Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Killing in the name of

One of the things I love most about America is our ability to protest.  If someone says or does something I disagree with, then I have the right to call them down.  The closer that they are associated with me, the more my right becomes a responsibility.

The Catholic church can excommunicate people who stray from the faith.  The protestant church has no such tools.

I'm a believer.  The people of Westboro Baptist Church claim to be believers.  They are associated with me.  I would excommunicate them, if there were a way to do that.  But there isn't.  So I just have to protest as I can.

Westboro Baptist Church does not believe in the same Jesus I believe in.  They do not worship the same God I do.  They are not members of the family of faith that I am a member of.  They are heretics.  They embarrass God by spewing hate.

I denounce Westboro Baptist Church in the strongest possible terms.

I do not advocate violence.  I am not planning on doing any violence, and I do not want anyone else to do any violence.  Committing violence against Westboro Baptist Church would be worse than ignoring them.  If you are considering acts of violence, please do not do it.

However, I do hope and pray that the church would get destroyed by a tornado.  I don't want anyone to get hurt, but I would like to see that false community of believers face some of the so-called divine retribution the scream at everyone else who suffers.

As for the people themselves, I wish that there was some way that they could see the Truth.  I hope for a path to repentance for them.  I want to see them repent and apologize, rather than perish and suffer.  I wish there was a way that I could participate in God's work towards that end.

I'm convinced that God is working in that direction.  There is no one who is beyond His forgiveness.  No one, not even Westboro Baptist Church, has failed so badly that He cannot redeem.  But I wonder who God can call to reach them.  Who would they listen to?  I wish I were such a person.  But I am not.

I am happy that the world is finding ways to cope with the vile hatred that Westboro Baptist Church spews.  The good citizens of Brandon Mississippi have it right.  If I had been at that gas station ans seen that fight, I certainly would not have turned in the person/people who did it.  And I would gladly park my car behind theirs to keep them from being able to protest.

But the real trick here was what the cops did.  I believe that this will be the pattern that the authorities use from here on out.  The WBC members could learn to cope with having their cars blocked in the hotel parking lot.  They could work around that.  But they cannot work around being hauled down to the police station on investigation in regards to a crime.

Now, at every town where Westboro Baptist Church goes to protest, someone will call the police and report a robbery somewhere near the church members/protesters are staying.  The police will bring all of the WBC members in for questioning.  They will be questioned for a few hours, and then released.

This is not injustice.  This is not suppressing the freedom of speech.  This is a free people finding a way to work within the system to temporarily silence a voice that no one wants to hear.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The shadow government

If you care about government spending, debt, or the future of America, then go read this article.  Warning: It's Rolling Stone, so there's ample profanity.  If you understand how we're being stolen from then you'll be tempted to partake in the profanity.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The thing that has always amused me about the robot apocalypse

Isn't it funny that we always seem to be happy to create the tools of our own destruction?

I wonder if this guy realizes the Pandora's Box he has opened?  Surely someone else would come along and open it later, if he didn't do it now.  But it's still very creepy how we pretend that all progress is good progress.

Clearly the world would be better off if no one ever solved this particular software puzzle.  But there is no way for us to all agree to not do it, so someone is bound to do it.  I think that this particular economic problem--the lack of a system for agreeing to not do something--will be the great Achilles heel of humanity.  The last words of our species will be, "I wish we could have come up with a way to agree to not do that."

Saturday, April 2, 2011

American Oligarchs

I've been writing about Democracy 2.0 / Evolving Democracy for a while now.  I've been treating it as a purely academic exercise, because I've assumed that there would be no chance for anything like it being adopted in my lifetime.  I just wanted to leave a challenging idea behind for future generations to chew on, in the hopes that a revolution would occur someday, and that my ideas would help form the next new best government without resorting to violence.

I'm starting to believe that there will be revolution in America in my lifetime.  These two commentaries mirror my own thoughts on the subject:
Joseph Stiglitz details the extreme income imbalance.
Paul Farrell identifies the delusion of the Super-Rich.

Kareem Adbul-Jabar's recent Op-Ed in Time also mirrors my own thoughts on this.  Mr. Adbul-Jabar's Op-Ed is in response to the recent unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

"It's class warfare. My class is winning, but they shouldn't be."
     -Warren Buffet

Warren Buffet is right.  The rich are waging war on the poor.  Government is supposed to be the protector of the people; the mediator of class struggle. But the rich have infiltrated the government and undermined its ability to judge impartially.

Princeton University recently conducted a study of politics in America (summary - full results.)  The researchers concluded that America is no longer a democracy, but has transformed into an oligarchy--rule by the wealthy elite.

I hate the idea of America being an Oligarchy.  But if the shoe fits.....

I've been thinking about the right criteria for determining who the American oligarchs are:

Simply identifying the 1% or the 0.1% would get you a close approximation.  But the real oligarchs probably hide their assets in order to stay off of the Forbes list.

Tracking lobbyist spending will get you closer.  But the real oligarchs will not likely appear on that list--they have people who do that stuff for them.

Such a list has not been disclosed, but I'll bet every penny I have that the NSA has a "Do Not Track" list.  These are people that their government masters have told them are above suspicion.  Their phone calls are not recorded.  Their emails are not read.  Their license plates are not tracked.  All of the American Oligarchs are on that list.  How do we get a copy of that list?