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matthew parris on the effects of christianity

Recommended reading.

“ "In the city we had working for us Africans who had converted and were strong believers. The Christians were always different. Far from having cowed or confined its converts, their faith appeared to have liberated and relaxed them. There was a liveliness, a curiosity, an engagement with the world - a directness in their dealings with others - that seemed to be missing in traditional African life. They stood tall.

“ Whenever we entered a territory worked by missionaries, we had to acknowledge that something changed in the faces of the people we passed and spoke to: something in their eyes, the way they approached you direct, man-to-man, without looking down or away. They had not become more deferential towards strangers - in some ways less so - but more open." ”

It is always good to see someone talking sense.

One of the best structured articles I have yet to see from Parris. I see not one real slip-up. He is probably continuing to improve. If he goes on developing like this, he will be a seriously useful contributor to improving this sad little planet!

The Church of Rome has long been a prime bulwark against the mentally destitute and dangerous killer cult of socialism. The more modern society comes to understand the nature of that mental disease, the better.

From a theologian:

“Religion has its own work, which is to educate people who are too dull to understand philosophy, or too untutored to be amenable to its teaching. This is why religion is necessary, for what it preaches is fundamentally the same as what philosophy teaches, and, unless common men believed what it preaches, they would behave like beasts. But theologians should preach, not teach, just as philosophers should teach, not preach. Theologians should not attempt to demonstrate, because they cannot do it, and philosophers must be careful not to get belief mixed up with what they prove, because then they can no longer prove anything. Now, to preach creation is just a handy way to make people feel that God is their Master, which is true even though, as is well known by those who truly philosophize, nothing of the sort ever happened.”
Etienne Gilson [1884 - 1978], Being and Some Philosophers, p. 52

A similar sentiment from an essay by Arthur Schopenhauer,
1 Religion: a dialogue

“Where you have masses of people of crude susceptibilities and clumsy intelligence, sordid in their pursuits and sunk in drudgery, religion provides the only means of proclaiming and making them feel the hight import of life. For the average man takes an interest, primarily, in nothing but what will satisfy his physical needs and hankerings, and beyond this, give him a little amusement and pastime. Founders of religion and philosophers come into the world to rouse him from his stupor and point to the lofty meaning of existence; philosophers for the few, the emancipated, founders of religion for the many, for humanity at large. For, as your friend Plato has said, the multitude can't be philosophers, and you shouldn't forget that. Religion is the metaphysics of the masses; by all means let them keep it: let it therefore command external respect, for to discredit it is to take it away. Just as they have popular poetry, and the popular wisdom of proverbs, so they must have popular metaphysics too: for mankind absolutely needs an interpretation of life; and this, again, must be suited to popular comprehension. Consequently, this interpretation is always an allegorical investiture of the truth: and in practical life and in its effects on the feelings, that is to say, as a rule of action and as a comfort and consolation in suffering and death, it accomplishes perhaps just as much as the truth itself could achieve if we possessed it. Don't take offense at its unkempt, grotesque and apparently absurd form; for with your education and learning, you have no idea of the roundabout ways by which people in their crude state have to receive their knowledge of deep truths. The various religions are only various forms in which the truth, which taken by itself is above their comprehension, is grasped and realized by the masses; and truth becomes inseparable from these forms. Therefore, my dear sir, don t take it amiss if I say that to make a mockery of these forms is both shallow and unjust.”

[Reference from DVH]

related material
papal encyclicals and marx - some extracts: on socialism and liberalism

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out-going condi rice, her job and her boss - xavier

Secretary of State, Condalezza Rice will soon relinquish her job with the US government.

From a recent interview:

“ "In his latest book Bob Woodward quotes you saying, 'we should've liberated Iraq, I'd do it a thousand times again.' Would you really?" Braver asked.

“ "Absolutely. Because I know that the Middle East with Saddam Hussein in its center was never gonna be a Middle East that was going to change in a way that will sustain American interests, values and security." ”

“ "But when people say, '[President Bush] 's one of the worst presidents in recent memory, if nothing else…" Braver said.

“ "I just, I just think it's ridiculous," Rice said.

“ "Don't you have to think that this last presidential election was kind of a referendum on this president's policies?" Braver asked.

“ "This president had two terms; that's all he gets is two terms and he had two terms and he was reelected," Rice said.

“ "And you think he would've been re-elected with those popularity polls?" Braver asked.

“ "I'm not going to talk about popularity polls," Rice said. "The present was re-elected in 2004. That's all he got to do." ”

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soggy-minded idealism and reality

A Correspondent:
You could easily create a society that is primitive in the sense it doesn't have "all mod cons", but it would still support basic necessities like food, effluent management, clean water, shelter, heat and a modicum of light. Why do we see artificial light as such a vital commodity when we have had it for only a femtosecond relative to the age of humanity on this planet?

Because it allows you to work longer hours. That allows greater productivity. The maize harvest has arrived. The combines work through the night. If they didn’t, the crops would rot in the fields.

A Correspondent:
The opposite of "primitive" is national indolence, because it is this that drives our demands for the"all mod cons" society, then we get into manufacturing, industrial revolution, and soon, bingo, the bankers smell the gold. We have always automatically assumed that every new technological achievement is an advance of humanity, but really it only ever brings us closer to war and final wipe-out.

Knocking out the banking system is approximately equivalent to striking the population dumb. Try communicating without talking, everything will take much longer.

Money is a form of communication that is far more efficient than barter. All trading would become far more difficult without banking. Look at how the current banking clag-up is undermining production.

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as the great writers say - everyone’s a critic

The Bernanke extracts are from a long article in the New Yorker. The article summerises Bernanke’s actions to head off the banking clag-up, with regular, foolish interjections by the scribbler. Having gone through the article, I find nothing but praise for Bernanke’s steadiness and judgment. Thus, the title and the extract from Doctor Johnson. Maybe you too will find the article by parts instructive, amusing and irritating.

Ben Bernanke’s socks

“ In June, 2005, Bernanke was sworn in at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. One of his first tasks was to deliver a monthly economics briefing to the President and the Vice-President. After he and Hubbard sat down in the Oval Office, President Bush noticed that Bernanke was wearing light-tan socks under his dark suit. "Where did you get those socks, Ben?" he asked. "They don’t match." Bernanke didn’t falter. "I bought them at the Gap - three pairs for seven dollars," he replied. During the briefing, which lasted about forty-five minutes, the President mentioned the socks several times.

“The following month, Hubbard’s deputy, Keith Hennessey, suggested that the entire economics team wear tan socks to the briefing. Hubbard agreed to call Vice-President Cheney and ask him to wear tan socks, too. "So, a little later, we all go into the Oval Office, and we all show up in tan socks," Hubbard recalled. "The President looks at us and sees we are all wearing tan socks, and he says in a cool voice, 'Oh, very, very funny.' He turns to the Vice-President and says, 'Mr. Vice-President, what do you think of these guys in their tan socks?' Then the Vice-President shows him that he’s wearing them, too. The President broke up." [Quoted from newyorker.com]

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Alexander Pope reads to Lord Halifax

“Samuel Johnson, in "The Life of Pope", conveys this story told by Alexander Pope about his patron, Lord Halifax:

“The famous Lord Halifax was rather a pretender to taste than really possessed of it. - When I had finished the two or three first books of my translation of the Iliad, that Lord desired to have the pleasure of hearing them read at his house. - Addison, Congreve, and Garth, were there at the reading. In four or five places, Lord Halifax stopt me very civilly, and with a speech each time, much of the same kind, 'I beg your pardon, Mr. Pope; but there is something in that passage that does not quite please me. - Be so good as to mark the place, and consider it a little [more] at your leisure. - I'm sure you can give it a little [better] turn.' I returned from Lord Halifax's with Dr. Garth, in his chariot; and, as we were going along, was saying to the Doctor, that my Lord had laid me under a good deal of difficulty by such loose and general observations; that I had been thinking over the passages almost ever since, and could not guess at what it was that offended his Lordship in either of them. Garth laughed heartily at my embarrassment; said, I had not been long enough acquainted with Lord Halifax to know his way yet; that I need not puzzle myself about looking those places over and over, when I got home. 'All you need do (says he) is to leave them just as they are; call on Lord Halifax two or three months hence, thank him for his kind observations on those passages, and then read them to him as altered. I have known him much longer than you have, and will be answerable for the event.' I followed his advice; waited on Lord Halifax some time after; said, I hoped he would find his objections to those passages removed; read them to him exactly as they were at first: and his Lordship was extremely pleased with them, and cried out, 'Ay, now [Mr. Pope] they are perfectly right: nothing can be better.' ” [Quoted from The Lives of the Poets, ed. G. B. Hill, Clarendon Press, 1905, as edited and reproduced by Jack Lynch, Rutgers University.]

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The recovery of the Bear Stearns failure

“By late Thursday night, after officials from the New York Fed and the S.E.C. visited Bear’s offices to review its books, the assessment had changed. The company was a major participant in the 'repurchase' - or 'repo' - market, a little publicized but vitally important market in which banks raise cash on a short-term basis from mutual funds, hedge funds, insurance companies, and central banks. Every night, about $2.5 trillion turns over in the repo market. Most repo contracts roll over on a daily basis, and the lender can at any time return the collateral and demand its cash. This is precisely what many of Bear’s lenders were doing...

“Bear was also a big dealer in credit-default swaps (C.D.S.s), which are basically insurance contracts on bonds. In return for a premium, the seller of a swap promises to cover the full value of a given bond in the case of a default. Bear alone reportedly had more than five thousand institutional partners with whom it had traded C.D.S.s. If the bank were to default before the markets opened on Friday, the effect on the repo and swaps markets would be chaotic.”

“The problem wasn’t the size of Bear Stearns - it wasn’t the fact that some creditors would have borne losses. The problem was - people use the term 'too interconnected to fail.' That’s not totally accurate, but it’s close enough." In the repo market, for example, Bear Stearns had borrowed heavily from money-market mutual funds. "If Bear had failed," the senior official went on, "all these money-market mutual funds, instead of getting their money back on Monday morning, would have found themselves with all kinds of illiquid collateral, including C.D.O.s" - collateralized debt obligations- "and God knows what else. It would have caused a run on that entire market. That, in turn, would have made it impossible for other investment banks to fund themselves.” [Quoted from newyorker.com]

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Bernanke and Lincoln

“Bernanke’s knowledge of Lincoln was more limited, but one morning the man who organizes the parking pool in the basement of the Fed’s headquarters had given him a copy of a statement Lincoln made in 1862, after he was criticized by Congress for military blunders during the Civil War: "If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right will make no difference."

“Bernanke keeps the statement on his desk, so he can refer to it when necessary.”[Quoted from newyorker.com]

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aids in south africa - neglect versus care

The South African government is responsible for more than 350,000 AIDS deaths, while George Bush is awarded for bringing treatment to 1.7 million in Africa.

“A new study by Harvard researchers estimates that the South African government would have prevented the premature deaths of 365,000 people earlier this decade if it had provided anti-retroviral drugs to AIDS patients and widely administered drugs to help prevent pregnant women from infecting their babies.” [Quoted from ajc.com]

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“President Bush has received a major humanitarian award for his work in Africa. VOA White House correspondent Paula Wolfson has details.”

“Mr. Bush said he is especially proud of his effort to provide treatment for one-point-seven million people battling AIDS through PEPFAR - the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. He told the story of a South African mother whose life was saved at a PEPFAR clinic. She later brought her son, Baron, to the White House to bear witness as President Bush signed an extension of the AIDS treatment program into law.” [Quoted from voanews.com]

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United States private industry charity:
“There are some good aspects to all this gloomy situation. There's been a tripling of global funding for antiretroviral drugs in low and middle income countries with 1.3 million people there benefitting. Private charities like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are supporting AIDS research. Celebrities (Bono, Bob Geldorf, et al) have helped to raise awareness.” [Quoted from gather.com]

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individual versus group survival strategies

Listen to at least the first part of the podcast talk before going onto the ‘disrupting bacteriological cooperation’ section below.

dna wars [links to podcast talk by Howard Bloom: part 1 part 2]

The core of this two-part, rather chaotic, talk revolves around individual and/or group ‘intelligence’.

“[…] the battle being waged by Osama bin Laden against Western culture (as personified by pop icon Michael Jackson) is not a battle between religious fundamentalism and godless consumerism. Says Bloom, it is a battle for dominance between two ancient reproductive strategies employed by life's most intimate component: our DNA.”

[Link from Limbic]

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disrupting bacteriological cooperation

“Keeping germs from cooperating can delay the evolution of drug resistance more effectively than killing germs one by one with traditional drugs such as antibiotics, according to new research from The University of Arizona in Tucson.”

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child‘care’ in haringey

Context: The carers of a very young child have been imprisoned for violently abusing the child until it was dead. This is the second such case in Haringey within a year. This time, Haringey social and medical services saw the child over 60 times without assessing the child as being in danger. On the last social worker visit, the child was smeared with chocolate to hide the many bruises and other damage. Two days before the child died, a hospital doctor failed to see a broken back and ribs.

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“More than 60 Haringey head teachers have joined forces to write a letter in support of the director of Haringey's Children and Young People's Service.” [Quoted from news.bbc.co.uk]

I wonder what they do with their time.

Haringey LEA is currently 108th out of 130 in the national league table: [Quoted from findmyschool.co.uk]

Fascinating:

Lowest primary school rated at 81% (most others are over 90%!).
Highest secondary school rated at 64% (with other secondary schools going down to 17%!).

and nobody blinks!

How can anyone look at figures like that and not realise something is extremely amiss?

Of the top secondary school:

“…It enjoys a high level of ethnic diversity. Although the percentage of students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is lower than usually found, the proportion with statements of special educational need is higher than normally found.”

Sack whoever is in charge.
ah, but that’s socialist ‘New’ Labour.

How long would a real organisation last with this level of incompetence?

[Lead from DVH]

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on ‘hypnotic’ language techniques [highly repetitive 60-page .pdf]

“Barack Obama's speeches contain the hypnosis techniques of Dr. Milton Erickson, M.D. who developed a form of "conversational" hypnosis that could be hidden in seemingly normal speech and used on patients without their knowledge for therapy purposes. ”

Heads up from true blue.

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attempting a numeric analysis of the usa presidential candidates use of blather

He calls it hypnotic techniques, but that puts too strong a spin, on it. This sort of blather is widespread among salesmen, lawyers, second rate politicians, cult leaders, preachers and other conmen. This sort of thing only works on the dull and the unsophisticated, and eventually loses impact.

Look forward to the disillusionment with Obama after a short honeymoon period.

“In addition, I made comments on whether or not, in my professional opinion, the language patterns are haphazard and incidental, or purposeful and intentional.
Here are the control results:

Bill Gates: Keynote at the 2006 CES show
12% hypnotic language. Mostly incidental. In my opinion, very representative of the average non-hypnotic speaker.

“Adolf Hitler: Translated from his presentation to the Reichstag, Jan 30, 1937
45% hypnotic language. There were extensive use of presuppositions, nominalizations and modal operators similar to Ericksonian hypnotic language patterns. Though the text is translated, German is similar to English in terms of grammar and structure, and I think this is a good representation.

“Now, The 2008 US Presidential candidates:

“John McCain: Republican candidate, Jan 19, 2008 acceptance speech
18% hypnotic language. Mostly incidental. Little indication of actual hypnotic skill. Mostly, using kinesthetic predicates (feeling words) for high level concepts like patriotism, pride and duty to gain rapport with the crowd.

“Hillary Clinton: Democratic candidate, Feb 5, 2008, remarks on Super Tuesday
32% hypnotic language. Mostly rapport building “matching” language. She builds universal quantifiers in an attempt to gain rapport with “everyone.”

“Barack Obama: Democratic candidate, Feb 5, 2008, remarks on Super Tuesday
58% hypnotic language. Complete mastery of the language, including highly abstract pacing and leading language for creating emotion and motivation. In addition to the language patterns, he is fantastic at going higher up in level of abstraction beyond details, while still managing to sound relevant. He uses Ericksonian-style language patterns, including presuppositions and nominalizations extensively.

“This is only a sample of 500 words from a single speech, but as you can see, Obama tops the crowd using nearly 60% hypnotic language patterns. In my opinion, this is purposeful language, likely written by a very skilled speech writer — perhaps someone trained in Neuro-Linguistic Programming or Hypnosis.”

“ My analysis of Palin’s RNC speech using the same criteria shows 25% hypnotic language. Good speech writer, but not as good as Obama’s.”

And:

“…noticing the rapt look on my daughters (ages 12 and 9) and wife's faces, she is clearly a mesmerizing speaker for many people. Just like Obama. Now each ticket has their very own hypnotist. I'm not surprised that Obama hypnotizes people. His cadence and tone sound somewhat hypnotic to me. I'm a little more surprised that Palin has this effect since she has a much different speaking style. However, I'm pretty convinced that a lot of the crowd was hypnotized.” [Quoted from greatguys.blogspot.com]

related material
obama is the one!

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when what’s sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander

Different social rules of how to treat babies (and animals).

if it saves just one child - australia

“No one knows who the stupidest parent in Australia is. But, whoever he is, the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau (AASB) has saved his child from a fatal car accident. It did this last year by banning a television advertisement that shows a toddler in nappies driving a four-wheel-drive Hyundai. The AASB deemed the image too dangerous to broadcast. Upon seeing it, Australia's dumbest parent may be inclined to toss his two-year-old the car keys and ask her to pop down the shops for some ciggies.

“The commercial was made in New Zealand, where it had already run for many months. Surveys revealed it to be the most popular in the country and, as yet, no toddler has been found out and about in charge of the family car. The AASB, however, was unimpressed by this evidence. After all, the stupidest Australian is surely stupider than the stupidest New Zealander, if only because there are five times as many Australians to choose from. In a population of 20 million, there just might be a child saved by this ruling.”

And the ad?


1:00 min

saving children another way - the spanish baby-jumping festival

Jumping over babies at the El Colacho Festival , Castrillo de Murcia
Jumping over babies at the El Colacho Festival , Castrillo de Murcia.
Image:
spiegel.de

“If you've ever lived within earshot of a newborn child, it's no stretch to imagine they can have something devilish inside. The inhabitants of the northern Spanish town of Castrillo de Murcia have developed an ingenious technique for exorcising seemingly innocent children. Just spread them on mattresses in the middle of the street, and have a bunch of demons leap over them.”

Younger Western cultures try to protect their offspring from any possible danger, however remote. Older cultures do not fear dangers in the real world so acutely as those of the spiritual one.

spanish animal care (not bulls this time)

A goat being throwing from a church tower in Spain. Image: bbc.co.uk
Image: bbc.co.uk

“Hundreds of people, many in fancy dress, descended on the sleepy village of Manganeses de la Polvorosa to witness the annual ritual in honour of the local patron saint.

“Lorelay emerged unscathed from the 15-metre (50-foot) plunge after tipsy revellers caught her in a canvas sheet and paraded her through the tiny village on their shoulders. Some of her predecessors have not been so lucky.”

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