runic Games along with two founders of Blizzard North, the company that created the first Diablo. Runic was bought by Perfect World Entertainment in 2010, Baldree left in 2014 to start another game company called Double Damage games, and then Runic closed down three years later.

I haven't played Rebel Galaxy yet (the game Baldree made after he left Runic), but it and its followup look excellent. They're definitely in my queue for new games to try.

As a matter of fact, the scope isn't as vast, but Rebel Galaxy looks a lot more like the kind of game players were looking for than No Man's Sky delivered. You don't get to explore actual planets, but the whole procedurally-generated-solar-system strategize/battle/upgrade mechanic looks fun. The spinoff game Rebel Galaxy Outlaw even plays like Star Wars X-Wing in parts, according to the reviewer below.

Rebel Galaxy Review

Rebel Galaxy Outlaw Review

So what's the point of all this? I think Baldree is one of those rare people who just naturally know how to make a fun game, so it's worth it to keep track of his progress.

And Blizzard? I blew them off forever after their Internet-required DRM antics that started with Diablo III and continued with Starcraft II. And no LAN play in Starcraft II? Piracy my butt. They left it out so you'd have to look at ads on Battle.net.

The "Real" Reason Why There Is No Starcraft 2 LAN Play

I don't just complain when game publishers abuse their customers. I always vote with my dollars, regardless of how "awesome" a game is purported to be. This means I'll continue to enjoy Diablo and Diablo II, but unless Blizzard ends their draconian tactics, I'll never buy nor play their post Diablo II games.

With all the games I already own, and all the great games out there to buy that don't insult my integrity as a game customer, not playing Diablo III or Starcraft II isn't much of a sacrifice.




Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Definitely NOT one to one

PippenFTS, a user on YouTube, created this video:

The Earth in Minecraft, 1:1 scale ...for the first time.

It's initially inspiring, but once you watch the video for a bit, you realize limitations of processing power make the project impossible to complete at this time, if ever.

In the comments I found a pervading fascination with comparisons to reality in terms of structure and feasibility. God was mentioned here and there, but not that often.

What many people don't connect are the dots between what we call reality and the reality of God. The way to get past "infinite" space and the one to one idea of a Minecraft replication of the universe is to add another dimension, one that exceeds temporal and spatial limits that are intrinsic to us.

People have long dismissed the idea that God could have created all of what we know as reality, because they are operating under the assumption that God has nothing but our own parameters to work with. It cannot be argued successfully that God could use our existing computer and fabrication technologies to create the universe.

Flatland, the story by Edwin A. Abbott, is an allegory that solved this puzzle a long time ago, and all that was necessary to properly connect the dots was simple faith.

Some may commonly respond to that statement by saying, "Faith is for the ignorant."

However, is that the same way they refer to people who entertain impossible-to-prove theories like the Multiverse or Punctuated Equilibrium?

The 21st century has allowed us to look at scientific theory with more critical eyes. That vital practice is the long-touted superior and assumed approach of science. In other words, part of the scientific method is to not just accept a theory on faith, but to test it in a lab instead.

The latter 20th and current 21st centuries have both brought several scientific disciplines under greater scrutiny, most notably biology, cosmology and sub-atomic theory. This is thanks to ever-advancing technologies that bring specific parameters out of the realm of faith and into the real world of laboratory substantiation.

We can now see things more clearly with less guesswork than ever before. A great example is ever more powerful Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). It should no longer be disputed that had Charles Darwin had access to this modern technology, he would have been astounded at the incredible complexities of the cell, and reconsidered his entire core theory.

Back in Darwin's day, they assumed a cell was a simple blob of protoplasm. They had no clue it was so ridiculously complex. That complexity adds several magnitudes of time expectancy to the classic view of evolutionary development, far exceeding the currently believed age of the Earth. But that's a separate discussion.

What about this other dimension I mentioned, this possible location for God?

From a biblical perspective, we've been given a few clues about the parameters of this additional dimension (or dimensions, for that matter):

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." --Isaiah 55:8-9

For a long time, people thought that "higher" meant up in space somewhere, like the purveyors of the "Sky Daddy" fallacy. That's still a reference used by those who prefer mockery to genuine thought. I would like to suggest that "higher" is instead a direct reference to a higher dimension.


"For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night." --Psalms 90:4

"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." --2 Peter 3:8


These both very strongly suggest that time as a physical limitation does not exist for God in the same way it does for us. So what could it mean to not be constrained by the temporal? This question often gets pushed to the side, because the inconvenient truth for us is that we can't possibly fathom something completely outside of our frame of reference for reality. We ask, "But wouldn't everything happen at once with no linear time to separate actions?" That's the best question we can come up with, exposing our lack of knowledge on the subject.

Physics reminds us that time itself is an emergent property of matter. That is to say, without matter to measure against, there is no time. Thus it can be deduced that when God created matter, he also created time (for us). It is possible that the physical matter of our universe is analogous to pixels on a screen, those being two dimensional as opposed to the three dimensional illusion they create.

The pre-destination debate has always centered around an unwillingness to acknowledge that there can be an absence of time. Specifically, there are objections to the ideas that God can know the future when we don't, or that God exists outside of time. But those objections exist only because we are incapable of fully describing an existence without time as a parameter. Time is a part of our existence and it provides a great deal of our reference points for reality. 


"For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him." --Isaiah 64:4

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." --1 Corinthians 2:9-11

These both refer to the same fact: human beings literally have not heard, seen, or even conceived what the dimensions of God are actually like. We like to think of ourselves as masters of our domain, but that's the whole point made by the verses. We have no clue of any existence but our own. We don't even have the ability to accurately imagine God's greater reality. Think about that.


"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." --2 Corinthians 4:18

This verse points out that there is a difference between the temporal (subject to time) and the eternal (not subject to time). Even when imagining things like a multiverse, we must still use known parameters to form our hypotheses. There can't be a Multiverse unless there are universes to comprise it. A universe is an already existing known quantity, we didn't invent it in our imaginations.


"Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." --Isaiah 45:21-22

"But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand." --Isaiah 64:8

"I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded." --Isaiah 45:12

"Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God." --Isaiah 44:6

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." --Revelation 22:13


These verses all speak to one immutable fact: God created the universe, the universe did not create itself. For something so utterly fantastic to have happened, God would need to have access to resources and technologies that we can't possibly access in our physical reality. Furthermore, to avoid an infinite loop of creations creating creations, apparently our aspirations to repeat the work of God are meant to remain impossible, because of the insurmountable limitations of what we have available to us in our subset of God's higher reality.


"Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? --Job 38:4-7

This passage specifically addresses the absence of human knowledge about God's greater reality. Some of the details don't even make sense to us based on our experience with our physical reality, and we have to imbue them with our own frame of reference, which of course renders them incomplete and inaccurate.


"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." --Revelation 21:1

"And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." --Revelation 21:3-6

"And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." --Revelation 21:22-23

"And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever." --Revelation 22:5


These passages raise several questions, such as "How can we exist without the sun?" "How can a person be a temple?" "How can a person be the beginning and the ending of everything we know?" "How can anything last forever when everything in our universe passes away eventually?"

Again, this is the whole point I'm making. We naturally ask those questions because based on what we perceive as reality, these things all seem impossible. But even the ones who penned the scriptures saw that coming, as you can read for yourself in the next four passages:

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” --Luke 1:37

“And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” --Luke 18:27

“But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” --Matthew 19:26

“And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” --Mark 10:27



Last, but not least, another passage from the book of Job, in which Job himself admits the level of ignorance about God he possessed as a human being, after God himself spoke to Job:

"Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." --Job 42:1-6


So basically, the man who the Bible says was the most righteous on the Earth at that time has the opportunity to speak with and question God, and what does he come away with from the experience?

Arrogance, anger, resentment, skepticism, cynicism, moral superiority?

None of the above. Instead, he expressed outright humility and shame.

That was all he had left once he understood even the tiniest amount of the truth about God.


Thursday, February 27, 2020

Conservative Flight

Observe the following video:

Californians Fleeing the State for Texas

What makes that interesting is the reputation California once had as the Golden State, land of dreams, doorway to the stars.

I'm certain many leftist liberal democrats would disagree, but in a sense, California has become an excellent proving ground for socialist public policy failures.

So now you know what would happen if America fell prey to the same political sophistry: all the successful, productive people would simply leave the rabble to their own unproductive devices.

Garbage, used hypodermic needles and human feces would gather, as a direct result of relaxed vagrancy laws. This would equal more rats, which would reintroduce virulent strains of diseases we had previously eradicated. Prices for real estate would skyrocket, as they have in California, and elsewhere that Californians migrate to.

Take Seattle for example. Before the late 90's, real estate was reasonably priced. Then here came the Californians, buying every lot they could get their hands on, paying ridiculously high prices in some cases, and driving up costs across the board. I watched this happen, and when I moved to Ohio at the end of 2000, having only had my house two years (between the Sea-Tac airport and Southcenter, not even in the Seattle city limits), I turned the property over for $30,000.

Seattle, my once clean and comfortable home, is now housing thousands of homeless in tents all around the city that never existed while I lived there. Thank the Lord I left there at the end of 2000, before the insanity took hold, in the embodiment of local politicians like Kshama Sawant, who love to pass legislation that ties police hands and gives homeless people more and more land to increase their unwanted presence.

There is debate about the homeless situation in America. But at the ground level, all is not as it seems. Many or most of the homeless you encounter actually don't want to be pulled out of their situation, as incredible as that sounds. Apparently the lure of free services while they ride out the rest of their lives on the drug-induced rainbow is just too great to pass up.

What about the homeless who didn't choose to be homeless? No, it's not easy to do, but there are programs for all of them who are willing to do their part to rise above the situation. No matter what Bernie tells you, there's no such thing in this country as "too bad, you're on your own."

There are some in Seattle who actually have jobs and still live in tents simply because rent is just way too high. Who's fault is that? Please see previous paragraphs.

Then you have lovelies like these in New York, making a dangerous nuisance of themselves in the name of freedom from capitalistic and fascist oppression:

FTP3 Anti Cop Protesters Clash with NYPD | UNDERCOVER ELAD

Poor Elad, who is constantly wrongly accused by these idiotic miscreants of being a "right wing blogger," had to don some of the left's cowardly ANTIFA clothing just to get his camera where viewers could see the level of nonsense the spoiled brats from New York City are generating.

All of this because they don't want to pay a fare to ride the transit like everyone else.

What happens when political fascism, disguised as socialism for the people, starts over-taxing and over-legislating the productive members of society?

Those members leave, and the ones left behind find out what genuine hardship is, as opposed to the imagined oppression that those who live five minutes or more out of major cities know better than to entertain.

I think most people gawk at these antics and just shake their heads. Most people just want to have a job, a home, a family, and chill out. The protesters in these videos are the fringe, acting out their childish fantasies of overturning the system.

One observation: if the left's fringe shenanigans ever reach truly dangerous levels, the police will be the least of their worries when the military steps in. Then the cries will be of a different nature as order and sanity are once again restored.

Why can't they just grow up and become responsible citizens? It doesn't seem like that much to ask, or that hard of a task.





Monday, February 24, 2020

The squirrel and the driver


In the 107 years since the automobile began being mass produced, the specific animal death ratios haven't changed. You still see more road kill in the form of deer, raccoon, possum, dogs and cats than you see squirrels.

One may casually assume this is due to the faster reflexes and movement of the squirrel, but who knows? Perhaps the squirrel has a slight advantage over the other animals in terms of intellectual ability to obviate. It does seem odd the way the squirrel will sometimes pause in the middle of the road, and then jet toward the curb just in time to avoid being squashed. It almost seems defiant.

Regardless, has anyone given any thought to what would happen if squirrels were suddenly given an intellectual capacity similar or equal to the drivers of the cars on the road?

To the squirrel, a car isn't a vehicle with a human driving. It's a large, noisy, smelly thing that will kill you with extreme prejudice if you linger too long in front of it. The squirrel has no conception of how and why the human drives the car, or that the human is even controlling it.

There are several layers of obfuscation between the squirrel's awareness and the driver's awareness. Although the squirrel and the driver are both occupying the same physical dimension, they might as well be in completely different universes.

The squirrel is thinking about nuts, nests, mates and survival in the most basic ways observed on our planet.

The driver of the car is also concerned about his or her own versions of those subjects, but along with those, there are thoughts about repairs needed for the car, an overdue project at work, a chemistry exam later in the week, programming algorithms that will most efficiently solve a seemingly intractable problem, dreams of a better (or worse) future, the Internet, a favorite book or TV show, the price of gas, the complexities of a personal relationship, the nostalgia being experienced by the song currently playing on the radio, etc.

The squirrel has absolutely zero conception of any of that.

So, back to my question: what would happen if squirrels suddenly had the ability to think as we do?

Everything from a complete absence of squirrel sightings on the road to unexpected giant pothole traps that catch drivers unaware and deposit them suddenly deep in a hole face first, with no way to get out of the car and back up on the road, as the hole was crafted with just the right distance to keep the doors closed.

I could certainly be wrong, but this is how I see it:

We're the squirrels, God is the driver of the car.

As long as we don't tempt fate, we're pretty much left to the parameters of our recognizable and mostly pleasant existence. We can enjoy our finite lives in our current form as much as we are willing to live within the parameters given to us. It's when we pause on the road, so to speak, that the possibility for misfortune increases way past its natural frequency.

It's when we start to imagine we're the driver in the car that things go awry. We may look at the car and think we'd love to be able to control that powerful thing, but once behind the wheel, we have no idea what we're doing.

The car is performing a function for the human that the squirrel lacks the ability to comprehend. That specific inability to comprehend is a gift to both the human and the squirrel, despite the potential danger to the squirrel via its ignorance.

Expressing the point of this essay in a different way:

Is life a chessboard and humans mere pawns to the whims of a capricious chess player?

At times, life appears to be moving us along, but if we think we're the ones choosing the squares, what's the pragmatic difference?

That may be arguable, but more importantly, when the game is over, what happens to the pieces?

Well, to the best of my limited knowledge, no chess player I know who loves chess would ever toss his or her chess set in the garbage.

Anyone who actually reads  the entire Bible understands this.


Tuesday, February 18, 2020

They just want to share

A good friend of mine said something in an email recently that at first I thought was amusing, and I initially assumed he was making a joke.

Through time, I gave it more thought and realized that he was not only correct in his observation, but the tragedy was that the people he was referring to are actually being sold a skewed view of life.

The list of reasons for why this can happen to an intelligent, thoughtful person in 2020 is a long one, and a bit complex, but I can deliver the main concept for consideration.

The people being spoken of here are younger people in the United States, a group comprised mostly of Millennials and Generation Z. It has become way too common to single them out for criticism, but that's not the focus of this essay.

My friend's full statement on the matter was:

"They just want to share. Capitalists don't share."

So, what's the skewed view of life I'm referring to?

It's a set of ideas that congregate into a disturbing ball of gloom, principally populated with the following mantra:

The rich and the Right only care about money, and they don't care about helping the poor nor the environment.

Although I could, I'm not going to digress at this time into comparing the real-world data supplied by the NOAA to the habitually overstated dangers of our collective future on this planet, as indicated by the conveniently tweaked algorithms of sea-level and climate predictive models.

Instead, I'm only going to talk about one thing.

Charities.

I suppose it may seem like a great idea for us to vote a candidate into office who believes heavy taxation for the massive redistribution of private liquid assets is the answer to all our problems. Who can argue with the altruistic concept of everyone being somewhat economically equal, and forcing selfish humans to share with the less fortunate?

I can, actually.

First of all, it's a basic aspect of human nature that many are called but few are chosen. In this case, I'm referring to the harsh reality that pretty much every rational, tax-paying adult understands: there are people in the world who don't have much, and many of them need assistance, at least for some period of time.

But does the government truly need to become a source of more relief than it already is?

Let's start by looking at the WGI, or World Giving Index. The most recent data is from 2015, as the results are gathered over multiple years and are not published every year. They poll 1000 people from each of 140 countries, and in some cases they  poll 2000, as with large countries like China.

Out of 140 countries, the United States is at number 2. The criteria for measurement include the following three questions:
1) In the past month, have you helped a stranger?
2) In the past month, have you donated money to a charity?
3) In the past month, have you volunteered your time to an organization?

That's an anomaly, you might say. You might still want to insist that Western Civilization is fraught with selfish capitalism, so of course the United States could somehow impossibly be an exception due to the way the poll was conducted.

Wrong.

Of the top 10 countries, 60 percent are English speaking and considered a part of Western Civilization.

So what, you might say. Just because people in the United States answer poll questions doesn't mean they actually help anyone.

Wrong again.

The top 100 largest charities in the United States alone, according to Forbes, received a total of approximately $156,303,000,000 in donations in 2019. That's 156 billion. However, that's not even scratching the surface.

In 2018, according to Giving USA, Americans gave a total of $427.71 billion dollars to charities. Since there are approximately 329 million people in the United States, and 18.62% of them are ages 0-14, that leaves approximately 268 million.

Now divide that 427.71 billion dollars by 268 million people, and you arrive at the follow average dollar amount given per person:

$1,595.00.

Think about that for a moment.

No one's forcing any of those people to give that money. They're not compelled by the government through taxes, nor coerced by a representative from a crime syndicate. The monies donated are personal liquid assets that private individuals elected to part with, to help others.

Subtract out the persons who don't have spare money to give, and you have even less people to spread that 427 billion between. The Center for Poverty Research reports that the 2017 Census indicates approximately  39.7 million people live in poverty in the United States. 18.5 million people live in what's referred to as "deep poverty," which means they are barely getting by with a household income that's less than 50% of the 2017 poverty threshold.

Correctly assuming that poor people often still give some amount to charity, subtract the 18.5 million from the 268 potential givers mentioned earlier. You arrive at 249.5 million people who donated $427 billion dollars, or approximately

$1,714.00.

There appear to be two different ways to view the situation.

VIEW #1:
One may observe that divided by twelve, it only amounts to $142 each month. Barely a dent in the debt that beleaguers many of the poor. The government needs to get involved, because it's stingy to only devote $142 of your own money every month to help the poor.

That view focuses on how much each individual is giving, based on the national average.


VIEW #2:
This view prefers to focus on how much the poor are currently receiving as a result of existing charitable contributions from adults in the United States.

One may observe that the donated money, after taking care of the overhead necessary in non-profit organizations (around 10%), still amounts to approximately $384,939,000,000 available for distribution as food, goods and services to the poor.

Only poor people actually need assistance, so including not only the portion of the population suffering from deep poverty, but also the entire demographic (even working poor), you arrive back at the 39.7 million number of people living in some form of what's considered poverty in the United States.

Take that 384.939 billion dollars and divide it by the 39.7 million people who need it.

You arrive at this figure per person (including children and babies):

$9,696.19 per person.

Multiply that number by the average amount of people per family in the United States in 2019 (3.14), and you arrive at this average dollar amount per poor household:

$30,446.03.

That's $2,537.17 per month.

In View number Two, the rest of the logic goes like this:

Why in the heck would I want to pay more in taxes to help the poor when they have access to a potential 30K of assistance per year via the money I'm already donating to various charities?

While of course the $384 billion dollars of donations in 2018 didn't translate to handy awards of cash presented to every poor person in the country, they did manifest themselves in a very real and practical way, as food and goods and services available to anyone who needed them. The United States still offers the most opportunity for those who aspire to abandon their participation in the poverty cycle.

Don't kid yourself. All that money that's being donated to charities in this country isn't coming only from the poor, the middle class and democrats. A lot of rich people and republicans and conservative independents are giving their substantial share as well.

The final point I'd like to make is this:

If you ever feel the urge to embrace the insidious envy-based Marxist ethic of blaming the wealth of the rich for the poverty of the poorest members of society, you might want to pause and consider that the real world is not that binary.

Even in this allegedly racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and greedy capitalistic country, thanks to the generosity of elective giving by people across all classes, this is still the best place on Earth to be poor.





Thursday, February 13, 2020

Communism versus Socialism

It occurred to me that some who read the previous post might object because I'm conflating socialism with communism. Fair enough. But the comparisons between the two are too often used as a means to promote socialism.

Let me explain.

It's true that all the unattractive directives I listed are historically part of every Marxist-Leninist communist regime so far, and the textbook differences between communism and socialism make socialism look much better. In fact, socialism as an ideology doesn't sound too bad, once you remove the emotional appeal to hate the rich; it appears to leave no one behind in its opposition to capitalism.

With textbook socialism, individuals can own property, and if observed to the letter, a socialist society will retain freedom of religion. But that's the ideal, not the reality, as demonstrated by the behavior of countries around the world.

Right now, there are fourteen countries in the world that are considered full socialist states, with only four of them classified as Marxist. That sounds promising, yes?

There are twenty-two countries that consist of socialist or communist parties running the show, but they can't be truly classified as either exclusively because they have multiple parties vying for power.

Substantial amount, yes? Perhaps not.

There are eighty-two countries that were formerly socialist, but abandoned it, in many cases to pursue some form of free market democracy. Of those countries, forty-seven were short lived socialist states.

The point, however tenuous you may believe it to be, is that socialism and communism are so intertwined that on a scale between a purely socialist state and a purely communist state, you'll find, with very few exceptions, that they all are (and were) somewhere on the scale in between.

There have been no purely textbook socialist states. For any socialist government to succeed, it must have some form of private ownership and a form of capitalism. When the socialist state begins to fail, often the needle on the scale begins to point more and more toward a communist state in a desperate plight to succeed through force.

Despite many attempts to exceed the successes of a capitalist democracy such as the United States, all these countries greatly failed to achieve that lofty goal. Some fail much worse than others. The ones that fail the least feature some manifestation of a free market.

The whole focus of the supporter of socialism is helping the little guy. But one good, hard look at the effects of capitalism in countries around the world, as opposed to socialist/communist states, completely contradicts that conception.

Here are a handful of articles that you can use to come to your own conclusions:

Four Ways Capitalism Has Helped Alleviate Poverty

Extreme Poverty Rates Plummet Under Capitalism

Capitalism is the greatest anti-poverty program the world has ever known

Global Poverty’s Defeat Is Capitalism’s Triumph

Free Markets Make the World a Better Place

Capitalism In No Way Created Poverty, It Inherited It

It's Not Capitalism That Causes Poverty, It's The Lack Of It

Capitalism’s Triumph


Sure, capitalism has its faults. But a country that has prospered from a free market is not the best example of the "evils" of capitalism when its citizens enjoy some of the best living conditions in the world.



Tuesday, February 11, 2020

How soon we forget...

The 1960's were a time of great social upheaval in the United States. We were involved in a war overseas that caused many to question what our true moral obligations were, and to whom.

To some degree, those born 30 to 50 years after the Vietnam war and its protests can be forgiven for being ignorant of what was going on back then. But the desire to reawaken the scourge of socialism, under the altruistic intention of championing the working man, is unacceptable and quite frankly, unforgivable if allowed to continue to any sort of real foothold on American politics.

Back in the 1960's, as now, the loudest voices seem to be coming from our college campuses. Not such a coincidence when you consider the leftist agendas of the greatest percentage of academia haven't changed much since then. Some might argue that the intelligentsia are better equipped to judge the proper political dispensation of our country. An interesting idea that merits consideration, until you realize it was the same academia that encouraged college-aged protesters to line up at airports where troops were arriving home.

Were those Vietnam veterans greeted with welcoming arms for their sometimes devastating personal sacrifices and told "Thank you for your service?"

No. They were greeted with signs saying things like "Baby Killer" and they were literally spit on by many of the protesters. From the very people these soldiers risked their lives to defend.

These days, thanks to the occasional victory of common sense, the politically correct way to treat a soldier is to say "Thank you for your service." But really, as compared to the other radical ideas being shouted on campuses and in downtown Portland for example, isn't that expression of gratitude from the mouths of leftist protesters nothing more than meaningless lip service? Just one more way for them to virtue signal while they internally machinate all sorts of vilification for anyone who disagrees with their opinions, such as Andy Ngo?

One of the odd ironies of our current time is the Internet. Specifically, we are now able to instantly look up just about any information we want, including historical events. Yet for some inexplicable reason, many persons in younger generations are again falling prey to the totalitarian ideas espoused by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, because more knowledge of important information is being lost than gained.

The irony resides in the fact that Marx's and Engels's "Manifesto of the Communist Party" (now known simply as "The Communist Manifesto") has long been freely available to read on the Internet, yet most young people who support socialism have clearly not read it, or they've been exposed to crib notes that gloss over the evil contained in it.

Here is one link to the Manifesto.

In an Internet search for the Manifesto, it seems there are many links to summaries that contain various degrees of subjective apologetic, which is a shame, because if you strip all the needless prefaces and afterwords that many full copies include, you're left with only 20 pages of text, and you don't have to try that hard to find many of the objectionable directives included, such as:

1) The working class forcibly taking away all capital (assets) from the rich. But this isn't quite as 'good' as it sounds, as you continue on this list.

2) Taking away all private land ownership and transferring it to the government.

3) Heavy taxes to cover all the necessary public works in a socialist government.

4) Taking away all rights of inheritance (your assets go to the government when you die, instead of to family members or other loved ones).

5) Confiscation of all property. The Manifesto actually specifies emigrants and rebels in one place, but number two above pretty much covered this issue elsewhere in the document.

6) Centralization of all credit in the hands of the State, which basically means all money and assets of any monetary worth belong to the government, not to citizens. You have what the State allows you to have.

7) The State takes over and controls all means of communication, which means even the biased mainstream media we have now would be more balanced than a single media that says only what the government allows. Say goodbye to any independent journalism or private news networks with their own opinions.

8) The State takes over and controls all means of public transportation. No independently owned (private) means of public transportation. Transportation would be limited to that which the government feels is necessary, therefore actual freedom of movement itself becomes restricted.

9) All industry, including and especially agriculture, becomes the property of the State, so no more entrepreneurs. All means of production are controlled by the government, and if you don't like the way they do it, too bad.

10) All have to work. No freeloaders. You'll have to be able to prove to the government that you can't work, and historically speaking, all who are not productive are eventually eliminated to ease the burden on society. All get paid the same, unless they are a part of the government, which in effect becomes the new ruling class. Being paid the same isn't as egalitarian as you may first consider, because this means no matter how good or lousy of a job you do, you get paid the same. Imagine the effect that has on the average worker, or more importantly, on those who are personally motivated to give a greater than average effort in a free market.

11) The "gradual" destruction of the distinctions between town and country, so that every person, regardless of place of birth and nationality, is cast in one mold, with one voice.

12) Free education for all children (which is what we already have in public schools now, except for sports fees, etc.) in schools that teach what the government wants to teach them, regardless of what each family would prefer. Personal ethics and beliefs must take a back seat to whatever the State dictates is acceptable. And historically, communist governments (running on socialist principles) are secular and enforced as such. Which means your dear old grandma who loves Jesus is out of luck.



The Manifesto is basically a drawn out diatribe that facilitates envy and encourages violent revolution by painting the rich as evil, selfish taskmasters, and the working class as honorable, poor, destitute masses who deserve to take all the earned assets of the rich and give them to the State, so everyone can live at the same modest level, regardless of ideas, ambition or drive to succeed.

The tenets of the Manifesto are what gave Stalin in Russia, Mao in China, Pol Pot in Cambodia, all three Kims in North Korea, Castro in Cuba and Chavez in Venezuela the framework with which to create monstrous regimes that slaughtered millions of people collectively. Approximately one hundred million, in fact. There are many today who will simply dismiss the 20th century by saying, "Oh, they just didn't do socialism the way it was intended to be done."

Wrong. They did it exactly as prescribed by Marx and Engels, which is why you hear so many conservatives squawking about the turn toward socialism by some of our current voters, and why the results in each of those countries were all some horrific version of the same.

Those who point at Sweden and say, "See? They're socialists and doing very well!" should be reminded that Sweden isn't actually a socialist country, where the State owns and controls all means of production. Sweden still maintains private ownership of lands, assets and businesses. It's a democracy that uses heavy taxation to increase the scope of public safety net programs, but under the framework of a capitalist economy. Don't believe everything I or Bernie tell you. Look it up.

If you can manage to resist the lazy TLDR ethic that's so popular these days, and you make it to the end of the Manifesto, you'll find these words, which are not subtle nor open to fanciful interpretation:

"The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains."

Chains indeed.

In America in 2020, apparently chains are identified by the freedom to go where you want, earn what you want if you strive hard enough, think what you want, say what you want, own what you want to work hard enough for, and of course the freedom to complain about all the evils that the "ruling class" are allegedly imposing on you while you live freely in the most prosperous country on Earth.




Monday, February 3, 2020

The Lake of Fire

So after publishing the previous post, I realized that the dumbing down of our population in the U.S. has caused many otherwise intelligent people to become completely ignorant of many aspects of the Bible.

In 1919, students in school in this country still read from the Bible daily, and it was used to both teach history and instruct on character. This resulted in adults who were appropriately civil and reverent toward each other as a rule, despite the ever-present exception that makes headlines.

In 2019, after decades of controversial Neo-Darwinist publications that were all some form of "God does not exist," not only do students not read the Bible as a part of the school's curriculum, they are completely ignorant of its contents unless they are Christians or Jews. They rely on entertainment media and pop culture to tell them what is in the Bible, and those sources are the most unreliable available.

Because of their ignorance, they don't even realize they're walking in darkness. They think that "free" means free to do whatever you want, even if it hurts who they would refer to as an 'invisible sky daddy.'

They think that 'religion' is an outmoded idea, right up there with cavemen grunting and raping nearby villages.

They think that the separation of church and state means that one's religious beliefs must remain private.

They think that there is no consequence for being promiscuous, other than a day after pill or a regimen of antibiotics.

They think that marriage is nothing special and just a piece of paper, and that if a human wants to marry an animal, such as a dog, that's perfectly okay.

They think that having lots of sex with all sorts of people is the healthy and wise way to live, because orgasm with multiple partners is their right as humans, and nobody better try to take it away.

They think that money and power are the most important things in life, and sacrificing one's integrity for those things is the smart way to live.

They think that the world owes them happiness and peace of mind, and no one better prevent that from happening or they'll file a lawsuit or cancel them in social media.

This list could go on quite a while, but I can sum it up with one more:

They think that God doesn't exist, and therefore, no one's minding the store.

Here's what it says in the last book of the Bible:

"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

That was Revelation 20:12-15 KJV

If that wasn't clear enough, Revelation 21:3-8 says:

"And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." 

So now you know. If before this you thought that the Bible was just some bronze age nonsense from sheep herders who wanted to control their fellow sheep herders, and it was merely about some tyrant god who played with us like chess pieces, you now realize that the very deepest instinct you possess as a human is verified in holy scripture. The little voice that always tries to remind you that there are consequences for actions, good and bad, is not wrong.

It was put there by God.



Val Demings needs to repent

I understand that the lure of power and benefits of that power have caused many human beings through the ages to lie and deceive in order to attain their goals, however there is a line that should never be crossed in terms of slander and accusation.

Val Demings, Democrat respresentative in Florida and House Impeachment manager, today delivered a non-stop invective masquerading as a bullet point list of Trump's alleged 'crimes.' All so there can be a public record that haters of Trump can re-watch and say, "See! Trump is Hitler and those evil Republicans kept him in office! America sucks! The world is going to end!"

It doesn't matter if she wrote her closing words, or if they were written for her, or if it was a collaboration. The unacceptable level of deception being presented directly to the American people, in the form of groundless speculation sold as indisputable fact, has branded her with permanent disgrace in the eyes of those who know that facts speak louder than her pernicious fabrications.

False witness is not just one of the 'shalt nots' of the Ten Commandments. It's also one of the absolute worst evils a human can commit against another.

Although she will forever be known as a purveyor of lies in regard to the reputation of Donald J. Trump, she may find forgiveness if she immediately bends the knee in private to the Lord and Creator of us all, and begs forgiveness for her despicable actions. If she doesn't do that, she will end up in the Lake of Fire for her campaign to ruin the president, as will the rest of the nefarious interlopers in the Democratic Party who eagerly participated in the needless smearing of Trump's reputation, simply because Trump refuses to pay the political piper.

She knows what she's done, and why she did it. I don't need to belabor the point.