TODD WALTON: Change

 

during

before, during a photographic collaboration of Todd, Marcia, and Max

From TODD WALTON
Under The Table
Mendocino

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” Carl Rogers

We recently saw a French film made in 2008, Summer Hours, written and directed by Olivier Assayas and recommended to us by Louis Bedrock, the writer and translator. A beautifully made film set in present-day France, I immediately loved the sights and sounds, but found I was not connecting emotionally with the characters. About twenty minutes into the film, my lack of emotional connection with anyone in the movie almost made me stop watching, but then I surrendered to the flow of imagery and the unfolding story.

By the end of the movie, I was glad I’d watched the entirety, though I couldn’t elucidate why I was glad. I never came to care much about the individual people in the movie, but I could identify with what they were going through—the swift evolution of culture from one generation to the next.

The next day, I found myself remembering many of the scenes from Summer Hours and admiring how this tapestry of key moments in the lives of three siblings captures the reality of our modern era—the cultural paradigms defining French society and French art obliterated by new global and technological realities.

Two days after seeing the movie, I was at work on my latest novel, re-reading pages writ over the last few days, and came to the following reminiscence of one of my characters.

Big Organic Food Firms Back Monsanto Dream Act…

 

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From Jeff Cox
Organic Food Guy

You’ll never guess who’s selling out your right to mandatory GMO labeling.

According to Food Democracy Now! we’re being betrayed in Washington D.C. by a group of donation-hungry Senators and a handful of corrupt organic corporations that have just brokered an outrageous deal behind our backs in an effort to kill mandatory GMO labeling and make sure that Vermont’s first-in-the-nation GMO labeling bill never takes effect this Friday.

Monsanto and Whole Foods’ new fake labeling bill (sometimes called the Monsanto Dream Act or the DARK Act) would not only preempt Vermont’s bill from taking effect this week, but all provisions of the bill are optional. The language is so poorly written that it would not include 85 percent of the current GMOs on the market. Additionally, the deal brokered by Senators Stabenow (D-MI) and Roberts (R-KS) would not provide any penalties for non-compliance, so cannot even be inforced if these companies refuse to label!

Besides Monsanto and Whole Foods, other companies behind the bill include DuPont, Stonyfield Farms, General Mills, Organic Valley, and Smucker’s.

In the past week, the American GMO labeling movement has been rocked by the most outrageous betrayal imaginable. While you and your friends have been fighting for mandatory GMO labeling, the giant corporate organic companies that are owned by parent conventional food companies have climbed into bed with Monsanto. According to a Politico story that came out last week, Whole Foods CEO Walter Robb joined his friends at Stonyfield, Smucker’s, and Organic Valley in selling out the American food movement.

Robb says it’s an “incredible thing” that senators came together and compromised during a dysfunctional time. He said he hopes that lawmakers can soon move on to other things. Incredulously, he went on to claim that “we need to…talk about much bigger issues.” 

Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chainstores…

 

George Monbiot
From George Monbiot
The Guardian

Roots in the Rubble

The decision to leave the EU is a disaster, but also a great opportunity for renewal

 Let’s sack the electorate and appoint a new one: this is the demand made by MPslawyers and the four million people who have signed the petition calling for a second referendum. It’s a cry of pain, and therefore understandable, but it’s also bad politics and bad democracy. Reduced to its essence, it amounts to graduates telling non-graduates “we reject your democratic choice”.

Were this vote to be annulled (it won’t be), the result would be a full-scale class and culture war, riots and perhaps worse, pitching middle class progressives against those on whose behalf they’ve claimed to speak, permanently alienating people who have spent their lives feeling voiceless and powerless.

Yes, the Brexit vote has empowered the most gruesome collection of schemers, misfits, liars, extremists and puppets British politics has produced in the modern era. It threatens to invoke a new age of demagoguery, a threat sharpened by the thought that if this can happen, so can Donald Trump. It has provoked a resurgence of racism and an economic crisis whose dimensions remain unknown. It jeopardises the living world, the NHS, peace in Ireland and the rest of the European Union. It promotes what the billionaire Peter Hargreaves gleefully anticipated as “fantastic insecurity”.

But we’re stuck with it. There isn’t another option, unless you favour the years of limbo and chaos that would ensue from a continued failure to trigger Article 50. It’s not just that we have no choice but to accept the result. We should embrace it and make of it what we can.

It’s not as if the system that’s now crashing around us was functioning. The vote could be seen as a self-inflicted wound, or it could be seen as the eruption of an internal wound, inflicted over many years by an economic oligarchy on the poor and the forgotten. The bogus theories on which our politics and economics are founded were going to collide with reality one day; the only questions were how and when.

Yes, the Brexit campaign was led by a political elite, funded by an economic elite and fueled by a media elite. Yes, popular anger was channelled towards undeserving targets – immigrants. But the vote was also a howl of rage against exclusion, alienation and remote authority. That is why the slogan “take back control” resonated. If the left can’t work with this, what are we for?

So here is where we find ourselves. The economic system is not working, except for the likes of Philip GreenNeoliberalism has not delivered the meritocratic nirvana its theorists promised, but a rentiers’ paradise, offering staggering returns to whoever grabs the castle first while leaving productive workers on the wrong side of the moat. The age of enterprise has become the age of unearned income; the age of the market, the age of market failure; the age of opportunity, a steel cage of zero-hour contracts, precarity and surveillance.

The political system is not working. Wheover you vote for, the same people win, because where power claims to be is not where power is. Parliaments and councils embody paralysed force, gesture without motion, as the real decisions are taken elsewhere: by the money, for the money. Governments have actively conspired in this shift, negotiating fake trade treatiesbehind their voters’ backs to prevent democracy from controlling corporate capital. Unreformed political funding ensures that parties have to listen to the rustle of notes before the bustle of votes. In Britain, these problems are compounded by an electoral system that ensures most votes don’t count. This is why a referendum is almost the only means by which people can be heard, and why attempting to override it is a terrible idea.

Culture is not working. A worldview which insists that both people and place are fungible is inherently hostile to the need for belonging. For years we have been told that we do not belong, that we should shift out without complaint while others are shifted in to take our place. When the peculiarities of community and place are swept away by the tides of capital, all that’s left is a globalised shopping culture, in which we engage with glazed passivity. Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chainstores.

In all these crises is opportunity. Opportunities to reject, connect and erect: to build from these ruins a system that works for the people of this country, rather than for an offshored elite that preys on insecurity. If it is true that Britain will have to renegotiate its trade treaties, is this not the best chance we’ve had in decades to contain corporate power? Of insisting that companies which operate here must offer proper contracts, share their profits, cut their emissions and pay their taxes? Is it not a chance to regain control of the public services slipping from our grasp?

How will politics in this sclerotised nation change without a maelstrom? In this chaos we can, if we are quick and clever, find a chance to strike a new contract: proportional representation, real devolution and a radical reform of campaign finance to ensure that millionaires can never again own our politics.

Remote authority has been rejected, so let’s use this moment to root our politics in a common celebration of place, to fight the epidemic of loneliness and rekindle common purpose, transcending the tensions between recent and less-recent immigrants (which means everyone else). In doing so, we might find a language in which liberal graduates can talk with the alienated people of Britain, rather than at them.

But most importantly, let’s address the task that the left and centre have catastrophically neglected: developing a political and economic philosophy fit for the 21st Century, rather than repeatedly microwaving the leftovers of the 20th (neoliberalism and Keynesianism). If the history of the last 80 years tells us anything, it’s that little changes without a new and feracious framework of thought. And when it arrives, everything changes. Much of my work over the next few months will be to assess what’s on offer and try to identify and promote the best ideas.

So yes, despair and rage and curse: there are reasons enough to do so. But then raise your eyes to where hope lies.
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The Gospel According To Reverend Billy…

 

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Freethinkers: Be sure to correct all the Hotel Bibles you encounter…

 

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From Always Question Authority
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There Is No God (And You Know It)…

 

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From Sam Harris

Somewhere in the world a man has abducted a little girl. Soon he will rape, torture, and kill her. If an atrocity of this kind not occurring at precisely this moment, it will happen in a few hours, or days at most. Such is the confidence we can draw from the statistical laws that govern the lives of six billion human beings. The same statistics also suggest that this girl’s parents believe — at this very moment — that an all-powerful and all-loving God is watching over them and their family. Are they right to believe this? Is it good that they believe this?

No.

The entirety of atheism is contained in this response. Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply a refusal to deny the obvious. Unfortunately, we live in a world in which the obvious is overlooked as a matter of principle. The obvious must be observed and re-observed and argued for. This is a thankless job. It carries with it an aura of petulance and insensitivity. It is, moreover, a job that the atheist does not want.

Why Are We Being Fed By A Poison Expert?

 


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Christian Crock: Jesus Christ

 

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From ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)

I did say that to deny the existence of evil spirits, or to deny the existence of the devil, is to deny the truth of the New Testament; and that to deny the existence of these imps of darkness is to contradict the words of Jesus Christ.

I did say that if we give up the belief in devils we must give up the inspiration of the Old and New Testaments, and we must give up the divinity of Christ. Upon that declaration I stand, because if devils do not exist, then Jesus Christ was mistaken, or we have not in the New Testament a true account of what he said and of what he pretended to do.

If the New Testament gives a true account of his words and pretended actions, then he did claim to cast out devils. That was his principal business. That was his certificate of divinity, casting out devils. That authenticated his mission and proved that he was superior to the hosts of darkness.

Now, take the devil out of the New Testament, and you also take the veracity of Christ; with that veracity you take the divinity; with that divinity you take the atonement, and when you take the atonement, the great fabric known as Christianity becomes a shapeless ruin.

The Christians now claim that Jesus was God. If he was God, of course the devil knew that fact, and yet, according to this account, the devil took the omnipotent God and placed him upon a pinnacle of the temple, and endeavored to induce him to dash himself against the earth…

Think of it! The devil – the prince of sharpers – the king of cunning – the master of finesse, trying to bribe God with a grain of sand that belonged to God!

The Agnostic Gospel Song…

 

Thanks to Bruce
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Freethinker: Born This Day — Pearl Buck

 

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From Freedom From Religion Foundation

On this day in 1892, Pearl S. Buck (nee Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker) was born in West Virginia to parents who were missionaries in China for the Southern Presbyterian church.

At three months, she moved with them to China, where she lived for the next 40 years, except to attend college. She was fourth of seven children, but only one of three to survive to adulthood. She attended a women’s college in Virginia for four years, and in 1917 married John Lossing Buck, an agricultural economist living in China. They lived in a rural province, which became the inspiration for The Good Earth, her 1931 bestseller, which won the Pulitzer. The couple had a baby in 1921 which was born with PKU, and was profoundly retarded. Pearl had a hysterectomy when a tumor was found during the delivery.

They adopted a child and taught at Nanking University. Pearl began writing for The Nation, Atlantic Monthly and other publications. Her first novel was East Wind, West Wind. She moved back to the United States permanently in 1934, settling in Green Hills Farm, Pennsylvania. Her publisher, Richard Walsh, became her second husband in 1935, and they adopted six children. Despite writing 70 books, Pearl found time to devote to civil rights and women’s rights. She was routinely published in the NAACP’s magazine, Crisis, and by the Urban League. She was a 20-year trustee of Howard University, and founded East and West Association, to improve relations between the United States and Asia. She also founded the first international, inter-racial adoption agency, Welcome House, in 1949, placing more than 5,000 children in homes. In 1964, she started the Pearl S. Buck Foundation to help Amerasian children. D. 1973.

“I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in human beings. Like Confucius of old, I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it that I cannot think of heaven and the angels.”

—Pearl Buck, “Advice to unborn novelists,” 1949, cited by George Seldes, The Great Quotations, & Pearl Buck, What America Means to Me, 1947

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Celebrating 50 Years of Humanism in Star Trek…

 

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From The Humanist

It feels like we live in a world where movies and shows keep getting darker. It’s a pop culture where viewers tune in for their weekly dose of misery on The Walking Dead, depravity on Game of Thrones, and where even classic children’s heroes like Batman and Superman are portrayed as mass-murdering vigilantes in Dawn of Justice. Comic book and science fiction fans have even coined the term “grimdark” to describe this apparent one-upmanship of doom and gloom assaulting audiences

In contrast, for over five decades Star Trek has remained positive, philosophical, and moral, portraying a society built on Enlightenment values. With six television series totaling 716 episodes across thirty seasons, seventy million books in print, over forty video games, a new television series in the works, and this summer’s thirteenth feature film, Star Trek endures because there’s nothing like it in American media: a positive, humanist vision of humanity’s future based on rationality, science, and human-improvability.

With over fifty years of content, it’s important to note that one can find Star Trek stories to support nearly any hypothesis and also that Star Trek isn’t perfect. Conservative critics have a valid point that Starfleet appears communistic, while liberals correctly criticize the fictional organization for being militaristic. There are episodes where the writing is appalling, with plot holes and nonsensical situations that offend reason, along with bad acting. But there are also so many episodes that can bring tears to our eyes for their insightfulness and the beauty of their ideas. So please indulge my cognitive biases as I share the three aspects of the Star Trekcanon that most appeal to me as a humanist.

Carl Sagan: WE are the custodians of life’s meaning…

 


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Freethinker: Born on this Day — Atheist, Actor and Comedian Ricky Gervais…

 

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From Freedom from Religion Foundation

ON JUNE 25, 1961, Ricky Dene Gervais, was born. He makes TV shows and books and movies, but mostly he makes people laugh, and he makes them think, freely.

(He’s an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and decided as a child that he was an atheist.)

He grew up 40 miles west of London, England, in Reading, to working-class parents. He graduated from University College-London with a degree in philosophy and then worked in radio. What eventually brought him fame were his television series, The Office, which debuted in 2001, and Extras, in 2005.

He co-wrote and co-directed both with Stephen Merchant, his friend and frequent collaborator. Gervais also played the lead roles of David Brent in The Office and Andy Millman in Extras.

He’s received two Golden Globes for The Office (one for acting, one for the show itself), as well as numerous British Academy Television Awards and British Comedy Awards. He won a 2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his role in Extras.

Gervais in a video interview with Richard Dawkins, explains how he became an atheist.  In it, he recounts an afternoon at home when he was about 8 years old. His mother was ironing and he was drawing Jesus on the cross as part of his Bible studies homework.

His brother, Bob, 11 years older than Ricky, asked him why he believed in God, a question which mortified their mother. Gervais remembers thinking, “Why was that a bad thing to ask? If there was a god and my faith was strong, it didn’t matter what people thought. Oh …  hang on. There is no God. He knows it, and she knows it deep down. It was as simple as that. I started thinking about it and asking more questions, and within an hour I was an atheist.”

In 2009, in a TV interview, Gervais said: “It’s always better to tell the truth. The truth doesn’t hurt, and saying that, my mother only ever lied to me about one thing. She said there was a God. But that’s because when you’re a working-class mum, Jesus is like an unpaid babysitter. She thought if I was God-fearing, then I’d be good.”
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TODD WALTON: Coup

 

i've been waiting for the sun tw

I’ve Been Waiting For the Sun painting by Nolan Winkler

From TODD WALTON
Under The Table
Mendocino

“If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out.” Oscar Wilde

I think it is important to view the Bernie Sanders saga in the context of the larger takeover of our society and our government and our psyches that began in earnest in the 1970s and was vastly accelerated by the enthronement of Ronald Reagan as President in 1980.

True, our society and government were heavily influenced by the wealthy elite from the moment our nation was founded, but the Great Depression and FDR modified that influence tremendously, and thereby ushered in a social and cultural renaissance that peaked in the 1970s when the corporate oligarchy began to take the requisite steps to wrest complete control again. Every President of the United States since Reagan has obediently carried out the agenda of the corporate overlords.

I published my first novel in 1978 at the close of the era of independent publishers. From my point of view, the corporate takeover of publishing and the movie industry at that time were key steps in stifling dissent and preparing the population for submission to corporate rule. I worked very hard to break into publishing, only to watch in horrified fascination as virtually overnight, teams of politically conservative anti-creative money crunchers replaced the most creative and open-minded people in every large publishing house in America.

Islamist Extremism’s Hate Relationship With Music…

 

From The Clarion

It is no coincidence that one of the targets of the November 2015 attacks in Paris was a rock concert at the Bataclan.

When Elvis Presley started performing and recording in the mid-1950s his music, movements, attitude and dress made him the first icon of rock & roll. He changed the course of popular music and with it American youth culture.

He was also regarded as a threat to morality. Radio stations banned his music and municipal authorities refused permits for his concerts. His music was branded by Christian fundamentalists in the Deep South as “the devil’s music.”

The tide of cultural history proved his detractors wrong and the revolution started by Elvis and other rock & roll artists heralded the beginnings of a movement that has led to the hedonistic and permissive culture that is now the norm not just in Western societies but in Japan and elsewhere.

The hatred of popular music of those Christian fundamentalists is now rearing its head again, this time from radical Islamists. It is no coincidence that one of the targets of the November 2015 attacks in Paris was a rock concert at the Bataclan.

We are girls, not brides…

 


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The Library of Things…

 

The Library of Things movement is emerging in communities around the world. These spaces give people access to a huge spectrum of items, from board games, party supplies and tennis rackets to saws, kitchen appliances, turntables, clothing and tents, without the burden of ownership.

Specialty libraries, which lend out a specific type of good, have pointed the way for the Library of Things movement and proven the model to be successful. The tool library movement has seen incredible growth in recent years; toy lending libraries, both in library branches and as semi-informal neighborhood projects, are on the rise; and kitchen libraries, such as the Toronto Kitchen Library, give people access to commercial-grade and household kitchen supplies on an as-needed basis. There are also lending libraries within traditional library branches loaning out musical instrumentsneckties, learning materials, crafting tools and much more.

As Gene Homicki, co-founder and CEO of myTurn, a platform that enables people to create their own lending platform, explains, many community-based Library of Things locations lend over 1,000 items per week, offer classes, and have workshops or makerspaces.

“The most successful Libraries of Things are the ones do more than just lend items,” he says, “they also create a strong sense of community. For example, some offer sliding scale subscriptions based on income or usage to help ensure a diverse community can afford to access the library.”

Through myTurn, Homicki sees the growth of the movement firsthand as he works with universities, businesses, cities and hundreds of lending libraries of all types.

“We’re helping build a future in which anywhere you live, anywhere you work, and anywhere you travel, you’ll be able to access what you want and need at a Library of Things in our network,” he says.

The Library of Things movement challenges people to rethink whether we need (or want) to own goods we rarely use. It also brings people together around a shared vision and reduces wasted resources. Here are 8 of our favorite Library of Things…

Continue article here

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The End: What Science and Religion Tell Us About the Apocalypse…

 

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From IEET

Book Review

When false beliefs influence us, they also can harm us…

Phil Torres’ new book The End: What Science and Religion Tell Us about the Apocalypse, is one of the most important books recently published. It offers a fascinating study of the many real threats to our existence, provides multiple insights as to how we might avoid extinction, and it is carefully and conscientiously crafted.

The basic theme is that powerful new technologies threaten the survival of the entire human species. Moreover, belief in religious eschatologies, or end-times narratives, greatly exacerbate the problem. These superstitious, faith-based beliefs greatly increase the probability that our species will either annihilate itself, or fail to anticipate various existential threats because, as technology becomes more powerful, the ability of religious fanatics to realize some of their apocalyptic visions increases. Our predicament then is that “neoteric technologies and archaic belief systems are colliding with potentially catastrophic consequences.”

Now religious believers have been crying that the “end is near” for a long time. Most biblical scholars see Jesus as a failed apocalyptic prophet, and throughout history many Christians have forecast that the end of the world was imminent. Eschatological beliefs play a large role in Islam as well, and many Muslims believe that Madhi will descend from heaven along with Jesus to usher in the end of the world. While such beliefs are silly, they are not irrelevant. When false beliefs influence us, they also can harm us.

Such considerations lead Torres to differentiate between religious and secular eschatology. Faith and revelation provide the epistemological foundation for supernatural eschatology, while reason, observation and evidence underlie the epistemological foundation of worries about natural threats. It follows then that rational persons should take the latter threats seriously, but not the former. We should worry that asteroids, pathogens, nuclear war, artificial intelligence and the like may destroy, but not worry that Jesus or Allah will. But again believers in religious eschatologies are dangerous, especially if they utilize advanced technologies to usher in their view of the apocalypse.

Father of the Revolution…

 

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Christian Crock: Evangelicals adore Trump because he’s so much like their Biblical God…

 

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Why So Many Evangelicals Find Donald Trump Simply Irresistible

People have been scratching their heads about how so many “family values” American voters who claim to love Jesus can follow Donald Trump. What ever happened to love thy neighbor, and if you have two coats give one to the poor, and turn the other cheek, and feed my lambs, and the meek shall inherit the Earth?  Some horrified Christian leaders have gone so far as to say a person can’t be a Christian and a Trump supporter.

Of course times are hard and, in fairness, fear and downward mobility do weird things to people, including Christians. And some folks, whether Christian or not, are congenitally horrid. But shouldn’t Bible belief inoculate earnest believers against someone who seems like the polar opposite of Jesus?

Perhaps the problem is that Trump is a lot like a different Bible character—one who also is the polar opposite of Jesus in many ways, but who young believers are nevertheless taught to worship and praise. I’m talking about the character of Jehovah; Yahweh as some people call him; The Great I Am; the LORD God of the Old Testament who makes it into the New Testament as both the father of Jesus and his alter-ego, and later into the Quran.

One way that biblical literalism screws with people’s heads is this: Children are taught from a young age that God is perfect—the essence of Love and Truth. But when you look a little closer at the stories in the Bible, it turns out that he’s an awful lot like Trump.

Bernie’s Revolution: Socialism and the People’s Struggle Against Capitalism…

 

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Arabic Translation of “The God Delusion” Downloaded 10 Million Times…

 

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From Atheist Republic

Richard Dawkins’ bestselling nonfiction book “The God Delusion” has not only been translated into Arabic by Iraqi translator Bassam Al-Baghdadi, but its pdf version has also been downloaded 10 million times, with at least 30 percent of all downloads being made in Saudi Arabia. According to Al-Baghdadi, a resident of Sweden, more than 1,000 downloads took place on the first day itself, immediately after he had uploaded the pdf version of the text, thus making it available for readers online. Apparently, the numbers kept climbing as the translation continued to be shared on websites, forums and blogs of prominent Arab atheists.

In his translation of “The God Delusion”, Al-Baghdadi added the phrase “This book is banned in Islamic countries” right below the title. Naturally, his move prompted unprecedented debate in both Saudi Arabia as well as other Muslim countries. After being accused of conspiring with Zionists to corrupt the youth, Al-Baghdadi started to receive death threats.1 That is when he decided to close all of his social media accounts and discontinue posting online for a while.

The Battle of the Holocene…

 

 

 

The end results are definite and dire, that much is known.

 

7,827 PEOPLE DIED TODAY.  Men, women, children, and all religions alike.  It was avoidable, it was unnecessary, and the same thing will happen again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and every single day that we chose to do nothing about Anthropogenic Climate Change

I’ll explain.  Let’s just pretend that we have 35 years to do something about climate change, after which it is too late.  Let’s also pretend that if we do nothing before that 35 year mark, that 100 million people will die (famine, disease, extreme weather…).  That means that we have 12,775 days (365 * 35) left to save 100 million people from an unnecessary death.  100,000,000 people / 12,775 days = 7,827 people / day.

This is just a way to make the intangible feel tangible.  There is no precise and scientifically agreed upon deadline, a deadline before which we can still chose to either do “something” or “nothing”, after which it is too late.  There are a series of milestones that will be crossed, and most of them only visible in hindsight.  There are infinite “somethings” that can be done, and no indisputable delineation between what is the “right” something or the “wrong” something.  It is a game of nuance.  A game where words such as “assuming”, “might”, and “if” are used a lot.  But the end results are definite and dire, that much is known.  So to avoid getting lost in the endless mire of debating numbers, I gave it a number.

What really eats at me personally, is how almost without mention we are indiscriminately committing hundreds of millions, if not billions to death and suffering, and they are us, and our children, and it is all completely unnecessary, and the mainstream media and government don’t seem to pay it but the occasional meaningless lip service compared to the immediacy and scope of the problem.

What if they had names?  Maybe if we were to arbitrarily chose 100 million people and their unborn children, and every ten minutes another 54 would be listed.  Undoubtedly a morbid and interesting ploy, but unlikely to change the course of history.  It would be pretty interesting to send that list out to various groups though; news organizations, political organizations.  I would love to see that email sent directly to the desks of top fossil fuel executives and the investors who support their companies.

What can be done?  Something.  Do something.  Say something.  The silence is deafening.  Every day that nothing is done, the problem grows.

I’ll say something; Go fly a kite Rupert Murdoch, I’ll take the truth and spread it.  Screw you Exxon, I’ll take your carbon and put it back in the Earth.  I am a warrior in a battle to save the Holocene, the best darn climate humanity has ever known.

But somehow, for some reason, this sort of conversation is socially taboo.  We don’t talk about it much, lest we be labeled a Debbie downer, or get stuck in endless debates of “if’s” and “maybe’s”.  Or perhaps we need new ways to talk about it?  I guess in time… but it couldn’t be sooner, because while I have sat here at my desk frustrated, angry, writing, another 326 people died.
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Richard Dawkins Short Interview July 19, 2016…

 


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The Freethinker and The Improved Man…

 

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From ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)

As long as men believe in tyranny in heaven they will practice tyranny on earth….

The object of the Freethinker is to ascertain the truth—the conditions of well-being—to the end that this life will be made of value. This is the affirmative, positive, and constructive side.

Without liberty there is no such thing as real happiness. There may be the contentment of the slave—of one who is glad that he has passed the day without a beating—one who is happy because he has had enough to eat—but the highest possible idea of happiness is freedom.

All religious systems enslave the mind. Certain things are demanded—certain things must be believed—certain things must be done—and the man who becomes the subject or servant of this superstition must give up all idea of individuality or hope of intellectual growth and progress.

The religionist informs us that there is somewhere in the universe an orthodox God, who is endeavoring to govern the world, and who for this purpose resorts to famine and flood, to earthquake and pestilence—and who, as a last resort, gets up a revival of religion. That is called “affirmative and positive.”

The man of sense knows that no such God exists, and thereupon he affirms that the orthodox doctrine is infinitely absurd. This is called a “negation.” But to my mind it is an affirmation, and is a part of the positive side of Freethought.

My Church…

 

Thanks to Bruce

I’ve cursed on a Sunday
I’ve cheated and I’ve lied
I’ve fallen down from grace
A few too many times
But I find holy redemption
When I put this car in drive
Roll the windows down and turn up the dial

[Chorus]
Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church

When Hank reads the sermon
And Cash leads the choir
It gets my cold cold heart burning
Hotter than a ring of fire
When this wonderful world gets heavy
And I need to find my escape
I just keep the wheels rolling, radio scrolling
Until my sins wash away

[Chorus]

[Chorus]

[Chorus]

Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church
Yeah I guess that’s my church
Yeah I guess that’s my church
~~