Class Warfare Blog

January 15, 2021

Yeah, Now Is the Time to Organize

Filed under: Culture,Politics,Race — Steve Ruis @ 9:50 am
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After seeing the almost all-white insurrectionists attempting a coup at the Capitol building ushered in by bowing and scraping capitol cops (descendants of the Keystone Kops?) it is clear that the organizing of all of the white power and white supremacy groups is justified. Clearly white privileges are being eroded.

Some of the miscreants are even being arrested and put in jail! No matter, Trump will probably pardon them . . . won’t he?

Also clearly, black people asking to be treated the same way as white people infringes upon the rights white people have cherished for oh, so many years. This actually doesn’t affect white privileges at all, but the Totem Pole Principle applies here (The Only Way to Know You are Not on the Bottom of the Pole is to be Standing On Top of Another). Why if blacks were treated the same way as whites, then whites would be treated the same way as blacks, a definite loss of status.

So, white supremacy groups are organizing and growing support. That this is happening at the same time Christian nationalists are doing the same thing is no accident. This is due to the fact that Jesus was white and spoke English as his first language (he wrote his Bible in English after all). Facts do matter!

January 7, 2021

Imagine . . .

Filed under: Culture,Politics,Race — Steve Ruis @ 10:39 am
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Take a look at the photos of the goons milling around inside the Capitol building yesterday.

Here’s an example:

Now, imagine if they had been black.

Now you understand one of the pillars of white privilege. If those people had been black they would have been thrown to the ground, knelt upon, or shot or threatened with bayoneted rifles. But, they were white, so the kid gloves were issued to the capitol police.

As one commenter put it “When Black people protest in front of a Target in Minneapolis, police arm themselves for war. When White people storm government buildings they are met with selfies and a meager police force.”

Or as the title of a piece in The Onion put it “D.C. Police Lose Control Of Rioting Trump Supporters After Hundreds Of Officers Called Away To Deal With Black Jaywalker.”

Will Anyone Tell Them?

Filed under: Culture,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 10:33 am
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Will anyone tell the morons who invaded the Capitol building yesterday that they have been played? There are two scenarios for the dupes: one was that there was no serious possibility of any of their actions having an effect on the election and that they were just staging a Noh play for the press and two, the Idiot in Chief actually thought there was a chance it could work and they were manipulated by a total idiot.

Neither scenario is at all flattering to those duped.

So what is it gonna be Not-So-Proud-Boys? Were you duped to put on a play for the news or were you manipulated by a certifiable loon?

January 1, 2021

Yeah, Right, the Democrats Stole the Election . . . Really?

Filed under: Culture,Politics,Reason — Steve Ruis @ 9:21 am

The Democrats are responsible for orchestrating massive voter fraud? Our Democrats? The ones who couldn’t come up with a better candidate than Joe Biden? Those Democrats?

If there was ever a Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight it is the Democrats and they have been so for a very long time. Don’t take my word for it, take Will Rogers word “I am not a member of any organized political party — I am a Democrat.” . . . in 1935.

Clearly this is a case of psychological projection. People, and I include Republican leaders in that category, tend to project onto others the thoughts and attitudes and deeds of themselves. Stealing the election is clearly something the Trumpsters would have loved to have done, but couldn’t because they are as incompetent as the Democrats, if not even more so.

At least when Trump “won” his election, the Democrats didn’t blame the GOP for stealing the election because no one would believe them capable of something so clever, they blamed the Russians instead. We all know how clever and sneaky those Russkies are.

December 25, 2020

The Toxicity of American Evangelical Christianity

Filed under: Culture,Politics,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 10:47 am
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In my mind, religion has always been about division. We humans have always fundamentally wanted two things: the feeling that we possess special knowledge (“There is something (I know) that you don’t know” is a common childhood taunt.) and the feeling that we are right and “they” are wrong. This has led religion down the path of “we have special knowledge that you don’t have and we are right and you are wrong,” sound familiar? This is why there are tens of thousands of different versions of Christianity, for example.

So, by dividing one “flock” off from the other “flocks” a flock leader can feel “special,” the members of the flock can feel “special” and, well, let the gloating begin. (Bring back the Church lady! Wouldn’t that be Special!)

So, the evangelical Christianity leadership reaction to the results of the recent presidential election is hardly surprising, but in watching the video linked to below, which contains a sampling of such reactions, I see our grand American experiment in democracy circling the drain. Do we need any more evidence that mixing politics and religions is a very, very bad idea? I do not see us coming together with powerful forces like social media and religion creating positive reinforcement for divisive positions.

Is this the beginning of our end? It could very well be, if we don’t shake off these shlockmeisters, making money off of our demise.

PS I support the Holy Koolaid effort through Patreon, but I am not hawking their wares.

December 23, 2020

/The Social Dilemma

Filed under: Art,Culture,Technology — Steve Ruis @ 10:24 am
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The documentary of this title is currently available on Netflix and I had passed over it quite a few times before viewing it, which I did last night.

The documentary mixes in taking head segments with little scenes in an ongoing drama of how social media affects a family. I could have done without the vignettes as the talking heads were quite spectacular. These were all people who either had something to do with the development of social media companies or had studied the effects of their existence in some detail.

The basic premise is that social media use algorithms to line their pockets . . . nothing wrong there, except that the algorithms have no mores, they just want to feed your attention more of what you are interested in. This results in a massive case of positive feedback for everyone who participates. Positive feedback is almost never a good thing.

The talking heads point out that we who participate are all being manipulated against any judgment applied either by us or the providers and it is dangerous.

Bless them as they say that there are no villains here. Nothing was done with intent to cause the problems that now exist. They found the inventor of the “like button” who explained what was behind its creation. An unintended consequence stems from the fact that we evolved in small social groups, in which it was important to be liked by a majority of one’s fellows. The social media platforms have extended that circle to thousands of strangers, often leading young participants into doing bizarre things to accumulate “likes ” from them. And to what end?

An expert on AI systems says that we all worry about when artificial intelligences get so powerful that they overwhelm human strengths, like SkyNet in the Terminator movies (accompanied by the crunching sounds of humans skulls beneath the feet and treads of robots . . .). But well before that point we would reach point in which AIs could overwhelm human weaknesses, a point they did not claim we are at yet, but they easily could have.

They discuss the effect of social media upon political polarization, even on whole nation’s stability and elections, and what might happen should an autocrat really use social media effectively.

From thinking I knew the topic well, I found myself much better educated for having viewed this doc. If you have also viewed this documentary, what do you think?

Making Shit Up, Part 12,691

Filed under: Culture,Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 10:15 am

You know religious faith when you see it, right? But how? Inspired by the writings of Napoleon Hill, the author of an online post came up with these ten “qualities of constructive faith.” The qualities or properties of something are how you recognize it. I also wonder why these apply only to “constructive faith” as that implies there is also “destructive faith” amongst other possible faiths (supercilious faith, wealth acquiring faith, etc.). In any case here they are.

  1. Possessing a definite aim in life supported by personal initiative and action.
  2. Taking one extra step in human relations and business dealings.
  3. Cultivating a Positive Mind Attitude (PMA) averse to rumor, gossip, hatred, and jealousy.
  4. Recognizing that every adversity carries with it the seed of equivalent benefit.
  5. Affirming your definite aim at least once daily in meditation or affirmation.
  6. Recognizing the presence of Infinite Intelligence, or Greater Force, which gives creative power to the individual.
  7. Participating in a support group or Master Mind alliance with people of similar values.
  8. Noting past defeats and adversities to identify patterns and blockages.
  9. Expressing self-respect through fealty to your personal ethics and sense of fair play.
  10. Recognizing cosmic reciprocity.

I don’t think these are much in need of discussion, although the author of this piece obviously did as he proceeded to do just that. But I take note of just two:
6. Recognizing the presence of Infinite Intelligence, or Greater Force, which gives creative power to the individual. and
10. Recognizing cosmic reciprocity.

Unpacking these is not easy but #6 seems to assume that there is a creator god and that all creative acts are based upon that god’s power passing through humans. So, when you fold a chewing gum wrapper into a little animal, a crane, say, your ability to do that you owe to this god.

I have written on this idea of “gifts from god” before and I consider the idea to be, knowingly or not, a con. By claiming that an ordinary human activity is based upon a gift given to you, it creates a sense of reciprocity, resulting in gratitude and money and labor being returned as a return gift.

I was aware of #10 as I have been around a great many people who think that if they “give” to the universe, it will give back. This is quite a lovely idea, with the possible exception that there is no evidence for it and, to the contrary, there are mountains of evidence as to the indifference of the universe to human beings. Victims of volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, earthquakes, and most recently forest fires hardly see those activities as being a return on their investment in good deeds. This is why so many TV preachers are quick to point out that such events are punishments for sinners, like gay people. Just like those who attribute their survival of such natural disasters to their god, they ignore the pain and suffering and deaths of all of the innocent others.

The universe doesn’t give a rat’s ass about us. It is entirely indifferent.

So, can you recognize someone, a person of faith, from these attributes? I would have a hard time attributing “qualities” such as #8 and #9 to many of the politically active evangelical Christians I see in the news today. Oh, and #3, too, yeah, that, too.

December 17, 2020

An Open Letter to the Many Flat Earthers Now in Existence

Filed under: Culture,Reason,Science — Steve Ruis @ 1:21 pm
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Dear Flat Earthers,
Many people have been derogatory of your belief that the Earth is flat. Please note that they are belittling your belief, not you per se. You, personally, are an idiot, but that is probably not your fault.

Here are any number of accessible approaches for discovering the shape of our beloved planet. Enjoy!

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Use Your Phone!
On Christmas Day, here in Chicago, I expect there to be snow on the ground because, well, it is winter. On Christmas Day I can pick up my phone and dial up anyone in Australia and ask them “What season is it?” They will tell you that it is summer in Australia. You might want to ask your flat Earth mentors how it could be winter and summer simultaneously on a flat Earth.

Use Your Phone!
Go to a globe and pick a spot half way around the Earth (I know it is a false representation in your belief, but humor me.) In the middle of the day, phone somebody at or near that spot. Call a hotel, they are always open. Ask whoever responds “Is it light or dark outside?” They will tell you that it is dark where they are. You might want to ask your flat Earth mentors how it could be light and dark simultaneously on a flat Earth.

Look Up What Local Time Was
In the US there was this concept of “local time” which was that “noon” was when the sun was at its highest point in its arc. You could call up people on the telephone who were not that far away and ask them what time it was and they would tell you something different from what your clock was telling you. The farther away they were, the greater the difference would be. On a flat Earth the time would be the same everywhere.

Look Up What Time Zones Are
I am writing this in the central time zone in the U.S. These zones were created at the behest of the railroad industry whose dispatchers were going crazy making up schedules for trains when every place had their own times. By creating these “zones” everything would be exactly one hour off from those in neighboring zones, two hours off for the next over zones, and so on. If you don’t believe me . .  pick up your phone and dial up a friend who lives a considerable distance (east-west) away from you and ask them what time it is. The time they state will be a whole number of hours away from your time. Heck, even the NFL knows this. When I lived on the left coast, the games started at 10 AM and 1 PM. Now that I live in the central time zone, the games start at 12 Noon and 3 PM. Over New York way the games start at 1PM and 4 PM. Do you think those games are replayed in one hour increments? Nope, time zones!. You might want to ask your flat earth mentors how it could be that simultaneous games start at different times on a flat Earth.

Watch the Video
Astronauts in the International Space Station (ISS) have made continuous videos of an entire orbit of the Earth. It takes only about an hour and a half about the length of a typical Hollywood movie. During the whole movie the earth appears round, and yet it is clear that different continents are passing in our view.

Now you may argue that NASA made this movie as propaganda for the Round Earth Conspiracy. It is certainly within our CGI abilities at this point, but you may want to ask why NASA would want to do such a thing? Plus, many astronauts have taken their own cameras aboard and taken pictures for themselves and they show the same thing. How could the Round Earth Conspiracy have allowed that to happen? It must be incompetence! Conspiracies aren’t what they used to be!

Da Balloon, Boss, Da Balloon
Many amateurs, unaffiliated with the government, have launched rockets and balloons high up into the atmosphere to take pictures. Every damned one of those pictures shows that the Earth is round. How come all of those cameras ended up pointed at the curved edge of your round and flat disk Earth? Such a coincidence!

An Oldie But Goodie #1
Occasionally, during a lunar eclipse, you can see the shadow of the earth falling upon the Moon. The shadow is always circular. This would be true if the flat earth were always dead on to the Moon, but the Moon orbits the Earth and wouldn’t a flat Earth be edgewise, often as not, and wouldn’t that create a non-round shadow on the Moon? Inquiring minds want to know.

An Oldie But Goodie #2
It was claimed that one of the first demonstrations of the earth being round was the observation of ships sailing west from Europe/England could be observed for a while but the ship itself was lost to sight while the mast was still visible. This would not happen on a flat Earth. The whole ship would just get smaller and smaller as it sailed west.

For pity’s sake, I live 22 stories up and the shores of Lake Michigan and I cannot see anything directly opposite me in Michigan. All I can see is water, with any kind of magnification I can muster. And I am not looking across the widest part of this lake! If the earth were flat, the lake would be flat and I could see the Michigan shore.

And Finally . . .

All of the fricking satellites! Do the math. What kind of orbit is stable around a flat disk earth? Answer none! And there are hundreds of the danged things in orbit. Well, maybe a circular orbit above the edge, but that would eliminate all communication satellites, GPS, cell phone, etc.

Also, just for giggles. Look up what a Foucault pendulum is, And explain its behavior based upon a flat Earth.

PS You may be getting good vibes in your special knowledge that you know something other people do not. However, would not that special feeling be more worthwhile were you to volunteer at a food bank or a day care center or senior center? Wouldn’t doing something worthwhile be more rewarding that making a statement about how those pointy-headed intellectuals aren’t so smart?

PPS I have seen the cute models with the Sun and Moon on sticks rotating around (see photo above). If that were the case, everyone could see the Sun and Moon all day, every day. (There is straight line access to both objects in that model from everywhere on the flat disk.) Do you see the Sun and Moon all day, every day? No? Maybe someone who had more creativity than knowledge came up with those models. They do sell well, I must admit, so maybe their interest is commercial.

PPPS Regarding the 200 foot wall of ice that supposedly exists at the “edge of the disk,” supposedly so all the water doesn’t flow off and be lost into space. By now don’t you think someone would have sailed next to that wall all of the way? That distance would be somewhere in the neighborhood of a 28,000 mile trip. Has anyone ever report such a thing? Hmm, I wonder why not.

December 15, 2020

The Costs of Nationalism

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

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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

December 13, 2020

A Brilliant Piece of Writing

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

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