Sunday, July 05, 2015

Independence Day

No, not in the States, except that I did notice less bombast this year than last. Always good to see a little less iniquity and madness.

I'm thinking of the Greeks, who in the tradition of NO! to Mussolini's ultimatum on Oct 28, 1940 just said NO! to their European creditors - and to everyone's surprise, by 61-39, no small margin, especially when we consider that the 61 voted from conviction in the face of economic terror, and the 39 reluctantly, feeling the need to settle for a bad deal. 

There is joy indeed in the Hellenic Republic tonight, although it may not last.  They danced in the streets in Belgrade after the March 27, 1941 coup against the alliance with Germany, but there was no more dancing when the Germans bombed Belgrade and invaded Yugoslavia 10 days later.

History rhymes.  Again the Germans want to crush a small Balkan country, this time to shield the German banks from their losses and to make an example of Greece to the Italian, the Portuguese, and the Spanish people - especially to the Podemos Party in Spain. 

It's true that the Germans quickly occupied Yugoslavia in the spring of 1941, but their fun cost them a six week delay in their invasion of the Soviet Union.  In this way the German army met the mud of October and the Russian winter in their summer uniforms, so the resistance of Yugoslavia and the time that Germany took to make an example of it probably made Germany lose the war in Russia.

Will the Germans go through with crushing the Greeks for their defiance, or will they be reasonable this time?  Knowing the proverb, that the dog returns to his vomit and the sow, once washed, to wallowing in the mire, I will be surprised if they wise up, but it's something to pray for.

Stay tuned!  Before we're done, we'll be feeling the unwinding of this on our own hides.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The stupidity of cruelty - the special case of Greece

Mercy is essentially compassion, from the Latin "suffering with."  This is wisdom, because in this way we see through our own pains and needs into those of others, and so we are led to make it possible for others to work with us.  We don't force them to fight to the death by trying to make them do what they no can do, or to make them do without what they gotta have.

Cruelty is stupid that way.  Knowing and caring nothing for the pains and needs of others, commonly rationalizing such willful blindness by their wrongdoing, cruelty compels others to fight to the death - and because God hates such arrogance and cruelty, unpleasant and wholly unexpected results are pretty near a sure thing.  This is the real cause of such disgraceful US misadventures as Iraq and Vietnam, the Japanese stupidity of attacking the United States in 1941, and the short lives of the Nazi and Stalinist regimes.

So, then, today's special case - Greece.  Greece racked up its debts in the first place because European banksters and their governments made what they knew to be bad loans figuring - rightly - that they could use these to plunder the Greek nation when the Greeks couldn't pay - a game described by John Perkins in his     Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

For years, Greece was ruled by compliant puppets, Papandreou and Samaras, who obediently destroyed the Greek economy for the convenience of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank - and without reducing Greek debt at all, since inflicting all this misery reduced the tax receipts needed to pay.  So in January, the Greeks sensibly threw out these puppets and elected the Syriza party to push back.

Everyone knows that these debts can never be repaid - even European economists are not stupid enough to believe that they can be.  Here the wisdom of Moses on debt cancellation is especially pertinent - but who wants to listen to him? 

Even so, the new Syriza government negotiated with these fools and tried to accommodate them, but last week it became clear that this was useless.  Syriza couldn't betray the Greek people and knuckle under to the same futile stupidity that they had been elected to stop.  It was simply a no-can-do.  And having been elected by only 36% of the people, they couldn't take the responsibility for the train wreck that the default being forced upon them would cause, a weakness that the creditors were counting on to make Syriza cave.  And they did come close.

But since that was simply not possible, the Greek government did the only thing possible - they called a snap referendum on the creditors' ultimatum for July 5, thus giving the Greek people the chance to decide, and forcing the creditors either to back down or hit the wall on June 30, when a huge payment to the International Monetary Fund is due, which cannot be made and won't be. 

The recklessness of compelling the Greeks to default with a FU offer they could not accept reminds me of Austria-Hungary's ultimatum to Serbia on July 23, 1914 - designed to be a demand that Serbia could not accept, so that Austria could destroy Serbia before the Russians could get involved.  Well, the Russians did get involved - and then the Germans, the British and the French - and we all know how World War 1 turned out.

We don't know exactly how playing the same game almost exactly 101 years later will turn out, but one thing we can be sure of.  It won't turn out well for the perps, and probably not for anyone else.          

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

"The cruel man troubles his own flesh"

I was reminded of the stupidity of cruelty as I was driving yesterday, when I thought of the massacre in Hue by the North Vietnamese and Vietcong while they held the city during the Tet Offensive in 1968.  The city itself became very much more anti-communist, and to a lesser degree, so did many others in South Vietnam.  Besides being probably the most cruel act of the Vietnamese Communists during the entire war, it was undoubtedly the most stupid.  Without it, the South Vietnamese regime would have collapsed far more quickly.

As it was, it made less of an impression than it otherwise would have only because of the far greater cruelty, and much more consistently, of the American occupiers.  They, too, were defeated by their own cruelty.

Then, too, every one of Israel's massacres in Gaza moves that state toward history's compost heap, as does its calculated and scientific cruelty in the West Bank.  Its massacres and systematic torture during its occupation of South Lebanon created Hizbollah from the formerly friendly Lebanese Shi'a population.

These principles work in the smallest conflicts in the same way - in our families, our workplaces, and schools.  Your own cruelty will defeat you in the end.  I know that you can bully and terrorize people by means of cruelty, which is why it is so popular, but it never ends well. 

The other half of the proverb also holds true, "the merciful man does good to his own life."  Let's try it, not to be nice, but to do good to our own flesh.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day: A High Holy Day of Militarism

Once more, the it is the season for sentimental clap-trap about how American soldiers have died for our freedoms,which we would not have if it were not for their "giving their lives" - which in truth they almost always never give but lose unwillingly, and in the course of killing many innocent people to reduce their own risk.

Whenever I hear this nonsense, I ask those proclaiming it just what American soldier's death since 1945 has defended anyone's freedom in this country or anywhere else.  I want to know whether if they hadn't gone and murdered 3 million Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laos minding their own business in their own country, would the Vietnamese have come over here and stopped any American from exercising his own freedom to do or say anything at all?  Did any American lose any freedom whatever when the Vietnamese finally tossed the invaders out and did away with the American puppet dictatorship on April 30, 1975? 

And how did anyone benefit from the bombers and invaders killing a million people in Iraq and otherwise trashing that country?  Is it really better off now, a third of it under the control of the barbarians of ISIS, than it was under Saddam Hussein?

When I ask these questions, I never get actual answers - probably because there aren't any.  Instead, I get sentimental indignation against the sacrilege of mentioning such truths on their Holy Day.  Now here we come to a huge difference between the religion of Jesus and other kinds, including almost all American "Christianity" - alluded to particularly in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12: for Jesus, as he also said in John 8:31-32, the only issue is whether we receive the love of the truth.  Nothing else matters.  The Satanic nature of the worship of the American military, with its fatuous claims that American soldiers do a thing for anyone's freedom by getting killed in imperial wars of aggression, is evident not only in the audacious falsehood of these claims, but even more so at the rage against the truth if anyone states it, especially on the Holy Days of this religion.  It's the same rage of religious people documented in the gospels when Jesus would tell the truth, as in his own hometown (Luke 4:16-30).   
But I see no reason why their idea of Memorial Day deserves the slightest respect - mindless sentimental celeb
ration of wars and those who die in them, no matter how foolishly or wickedly, and no matter how ruinous in fact this all is to the American republic. Perhaps James Madison and the other founders were mistaken when they identified war and standing armies as the principal enemies of liberty, so that the blather of modern flag-wavers about the glories of the military are correct instead, but in view of the founders having been fairly smart men, I defend their view without embarrassment.

Certainly it's fitting on Memorial Day or any day to argue for their position, especially when opponents of their political thought have the effrontery to make themselves out to be shining patriots as they subvert the principles of the American republic as explained by the founders.

And as a biblical Christian, I find it right on any day to oppose a religion of human sacrifice descended in a straight line from the sacrifice of children to Molech - the notion that there is something holy and redemptive about burning young men in the fire in stupid wars, thereby supposedly gaining liberty.  This is an obvious counterfeit of the Christian doctrine that our liberty was purchased by the death and resurrection of Jesus, and nothing else.

Finally, all such pagan religion has found virtue in burning children and other humans in the fire in devotion to their gods - the American state being just one more - so it is no worse than I expect in the world. 

But I have a problem with this religion being entertained in churches, mixing it with the gospel, as in past times these churches have mingled the gospel with white supremacy.  This mixture of incompatible religion, worshiping God and demons at the same, gets a great deal of notice in the Bible - and for good reason.  It is a big problem.  It blights the spirituality of all who engage in it, making us reliable instruments of Satan while we profess to know God.  It is no surprise that such religion simply profanes the name of God in the world, being useless for any purpose, and unfortunately, it's just about the only religion that we see these days in American churches.

There is good news in that.  American Chritianity is not useless because there is anything deficient in the gospel, or because the Bible that Jesus and the apostles relied on has failed.  It's useless for exactly the reason the Bible says it is, because it is apostate - utterly surrendered to the demonic doctrines of this world, like the religion of Jeroboam, Ahaz, and of Ahab and Jezebel, having a form of godliness while denying its power.   If that apostasy works out exactly as Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles tell me to expect, I don't have to enjoy it, but I know at least they are not wrong about anything.  Indeed, their testimony about all things is confirmed, and I can believe them with a good conscience.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cat Mercy

It really looked hopeless getting Squeak back.  But the 26th, 8 weeks after he slipped away, our former neighbor caught him for us, where he had been robbing her cat of his lunch.  He still had his collar and his tags.  He had made his way back there, two and a half miles, about a month ago.  The cat we thought was Squeak wasn't Squeak.

No more 2:30 AM trips to lay out food and service the cameras, and much else.  It would have been very difficult for Gayle to have trusted in God to care for her if we had lost Squeak for good.  This was a very big deal.

It turns out the baby is a he, not a she, whom we've named Squirt.  Gayle weaned him, finally, although we give him lots of water from the bottle.  The baby delighted us today by finally pooping, so no trip to the vet for another enema.  Sometimes he walks on me now without using his claws.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Kitten's mommy

I stupidly let Squeak escape March 1 when we moved, and we've been trying to get him back since.  We know where he is, pretty much, and he shows up on camera, but he looks like he will take a deal of catching.

Meanwhile, Gayle wound up with a two-day-old kitten, now a couple of week old, so I've had to become one of her two mommies.  Among other things, new kittens can't pee or poop by themselves.  Mommy has to lick their soft parts to make that happen.  Not my tongue, dear readers, but hot water on my hand and then I have to simulate this maternal action in the morning.  So I get to be thrilled like any mommy when baby pees, and still more when she poops.  I do not receive thanks for this service, only vigorous protest, because, doubtless, I'm not nearly as good at it as mommy was.

She now looks somewhat less like a little rat, and a bit more like a kitten.  Both eyes are now open, and she is starting to prick up her ears.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Update on fight I discussed on Feb 17

This one attracted some comment, so I suppose it deserves an update. 

With a lot of hard work we settled up pretty much in mediation, though technically the mediation failed and we finished up an hour or so after the mediator left.  But we were all done with the real work when she left. 

Administrative Law Judge June Lehrman is an outstanding mediator.

I can't talk about any detail, but I can say that the kid got what he needed, and so did the district.  We didn't either of us get all we wanted.  Sir Mick, as usual in these matters, called it right - "You can't always get what you want."

I like mediation.  You learn a lot about peace-making.  It is an area in which the Office of Administrative Hearings is usually very good. I've only had two bad mediators - both pro-tems - and a couple so-so, but the rest very good to outstanding.  June Lehrman was outstanding.  It was a very tough case for all.