Anger

The JournalGetting The Best Of Your AngerArmstrongists are the masters of standing on other people’s work to make themselves look impressive and wise. This is especially true of the splinter ministers, particularly those who have a ready made forum provided by their very own church cult corporate patron hero worshippers. Even the most well-crafted puff piece that is a mere book review of someone else’s work oft has gaping holes: After all, you are at the mercy of the original author of such articles of worldly wisdom. You can just cross your fingers and hope — nay, wish — that everyone will be impressed by your selection of cut and paste and that everyone will give you credit for finding such helpful material.

Our outing today is found on page 3 of the June 30, 2015 The Journal by the wily columnist and minister of the Church of God, Big Sandy, David Havir, in an article entitled, “Do you suppress, express or release anger?” He starts out:

BIG SANDY, Texas—Recently I posted a series of articles about anger on our congregational website (under the “Among Friends” section at churchofgodbigsandy.com). The series of articles was based on a book titled Getting the Best of Your Anger Before It Gets the Best of You. The book was written in 2007 by Dr. Les Carter. I thought I would share some excerpts from the book here in THE JOURNAL.

From there, he quotes passages of the book by Dr. Les Carter without adding any material or ideas of his own. It’s a straight cut and paste with headings. Furthermore, even though there is  chapter 14 in the book, “The Bible and Anger”, there is not one single Scripture quoted in the Havir article, which you would think rather odd for an Armstrongist minister until you realize that just maybe Dave does not really put much stock in the Bible but uses it “inspiration“, not unlike the discussions we’ve had with the Editor of the Journal here and over at Otagosh, a brilliant blog with the byline, “Raking through the Ashes of Christendom”. Gavin Rumney has done a stellar job of not just raking through the ashes, but lighting the match to produce them. Articles like the one by David Havir makes the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia ministry look to be more useful than they really are.

Now it really isn’t that mystifying that an Armstrongist minister would refrain from quoting Scripture given the opportunity to do so. After all, the sects of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia are secular corporations and more often than not don’t have that much to do with religion but do have everything to do with providing profits for the shareholders, and, in the case of the Church of God, Big Sandy, to hold a society of people together by making them think they all have so very much in common (which, if you think about it, will just generate more profit for the shareholders). For those who have read Moral Mazes and The Corporation, the corporate posturing using the ‘magic lantern’ is very clear. Taking every advantage of every PR opportunity is good for the corporation.

To fill the void left by this article, we provide two Scriptures:

Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

Proverbs 22:24-25

This caused no small discomfort for many of us when Joseph Tkach, Senior took over the helm of the Worldwide Church of God Corporation. In retrospect, we should have applied the passage to Herbert Armstrong for his legendary temper alone. Today, no one should follow any of the majority of the Armstrongist Churches of God because of their anger. As the Apostle Paul commanded, “from such turn away”.

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath

Ephesians 4:26

We’ll just skip over all those places where God exercises His wrath.

There’s something else the article did not address and it is extremely important: Anger is biology. You can read about it in this article in The Daily Mail. Specifically, those with the ‘TT’ and ‘TC’ allele variants of the DARPP-32 gene are going to have grave difficulties with anger: It is a genetic property which must be managed. If you watch Dr. Phil, you would know this. There are tests for it. That being the case, one would think that instead of reading Dr. Les Carter, one would do better to follow Dr. Phil for solutions to the problem. The point is, the article by Dave Havir neither mentions Scripture nor does it mention the anger / warrior genes. It would seem that to really help your congregation, you should give full disclosure because it’s important and incomplete disclosure puts those with the problem at risk. Or so it would seem. Actually, anger provides an evolutionary advantage which makes it possible to overcome seemingly impossible odds, like the dog chasing off the bear or the hero cat that chases off a dog attacking a child in the family.

Anger does have its uses.

The article represents one of the three main aspects of typical Armstrongist presentations:

1. Material is plagiarized from somewhere else without attribution and then modified to suit the needs of the Armstrongist;

2. Material is summarized and presented as if the Armstrongist’s wisdom found and validated the material to benefit the Armstrongist;

3. Scraps of pieces of this and that are scrounged and the Armstrongist creates an entire presentation that has been fabricated out of whole cloth by just making stuff up.

The article by Havir is of the second type.

There is quite a downside to the article. It is intended to help you deal with your own anger. The question is, just how helpful is this when you have to deal with the anger of other people? What if you have to face down a Terry Ratzman in your congregation? A Chuck Harris? How do you deal with the temper of your Apostle / Evangelist / Prophet? We aren’t given a clue. What if you don’t have the anger / warrior gene but have to deal with people who do? How do you do it? What steps can you take to defuse a potentially threatening situation fueled by the anger of others?

You know, Armstrongist articles are generally self-serving. They are designed to keep the Proles docile. This particular article is very useful to keep people from erupting with anger from frustration — those who are suffering injustices which really should be fixed. You are oppressed? Your money is being drained for the benefit of the minister? Your freedoms are being taken away? Your privacy is being violated? The best advice (for those in authority over you) is that you suppress and channel your anger in a direction which will not affect them, so no change will ever occur (like we’ve never seen that before).

Could the article (basically written by a Christian psychologist) be useful? Perhaps. Is it going to improve your life? Maybe… maybe not. In any event, if you want the real information, go get the book because anything less and you will be deprived of the full experience. Go to the source. Prove all things. Hold fast to that which is scientific.

There is one thing we know about anger: You can make people angry by lying to them. When they find out you lied to them, they will be angry.

But there is something else we know: If you want to make people really angry, tell them the truth.

Public Service Announcement: 'Why You Must Dump Microsoft NOW"

Why You Must Dump Microsoft NOW

Microsoft

I’ve written about dumping Microsoft before – and I stand by those comments – but the newest outrage from Redmond forces me to it again. I don’t care how “inconvenient” you think it may be, you have to stop enriching Microsoft. NOW.

Yes, I have serious issues with Apple too, but at least Wozniak and Jobs started out as real hackers. Gates was a political monopolist, and it still shows.

What’s Happening Now

As of August 1, 2015 (that is, a few days ago), Microsoft announced a new privacy policy and a new services agreement. In the words of one network professional, “Basically, they redefined their operating system to be spyware.”

The European Digital Rights organization examined these new policies in depth and concluded this:

Summing up these 45 pages, one can say that Microsoft basically grants itself very broad rights to collect everything you do, say, and write with and on your devices in order to sell more targeted advertising or to sell your data to third parties. The company appears to be granting itself the right to share your data either with your consent “or as necessary.”

If you’d like to verify anything, you can find the privacy statement here and the services agreement here.

The Ugly Details

The first detail to mention is that this applies to “Bing, Cortana, MSN, Office, OneDrive, Outlook.com, Skype, Windows, Xbox, and other Microsoft services… Microsoft websites, apps, software, and devices.” So, more or less anything of theirs that you touch.

And of course, they are doing all of this for you! Or at least they say so.

They collect… in their own words:

[Y]our first and last name, email address, postal address, phone number, … passwords, password hints, and similar security information, … your age, gender, country and preferred language, … your location, … the teams you follow, … the stocks you track, … favorite cities, … credit card number and the security code, … items you purchase, the web pages you visit, and the search terms you enter, … IP address, device identifiers, … your contacts and relationships, … your documents, photos, music or video you upload, … subject line and body of email, text or other content of an instant message, audio and video recording of a video message.

And so on.

Now, if you are prepared to jump through a lot of hoops, they say you can opt out of some of this… not that many people will ever do it.

I’m not going to bore you with everything, but I will add just a few more tidbits:

  • Windows now has a device encryption feature, but they keep a copy of your recovery key, stored in their (very secure, trust us) “cloud.”

  • The also grab “data about the networks you connect to.” I interpret that as, “All your networks are belong to us too.”

  • “[W]e will access, disclose, and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications, or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary.” (Their own words!) What that really means is, “We’ll listen in, record what you type, then store it or sell it as we see fit.”

Why Do They Do This?

Fundamentally, there are three reasons they do this:

People are suckers for ‘free.’ For reasons that I won’t go through here, the Internet has been overrun with an expectation that services should be free. That’s impossible, of course, but people want it all the same. So, clever people learned how to do make it possible: by trading in personal information.

And so, being an amoral, money-centric operation, Microsoft is running after the new model. Anything for a buck.

Keeping up with the Zuckerbergs. Google and Facebook became famous, sexy, and powerful playing the “own their private data” game, and Microsoft doesn’t want to be an also-ran. They want to be and remain the big dog. They want their status.

To service their masters. As best I can tell, Microsoft has sucked up to spy agencies and governments from the beginning, and this is just more of the same. A year or so ago, the FBI was complaining about encryption, moaning that it would enable people to “go dark.” These new policies will ensure that it never happens to anyone who uses a Microsoft product. I’m sure the watchers are appreciative.

What Should I do?

Move to Linux. Now.

And no, it’s not too hard. Millions of people use Linux every day, including housewives, children, and grandparents.

The version of Linux I like best is Linux Mint. With it, you can run OpenOffice (also called LibreOffice), which does everything essential that MS Office does. Then get Firefox for a browser and Thunderbird for email, and you’re in business.

A Final Warning

The stealing of your personal data is a much bigger deal than you probably think it is. I devoted an entire issue of my subscription newsletter to this (FMP #59), and I won’t be able to cover it today, but it is a major threat to the future… and the near future.

Bonus

If you’re even thinking about getting Windows 10, please take a look at these annotated pages of Win 10 documentation. You can enlarge them.

Paul Rosenberg

[Editor’s Note: Paul Rosenberg is the outside-the-Matrix author of FreemansPerspective.com, a site dedicated to economic freedom, personal independence and privacy. He is also the author of The Great Calendar, a report that breaks down our complex world into an easy-to-understand model. Click here to get your free copy.]

Suits

The Suit is an important part of Church Cult Corporate
The Suit is an important part of Church Cult Corporate

Herbert Armstrong insisted that men wear business suits to Sabbath Services, the Feast and to Spokesman Club. Why? The stated reason was to show respect for God. Was that the real reason? Was that the primary reason? Or were there other forces at work?

Above all else, even above the belief that he was an apostle, Herbert Armstrong considered himself a businessman. Whether it is true that he was a businessman or not does not matter — it is his belief that he was which drove him. He started his career as a copy ad writer. Whether or not he ever progressed beyond that is a question for debate. Nevertheless, he did have extensive experience with many highly placed businessmen and learned to move within those circles before he found religion. His early years shaped his ultimate future and formed the core of his being: Within that being was the core of a business executive within the corporate bureaucratic structure. Without understanding the nuances of corporatism, it is impossible to understand Herbert Armstrong, the Worldwide Church of God and Ambassador College. In fact, it is impossible to understand unless you know the vagaries of the upper echelons of the Fortune 500 multinational corporations of today because what went on within the Church Cult Corporate of Herbert Armstrong was a reflection and echo of the modern secular corporation. The Corporation of God™ was the real organization that Herbert Armstrong founded: Soulless, without empathy, without conscience and as a legal “person”, a total psychopath.

Moral MazesFor the benefit of those who have never been a manager or above in a major Fortune 500 Corporation, we will draw upon Robert Jackall from his book, “Moral Mazes: The World of Corporate Managers”. For those uninitiated, the outside view of a modern corporation looks as if it is nothing more than a business to produce goods and / or services, run by reasonable smart competent people, using reasonable tried and true processes. Nothing could be further from the truth. The modern corporation is a chaotic irrational social and moral terrain, an hybrid ‘organization’ of patrimonial bureaucracy. Furthermore, the modern corporation has only one goal — one ethic — which supplants any other and overrides any social responsibility: Making a profit. This orientation is mandated by law in chartering corporate business by the Government. In fact, doing ‘nice things’ can get corporate managers prosecuted if it does not add to the bottom line. If breaking the law makes more profit, even after paying penalties, then the corporate officers are obligated to judicious law breaking to sustain that profit. They may pollute the land, steal, lie and do any other what we would consider a heinous thing to make profit. All decisions are framed this way. If it so happens that if charity suits making a profit, the corporation will do that with the side benefit of positive public perception. Of course, the internal ‘discussions’, alliances and deal making within the corporation itself may be extremely complex as managers and directors ‘network’ to find optimum solutions for profitability.

There are many factors which contribute to the upward mobility and viability of corporate executives. One of these is how the corporate shill is dressed. Robert Jackall comments:

One can, however, discern several criteria that are universally important in managerial circles. Bureaucracies not only rationalize work; they rationalize people’s public faces as well. A person’s external appearances, modes of self-presentation, interactional behavior, and projection of general attitude together constitute his public face. Large corporations create highly standardized rules to regulate the public faces of lower-level white-collar workers, for instance at the clerical level. In a large bank that I studied some years ago, these include a formalized dress code, regularly updated, that prescribes the details of clothing down to skirt length for women; manuals with a whole variety of sample conversations to guide interactions with customers; and detailed evaluation procedures that place a great premium on displaying cheerful cooperativeness toward coworkers and supervisors. Aware of the importance of the bank’s public image toward customers and the need for smooth, harmonious work relationships in the pressure-packed, highly routinized contexts, bank managers try to establish and control the prinicpal aspects of workers’ public faces. For their part, workers chafe under the faces the bank prescribes and experience as little control over the presentation of themselves as they do over the sea of paperwork that engulfs them. But managers both at the bank and in all the corporations I studied more recently see the matter of public faces differently. For them, the issue is not  a reluctant donning of organizational prescribed masks but rather a mastery of the social rules that prescribe which mask to wear on which occasion.

Note that this lesson was certainly not lost on Herbert Armstrong who also prescribed the length of women’s skirts at church.

Robert Jackall continues:

Such social mastery and the probations that test it begin early in managers’ careers. Every spring at elite colleges and universities throughout the land, a small but instructive transformation takes place when corporate recruiters from a wide variety of large companies descend on campuses to screen graduating seniors for entry-level managerial jobs. The jeans, ragged shirts, beards, mustaches, and casual unkeptness of youth that typify college life, particularly in rural areas, give way to what is called the corporate uniform — three-piece, wool pin-striped suits or suited skirts; button-down collars or unfrilled blouses; sedate four-in-hand foulards for men and floppy printed bow ties for women; wing-tipped shoes or plain low-heeled pumps; somber, straightforward hues; and finally, bright well-scrubbed, clean-shaven or well-coiffured appearances. It is, in short a uniform that bespeaks the sobriety and seriousness appropriate to the men and women who would minister to the weighty affairs of industry, finance, and commerce. Perhaps he only noteworthy aspect of this unremarkable rite is that underclassmen and seniors evaluate it quite differently. Underclassmen, surprised and bemused by the symbolic intrusion of the real world into their youth ghettoes, see seniors’ capitulation to the norms of managerial milieu as a callow moral compromise, as a first but ominous step toward de-individualizing conformity. Seniors, however,approach the crisis more pragmatically, though not without ironic self-deprecation and biting sarcasm. They know that managers have to look the part and that all corporations are filled with well-groomed and conventionally well-dressed men and women.

Such small probations are the stuff of everyday managerial life. Businesses always try to epitomize social normality, and managers, who must both create and enforce social rules for lower-level workers and simultaneously embody their corporation’s image in the public arena, are expected to be alert to prevailing norms. Managers in different corporations joke with bemused detachment about the rules that govern their appearances — the rule against sport jackets (too casual); the rule against leaving one’s floor without one’s suit jacket (improper attire in a public area); the unspoken rule against penny loafers (comfortable-looking shoes suggest a lackadaisical attitude); the suspicion of hair that is too long or too short (there is no place for hippies or skinheads); the mild taboo against brown suits (brown is dull, a loser’s color; winners choose blue); the scorn for polyester suits (strictly lower class, wool is better); the preference for red ties or red on blue (red symbolizes power and authority); the indulgent tolerance for the person who slightly overdresses if this is done tastefully (classy); and the quiet but forceful admonition of the person who does not dress properly or is in some way unkempt. Anyone who is so dull-witted or stubborn that he does not respond to social suggestions and become more presentable is quickly marked as unsuitable for any consideration for advancement. If a person cannot read the most obvious social norms, he will certainly be unable to discern more ambiguous cues. At the same time, managers also suspect that clothes and grooming might indeed make the man. The widespread popularity of recent self-promotional literature on this point — I mean the Dress for Success books and the like, even though its principal role is probably to disseminate techniques of image management to less fortunate social classes — underlines knowledge taken for granted among managers. Proper management of one’s external appearances simply signals to one’s peers and to one’s superiors that one is prepared to under take other kinds of self-adaptation.

 This perspective was highly ingrained in Herbert Armstrong’s thinking as CEO of the Worldwide Church of God Corporation and the Chancellor of Ambassador College Incorporated. Those going through his established worldly influenced program of transformational social normities became clones of his wolf in sheep’s clothing ethic — an ethic so ingrained that it continues to be the dominant driving force within the fragmented sects of his one-time hirelings.

The Corporate world was the only way of life Herbert Armstrong ever knew in spite of any influence from the Church of God Seventh Day. The CoG7D does not have such a dress code in place. Herbert Armstrong joined himself temporarily with that church organization, only to recreate the corporate environment and mores that he knew and understood when he discovered that he had little or no common ground with the Church of God Seventh Day.

So now men are stuck with corporate business suits as they join the Church Cult Corporate.

It doesn’t matter, though, if you dress up in sheep’s clothing: If you are a wolf, you will remain one, no matter how well dressed for corporate success you are.