Uncommon Sense

December 16, 2020

Why, Why, Why, Why, Why?

Filed under: Politics,Race — Steve Ruis @ 9:06 am
Tags: , , ,

Over and over again people are asking the question why white evangelicals voted for Mr. Trump. This is not a mystery. White people, in toto, voted for Mr. Trump. In fact, since we started keeping track of how people of no color vote, white people have never voted in a majority for a Democrat candidate.

And even this is not a mystery.

Who benefits most from the status quo? Who has the most privileges? Who has the most status? If you didn’t answer “white people” you haven’t been paying attention. Okay, now, which of the two main political parties is more strongly associated with the status quo? Which wants to change things more and which less, the de facto champion of the status quo? If you didn’t come up with the GOP, you haven’t been paying attention. Which party, would you say, is the party of white people?

So, is it a surprise that privileged white people vote for the party that most staunchly defends the status quo?

No.

What is a surprise is that the party that supported our institutions the most (the GOP) and has argued for more personal responsibility the most (the GOP) and blames society’s ills on the victims the most (the GOP) has entirely abandoned the concept of personal responsibility. Lose a court battle? The Deep State was against you; you were cheated! Lose a local election? Voter fraud was the cause; you were cheated! Lose the presidential election by gazillions of votes? We were cheated . . . we didn’t lose . . . we won . . . we’re going to court to fix this immense wrong doing!

Mr. Trump lives by a couple of simple rules. Yes, “if you are not for me, you are against me” is one but another is “I never lose.” If he wins it is because of his brilliance. If he loses, it is because the game was rigged against him or he was cheated. He has shared these rules with many in his GOP base and we can expect them to carry on these lessons into the future.

The future does not look bright, manned by losers who never lose. Playing by the rules is a time-honored practice. So is changing the rules of the game while playing it.

December 15, 2020

The Costs of Nationalism

Filed under: Culture,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 8:40 am
Tags: , ,

I read a post on the Eudaimonia website entitled How Steep is the Price of Nationalism? Just Ask America (and Britain). The subtitle is “The US and UK Offer Stark New Evidence About an Old Lesson: Nationalism is a Costly, Self-Destructive Mistake.” Here is a quotation from that post.

There are only three societies in the world in which incomes, savings, life expectancy, and happiness have all fallen over the last decade, and the other one is North Korea.

I found the post fascinating in a “lessons we all need learn” fashion.

* * *

Eudaimonia is a Greek word commonly translated as ‘happiness’ or ‘welfare’; however, more accurate translations have been proposed to be ‘human flourishing, prosperity’ and ‘blessedness’. Wikipedia

Important: Before You Line Up for the Pfizer Vaccine . . .

Filed under: Economics,Reason,Technology — Steve Ruis @ 8:25 am
Tags: , ,

I think it is imperative that you read this article. The hand waving going on in the news media, even scientific publications, is of the kind magicians use: to distract you from what the other hand is doing.

An Internal Medicine Doctor and His Peers Read the Pfizer Vaccine Study and See Red Flags [Updated]

December 13, 2020

A Brilliant Piece of Writing

Filed under: Culture,Reason,Religion,Science — Steve Ruis @ 10:36 am
Tags: ,

On Sundays, I like to share something of a “spiritual” nature. This is a brilliant piece of writing about reading “scripture.” I recommend it highly (albeit is a long piece).

Religious Faith in Scriptural Fiction

The Atheist Secret of Christmas

Filed under: Culture,History — Steve Ruis @ 9:11 am
Tags: , , ,

Have you heard the phrase “the first Noel” or the French “Joyeux Noël?” Did you know that the word Noel is a hidden message for atheists? Think about it . . . Noel means “no El,” El being one of the many names for Yahweh.

So when people refer to “noel” which they think is a synonym of Christmas, they are signally to atheists that there is no god! Ha!

Okay, yes, I am messing with you. There is no truth to this. But . . . but, I think it might be fun to use when messing with those who claim there is a War on Christmas. Those folks already have a persecution complex, so this would fit right in with their existing paranoias.

Enjoy the holidays!

Steve

December 12, 2020

How Does He Know?

Filed under: Science — Steve Ruis @ 11:03 am
Tags: ,

We live in a high-rise condominium. There are two banks of elevators on opposite sides of the hallways that serve the entire building. Since they are two opposite two, if you go up to our floor in one set, you must turn left to get to our unit. From the other set it is a right-hand turn. I have cataloged a set of visual cues as to which way to turn when exiting the elevator, and even with those I take a wrong turn on occasion.

But this post is not about me.

When we take our dog, Jack, for a walk, we come back up the elevator. Jack does not enjoy the ride in the “shaky room,” so he is the first off when we get to our floor. When the door opens he is the first through and turning left or right before he even gets out of the door.

And he never turns the wrong way.

Does he have, like pigeons, a small set of cells in his brain that allow him to know compass directions? What?

Any ideas?

A portrait of Jack, in progress

December 11, 2020

It Is As If We Can’t See What Is Right In Front of Our Eyes

The plutocrats running the US have decided that it would be a good thing if much of the school systems in this country were privatized. They claim, without evidence (as they are religious people), that this would make our schools better. The question, of course, is “Will it?”

We don’t have to guess or pray or wonder as the experiment has been done. The primary example is Sweden (or should be). Sweden had a school system that we wished ours was. Here is what happened when Sweden decided to copy the US’s fledgling efforts.

Per Kornhall: The Great Swedish Child Experiment: A Failure

It is clear that the plutocrats who have gotten both the Republicans and Democrats to chase this folly have no idea what the outcome of our experiment will be. They only want a piece of the action which is all of the money spent by our governments in public schools, a rather tidy sum. It is clear that the plutocrats have dominated all of the other areas of our economy in which big bucks are available: the stock markets, resource extractions (oil, coal, natural gas, etc.) and had run out of sources of big pools of money when they spied public education, which had already acquired a big pool of money . . . yum, yum.

So far, our experiment with privately run “charter schools” is that on average they perform no better than our public schools, but which are also rife with racism and . . . corruption. It seems that there is a charter school scandal announced in the news on a daily basis. If these were public schools, such behavior would be a national scandal.

Gosh, why would something so potentially good go so wrong? (Sarcasm alert! Sarcasm alert!) With no qualifications needed to start a school, and no government oversight, and no regulations (those pesky regulations!), those schools should be thriving, right? They are thriving, as pools of corruption. Millions upon millions of dollars have been lost to sketchy real estate deals, flat out theft by charter operators, and graft. But that’s a small price to pay for non-existent performance increases, right? Right?

The plutocrats do not give a rat’s ass about equality, quality schooling, or any of the things Sweden lost in its experiment. What they do care about is their ideology . . . as long as it makes money for them. It is very clear that they do not care about us, or our children, or anything but getting richer. Us becoming disempowered in the process is not a bug, it is a feature. “Us,” in the form of governments, are the authors of regulations confining what the rich can do with their money, so they have no interest in empowering us, quite the contrary.

Please note, if you do not read the post I linked to, when Sweden had its former system, Finland copied it. But when Sweden went “a privatizing,” Finland didn’t follow. The results on international testing are obvious. Finland is at or near the top . . . and Sweden had the greatest drop in scores of any country being tested. So, should we be on the same path that Sweden is on? Only an idiot would say yes . . . and many of those idiots are in our government houses right now. Did I tell you that it is perfectly legal for charter schools to “lobby” (aka bribe) our state and federal governments (and it is not legal for public schools to do likewise)?

The Numbers Don’t Lie

Filed under: Culture,Economics,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 9:30 am
Tags: , , ,

The numbers don’t lie, at least this time. I ran across the following example, which kind of tells you that the rich are too rich for everyone’s own good. It goes like this:

If you were to deposit $2000 (current value) into a bank vault every day, day after day, year after year, for 2000 years, basically from what is called “the time of Jesus” until now (you’d probably need family help in this), you will have accumulated almost 1.5 billion dollars. Jeff Bezos in substantially less time has accumulated $117 billion.

I know it is sacred ideology in this country that the rich have “earned” their loot. They created the businesses, the jobs, yada, yada, yada. And that might even have been true 75 years ago. But as the wealthy accumulated money, they realized that they were also accumulating potential power . . . and they decided, some of them anyway, to exercise that power. They are now running the entire country. Whatever they want, they get. They have changed the rules of business and politics to favor them. They get the big tax cuts. They get the tax havens (legal!), they get the tax breaks to move a business, etc.

But is this the kind of country we want to live in? A country in which great wealth can be accumulated (most think that is kind of cool) but those with great wealth can then take over the gears of government and shift them any way they want to? A country in which it is looking more and more like a plutocracy, one in which the great masses of people grind away, working to make their masters even richer, while experiencing an ever declining standard of living? Over half of the jobs in the USA are now poorly paying “service” jobs. Is this what you saw in your future? The life expectancy of Americans is dropping! Is this the “things keep getting better” America you expected or expected to leave your children?

If Jeff Bezos wanted to spend down his fortune in just one year, he would have to spend $162,000,000 per hour of every working day in that year. No one person has needs that require the accumulation of such a fortune.

The fatal flaw of capitalism is that it places no limits upon greed.

Will this also be the fatal flaw of the US? That we failed to put limits upon greed and so passed control of the country to a tiny minority of wealthy citizens, who ran it into the ground . . . for a profit?

December 8, 2020

Really? Supreme Court Says that Limits on Religious Gatherings are Unconstitutional

The pertinent part of this “rulings” basis is the first amendment to the Constitution which says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .”

Plus the 14th Amendment includes:

“No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Clearly the state emergency regulations do not comply with the exact wording here.

I can understand the reasoning behind a literal ruling, albeit is a stupid one. If a religion decided that sacrificing babies was to be part of their ceremonies, do you think the government (aka all of us) would have any say? How about stoning people who are guilty of infracting the rules of the church? Yes? Well, obviously so. These are obviously extreme examples in which government intervention seems appropriate but most cases are between the strict literal interpretation of the words and such extremes. The divide is often decided upon whether the government has a “compelling interest for its actions.” In this case, the action of the government was to establish rules for mass gatherings, be they at football games, political rallies, or churches is irrelevant, the motivation is to save lives during a pandemic.

Seems compelling to me.

Wisdom seems to be lacking here in the SCOTUS majority. Nowhere did they seem to take into account that facts that such services are typically indoors, take hours and include people singing and speaking out loud . . . in close proximity to one another, all of which run counter to what behaviors are recommended to stop the spread of the disease. Visits to stores are usually shorter, with people being more spread out, with no singing, shouting, or speaking loudly.

But, I have to hand it to the religious, their exuberant behaviors are perfect tests of whether those rules were sensible if not. Already one church service has been characterized as a superspreader event, where one person infected around 50 others. All of those church goers who will die to prove these precautions are sensible for everyone, will no doubt receive special rooms in Heaven’s mansions.

Trump is the Test the Evangelicals Failed

Filed under: Culture,Politics,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 12:48 pm
Tags: , , ,

“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” (Proverbs 6:16-19)

The Biblical god likes to test people. We know this as such tests are described in great quantity in those books. Apparently, for evangelical Christians hate of some “others” (Blacks, LGBTQs, Mexicans, etc.) trumps the command to love your neighbor, cherish the little children, provide for the poor, etc. and, of course, every damned jot and tittle of Proverbs 6:16-19.

The only possible grade for his evangelical Christian supporters is an F, as in failed, failed, failed.

And the shocking thing was that Mr. Trump displayed all of the seven deadly sins (lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, wrath, envy, pride), plus a few more thrown in while he was “serving his base.” They seemed to think those were irrelevant because Mr. Trumps was sticking it to the libtards and heathens and foreigners and illegals and. . . .

The Trump administration is a modern day manifestation of the Clint Eastwood movie High Plains Drifter, and the evangelical Christians bought in hook, line, and sinker. They will surely reap what they have sowed, or the Bible’s words are meaningless. (Did you see how I cleverly stated that so I win either way. Ha!)

« Previous PageNext Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.