Posts By ds

Basic Stoicism: A Handy Guide…

 
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From Massimo

I have now studied and practiced Stoicism seriously for more than a year and a half. I still have a long way to go on both theory and praxis, but I have gradually accumulated a number of favorite Stoic reminders, as well as developed my own summaries of Stoic doctrine and list of concepts I find particularly useful. Here they are, presented as a vademecum, a handy reminder that one can bookmark or print out and keep in one’s pocket. (a downloadable pdf version is here)

Fundamental principles:

  • Virtue is the highest good, everything else is “indifferent.” The Stoics got the first part from Socrates, who argued that virtue is the chief good because it is the only thing that is good under all circumstances, and indeed helps us make proper use of things like health, wealth, and education. Everything else is “indifferent” in the specifically Stoic sense that it is not to be traded against virtue. The Stoic can pursue the preferred indifferents and try to stay away from the dispreferred ones, so long as this doesn’t interfere with virtue. In economics, this is called a system of lexicographic preferences.

  • Follow nature, that is, apply reason to social life. The Stoics thought that we should get a hint from the cosmos (studying what they called physics) to figure out how to live our lives (ethics). Since human beings are social animals capable of reason (logic), it follows that we should strive to apply the latter to the former.

  • Dichotomy of control: some things are under our control, others are not (though we may be able to influence them). Under our control — if we are mentally healthy — are our decisions and behaviors. Outside of our control is everything else. This means that we should concern ourselves with the first category, and accept everything else with equanimity.

Four virtues to practice:

The Socialist Alternative…

 

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From Chris Hedges

SEATTLE: The disintegration of the ruling political parties, along with the discrediting of the established political and economic elites, presage radical change. This change may come from the right. It may result in a frightening proto-fascism. If it is to come from the left it must be pushed forward by dogged activists and citizens who are willing to accept that stepping outside the system will mean surrendering all hope of power for perhaps a decade. To continue to engage in establishment politics, especially attempting to work within the Democratic Party, will further empower corporate capitalism and extinguish what remains of our democracy.

Willingly entering the political wilderness requires a vision that is worth sacrificing and fighting to achieve. It means that some of those who begin the revolution against corporate capitalism will not live to see its culmination. It will mean marginalization, harassment, persecution, prison and, if the movement becomes effective, state violence. History has taught us that. But given the alternative—the planet’s ecosystem destroyed by the fossil fuel and the animal agriculture industries, greater pillaging by corporate oligarchs and the rise of a global security and surveillance system that takes from us all pretense of liberty—the battle is worth it.

Kshama Sawant, the socialist City Council member in Seattle, and her Socialist Alternative Party have begun to create change where it will first be most effective—locally. She has created a petition calling on Bernie Sanders to run as an independent presidential candidate through November on a third-party ticket.

Humanist Bart Campolo Talks About Making the Most of the Only Life We Have…

 

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The Little-Known Farmworkers Who Sparked the Biggest Labor Movement in U.S. History…

 

Mural in old town Delano, California.  All photos by Alexa Strabuk.

From YES!

There would be no Cesar Chavez without the Filipino manongs of Delano, California, whose decision to strike set off the most significant labor movement the United States has ever seen.

On a dusty Thursday evening, a couple hundred yards across the railroad tracks from old town Delano, California, Roger Gadiano ambles out of his one-story house to conduct his usual tour.

The gray-haired Filipino man grew up in Delano and can tell you not only his own story but also the story of a small, seemingly prosaic agricultural town. He hops into his aging pickup and points out passing landmarks that any outsider might consider bleak and forgotten: a rundown grocery store, a vacant lot, the second story of an old motel.

Gadiano is one of the few Delano residents left who remember the town’s true history.To Gadiano, these places are anything but forgotten.

One of the stops on his tour is a graveyard, where he walks to a headstone in the middle of the grounds. This, he proudly declares, is where his old cigar buddy, Filipino labor leader Larry Itliong, is buried.

Jesus: The Grim Truth…

 

From Manfred Weidhorn
Thanks to Jim

Contrary to the widespread belief, Jesus has caused incalculable harm to the human species. Whether that is on behalf of the pious mission of divorcing us from this pig of a world or the result of a naive do-gooder’s incompetence is an open question…

We live in an age in which the incursion of religion into American politics has reached new heights–or depths. One example is D. J. Trump, of all people, proclaiming himself a Christian and some prominent Protestant clergymen actually believing him against all the evidence. In such a bizarre climate of opinion, the slogan “What would Jesus do?” has gained currency.The trouble with this mantra is that it raises the question, Which Jesus? Whose Jesus? The Jesus of St. Francis of Assissi, the Berrigan Brothers, and Chris Hedges is not the Jesus of the born-again President George W. Bush, who participated in daily Bible study in the White House but casually started two wars. Yes, Jesus did in fact banish the money changers from the Temple–an act one can envision the non-Christian Bernie Sanders emulating–but he did not issue orders that resulted in the deaths of many tens of thousands of people. (If we ignore, as is commonly done, Luke 19:27.) So “WWJD” remains an insoluble problem.

Far less inconclusive is “What did Jesus do?” He brought to mankind the values enshrined in the Sermon on the Mount. These values are partly Judaic, partly original: Performing rituals is meaningless unless deeply felt; proclaiming morality is hypocritical if not accompanied with action; forswearing violence is the new definition of manliness and heroism. These spiritual mandates truly raised the bar on pious behavior, raised it so high, in fact, that hardly anyone has followed suit. As Nietzsche said, the last Christian was crucified at Calvary.

Hope Is What Remains…

 

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From Greg Camp
The Humanist

Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart has long explored humanistic themes…

April marks the fortieth anniversary of the release of Rush’s album 2112, described by Rolling Stone as the band’s “prog-rock magnum opus” and by Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson as their “protest album.”

It was reported earlier this year that Neil Peart, drummer for the Canadian rock trio, Rush, would retire from touring after four decades with the band, citing chronic tendonitis as the reason he was, to borrow his words, taking himself out of the game. (The band has left open the possibility that they’ll record more music in the future.) This is actually the second time Peart has left the stage, the first being in the late 1990s when his daughter died in a car accident and his wife died ten months later of cancer. But after four decades as the lyrical heart and rhythmic foundation of an iconic band, perhaps this time is really the end of an era.

The inescapable reality of our lives is that these machines—organs and connective tissue and bones—are destined to wear out. If our bodies are designed, let us note, the designer offers a short warranty and a planned obsolescence. But acknowledging the realities only underscores the loss we feel when those who have spent years expanding human culture must step back from daily continuation of this work. One song, “Losing It,” from Rush’s 1982 album Signals must have been particularly poignant when performed on the band’s fortieth anniversary tour last year, considering that its theme is the end of careers in the arts, explored in the examples of an aging dancer and writer and evoked by Peart’s quotation of John Donne, “the bell tolls for thee.”

Spiritual, Not Religious?

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We’re constantly faced with brush fires…

 

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From Amit Pal
Freedom From Religion Foundation

At the Freedom From Religion Foundation, we’re constantly faced with brush fires. We manage to extinguish one successfully, and others pop up just as quickly.

A fire of biblical proportions
We focused this week on a fire of biblical proportions: Ken Ham’s so-called Creation Museum. Ken is free to do whatever he wants, but we strenuously object to public schools subjecting their kids to his nonsense. Alarmingly, we’ve learned that several public schools in the region have already made or are planning trips to Ham’s literalist ode to the scriptures. What they will see there is a diorama of a human and a dinosaur together, implying that they existed simultaneously. Each display at this “museum” contrasts science with a literalist interpretation of the bible. Public schools shouldn’t be patronizing and subsidizing such places, and we’re calling them on it.

We’re still combating “Jesus Lunch”
We’re still fighting the conflagration set off by the “Jesus Lunch” folks next door in Middleton High School. The organizers insisted on again putting on their religion-infused weekly meal at a park adjacent to the school, and so we countered them with delicious pizza (some of it provided free by Ian’s Pizza, a local institution). We also sent out an Action Alert urging you to contact the Middleton city authorities and ask them to see things the Middleton-Cross Plains School District’s way, which is to have the pious parents out of the park.

TODD WALTON: Staunch Democrats

 

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Sometimes, It’s A Circus, Isn’t It? painting by Nolan Winkler

From TODD WALTON
Under The Table
Mendocino

Most humans, alas, are easily swayed by clever liars who pray on our fears, and such swaying will almost surely cause the human experiment to devolve into global chaos—possibly quite soon.

I’ve been pondering the end of quasi-viable human society in the wake of Hillary Clinton winning the New York Democratic Primary over Bernie Sanders and because a reader recently wrote:  “I, too, am a Bernie supporter but my entire family—four siblings, and a mother—are all voting for Hillary. They are all wonderful people, yet staunch Democrats. I would love to read something by you about staunch Democrats. They are mostly a fine bunch of people who believe in social justice, equality and all the good stuff. They are far better than their party, and they continue to believe their party can provide the changes that would make the world a more just place.”

In my opinion, the big block of staunch Democrats voting for Hillary represents the single greatest obstacle to positive change in our society, and I think it would be more accurate to call such people Fundamentalist Democrats because of their unswerving devotion to people and doctrine serving the ruling elite and screwing everybody else.

WILL PARRISH: The Russian River — Everybody Wants Some, But…

 

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From WILL PARRISH
Ukiah
TheAVA

The Russian River, as we know it today, arises in the pine-studded hills surrounding Potter Valley, with an overwhelming infusion of Eel River water helping it on its way as it tumbles down into the Lake Mendocino reservoir. The river’s western fork trickles out of the fir-laden hills north of Redwood Valley, in the vicinity of the Holy Transfiguration Monastery: an outpost of the Ukranian Greek-Catholic Church.

The two forks come together at the precise location of the Mendocino Forests Products (aka Mendocino Redwood Company) mill in northern Ukiah, which draws on an annual water right of about 90 acre-feet in the course of annually producing more than 45 million board feet of lumber. As it leaves Mendocino County, the river cuts through a spectacular serpentine canyon best known as the location of Frog Woman Rock and drops into the Alexander Valley, where it is fed by water that drops from the world’s second largest geothermal power plant, and from Mount St. Helena: the highest point in the Mayacamas mountain range.

This is What Will Happen at the Democratic Convention…

 

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From John Laurets

Can Sanders do it? Or is Clinton truly inevitable?

Bernie Sanders has vowed to fight relentlessly for the 2016 Democratic Party’s nomination up to the convention and, despite the apparent consensus of the media’s talking heads that the campaign is a lost cause, he has held fast to his claim that there is a “narrow path to victory.” I am reminded of Galadriel’s ominous words of advice, in the Fellowship of the Ring: The quest stands upon the edge of a knife — stray but a little, and it will fail… ÷

It has even become something of a weekly occurrence for Hillary Clinton and her Wallstreet-backed campaign to imply, insinuate, or flat-out demand that Sanders withdraw his bid for the nomination — they are growing increasingly indignant about the fact that Sanders is trying to win. Which brings us to the heart of the issue — can Bernie Sanders–can we–win the delegates needed for the nomination?

The answer to this question is as simple as it is misleading — No. No, my friends, we cannot. And yet–! And yet, neither can Hillary Clinton — and I am going to show you what the media is willfully hiding from you. I am going to show you why, using the one thing that even the media can’t hide: Math.

Why Clinton Will Not Secure the Nomination, According to Math

We will not leave until Bernie has the nomination…

 

BACKYARDS
From The Independent Thinker

At the time of this writing Hillary Clinton has amassed a 333 delegate lead over Senator Bernie Sanders.

The only conceivable scenario for Sanders to achieve the number of delegates required to gain the nomination is if the Super-delegates switch to Bernie Sanders.

This is extremely unlikely to happen, as Clinton has literally purchased the Super-delegates.

It is of course possible that if the FBI indicts Hillary on treason charges, as a result of the mass deletion of emails which contained, what is most likely weapons deals she made with terrorist leaders, then the Super-delegates would surely switch allegiances, to avoid going down with the ship.

This is possible, but not something you can bank on if you are a Sanders supporter.

But there IS a way that Sanders can gain the Democratic Party nomination and the good news is that YOU are an important part of this process.

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Bernie has known all along that the Democratic party was not going to allow him a fair primary, just because he traded in his Independent status for Democratic.

He is an outsider.

It is ridiculous for Sanders’ supporters to expect fair treatment by an organization that has already spent tens of millions of dollars grooming their candidate.

Saints of Science and Reason…

 

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From Saints of Science and Reason

GENE LOGSDON: Anthropomorphism, A Big Word Getting Bigger

 

imageFrom GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer

Treating animals as if they were humans or ascribing human characteristics to animals, which is what anthropomorphism means, is gaining more cultural ground every day and giving farmers who produce meat a huge headache. Things have gone so far that some people equate eating any meat with cannibalism.

Good grief. But if the human race decides not to eat meat anymore, what can I say? I am not infallible in matters of faith and morals like the Pope is supposed to be. Come to think of it, I wonder what the Pope has to say about animal rights because the accusation of cannibalism was often leveled at early Christians to make fun of them. Christians believed, and Catholics still do, that, during the communion service, bread actually, literally, not symbolically, transubstantiates into the body of Christ when the priest pronounces the words “this is my body” over it. Critics of early Christianity said that if someone truly believed that, then they were cannibals to consume that transformed bread. Silly, perhaps, but by the same token I could accuse today’s more extreme animal rights defenders of cannibalism for consuming all those tiny microbial animals in the bread they eat.

Freethinkers: Douglas Adams (1952 – 2001)…

 

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From Celebrity Atheists

On ‘radical atheism’:

“If you describe yourself as “Atheist,” some people will say, “Don’t you mean ‘Agnostic’?” I have to reply that I really do mean Atheist. I really do not believe that there is a god – in fact I am convinced that there is not a god (a subtle difference). I see not a shred of evidence to suggest that there is one. It’s easier to say that I am a radical Atheist, just to signal that I really mean it, have thought about it a great deal, and that it’s an opinion I hold seriously. It’s funny how many people are genuinely surprised to hear a view expressed so strongly. In England we seem to have drifted from vague wishy-washy Anglicanism to vague wishy-washy Agnosticism – both of which I think betoken a desire not to have to think about things too much.”

On the burden of proof:

“I don’t accept the currently fashionable assertion that any view is automatically as worthy of respect as any equal and opposite view. My view is that the moon is made of rock. If someone says to me “Well, you haven’t been there, have you? You haven’t seen it for yourself, so my view that it is made of Norwegian Beaver Cheese is equally valid” – then I can’t even be bothered to argue. There is such a thing as the burden of proof, and in the case of god, as in the case of the composition of the moon, this has shifted radically. God used to be the best explanation we’d got, and we’ve now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. So I don’t think that being convinced that there is no god is as irrational or arrogant a point of view as belief that there is. I don’t think the matter calls for even-handedness at all.”

On the arguments for religious ideas, contrasted with those for evolutionary biology:

Freethought Report…

 

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The Freedom of Thought Report is an annual survey on discrimination and persecution against non-religious people in countries around the world. The latest report is available free to download.

The first report was published in 2012 on International Human Rights Day, 10 December. In his preface to the report, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, said:

“As a universal human right, freedom of religion or belief has a broad application. However, there seems to be little awareness that this right also provides a normative frame of reference for atheists, humanists and freethinkers and their convictions, practices and organizations. I am therefore delighted that for the first time the Humanist community has produced a global report on discrimination against atheists. I hope it will be given careful consideration by everyone concerned with freedom of religion or belief.”

For the 2013 report we asked two victims of anti-atheist persecution to provide the introductory remarks. The cases of Kacem El Ghazzali and Alber Saber, from Morocco and Egypt respectively, also feature in the report. They said:

“In spite of international treaties and conventions, many states discriminate in subtler but important ways. And this has a global impact. Laws against “insulting” religion in relatively secure, relatively secular countries, for example, are not only analogues of the most vicious blasphemy laws anywhere in the world, but help to sustain the global norm under which thought is policed and punished.

We welcome this report. The world cannot fix these problems until they are laid bare.”

In 2014, in their preface, Gulalai Ismail and Agnes Ojera, both working to promote human rights in Pakistan and Uganda respectively, said:

“The rights of the non-religious, and the rights of religious minorities and non-conformists, are a touchstone for the freedoms of thought and expression at large. Discrimination and persecution against the non-religious in particular is very often bound up with political suppression, with fears about progressive values, or with oppression in the name of religion. Humanists and secularists are often among the first to ask questions, and to raise the alarm when human rights are being trampled, when religion is misused or abused, or — even with the best intentions — if religion has become part of the problem. Silence the non-religious, and you silence some of the leading voices of responsible concern in society.”

On this site you can find out more about the reportmake a submission, and download the latest report.
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Bernie’s Democratic Socialism and Ours…

 

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From Socialist Alternative
Seattle

[Kailyn Nicholson of #Movement4Bernie and #MillionStudentMarch interviews Seattle’s Socialist City Councilmember about Bernie Sanders’ and Kshama Sawant‘s views of democratic socialism.]

Kailyn: Bernie Sanders has popularized the idea of democratic socialism to an audience of millions. How important is it that Bernie Sanders has called himself a democratic socialist?

Kshama: Whether or not you agree with Bernie Sanders’ version of socialism, it is enormously significant that, for the first time in US history, a presidential candidates who calls himself a socialist has had an actual shot at winning the presidential election. And to his credit, he has not backed down from the label. He has shown that socialism is no longer the barrier that it used to be during the Cold War. In fact, his campaign has demonstrated there is incredible interest in socialism, particularly among young people. This is a sea change.

Kailyn: How would you define democratic socialism?

Kshama: Socialism is a society where the resources are used democratically to provide a better life for all, based on ending the dictatorship of big business over the economy and politics. Today, we live in a world of incredible wealth and technology, alongside the most horrendous conditions of poverty, war and environmental crisis. This is result of capitalism, a system based on prioritizing profits not human need where the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a capitalist elite.

Kailyn: Is this what Bernie Sanders means by socialism?

Freethinker: Sam Harris Reads From and Discusses ‘The End of Faith’

 

Sam Harris Reads and Discusses the First Chapter of his August 2004 Book: The End of Faith… the first and seminal book of the New Atheists…
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How Bernie Pays For His Proposals…

 

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Freethinker: All-Pro NFL running back Arian Foster talks about his personal values…

 


My name is Arian Foster, and I am openly secular.

My beliefs in regard to the existence of god is, I don’t know. I have no idea. I’ve done a lot of research, a lot of digging on my own, and I think that that’s the first step as human beings is trying to understand the world we live in. And then if there is anything, I was trying to understand that, as well. But I just don’t think we’re there yet to have any proof either way, so it’s hard for me to buy into all of it.

I’m not a religious person. I never was – well, let me take that back. I grew up in a Muslim household. My father was Muslim, and I used to pray five times a day. And I think the big thing with him was he didn’t want us to…he didn’t want to pigeonhole us into any belief. He believes in freethinking kids, and so I think that was the biggest gift my parents ever gave me: they let us be freethinkers. So, after a while, I just didn’t feel right to me. I didn’t have anything against it; I just didn’t understand why we were doing some of the things we were doing.

God Was Never On Your Side…

 

Thanks to Bruce

If the stars fall down on me
And the sun refuse to shine
Then may the shackles be undone,
And all the old words, cease to rhyme.
If the skies, turn into stone,
It will matter not at all,
For there is no heaven in the sky,
Hell does not wait for our downfall,

Let the voice of reason shine,
Let the pious vanish for all times,
God’s face is, hidden, all unseen,
You can’t ask him what it all means
He was never on your side,
God was never on your side
Let right or wrong, alone decide,
God was never on your side.

See the ten thousand ministries,
See the holy righteous dogs,
They claim to heal
but all they do is steal,
Abuse your faith, cheat & rob.
If god is wise, why is he still,
When these false prophets
call him friends,
Why is he silent, is he blind,
Are we abandoned in the end?

Let the sword of reason shine,
Let us be free of prayer & shrine
God’s face is hidden, turned away
He never has a word to say
He was never on your side
God was never on your side
Let right or wrong, alone decide,
God was never on your side.
(No, No, No)

He was never on your side,
God was never on your side
Never, Never, Never, Never,
Never on your side [x2]
God was never on your side,
Never on your side.
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The New Testament Is Worse Than The Old Testament…

 


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From ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)

One great objection to the Old Testament is the cruelty said to have been commanded by God. All these cruelties ceased with death. The vengeance of Jehovah stopped at the tomb. He never threatened to punish the dead; and there is not one word, from the first mistake in Genesis to the last curse of Malachi, containing the slightest intimation that God will take his revenge in another world. It was reserved for the New Testament to make known the doctrine of eternal pain.

The teacher of universal benevolence rent the veil between time and eternity, and fixed the horrified gaze of man upon the lurid gulf of hell. Within the breast of non-resistance coiled the worm that never dies. Compared with this, the doctrine of slavery, the wars of extermination, the curses, the punishments of the Old Testament were all merciful and just.

Pat Boone Wants To Nail Blasphemers To The Cross…

 

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From PoliticusUSA

Boone says “there should be regulations that prohibit blasphemy” because SNL made fun of Christians pretending to be persecuted. Fuck you, Pat… and the white bucks you rode in on…]

Pat Boone, citing a “vitriol” against believers like himself, told Alan Colmes Thursday that “there should be regulations that prohibit blasphemy” after Saturday Night Live, in a movie parody poked fun at Christianity’s persecution complex – you know, because it’s genuinely funny that the world’s largest religion thinks it’s being persecuted.

“Vitriol,” of course, used in the conservative sense, is a code word for people who don’t think a few people like Boone ought to tell us what we can and cannot do or say. For Boone and Colmes, it is absolutely not vitriol to condemn people who chose not to abide by their rules. An example of this is Boone telling Glenn Beck that the SNL crew are going to hell for their movie parody.

Asked by Colmes if he would “regulate restrictions” on what was said, Boone first said no before saying yes, so when Colmes asked Boone,

“Would you “like the FCC to declare that a show like Saturday Night Live or any other show can’t do that kind of humor?” Boone answered, “You cannot do blasphemy, yes.”

Really? Keep in mind, you can’t blaspheme Boone’s god, but you can blaspheme other gods. Say, Allah, for example. Because Pat Boone’s Bible.

In The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine wrote that on the contrary, it is the Bible that is “a book of lies, wickedness, and blasphemy.”

Christian Crock: Homegrown Christian Terrorism…

 


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WILL PARRISH: Who Funds Mendo Politics?

 

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From WILL PARRISH
Ukiah
TheAVA

The people who fund American politics are already breaking spending records in the 2016 election season, collectively pouring billions of dollars into national, state, and even some local contests as they attempt to tighten their existing firm grip on the country’s political windpipe. At the same time, top candidates in each major party – namely, Trump and Sanders – have made opposition to the influence-peddling and favor-dispensing role of so-called “special interest” campaign financiers one of their signature issues.

To what extent do large campaign contributions factor into Mendocino County elections? Not much. For comparison’s sake, consider the fundraiser George Clooney hosted over the weekend for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, perennial favorite of Democratic Party right-wingers, that cost $33,400 per person to attend. That’s roughly as much as each candidate raised overall in the most recent competitive Mendocino County Board of Supervisors race, the Third District contest of 2014.

TODD WALTON: Nuclear Giants

 

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On A Salty Day painting by Nolan Winkler

From TODD WALTON
Under The Table
Mendocino

“Nuclear power is one hell of a way to boil water.” Albert Einstein

Listening to the Giants bombard the Dodgers last week, I decided to pay a couple bills. This year, so far, for the first time since I was a kid listening to Lon Simmons and Russ Hodges doing the radio broadcasts, the boys are winning games with strong hitting rather than great pitching. Mays, McCovey, Cepeda, and Alou were a scary battery for any pitcher to face in the 1960s, and today we’ve got Panik, Posey, Pence, Belt, Duffy and Crawford smacking the ball around the park, not to mention our ace Madison Bumgarner taking the loathsome Clayton Kershaw deep in their first meeting of the year.

So I opened our PG&E bill and found two notices of requests for rate increases. PG&E wasn’t asking for my approval of these proposed increases, they were informing me that they have asked the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) to allow them to jack up our rates again. These announcements always strike me as disingenuous since PG&E is not a public utility, though it should be, and the CPUC approves everything PG&E wants as a matter of course, though they shouldn’t.

Can Religion be an Addiction?

 

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From 

“I’ve never been happier since I quit my 30-year addiction to Jesus.” – A Former Believer

To a medical researcher, the word addiction has a specific biological meaning. But in common vernacular, it means approximately thisthe state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, such as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. 

Based on this definition some religious experiences seem a lot like addictions—at least that’s what former believers say.

Blogger and former Christian Sandra Kee, looks back at her family history and sees religion and addiction as a messy tangle: “My family for several generations was in a dysfunctional and addictive religious life, using God (or what we believed about God) as a drug. Many of the family who left religion simply traded for another addiction. The generations that entered into religion did so to escape alcoholism and other addictions (though it wasn’t called addiction back then). Many who remained in religion developed additional addictions as well.”

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