Monday, March 30, 2020

Bill De Blasio threatens those who gather to worship

"So, I want to say to all those who are preparing the potential of religious services this weekend – if you go to your synagogue, if you go to your church and attempt to hold services after having been told so often not to, our enforcement agents will have no choice but to shut down those services. I don’t say that with any joy. It’s the last thing I would like to do because I understand how important people’s faiths are to them, and we need our faiths in this time of crisis, but we do not need gatherings that will endanger people. 
No – no faith tradition endorses anything that endangers the members of that faith. So, the NYPD, Fire Department, Buildings Department, and everyone has been instructed that if they see worship services going on, they will go to the officials of that congregation, they’ll inform them they need to stop the services and disperse. 
If that does not happen, they will take additional action up to the point of fines and potentially closing the building permanently. Again, that will begin this weekend. Again, I’m sorry I have to tell you this, but anyone who’s hearing this take it seriously. You’ve been warned, you need to stop services, help people practice their faith in different ways, but not in groups, not in gatherings that could endanger people." [all emphasis mine]
Also here. Repeat after me: We are not the generation that would hit the beaches to liberate anyone.  A secularized era with nothing to live for but the next five minutes of digital or physical pleasures will stand for little and accomplish less.  Right now, our generation's one stellar accomplishment has been to watch the civilization we inherited disintegrated under our watch.  We've excused this by allowing those with agendas to grind to convince us that had it not been for the Christian West, the world would have no sin or evil or suffering.  Therefore it's a good thing we don't need to do anything to stop the meltdown.  And in classic modern thinking, if we're wrong then it will be future generations who pay the price, and that's just the type of sacrifice we're willing to make.

So it comes as no surprise that in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, our reaction has been to allow the machine to slap us in leg irons and send us to the cotton fields, gulags, or anything to ensure we have as much time as humanly  possible in this life.  After all, once the hereafter becomes irrelevant, as it does in any secular agnostic nation, then the here and now becomes all important.  And that's for those who call themselves Christians as much as the atheists next to us at the office.  Hence Rod Dreher, ironically the author of The Benedict Option, willing to see pastors condemned for holding worship services, or letting low incomes workers suffer.  But he simply joins a gathering army of people - religious or otherwise, the difference barely matters anymore - who will tolerate any loss of freedom or priority imaginable if it will just keep us around as long as possible.  After all, in a secular world with secular Christians, we must ask what it profits a man to worry about his soul if he's going to lose his life in this world.

Nope.  The Covid-19 virus has exposed us for what we've become.  Once the dust settles, if there is a spark of dignity left in us, we'll hang our heads in shame.  I doubt we learn the lessons we should - like if we're serious about climate change, we now know how to help the environment, or that maybe a world where both parents work to get as much money as possible while someone else raises the kids isn't the best thing.  Though I fear we've become so secularized that when this passes, it will simply be replaced with another global apocalypse that will get us to sell one more shard of our birthrights for whatever material bowl of stew we are promised.

Disclaimer: None of this is to say I favor doing nothing.  Of course not.  We do everything we can to help the vulnerable and the least of these, as in all cases.  We simply use our creativity and talents to make sure we don't surrender that which is better in the process.

UPDATE 1:  As if on cue, after comparing Cuomo to Henry V giving his St. Crispin's day rallying speech, Rod Dreher posts another broadside at Christians who dare think there is anything more important than giving up anything and everything for our physical well being.  This is Dreher.  This is the man whose book, The Benedict Option, is all about how can gather in communities to keep focused on spiritual things when the waves of inevitable persecution crash on the modern Faith.  Let that sink in, and then consider there is more than just Church Leaders that this applies to.

UPDATE 2: Looks like one of several stories where authorities are beginning to break up religious services.   This has to do with a funeral at an Assyrian church.  I know nothing of that particular tradition.  It doesn't really matter.  The story reports police caught those in attendance drinking from the same cup.  That suggests strongly a type of Eucharistic celebration.  Think on that real, real hard.  This is what the bulk of Christian leadership and Christians in general are endorsing, and even defending.  Religion as a non-essential, Sacraments are irrelevant, only that which preserves our physical health matters.  The secularism of our material age has had its way in far more of our modern church than we probably guessed.  And that's likely been true for many, many years.  The heathenism of secular agnosticism has been evangelizing the Faithful for generations, and now we're seeing the labors of that effort bear bitter fruit.

UPDATE 3:  The Florida pastor who defied Florida's gathering restrictions has been arrested, much to the cheers of - everyone.  Now, it doesn't look like he lifted a finger to make accommodations or in any way tried to exercise any caution, abundant or otherwise.  And that is a jerk way to do it.  But note the tenor of the article, and those who arrested him.  This is church.  It is nothing essential.  Walmart, grocery stores, even liquor stores are essential.  Of course some are insisting abortion clinics are, too.  But church?  Not on your physical life baby.  Religion is now officially, by government and most church leaders, a non-essential.  Some have corrected me and said it's only church that is non-essential.  Religion, as long as you keep it to yourself on a personal level, if just fine.  Like going to the museum or leisure shopping.  Insofar, of course, it doesn't interfere with what really matters, and that's saving our butts and keeping us alive.  2020 - the year Christianity in any meaningful definition of the term, died. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Well done Cardinal Burke

I know little about Cardinal Burke.  Those who are Pope Francisphiles seem to put him somewhere between Hitler, Charles Manson and the person who invented Reality Television.  That alone makes me think he's not one trying to filter the historical faith through the prism of post-modern insanity and wickedness and self-centered materialism. 

That certainly appears the case here, where he comes out and says what I've been saying in my own clunky way: that in light of the Coronavirus, the Church universal has made it clear religion is no longer an essential, and anyone can get close to God wherever, they don't need to be at a church.  And that, to me, is a bad thing.

Against that clear secular view, Cardinal Burke comes out and reminds us that Christianity isn't just another hobby we do when it's a cool 72 degrees on a summer evening with clear skies and a gentle northerly breeze.  It's reality whether good or bad, whether sickness or health, whether rich or poor.  And the reality is that the here and now is but a small part of the whole that matters.  To lay the groundwork for people to think religion - therefore, God - is of little consequence next to science and doctors who take care of what matters, is to save the body and lose the soul.

Of course he doesn't advocate doing nothing.  Neither do I.  I absolutely think we should do whatever within reason.  I think we're overreacting, but as long as harm isn't done to the poor and the lower income workers so that wealthy celebrities and activists can stay safe, I'm fine.  And I'm not saying churches should have gone on as usual.  But there was a third option that too few churches tried.  Whatever that was would likely depend on the church in question.  But rather than agonize and think and roll up the sleeves, they went cheap and secular and said 'shut them down, lock the doors, and get to God on your own.'  Just like the bowling alleys and bars.

The large number of Christian leaders and Christians with an online presence who have accepted the idea that religion can be a non-essential and our physical health is what really matters suggests they've forgotten what Cardinal Burke is reminding us of:  The Gospel has a vast model of Creation that includes, among many things, that rather small little thing called the universe.  Our souls, on the other hand, are much, much bigger.  May the world not forget this, and may Christians not be the ones who help them forget it if they do.

"For what does it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"  The words of Christ, as recorded in Mark 8.36

When religion became non-essential

Already, churches have been relegated to the level of bowling alleys, barber shops and bars.  True, governments haven't ordered that churches be closed.  They didn't have to.  Religious leaders have done that on their own.  In a nod to a secular age in which the here and now is all that matters, most religious individuals and leaders have 1) admitted you can get to God on your own without being at church and 2) the real heroes are those who treat our physical bodies because that's what matters. 

Now, Pope Francis has stepped out and used secular-speak to describe Covid-19.   It's been said by religious believers for years that secularists often use 'God-talk' to describe nature.  That is, they tend to give attributes often associated with God to nature: nature's plan, nature's will, nature's choice.  Well, Donald McClarey has the sad story on Pope Francis doing the same thing, speaking of nature as a cognizant being in the same manner as Richard Dawkins or Carl Sagan.   Ian Malcolm would be proud.

This is how much we've diluted the Christian Faith with a secular filter.  For the last few years, I've begun to get the feeling many Christians have become more atheist than Christian.  We accept the universe as atheism presents it, with its understanding of priorities, humanity, morality, cosmology and indeed, eternity.  Oh, we put on a fine show each Sunday morning, but back on Monday the difference between us and the atheists sitting next to us is virtually non-existent. 

I think, if nothing else, the Covid-19 phenomenon, whatever the facts may end up being when all is said and done, has revealed just how post-Christian much of the Christian world has become.  My guess is, this has been the case for many years.  If religious leaders and believers so quickly elevated the wards of our physical beings above all things and willingly reduced religion to a non-essential, it's likely that we had already accepted such a model to begin with.

For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.   St. Paul, Philippians 1.21

Saturday, March 21, 2020

And then Kenny Rogers died

I just saw the news.  We've been trying to limit access to the news, and so I'm not privy to everything going on. 

This is sad for me.  Mr. Rogers hit it big at that formative period in my life as I transitioned from elementary to high school.  My sister's first husband was a farmer, and the country music side of Rogers' repertoire was big with his family.  He also made the leap from country to popular music at a time when there was still a discernible difference between the two.

Nonetheless, as went my sister's first marriage, so went Rogers' time in the spotlight.  He was still well known in my early high school years, and some of his standards were mandatory at school dances on on the playlist of marching bands everywhere. 

Over time his career went its way, and I went mine.   But any time time heard one of his ballads I thought of that time in my life.  Of course, any time I played poker I thought of his iconic lyrics as well. 

So thanks for being part of that soundtrack of my life, and a key to unlock fond memories for me, if not for my sister, when I hear your music.  God bless, and RIP. 

A fine reflection on the religion of Global Warming

And the counter-religion of infallible financial progress.  By me, no less.  How about that.  I have my moments.  And I was taken by how much of what I said almost a decade ago has proven to be everything I imagined, and more.  Not bad for a non-pro amateur novice non-wordsmith. 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Ohio's Coronavirus Dream Team

L to R: Dr. Amy Acton, Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted
Governor Mike DeWine, Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, and a rising star in the medical world, Dr. Amy Acton.   The three of them have led the state ahead of the Coronavirus curve, shutting down almost everything - except, strangely, daycares.  Husted and Acton look like charismatic Hollywood stars you would pick to play their parts.  Husted is tall, handsome, athletic (one conference had him dressed in outdoor gear and a recreational vest), and Acton is an easy-on-the-eyes medical savant who is amiable and down to earth.  Both are able to communicate their expertise clearly, taking abstract government lingo and complex medical terminology and filtering it so that anyone can grasp what they are saying.

Governor DeWine, who has stood firm where former governor John Kasich often faltered, has been a pleasant surprise.  One might mistakenly see him and think of a hobbit in glasses.  Like hobbits, however, he has taken a surprisingly strong and resilient line on issues near and dear to conservative hearts, while also being willing to reach across the aisle when policy doesn't conflict with core morality.  Ahead of many US governors, he jumped out early on this, prepping the state for the radical steps about to be taken.  His decisive leadership and calm demeanor (with frequent suggestions passed to him from his wife, Fran) have been crucial in helping keep Ohians grounded. 

For most Ohioans across the political spectrum, they generally have been well received.  There is a feeling of confidence they exude, and I've not heard from many (save the usual suspects on both sides) who aren't at least happy with their leadership, even if they don't care for all their decisions.

For my part?  Some might protest that I was one of those skeptic types who admitted there is a virus and we should do things, but feared we're causing more harm than good.  Here's how I am.  There is a television series from the late 1990s based on the Forester book series Horatio Hornblower, starring a young Ioan Gruffudd.  It was an early cable version of 'limited release series', with initially four separate episodes directed by different directors.  A BBC production, it's top rate.

The third episode, titled in the US "The Duchess and the Devil", has Horatio and a handful of his men captured by the enemy and set up in a Spanish prison.  Among the various storylines is one subordinate, named Hunter, whose resentment and jealously of the young up and coming Horatio is obvious.  Horatio, being Horatio, is taking the long game: to escape will require much planning, thinking, and considering all options.  Hunter takes a more direct approach.  Whipping up suspicion of Hornblower's intentions among the men, he manages to rally them to his cause, and one day rises up and attempts to force his way out of the prison and into freedom.

It's a lost cause, and Horatio knows it.  Hunter had acted against direct orders, and suddenly they were rushing down the corridors, heading into a certain trap.  Again, the calm and level headed Horatio can see it all too clearly.  Nonetheless, when his men rally behind Hunter, Horatio grabs what weapons he can - and joins them.  It turns out to be futile.  Men, including Hunter, are shot, and the prison breaks collapses as soon as it began.  The prison's warden even admits he knows the foolish ploy couldn't have come from someone as smart as Horatio.  Nonetheless, Hornblower had joined the uprising because, well, that's what you do.

That's what I do.  Even though I believe we are likely overreacting, and it might even cause long term harm, it's what we are doing.  We had best join and do our part to help as many as possible, and see each other through.  Who knows? Perhaps we'll look beyond this and realize that our problems predated the latest viral outbreak.  After all, a nation where suicide is one of the leading causes of death for ten year olds is not a nation that should have needed a virus to kick it into gear.  In any event, I may protest, but when the team commits, unless it is to grave and intrinsic evil, find me more or less willing to jump in and try to help.

One final observation. Regarding our vaunted leadership team, it is worth noting that there are many others who join them on different days for Ohio's daily briefings.  One group is missing, however, and that's religious leaders.  While DeWine makes several references to Catholic saint days and Catholic devotions, there are no leaders representing religion in general, or Christianity in particular.  In fact, churches have been reduced to the same category as barber shops and restaurants - told to do what they are told to do and expected to comply.  I find that telling.   What's more, the fact that the churches immediately comply without demanding some presence in the decision making is even more telling, if not expected in our secular age.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Understanding the Church's response to the Cornovirus crisis

In dramatic form.  Here are the players and what they represent:

Johnny Smith (played by Christopher Walken): The World and it's reaction to the virus as dictated by medical professionals and government leaders
Greg Stillson (played by Martin Sheen): the Church leadership and its message that to live is Christ, to die is gain
The baby: the deposit of Faith once for all delivered to the saints
The photographer: the world, especially the younger generations, who are watching

With that summary of the primary cast members in the scene, roll'em:

A cheap shot on my part?  Perhaps. But you decide.  What is the Church banning Christians from Church with nothing but a here and now focused worst case scenario put forward by doctors and government officials look like to young people already immersed in a secular, materialist, atheistic age?   I suggest it doesn't look much different. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Well this is disconcerting

So as the world shuts down in preparation of the Coronavirus pandemic, we see an earthquake hit Salt Lake City, and a vast plague of locusts descend on Africa and Asia.

You know what? About a hundred years ago, certainly two hundred years ago, the vast majority of Christians, Europeans, and indeed humanity, would see something behind these events beyond merely natural occurrences happening with some coincidental timing.  They wouldn't bat an eye seeing the Divine hand behind this, the reasons no doubt being open to debate.

It's a testimony to the secularization of Christianity and, indeed, the world that the vast majority of us make no claim to connect these events to anything other than natural developments.  In fact, those few trying to make some supernatural connection are the ones laughed at, dismissed and generally discounted - and that by those who are Christians. 

I actually wonder if the first ones to miss the signs of the times will be those who are supposed to see them more clearly than anyone.

By the way, what is it with Dr. Debbie Birx's millennial-philia?  Every time she speaks at a news conference update, she takes a moment to sing the praises of millennials, even as she then has to tell millennials to stop being stupid.  We thought at first this was because she had millennial kids  and this was a subtle way of saying 'I know you're the best generation ever, so don't be dumb.'  But no, after watching several of her gushing praise-fests of millenials, she just has this strange veneration for them despite all evidence screaming for a different evaluation. 

Perhaps there's a connection between these two observations, but they came to me at the same time nevertheless.  Perhaps because I'm watching a press conference as I type, and hearing her daily worship service at the altar of the millennial generation, the one abandoning the Faith at levels not seen in the Faith's history.
"Then [Jesus] said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake.""  Luke 21.10-13

Coronavirus: Five typical reactions

So as we enter into the end of our first real month of reacting to the Covid-19 virus, I've noticed about five general groups of people when it comes to reacting to this.  Like all such groupings, this is not some clean cut set of categories that people fit 100% neatly into each and every day.  It's just a difference in general reaction I've noticed. The five basic groups I've noticed are:

The Hysterics Group: We're going to die by the millions.  We'll be under state mandated military police state martial law totalitarianism as people drop over by the tens of millions.  There simply is nothing to stop it.  All is over.  A dark age begins.  It's worth noting that many - not all, but many - who are in this group also display rather obvious ideological and political agendas.   Left of Lenin progressive pundits and Never Trumpers are plentiful in this group.  Naturally it's mostly Trump's fault.  Also in this group, in a strange twist, are many I know from Orthodox Christian areas.  In that case, it often comes packaged in a 'Divine Justice' interpretation of events.

The Fear and Panic Group:  These aren't quite so stark as the Hysterics crowd, but they see much suffering, death and misery coming with our lives forever changed.  Many are here.  Many medical experts in front of cameras seem to be here.  If we take the most radical, over the top measures imaginable, we could reduce the worst case scenario numbers of millions dead by half!  Some who peddle for agendas and scoring points against this or that leader are here.   This is likely the most common I'm hearing from those notables who have the media's ear as well as the media itself.

The Caution and Concern Group:  The other set of medical experts are here, accepting many of the dire warnings, but being somewhat skeptical of the worst case scenarios.  They tend to emphasize the fact that the numbers are fuzzy, death rates seem to vary country to country in terms of severity, and don't put too much on model based predictions.  They also emphasize the need to go along with most of the extreme measures being rolled out to stop this.   Much of the Christian leadership world seems here.  Accept the severity of the predictions, go along with the most extreme solutions, and hope and even pray that STEM steps in to save the day.

The be prepared but this will pass with more of a whimper than the predicted roar Group:  They realize it is a virus, and likely a serious one.  With that, we should do what we need to do to mitigate it, though concern for the long term consequences of radical measures is high in the thinking.  They don't dismiss the possibility of a very bad global pandemic, perhaps with high death rates and infection rates.  They simply insist that the numbers may or may not go in the worst directions, and it might be worth considering long term harm done by extreme prevention if, in months to come, it turned out nowhere nearly as bad as predicted.  They also, FWIW, point out that a big problem is that we have no way of evaluating this in terms of prevention and results.  If the virus kills millions, the medical community can insist we didn't do enough.  If it doesn't, and blows over with nowhere near the infection rates feared, they can say it's because we took the radical measures.  We'll never know the truth of this, so proceeding with cautious caution is the wise move.  Put me in this group.

The what virus?  It's a [fill in the blank] conspiracy Group:  This is the group, often more libertarian or right of center, who's pretty sure it's all bunk.  Oh, they admit there is a virus.  They acknowledge it could be bad, and washing hands or being careful around seniors may not be a bad thing.  But most of this is overreaction at best, a vast conspiracy to take away our freedoms at worst.  There is also no shortage of conspiracy theories here, with tales of a man made virus to eliminate the elderly, or to stop the Hong Kong protests (which it has done), or to come into our lives and set us up to give up all freedoms and liberties, abound.  Nobody here denies the virus, but they see it mostly as a big nothing burger being exploited by the principalities and powers.  And as for ideology, they still cling to the old Free Market Freedom notion, and if millions get ruined by this no matter which way it goes, we must preserve the purity of a non-tainted market.

Those are the general ones.  There are overlaps to be sure, and I'm not saying it's the final word.  Just something I've noticed over the last week or so.  One bonus observation, as I heard that in Ohio elective surgery is being limited if not banned during the duration of the outbreak: Does abortion count as elective surgery?

UPDATE#1: Perhaps nobody embodies Group One (the Hysterics) more than Rod Dreher.  In addition to the 'It's Trump's fault, he's toast, we told you he was a threat to the world', he also posts daily reminders that this is the apocalypse and the world is doomed to an age and and age of terror and unprecedented carnage.  And in a bit of irony, he just posted a broadside against a Christian pastor for not closing his church and banning church services in obedience to the State.  That would be Rod Dreher, author of "The Benedict Option" in which he argues Christians have to be prepared to gather and remain faithful against the assault against religious liberty and freedoms we've come to take for granted, and who makes protecting religious liberty and defying State oppression a primary cause.  Let that sink in.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A lament for Ireland on this St. Patrick's Day

Unpacked here, with not a few tears.  Not all is hopeless, of course.  With God, after all, everything is possible.  Nonetheless, few places on Earth have seen a faster or sharper decline in dedication to the Gospel of Christ than Ireland.  As recently as 1990, Ireland was one of the last bastions of Christendom left in Europe.  That, of course, wasn't saying much.  Nonetheless, it was enough that old VCR tapes we have about Ireland dating from the mid-90s could still boast of Ireland's deep devotion to the Christian Faith of St. Patrick.

Now, like so much of the Dead West, Ireland is a spiritual and moral wasteland.  A country immersed in the pointlessness and hopelessness of the secular world, where this life is all you get, and you had best scramble for whatever scraps of pleasure you can get at whatever the cost.  And like most nations that have so moved, the result has not been one of a Utopian paradise of peace, love, joy and John Lennon songs.  Instead, like we see here in the States and other post-Christian European countries, it's like a party where everyone is bored, nobody cares, the beer is gone, and yet not a single solution for livening things up seems available.

Far be it from me to heap praise on the Protestantism I gave up so much to leave, but sometimes it's those remnant few Protestants who are keeping the torch of the Faith alive in Ireland, just like here in the States, when so many others are simply fading into a vague Jesus shaped secularism with not much more to offer than the sparse materialism of our atheistic age.

"Because there is no other God, nor ever was, nor will be, than God the Father unbegotten, without beginning, from whom is all beginning, the Lord of the universe, as we have been taught; and His son Jesus Christ, whom we declare to have always been with the Father, spiritually and ineffably begotten by the Father before the beginning of the world, before all beginning; and by Him are made all things visible and invisible. He was made man, and, having defeated death, was received into heaven by the Father; and He has given Him all power over all names in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess to Him that Jesus Christ is Lord and God, in whom we believe, an whose advent we expect soon to be, judge of the living and of the dead, who will render to every man according to his deeds; and He has poured forth upon us abundantly the Holy Spirit, the gift and pledge of immortality, who makes those who believe and obey sons of God and joint heirs with Christ; and Him do we confess and adore, one God in the Trinity of the Holy Name." 
The Irish Creed of the Trinity

The Catholic Church and bad optics

So the dioceses here in Ohio have banned Masses until after Easter.  Yep.  Source and summit and all.  Of course many are scrambling to say that the Church banned Masses during the non-White Death.  And yet, that was a Catholic Church of a different era, when the Mass and its participants had a different approach to physical communion then than today.  

Nonetheless, churches rushing to close doors, cancel services, cut off Communion and generally join the panic of a godless world that has nothing to cling to but this mortal coil suggests strongly that the Church today is made up of people who at least act like the rest of a godless world that has nothing to cling to but this mortal coil.

Again, and again, I'm reminded of those chilling words reported by a youth leader last year.  In light of the Pew Research study that found young people purposefully apostatizing and abandoning the Faith once and for all at unprecedented levels, the gathering of youth was asked why.  Because, one youth answered, we (the youth) don't think adults believe it anymore either.  Oh sure, they put on a good show on Sundays, what with angels and demons and raising the dead and miracles and Holy Spirits and all.  But come Monday, the space of difference between a church going Christian and a godless atheist becomes almost microscopically thin, if it exists at all.  

In fact, as we see now, the difference is that one admits there is nothing at all to care about but this life here on earth, and the other acts like it - but with prayers and occasional God references.  Expect the great Christian apostasy to continue apace for the unforeseen future. 
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better.  Philippians 1.21-23.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Getting my mind around the Coronavirus crisis

Tens of Millions infected worldwide
Approx. 1,000,000 die each year worldwide
Approx. 1.7 million infected in US alone
Approx. 20K-30K infected in US each year
Approx. 6K-8K die in US each year

110,000+ Infected worldwide in month of testing
Almost 4,000 deaths worldwide
500+ cases in US
20+ deaths in US
Let’s continue to venerate the Sexual Revolution
Let’s have more sex in as many combos possible
Let’s legalize more recreational drugs
Let’s rely on medications with possibly fatal side effects that might not work because sex is worth dying for!
Shut down – Everything
Ban travel
Quarantine entire regions
Shut down schools, churches, all commerce
Disrupt entire global markets
Impose near martial law
Empty store shelves of growing number of products
Watch markets collapse
Blame Trump

Of course there are other infections, like the Flu.  I pick HIV/AIDS since we don't just ignore the behaviors that lead to it, but encourage them.  So what am I missing?

Plus, in addition to the growing consensus that this could, coincidentally, be what torpedoes Trump's reelection bid, has anyone noticed the Hong Kong protesters - who stormed into 2020 as a major thorn in Beijing's side - have all but vanished? 

Sometimes brainless credulity is needed more to deny a conspiracy theory than to believe one.  I'm not saying we're there yet, but the more I'm seeing, the more that begins to ring true.

Friday, March 6, 2020

The Honey Pot Co., CNN and life in the post-human American Soviet

So this story came to my attention.  The headline is typical CNN: Black stuff people Hate with Racist Racism undertones.  It involved a company featured in a Target commercial.  Naturally the emphasis was on the skin color of the parties involved.  We're already there, and think nothing of focusing on demographic characteristics such as skin color, gender, sexual orientation or a host of other qualifying labels over any other designation.

Apparently, the company was flooded with 1 Star hate reviews, no doubt because of racism.  Fortunately, some Soviet Social Justice Warriors answered by swinging in, decrying the white trash and white b--ches who were racist, and counter-inundating with glowing 5 Star Reviews. Per the CNN piece, all is right with the world.  Sales are off the chart, and a victory for demographic labels everywhere.

I went to the site to see some of the offending reviews.  After 100 pages of 5 out of 5 Star Reviews, I gave up.  I mean, usually with that many reviews, at least some who like a company will point out  something that needs improved.  Not these.  Most were only there to buttress the rating against the hateful reviews I couldn't find.

Again, CNN gushed.  Notice at no point does CNN seem to lament the fact that all of this could skew actual information about the quality of services or products.  That doesn't matter.  The only thing that matters is the demographics and dividing us between groups A and B.  I was reminded of those from the former Soviet Union who used to say how quality was never important, only fealty to the Soviet.  In fact, too much quality standing out was discouraged.  Stand out, and that could jeopardize the promised equality for all.  Better to be a thrall of the state and assure it of your loyalty.  That's what was needed.

I also think of how quickly this has happened.  I mean, twenty years ago this is a bad SNL parody.  This is something right wingers said that was smacked down as unfair caricatures of progressive concerns.  Now it's almost socially mandated thinking.  Even Christians are jumping on board.  Not just Catholics on the blogosphere or prominent LGBTQ activist priests.  It's in Protestantism and even strains of Orthodoxy.  Another thing those in Nazi Germany or the USSR would repeat was how quickly things happened.  Before they knew it, it was too late.

The idea that the white race and all men and heterosexuals and Christians and others born of the Christian West are poxes upon the beautiful story of humanity, that all in those respective categories deserve blood-guilt for their ancestors and all value, worth, guilt and innocence is based purely on the ever shifting demographic pyramid is now practically the pledge of the new allegiance.  Overnight.   Think on that.  With no apology or attempt to couch the story in anything other than post-human demographic values, CNN makes it clear this is not something to worry about.  This is something to celebrate.

BTW, anyone notice how you can go entire months now and barely hear MLK referenced, much less quoted?  Back in the 90s and 00s, you couldn't go a three day span without hearing or seeing someone quote the man.  Sermons, speeches, editorials, even news articles would slip some MLK quote into the mix.  It could be a story about planting azaleas and they would manage a reference to King.  My son used to speak of how, even before Christmas, the schools began gearing up for MLK Day, and it continued through February (Black History Month).  Now?  Every now and then the odd reference.  But hardly what it was.  And that development preceded the hushed FBI revelations about sexual assault.  This sudden change in MLK saturation, come to think of it, began some time ago.

Perhaps this is why:

Original King quote:

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Quote as re-imagined based on the new Demographic Soviet:

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the content of their character but by the color of their skin."

The difference is stunning. Well played Left, well played.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

The legacy of those Soviet bots

Post Modern America's Fab Four
By now it's almost a statement of Faith that Russia is the greatest threat to our nation.  Russia destroyed the electoral process in 2016.  Russia elected Trump.  Russia, it turned out listening to the impeachment hearings, has been an existential threat to our nation for years, ever since Putin.  Except, of course, in 2012 when for some reason Russia was no big deal.

Nonetheless, the rest of the time Russia has been our enemy, continues to be our enemy, and is the greatest threat other than Global Warming we have to face.  Which is odd.  I remember when none other than Pat Robinson was laughed off the stage for suggesting Russia would still be a threat even after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Ah, the Soviets.  I remember growing up hearing 'Commie Pinko Plot' said only in the most ironic and sarcastic ways.  Those who blamed anything on Communism were mocked and ridiculed.  A veritable Archie Bunker.  Suggest that Communists were behind problems in our nation, in our upheaval, in our instability, and expect contemptuous sneers at best.  Even when someone like Solzhenitsyn pointed out the obvious about Soviet meddling in our society, our pop culture and elite venues paid no heed. Even when Soviet agents came after the Soviet collapse and told us of their work undermining our nation, sewing seeds of discord among the youth, encouraging hatred and bitterness toward our country and its heritage, they were ignored.

Apparently the Soviets were awesome.  They wouldn't do anything like Russia today.  Why, apparently those old communists and operatives were just A-OK, not like Russia today that we must fear, hate, and oppose at all costs because of the threat they pose to our very lives.

And what threat is that?  Apparently the threat of tearing down a country founded on a Constitution and Declaration of Independence that a growing number of up and coming Americans will be more than happy to discard.  Just like those who want to change the Constitution who nonetheless scream at Trump for being a threat to the same, so many youth hate Russia for trying to destroy the foundations of a country whose foundations they will happily destroy themselves.

Well done Soviet bots, well played.  So one of five Millennials believe that the Communist Manifesto would be a better guarantee of rights than the Declaration of Independence.  And that's Millenials.  Imagine those younger generations who were raised on the textbooks my sons were.  In their world history text, Gorbachev, Mao, Marx and even Lenin receive great praise, with only sparse allusions to any negatives like mass killings or other violations of human life and rights.  Our presidents?  When mentioned at all, they were usually just minor tokens for bigger subjects.  In fact, Mao warranted an entire two page spread singing his praises as the man who brought China into the modern world.

It goes without saying that such things as the New Deal, the War on Poverty, government healthcare, and other ideals associated with a Socialist model receive great praise in their curriculum.  They did when I was in school.  But then the bad of socialism and evil of communism was front and center.  In my boys' books today?  Barely mentioned.

Greed, corporate corruption, white privilege and WASP bigotry are spelled out as the source of all evils in the world.  So why do we think the up and coming kids wouldn't look and conclude, as the survey found, that the world would be a better place with the brave and bold Soviets still in it.   I think of that as my oldest in college told me his class on cultural anthropology is ready to take on the evils of binary gender theory, and how that big lie has been used by WECs* to bring terror and oppression to the world. 

How did we become the generation the Founding Fathers never saw coming?  Well, one way is becoming  a nation that universally says sex is worth dying for.  A nation that says that is one that will easily throw away anything else, like life, liberty, equality and democracy:

Because death is a small price to pay for a hookup. 

*White European Christians, having replaced WASP some years ago.