Archive for August, 2009

Just Pretend

Monday 31 August 2009 Leave a comment

Nothing has happened to change my conviction the world will change dramatically before Christmas. We won’t recognize it.

But let’s pretend for a moment my conspiracy theories about how it will change are all wrong. Let’s take away the one major variable of human choices, choices by some alleged global elite. Let’s further pretend all my dire predictions of really bad policy moves also fails to come true, and we just muddle along with the government unable to act.

What’s left? The economy is still headed down. It won’t matter what anyone does at this point, or what they believe. We are all — not just the government, but the entire nation as a whole — so deep in debt, we cannot climb out. If the government folks do what amounts to nothing, we will crash into a deep spiral of collapsing economic activity. There is no means to reawaken consumer spending, on which the entire economy depends, because the consumers have almost nothing to spend. And they won’t be getting any more, because nearly the entire industrial base has been off-shored and we don’t actually make anything here except a few weapons systems and such.

That alone will change our world. At a minimum, there will be no materialist Christmas paradise. At a minimum, all that imported merchandise will stay on the shelves and in the warehouses, and even more of it will never reach the ports here. Our most recent Gilded Age is over.

People will still be losing homes, businesses shutting down and making ever more folks unemployed, and transportation will become mostly a matter of feet. Folks will get hungry. Lots of folks. Crime will skyrocket like nothing we have ever imagined. Violence will grow with it. Try to imagine massive metropolitan areas without the mass of life supporting goods coming in to stock the shelves.

Next, imagine how government will operate without tax revenue. While the Fed can keep feeding itself by having the Treasury borrow at the current rate, and the Federal Reserve keep buying the debt bonds back through proxies — which it now does — there will still be a major drop in actual tax revenue, because there won’t be anything to tax. State and local governments don’t have a money printer. More unemployment, as the massive revenue losses sweep the nation, and government services simply stop.

This will happen, and soon.

But if this is all that happens, assuming I can still access the Net at all, I’ll keep my promise and shut down this blog. We have roughly a month left, I believe, before the Powers That Be start putting the squeeze on us. So I will give it until roughly mid-October.

Categories: social sciences Tags: ,

Lessons in Propaganda: My Dog Tank

Sunday 30 August 2009 Leave a comment

There is a popular tale making the email rounds. Among the various titles, I received it as “To Whoever Gets My Dog”. This is merely pro-war jingoist propaganda (not to mention bad grammar — try “Whomever” as in “To Whom”).

As far as anyone has tried to find, it’s not a true story. I won’t bother duplicating the research, because the underlying point is too obvious, whether the story is true or not. It’s designed to evoke feelings, thus shutting down any hope of rational discussion. It creates an atmosphere wherein reason is smothered by a wealth of prejudice.

The fundamental issue is our wars in the Middle East are utterly abhorrent before God because there is nothing in them to promote His justice. You should know I have no quarrel with national defense, but those people did nothing to us, nor even provided a significant threat to any of our allies. Whatever Iraq was, we created it. We made Saddam Hussein, and gave him whatever weapons of mass destruction he ever possessed. He was our thug, bought and paid for, and we simply created false excuses to attack him. If the real objective had been simply to remove him because he was our thug, it could easily have been done with a lot less mess. Instead, we have some 4000 troops dead, trillions of dollars wasted, a million plus Iraqis dead, and ancient tensions brought to life in a country which had been pretty stable. We have further doomed all citizens of that land to the worst level of poverty and misery because we have destroyed 100 parts for every one part of their infrastructure we rebuilt. Our actions there are utterly criminal, and if that’s not enough, we have created persecution for Christians, which nearly did not exist before our invasion. We have attacked God on this one.

As for Afghanistan, it’s much the same story. Let’s point up our national crimes there by one primary item: heroin. When the Taliban ruled, heroin was in short supply coming out of Afghanistan. The CIA and other clandestine services, we can easily prove, have used major drug trafficking to fund their nefarious activities. Among other things, this was a primary reason for attacking the Taliban. Whereas, Afghanistan under the Taliban produced a couple hundred tons of heroin per year, now it’s several thousand tons. Sure, our troops there are shutting down the fields they find, but we know from leaked documentation the CIA considers this just the cost of doing business. Look, the Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie was entirely a matter of killing some CIA contractors who were going to rat out the CIA full-timers on the Afghan production. We are doing nothing good in Afghanistan compared to our destruction.

And any imagined threat from radical Islamic terrorists is entirely the creation of our CIA, in league with allied clandestine services, in the first place. The Taliban are little more than sons of the Mujaheddin we funded to oust the Soviets. Further, it’s not hard to find lots of evidence linking CIA funding to many Taliban leaders and Al-Qaeda, as well. The schizophrenia of our foreign policy, with our own black ops folks killing our soldiers is amazing, and one of the best kept secrets of our time.

But the dog story was designed to teach us to ignore all that and focus on what great heroes our troops are. They may well be that; I knew a few back when I served around the time of the first Gulf War. That doesn’t change how utterly stupid is the policy which expends hero lives in futility. I assure you, plenty of our national leaders are in on this real life conspiracy, aimed at enriching a small handful of greedy elite on the backs of the sheeple. This little tear-jerker fills us with warmth about dogs and soldiers, but serves to destroy God’s own truth.

Our nation has sinned mightily and refuses to repent. All we have to show for it is cute fiction to cover the slaughter. There is nothing noble about it.

Update: Oh, just dandy. We have also invaded Pakistan. Yes, and Iran is next. God help us.

Willing Doormats

Friday 28 August 2009 Leave a comment

Somehow I doubt my personal experience is so very unique, if only because the salient parts were shared with large numbers of others. Every time I have worked within a government bureaucracy, there were several kinds of people I could easily catalogue one way or another:

  • the decent sort who just want to do their job
  • the bewildered bunch who managed to muddle through
  • the few true believers — it matters not what, since observed behavior is more a matter of true belief itself
  • the team players
  • the frauds who continue unchallenged for any of several reasons

What matters most is there will always be a few who are completely and utterly sinister. Some types of organization and activities seem to draw them in larger concentrations. My primary complaint is they often seem to take pivotal roles, even rising to high leadership. To some degree, I feel certain this is by some design, a sort of helping each other along, though not necessarily conscious. Indeed, the evil itself is more a matter of effect than intent.

Most of the humans I face every day are worried, but really have no clue what’s going on behind the scenes. I can’t pretend there is a single reason for this, only a very noticeable dearth of understanding, almost hypnotized by the very conscious efforts of the sinister bunch who run things. Some very close friends simply cannot fathom my contention our government is now the greatest threat to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” They cannot comprehend my cynicism about what’s coming, even though they recognize some disembodied evil in the rising Police State.

So when the FDIC finally released their quarterly report yesterday, we should hardly be surprised the announcement included hiding the identity of the 400 weak banks they mentioned. Frankly, I believe they are lying about the amount of money left in the insurance fund, at least in the implication they haven’t had to borrow any. The declarations don’t match the previous declarations of what they had, what they spent, and how much they took in via payments from banks. This smells to me more like creative bookkeeping, for which our entire federal government is famous.

Like everyone else, I’m not eager to see a run on the banks. I’m relieved to see that sort of panic is not happening, even while I realize it would be wholly justified. Before it’s over, a great many people with trust in the system will be hurt badly. How many of us remember FDR’s boys literally confiscating precious metals stored in bank safety deposit boxes, with not a penny of compensation? Having seen the ugly belly of the beast, I would not be surprised at confiscation of whole accounts when things go crazy.

Our problem is not paranoia; the citizens of this nation do not fear enough.

OpenSUSE Wins One (Updated)

Thursday 27 August 2009 1 comment

FreeBSD couldn’t cut it on my Pavilion after all. Once I got it all built from source and tried to run the X server, it refused to find a usable screen. Running the HAL/DBus service didn’t help at all. So I gave up and decided to try a desperate act: I tested openSUSE 10.3 GNOME Desktop.

First, I used to love KDE, but it got so bloated and the confounded developers never fixed all the bugs. The new KDE 4 is only worse. Yes, I tried it, and I’d rather not think about the experience again. GNOME is only slightly better, so I gave that a try.

Previous attempts with 11.0 and 11.1 couldn’t even give a decent framebuffer, but 10.3 recognized everything nicely. SaX made a couple of errors scripting the modelines for the Dell D1028L monitor, but I was able to correct them by editing the xorg.conf directly. Once I manually set the resolution at 1024×768 and forcing a 70Hz refresh, the display was quite tolerable. I also had to manually force the fonts to display at 100 DPI. So far, everything is working fine.

The other issue was Novell’s failure to fix the installer on 10.3. Eventually I found a page discussing the use of the Super Grub Disk. Boot with it and tell the thing to find your Linux installation and create a usable Grub config on your MBR. A little confusing, but not impossible to make it work.

So let the Novell haters come and link and talk bad about me; I really don’t care. I have work to do and, for now, openSUSE is making it happen with significant improvements over just about everything else I tried. Of course, Windows is simply not an option in my world.

Update: This, too, shall pass. While studying ways to fix the way the kernel interacts with the broken ACPI, I got SUSE where I couldn’t do anything at all. It just was not worth the hassle. However, I did learn an awful lot about broken ACPIs and such, like HPs insistence on having the thermal zone report in Centigrade, when it’s supposed to be Kelvin. What a mess…

Anyway, I’m back to CentOS because in the process of mucking about with the ACPI, I learned how to fix the stuff I didn’t get working there.


I’m hoping I can figure out what I’m doing before too long, or I’ll never get anything done.

Categories: computers Tags: , ,

Medical Break Dancing

Thursday 27 August 2009 Leave a comment

Let’s break it on down. It has been said, “Everyone has a right to decent medical care.”

No. You cannot posit a positive right. Rights, by definition, are granted by God. Our world is fallen, and God has commanded certain things as restrictions on human behavior to prevent injustice. Justice does not permit one person any claim on whatever God has granted to another. About the best way to word this is “zero aggression.” If you aggress, the other has the right to defend. There are plenty of statements of principle in Scripture, numerous concrete examples and anecdotes, so there’s no excuse for not understanding this. Yes, it is contextual, and requires a discerning mind of justice arising from God’s revelation.

We could go on at length, but let’s pull out the unspoken assumptions here so we can see what was meant by the original statement above:

“We assume if you have any material prosperity at all, you cannot have gotten it without being unjust. Therefore, you are obliged to surrender your property to the comfort of others. Since we don’t trust you to do it justly, we will direct this equitable redistribution on your behalf. We will collect from you, by force, however much we decide is just, and distribute as we see fit. You have no say in the matter, and attempts to have your say will be treated as open rebellion and treason. A primary objective is to fund an equitable distribution of medical services, according to our conceptions of what is equitable. Naturally, we will exempt ourselves from all this, because we are better than you.”

Let me explain something so everyone can understand it. God has given each man the right to resist such massive government theft. It is no sin to take up arms and resist the intentions of such a government. Now, granted, we do have a serious problem with how most people in the US gain their wealth, but that’s a separate matter, and absolutely a sin for any government to attempt to settle unless such government happens to be related to all the governed by blood or marriage. Fixing that problem will go a long way to gaining God’s approval.

Categories: health Tags: , ,

While We’re Waiting…

Wednesday 26 August 2009 Leave a comment

I understand the FDIC 2nd Quarterly Report for 2009 has been staged for release tomorrow. That in itself means nothing, since bureaucracy seldom operates optimally. However, given the situation, waiting until a Thursday may well be a low-level tactical move. We won’t know until it happens, but I counsel you to be cynical: Never underestimate the capacity for the US Federal Government to lie, cheat, steal and otherwise ruin your life, merely to insure some tax-swilling elitist thugs don’t surrender their comforts and convenience.

So the test with Kubuntu 8.04 wasn’t so good, after all. It’s not working too well with the oddball hardware used by HP, and there is precious little information I can grasp on how to manipulate things to work better. For example, the BIOS on many HP desktops does something non-standard with the thermal sensing and controls. In Linux, there is a gap between the hardware gurus with their esoteric jargon, and the average power user who tends to know how to fix this or that. The former aren’t willing or able to make it simple, and the latter don’t seem to know much about this case, and their “fixes” all appear to be too shaky. OTOH, FreeBSD has lots of documentation on the issue, not to mention a fairly elegant mechanism for controlling such things, and I’m confident I can resolve it. I’m currently running it through the paces of building a FreeBSD installation from scratch.

I’ll be running 6.4 and the GNOME 2.22 desktop. Back when I was using the Pavilion as my only computer, I remember what a radical difference it made when I recompiled the desktop with optimized code for “pentium4″ on this thing under FreeBSD 6.0. No, it won’t do miracles or tricks, but I am pretty sure I can work out the kinks better with FreeBSD than with any Linux distro. I simply can’t find enough info on building Linux that without wading through books or joining yet one more forum group. From what I can tell, it’s largely because Linux is simply more complicated in design. I started with Linux many years ago, and never did understand the kernel, but I understood the FreeBSD kernel within a week or so of my first exposure (as much as I am probably ever going to understand it). While it still suffers from the rolling-release mania, there are ways I can get around most of that in FreeBSD.

In some ways, this may be the right timing for such a move. Given the vast quantity and depth of unknowns coming down the pike — not the least of which includes full economic crash and martial law — it’s probably wise to get the latest and greatest of the most stable stuff. Taking the time to build something which I can use for the foreseeable future, a future which might see easy updating disappear, the advantages of FreeBSD would give me at least an edge on security and stability. I already have the laptop in shape for the long-term, and the old Pavilion will be there shortly.

Frankly, I’d rather not see a bank holiday right now. I suspect TPTB don’t want it, either. What little I can gather indicates to me we still have everything pointing to an October Surprise. There are a few more things I’m trying to puzzle out, things which I need to resolve whether we muddle along for a few more years or the world stops tonight. Chaos comes on God’s schedule, but I’m hoping I have some time to settle these issues about my calling before I have to begin operating too heavily under it.

Categories: computers Tags: , , ,

Stumbling through the Mirror

Tuesday 25 August 2009 Leave a comment

There’s nothing like suddenly gaining insight into your own character, something hidden for many years.

It has long been my contention God called me to serve Him. At the time, the obvious meaning was to aim at pastoral ministry. That was back at age 16, and it was the first step of sanity out of a borderline psychotic youth. Sure, we joke about kids being crazy, and adolescence as a traumatic time for many. I won’t plead mine was special, but I did come close to suicide many times. Only God’s grace kept me from it, in part by keeping me from actually thinking about it. When I perceived I had a calling, most of it became manageable.

The problem was chasing the dream of pastoring when that was my misapprehension of things. So I did all the education, honed and sharpened the talents, became quite good in dealing with people. But no one ever hired me for anything close to pastoral work. When I volunteered, I was usually welcomed and worked hard, but never professionally, as it were. Not long ago, it dawned on me that was the wrong role for me.

I came to that conclusion once I began striving to view the world through a spiritual lens: ANE epistemology, holistic thinking, and symbolic logic. The picture of myself as pastor was missing major ingredients. Once I stepped away from that goal, lots of things started making sense which did not before. Instead, I’m called to teach. That can include preaching, of course, but I’m not pastor material. I lack the proper instincts, and can at best only emulate them by training.

I still dearly love people, and they are a fundamental reason for what I do. It is no trouble to sit and teach anyone anything I know about. I’ve got loads of patience, and can break down to the very basic elements of cognition, if necessary, because I have a talent for remembering the process of discovery — I can remember not knowing. God has also granted me a measure of discerning where the gaps are in their understanding. If I know where you are, I can put it in your reach, most of the time.

I also have no trouble organizing anything I understand, and I’ve never had trouble getting groups of people to handle projects. Administration is just not a burden to me. While I love to present impossible challenges, and try to carry through on them myself, I’m never disappointed much by the reality which falls short. I’m much more interested in the people growing and gaining ground themselves than some artificially constructed goal. For this reason, I despise the corporate or bureaucratic atmosphere, because those are utterly inhuman and inhumane. I never take such things seriously. People are important, and organization must serve them, not the other way around.

The tricky thing is now I must reevaluate most of what I expected to do in the coming months and years. The picture in my mind was drawn with the pastoral ministry as a fundamental fact. Taking that away, I’m now going to have to come up with a new picture. That includes the things I had faith to let God handle. My trust has not changed, but the contents of it. A major element I note already is relative solitude will be more likely. I’m not sure where to go with that, but I do my best preparatory work away from distractions. That’s just one example, as I look forward to what assignments the Lord will reveal to me.

There’s nothing to wake you up like stumbling into the mirror and crashing through to the other side.

Categories: personal Tags: , ,

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 493 other followers