Sunday, November 30, 2008
In the readings for today in the Treasury of Daily Prayer is this quotation passed on by Valerius Herberger spoken when Andrew was being martyred by crucifixion and had been on the cross for three days and his hearers wanted to take him down by force: "Ah, let God take care of it! Do not make the peace of the Gospel suspect by your unnecessary revolt against the government."
I guess that answers what Andrew thought about obeying the government even when it is very clearly wrong!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Dr Justin Barrett, a senior researcher at the University of Oxford's Centre for Anthropology and Mind, claims that young people have a predisposition to believe in a supreme being because they assume that everything in the world was created with a purpose. (Read full story)
What we have here is simply scientific confirmation of what we already knew through the revelation of God in Romans 1:20.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
New Orleans is a cesspool. You should really think about going someplace safe by comparison: like Gary, Detroit, or Kabul. We have them all beat in violent crime. In fact, the murder rate is approaching 50%. You have as great a chance of being murdered in New Orleans as you do of flipping a "heads" on a coin. Think about that!
Also, keep in mind, New Orleans is utterly amoral. Every street corner has a drug dealer on it - openly selling crack and heroin. In fact, our pushers are not only violent and disease ridden, they are all naked lesbian voodoo priestesses who play the lottery and listen to heavy metal music.
You also have to watch out for the crazy Cajuns who cruise around the bayous of the Central Business District in piroughs and jeeps looking for dead animals to scrape off the road to make jambalaya (what do you think you're eating in those restaurants anyway?) It goes on for quite a while more and you will probably laugh right out loud a couple of times at least, I know I did :-)
Everybody knows somebody who is teaching a child at home“I never really told anybody about my music at school, only my really close friends,” Cheyenne Kimball told People Magazine in 2006. “Then [school officials] actually aired the show around the whole entire school, and that caused a lot of problems. I was a straight-A student and all of a sudden I didn’t want to go to school anymore because of the things people were saying. That’s why I’m homeschooled now.” Cheyenne, winner of NBC’s America’s Most Talented Kid at age 12, recording artist, and star of her own MTV show, is just one of many high-profile Americans whose educational choice is home schooling. (Read the rest here)
Monday, November 24, 2008
Plus ça change: "Progressive" Leaders Ride War Machine Deeper Into Darkness
The latter, of course, is where we came in, with the Carter-Reagan marshalling of extremist jihadis -- known as "freedom fighters" in those days of yore -- to hotfoot the Soviets and their secular Afghan clients. Indeed, the entire arc of America's bipartisan policies in the region over the past 40 years can be seen as the elaborate construction of a gargantuan, self-propelled blowback machine, producing an endless effluent of violence, threat, chaos and crime that is now sluicing through the entire world. But blowback, as we all know, is not a design flaw of imperial policy, at least not for the most part; it is a design feature. No War Machine without perpetual war and rumors of war; no war profits – and no war powers – without the War Machine.
So perhaps we do wrong to criticize Obama and Brown, on policy grounds, for their intention to kill more civilians and kindle more hatred and sorrow in Afghanistan. After all, we are told over and over how very intelligent these two leaders are, how well-read, how penetrating, far-seeing and deep-delving they are, especially in comparison to their fatuous predecessors. The glaringly obvious folly – in human terms, and on the moral plane – of escalating the war in Afghanistan, and possibly expanding it into Pakistan, cannot have escaped such perceptive men. Therefore, we can only conclude that their policies, like those of their predecessors, are based on altogether different considerations, ones in which the lives of the Afghan people, and the genuine security of their own people, are of little concern.
For this is the hard truth – the blood-and-iron truth – that our age has taught us so well: war is always a win-win proposition for the corporate-militarist state that has devoured the American Republic. Even if the particular conflict itself ends badly or inconclusively, it always engenders vast profits and increased power and privilege for the corporate-militarist elite -- and the temporary managers they graciously allow the American people to "choose" from a rigorously sifted, highly circumscribed menu of "viable" candidates. So it doesn't matter if this war or that war is "ill-conceived" or "badly managed" or a "serious mistake" or "the wrong war at the wrong time," or if its public justifications are based on lies or ignorance or arrogance, or if it bankrupts the treasury, beggars the citizenry, and destabilizes the world. The small, golden, coddled circle still reaps dividends of profit and dominance.
Naturally, this kind of thing can't go on forever; history is replete with examples of imperial elites who eventually bled their nations dry and saw them fall into ruin or curdle into a fearful insignificance. But I think that those who believe – either hopefully or in despair – that the American empire will shrivel away anytime soon are badly mistaken. The war machine and the security apparatus are not shrinking; they are growing by leaps and bounds, and Obama has promised to make them even larger. The economic disaster doesn't threaten the position of the imperial elites at all. On the contrary, as we have seen in the last few weeks, the Obama-backed "bailout" plan has enriched the already rich and powerful to a staggering degree. As CNBC reports, the government has spent more on saving the rich from the consequences of their greed than it spent in winning World War II: more than $4 trillion so far, with much more to come. This astonishing theft – the largest gobbling of public loot by a rapacious elite in the history of the world – will only further cement the powerful in their entrenchments on the commanding heights of society. The nation may rot beneath them, may be roiled by storms of blowback; but that is not their concern, it is no defeat for them. You can lose; they do not.
This is not to say that our elites don't tell themselves any number of flattering, self-justifying fairy tales about the boundless nobility and righteousness of their intentions. They can do this because they identify the interests of the system of elite rule (and the comfort, power and privilege they personally receive from the system) with the common good of the nation, or the world, as a whole. This allows them to pursue truly monstrous policies without regarding themselves as monsters. This allows them to order actions, such as the escalation of the destructive, destablizing conflict in Afghanistan, which they know, with absolute certainty, will needlessly murder innocent women, children and men -- and still talk earnestly and sincerely about their hopes for peace, their concern for humanity, their deep, abiding faith in a loving God. But again, as we have said over and over here, what matters are not the rhetorical justifications of power or the stated intentions of power -- or the charisma, likeability or compelling story of the wielders of power; what matters are the operations of power, its actual effects on the human beings on the receiving end of its machinations. Like love, power is what it does, not what it says.
Any discourse that omits this perspective seems to me to be lacking in rigor and realism, and leaves one highly vulnerable to delusion and manipulation -- and complicity in evil.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I used to ride my bicycle to the BART station, bring the bike on board the train and park it securely at work. Then BART "improved" it's service by "adding trains" in the evening, while cutting the number of cars per train to the point that I could not reliably get onto a train at 7:09 or 7:25 pm and instead had to wait until a later train to get home. So I decided to try parking at the BART stations instead. Which, as you will recall, resulted in the theft of my bike from the inside of the BART station. I gritted my teeth and continued riding to the BART station until a recent rash of vandalism to my bike. First my headlight was stolen. I bought a new one and made a special effort to remove it when I parked. Then the bracket to my headlight and a Velcro strap on my lock were ripped off. So I was reduced to holding my headlight, that I had removed that day, in my hand as I rode. The last straw was when my bike's seat was ripped off recently. At that point I finally gave up. I'm back to driving my car to the BART station, all because BART seems to deliberately discourages bike riding.
Friday, November 21, 2008
All laws imply deadly force. All laws = the death penalty. Of course they won't say you are being killed for the "crime" of jay walking, but for resisting arrest or attempting to escape or whatever, but really it's the original "crime" you are being murdered over, smoking herbs, walking where they don't want you to or building a house without permission, all punishable by death if you don't bow down and submit.
Government is Violence.
Government, as we must never forget, is force. And as Simone Weil so memorably observed, force is that mysterious influence “that turns anybody who is subjected to it into a thing. Exercised to the limit, it turns man into a thing in the most literal sense: it makes a corpse out of him.”
Every government function, no matter how mundane or apparently harmless, carries with it the implied (and often overt) use of lethal force against those who do not submit. Stefan Molyneux perceptively describes this as the principle of the “Gun in the room”: Whenever anybody refers to the supposed virtue of a given government undertaking, Molyneux sagely observes, the central question is not whether the end is desirable, but rather “whether I am allowed to disagree with you without getting shot.” (Full story here)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
It is possible that I misunderstand the Lutheran position still, but I don't think that is the case. Lutherans teach that government is a blessing from God, a positive good. I think that this is wrong. In reality government is a curse and an evil. Even God warned Israel that a king (government) was a terrible idea that was against His will for them. (1 Samuel 8:4-19) We are certainly commanded in Romans 13:1-7 to obey and honor those in power over us, but in no place in the New Testament, at least no place that I'm aware of, is it even remotely implied that we ought to participate actively in any government, even less is it implied that we have some duty to participate in the actions of governments.
As Tolstoy said so eloquently "Government is Violence." Every law is backed by the armed might of government, resistance is met with violent force, always. Try it out if you don't believe it. If you remove violence from government, so that it is voluntary, you no longer have a government, instead you have a co-op. I'm all for co-ops of all sorts, they are a good way of getting things done that might be difficult to accomplish individually.
In my studies I've found a number of early church writings that imply or state outright that participation in government offices is incompatible with being a Christian. Some of that is related to the implicit idolatry that went with being a government official at the time, emperor worship was a big problem for them. In other places it was the act of killing for the government that was the stated problem. As far as I'm aware there are no writings, before Constantine, that express the idea that it is a good thing for a Christian to be a soldier or magistrate working for the government. It is only after Christianity was made the official religion of the Roman Empire that it was suddenly OK to be a soldier and magistrate. That is the conclusion I've come to in the reading I've done.
As always I'm open to new information or new arguments, though I have not encountered anything new so far, it's all pretty old stuff.
Obama's most ardent supporters are split over whether he should prosecute Bush officials [for torture and other war crimes.]
Oh wonderful Obama, we're back to Freedom Tickles? Look, if they tortured prisoners it's a crime, if you don't prosecute them it's a crime as well.
Just replace George with Barack in the picture and there you have it...
A pox on all your houses!
Monday, November 17, 2008
Today though I got one from them that I can only classify as Evangonut stuff. Christian Zionists misread the bible and spew false teaching like mad, and it leads to nutty stuff like supporting Israel over the Arabs no matter how very wrong the Israeli side is.
It also leads to weird stuff like this:
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Saturday, November 15, 2008
Ultra left wing types are very similar to Islamic fundamentalists when it comes to democracy, it's all good unless the vote goes against them, then all bets are off. This whole thing just demonstrates for me the wisdom of keeping the government out of everything important.
So, I believe in separation of church and state.
I believe in separation of school and state.
I believe in separation of marriage and state.
I believe in separation of... life and state :-)
So that's what I've been doing.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
So, Happy Veterans Day everybody! Of course only our masters have this day off, the politicians, the bankers, the government bureaucrats and the government indoctrination center workers (teachers in public schools) will be kicking back at home today. The rest of us proles, the ones who pay our masters wages through our taxes, well, we are pretty much all going to be working today.
Monday, November 10, 2008
The thing is I think that xkcd has it right on this one... it's the entrance to Heaven! :-) See, all the matter in our Hubble Volume, that is the observable universe, is heading in the same direction in space at great speed... the universalism preachers are right! Everything is heading to the same place! Heh. Or not :-)
What it really means is that there is matter that is outside or our Hubble Volume that is influencing the matter in the area we can observe...
Friday, November 7, 2008
Yesterday Serenity and I went to Rock City again, always a fun place to go. This time we met up with some folks from SFBUN (San Francisco Bay Unschooling Network)
We had a great time! Here are some more photos of the day, enjoy!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Father Hollywood explains the reality of this quite well. The POTUS is not "our president" at all. I have been saying the same thing for many years, first about "Bush the Elder", then "the Adulterous Hillbilly", recently about "the Shrub" and now I will be saying it about "the One" as well.
He is the president of the executive branch of the federal government, I don't work for the government, that means he is not my president!
Read Father Hollywood's explanation if you don't believe me :-)
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
The film was representative of our whole eight-year fling. We libertarians, you progressives, united against the common enemy – our ancient enemy – the corporatist, militarized, theocratic police state. You’ve always had a subversive streak and Bush brought out the best in you.
November 5th should be the day we remember the radical ideas in that movie, and of Guy Fawkes Day: "The people should not be afraid of the government. The government should be afraid of the people."
So terrible has been Bush that you began wondering if the true hero in the drama of social struggle was, in fact, the omnipotent politician, as you’ve been tempted to believe for the last century; or, rather, the opponent of tyranny. Maybe those who opposed government, those who both Clinton and Bush told you to fear, had a point all this time.
But then you met Obama. Boy, did he switch things around for you. So well tempered, soft-spoken, seemingly humble and mentally sound.
All the incredibly scary features of the Bush regime – the secrecy, the spying, the lying, the aggressive, presidential wars – are in the Obama catalog. He promises more of the same. He lied about the FISA bill, voted for it after he vowed that he wouldn’t.
And now he is going to be our president. "Our commander in chief," as Joe Biden says.
Yet all those frightening Bush policies that Obama will continue do not seem to matter to most of the left anymore. The right still wants war and the water-board. But it seems that the economy has overcome everything else as an issue, and Obama’s socialism was so sweetly tempting to virtually the entire American left, and now that they have it they are once again content with the federal government.
It is not so much that government should be afraid of the people, after all. And certainly, government in itself is not something so fearful that it should be strictly limited. The more timeless leftist truth, as relearned from Obama, is that the people ought to be afraid of bad Republican government, and instead embrace good, democratic government, one that promises change, hope, a higher minimum wage, more "green" jobs, energy independence, fair trade, much more stringent financial regulation, foreclosure freezes, wealth redistribution, economic justice, national health care, an end to climate change, a civilian national security force, a bigger military, victory in the war on terror, foreign aid and U.S.-enforced international peace.
To be fair, some on the left intend to put pressure on Obama to end the war and civil liberties erosions. And what if he doesn’t? The right has had people trying their darnedest to get Republicans to cut government and that hasn’t worked.
Indeed, now the mainstream left has more or less forgotten the antiwar movement. Once Obama takes power, most of them will embrace the military state. Most of them did during Clinton. Most of their liberal parents did under Johnson, too.
While I’m making post-election predictions, I will say that the conservatives will only get worse. Many on the right will pretend to care about free enterprise as a high principle, but I actually find such hypocrisy obnoxious. Meanwhile, they will always be questioning Obama’s patriotism, demanding that he perpetuate the war on terror properly. No wavering.
Had McCain won, he would have had the possibility (although not the likelihood) of taming things down. Now all the pressure will be on Obama to show he has the strength to lead the world’s one indispensable nation, as his foreign policy adviser Madeline Albright calls it. He will have to bomb. He will have to kill. He is surrounded by others who want him to.
The irony is, the Democrats might end up being less socialistic than the Republicans. Americans will be more on the lookout for big government from them. On the other hand, Obama now has a solidly Democratic Congress. So the chances of another New Deal are not negligible.
As for civil liberties, Obama has still been somewhat better on torture and executive detention. But again, he will have to show how tough he is. We are in for a ride.
I could be wrong. Obama could turn out less bad than I expect. But he will not be good. He could not be even if he wanted to be. He was elected despite having moved to the right on war and surveillance, because Americans wanted a Democrat to centrally plan the economy. There are more libertarians than ever, but the popular ideology at the moment is nevertheless very pro-state.
But there will be a silver lining. Obama will be quite educational to some on the left. He is everything many of them have wanted in a president, but at least some will be very disappointed. The freedom movement got some folks from the right because of Bush. Our ranks will grow, eventually, when Obamania is seen as just another name for imperial wars, state capitalism and police brutality.
When it happens, we libertarians will be waiting with open arms. We can watch V again and reminisce.
November 6, 2008
So, the darker colored corporate whore won out over the older and paler colored corporate whore.
How very thrilling.
Like the Who said back in 1971:
I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again
Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss!
On the other hand there is some good news, barring some last minute vote tampering by the ruling elites, Proposition 8 looks to have passed, thus defining marriage for California as being between one man and one woman.
Other good news is Proposition 2 passing, forbidding cruel caging practices when raising animals for food.
Sadly the people of San Francisco failed to rename their sewage treatment plant in honor of George W. Bush, I can't see how anyone could have voted no but they sent it down to defeat anyway.
There was a redistricting proposition on the ballot that is holding a tiny lead at the moment, that was an attempt to make legislative districts more reasonable instead of snaky abominations that are deliberately set up to ensure Socialist Victory no matter what.
In all the election season was nauseating and the performance of the media more deplorable than ever and the total victory of the War Party, as usual, makes me sick. I voted but I feel dirty for having anything at all to do with it, maybe I'll give up voting for Lent...
Crank it UP!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
So I wondered if I should vote. Then I thought, "I should pray about it!"
So I began to pray, "O God in Heaven, I come before you this morning and ask your guidance…"
And that was as far as I got as the answer seemed to me to be both swift and clear, that I ought to do what I can, no matter how little it is, to influence the course of my nation, state and city to the good, and prayerfully consider each issue, and each candidate, and then vote as best I can, trusting the Lord to accomplish his sovereign will.
So be it.
Monday, November 3, 2008
My wonderful daughter Lora bought me the leather bound version of the Treasury of Daily Prayer for my birthday. It arrived on Saturday and I've been browsing through it and used it for morning prayers Sunday and this morning. It is wonderful! There are many reviews I've read on it, all of them saying the same thing, it's great! There is very little negative that anyone I've read could come up with. I intend for us to start using it for a daily family devotional, starting tonight I think. Evening Prayer is the section I'm looking at using because it is the only time we can be sure that Lora and Serenity and I are all there most days.
Here is a review by Rev. Rick Stuckwisch:
The seven things I like best about the Treasure of Daily Prayer are:
(1.) It is simple and straightforward to use within the home and family.
(2.) The material appointed for each day is manageable and self-contained in the same place within the book.
(3.) The full scope of Holy Scripture is covered in the course of the year.
(4.) The seasonal contours of the Church Year are followed and respected.
(5.) The sanctoral cycle is fully represented and richly supported.
(6.) The Psalmody, hymnody, writing and collect for each day work together in harmony with the Scripture readings, so that devotion is directed by that Word of God as the foundation.
(7.) The Lenten catecheses on the six chief parts.
It is my hope and prayer that families, in particular, will each purchase a copy (or copies) of the Treasury, and will not only own it but use it on a regular basis within the home. In this, the Name of the Lord will be glorified, His Gospel will have free course among us, faith will be strengthened and increased, and the sweet incense of prayer will ascend to the Father in Christ.
from Empire Burlesque - by Chris Floyd
It has been, as usual, a bizarre, even lunatic experience, completely untethered from reality, obsessed with trivia, gossip and spin, and emptied, again deliberately, of anything resembling substance. Vague hope is offered by one side, vague, wiggly fear by the other. "Change" is the universal mantra, but both sides have fully and unashamedly embraced all the fundamental tenets and practices of the current power structure: militarism, corporatism, authoritarianism. Both candidates enthusiastically support the so-called War on Terror and the so-called War on Drugs, with all of their horrendous violence and corruption. Both champion unrestricted surveillance on ordinary citizens, and draconian punishments for the millions incarcerated in cramped and increasingly privatized prisons, where the poor and luckless are abandoned to the depradations of gangs and the brutality of ill-paid, ill-trained guards. Both back the inexorable growth of the death penalty to cover an ever-wider array of offenses, even non-lethal crimes. Both support the so-called "bailout," the gargantuan redistribution of wealth from working people to the fraudulent rich. Keep reading here.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Hourly Rain 0.00 in
Daily Rain: 0.42 in
Monthly Rain: 0.42 in
Yearly Rain: 1.44 in
Normal Rain, month to date: 0.29 in
Normal Rain, year to date: 7.77 in