Class Warfare Blog

February 19, 2017

Has Our Logic Function Been Disabled?

There has been quite a flutter about a comment coming from Kyrie Irving, the All-Star guard of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. According to Mr. Irving: “This is not even a conspiracy theory,” he said. “The Earth is flat. The Earth is flat. It’s right in front of our faces. I’m telling you, it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us.

Why this is upsetting to many is beyond my comprehension. My thinking goes like this:
#1 Mr. Irving makes well over $1,000,000 for less than a year’s work and has for quite some time.
#2 That makes Mr. Irving a Republican.
#3 Therefore Mr. Irving believes:
• the Earth is flat
• Climate Change is a hoax perpetrated by greedy scientists
• the Earth is only 6000 years old
• autism is caused by vaccinations, and that
• Donald Trump is a bright, successful businessman.
All of the facts being to the contrary, all of these must be true because “they” lie to us.

This is believable because … Fox News. (Apparently “they” does not include Fox News.)

So, why are people shocked? I do not understand.

 

 

February 17, 2017

So, Now It Is Obvious?

From the Naked Capitalism web site (“Grantham: ‘Twas Capitalism That Killed Capitalism” posted by Yves Smith, text attributed to Jeremy Grantham):

An extraordinary, large exit poll run by Reuters/Ipsos in which 45,000 people participated took place in the early evening on election day in the US. To say this was a detailed poll is an understatement. The spreadsheet for each question in small print runs the length of a generous dining room table, 11 feet! … The critical statement polled, in my opinion, was this: ‘America needs a strong leader to take the country back from the rich and powerful.’”

The response to that question: 74% agreed.

“The lack of class war or economic war in the US has always been a fiction,
but it has been mostly hidden, and deliberately so,
by the side so completely winning the undeclared war.”

By this time some readers may be asking for a profile of the 74% of the final 45,000 who voted against the rich and powerful. Who are these people? Well, they are us. All of us. I have never heard of a vote so uniform: whether Republican 72% or Democrat 77%; Male 74% or Female 75%; White 75% or Black 74%; Rich 70% or Poor 79%; Christian 74% or Muslim 72%; Graduates 68% or not 76%; they all agreed. They have all had it with the rich and powerful. And as for me, I don’t blame them. I think capitalism has lost its way. And has badly diluted the value of democracy along the way. We can only hope it is very temporary.

“I think capitalism has lost its way.
And has badly diluted the value of democracy along the way.
We can only hope it is very temporary.”

The lack of class war or economic war in the US has always been a fiction, but it has been mostly hidden, and deliberately so, by the side so completely winning the undeclared war.

This is what got us our current President. It was either him or Mrs. Status Quo. Unfortunately the biased selection process got us the wrong man. We needed Bernie Sanders to even begin the correction process.

If our current President believes he has a mandate, can you see anything in the actions of the current administration that equates to “taking the country back from the rich and powerful?”

No? Neither do I.

February 13, 2017

Mr. Bannon’s War

Apparently Steve Bannon, Breitbart News jefe and current Senior Advisor to the President is concerned with the coming war … with Islam. Mr. Bannon feels that Western Civilization (of which we are the peak) is almost prostrate before the ideological assault of Islam. (All of our Christian values are being abandoned; I mean, when is the last time a heretic was burned at the stake?) So, we need to gird our loins and get prepared for this religious apocalypse.

It is clear that Islam is in the same position Christianity was 1500 or so years ago, the religion of the oppressed. Now that Christianity is the religion of the oppressors, though, it is ripe for conquest. So, I do think Mr. Bannon has a point, but I think the war is ideological and he apparently wants to solve the problem militarily. Well, I offer up Afghanistan and Iraq and Somalia and ask “How’s that going for you, Steve?”

If we left the Middle East to those living there, how effectively would you think they would be in combating us? Are you afraid of an Islamic State invasion any time soon? Do you see pickup trucks with really high snorkels waving ISIS flags, coming out of the water on Florida beaches?

Please realize that This Administration is one of distraction. All of our current problems are based in the simple fact that the monied interests in this country have subsumed all of our government agencies. It is they who are running the show and we no longer have anything approximating a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” … certainly not for the people. Our government is currently being run for the plutocrats. Ordinary people need not apply.

One of the surest ways to distract people from concentrating on internal affairs is to point to foreign affairs and wars are really exciting, newsworthy, and profitable even with “enemies” half way around the world.

… Missing the Point … Still

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 10:02 am
Tags: , , , ,

I have been viewing (John Oliver!) and reading (Andrew Sullivan and several others) recently about President Trump’s lies and lack of connection with reality. All seem puzzled, shocked, agog. I suggest that we shouldn’t be puzzled and that we are missing the point … still.

Yes, it is important that national policy shouldn’t be built upon lies, so lies do have to be countered, but how that can be done effectively is a problem.

There is no mystery where Mr. Trump’s strategy regarding “The Truth™” comes from. It comes from Fox News. Fox (sic) News rode a strategy of “lie and when called out on it double down” to riches and The Donald™ pays attention to wealth creating strategies, even if he isn’t particularly good at following them. BTW, he is not just making these things up. He seems to be plucking them out of the “alternative media” which his supporters are also doing, strengthening the connection he has with them, confirming what they are told by the likes of Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh.

If we spend all of our time debunking Trump’s lies, we are giving him what he wants (Hint: attention) and not paying attention to what counts even more, which is what is going on behind the scenes.

For example, do you remember the issue in North Carolina in which Duke Energy was poorly maintaining coal waste “ponds” (they became ponds because they didn’t properly control water entering and leaving their waste dumps) and that very toxic waste was flowing into North Carolina streams and rivers … to the point that whole communities couldn’t drink or bathe in municipal water? Do you remember that? Do you also remember the Obama administration severely limiting the dumping of coal waste into streams?

If you do, did you notice that Congress just killed that regulation, so that it is now back to what it was before (perfectly okay for a bit of runoff to poison local watersheds)? This puts North Carolinian lives at stake, so I consider this important. And I do not remember a promise to poison North Carolinians being prominent in the campaign, so I suspect this action has to do with money and political favors.

Donald Trump is the gesturing hand the magician uses to distract you from what his other hand is doing. I recommend you reduce what you read and say about Mr. Trump to only official actions taken by The Current Administration. Do not … do not forward any of his Tweets. Do not quote him. Do not mention his name. For example, when “he” claimed that the murder rate is higher than it has ever been, just mention off hand that the per capita crime rate has been falling for centuries and the current murder rate is similar to that of the 1960’s and half what it was in the 1980s. (Real information has its “ups and downs” but the crime trend line is downward, ever downward.) When referring to actions taken, refer to the actual actor: Congress, The Current Administration, etc. Even if the President signs a bill, he does not author them, maneuver them through Congress, etc.

Pay attention to the waving hand and you will miss what is important.

February 12, 2017

Why Are We Still Legislating Religion?

The talking heads crowd is predicting that we will shortly see new legislation that will expand “religious freedom” in the U.S. This is shocking to say the least since we have had religious freedom for quite some time. Apparently “religious freedom” doesn’t mean what the words say. (Not quite equally shocking is that there will be legislation and not just executive orders.)

My guess is that the “new” legislation will expand the “right” of religious people to discriminate against people who they are doing business with. The highlighted case so far that has become an iconic example is the poor baker who didn’t want to make wedding cakes for gay couples getting married.

I can understand churches refusing to host gay marriages and I respect their right to do that, but a bakery? It seems now that many “Christians” are claiming that they are running “Christian businesses.” This is a smokescreen at best. I suggest to you that all businesses are secular in nature, that they have nothing to do with religion. And in this I include stores that sell religious artifacts and books, e.g. Christian bookstores, etc. They are not religious activities, they are commercial activities. They offer goods and services for sale in simple commercial exchanges. I have gone into religious bookstores and purchased items. As an avowed atheist, shouldn’t they have refused me service? Actually, the law prevents them from even asking me if I am an atheist, ironically under the religious freedom provisions of our laws, so I suspect they are ignorant to this day that they served a raving atheist. (It is hard to tell us apart from “true Christians,” is it not? They even elected one of us President.)

Any business claiming to be a Christian business had better show me they really mean it. In their incorporation by-laws I expect to see policies like “all debts will be forgiven on New year’s day” and “if we are robbed, we will turn the other cheek,” and “when it comes to paying our business taxes, we will render unto Caesar, that which is Caesars.”

If they can show that their business is truly linked to their religion, then the laws protecting religious activities should be triggered. Otherwise they are just selling cupcakes like every other baker.

It looks, though, that the current administration is seeking to sell indulgences, in this case a get out of jail free card for denying service to customers you do not approve of religiously. This is fascinating in that one of the core causes that resulted in the Protestant Reformation (which was a precursor to the formation of Evangelical Christianity) was the abhorrence for the corruption in the Catholic Church, including the selling of indulgences. The Catholics were selling “get out of purgatory” cards and “get into heaven” cards, which makes the current suggested sale of indulgences seem almost trivial, but it does seem as if we have come full circle.

 

February 10, 2017

Democrats Retreat!

The Democrats had their annual (?) retreat recently and the major topic was . . . reframing their message?! WTF? That’s right, reframing, not reforming. Apparently they think all they need is a catchy slogan or two and they are good to go.

They apparently also cannot figure out why they lost to the likes of a Donald Trump. Let me explain. The two candidates running were the only two with any chance of winning. One candidate promised “more of the same.” The other promised to “drain the swamp.” And they are surprised at who won?democrat-donkey-with-head-up-ass

The Democrats need to dump their “corporate wing,” the one sponsored by Goldman-Sachs, and get back to pursuing what ordinary people want. It was the Democrats themselves who, without prompting, dumped organized labor and targeted “professionals” as part of their core constituency. This was apparently done because of arithmetic in that the number of union jobs had shrunk so much over the last 40 years. This may be news to the Dems but the reason the numbers of union jobs has shrunk so much is because of the relentless attack on unions by the plutocrats and conservatives and the total lack of defense put up by Democrats. (It didn’t happen in Canada where the numbers of union jobs has stayed a constant fraction of all jobs.) Is it any wonder that “working people,” including union working people, fled running from the Democrats message of “More of the Same, More of the Same.”

They would have been better off with “Four More Years, Four More years” but still lost.

February 9, 2017

Hey, Alfie, Whatsis?

Filed under: Philosophy — Steve Ruis @ 1:01 pm
Tags: ,

 

eat-survive-reproduce

As regular readers know I am a hot and cold fan of philosophy. In a recent series of blog posts Sam Harris and a noted philosopher got into an unexpected and very protracted disagreement over what the word “truth” meant.

These discussions make me want to gouge my eyes out and go looking for an honest man. They are right up there with claims for there being “objective moral principles.” Hey, if all humans were to disappear, the physical universe would still be there (not that we would know as there would be no “we” left). That is objective reality. All morals, however, would disappear. That is the definition of subjective. Why is there any discussion of this?

These discussions prove that determined intellectuals can fuck up just about any reasonable discussion.

February 5, 2017

Trump Fatigue

Recently I advocated that we ignore Mr. Trump. I continue to advocate that.

The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda.
It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth
.” Garry Kasparov

Think about it.

If you focus on the magician’s gestures, you will miss the sleights of hand. Ignore Mr. Trump.

February 3, 2017

Ignore Trump

Filed under: Politics,The News — Steve Ruis @ 12:37 pm
Tags: , , ,

Yes, I am advocating that we do just this, at a time when people are running around with their hair on fire screaming “Trump wants to do this … Trump wants to do that.”

Ignore him I say.

There are two good reason for doings this. The first is that Trump doesn’t have an ideological or policy-driven mind. He has no ideas. He takes other people’s ideas that seem to resonant and attract attention and runs with them himself, but the ideas are not his.

We need to be laser-focused on what members of Mr. Trump’s administration are doing, though. (How that term ever got promoted is beyond me, lasers can’t be focused.) Mr. Trump himself is the embodiment of distraction. If we watch him, we miss how the magic trick is done. Ever second we watch him, is a second things are done out of out sight.

Pay him no attention.

This is the second of my two points: Mr. Trump seems to need attention … more than anything else and that includes money. If we withhold our attention, then maybe … maybe … we can get him to do something for us, rather than his current work for his puppet masters.

It is a long shot, but it might work. If not, you will have the satisfaction of denying him his heart’s desire.

So, from now on, do not use his name. Talk about “this current administration,” or “this official” or “that agency,” do not use his name and pay no attention to his antics. If you do, we lose.

January 31, 2017

Why Conservatives Hate Unions, Part 3451

So, which state in the U.S. has the largest, most thriving economy, right now? Silly question! It is California. Governor Brown has eliminated their massive budget woes, while dealing with a massive drought (a really big problem in an agricultural state), and dealing with the after effects of the Great Recession. Employment is way up. Wages are up. All is good.

One other thing that California leads the country in is … wait for it … union jobs. The number and percentage of union jobs lead the country.

But … but … wait, conservatives have been telling us for years that unions are bad for the country, bad for us, bad, bad, bad … and they still are saying it (the President never fails to mention how bad teacher’s unions are when he addresses education).

Gosh, do you think they might have a hidden agenda?

Golly, I guess I am kinda curious about why they would oppose in a blanket fashion, organizations devoted to helping working people. All unions are bad, they say, there are no good unions and bad unions, all unions are bad, bad, bad.

I wonder what they could possibly have against working people?

May I suggest one answer to that particular question: they dislike the fact that they have to pay workers for their labor. They would be much happier if they did not. And failing the return of outright slavery, their idea of a minimum wage is just that: wages should be the minimum that could possibly be paid. The idea that it be illegal to pay below the minimum wage makes them cry. And the idea of raising the minimum wage makes their head’s explode. Why, why … paying more to laborers would reduce profits and you know how bad that would be!

Really, how bad? Maybe the Walton kids would have one billion less to split. Or the Koch brothers wouldn’t be able to afford all of the Congressmen and senators they wanted to buy. It would be really bad!

And California? Don’t look there, say the Conservatives. They’re all freaks. They even like unions!

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