thewayne: (Cyranose)
And I put it in quotes because they're the ones who claim the loudest that that is what they are, rather than letting us see it in them for ourselves and to be inspired by it. You know, sort of like how Jesus told his people to behave.

The Beatitudes are part of the Sermon on the Mount, and appear in slightly different form in Matthew and Luke. Luke also adds four Woes. They're really simple computer programming or logic concepts: if this, then that. The thing that has me riled is a comment by [ profile] kimuro in reply to a post by [ profile] e_moon60's blog where she describes asking a Christian about The Beatitudes, and being told that those only apply AFTER they are in heaven (it is not Kimurho's comment, Kimurho is describing a FB incident with a self-identified Christian). WHAT THE [expletive deleted] IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?!

From Wikipedia, also available from Project Gutenberg or any online or offline bible that you like:

The eight Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3–12 during the Sermon on the Mount.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5:3)
Blessed are those who mourn: for they will be comforted. (5:4)
Blessed are the meek: for they will inherit the earth. (5:5)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled. (5:6)
Blessed are the merciful: for they will be shown mercy. (5:7)
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they will see God. (5:8)
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they will be called children of God. (5:9)
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (5:10)

In verses 5:11-12, the eight Beatitudes are followed by what is often viewed as a commentary—a further clarification of the eighth one with specific application being made to the disciples. Instead of using the third-person plural "they", Jesus changes to second-person "you":

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

R. T. France considers verses 11 and 12 to be based on Isaiah 51:7.

The Beatitudes unique to Matthew are the meek, the merciful, the pure of heart, and the peacemakers. The other four have similar entries in Luke, but are followed almost immediately by "four woes".


The four Beatitudes in Luke 6:20–22 are set within the Sermon on the Plain. Verse 20 introduces them by saying, "and he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said"

Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled.
Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.

Luke 6:23 ("Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.") appears to parallel the text in Matthew 5:11-12, which reads, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you".

The four woes that follow in Luke 6:24–26

Woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.
Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.
Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
(emphasis by TheWayne)

The fourth "woe" in verse 26 may be parallel to the commentary in Matthew 5:11-12. These woes are distinct from the Seven Woes of the Pharisees which appear later in Luke 11:37-54.

I had forgot about the Woes.

Christianity has some basic truths, such as:
Treat others the way that you would like to be treated. Sadomasochists need not apply.
Be good to other people: help out the needy, and don't expect reward.
Conversely, apply Wheaton's Law: Don't Be A Dick.
Be an example of what a good person is, but don't advertise your faith.

Let's distil those down a bit further:
Do good. Do not do bad. If you don't get rewarded for doing good, it happens, don't sweat the little stuff.


Let's add some more Matthew, this from chapter 25:

(34)Then the King will tell those on his right hand, ‘Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; (35)for I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in. (36)I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me.’

(37) “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a drink? (38)When did we see you as a stranger, and take you in; or naked, and clothe you? (39)When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?’

(40)“The King will answer them, ‘Most certainly I tell you, because you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

(41)Then he will say also to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels; (42)for I was hungry, and you didn’t give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; (43)I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me in; naked, and you didn’t clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

(44) “Then they will also answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn’t help you?’

(45) “Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Most certainly I tell you, because you didn’t do it to one of the least of these, you didn’t do it to me.’ (46)These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Again, emphasis mine.

*sigh* I wish I could find a rock that I could crawl under for the next many years.

Another comment to Elizabeth Moon's post talked about how in the USA you supposedly have separation of church and state, yet politicians feel it is required to talk loudly about their Christianity, while in England they do not have separation of church and state and it's considered rude for their politicians to talk publicly about their religion.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Obviously a majority of non-UK citizens can't be as well-informed on the Brexit issues as a Brit, assuming Brits tried to educate themselves on it, still I'm surprised at the vote. Well, maybe I'm not surprised. After all, we're the country where Donald Trump has a decent chance of becoming leader of the free world.

I personally don't think the Brexit is a good idea. I think the UK had an excellent approach of keeping the Pound and not adopting the Euro: I think the unified currency was a really bad idea, as Greece, Spain, etc. have demonstrated.

We all live in Interesting Times, I guess. I have a theory that every country occasionally goes insane. I think the USA is well in to moving in to such a time where we have people voting against their interests in the name of party ideology where the political parties don't give squat about the people who vote for them, perhaps the UK is entering a similar stage.

Trump is symbolic of only part of the problem. The reality is that greed has overcome helping your fellow man and doing good. It seems that most companies' sole purpose is providing increasing dividends to their top investors, the rest can go hang.

There's some interesting discussion on Slashdot about the result of yesterday's Brexit vote, only time will tell what happens in the long-run.

In the end, it's too depressing to think about. And ultimately, we're all dead anyway.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
This is forwarded from Sherry Gottleib – “Jefferson on Trump” --
"There is also an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents... The artificial aristocracy is a mischievous ingredient in government, and provisions should be made to prevent its ascendancy."
-- Thomas Jefferson, third US president, architect, and author (13 Apr 1743-1826)

(From Joe Haldeman's LJ blog)
thewayne: (Cyranose)
People of a political kidney never can, never will at any time acknowledge the slightest possibility that they might be mistaken. That way lies the imminent crumbling of dogma, and the freakish implication that those holding opposite views could be, after all, tolerable, decent, even respectable.

This is a major change and problem with our divided political system, it's gotten to the point where they can't be friendly with each other out of the office. It's one thing to respectfully disagree with the opposition, it's quite another to consider them heretical and the antithesis of all good things.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Interesting, and I think I can agree with the conclusion.

"Researchers from Princeton University and Northwestern University have concluded, after extensive analysis of 1,779 policy issues, that the U.S. is in fact an oligarchy and not a democracy. What this means is that, although 'Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance,' 'majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts.' Their study (PDF), to be published in Perspectives on Politics, found that 'When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.'"
thewayne: (Cyranose)
"Ambassador, dear, you are lying. You are calling white as black and black as white."
-- Ukrainian official Vasyl Filipchuk to Russian EU ambassador Vladimir Chizhov

"He reminds me of a character from Dr. Strangelove."
-- Mikheil Saakashvili, former president of Georgia, on Chizhov

There's so much doing on that we don't have accurate information on. The thing that struck me as the most odd was that the day after the then-president of Ukraine agreed to hold new elections in about two months time, he's fled the country back to Russia. Something weird happened and I haven't heard what. Then all these military forces appear in Crimea and take over, fait accompli. Putin tries to feed everyone a huge line of bullshit that these are local defense forces. I'm surprised that the news didn't take the numbers painted on the trucks and look over old photos and footage and match them to Russian bases. Putin then holds elections with almost no notice and no outside monitoring, and what do you know -- 95% of voters want to go back to Mother Russia! That number is especially interesting since while the country was approx 55% ethnic Russians and probably not all of them want to be nationally Russian again, there's also large numbers of Kossacks and other ethnicities that don't want to be Russian.

I can understand Russia wanting control over the country that is the home port of its Black Sea fleet. But Russia and Ukraine have a high level of mutual dependence, and Crimea is highly dependent on Ukraine as it doesn't have land ties to Russia.

This was a very stupid move on Putin's part which lost him all credibility in the rest of the world and made every Russian-speaking but non-Russian country around him very nervous.

I came across an article that said Russian Spetsnaz forces (their equivalent of American Green Beret, British SAS, etc) had been captured inside the Ukraine with fake IDs and information that showed they were there to plan disinformation and unrest campaigns and possibly sabotage. Unfortunately I didn't keep the link, so I don't know if the story has been proven false or what, but it hasn't been picked up by the media that I follow.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Once again, from the web comic Pibgorn:
Politicians are of three fundamental kidneys:

1. The Ethical Being
The ethical being knows the difference between truth and mendacity, but, crippled by his regard for the trust placed in him by his constituents, speaks the truth – a commodity the electorate extol in principle, abhor in practice. For the sake of convenience – the concept of an ethical politician being unwieldy and elusive – he is usually known by the word “liar.”

2. The Pragmatic Being
The pragmatic being knows with pellucidity the difference between truth and deceit, always choosing deceit because there is no tactical advantage in the truth. He is usually referred to as “the incumbent.”

3. The Stupid One
The stupid one cannot tell the difference between truth and falsehood, prating his myriad lies with heartfelt incongruity. It is a long shot indeed that the stupid one will ever utter the truth, the odds against such an accident being infinite: he hedges his bet with a broad, manipulative smile and a brisk handshake. According to custom, he is claimed a “visionary.”
thewayne: (Cyranose)
"The Conservative Party have attempted to delete all their speeches and press releases online from the past 10 years, including one in which David Cameron promises to use the Internet to make politicians 'more accountable'. The Tory party have deleted the backlog of speeches from the main website and the Internet Archive — which aims to make a permanent record of websites and their content — between 2000 and May 2010."

Apparently if you buy a domain that was previously archived by the Internet Archive and change the robots.txt file to block archiving, the IA deletes all of the previous scans. Also apparently the Canadians under Harper are doing a similar thing. There are still archives if one knows where to look, but it will make fact-checking previous claims and promises more difficult.

How long until American politicians start practicing unspeaking?
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Among the military services, concepts such as courage, honor, duty and valor possess deep consequences, bearing witness to their historic readiness to shed blood in defense of the country's rights, freedoms and liberty. Among the elect, those words are the language of the patsy; best mouthed with the distractions of glory and pomp while plundering a fellow citizen's trash, tapping his phone line or, at the very best of moments, emerging victorious at computer solitaire during a session of congress.

from A Demon's Nest of Sentiments

I am reminded of 'Character is what you are in the dark'.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Jon Stewart talking about Fox News: "Its modus operandi is to foment dissent in the form of a relentless, irrational contrarianism to Barack Obama and all things Democratic to advance its ultimate objective of creating a deliberately misinformed body politic whose fear, anger, mistrust and discontent is the manna upon which it sustains its parasitic, succubus-like existence."
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Sometimes on Sunday, Brooke McEldowney, the author/artist of the comic Pibgorn, posts a political screed. I've agreed with most of what he's posted, plus I like his comic.

If the individual vote were invested with any actual value, any potency, it would be yea or nay. That is, nobody might be elected until the emergence of a candidate whose ethics and intelligence exceed those of a tapeworm. This option, to withhold one's vote (imagine a federal election in which all candidates wound up with a vote of no confidence), would give the electorate real control over government, and possibly lead the citizenry to become choosy before squandering their voting privileges.

However, the vote, having no such puissance, is one of the several ways the constitution recognizes that all legislative processes would grind to a dull halt if the government were required to exclude imbeciles.

One thing that I love about some political systems is the vote of no confidence. There are many things broken about the American electoral system, and I think the absence of such is one of them. There's far too much money, dishonesty, and secrecy in our election process.

Pibgorn just began doing a series re-creating Romeo and Juliet with the core characters, he did Midsummer Night's Dream a while back and it was quite interesting. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this series turns out.

Great quote

Jun. 9th, 2013 01:42 pm
thewayne: (Cyranose)
"The abandonment of the republic is a matter of two steps: from being "the people" to "the governed," then "the policed.""
thewayne: (Cyranose)
"The reason is quite simple. I have some depth to my ideas."
—Herman Cain, on why he would have a substantial lead if he were running against Barack Obama

I don't think so. But could he beat Romney? I have two fundamental problems with the RNC at the moment, ignoring all the little things like gay rights, women's reproductive rights, etc. Ignoring all of that. Romney keeps saying that he can fix the economy by closing loopholes and cutting taxes. But he won't say what he's gong to do. It's all "Trust me!" with a big smile on his face. 'Elect me and I'll fix everything, but IT'S A BIG SURPRISE! You don't want to have the surprise spoiled for you, do you? Of course not! So put me in the White House!'

I just don't understand how he could think he can run an election without revealing specifics. Ryan was a good pick because he adds a lot of charisma to the campaign, something that Mitt sorely lacks. Mitt is clinically unable to connect with common people, he's utterly lacking in empathy for those beneath his station. Ryan, he has a whole other set of problems, mainly his voting record past. Maybe Mitt's foot-in-mouth disease is contagious and Ryan caught it, or perhaps it's spread through the entire political system.

The second problem that I have with the RNC is they won't admit that for eight years they torpedoed the economy by letting Bush pay for two wars on the country's credit card, and now they stymie any attempt of Obama's to fix it and blame the continued slow growth on him. All traces of working across the aisle have gone away and nothing is going to get done until one party controls both Congress and the Presidency. I don't know if the Republicans in Congress are in denial or just afraid to admit that they're part of the problem, probably some measure of both.

Everyone talks about how Ronald Reagan would be called a RINO these days (Republican In Name Only). They don't talk about, or at least not often, the fact that he raised taxes eight times after cutting them. He had a plan: tax cuts along with spending cuts, and it potentially might have worked. But he got the carrot of tax cuts passed before the stick of spending cuts, and he had real problems that necessitated tax hikes. I am extremely confident that Romney didn't learn that lesson and tax cuts will pass but those pesky tax loopholes won't get closed and we'll go over the cliff with the foot all the way down on the peddle.

Absolutely there are tax loopholes that should be closed. But there are so many of them, and so many people benefit from different loopholes, that it's going to be a heck of a juggling act. Corporate taxes really need to be reformed so that companies like GE, HP, Microsoft, Google, etc., properly pay their taxes here. Just last week HP and Microsoft were slammed in Congress for using tax dodges to reduce their American tax burden. But wait -- doesn't Wall Street and the mechanisms of stocks and being publicly traded mean that the company must maximize shareholder returns? So doesn't minimizing tax burden dovetail nicely with maximized returns? There's a slight ethics problem there.

I am very thankful for that smartphone-owning bartender at Mitt's private fundraiser that documented that 47% gaff. It shows his disconnect and lack of qualification to be President, and shows the general public what his real opinions are.

Jon Huntsman repeatedly stressed that banks should be broken up, they fought for decades to defeat the Glass-Stegal Act and finally won, and now look where we are. The banks are so deeply tied in to the government that if the banks succeed at some risky venture, they win. If they fail at said risky venture, they get bailed out and the taxpayers lose. That is an incredibly sweet deal. And it's the absolute text-book definition of capitalism and market Darwinism where the failures get winnowed-out of the business gene pool. [/sarcasm]

I don't think a majority of Americans realize how deeply screwed this country is.

One last thing that I found quite interesting. There's a recent article in New york Magazine by Frank Rich called My Embed In Red. He spent a week getting all of his news from Republican news sources: Fox News, Rush, Savage, etc. And he did it during the RNC convention. And he noticed a big disconnect between Republicans at large and the coalition of Fox News and Romney's campaign. And I use the word coalition unreservedly: many of Romney's top people are also paid Fox employees. A lot of people don't think that Romney/Fox represent their viewpoints. They don't like Obama, but they also feel that their views were excluded from the RNC convention. Look at what the convention did to Ron Paul, then think about all the votes that he got. It looks like Romney is representing a minority of the Republican party, but because of Citizen's United, they have such a loud voice because of their money that the rest of the Republicans are being ignored. It's going to be interesting to see how many Republicans don't vote for Romney. Everyone says that the election boils down to the eight swing states, and that all the other states are locked for one candidate or the other. But what if enough Republicans are feeling disenfranchised enough to not vote for Romney that some of these states flip? Currently enough of those swing states are polling for Obama that Romney has lost the election, but we're still over a month out, so that could change. I think if Obama plays a conservative (as opposed to risky) strategy, he has it sewn up.

One last comment for this ridiculously-long blather. We didn't get to see the two party's conventions or highlights because we've been quasi-homeless for the last month: lightning struck a tree behind our house and drove a 25' chunk of pine through our roof, so we missed it. But one comment that I've heard is that based on the televised coverage of the conventions, the RNC was a white-washed meeting whereas the Democratic convention actually looked like a representation of the racial makeup of America. Non-Caucasian people are the reality of America, politicians had better get it through their heads. I lived in a city that Caucasians were a minority, and I have to say that overall, it was a nicer, more pleasant, place than the Caucasian-majority places that I've been.
thewayne: (Default)
I've enjoyed Heinlein since I was a kid and was never able to get in to Rand regardless of who waved her at me. This article does a good job of explaining why Heinlein's brand of Libertarianism is probably truer to the Libertarian ethos, or at least as far as the author is concerned.

But you always have to remember the varying styles of Libertarianism, just like the varying types of Republicans and Democrats.
thewayne: (Default)
This has potential. According to the web site, “Americans Elect is the first-ever open nominating process. We’re using the Internet to give every single voter — Democrat, Republican or independent — the power to nominate a presidential ticket in 2012. The people will choose the issues. The people will choose the candidates. And in a secure, online convention next June, the people will make history by putting their choice on the ballot in every state.”

Sounds quite interesting to me. I don't think either party can really do a good job of representing people, and an online system like this could be a step in the right direction. The problem is that the system is so rigged for two and only two parties, it'll be difficult for a third party to gain actual traction.
thewayne: (Default)
and they want Obama and the Dems to stop doing the same!

This is the problem that I see with American politics: the two parties want to advance their agenda at the cost of all else, regardless of what is good or best for the country. Two parties CANNOT represent the full spectrum of political philosophy, and the rate at which lies spread from both parties throughout the media just makes me a sad panda.
thewayne: (Default)
"Wisconsin Republicans claim that no one else can republish a video of United States Representative Sean Duffy (R-WI) complaining about how he is 'struggling' to get by on his $174,000 salary without their permission, even though they originally released the video on YouTube for the whole world to see. Now the GOP is trying to take legal action to stop anyone else from republishing the video. The tape caused a stir for Duffy, a first-term conservative best known for his past as a reality TV show star on MTV's The Real World after Democrats flagged the comments about his taxpayer-funded salary, which is nearly three times the median income in Wisconsin, and criticisms began to flow Duffy's way. Here's a one-minute clip, excerpted from roughly 45 minutes of video of the public Duffy townhall, that the Polk County GOP doesn't want anyone to see."

thewayne: (Default)
"I saw my father march with Martin Luther King."
--Mitt Romney

"He was speaking figuratively, not literally."
-- Eric Fehrnstrom, spokesman for the Romney campaign, responding to questions raised by the Detroit Free Press

As it happens, Russet's father DID march with Martin Luther King. How can you speak figuratively about a purported fact? Is "figuratively" now the polite term for a lie?
thewayne: (Default)
I always liked the Christian Science Monitor, they have an excellent news service. It was a sad day when they stopped their radio reporting.

One thing that always bothered me about the First Gulf War when Iraq invaded Kuwait was the differences between the two countries. Iraq was socially progressive: women could attend college, hold down jobs. It was one of the least restrictive of the Islamic countries. Kuwait was the exact opposite, perhaps one of the most restrictive Islamic countries. And from what I've read, Iraq had a just complaint against Kuwait: Kuwait was conducting land piracy and attacking and stealing Iraqi oil convoys.

And thus started this whole frelling mess. Well, at least one part of it.

from the April 05, 2006 edition -

Historic first: Kuwaiti women vote, run
Two female candidates ran for office in municipal elections seen as a test for a 2007 nationwide vote.

By Jamie Etheridge | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor

KUWAIT CITY - A sea of black flooded a local polling station in Kuwait Tuesday when hundreds of women clad in the head-to-toe abaya cast their vote for the first time.

One of the two female candidates contesting a vacant seat on the powerful Municipal Council, Khaledah Al-Khader, said she faced some criticism from Islamic groups.

"Some individuals believe that simply because I am of the female gender, I am incapable of having a seat in the council - because I would not be strong enough to deal with the pressure," says Ms. Khader, a medical doctor educated at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Considered a test case for 2007 parliamentary polls, the by-election is the first in which women have been able to vote since the National Assembly approved universal suffrage last year.

The May 2005 decision sparked widespread debate about women's roles in politics, with some conservative Islamist members of Parliament arguing that women should not be allowed in Parliament without wearing the Islamic hijab, or head covering.
Read more... )
thewayne: (Aim for the Ass)

DeLay Announces Resignation From House
AP - 1 hour, 57 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Succumbing to scandal, former Majority Leader Tom DeLay said Tuesday he will resign from Congress in the face of a tough re-election race, closing out a career that blended unflinching conservatism with a bare-knuckled political style. "I have no fear whatsoever about any investigation into me or my personal or professional activities," DeLay said in a statement to constituents. At the same time, he said, "I refuse to allow liberal Democrats an opportunity to steal this seat with a negative, personal campaign."

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