Class Warfare Blog

November 20, 2017

New Resource for Social Justice Found

It has been recently noted that most Americans do not own a gun, nor is there a gun in their household, rather there are many guns in the hands of a few. Apparently “… America’s gun super-owners, have amassed huge collections. Just 3% of American adults own a collective 133,000,000 firearms – half of America’s total gun stock. These owners have collections that range from eight to 140 guns, the 2015 study found. Their average collection: 17 guns each.

Really I think we need to start considering these people a national resource. Since they reject the idea that the Second Amendment to the Constitution refers only to militias, maybe each of these super gun owners could be tab as a militia of one, to help defend the country, you know, when the liberals attack.

Maybe we could have these militias patrol the streets of our most dangerous cities, where all of them mynoritees is.

Maybe we could have them fight ISIS. I would be willing to buy a one-way ticket for one of these guys, but we would have to get some sort of dispensation to allow them to take their own crate of guns and ammo with them.

Apparently the Second Amendment is not about allowing individual citizens to own a gun, but about a very small minority to own their own armories.

I wonder what happens to the NRA when these gun nuts run out of room to store their hoards and stop buying guns. Are they going to sponsor the building of secure, high tech, gun range and armory combinations on the lot next to their houses? Gotta find a way to keep those “collectors” buying.

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November 15, 2017

Wow, Prayers Result in Speedy Response (Breaking News! Not Fake! Not Fake!)

In my post “Thoughts and Prayers” I showed that when a mass shooting occurs, the immediate response of “thoughts and prayers” by people has resulted in ever more mass shootings. I presumed that some of those prayers were to beseech the Deity to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future so they seem to be having a reverse effect. The more they pray, the worse it gets.

According to today’s NY Times: “A gunman rampaged through the small Northern California town of Rancho Tehama Reserve on Tuesday killing at least four people and wounding at least 10 others. The gunman — who was fatally shot by the police — had entered an elementary school but was unable to get into classrooms.” Since the most recent mass shooting to provoke an nationwide outbreak of “thoughts and prayers” was just two weeks ago in Texas, we now have evidence that prayers are answered and in a speedy fashion. While not instantaneous, a two week lag between cause and effect is not unknown in prayer analysis.

Now that this cause and effect relationship has been identified, it is hoped that the authorities will now seriously investigate this effect. At the very least, a national ban on “thoughts and prayers” should be put in place as a precaution. Whether the NRA will get behind this movement is unclear at the moment as how these events affect guns sales has yet to be determined.

November 13, 2017

Thoughts and Prayers: Do They Work?

After the most recent large scale mass shooting (in Texas) Republican lawmakers said … over and over again … that thoughts and prayers were appropriate and that “prayers work.” David French of National Review, for example, argues prayer can be the most rational and effective response to such happenings. So, the question is, have these “thoughts and prayers” been effective? Did they work?

Apparently, we have a natural experiment going right now. Let’s start by looking at the number of mass shootings that occur in the U.S. There is an immediate problem with this topic. The first number I ran into is that there have been 307 mass shootings in 2017 (so far). The next number I found was that there have been 10 mass shootings in 2017 (so far). Obviously different definitions as to what constitutes a mass shooting are involved.

The 307 number was compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, which compiles data from shooting incidents, a “mass shooting” according to them is any incident in which a gunman … shoots or kills four or more people, in the same general time and location. The 10 number was determined using the U.S. federal government’s most commonly accepted definition in which one only counts incidents where four or more people were indiscriminately killed in a public place. Since the federal government is in the pocket of the NRA (or rather the NRA’s money is in the pockets of the federal officials) and would then rather be serving to downplay such incidents, I am inclined to not use the federal definition. I am further disinclined to use the federal definition in that it makes a distinction as to selectivity (indiscriminately) and location (public place). So, if someone guns down four or more people on private property, that doesn’t make it a mass shooting according to the feds, but if they were in a park across the street, it would? Also, I suspect the people shot or shot and killed probably don’t care whether the shooter was discriminating or not, they would just rather not be shot.

“Please, all of you ‘thoughts and prayers’ people, please stop praying; you are making it worse!”

Here are the numbers according to the Gun Violence Archive (using the “liberal” definition)

2017    307 (so far)
2016    383 mass shootings
2015    333 mass shootings
2014    273 mass shootings

And, of the 30 deadliest shootings in the United States dating back to 1949, 18 have occurred in the last 10 years. These are just from the U.S., not from the rest of the world. (Not that it would matter a great deal as we are by far the world leader in such events.)

One can presume that since Christians constitute 70+% of the American population, that after each of these events there were thoughts and prayers for the victims, the victim’s family, maybe the shooter’s family, and I would hope prayers to beseech the ruler of the universe, the one, the only, all-powerful god of the Christians to prevent such horrible events from ever occurring again. This is just an assumption, but these are the people who claim that prayer works and I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t ask to have these events eliminated from the future. If they did not pray so, one would really have to ask why.

So after each and every one of these mass shootings, hundreds and hundreds of them, we can assume that those inclined to pray, prayed fervently, at least in part for such events to not occur again.

And the results (so far)? Mass shootings have been increasing in number.

Please, all of you “thoughts and prayers” people, please stop praying; you are making it worse!

 

November 12, 2017

God, Jesus, and Vietnam

The NY Times is running a history of the Vietnam War series, highlighting the experiences of individuals. In a recent piece a gentleman told of how he went to Vietnam with his faith and came home without it (God, Jesus, and Vietnam).

The story is quite poignant and I recommend it to you, but the author’s main point was that one couldn’t go out and sin for six days and then ask God for forgiveness on the seventh and then go out and repeat that cycle again and again, something had to give. (There was more, but that was the crux of the matter.)

What struck me as just as fascinating were the comments. Here are a couple:

… there is in fact a Judgment Day, I have no doubt that this man will get off the hook of his own conscience and that Christ will intercede for him.

So, this gentleman is convinced that there will be a judgment day and Jesus will “intercede for him.” Intercede with whom? Christians who are trinitarians (the bulk  of them, actually) seem to facilely switch between “Jesus is God” and “Jesus is the Son of God” states, often it seems when there is bad shit happening that they don’t want Jesus to get the blame for. So, Jesus will apparently intercede with this poor slob who lost his faith with the Judge on Judgment Day. And who is the Judge you ask? Of course, it is Jesus. Why is it that the Christians who are oh, so sure, of what will happen because scripture, never seem to know what it is?

A second commenter included this as part:

But knowing the Lord is the incommensurable good: no trouble, no loss can be compared to the good of knowing him. Furthermore, we will be with him forever.

So for this gentleman, his god is so good, no thing, no body compares with him. Let’s look at the “Good God’s” track record. According to the Christian time line. the entire universe was created and the first man in a matter of a few days. After a few more days woman is created and after a few more, they are banished from the Garden of Eden and cursed, along with all of their children … forever (circa 4004 BCE).

Then. their god decides he has made a mistake want wants to wipe the slate clean, and so about 1550 years later, he creates a big flood and kills off almost all of the animals on the planet (I used to say land animals, but the volume of water involved is so great, that if it were fresh water (no reason for it not to be), it would have changed the salinity of seawater drastically, right where all of the oceanic life forms were, so basically all animals were killed, including tens of millions of men, women, and children along with the deer, zebras, koalas, and dolphins.

From the eight surviving humans, a new crop of humans was grown, this time under more (better?) guidance from Yahweh (it is hard to tell). A little under 2500 years later, Jesus comes, dies, and saves us all. So, apparently it wasn’t going so well with the second crop in that it took massive divine intervention to fix the problems.

So, where is this “incommensurable good” demonstrated? The history, according to the Christians, shows a bumbling god who can’t get it right, who makes mistakes, piled one atop another. Again, Christians seem to be making it up as they go.

The fact that this soldier’s religious faith put him in a quandary in which the only way out was to reject his faith is quite telling. That his religious leaders were supporting him on a mission that made no sense to anyone, that involved atrocious behavior being required under the penalty of one’s life being ruined (court martial, dishonorable discharge, conscientious objector status all ruined lives) but was okay with god, shows that the army had chaplains as part of the secular and religious control mechanism entrapping these poor soldiers.

I used to be puzzled about the Garden of Eden stories. A key question I had was why did god punish Adam and Eve for making a decision that couldn’t be made correctly as they had no knowledge of good and evil (that was what the fruit gave to them). It makes sense now, now that I see religion as it truly is; it was not a decision that Adam and Eve were to make, they were to obey, just obey, and the price of disobedience was the wreck of the entire human species. The message is “obey or suffer.” Is there no better statement of the true motivation behind that religion?

It is all there in the Bible. Yahweh’s point over and over is “obey me, properly, or else.” And for the sniveling sort who say, “but that is the Old Testament god, Jesus is different,” these folks seem to forget that their faith, almost always, says that the Old and New Testament gods are one and the same … and even if they were not, Jesus had Hell invented on his watch (Hell is not in the Old Testament). Obey or burn in Hell is a New Testament twist to the Old Testament threat.

 

 

To Kneel or Not to Kneel During the Anthem? WTF?

In an article entitled “Star-Spangled Banner: how the anthem became central to the story of American sports” a number of very interesting points were made by the author Bryan Armen Graham.

Here are just a few:

“Professional sports needed to define themselves as patriotic in order to be seen as part of the war (WW1) on the home front and center for morale rather than as an expendable entertainment which is how they were initially,’ says Mark Clague, an associate professor of musicology at the University of Michigan who is one of the nation’s foremost experts on The Star-Spangled Banner, lest we believe anything but the owners’ self-interest made the anthem into the ubiquitous tradition we know today.

“Clague says the development and proliferation of stadium technology enabling the playing of pre-recorded music combined with a groundswell of patriotism during and after the second world war has given the anthem an almost continuous place in baseball in the years since. Football was similarly keen to wrap itself in the flag with NFL commissioner Elmer Layden in 1945 calling for a league-wide adoption of the anthem, saying: ‘The national anthem should be as much a part of every game as the kick-off. We must not drop it simply because the war is over. We should never forget what it stands for.’

“Oh, it was all about money! I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!”

“Says Clague: ‘When world war two happened, professional sports had really figured out that patriotism was good for their business and it protected them against this question of being defined as a non-essential occupation.’”

and

“The bombastic pre-game spectacles of patriotism that had become commonplace at NFL games began to make sense in 2015, after a report by Republican senators John McCain and Jeff Flake revealed the Department of Defense had spread $6.8m of taxpayer money among more than 50 professional teams across the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS and NASCAR. In return, the teams promised organized displays of national pride including the honoring of members of the armed forces, surprise military homecomings and on-field color guard and reenlistment ceremonies. The co-opting of America’s most popular institutions as recruiting tools went by an easy-to-remember name: paid patriotism.”

Oh, it was all about money! I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!

And as usual, the gullible rubes are brainwashed into enforcing the will of the elites, to make them even more money.

Oh, who created this article?  It was created for The Guardian, in the U.K., of course. Nothing like this would be produced by a U.S. news organ … that would be telling, now wouldn’t it.

November 10, 2017

Boy, I Love Ian Welsh

But unlike most of the rest of the world, China is actually trying to tackle problems, to think decades ahead, to plan and to do big important things. Some of what China considers important, like its expansion of a truly oppressive surveillance citizen which will include a public score for every citizen, I don’t like, but China does big things, good, bad or flawed, while we watch approaching catastrophes and gently hum to ourselves, then check our phones.

Follow the brilliant mind of Ian Welsh at his blog.

Economist’s Grasp of Reality (or Lack Thereof)

Many economic theories focus on the tendency of markets to create states of equilibrium. They say these states occur “naturally.”

Economists are also keen on making their studies seem scientific and they can and do point to many physical systems that naturally come to equilibrium. If you drop a ball, it falls, bounces a few times and then stops. The force on the ball at that point is the force of gravity (the attractions things have for one another because they have mass) and the counterforce (keeping the ball from moving downward by opposing the force of gravity) is the floor pushing up because its shape has been changed by the weight of the ball as it is made of resilient materials (materials that return to their original shapes when distorted .. a little). Voila, an equilibrium state created naturally. The downward force of gravity is exactly balanced by the upward force exerted by the floor and an equilibrium of forces exists.

Physics literally abounds with such examples: bathroom scales, child’s swings (pendulums), heat transfers, etc. But these are simple systems and economic systems are not simple (although they can be passed off as such, they are not). A better source of examples of scientific equilibria would be biology, which has more complex systems. In biology, if an organism achieves something like a state of equilibrium there is one thing you can know about it: it is dead. (Hey, this does happen … naturally!)

In complex organisms, these organisms are near states of equilibrium but never get too close to being in one. If, for example, we lose enough heat from our bodies to affect our skin temperature, we are moved to action: our hair stands up (goose bumps) to trap air to insulate us, our metabolism kicks in to generate more heat internally, and if those don’t work, we get up and put on a sweater, or turn on the heater in our house/apartment. Our temperature stays pretty much the same because we are always correcting it.

If we get too far from equilibrium, we usually are quite ill, but actually being at equilibrium means we are room temperature, aka dead.

Economist are full of shit if they espouse natural equilibrium creation by economic markets. It is one of those signs that you know they are spouting bullshit, like when their lips are moving. The reason they allow themselves such delusions is they do not check their theories against reality. They aren’t even expected to! Unfortunately for those folks, their end is coming soon. While they were not looking, behavioral economics has sprung up with a behavioral economist having won a Nobel Prize recently. These folks apply economic reasoning to actual experiments and actual people’s behaviors! That is, they check their theories against reality. (Gasp, wow!) It will not be long before the movers and shakers start noticing the progress being made by the behavioral economists is not being matched by ordinary economists and then, the jig will be up.

Imagine, if “trickle down economics” had ever been required to be validated against reality, it would have been exposed as a bullshit argument used to mask increased benefits for the elites long before it was. Think of all of the political bullshit that could have been prevented.

If this were to become SOP, we might actually find out what the last refuge of scoundrels really is.

November 9, 2017

Step by Step, Inch by Inch, We Get Closer to Seeing What is True

I read the following quote in one of my favorite blogs, Religion Dispatches, today:

“Friedrich Nietzsche argued (I think it was in Ecco Homo, but don’t count on it as my Nietzsche readings were fifty years ago. Steve) that theological claims are actually expressions of ressentiment—envious hatred toward those we believe have oppressed us. He thought people created ultimate value systems, involving good and evil and heaven and hell, in order to put their enemies in their place. It’s a form of “imaginary revenge,” a self-consolation in the face of inevitable human limitations like powerlessness and death.”

Ah, just one step short. People may have invented the idea of settling scores in the afterlife, but the elites are the one’s that not only allowed it to be spread, but encouraged it (if they didn’t come up with the idea themselves and planted it in the first place). They saw that if people really believed that “their oppressors” would truly be punished in this fictitious afterlife, that it would inhibit the oppressed from trying to rush it along and do something while they were alive. So, it doesn’t matter why it was created in the first place, but why it survived.

I guarantee you, if the elites didn’t think it was useful, it would not still be part of “scripture.”

We Are Waking …

Check this out “Why have we built a paradise for offshore billionaires?” by Thomas Frank of The Guardian. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Mr. Frank says, for example, “In reality, though, it was never about us and our economy at all. Today it is obvious that all of this had only one rationale: to raise up a class of supermen above us. It had nothing to do with jobs or growth. Or freedom either. The only person’s freedom to be enhanced by these tax havens was the billionaire’s freedom. It was all to make his life even better, not ours.

He is not quite there, though, as you can see from this “I don’t want to go too far here. I know that what the billionaires and the celebrities have done is perfectly legal. They merely took advantage of the system. It’s the system itself, and the way it was deliberately constructed to achieve these awful ends, that should be the target of our fury.

Mr. Frank, with all respect, it is not some disembodied “system” we need to contend with. You must realize that the elites created the system. We do not need to take the system down. we need to take the elites down.

At least the mainstream media are starting to see reality.

November 7, 2017

Common Actions Required from the Faithful and Abject Subjects

Since the secular and religious elites have been in cahoots for so very long, they have borrowed the trappings of each other’s rules for use in their own. This happened in spades in the later fourth and fifth centuries in the Christian church. The Bishops started acting as if they were little emperors, for example. Consider the Pope as another (wears a crown, sits on a throne, dresses sumptuously and lives in gold-plated rooms, etc.).

Here are a number of shared actions imposed upon the non-elites by religious and secular elites.

Bowed Heads/Upper Bodies
When you take your eyes off of someone, you are sending quite a large number of signals. One is that you are not a threat to the person you are bowing to. Two, you are submitting to the power of the other. By taking your eyes off of the other, you cannot defend yourself from an attack by the other. This is common behavior amongst dogs, for example.
Quite a number of these signals are received by our own bodies. A bowed head is a submissive posture that tells our body we are submitting. This puts the “fight or flight” response on hold, lowers your physical strength (true!), reduces your ability to see clearly (and not because of the limit to your viewing), and quite a few other things.

So, the elites, both secular and religious, expect lesser beings to bow their heads, a lot. This reinforces their greater status and control over you. And you think you are being honored by being allowed into the august presence of someone who requires a bow!

Kowtowing
I am sure you have seen pictures of Muslims at prayer. The posture is one in which the person praying is kneeling and then moves their head down to the floor. Not even Jackie Chan could launch an attack from this position. Basically, by adopting this position, you are admitting that whoever put you in this position has power over you. (Islam means submit, remember.) Submitting to a god in this posture reinforces the power that god has over you.

This same posture is the equivalent of the kowtow (kou tau or koutou). The kowtow has been spun as a sign of reverence and respect but it originated as a forced posture of submission. In some cases, supplicants to elite powers are expected to “walk” in on their knees, otherwise known as crawling, like a child who cannot yet walk does.

Speaking from “Raised Daises”
In early churches and meeting halls everyone spoke (everyone who was allowed to speak, that is) from the same level. But as time moved on, those in the more exalted positions started speaking from raised platforms, often from very large chairs (called thrones, even St. Peter had one … right). The elites occupying the higher platforms are emphasizing the higher status they have in society and lower status the supplicants down on the floor have. They really do look down upon us. (Think about what they phrase means and how it is used.)

These raised platforms are often spun as existing so the people in the back can see better. But in sports stadia to make sure the people in the back can see better, they raise the seats of those spectators. The farther back you go, the higher you are elevated. This apparently didn’t occur to the elites.

In throne rooms with various steps leading up to the throne, rules are in place as to who may stand on which step, again reinforcing their status as to who are “above” them and who are “beneath” them. (Consider the phrase “doing such a thing is beneath me” if you care to see how woven into our culture this is.)

Referring to elites by titles
The first kings weren’t called “kings,” other words were used. There are a bewildering number of different titles that have been created: duke, count, earl, viscount, mandrake, prince, emperor, etc. In the religious world, this practice was copied: Bishop, deacon, Holy Father, Pope, Cardinal, Reverend, etc. All of these terms were created by the elites for the elites. The words the elites used for us were unworthy scum, commoner, worm, serf, slave, the “flock,” etc. None of these titles existed before a certain point, they had to be created … and guess who created them?

Insisting upon the use of a title reinforces their standing as being above yours. As more non-elites grew prosperous, they started insisting on titles of their own, master, sir, madam, which were words used otherwise but turned into titles. (And tug your forelock when you address me, scum!)

In religious elites, this is no different. Is there any other reason for you to address a priest as “father” and he to address you as “my son” other than to put him into a parental position of authority over a child (you)? Let’s see, Your Eminence, Hochheit, Highness, Your Grace, Your Majesty, even Mr. President (so humble compared to “Your Majesty”), ah … there are so many titles to establish they are someone special and you are not.

Tithing and Taxing
The secular elites invented taxation as a way to support “civilization.” They impounded food and clothing and labor to meet their needs, not the needs of the people. This was done first by religious threat or promise and later by religious threat or promise and physical force. In the Bible, have you ever wondered why “tax collectors” were so despised? This is because these people were representatives of tax farmers. There was no temple bureaucracy that actually went to people’s homes and collected taxes. The right to collect taxes in various precincts was auctioned to the highest bidder, who had to be rich, of course, to be able to afford this. Then the winner of the auction sent thugs out to get his money back, plus a healthy profit. Taxes were collected over a threat of violence and no proof was given of taxes collected, nor was there a schedule or date in which the tax man/goon was to come by. Often they came into your home and took whatever they thought had any value. IRS agents are pikers, very polite pikers, compared to these “tax farmers.”

The religious elites used the same procedures but found ways to encourage “donations” with less force. They tied “tithes” to religious holidays as well as traditional gifts being tied also. The religious calendar in the Middle Ages had more “holy days” than non-holy days, such was their greed.

If you spend even just a little effort, you will find many more commonalities between and among the controlling practices of the religious and secular elites.

 

 

 

 

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