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Are conservative Christian theology and liberal politics compatible?
Saturday, 29 August 2009
Joe Wasserkopf and the founding of the Inverse Baptist Convention
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: Pure Satire
Joe Wasserkopf and the founding of the Inverse Baptist Convention: A Tale of Religious Experience

About 2 a.m. on the Sunday morning before Christmas in a year not too long ago, professional burglar Joe Wasserkopf was practicing his trade at the First Baptist Church of Podunk Falls, Arkansas when suddenly the fear of and Hell came upon him.  He had always known well enough that stealing was wrong, but he had burglarized churches before without feeling the slightest remorse.  This fear he felt was absolutely unfamiliar to him and was overpowering.  He sat for a time totally paralyzed, fearing greatly, wondering what he must do to be saved.

As he sat steeping in his fear, Joe remembered the few things he thought he knew about Christianity and salvation.  He remembered that salvation had something to do with the forgiveness of his sins.  He also remembered that someone had once told him he must call upon Jesus' name to be saved.  And finally, he remembered that someone had once told him that he had to be baptized.

It was at this point in his fearful musings that Joe noticed the baptistery. It had been filled the night before, in anticipation of several baptisms the next morning, but it had not yet been heated.  Upon seeing the full baptistery, Joe suddenly understood what he must do. He asked Jesus to forgive him for burglarizing the church.  Then he stood on his head in the baptistery, mentally reciting Jesus name, determined to remain in that posture until Jesus showed him the way of salvation.   

Sure enough, about three minutes later Joe had a very powerful religious experience.  His life immediately changed for the better, and he started preaching to others the utility and necessity of being baptized by calling on Jesus' name while standing on one's head in a baptistery.  Mockers, of course, attributed his religious experience to anoxia and hypothermia.  However, he persevered, and he assembled a following in spite of the mockery. Those who criticized Joe and his followers were not "true" Christians and simply didn't have "faith."

Others--many others, it seemed--were having powerful religious experiences after two to four minutes in the tank utilizing this unusual mode of baptism.  There were a few near-fatalities early in the growth of the movement, but after a few years the technique became sufficiently standardized that those administering the rite could distinguish religious from medical distress, and the near-fatalities ceased.  Joe Wasserkopf left his life of crime and became a wealthy televangelist.

Then Joe and the leaders of some of the local churches in the movement decided that the movement was in danger of being "split" by the heretical teaching of some of the newcomers to the movement. These newcomers had indeed experienced powerful baptismal religious experiences, but their visions while standing on their heads were not entirely similar to those of Joe and the older leaders.  Indeed, some of them even had the gall to teach that there might be other ways to receive the salvation experience, without standing on one's head in cold water!  Joe and the other leaders feared that a "split" would deceive some of the faithful, and might also damage their incomes.  So, it was time to form a denominational organization to bring some discipline to bear.

Therefore, Joe and the old leadership formed the Inverse Baptist Convention, in order to maintain the unity of the movement and the pure teaching of its one distinctive doctrine--namely, that God grants the penitent believer salvation at the instant he or she receives baptism by inversion according to the rite prescribed by the organization.  

This tale is fictional, of course, but it is believable because it is so much like so many things that have actually happened throughout church history...      

Posted by ian_j_site2 at 2:52 PM EDT
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Cash for Codgers and other health care exaggerations
Topic: Pure Satire

Yesterday, Roger Randel sent me this wonderful spoof on the hype that is being used against health care reform.  It's called "Cash for Codgers."  Here it is:

CASH FOR CODGERS

Democrats, realizing the success of the President's "Cash For Clunkers" rebate
program, have revamped a major portion of their National Health Care Plan.
 
President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Sen. Reed are expected to make this major
announcement at a joint news conference later this week.
 
I have obtained an advanced copy of the proposal which is named "CASH FOR CODGERS" and it works like this...
 
Couples wishing to access health care funds in order to pay for the delivery of a child
will be required to turn in one old person. The amount the government grants them will be fixed according to a sliding scale.
 
Older and more prescription dependent codgers will garner the highest amounts.
 
Special "Bonuses" will be paid for those submitting codgers in targeted groups, such
as smokers, alcohol drinkers, persons 10 pounds over their government prescribed
weight, and any member of the Republican Party.
 
Smaller bonuses will be given for codgers who consume beef, soda, fried foods, potato
chips, lattes, whole milk, dairy products, bacon, Brussel sprouts, or Scout Cookies.
 
All codgers will be rendered totally useless via toxic injection.
 
This will insure that they are not secretly resold or their body parts harvested to
keep other codgers in repair.
 
Remember you heard it here first.
 

******

And of course, we ALL know that if Congress enacts a health care reform package that threatens insurance company profits in ANY way, Iran will instantly invade California and a nuclear accident will eat New York!


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 12:32 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 25 August 2009 12:35 AM EDT
Thursday, 12 March 2009
Up or Out as a slogan for national healthcare policy
Topic: Pure Satire

The military, law firms, and other competitive organizations have long had as a slogan describing one of their key personnel policies the phrase "Up or Out."  This means, of course, that for people at the bottom and middle ranks of the organization, it isn't enough to simply be competent at the job you're doing.  You have to be more than competent, make the right political connections, and GET THAT NEXT PROMOTION.  Those who don't move UP the organization fast enough--to the next rank, to the next management level, or to partner--are OUT, even though they do their current job very well.

 However, as an aging baby boomer who is stuck in a job I do very well, but with no way to move UP, I'm beginning to believe that UP OR OUT has been made the slogan of the healthcare delivery system for my generation.  Since I haven't been ablen to move UP in my profession (for reasons described elsewhere), I am being priced out of the healthcare delivery system.  If I had made all of the moves UP that others in my law school class of 27 years ago have made, I'd be able to afford the extortionate health insurance premiums I must pay (since I'm now an older worker with health problems), and I'd be able to save the amount of my $2,500/$5,000 annual deductible on top of paying premiums.  (Or, possibly, I'd be in a larger firm, corporate law office or government agency that has cheaper coverage with lower deductibles?)  But because I have failed to move UP as I was supposed to, I am now expected to tamely move OUT--out of this life, that is.  Economic "responsibility" is going to force me to ration myself out of some necessary appointments and prescriptions within the next few months, so that I'll have income to pay for some deductibles I already owe, so obviously I'm supposed to get OUT of this life, since I can no longer afford it!

"UP OR OUT," appears to be the slogan of the current employment-based health care delivery system.  It looks like the President's reforms may not get here in time to help me.

 

 


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 11:42 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 12 March 2009 11:44 PM EDT
Saturday, 17 January 2009
Economic Recovery: Absolute Personal Responsibility Alternative
Topic: Pure Satire

My earlier proposal that those stuck beneath consumer debts should be provided some assistance in paying them—in the form of government or government-guaranteed low-interest loans with reasonable payment terms—was not very popular.  So I’ll present a proposal on the opposite extreme—ABSOLUTE personal responsibility for debts—to see if it is more popular.  For purposes of this test of public opinion, I propose the following:

1)  Bankruptcy relief, as we know it, should be strictly limited to wealthy individuals and corporations seeking relief primarly from business debts and from obligations to ordinary people. 

2)  Ordinary people should be held ABSOLUTELY RESPONSIBLE for their consumer, educational and medical debts, and debts arising from the needs of ordinary living, including any interest and late fees their creditors may, in their sole discretion, decide to add to those debts.   No bankruptcy discharge of these debts should be permitted.

3)  Instead of permitting bankruptcy discharge for ordinary people’s ordinary debts, insolvency preventing payment of ordinary debts should be a federal crime, a crime against the interstate financial system itself, punishable by imprisonment in a federal debtor’s prison for a term proportionate to the size of the debt.

4)  Inmates of federal debtor’s prisons should be leased as laborers to private companies, and to public entities in need of labor, at rates competitive with the wages of "cheap foreign labor."

5)  The proceeds of a debtor prison inmate’s labor should be paid first to the expenses of maintaining the debtor’s prison program, then to public charges for public relief paid on behalf of the debtor’s children, with any remaining proceeds being used to pay the debtor’s debts to his or her creditors.  The debtor should remain imprisoned until his or her full debt is repaid with interest.

6)  Any imprisoned debtor who lives long enough to ultimately be released should be placed on a permanent federal Financial Offenders Registry, and employers should be prohibited from hiring any registered offender to perform any "responsible"  job.

This Absolute Personal Responsibility Proposal has been posted for voting on the Presidential Transition Team's Citizens' Briefing Book here. All voting closes tomorrow, Sunday, January 19, at 6 p.m. So hurry there to vote!


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 12:48 PM EST
Monday, 22 September 2008
Could America be repossessed?
Topic: Pure Satire

Now that I've suggested that a hyperinflationary economic depression is likely soon, and that the laws will be rearranged so as to prevent common citizens from being freed of their debts or otherwise profiting in any way from it, I will ask one further obnoxious question:

Could America be repossessed?

It is well known that most of our nation's debts--governmental, corporate and consumer--are owed to, and owned by, foreign governments and multinational corporations.  It is also well known that these debts already total several times our GDP.  Moreover, it has been known since ancient times that credtors tend to treat debtors as property, and to expect debtors to just innately know that they are owned by their debts.  For example, more than 3000 years ago, King Solomon wrote that "the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the lender's slave."  (The Bible, Proverbs 22:7).  There are similar proverbs in many cultures.  Finally, as I discussed yesterday, even our U.S. government recognizes its present servile condition, in that it has begun to take drastic measures that will ultimately lead to hyperinflating its domestic debt out of existence in order to preserve its liquidity to pay its foreign and multinational corporate creditors.  

But what if that's not enough?

What if, after all of our government's efforts to sacrifice its economy and people to preserve itself, the foreign creditors still aren't satisfied?  Or what if the American people balk at some of the sacrifices they are asked to make, and the U.S. military (like the Russian military a few years ago) refuses to fire on its own citizens to enforce the needed sacrifices?  

What happens when any debtor who has pledged property to secure a debt refuses to pay?

The debtor's property is repossessed!

In the case of a country pledged as collateral, repossessing the country usually requires a war.  However, in the modern nuclear age, a bloody ground war might not be required.  Consider the possibility that, after first disabling our nuclear arsenal as  a condition of leniency on an earlier occasion, our creditors, many ofwhich are nuclear powers, might simplyTHREATEN to nuke a major city unless we surrendered unconditionally and let their multinational army of occupation take over.  If we failed to surrender quickly or completely enough, or insisted on foolish conditions (such as preserving the Bill of Rights), our national creditors could nuke one or two medium-sized cities with low-yield "neutron" bombs, just enough to kill the people in those cities without contaminating too much valuable countryside.  (After all, the purpose of the attack would be to enforce compliance, not to destroy the collateral).  After that, we would comply quickly and unconditionally with anything demanded!  

Under such conditions, the act of exploding nuclear weapons in a few U.S. cities would not be conidered an act of terrorism, but as an act done in compliance with and in enforcement of international law.

Yes, America could be repossessed. 


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 10:18 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 22 September 2008 10:40 PM EDT
Saturday, 20 September 2008
Repudiation of the dollar of hyperinflation: what the collapse will look like
Topic: Pure Satire

For those of you who think the coming collapse will look like 1929, think again.  Everyone--the government, American corporations and consumers--are WAY too far in debt for a deflationary depression to happen.  Deflation won't help the government get out of its debt.  Much more likely will be hyperinflation--in which the government prints money to pay its debts to ordinary people and American corporations, resulting in runaway inflation--or outright repudiation of the dollar and all dollar-denominated debts TO ordinary peons. 

The discussion below ASSUMES that two even more drastic events will NOT occur--1) it assumes that our government will not try to prevent economic disaster by starting the war to end all wars, and rendering the planet unlivable in the process; 2) it assumes that the foreign creditors of the United States will not repossess the country by military force or threat of nuclear destruction.  It's not that I consider either of these scenarios unlikely.  They are far too likely.  I am merely saving them for discussion in later entries.  

Hyperinflation happened most famously in Germany in 1923.   Germany had more reparations from World War I to pay than it had national economy with which to pay them.  So it printed marks to pay its own internal obligations, to save its metals and hard currency for foreign patyments.  As a result, the mark's exchange rate with the dollar fell from 4 marks per dollar to 4 billion marks per dollar in the course of only a few months.     Hyperinflation has also happened in the United States before-- the Continental Dollar, issued during the Revolutionary War under the Articles of Confederation, underwent hyperinflation and was ultimately repudiated--hence the saying "it's not worth a Continental. " More recently--within the last 20 years-- Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Argentina, Turkey and Zimbabwe have become examples of hyperinflation.  If you think $5 per gallon gasoline is bad, try $5 BILLION per gallon.  It may be coming. 

Historically, hyperinflation has been of benefit to all debtors who survived it--whether the debtor was the government or an ordinary citizen.  This was so because wages, for those who could find work, also increased--although they lagged behind the prices of goods.  However, debts, by their nature--at least in the past--always had a fixed principal amount.  So, using Germany as the example, a common person's 1,000 mark debt before the hyperinflationary episode would REMAIN only a 1,000 mark debt (plus interest, of course) throughout the period of hyperinflation.  During that same time, a days wages might increase from 100 marks to, say, 20 billion marks (remember that wages always lag behind inflation).  So, where the 1,000 mark debt might have taken several years to pay off on a reasonable budget before the inflation, at some point in the inflationary process wages will increase to the point that it now takes less than a day to pay the debt.  So the effect of hyperinflation in the past has often been to wipe out all fixed debts denominated in the hyperinflating currency.

However, ordinary consumer debtors, such as myself, should not expect to be relieved of their debts by a hyperinflated dollar, if this is what ultimately happens.  Our government--and the large multinational corporations and foreign governments that hold most of our debts--have undoubtedly learned too much from past eisodes of hyperinflation to permit that to happen.  If hyperinflation occurs, it will be allowed to wipe out all obligations of the goverment and the major corporations to ordinary Americans and American small businesses.  The degree to which inflation will be allowed to affect the debts of large American corporations to each other and to foreign corporations and governments will no doubt be a matter for intense negotiations and international threats (with the possibility of war).

On the other hand, we can be absolutely certain that, if hyperinflation occurs, it will not be permitted to help ordinary consumer debtors and smaller Aerican businesses.  The government will likely find some effective way to either index the principal of all ordinary debts to the inflation rate. Alternatively, the law may simply declare, when the panic is over, that ordinary debts repaid during the panic, in hyperinflated dollars, are really still owed, due and payable in specie, real property or indentured service at some statutory exchange rate.  The foreign multinational corporations, princes and governments that own most of our debts absolutely MUST NOT be deprived of their right to enslave us for our personal and national debts, simply because the government finds a way out for itself! 

Obviously, the government may ultimately decide to skip the hyperinflation and simply repudiate its debt, and the currency with it.  This, however, will be an invitation to war unless the debts owed to certain large foreign entities are adequately taken care of.  Taking care of these foreign creditors will undoubtedly require binding ordinary American debtors tightly to their debts, in one of the ways already discussed.  

So, what we are most likely to see is a hyperinflationary depression, or a depression including a repudiation of the dollar, not a 1929-style deflationary depression.  But noting that happens will be permitted to adversely affect the real value of ordinary debts, which will enslave most of us.    

 

 


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 10:22 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 20 September 2008 10:49 PM EDT
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
Some modest proposals for pressing political and social problems
Topic: Pure Satire
The "Pure Satire" channel of this blog will now, over the remaining course of the 2008 political campaign season, present a series of "modest proposals" for solutions to the United States'--and, indeed, the world's--most pressing political, social, diplomatic and economic problems.  These solutions may seem radical and drastic, but I assure you that they are quite modest:  "modest," indeed, in exactly the same sense that Jonathan Swift's 1729 "Modest Proposal" to relieve the plight of the poor children of Ireland was "modest."  Be warned in advance about the nature of my "modesty!"

To read Swift's "Modest Proposal," the inspiration for my own, go to A Modest Proposal.


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 10:04 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 27 May 2008 10:07 PM EDT

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