Arms and the Very Bad Men

Trump’s rationale for going easy on Saudi Arabia is a shameful lie.

A few days ago, Pat Robertson, the evangelical leader, urged America not to get too worked up about the torture and murder of Jamal Khashoggi, because we shouldn’t endanger “$100 billion in arms sales.” I guess he was invoking the little-known 11th Commandment, which says, “On the other hand, thou shalt excuse stuff like killing and bearing false witness if weapons deals are at stake.”

O.K., it’s not news that the religious right has prostrated itself at Donald Trump’s feet. But Trump’s attempt to head off retaliation for Saudi crimes by claiming that there are big economic rewards to staying friendly with killers — and the willingness of his political allies to embrace his logic — nonetheless represents a new stage in the debasement of America.

It looks unlikely, then, that deals with Saudi Arabia will raise U.S. annual arms exports by more than a few billion dollars a year. When you bear in mind that the industries involved, mainly aerospace, are highly capital intensive and don’t employ many workers per dollar of sales, the number of U.S. jobs involved is surely in the tens of thousands, if that, not hundreds of thousands. That is, we’re talking about a rounding error in a U.S. labor market that employs almost 150 million workers.

Another way to look at Saudi arms sales is to notice how small the stakes are compared with other areas where Trump is casually disrupting business relations. He seems, for example, to be eager for a trade war with China, which imported $187 billion worth of U.S. goods and services last year.

.. Because the Federal Reserve believes that we’re at full employment, and any further strengthening of the economy will induce the Fed to raise interest rates. As a result, jobs added in one place by things like arms sales will be offset by jobs lost elsewhere as higher rates deter investment or make the U.S. less competitive by strengthening the dollar.

.. what we’re looking at here is another step in the debasement of our nation.

  • Accepting torture and murder is a betrayal of American principles;
  • trying to justify that betrayal by appealing to supposed economic benefits is a further betrayal.

And when you add in the fact that the claimed economic payoff is a lie, and that the president’s personal profit is a much more likely explanation for his actions — well, genuine patriots should be deeply ashamed of what we’ve come to as a nation.

The psychology of selling.

An in-depth look at why people buy what they buy.

At the most basic level, it’s important to understand that most people buy for one of two reason — they buy to move closer to pleasure or to move further away from pain.

.. People don’t buy a cherry red Maserati because it’s the logical thing to do — they buy it because it’s makes them feel something.

The same can be said for a $10,000 speaker system or a $500 pair of Denim Jeans or a $300 plate of caviar or a $1,000/night stay at a luxurious resort.

These decisions aren’t logical, they’re emotionally driven.

.. So, when selling a product that is pleasurable to your customer, be sure to consider triggering their emotions. Make them feel something.

.. People justify their purchases with logic.

In the previous section we discussed that when people make purchases to move them closer to pleasure they will make their buying decisions based off emotion.

.. When Mark goes out and makes the emotionally charged decision of spending $60,000 on a brand new Maserati, sooner or later he will have to answer the question, “Mark, why the hell did you spend a small fortune on a cherry red Maserati?”

This is where the concept of logic enters into the picture. Generally speaking, while people make emotional buying decisions, they will justify their purchases with logic.

.. People buy because other people buy.

.. There is a reason products “trend” on Amazon, they become increasingly popular as more people use them, wear them and show them off.

.. what’s very interesting about this concept of trust is that 84% of online shoppers are now trusting product reviews as much as recommendations from their actual friends.

.. As a marketer, be very aware of what your customer’s are saying both online and offline about your product or service. Not to mention, create products or services that are easily-shareable to strengthen their chances of going viral.

.. Ask your customers how they feel when they use your product. Pay extra close attention to the words and emotions they describe. Recycle their words and feelings and enhance them in your marketing messaging.

..  You need to find out the logic behind buying whatever you’re selling. I would start by asking your customers the following question — our product is kind of expensive, why did you spend your hard earned money on it? Their answer(s) will be heavily factual. They won’t say “because I love it and it makes me feel good”. They’ll be more likely to say something like “because it had features A, B and C and because it solved this specific problem.” Yes, this question will be a bit abrasive, but it is important. It puts the customer in the hot seat much in the same way if they were asked by a friend or family member. Once you’ve established the logical reasons for buying your product or service, this should also be included in your marketing messaging.

 

US “Defense” Budget About Control of Resources & Dominance

The Souls of Poor Folk identifies the United States’ irrational attachment to war:

The massive U.S. defense budget has never actually been about “defense.” . . . Rather, their goals are to consolidate U.S. corporations’ control over oil, gas, other resources and pipelines; to supply the Pentagon with military bases and strategic territory to wage more wars; to maintain military dominance over any challenger(s); and to continue to provide justification for Washington’s multi-billion-dollar military industry. [4]

The Souls of Poor Folk: Auditing America 50 Years After the Poor People’s Campaign Challenged Racism, Poverty, the War Economy/Militarism and Our National Morality, https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/audit/, 11. See the report for detailed and well-researched data.

Richard Rohr Meditation: Christ Is the Template for Creation

In Bonaventure’s writings, you will find little or none of the medieval language of fire and brimstone, worthy and unworthy, sin and guilt, merit and demerit, justification and atonement, even the dualistic notions of heaven or hell, which later took over.

Bonaventure summed up his entire life’s theology in three central and sacred ideas:

  1. Emanation: We come forth from God bearing the divine image, and thus our inherent identity is grounded in the life of God from the beginning (Genesis 1:26-27).
  2. Exemplarism: Everything in creation is an example, manifestation, and illustration of God in space and time (Romans 1:20). No exceptions.
  3. Consummation: All returns to the Source from which it came (John 14:3). The Omega is the same as the Alpha; this is God’s supreme and final victory.

.. The Christ Mystery—the crucified and resurrected Christ—becomes the visible template for the pattern of all creation. Christ reveals the necessary cycle of loss and renewal that keeps all things moving toward ever further life. The death and birth of every star and atom is this same pattern of loss and renewal, yet this pattern is invariably hidden, denied, or avoided, and therefore must be revealed by Jesus—through his passion, death, and resurrection.

.. Bonaventure’s theology is never about trying to placate a distant or angry God, earn forgiveness, or find some abstract theory of justification. He is all cosmic optimism and hope! Once we lost this kind of mysticism, Christianity became preoccupied with fear, unworthiness, and guilt much more than being included in—and delighting in—God’s positive, all-pervasive plan.

.. The problem is solved from the beginning in Franciscan theology: “Before the world was made, God chose us in Christ” (Ephesians 1:4). If more of the Church believed St. Francis and Bonaventure, they could have helped us move beyond the inherently negative notion of history being a “fall from grace.”

.. Bonaventure invited us into a positive notion of history as a slow but real emergence/evolution into ever-greater consciousness of a larger and always renewed life (“resurrection”).