Anger and lies

September 17th, 2019

So, it did occur to me recently as I was reading a friend’s book about Christianity that I still get angry when I consider the tenants of Christianity. Not nearly as much as I did, now that I Understand that Christianity is built on a series of lies, and exists both to make the population easier to control and to make money for the churches. But I do still get angry.

On one paw, it shouldn’t matter to me what anyone believes as long as they are not trying to control my behavior. On the other paw, a lot of Christians *are* trying to control my behavior, by making laws based on their twisted sense of morality, and also, it makes me made to know that even as we speak, children’s minds are being broken in the exact same way mine was broken, and Christians are patting themselves on the back about what good people they are as they break the minds of their children.

Okay, so let’s look at the big fundamental lie. They say that God’s love is unconditional. Then they say if you don’t believe in Jesus you will never be one with God and you will go to hell. These two things can not both be true. Unconditional means without conditions. God loves you. Period. If you’re muslim, God loves you just as much. If you made up your own religion, God loves you just as much.

Ah, they say, but God is a *just* God and therefore.. nope, stop right there, I call BS. Unconditional means unconditional. You just added a condition. “But the bible says..”

Look, I’m fairly sure – in the high 90s – that the bible is A: wrong and B: probably written by individuals with evil intent. And no, I don’t care what the bible says. In the absence of God making a sincere attempt to contact me and convince me my point of view is wrong, I’m going to assume that there either is no God, or God doesn’t work the way you all think God works. Stop lying to your children. Admit you don’t know, that no one knows, that there is no good way to know at the moment. The future of the human race may depend on your honestly. Remember that we have *fusion weapons* now – we can not afford to run the Crusades again.

Also, stop claiming Christianity is a superior religion to Islam because it doesn’t promote violence. We’re all aware of the violence being done in Africa in the name of Christianity – and we’re all aware of the crusades, and the burning of witches, and the never ending series of moral panics.

Ghost Riders In The Sky

September 6th, 2019

So, I’ve been messing around with this song a little bit lately and actually came up with a version that I thought y’all might or might not enjoy. In any case, it entertained me to no end to cover Johnny Cash. So, without further ado, here is

Ghost Riders In The Sky

Hotel California

August 10th, 2019

So, I was going to drop this in the circular file, but Bunne convinced me that the world might appreciate this particular type of screwed-up-ness. So here you go:

Hotel California

Bunne described this as “This evokes not so much the cynicism of the original as it watches a soon to be bygone era fade from the cultural radar screen, as it does a melancholy for an era that may have never been, It’s a parsing of a paint by numbers approach to nostalgia we have come to view as fact and it sort of dismantles it’s premise with a sense of grasping for something that may have not ever actually been. It’s an dour anthem for the people who tend to fall through the cracks of the “cool scene” and I like the arrangement a lot.“.

For me, the funniest part is how you keep expecting the solo to end, but it doesn’t, instead jumping to even more absurd levels of Sheerishness – by the end it might even be bordering on Mozart’s “Too Many Notes”.

The problem with computers and networks

August 4th, 2019

So, one of the things I’ve been saying is that one of the necessary ingredients for a successful collectivist system is good computers and fast networks – and also a *lot* of software designed to protect against corruption and against dictatorship. I could write a book on that subject alone – and maybe I will – but for the moment, I want to focus in on one particularly broken thing which is why I’m thumping the drum so hard for collectivism.

I have friends both in high and in low places. I have hung out with billionaires and with hobos. One of the things I observe is we have made the hoops you have to jump through in America way too difficult to clear – and the billionaires don’t know this, I don’t think, and the hobos do. I seldom see it spoken of, but one of the problems with good computers and fast networks is that it gives the human race perfect memory. That’s a good thing when we’re talking about capturing the latest performance of a musician or ideas of a scientist but it’s not so good when we’re talking about the economic systems.

One thing I’d like to point to – if you rent, and you get evicted, you have a *extremely* short list of places that will rent to you – maybe none in some big cities. Make one mistake, and you’re homeless. And the people who maintain this system feel good and smug and happy about it – but it adds to the chains that make us all a slave. There’s not a lot of margin for certain types of error in America, even though some people are inclined to make certain types of error. We’ll hand you a credit card without explaining compound interest to you, we’ll let you get evicted before we tell you ‘welcome to the ranks of the homeless’, and we’ll charge you with a felony for very small and stupid stuff and then tell you ‘welcome to the ranks of the homeless and unemployed’. And then we’ll throw you in jail again for not having a job.

We need to be a little more forgiving here. With evictions, it should probably be three strikes and you’re out, and after the first we offer you some counseling and education about financial management.

We act as if the human race is barely holding on – as if every dollar counts, as if we’re all about to starve. The media has programmed most of the people here to be horrified that a bum might be getting a free beer somewhere. But the truth is, humanity is the dominant species of earth. We’re so rich it only takes 5% of us to feed all of us, and we can use robots to build houses for us at this point. We’ve just been programmed to believe being horrible to each other is the right thing to do.

I’ll go on more about collectivism later because I don’t want to get sidetracked here, but I do think it’s important to recognize that we have built a system that for no good reason throws people under the bus at every opportunity, and then remembers that it has done so and refuses them again and again. This *costs us all*. People who are frightened don’t take the kind of risks that enrich all of humanity.

The end of the USA / Marks At A Carnival

July 25th, 2019

So, someone on facebook the other day observed that the latest spate of push polls used by basically every candidate out there is essentially treating the electorate like we are a bunch of marks at a carnival, and the politicians are the carnies.

I saw kind of a extreme case of this – Congressman John Lewis sent me a poll asking who was going to win the Democratic nomination. Of course Biden was at the top – I’m fairly sure that the DNC is manipulating the data in any way necessary to make sure no one hears that Bernie is in fact the front runner – but more interestingly, it was a push poll, so I thought I’d go email the Congressman to tell him to cut it out. Strangely enough, when I got to his site, it asked for my zip plus four, and then bounced me to a page that informed me I wasn’t allowed to email the congressman since I wasn’t in his district.

Well, then, why is he allowed to email me – not just push polls, which are insulting enough as it is – like I can’t tell that you’re trying to manipulate my opinion by asking me for it – but push polls that end in a list of “Yes, I”ll chip in $WHATEVER” with increasing amounts of $WHATEVER, but no checkbox for “I can’t donate right now”.

At this point, I think we’ve reached the endgame for the USA. Both parties are so corrupt as to be unrecognizable from the standpoint of honor, dignity, or desire to do the right thing. If I could push a button and disband them both I would, and I think this probably applies for most of the citizens here. There’s a ongoing fight about socialism vs capitalism as if they haven’t both been demonstrated to both be successful and be failures. We need some new ideas, badly. But our pundits seem to be stuck on the old ones.

The thing that astonishes me is all the people demonstrating brand loyalty to Trump as if he wasn’t clearly the most corrupt guy in the room. Even his own supporters have to admit he lies – at this point I think he’s at 10,000 lies, a average of 100 a day? I lack the energy to fight with them any more. If they can’t tell that they’re egging on the captain as he opens the throttles aimed straight for the iceberg, I don’t think there’s anything I can say that is going to open their eyes. The whole thing is a interesting experience in how much neuroplasticity humans *don’t* have.

Is there any way off this sinking ship?

I did realize one interesting thing about Trump that pretty much signals the end of the USA – he doesn’t even pretend that he represents the half of people that didn’t vote for him, or even that he likes us. He cheers on the hate at his rallies that is becoming a cancer eating into any hope of a compromise between the two sides. I can’t ever remember a previous president who didn’t at least make a token effort to show they represented everyone.

Of course, we’ve never had a president who was quite so much of a raging narcissist before, either. I guess it shows kindo f a loss of the american innocence and idealism.

One valid point in Trump’s favor – the media also don’t make any attempt to pretend they’re accurately quoting him, either. For example, the famous ‘good people on both sides of the debate’ – *in the very same sentence* Trump said he wasn’t talking about white supremacists, but the sound-bite-oholic media carefully spun and edited to make it sound like he was. I was astonished when I found the whole audio clip.

So it’s possible that there’s something to this whole ‘fake news’ idea as well. On the other paw, if we can’t trust the media, and it’s *really* clear we can’t trust Trump, we don’t really know what’s going on anyway.

We elected someone who said ‘Go ahead, punch him, I’ll pay your legal bills’. (And of course, Trump wouldn’t have – there’s a long history of him not even paying the vendors who do work for him). People talk about the ‘Grab ’em by the pussy’, and yah, that’s bad, but not as bad as ‘Go ahead, punch him.’ Our president, who is supposed to represent all of us, encouraging violence towards one of the people he was claiming he was running to represent at his own rally… at this point, busy locking children in cages. Supporters busy defending him with bullshit about the rule of law – pretending they don’t know that we deliberately built a broken immigration system so we could make the “illegals” work for peanuts. Supporters defending a president who has caused *children to die of dehydration*. And they mean it. The hate is strong with the Republicans. They feel good and warm about calling us left-wingers snowflakes, and cheering on the idea that they can drink our tears. They feel good about killing children. They’ve picked their scapegoats and they’re going to hurt them as much as they can and feel good about how good it feels to hate. They’re going to ignore any science they like, and suppress and censor it as well. Dollars are more important than people, dollars are more important than continuing to have a survivable ecosystem. So what if all our grandchildren are going to be eating yeast and barely surviving. Hate some more! More dollars!

I don’t see a way back from here.

——

Followup – John Lewis’s campaign sent me *another* push poll.. this time instead of chipping in, I’m to RUSH my money – still no option for ‘no’. There was a contact us link, so I sent them a link to this blog entry, and a request for a apology. They at least let me email them there.

——

And another side note – if you want to see the most excessive example of a push poll I have ever seen, check out Trump’s push poll. Aren’t you happy to know the president represents everyone?

Movie Blues

July 12th, 2019

Another of my movie-soundtrack compositions – this one is really more a sketch than anything, but I liked it so I thought I’d share it with the class.

Movie Blues

Cover – Hallelujah

June 14th, 2019

Just because I haven’t posted anything in a very long time, I thought I’d record something to let you all know I’m still recording over here.

Still working on the album. In the meantime, here’s something that will *not* be on the album and which might or might not suck 🙂

Sheer Covers Hallelujah

On recent events

April 21st, 2019

So, I’m a vocal critic of Christianity. Pretty much anyone who reads the blog knows that. However, I recently donated to help rebuild some churches in the south that had been burned by miscreants. What gives?

I guess I probably should have mentioned before. I don’t want Christians dead. I don’t want them hurt. I want them to stop hurting other people, but I don’t think the way to get that is to hurt them. I know this is a popular point of view – our army is based on the thesis that the way to get people to behave differently is to shoot at them – but I think in time we will come to see that it’s a small-minded idea – that in fact you start cycles of war and retribution that can take hundreds of years to end.

And, apparently – I wouldn’t have guessed this, but what actions we take tell us these things – if you’re a Christian and they burn down your church, and I have some extra dollars, I will help pay to rebuild it. I don’t think anyone should have their homes or community buildings destroyed because of who they are or what they believe. Especially since a lot of this is based on the unfortunate repeat-rise of the KKK , the proud boys, and groups like them. My hope is we will get beyond all this, because it’s pretty dystopian and I don’t want to live in a dystopia.

But, in the meantime, my thoughts are with all the people who have churches and homes on fire, or exploding, and I hope you all survive the adventure and heal as best you can. And I hope some day we learn not to use violence to settle everything.

Collectivism and money

March 26th, 2019

One of the interesting realizations I had recently is that one of the mistakes that has been made in attempts to implement collectivist economies in the past is the insistence of sticking to “money” – i.e. the idea that you can successfully represent the value of everything as a single number. I’ve talked in the various bits about bucketized currency about why you can’t accurately model value in the real world just by using one price, and I’ll probably go on about it at some length again later, but for the moment, let me just mention that if you’re not using flow-based resource management or production for use, you’re still falling into a lot of the fallacies that keep breaking the capitalist system. I know that the USSR, for example, had a currency, which makes me suspect that it was not really all that collectivist.

One of the things that I keep noticing is how various failures to track and respect value tend to make the on-paper accounting system get out of whack with the real world, and how this leaves us with the impression that we are broke when in fact we are not. I’ve come to the conclusion that the powers that be like it that way – seeing Trump has finally convinced me that there really are people like the villains in Disney films, who cackle gleefully at the idea of enslaving others and are overjoyed to know that somewhere, someone is suffering because of decisions they made.

Of course, those disney villain types are a lot of what makes designing a resource allocation system so difficult. If everyone was going to play fair and within the rules, we wouldn’t actually need a RAS at all – a few large warehouses full of stuff per community and a agreement to clean stuff up and bring it back, and to fix anything that gets broken, would be all we would need. But, of course, any time there’s a system someone is going to have to try and game it. And clearly there’s some people who take great joy in making sure they get the biggest slice of the pie – even, ironically, if they’re *getting a smaller piece than they would have if everyone had gotten the same slice*. (That is, as far as I can tell, where we currently are – if we worked together and implemented some of the technologies I have spoken of elsewhere in this blog, we’d all be – at least in terms of the experiences we were having – rich beyond the dreams of avarice. But the people with the most resources – the ones who could most help make that happen – would rather be known as the head cheese, than have more because we all have more)

Anyway, back to my original point. One example of this is overdraft fees. Now, first of all, these obviously don’t represent anything rational in the real-value world. It didn’t cost the bank *anything* that the overdraft occured, other than the very tiny loss of imaginary fractional banking reserve headroom. In the real world, no resources were lost. However, the bank robs (no other word for it) the customer based on the overdraft, thusly making the accounting system get out of whack with real world resources.

I don’t know that the USSR specifically had overdraft fees, but I do know that not all dollars – or rubles – are created equal, so any time you have the idea that you can put a price on something you’re probably falling for the fallacy of price. A dollar that buys a robot-farmed apple is a much “cheaper” dollar than a dollar that buys a handmade item made by a craftsman. A dollar that buys power generated by coal is a much more expensive dollar – measure in suffering or in dead people, your choice – than a dollar that buys power generated by a nuclear plant. We try to use scarcity to set price, but this isn’t that reasonable a thing to do and encourages gaming of the system (I gesture you to Enron shutting down all of California’s peaker plants so it could make millions off of how power had suddenly become scarce). The truth is, the idea that it’s rational to give things a price tag is a fallacy. And yet, we do need to encourage people to conserve scarce resources, and to budget and make decisions based on what’s most important to them. How to do?

The other side of me

February 26th, 2019

I’ve wanted for a while to do a song in the style of Def Leppard, Pink Floyd, and many others, where the words don’t really mean anything but seem like they should, and so the listener fills in part of the meaning and the song becomes as much about the listener as the original artist.

So, here’s a first attempt – I have a feeling I will be doing this type of thing again later in my career. I present, without further ado:

The Other Side Of Me

Bunne provided some assistance with mixdown – and may be presenting his own mix of the song – but otherwise, this is all me.