Monday, July 14, 2014

Hating the stranger, and proud of it

Last week a mob came to Murrieta to scream and spit at kids that had fled here, unaccompanied, to get away from the conditions where they lived.  It has to be pretty bad where you are, if your parents send you off on a 3000 mile journey by yourself - and not on Air France either.  These are desperate people.

As far as I am concerned, there is less excuse for these people than for the similar mobs that screamed and spat at little black kids going to school in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957, or New Orleans in 1960.  Some of them - as in those days - call themselves Christians, just the kind that has no interest in what Jesus had to say about strangers or children.

About the same time, Israel is again trashing Gaza, supposedly because people there have been shooting rockets into Israel.  These rockets began to fly, most immediately, because Israel was already obviously looking for a pretext to attack Gaza anyway, because they had just spent three weeks on a pogrom in the West Bank, supposedly to find three kidnapped boys which the government knew all along were already dead, and they were blaming the Hamas organization in Gaza which they knew perfectly well had nothing to do with it.  As a direct result, Hamas in Gaza hunkered down and could no longer send out teams to stop others from launching rockets, and so rockets got launched.

Israel now routinely acts like the Germans in 1938, and you can imagine how much worse they would be if they were not still somewhat afraid of European opinion.  Kristallnacht, as some of you may remember, was the German government's response to the assassination of a German consular official - opposed to the Nazis himself, as it happens - by a 17-year-old Jewish kid who was outraged by how the Jews were already being treated in Germany.  So the present Israeli conduct looks familiar to those of us with memories.

And the Israeli state has the audacity to call itself Jewish, the kind of Jews that have no interest in what Moses and the prophets had to say about how to treat strangers.

It's no marvel that this kind of "Christian" and this kind of "Jew," both obscenities in Christian or Jewish terms, find each other so attractive.

Here Matthew 24 comes in, which describes how things will be just before Jesus returns.  The reason it has been of great worth to us the past 2000 years before his return is that it describes not just that time, which could still be a long way off, but any time in which a civilization is collapsing.  It was instructive in Jerusalem in AD 70, and as Rome collapsed, and now as modern industrial civilization heads for history's dumper.

To my mind, the most critical point is this: "Because lawlessness is increased, the love of many will grow cold.  But he who endures to the end will be saved."  It's obvious in that context that enduring to the end is not about shouting that Jesus is Lord - there's never any lack of that and never will be - but for our love not to grow cold in the face of increasing lawlessness.  Christians will have to find that that particular endurance needs for us to know Jesus and have him around.

35 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought for a few minutes about whether to send these comments to you personally at your email address or to post them here. I decided to post them here so that your one two or three other regular readers could comment one it as well if they wished.
You and I have spent a lot of time writing on the internet about how bad the foreign policies of the US and its allies are.
So we know that we have a point of agreement on a subject that is important to both (all) of us.
Yet I wonder how many other points of agreement that we have about political questions.
I would like to therefore post what would be my political platform if I were to be a political party in the USA.
It will follow in the next post.
Curt

7/14/2014 7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Implement a progressive income tax. To give you the idea there would be no deductions. The first 50,000 dollars of family earned income would be tax free. Then the rate from 50,001 to 100,00 would be 15%, 100,001 to 150,00 would be 25%, 150,001 to 200,000 would be 40%, 200,001 to 250,000 would be 60%, 250,001 to 300,000 would be 80%, 300,001 to 350,000 would be 90%, and finally it would be illegal for a family to earn more than 350,000 in one year because it would be taxed at 100%.
Unearned income should be taxed even more heavily. The first 12,000 should be tax freebut then the percentages should to up until it reaches 100% at 65,000 dollars.
The rate for senior citizens should be lower. The first 24,000 should be tax free with the 100% rate reached at 78,000.
T.B.C.

7/14/2014 7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3. Implement a progressive inheritance tax. 250,000 tax free then 20% over 250,000, 40% over 500,000, 65% over 1 million, 90% over 2 million, and 100% over 3 million.
4.Increase gasoline taxes at least 50 cents a year for 20 years.
5.Greatly increase taxes on heavy trucks. One 18 wheeler does as much damage to the roads as 10,000 cars. The trucking companies are getting huge subsidies. Long distance overland movement of goods should be done by rail.
6. Term limits for Congress and the Supream court.
7. At lest close all overseas US military bases if not eliminate the military all together.
8. Outlaw the production of private vehicles over 2500 lbs.
9.Abolish the Federal Reserve.
10. Nationalize all Casinos like they do in Swedland. Gambling is stupid but people are going to do it so the profits should go to society not to private individuals.
11. If there is a military all industries which manufacture weapons must be nationalized.
12. End biofuel subsidies.
13. A private citizen should not be able to own a weapon the fires more than 6 rounds with needing to reload.
14. Abolish limited liabilitiy for corprate leaders.
15. Make Jury Nullification an official part of the court process.

7/14/2014 8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now as a point of clarification if I were a district attorney and it was allowed by the legislature I would prosecute anyone who spanked their children who were over 2 and a half years old. Yet I would not prosecute anyone doctor who performed a first or second trimester abortion and I am not sure what I would do about a third trimester abortion.
If conservatives did not like my persecution of child spankers then they could hope that people on the jury would refuse to convict these child molesters. If conservatives did not like my lack of action against abortionists they could run a candidate against me in the next election. I think that democracy is often a stupid idea but I make a clear exception for district attorneys. That is one position that the people should elect.
The End
Curt

7/14/2014 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention one important plank in the platform.
16.Urban sprawl must be curtailed in the USA. Cities and towns should no longer be able to expand outward. All future building must be either inward, meaning between already constructed buildings, or upwards meaning on top of already constructed buildings.

This addition has been verified as legitimate in that it came from the same URL as the previous entries.

7/15/2014 9:21 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

Matthew 24.

I hadn't read your blog till this evening. It's good to be helped to know how to look at things . I wrote the below early yesterday.

Levi was 18. The reason for me even trying to like this world was was my kids. When his life ended here mine/ours did too.
I love the WORD. And I knew that this death must be related to what we read about in Matthew 24:12-13.
I won't even try to recall what the first few years post trauma was like. To do so is to go to a place that give the enemy the opportunity to make me ugly today.
But these past two years that my brain is healing have been able to see that the purpose of wounding us with death is to get our love to end too.
So death wins by feeding it. By anger and revenge and by holding back love. I don't like sounding poetic. There is nothing passive about this enemy; death.
"It's purpose is to destroy love".
Love comes from GOD. I believe god have me my relationships, my sons in the first place.
God loves. He knows. He wins.
If our love grows cold and we do not endure till the end (whatever that means?) we lose. No chance for reunification than.
As I do the love And live thing.. I see that the evidence of this truth. The truth
That the final enemy death... Is so brutal. We can not beat it in our minds or our bodies. We do not have the strength or know how to defeat it.
Death is not the secession of life, it's real kill is the ending of love.
It's just incredible hard to learn that when we are in bed with love in a world that treats is to regular steady meals of intoxicating crap,


So put on love if you can.
Peacefulness, gentleness, forgivness..
Do not grow weary in doing good.
In the mean time, if it is to painful. read and practice.
Psalm 4:4


7/16/2014 12:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In life we have to personally and collectively make concrete decisions about how to love others.
For me one of the most difficult decisions is how much love to give to the poor of the global south as opposed to the poor in already industrialized countries. This conflict is most clearly expressed by the dilemma of immigration policy.
It seems to me that a world with political borders is arbitrary and unfair. It seems to me that a world without political borders is also arbitrary and unfair......as the world exists today.
The argument that immigrants who are poor and not well FORMALLY educated compete with the poor of the country that they emigrate to and drive down wages for already low paying jobs seems quite reasonable to me. That they could create a strain of what ever social safety net exists in the country that they emigrate to does not seem unreasonable either.
Yet people in developing countries deserve happiness just as much as those in developed countries. Ideally the solution would be to make life in developing countries better. The thing is even if it were possible to give a guarantee that life will get better, large numbers of people do not want to wait around for that to happen.
They want a better life now. Those who want a better life now may not all be just impatient. Their lives could really be so bad that they deserve immediate relief. Others though may be ambitious and want to live a life of more than that what is necessary to sustain life. That is of course a perfectly natural and common human attribute.
What all this leads me to conclude is that if there were somewhere a nation of people who actually trying to life a collective life of virtue that such a nation's immigration policy would be very messy. It might even change from one day to the next and back again.
Life forces us to make a choice.
What I think should be remembered about this issue is that even though those who are usually in favor of making immigration difficult are Christian conservatives or are labeled as right wing racists this subject is actually not a good litmus test for applying labels to people.
Curt

7/16/2014 3:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter was watching this report yesterday which showed a very easy way to show your love for strangers. That way is to not drink alcohol or consume drugs and drive. Peter even came up with a little twist to make this kind of behavior flourish a bit more.
As it is now when the police pull a driver over for a sobriety test the driver has potentially a lot to lose and nothing to gain. So, Peter proposes that when ever someone blows in to the tube and the measurement for alcohol, or drugs, comes out to be a 0 that the driver be given a coupon for 20 or 25 dollars which can be redeemed at the MVA or maybe even a police station.
Peter even wonders why no one else thought of this idea sooner.

7/17/2014 1:54 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

For Pete's sake ;-)

7/17/2014 6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are any of the planks im my platform worth breaking Man's law to achieve?
What about all of them put together?
The official line is that if ideas are good ideas a person has every right to try to convince the population that they are good ideas and when a majority of the people agree the ideas can be implemented because by gaining majority support it has been proven that the ideas are wroth a try since if so many people agree the ideas must be pretty good.
Any attempt to try to implement ideas that have not been approved by the majority of the people or at least by their elected representatives is undemocratic and therefore illegal since any attempts to undermine the democratic character of society is purely evil. Can any reasonable case be made against this fortress of logic?
Would it be unreasonable to label anyone who does not support the democratic character of society a neo nazi?
Curt

7/20/2014 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention this, if people can not settle their differences by voting then they are left to settling them by fighting. Fighting is very destructive the costs of fighting CAN out weigh any gains that might have been achieved by implementing a new rule or policy. If a policy or rule is bad over time enough people will come to recognize it as bad that a new and better policy will be adopted. There is no need for violence. If there is no need for violence there is no need to suggest violence.
No stone should remain unturned to find the snakes hiding in our society who hold barbaric views about a return to the days in which rules were made by the strongest in society rather than the most persuasive. Evolution shows us that intelligence is much more useful than strength and that the most intelligent are the most persuasive.
Curt

7/20/2014 3:16 PM  
Blogger Peter Attwood said...

Voting and violence are not the only alternatives. In fact only bearing witness to the truth is any good, since it is the prequisite to anything else working.

No, I don't agree that neo-Nazi describes everyone that does not support the democratic character of society. First, there are plenty of authoritarian views and regimes in history that could not possible be called Nazi, if the term is to mean anything. Second, it's not clear what you mean by the democratic character of society. By any definition of democratic, at least some things are outside the realm of majority opinion anyway.

7/20/2014 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter, you are right voting and violence are not the only alternatives. Civil disobedience is a clear 3rd alternative. Yes bearing witness is good. We agree that it is the first step. But what comes then? After you have said what you can then you have to chose again. I think what choices a person would make would depend a lot on how the message was received but imagine that there would be other factors as well.

The purpose of bearing witness is to create a change in a society, or at least a group of people, is it not? If the message is well received no further action may be necessary. The change may happen because everyone is convinced that they should make the change. I imagine that you can see where I am going with this.
The reason that I can say that I CAN oppose democracy and still sleep at night is because of the way that I understand who is a Democrat who is a Nazi and who is a Republican.
A democrat is one who supports the idea of majority rule. In this view the will of the majority is the absolute ruler. In the United States the theory is that we are a democracy in which the will of the majority has had chains put on it so that it can not be as despotic as a monarch. The people of America understand that as a Republic. Since the time of Jeanne Kilpatrick the elites in the United Sates have classified the alternatives to the way that they define republicanism as either authoritarian,which meant that as long as you did not challenge the ruling elite you would be left alone to live your life pretty much as you saw fit, and totalitarian which meant that you had to live life totally in the manner prescribed by the ruling authorities. Two types of totalitarianism were Nazism and Communism. Today we might be able to add some Islamic countries to that list. Countries like Spain under Franco and Chile under Pinochet were examples of authoritarianism. I guess the point was supposed to be that authoritarian countries were bad but not bad enough that it was worth losing your life to try to change them.
But I view Nazism differently to me Nazism is not just a type of totalitarianism that kills Jews.
To me the essence of Nazism is, Take from others before they take from you. To take by means of a war of aggression is Nazism at its worse but to take by means of deceit is Nazism as it usually is.
Is there anywhere in the world where people take what does not belong to them by deceit? I guess that means that the world does not really have a problem with Nazism any more then. We only have pesky Muslims in the Middle East and the diabolical commies to worry about.
My understanding of what Republicanism is is also different than what Americans have come to understand it as. In my view the bottom line of Republicanism is rule for the benefit of most of the people except when it violates the golden rule of do on to others as you would have them do on to you. The American Constitution was theoretical attempt to achieve a Republican government. Some of hose involved with getting the USA to that point should be given credit for getting the USA to that point. The idea of chaining democratic passions to protect minority interests or values was a pretty clever attempt to create a set of institutions that would preserve a republican society.
Sadly there were to many social forces in American society that were more interested in exploiting their advantages over their fellow residents to be able to maintain the Republic.
I realize that my definition of a Republic is not solid it is slippery. It is open to interpenetration. I see it as having something in common with the first attempt to create a Republic in the late 18th century.
Then the attempt to create institutions took the idea of democracy and placed limits on it to protect the rights of minorities.
My approach is to create a collective spirit that would understand what the final product should look like. This final product could be stated as utilitarianism chained by the golden rule.
Curt

7/22/2014 2:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well the reason that I posted those platform planks was to learn how much our views on specific policies over lap. Because you have failed to address that subject I can only assume that you are under duress and are unable to do that. So I guess that I will pretend that you are not under duress and write your answer for you as you would have written if you could have.
Curt, the political platform that you wrote is more valuable than all of the iridium, lithium, platinum, copper and iron on this planet put together.
That any reasonable society should take these steps is so obvious that they should have all been proposed decades ago. The fact that these proposals have not been implemented shows that the people who have been ruling the USA, theoretically for the benefit of all of the people, have not been ruling in good faith. They have not ever been ruling in good faith because for the few years that the USA had a progressive income tax it was only implemented under pressure from below. I Peter Attwood will not support anyone who does not try to implement these policies.
If I should die before these policies are implemented I will petition St. Peter, St. Jude and Martin Luther to support a human who will implement these policies on this earth or the next earth as soon as possible.
Amen.

As a point of clarification I would like to ask if would be reasonable for the USA to have a Coast Guard?
Curt for Peter
because if he is not under duress he must be on vacation or something and enjoying some time in the Mountains.

7/22/2014 3:32 PM  
Blogger Peter Attwood said...

I think it's reasonable for the US to have a Coast guard, whiuch has been the case since 1790.

I didn't want to comment on your program at this point. When I do, I'll speak for myself.

7/22/2014 3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good, but I was supposed to answer the question of whether or not it is reasonable for the US to have a Coast Guard.
I did not say anything about tax credits. Should that subject have been included?
I also did not mention education.
I will shortly. Nothing wrong with a review.
Being the good Christian that you are I know that you do not actually play poker for real money. I do suspect that you have studied the game, maybe even watch it on TV.
Curt

7/23/2014 1:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been watching a lot of prison break out movies recently. In one of the movies this prisoner took refuge in the house of this old couple. The police were canvassing the neighborhood on knocked on the old couples door.
The prisoner told the lady of the house send the police away. I will be standing behind the door and I will shoot you both if you do not. My Partner is holed in the house across the street I just spoke with him on this cell phone and he will be watching you so no funny stuff do not try to give the police a signal if you do not want your house to become the scene of a blood bath.
Well the nice old lady, a hippie from the 60s doubted that anyone was watching from across the street but she was not going to tip the police off anyways. You see although she feared for her life and the life or her husband she had a soft spot for people who had broken out of prison and were on the run. Furthermore she had her own secrets to protect which would be much harder if a bunch of local and state police were to come barging through her house.
She decided that she had to gain the confidence of desperate and armed man in her living room.
The two policemen at the door asked if they could come in and look around.
The lady replied of course but that they would be wasting their time. The older Policeman said, We do not mind. The woman said God damn it you are making this hard. I am not prepared for policeman to come looking around my house. Pot is not legal here and you might say that you pretend that you did not see my bong and the bag of pot on the table but the fact of the matter is you will only be pretending that you are pretending that you did not see it. Go away and come back when you have a search warrant. She then slammed the door.
The police know that when you are under duress you may not be able to say that you are under duress, especially over the phone or internet.
May the Buddha bless all those who are under duress from several sides at the same time.
Well the story continued but you probably do not want to hear any more of it.
Curt

7/23/2014 8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favorite prison break out story is of course the mass breakout of provisional IRA members from the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland.
The prisoners pretended that they have given up on their struggle. They behaved exceptionally nice to the prison guards. They continued this behavior for years. During this period they learned. Then finally the day came and they made they move. It was a a good plan. Still, if the real IRA had been in charge it would have been an even better plan. If the real IRA had been in charge they would have educated the guards. They would have gotten the guards to understand that they are in the same lifeboat as the prisoners while the Captains of industry and finance and the military brass are traveling on the Queen Elizabeth.
Then the the prisoners not only would have escaped the guards would have opened the doors of the prison for them. In fact the prison might have become a Real IRA bunker where the soldiers of the IRA could have hid out during the day and then at night gone out to conduct their assassinations and ambushes and robberies, using the guns that the guards had given them.
Of course everyone and I do mean everyone but me would say, it is not at all easy to persuade normal people to take any risk to support any revolution let alone a socialist revolution. The only place that such a thing could happen is in your imagination.

My response is that any normal person can be persuaded to take risks to support a socialist revolution. The trick is finding the secret combination that opens each person's inner safe that holds his/her love for humanity.
If that is true then if there is anyone out there that has acquired some skill is safe cracking those interested in socialist revolution should find them and direct their talent for that purpose. More important that safe cracking themselves is training others to be good safe crackers.
I think that I have said this before but I will say it again,
If you love God, if you love Jesus, you must love humanity because that is God's main hobby.
Curt

7/24/2014 3:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just got done watching this documentary about Oak Heights High Security Prison. It has a supermax ward but the whole prison is not supermax. I do not calim that watching one documentary in which solitary confinement is just a part of the film makes me an expert in the subject but I have always implied that a person does not need to be an expert in something to be able to make some valid basic observations.
One observation is that long term solitary confinement causes insanity in most people and would probably cause insanity in all people who have not undergone training to be able to deal with it.
While I am not ready to support a ban on long term solitary I do think that some of its conditions have to be rethought. My initial ideas for changes are that music has to be available to all people put in solitary confinement for at least 8 hours per day if not 12 hours per day. Second a daily newspaper in the language of the inmate must also be available for at least 30 minutes a day. Third the inmate must be allowed to have at least on book or magazine, from the prison library, or from an outsider, in his cell at all times. Fourth a new position must be created. It would be called solitary inmate visitor councilor. Each councilor will spend 20 chatting indirectly with each inmate about what ever the inmate wants to talk about. Each councilor will visit 25 inmates each day (full time worker) and get two 20 minute breaks or one 40 minute break, not counting restroom breaks. Each inmate has to receive such a visit at least once every other day. There will of course be no contact allowed and reasonable measures must be taken to assure the safety of this proffessional visitor.
A candidate for this job should ideally be a retired psychologist, or social worker, or minister, priest, rabbi, mullah, monk, philosopher, or sociologist.
The pay for this position would start at 16 dollars per hour, if it is a low cost of living area.
Every thing that the prisoner says is on the record, nothing would be previlaged like it would be if a prisoner were talking with his lawyer or giving a confession to a Catholic priest. A priest for example would have to sign a waiver that while working at this job he may not hear a confession because everything that the prisoner says could be repeated if necessary.
Since I am unlikely on this site to actually hear from anyone that has actually been in prison or even worked in a prison I guess that the best I can hope for is that I might comment on my own comments at some point in the future.
Curt

7/30/2014 10:53 AM  
Blogger Peter Attwood said...

I think this is a very sensible program, and something like it should bother no one who wants solitary to be anything but a device to torture people into insanity.

7/30/2014 11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is still another plank that I forgot to make available to the public here.
17. The idea that that corporations should be treated as people is foney baloney. Especially when it limits the liability of everyone involved with the corporation. At an absolute minimum every member of the board of directors and the top 12 executives should be fully liable for the negligence or criminal acts of a corporation.
Major stockholders should also be included in those with unlimited liability. If these changes are not enough to cause corporations to act more responsibly even stronger measures should be taken.
Curt

7/31/2014 10:28 AM  
Blogger Peter Attwood said...

The whole idea of a corporation, as of the 17th century, is limited liability, which enables people to invest in a project without risking more than you put into it.

I think that's a good idea, but calling this entity anything like a human being is nonsense. And yet it is true that freedom of association requires giving some rights to the associations people form.

I think the big problem is that people have forgotten that originally corporations were chartered for a public purpose, and it was understood that they should exist for the public good and at society's pleasure. They did not have a fundamental right to exist or make a profit. They had a fundamentla obligation to serve the public good, and the right to make a profit so long as that was the case.

7/31/2014 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you not think that when people can take a risk with limited liability that they might not act in a more reckless manner than if they would be fully liable if something goes wrong?
It skews any risk reward cost benefit analysis that an organization would make.
Does society benefit when businesses especially corporations take greater risks? Capitalists would have us believe that the answer is yes. But Libertarians would break with them on this issue as it is clearly a distortion of what they consider free market principles.
Curt

8/01/2014 3:08 PM  
Blogger Peter Attwood said...

Sure there needs to be some risk. But limited liability simply means that you're on the hook for what you put into it, not as in a partnership, where each partner is on the hook for everything in case of loss.

When you take your car out on the highway, you can be held liable for what you do wrong, not for anything wrong that happens on the highway. If you bring a civil rights claim, you are on the hook for your own fees and costs if you lose, but not the agency's, with very narrow exceptions. Otherwise, no one could dare to bring valid claims.

A corporation allows many people to go into a venture even if they have fairly small means, because they only lose what they put in, and not potentially everything. it enables participation by other than the fabulously wealthy. But that's if people remember what a corporation is, and that it has no right to exist unless it serves the public good. That has been forgotten.

8/01/2014 4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kind of in a way.
I am not sure that your highway example is valid. People have to have insurance for large sums of money to drive a car do they not?
As for the civil rights litigation
it makes some sense that you be liable only for your own costs. It also makes some sense that you be liable for the opposing lawyers costs if you lose because you have imposed those costs on others needlessly, at least according to a court decision. But for either case that is what insurance is for, isn't it?
As for the unlimited liability for corporations I believe that if you read my proposal again you will see that it only applied to the top layer of the corporate structure, those that make a lot of money when things are going well and even more money when the government bales them out.
I think that this is an important step to take to put a society in to a position that if it tries to transition to a Parecon economy it will not meet much resistance from those who right now are multi millionaires or more. When they see that one on hand they can continue to own the financial and physical means of production and really not benifit much from it due to high taxes and be in a position that they lose everything if they screw up or on the other hand they can give their assets others and be given a position equivilant to a GS 12 or 13 due to their experience they will chose the later and not try to sabotage the new system.
With that in mind I would like to add that I am not sure that any society should actually try to make the leap to a Parecon economy.
The reason why is that in a capitalist system the lines of authority are crystal clear. From what I have read about Parecon, like socialism the means of production will be taken over by the people who actually work with them. These workers will then be able to make decisions about production and distribution that effect many other people. I think that they should be subject to just as much oversight as the capitalist exploiters. They capitalists falsely claim that they deserve their high salaries because of the knowledge that they possess which is highly valued by
"the market" but the knowledge that these managers and owners possess comes as a result of investment in them by society.
The market that supposedly values them also exists as a result of the society that it is embedded in. Yet they same things can be said about the workforce that would become the new owners.
So to legally achieve some kind of overall integration of an economy it might be reasonable in the future to make all firms corporations with stocks which are partially owned by the workers, partially owned by local, and or state and or federal governments and by private retirement funds.
This would be the one way that people could gamble to a limited extent on their future. But remember that the income earned from these IRAs would be subject to progressive taxation as outlined in my first political plank.
There is a potential drawback to the IRA plan in Parecon economy.
It could theoretically advantage older workers at the expense of younger workers. But this type of advantage is perhaps morally justifiable.
I am not really sure it taxes my brain to think about it to much.
Curt

8/02/2014 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This idea I did not forget it just came to me today wrapped in a blue 40 gallon garbage bag.
18. A 25 cent tax shall be levied on every quart of bottled water to go up 25 cents each year until the tax has reached 2 dollars a quart.
This tax will be rescinded during electrical blackouts only.
A similar tax of 10 cents shall be levied on all bottled or canned soft drinks until the tax has reached 2 dollars a quart.
The purpose of these taxes is to put people who sell bottled water out of business. Water delivered by a pipeline is vastly superior.
The distribution of soft drinks is also really stupid. It makes much more sense to distribute the formula for soft drinks rather than ship all that water around the country. There should be a soft drink machine in every home, where families drink soft drinks.
And soft drinks that a person buys out of a machine in a restaurant or a store should not be taxed and people should be encouraged to bring their own refillable bottles to the stores.
I say that this is technically feasible. Do any readers disagree?
Curt

8/11/2014 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For most people a democracy is one in which the majority of the eligible voters decide what the rules for the society or sports club or what ever will be. Since most people are to busy to want to vote on every question that must be decided representatives then do it for them.
I have said this before, but I said it way back when and no one will remember it anymore, that a more mature way to understand democracy is one in which the decisions made by the institutions of the country or club are never really final. In a democarcy there is no such thing as beating a dead horse.
Yet I have also held that free speech is not absolute. That would seem to contradict the idea that that idea there is no such thing as beating a dead horse.
I guess that means that I am wrong. There are certain things in a democracy that are really final.
We can not allow people to publish a newspaper calling for people to burn down the homes of asylum seekers. We can not allow people to get on the radio and call for ethnic cleansing. We can not allow people in corporate board rooms, or in political party strategy meetings to openly call for a military attack on another country.
But what happens if they disguise
their dialog? If they call for an attack by calling it a counter attack or by saying that it is a preemptive attack I do not think such people should be exempt from prosecution if the disguises that they are using to call for what would really be illegal conduct appear to be false.
Another example would be claiming that something which is clearly torture, such as water boarding, is not torture. Those legal papers written by executive branch of the US government claiming that water boarding was not torture were just fig leaves offered to the military so that they could cover their small dicks with these fig leaves so that they would not have to grab their commanders by their hairless balls and squeeze them for passing on blatantly illegal orders.
Are there any conditions under which torture could be legally condoned? I think probably not.
Can there be situations in which torture can be morally condoned.
I can think of one case in which it could be and that would be to rescue the hostage(s) of a sadistic kidnapper. I think that in this case torture is morally justified if the person doing the torturing believes that he is torturing one person to prevent the torture of an innocent person.
Even if a hostage is not undergoing torture at the moment being kidnapped by a sadist is clearly psychological torture.
Another possible moral exception to torture would be do just flat out punish someone who has tortured people without moral justification. Horrible crimes need to be deterred by horrible punishments. Christians will indignantly claim that an eye for an eye will leave us all blind.
Well I will counter that with an appeasement argument.
Torture is serious business. I my book it is worse than killing someone. Because there is always the possibility of a mistake, such as a case of mistaken identity as a society we can probably never say that there can be cases in which torture would be legal. But if my daughter had been missing for 48 hours and a CCTV had filmed her being forced in to an automobile and the police had a suspect in custody I would want them to use ever available means to get that suspect to talk.
We say that under torture people say what ever it is they think that the person who is torturing them wants to hear. That is no doubt true when the torture is politically motivated. But when to goal is to find someone the information given under torture can be very quickly verified and then the torture will stop just as fast.
Curt

8/12/2014 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An implication of what I have just wrote is that before any policeman goes down that road in which he (they) torture a suspect they have to consider whether or not they are willing to go to jail for violating a prisoners civil rights and breaking the US Constitution to be able to possibly save just one life.
Curt

8/12/2014 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another review. I pointed out in the past that US military policy on US military personnel when they become prisoners of war should change. Find that information if you can.
I would like to add a small update to what I have written in the past.
My update is this. If there is a prison anywhere in the world where the torture of prisoners is conducted as a policy of the prison the prisoners have a moral right to kill any guard working at such a prison. It does not matter if not all of the guards are actually directly involved in the
torture of prisoners they are directly enabling such activity.
Under these circumstances the murder of the guards is clearly a case of self defense and the defense of a third party. Such a defense will no doubt not be legally recognized by the offending authorities so my advice to anyone who would want to try to kill one guard would be to kill as many guards as fast as you possibly can. Hunger strikes like those carried out at Guantanamo Bay would be counter productive to such an activity.
One may say that I should not give advice that I would not follow myself. The thing is I am physically incapacitated at this point in my life. I have also said that people need to resist injustice while they still have the means to resist injustice.
Curt

8/12/2014 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Further commentary on plank 13 of my platform-
Conservatives like to say that firearms are not only necessary to protect law abiding citizens from criminals guns are also needed to protect law abiding citizens from an unjust government. This is not a very good argument in my point of view. With out the ability to organize independent of the government guns are not much more than expensive inefficient clubs.
Furthermore there is a potential alternative to the use of weapons to defend Honest citizens from a corrupt government and that is a court process in which jury nullification is a routine part of the process.
In addition the citizenry does not need to be well armed to defend themselves from the police when the police are only slightly better armed than the citizenry.
That would of course be the case if I had the power to get my platform enacted. City and county police would be limited to possessing semi automatic weapons with no more than a 10 round clip. State police with no more than a 20 round clip and federal law enforcement with no more than a 30 round clip.
This would achieve a natural balance of coercive power because at each higher level there would be fewer officers than at the level underneath it. The lower levels are also more fractured although if the members of this level were angered enough by the perceived misbehavior of those at the higher level they could begin to form a larger alliance. This may seem very abstract but I think if a person can recall the school desegregation period it makes it very real. In that particular instance I would have taken the side of the federal government against the states but the next time something of that passion arises I could be on the side of the states. A person can not say in advance who will have the better arguments.
Of course the best place to make ones arguments is in front of a captive and captivated jury. Which allows me to now return to the subject of jury nullification and the subject of torture.
In my honest opinion the constitutional amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment is the most sacred part of the US Constitution. But as I brought up in other posts life is complicated. A persons life could be hanging in the balance. The injunction against torture is to important to ever try to legally spell out conditions in which police officers or states attorneys might want to refuse to prosecute. But a jury that is fully empowered to consider all aspects of the situation could reasonably forgive someone for breaking the law under extraordinary circumstances.
Yes, knowing the history of the United States giving juries such power scares the hell out of me.
But no giving juries such power scares me a lot too. I would be hopeful that in the future when people understand why we have arrived at this point in history and are truly remorseful of past bad behavior that such power can be used for good purposes rather than bad. I am hopeful that when people start off with good intentions and have access to better information they can make better decisions than they have in the past.
Curt

8/15/2014 5:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once read a comment on the internet that said that the value of a military officer could not be separated from the causes that the officer supports. By extension that is also true of any individual and even a nation.
Because it is often difficult to determine which causes are virtuous and which causes are not people often come to the mistaken conclusion that ethics is not something to be considered as the path of life is traveled.
On the other hand to know what is profitable and what is not profitable is really quite simple.
So we should not be surprised to find that much of humanity is far more concerned with the doing what is profitable rather than what is virtuous. For people such as libertarians and many US republican party members this is a source of pride. In their view if one is leading a life that is full of profit be definition one is leading a virtuous life I imagine that anyone who would read this comment would probably already be aware of that. I also imagine that anyone who is still reading would be one that would disagree with that outlook and would take the view that there are many negative externalities created in a society in which profit becomes the standard by which to measure ones life and activities.
So if you are a person who thinks that leading a life of virtue is different than leading a profitable life you might figure that if more people were motivated by virtue rather than profit that a wave of positive externalities might be created in the society of a virtuous nation.
Is a nation of virtuous people possible given the fact that the values in any nation are mostly the values of the powerful who have become powerful due to their devotion to profit rather than to virtue.
As I look around the world what I see is a world with a heck of a lot of unvirtuous nations, few if any virtuous nations, and a few countries in which the leaders of the countries are trying to turn the tide of the nation to one of greater virtue. I will not name any nations in particular.
What I am really leading up to here is to give a suggestion one what I think would be a necessary step for leaders to take if they want to try to turn the tide in the country that they are ruling. In fact if I were a political party this suggestion would be a new plank in my party platform. In the next comment I will introduce this new and I am sure controversial suggestion for Peter's comment.
Curt

8/18/2014 1:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to that that if a nation had rulers that wanted to create a more virtuous nation they would want to indoctrinate the children of that society in to understanding the world as they see the world. It seems to me that if a nation had rulers that were intent on creating a society of mindless zombies that would be nothing more than useful tools to serve to meet the desires of the ruling class that they would want to indoctrinate the children of that society to serve the purposes of the ruling class.
So it stands to reason that someone will have a very strong motive for wanting to indoctrinate children and that one way or another children will become indoctrinated and that these children will become the adults of society. It seems to me that the way the people of a society live will reflect the results of that indoctrination.
I therefore think that it is perfectly reasonable for any rulers who wanted to change society for the better to make it a high priority to control the institutions of indoctrination.
While it should not be illegal to expose children to inferior outlooks that are in opposition to the outlooks of those rulers try to change society for the better no child should grow up without be exposed to the "correct" views of the "correct" rulers.
To make sure that all the children of a society have a change to become virtuous attendance at a public school must be compulsory.
Private schools would not be illegal but they could only offer courses during the times that public schools were not in session. That means in the evenings on the weekends and during the school vacations, unless the courses are for adults.
In the USA the public schools have a bad reputation among much of the population. Yet in other countries public education works very well. I think that this state of affairs reflects negatively on the leaders of the USA rather than on the concept of public education.
Those people who would continue to insist on not sending their children to school to educate them exclusively at home are free to risk having their decisions reviewed by a fully empowered jury of 13 citizens chosen at random.
Curt

8/18/2014 2:14 AM  
Blogger Peter Attwood said...

I don't trust rulers to be concerned with the pursuit of virtue, assuming that they know what it is. Generally, I'm not in favor of people having power over others beyond what is needed to prevent force and fraud, and to protect the commons. On the whole, having power over others is bad for people.

8/18/2014 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is very informative. You are taking clear libertarian position. I am surprised by that.
Even if we allow parents to home school their children. Even if we allow rich and well off white families to send their children to top rate private schools so that they no longer need to take an interest in fixing the local public schools will not some people have power over others
Will not the home schooling parent have the ability to indoctrinate their children in the mythology of white supremacy? Will the private school still not be able to indoctrinate their students in the mythology that people who have risen to positions of leadership deserve those positions?
It is true that those in power are not usually interested in training the children of nation properly or in having those children learn how those in power maintain their positions in society. That is why the lesson should be learned that those who really do care about justice need to attempt to take control of the society. Perhaps taking control does not mean direct control but direct control should not be ruled out either.
My words are cheap. So are the words of all those who run for office in the USA. Every candidate for every office from city council to president blabbers about how they are different than all of the other people who have held office or ran for office in the USA for the past 200 years.
Yet we can not really judge competing candidates by their actions either as the the range of actions that has been available to people have also been in a very narrow range. Oh some may say that candidate so and so is a Medal of Honor winner but that is actually really not at all useful in determining if someone who be a good office holder, IMHO.
To really be different someone would have to be William Snowden, or Ehren Watada, or Chelie Manning, or Daniel Ellsberg, or Jim Zwerg. Yet these people could never be elected outside of their own families. Well maybe Jim Zwerg could be elected in majority African American district.
Yes it is certainly difficult for the people to come to power who should be in power because so many people think that they have a strong motive to prevent that from happening.
Curt

8/18/2014 12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to take a moment to to tell you about something that I reluctantly support. It would not rise to the level of a plank in my political platform but it is still something that I think is a necessary change.
It is that the all Mexican citizens should be allowed to immigrate to the USA if the Mexican government allows all American citizens to immigrate to Mexico.
I am reluctant to support this because I think that at least in the short run it will benefit the rich in the USA more than the poor.
I feel forced to support this idea though because it I do not see any fair way to treat those who have already come with out the permission of a US government official. Sending them back may seem fair to some but it does not seem fair to me.
We could fortify the US border with Mexico to such an extent that crossing it would be as dangerous as crossing the Berlin Wall in the 1970s to prevent future illegal immigration but that would divide families for years. I would be very reluctant to do that as well.
Maybe a compromise would be to fortify the border and say every Mexican citizen who can show that they have 10,000 dollars can immigrate or 25,000 dollars if a whole family immigrates. Those who are already here can stay if they can show that they have a job.
I do not think that learning English is really crucial because it is at least theoretically possible that a Mexican can make a living by doing business only with other Spanish speaking people. The idea of a large linguistic minority residing in the USA might scare some conservatives but it really does not bother me much.
If the USA had stayed out of WW 1 I bet 20% of the US population would speak German today. If 20% of the people spoke German they would represent no more of a security risk today than they did in 1917. I do not imagine that it should be any different with those who speak Spanish.
Well I guess that I could be wrong. It is really hard for me to believe that there is a civil war in the Ukraine. I find that war especially disheartening because there does not seem to be any crucial ideological point to the war. It seems to be simply a war about which set of oligarchs will control the industrial heartland of the country. Was that not what the middle ages was all about?
Well even I were wrong I still think that getting up tight about Mexican immigrants learning English is the wrong thing to do.
The vast majority will learn English because they really want to.
Now take notes on this because this is the crucial thing. "The citizen of a Republic will always be willing to take reasonable risks and will sometimes even be willing to take great risks." (Permission to use that quote is granted if it is attributed to me:) Therefore it is not really necessary to make English officially the national language of the USA. In fact Anglo Americans and African Americans should be encouraged to learn Spanish.
Curt

9/09/2014 8:08 PM  

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