Steynian 460rth

Watching Through The Looking Glass

 Somebody Nice May (or May Not)
Be Watching You

~ ITEM: Google of  ‘utah nsa data center

General Keith Alexander

~ ITEM: NSA Utah ‘Data Center’: Biggest-ever domestic spying lab?; and National Security Agency Whistleblower William Binney on Growing State Surveillance

~ ITEM: NSA Boss Says Agency Does Not Monitor Your Email; Whistleblower: The NSA is Lying–U.S. Government Has Copies of Most of Your Emails

~ ITEM: Save The Internet– The federal government and big companies want limitless new powers to “friend” you, to “follow” you, to spy on your every online move. And they plan to get them via legislation called CISPA — the “Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act” (HR 3523).

~ COMES THE INEVITABLE.. ever-smaller drones to be used to spy on America. You know, because all those tacky CCTVs littering the cities of the former United Kingdom are so snoopy and obvious, whereas a little modest hover-bot above our easy sight just makes it so easy. To watch.

You know, for catching drug-dealers and smugglers and lost kids and widdle wandered kitties and bitter racist Bible-Gun-clingers and bloggers and dissidents of all stripes and… and, like the ever-spreading tentacles of the American National Security Agency (whose boss is NSA & Cyber Command honcho, and supervisor of the new Utah mega-cyber-swamp a-building, to sweep up all data ever anywheres. So easy).

What’s that? You’ve never heard of General Keith Alexander? Well, the world is awash in powerful unelected people minding your business, ordering your life, and collecting data galores. If you’ve been online, most sites data-mine, leave cookies on your hard-drive, and (in the case of FaceBook & Google) mind your business to try and sell you things. It’s a compromise we make (sometimes unknowingly) for the modern interwebs.

Pat The Doggie!

I’m sure Mr. Alexander is a nice man who pays his taxes, loves his wife, pats his dog, and puts his pants on one leg at a time. Thing is– and this is aside from whoever’s in the White House– so much power in the hands of one man is inherently dangerous, and open to abuse, secret government, and a kind and scale of data-gathering (video-cell-computer-credit/ banking-shopping) on people which the world has never seen before.

1984? Stalin could only wish for a surveillance-state so potentially all-pervading, detailed, and intrusive. The nearly omnipresent 2-way video-screens in Orwell’s dystopic vision were child’s-play compared to the power technology increasingly has over most of us in the Western world. This will be ‘for our own good’.

No Thank’ee

Although the Binky is wise and all-seeing, he would not for his soul nor all the Keurig k-cups in the world take on such a position of power– even if (like Gandalf in The Fellowship of the Ring) I might do so, at first, because I meant to do good. Such means hold within themselves the power of abuse, the temptation to mind business and intrude and expand the powers of the state and the military into the lives of ordinary citizens. In the books, Gandalf had a secret ring, meant to help him oppose Sauron, which was his divinely-given calling.

Photo by Pierre Vinet/New Line Cinema

Fool Us Twice?

In one sense, such cyber-schemery is also a grand illusion & joke on the powers that be– yet another misbegotten human attempt for certain powerful people to play God (over other people, and the future), trying to create a system so perfect that no-one will need to be good. Ain’t no such thing, There’s crime & sinners & saints & virtue in the strictest jailhouse.

The Lord God Almighty will (as always) laugh them to scorn– but the many questions remains.. how many laws will be broken, lives ruined, privacies invaded, governments become prison-guard states, and how much increased will be the sum total of human misery and degradation increased by the ever-deadly good intentions and unintended consequences of the mastery of technology over free peoples and the future? Nothing to see here: shrugs all ’round.. go back to your 400 channels and online puppies and pursuit of ever-staler pleasures.

At what price this notion of ‘security’? Too high, but the buying & paying for it is increasingly out of our hands. ~


MacBheatha

~ ITEM: Macbeth, King of Scotland Wiki

~ BEEN WATCHING lotsa Shaky Bill The Bard.. and loving it all, new, old, Branagh, Connery, Stewart, modern setting or old or otherwise.

Thing is, Shakespeare wrote on many levels, historical and metaphorical, tragical and comedical, to court and groundlings– and with all the subtlest layers to do with his recusant Catholicism, and the tides of England’s divided life in his times. This way of understandng was the way the Bible had been read since Jewish times; many levels of meaning in the same words and ideas. That reading and thinking was the root of the great thinking & poetry and philosophy and faith of the West– our own roots, if we know it or not.

The Scottish Play

I just wish that Shakespeare had gotten his Scots history correctly. MacBheatha mac Fhionnlaigh was a good guy, generally– a talented general and king in ever-warsome Scotland, a generous and pious man given to helping the poor.  Writers in the 1300s upended history, to make it dramatic thereby creating the legend which Shakespeare used as the basis of his play– the later version meant to flatter the ancestry of then-king James 5.0 of Scotland (10 April 1512 – 14 December 1542). So much for historicity.

Yet all is not lost

“In modern times, Dorothy Dunnett’s novel King Hereafter aims to portray a historical Macbeth, but proposes that Macbeth and his rival and sometime ally Thorfinn of Orkney are one and the same (Thorfinn is his birth name and Macbeth his baptismal name). John Cargill Thompson’s play Macbeth Speaks 1997, a reworking of his earlier Macbeth Speaks, is a monologue delivered by the historical Macbeth, aware of what Shakespeare and posterity have done to him. Scottish author Nigel Tranter based one of his historical novels on the historical figure, MacBeth the King. David Greig’s 2010 play Dunsinane takes Macbeth’s downfall at Dunsinane as its starting point, with his just-ended reign portrayed as long and stable in contrast to Malcolm’s.”

Of course, Shakespeare’s royal plays were not only about about the history of Scotland or England, but of current royal matters under Elizabeth Tudor and James I & VI, and the spiritual crisis of the Reformation as imposed in blood and coercion and censorship by the Welsh-English junta against Catholic England.

So Shakespeare, via MacBeth, spoke immediately to King James, who had been the new hope for Catholic toleraton before his crowning– until he found out just how many English Catholics there still were; how the Puritans and the court establishment would prove most awkward; and how much money might be freshly torn from the recusants in fines, extortions, and blackmail.

More on this theme later. ~


Stinking Unto To High Heaven

~ BARRYACK SOETEROBAMA, the felonious fraudulent fake-IDed foriegner, who is currently eviscerating his adopted country, is a most scary and dangerous guy.

I’d love to know who all has died ‘suddenly’ around this character (including Andrew Breitbart, and other critics and investigators of this regime), from family-members on up.

Where and when was he born, and who were the parents?

What is his actual citizenship?

Why has cipher-man still not released all his background docs, transcripts, and medical records, or a fact-based CV/ biography?

What were his Russian connections? What do extant Soviet records report about him?

How many names or aliases has this character used in his life?

Who paid for his $1 million education? Why are there no records or memories of him at Columbia U, EXCEPT HIS DIPLOMA?

Why were he and his mother in Lahore Pakistan for ages?

Why is he allowed to use an 1890s-era social security number of a dead person from Connecticut?

What do the KGB, CIA, FBI, NSA, and Secret Service know, and when did they know it?

Has he ever met a Communist he didn’t like?

Why is he still in office, and not in maximum security prison?

America: wake up– you are at war. Expose & depose this imposter, before it’s too late, which I’d dare to predict is after the 2012 election, if he is allowed to run, and if he wins (or steals the victory, or overrules the results). ~


One Of My Heroes

Spring 2012 Lecture On Faith and Reason:
Dr. Anthony Esolen, “The Person as Gift.”

Scary Bad Man

~ ITEM: Some articles by Anthoney Esolen, and lots more here.

~ WHEN THIS same talk above was given at the formerly liberal arts college of Yale, it nearly caused a riot. Well done, then.

Dr. Anthony Esolen is an actual professor– i.e., One Who Professes– the fullness of the great tradition of Western Civilization and Christianity, founded upon Judaeo-Christian Greco-Roman truth. That sounds very staid and safe and stale, but in these days of political correctness, when professors can be fired, sidelined, and unpublished for straying off the intellectual and spiritual gulag that is What Everyone Must Think, behold his courage and wisdom in the face of it.

And unlike leftists provocateurs and smart-alecks and sneerers, Prof. Tony isn’t all “Yay me!” about himself. He just seems happy to say what is true and good and beautiful, and let the chips fall where they may.

Read his books & articles, watch his vids, and consider seriously what he says.

The Binks hath spoken! ~


Faith & Answers

~ ITEM: Twenty questions atheists struggle to answer

~ GO READ the article above first, and the many comments. It’s good stuff, if a little simplistic on both sides.

You Can’t Think It

There are several issues at play here– the deepest is the pretense that ‘Science™’ (taken as scientific materialism) is somehow a pure form of knowledge that does not depend upon axioms or a philosophy of science prior to it; that it is a self-sufficiently complete system of knowledge and truth; in short, that if you pull hard enough on your suspenders you can lift yourself into the air.

NOTE: The idea of “Scientific Proof™” as the test of true knowledge is not itself capable of being scientifically proven– that is, it cannot be measured by weight, volume, colour, material analysis, nor reproduced experimentally nor hypothetically, by any of the intellectual or scientific tools of proper scientific enquiry. It can’t be that simple–except it is. Modern scientific materialism is illogical, and claims too much.

You Can’t Live It

Equally, scientific materialism as applied to human life is an absurdity, since nobody actually lives, acts, or conducts themselves that way– or should be committed to a psychiatric hospital if they do. Such materialism does provide a scope for self-importance, selfishness, tyranny, and keeping God’s nose bloody well out of our business, which surely is a motive for believing it– as Sartre found when playing with matches as a child (look it up).

Old Dead White Guys

Neither the Greek fathers of the sciences, nor the long train of thinkers and inventors down the ages who were Christian, would think very much of atheistic materialism– they would rightly warn that power without conscience (or only such conscience as allowed by convenience or current fashion) is the very power of chaos and leviathan turned loose upon the world, and ultimately, upon humanity itself by those who use our powers of knowing and making to control the world, and other people, and the future.

The cautionary tale of Frankenstein and his Monster (best movie-version here) is a warning we do not want to hear. The full title is “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus“– reminding us that modern science, like the fire which the mythical titan Prometheus stole from the Greek gods to give to men, is a dangerous force.  Further, in the old tale, in addition to fire, humans were filled with blind hopes: huge power, and crippling blindness. Unintended consequences. “We never meant for that to happen” over and over and over.. but it does.

Most of Dr. Saunders’ legitimate questions remain unanswered by the attempts above, because mere description, or yelling “Science!” does not answer the “Why does anything exists at all?” question, any more than you can explain away Shakespeare by analysing marks upon paper, or quills and ink, or the composition of the wood used in The Globe Theatre.

Thou Shalt Panic!

Sad to say, a lot of what passes for Science today is groupthink-politics, and panic. Well-intentioned but sincerely wrong celebrities like Al Gore (Climatechangeomigodweresodoomed) or Parkinson’s-afflicted Michael J. Fox or Christopher Reeve (eat babies, whatever it takes! Embryonic Stem Cell Research– ESCR– will save us!) are just two examples of how misrepresented or just plain unscientific ideas get popular, pushed on us, as a kind of ideological test of sincerity & goodness.

Via

Gore is famously wrong, whatever global temperatures may be doing (might have something to do with that giant flaming fusion reactor up in the sky); Chris Reeve & Michael J. Fox are less famously wrong, because (SHHH!) despite billions upon billions wasted, ESCR has produced nothing, versus Adult Stem Cell Research, which has nothing but successes. You know, scientific proof and reproducible experiments and actual health-benefits and all that picky stuff.

And shut up to them what will say “You’re Against Science!”; or “you hate progress” or “you’re a fundamentalistical!” Answer my arguments, first.

Just sayin’, is all. ~


An Movie Review

Vanessa Redgrave stars in Columbia Pictures’ “Anonymous.”

~ ITEM: Anonymous (2011)

~ ITEM: Saints, Sacrilege and Sedition: Religion and Conflict in the Tudor Reformations [Kindle Edition]

~ ITEM: Anonymous, the new movie about Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford

Anonymous (2011) International Trailer – HD

~ IT IS A VERY MIXED movie, well-filmed & acted, but based on the theory that Shakespeare wasn’t himself. Apparently aging Shakespearian Derek Jacobi thinks so, for what that’s worth.

Here’s the thing: watch the movie, but ignore the endless theories. It’s amazingly well depicted– the costume & art department deserve an Oscar. So do the actors, like Vanessa Redgrave as  an ancient Queen Betty 1.0– and the vividness of gritty stinking Elizabethan London alone is worth the viewing.

Further, the screenplay-writer gets it.. the plays were political, with many levels of meaning, and topical beyond our belated understanding– however, since we don’t live in the times, know the personalities and headlines, and the punchy relevance, all sorts of goofy theories breed like mushrooms.

Proto-KGB In Frilly Collars

Central to Elizabeth’s reign were the horrid and grasping spymaster Cecils, father and son, wonderfully acted by David Thewlis and Edward Hogg. The greedy & social-climbing Cecils turned England into a police-state.. and Cecil the Elder got pilloried for it eternally by Shakespeare as the garrulous cold-hearted busybody Polonius, and Cecil The Younger as the hunch-backed schemer Richard III.

Mysterious Shakespeare

The “Shakespeare Was Somebody Else and/or A Committee” argument is irrelevant.  If not him, then a genius just like him did it. You might as well claim that ancient aliens probably made us, so there’s no God. You know, because if there IS a God, he couldn’t possibly have made the ancient aliens who may have made us. Gerp.

The lost history of the Reformation is the key. That many Elizabethan playwrights and poets were Catholic, or thoroughly soaked in that intellectual and culutral and imaginative world, despite the grim and literalist radicalism of the Puritan left. Shakespeare is a a puzzle to much scholarship (1) because of the later whitewashing of English history into the triumphant march of whiggery; and (2) because his interior world was illegal and treasonous according to the Tudor state, but truth must out. Hence the coded language, ever-moving loyalties, and people trying to speak out about what was true and good, and current events, and what it all meant through literary and dramatic means.

Watch, avoid the theorizing (sorry, Roland Emmerich & Derek Jacobi, but you’re terribly, terribly wrong), and enjoy the amazing acting and staging and special FX. ~

Anonymous, 2011: 4 Binky-hats out of 5.


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