The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Month: December 2012


Christmas is named after Jesus.  What have you done to Jesus this year?

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

Notice the part about prisoners.  Every “Christian” who thinks prisoners should be mistreated is not a Christian, and Jesus will not recognize him or her as such.  Yes, Clarence Thomas, I’m talking to you.

The law of the Jesus of the New Testament is of love, and that love includes works. If you are a Protestant who thinks works don’t matter, only faith, you are not a Christian.  If you are a Catholic who thinks anti-gay doctrine is more important than ministering to and being loving to gays, then you will not be recognized by Jesus as one of his.

Jesus did not die in agony on the cross so that those who claim to follow him could be bigots, torturers, greedy selfish bastard who want grandma to eat catfood, or people believe the sick should not be ministered to.  If you want to be evil, follow the old Testament minus the rest of the Torah.  If you want to be good, remember that the New Testament overrides the Old one.  And understand that the Church is neither God nor Jesus.

Do unto others as you would they do unto you in the same circumstances.  That is the whole of the law.  All else is commentary.

On Killing Sprees

I’ve waited a bit to weigh in on this, but I think it’s time.

The two most important things to understand are that gun control would reduce harm significantly, and that gun control is a palliative for a sick culture.  The US does have more guns than anyone else, but countries like Finland have a pile of guns and people don’t kill nearly as many innocents with them.  Likewise every military age male in Switzerland has an assault rifle, and they don’t have killing sprees.

The first point first, China has people who go on sprees with knives.  In fact there was one just recently in a school, 23 students were injured.  That’s sad, but not one of them died. Not one.  Guns make violence far, far more deadly.  Reducing gun availability won’t stop attacks.  It will reduce how deadly they are.

The key points of leverage on harm reduction are reducing clip sizes, getting rid of automatics and semi-automatics and radically restricting ammunition purchases.  Likewise soft-target ammunition – bullets intended to fragment, and hollow point ammunition need to go away.  These bullets have no purpose but to kill civilians. You don’t use them against military or paramilitary targets because they suck against body armor.  As such they have no place, even if you believe in a 2nd Amendment “fight the government” argument.  If you’re fighting the government, you’ll want ammo that can pierce body armor.

The second point is that America has far more of these attacks than anyone else.  This is because America:

1) is under economic pressure.  The more people who are in economic trouble, the more attacks.

2) has jobs which are intensely unpleasant, with the asshole boss being the norm.  Don’t tell me otherwise.

3) has a startling rise in diagnosed mental illness, and a startling rise in the use of psychoactive medications whose effects we don’t really understand. In particular, there has been a massive increase in the drugging of young children (males are who we care about in this context) with amphetamines and dextro-Amphetamines, officially starting as young as 3 years old, and unofficially, earlier.  Long term use of amphetamines is associated with psychotic breaks and violence, this is not in question, we have a TON of historical evidence.  You cannot keep people constantly on amphetamines and not expect these sort of eruptions.

4) The increase in mental illness and medication is in large part because life in America is extraordinarily unpleasant.  You live in a militarized surveillance society with no guaranteed health care and with a job market that doesn’t provide enough jobs for those who need it, allowing bosses to treat those who do have jobs like shit, and executives to take virtually all productivity gains for themselves.  The economic model is to pile debt on consumers to create rental streams, but constant debt payments put people under major psychological pressure, all the time.

5) People are suffering an epidemic of chronic physical diseases on top of this.

You cannot have a pressure cooker society which is also militarized and swimming in guns.  You simply cannot.

First step, enact gun  control.  Second step, stop treating your fellow Americans like shit and stop medicating young children (and everyone else) with record amounts of psychoactive chemicals.  There are only two possibilities: either that many Americans really are mentally ill, or they aren’t.  In either case, the solution isn’t to medicate them.  It is to figure out what about your society is making them ill.

Actually, the truth will be somewhere between.  More people are mentally ill because of your society,  but not as many as are medicated.  People have to be medicated to function in American society because it requires unpleasant and unnatural behaviour, virtually all the time.  School and work both require people to act in ways that normal, healthy, unmedicated individuals find hard to sustain.  Add to that the fact that social ties have, over the last 60 years,  absolutely collapsed, leaving most people with almost no friend or close family,  and people need to drug themselves to get through their day.  They are sicks, scared and lonely.  And at the very edges of this, the occasional person cracks, goes ballistic and kills a lot of people.

The Reagan Play

The Reagan play, in the last period of high oil prices was this: crush the economy and bring new sources of hydrocarbons online.

This is also Obama’s play: fracking and  other unconventional hydrocarbon sources are being ramped up massively, while austerity crushes resource demand.  China is  buying a lot less resources.

I called for falling oil prices before and was wrong about when it would happen, but I remain convinced it will happen.  The hardest thing to do is to predict not what, but when.

This does not mean that hydrocarbon prices in the long run are going to drop, they aren’t.  But in the mid terms, for a few years, they will.

This won’t do much good for ordinary Americans, because they won’t see almost any of the gains, their lords and masters will take most of it.

This crash will lead to challenges for many countries, most interestingly South American countries like Venezuela and Argentina which have been riding the resource boom and engaging in resource socialism.  They need to diversify their economies.  I doubt Venezuela will manage it, Argentina may, if the people running Argentina learn some humility.  This will also hurt the oil patch up here in Canada (primarily Alberta) and upset the political calculations of our Conservative party.  Russia, various Middle Eastern countries and so on will also have their problems.

All resource booms end.  All of them.  The question is only when.  The widespread slowdown, and especially the Chinese slowdown (which is hitting S. America hard), indicates we are likely close to the end of this boom period.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén