Posts By ds

Victims Of The Christians: How many people have been killed by Christians since Biblical times?


From Church and State

Listed are only events that solely occurred on command or participation of church authorities or were committed in the name of Christianity. (List incomplete)

Ancient Pagans

  • As soon as Christianity became legal in the Roman Empire by imperial edict (315), more and more pagan temples were destroyed by Christian mob. Pagan priests were killed.
  • Between 315 and 6th century thousands of pagan believers were slain.
  • Examples of destroyed Temples: the Sanctuary of Aesculap in Aegaea, the Temple of Aphrodite in Golgatha, Aphaka in Lebanon, the Heliopolis.
  • Christian priests such as Mark of Arethusa or Cyrill of Heliopolis were famous as “temple destroyer.”
  • Pagan services became punishable by death in 356.
  • Christian Emperor Theodosius (408-450) even had children executed, because they had been playing with remains of pagan statues.
    According to Christian chroniclers he “followed meticulously all Christian teachings…”
  • In 6th century pagans were declared void of all rights.
  • In the early fourth century the philosopher Sopatros was executed on demand of Christian authorities.
  • The world famous female philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria was torn to pieces with glass fragments by a hysterical Christian mob led by a Christian minister named Peter, in a church, in 415.
(Source: Bad News About Christianity)
(Source: Bad News About Christianity)


  • Emperor Karl (Charlemagne) in 782 had 4500 Saxons, unwilling to convert to Christianity, beheaded.
  • Peasants of Steding (Germany) unwilling to pay suffocating church taxes: between 5,000 and 11,000 men, women and children slain 5/27/1234 near Altenesch/Germany.
  • 15th century Poland: 1019 churches and 17987 villages plundered by Knights of the Order. Number of victims unknown.
  • 16th and 17th century Ireland. English troops “pacified and civilized” Ireland, where only Gaelic “wild Irish”, “unreasonable beasts lived without any knowledge of God or good manners, in common of their goods, cattle, women, children and every other thing.” One of the more successful soldiers, a certain Humphrey Gilbert, half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, ordered that “the heddes of all those (of what sort soever thei were) which were killed in the daie, should be cutte off from their bodies… and should bee laied on the ground by eche side of the waie”, which effort to civilize the Irish indeed caused “greate terrour to the people when thei sawe the heddes of their dedde fathers, brothers, children, kinsfolke, and freinds on the grounde”.
    Tens of thousands of Gaelic Irish fell victim to the carnage.

This Is How They Broke Our Grandmothers…


From Church and State

Once, there were witches. No. There were never witches. Not in the way men said, anyway.

Once, there were many Indigenous polytheist and animist faith traditions in what is now Western Europe. Their customs supported varying levels of respect and authority for women. They had holy women, woman healers, and woman leaders.

Once, there was a church that was a kingdom, built on the body of the Roman Empire, which itself was built on the abduction and rape of the Sabine women. This church was a principality in truth, ruled by princes who had a lust for land and gold that was almost as insatiable as their burning hatred for women.

They converted heads of state and demanded tithes of members, while leaving most local governance alone. They created a very early, very ephemeral transnational empire that required little in the way of personnel or men under arms, and was mainly concerned with governing what’s often classed as the private sphere.

Eventually, the church’s client states had a problem keeping their peasants in line, because the church and the aristocracy wanted to steal all the land and privatize it for themselves through enclosure of the commons.

As Sylvia Federici explains in her book, Caliban and the Witch, secular authorities eventually hit on the popular strategy of giving everything that women had to men, including the women themselves. Civil servants didn’t forget to account for the economic value of women’s work; rather, it was explicitly written out of economic accounting — declared to have no value during the enclosure era. Male tradesmen coordinated boycotts of female competitors and of men who worked with them. Women who persisted in trying to engage in public trades were harassed, called “whores” or “witches,” or were even assaulted without repercussion.

Eventually, to be a woman in public alone was very nearly synonymous with being presumed a witch or prostituted woman. Violence against women was both normalized and sexualized. Women were increasingly driven into prostitution if no man supported them or if they were pushed outside of polite society through accusations of misbehavior, unsanctioned relationships, or sexual abuse. In the sex trade, upstanding men in their communities could torture these women at will, their victims the only party subject to legal sanction.

In order to do their part in solving the problem of the revolting peasantry and acquire their own share of the former commons, the church stepped up to bless this destruction of women’s rights and independence with the seal of divine approval. Their priests invented witches. That is, they invented women who worshipped and had sex with the Devil, who then gave them ludicrous powers — what feminist historian Max Dashu calls “diabolism.” The church further asserted that everything that wasn’t approved as Christian was diabolism.

Again, there weren’t any witches as the church defined them. The pornographic, diabolist image described in the Malleus Maleficarum didn’t refer to any existing persons. For the most part, it didn’t even refer to things that are possible, in spite of the fact that some Indigenous spiritual and women’s health practices were included as evidence of witchcraft.

“Witches” were just women. That’s what men meant, in their own words.

Florida Christians Want to Kill Women Who Have Abortions…


Women’s Rights in Light of the Bible


From Church and State

Abolish Abortion Florida, an evangelical Christian group, is calling for a ballot measure in 2018 that would treat all abortion providers and receivers as complicit in first degree murder, making them eligible for the death penalty. (Source: Friendly Atheist)

Abolish Abortion Florida – a Christian-run political group aimed at ending legal abortion in the United States – wants women who obtain abortions to be punished. That is, they believe any woman who obtains an abortion should receive the death penalty.

The push to kill women for exercising control and choice over their bodies follows similar (yet less deadly) calls earlier this year by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump to punish women for abortion. His campaign’s newest advisor wants to ban abortion in all forms – even in cases of rape, incest, and when necessary to save the woman’s life.

Based on the GOP’s focus on abortion this election it should come as no surprise the next logical step for Christian conservatives is to literally kill the women who want to choose what happens to their bodies.

Basing their reasoning in the notion that abortion is actually murder and would hold accountable not just those who perform abortion but those who obtain them, Abolish Abortion Florida is pushing for a 2018 state ballot measure (that would immediately be struck down assuming the Supreme Court isn’t stacked with Scalia-style judges) making all of those involved criminals with the possibility of being put to death.

According to a press release from the anti-choice organization:

I Am What I Am…




From The Humanist

In 1970 Ernie Chambers was elected to represent North Omaha’s 11th District in the Nebraska State Legislature as an independent, and was reelected each term for the next thirty-four years, becoming the longest serving state senator in Nebraska’s history and its first African-American senator. In his decades in office, Chambers (dressed in jeans and a short-sleeved sweat-shirt) has spearheaded the move to abolish corporal punishment in schools, to afford equal state pensions to women, and to switch to district-based voting to give nonwhite citizens a fair shot at election to public office.

A term-limit amendment passed in 2000 forced Chambers out of office for four years starting in 2008. He ran again in 2012 and won handily. This gave him the opportunity to reintroduce legislation to abolish the death penalty in Nebraska, which he’d done every year he was in office starting in 1976, when the Supreme Court ended a moratorium on the practice. On May 27, 2015, the Nebraska legislature voted 30-19 to override the veto of Gov. Pete Ricketts, thereby making Nebraska the first traditionally conservative state to eliminate the death penalty since North Dakota in 1973.

On May 28, 2016, Chambers was honored with the American Humanist Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual conference in Chicago. The following is adapted from his acceptance speech.

I HAVE ALWAYS always been only what I am. I’ve never tried to pretend to be anything that I’m not. I don’t cheese up to people. I don’t accept things from people. When I run for office, I refuse all donations. I will not campaign. Some people want me to campaign, and when they point out that there is opposition, I say there has always been opposition. But what’s more important to me than anything else is my self-respect. If I’m not elected, it doesn’t diminish me. What I believe campaigning should consist of is how I behave when I’m in the middle of the battle. What do I say? What do I do? If what I say and do aren’t satisfactory, don’t vote for me. I don’t have any proprietary ownership of that office.

Voluntary Exits: The VSED Way to Speed Up Dying, Without Asking Permission…


Bonnie Reagan with a photo of her mother, Del Greenfield, in Ashland, Ore. Ms. Greenfield resorted to so-called VSED to die at age 91 in 2007.CreditEzra Marcos for The New York Times 

From NYT

Del Greenfield had endured repeated bouts of cancer over four decades, yet kept working as a peace activist in Portland, Ore., into her 80s. “She was a powerful force,” said her daughter, Bonnie Reagan.

But in 2007, Ms. Greenfield was struggling. She had been her husband’s caregiver until he died that year at 97, never telling her family she was feeling miserable herself. She’d lost much of her hearing. She required supplemental oxygen.

When she fell and broke an arm, “that was the final straw,” her daughter said. “She was a real doer, and she couldn’t function the way she wanted to. Life wasn’t joyful anymore.”

At 91, Ms. Greenfield told her family she was ready to die. She wanted a prescription for lethal drugs, and because she had active cancer, she might have obtained one under Oregon’s Death with Dignity statute for people with terminal illnesses.

Then her son-in-law, a family physician who had written such prescriptions for other patients, explained the somewhat involved process: oral and written requests, a waiting period, two physicians’ assent.

“I don’t have time for that,” Ms. Greenfield objected. “I’m just going to stop eating and drinking.”

In end-of-life circles, this option is called VSED (usually pronounced VEEsed), for voluntarily stopping eating and drinking. It causes death by dehydration, usually within seven to 14 days. To people with serious illnesses who want to hasten their deaths, a small but determined group, VSED can sound like a reasonable exit strategy.

Voluntary Exits: ‘I will choose my own time of departure’ — Family releases video of euthanasia advocate’s final moments…


vVideo here

For two years the family of euthanasia advocate Max Bromson has lived in fear of criminal prosecution.

Max died in July 2014 at age 66, but not of the bone cancer that made his last years so painful.

Instead, with a camera rolling, he died surrounded by his family after taking a fatal dose of euthanasia drug Nembutal.

His death sparked a police and coronial investigation into what role his family may have played in his death. Their cameras, computers and the controversial footage of his final moments were seized as evidence.

“The reason we filmed it was probably for legal reasons, to show that we had nothing to do with assisting him, that it was his choice,” Kerry Bromson, Max’s sister, told 7.30.

“I think we were naive, I think we all went in quite blind.

“We were doing it out of love for our brother, or father, it wasn’t a conscious thing about what would happen out of this.”

Now the family has been cleared of any wrongdoing and the footage can be seen publicly for the first time.

Sunday Song: What Would Scooby Do?


Thanks to Bruce

These are pretty swell times
Or it seems so to me
For science in books on the web and TV
Yes the lover of reason just has to say “WOW”!
There’s a whole lot of really good stuff out there now

You’ve got Hawking and Dawkins
Bill Nye’s a big deal
We’ve had Cosmos with Carl
And Cosmos with Neil
But there’s one voice of reason
Who always comes through

I am speaking of course
Of the great Scooby Doo

When life presents a mystery
And you can’t make sense of the clues
Before you proclaim that something spooky’s to blame
Just try asking “What would Scooby do?”

Remember that cool caper when a wicked evil ape
Or maybe some demented crazed orangutan
Was haunting all the actors on a movie set
The fact was he scared everyone away
That seemed to be his evil plan

Scooby and his friends
Did they give in to the hysteria?
Of course not
They just calmly started searching the whole area

They carried out their task
They ripped away the monkey’s mask
There was no ape at all
Just stunt man Carl was their man

When everyone seems baffled
By a strange occurrence or two
You’ll soon understand
An explanation’s at hand

If you try asking “What would Scooby do?”

Another time this ghoul was making everyone feel foolish
With his blood red cape and piercing yellow eyes
Scaring workers on a scaffold, the authorities were baffled
Why was a monster hanging out up there on their high-rise?

Everyone was scared and seemed to want to disappear
Scooby and his friends said “Something fishy’s happening here”

They set out undercover
Sure enough, they soon discovered
What others called a ghoul
Was just a robber in disguise

When people seem bewildered
By a ghost, a wraith or a ghoul
It could be a fluke
It doesn’t have to be spooks

Just try asking “What would Scooby do?”

When life presents a mystery
And you can’t make sense of the clues
Before you proclaim that something spooky’s to blame
Just try asking “What would Scooby?”
“What would good old Scooby?”
“Tell me what would Scooby do?”

So when things seem bizarre
And you’re at your wits’ ends
Be like old Scooby Doo
And his Skeptical friends

For they know it is clear
What Occam ’s razor commands
Don’t accept goofy claims
If something simpler’s at hand

When life presents a mystery
And you can’t make sense of the clues
Before you proclaim that something spooky’s to blame
Just try asking “What would Scooby?”
“Tell me what would Scooby?”
“What would good old Scooby do?”

Ingersoll: Foundations of Faith — The Trinity



From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

Ingersoll Foundations of Faith Series…
Old Testament
New Testament
The Trinity

The New Testament informs us that Christ was the son of Joseph and the son of God, and that Mary was his mother.

How is it established that Christ was the son of God?

It is said that Joseph was told so in a dream by an angel.

But Joseph wrote nothing on that subject—said nothing so far as we know. Mary wrote nothing, said nothing. The angel that appeared to Joseph or that informed Joseph said nothing to anybody else. Neither has the Holy Ghost, the supposed father, ever said or written one word. We have received no information from the parties who could have known anything on the subject. We get all our facts from those who could not have known.

How is it possible to prove that the Holy Ghost was the father of Christ?

Who knows that such a being as the Holy Ghost ever existed?

How was it possible for Mary to know anything about the Holy Ghost?

How could Joseph know that he had been visited by an angel in a dream?

Could he know that the visitor was an angel? It all occurred in a dream and poor Joseph was asleep. What is the testimony of one who was asleep worth?

Freethinker: Doris Lessing Born On This Day In 1919…


Doris Lessing

From Freedom From Religion

On this date in 1919, novelist Doris Lessing (nee Doris May Tayler) was born in Persia (now Iran) to British parents. She moved with them to the British colony of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1925. Doris’ childhood, a mixture of idyllic and difficult, ended prematurely when she was sent to a convent school, where she was terrified by the nuns and their tales of sin and damnation, according to a Reader’s Guide to The Golden Notebook and Under My Skin (1995). A temporary attraction to Roman Catholic ritual was dispelled when her mother described the horrors of the Inquisition, at which point Doris “quit religion,” according to literary critic John Leonard (cited in Who’s Who in Hell by Warren Allen Smith).

Doris’ formal education ended when she dropped out of an all-girls high school at age 13. She left home at 15, married at 19, and had two children before leaving her family. Doris later remarried and had a son with Gottfried Lessing. Her first novel, The Grass is Singing, was published in 1949, the year she moved to London with her son. Her famed “Children of Violence” series (1951-1959) features her heroine, Martha Quest, in a series of four coming of age novels.

In 1956, Lessing was named a “prohibited alien” by Southern Rhodesia and South Africa. The Golden Notebook (1962), with heroine Anna Wulf, was hailed as an early feminist classic. Her autobiographies were published in two volumes, Under My Skin, and Walking in the Shade (1997). She has also written a series of controversial science fiction books, and continues to write fiction.

In analyzing a human propensity to dogmatism, including her own previous communist conversion, Lessing has said: ”There are certain types of people who are political out of a kind of religious reason. I think it’s fairly common among socialists: They are, in fact, God-seekers, looking for the kingdom of God on earth . . . If you don’t believe in heaven, then you believe in socialism” (The New York Times, “Doris Lessing on Feminism, Communism and ‘Space Fiction’,” July 25, 1982). She was awarded the 2007 Nobel award for Literature. D. 2013

“You’d never believe, when I was young, we genuinely believed religious wars were over. We’d say, at least it’s impossible to have a religious war now. Can you believe that? . . . I’m so afraid of religion. Its capacity for murder is terrifying.”

—-Doris Lessing interview by Harvey Blume, Boston Book Review




First Picture by Todd

Under The Table

In the days before digital cameras, I had several bouts of being a serious photographer, serious in the sense of owning good cameras, taking thousands of pictures, and even getting paid to take some of those pictures. I was primarily a black and white photographer, though not a darkroom person, and therefore availed myself of the excellent photo labs in the towns and cities where I lived—Santa Cruz, Sacramento, Berkeley.

When I moved to Mendocino eleven years ago, photography was completing the grand switcheroo to digital everything, while I was still possessed of a three-pound Nikon requiring actual film. Shortly after arriving in these hinterlands, I discovered there was no easy access to an excellent photo lab, so I stopped shooting and eventually gave my camera away.

Marcia brought a little digital camera into our marriage, and over the past decade I have occasionally borrowed her camera to snap pictures she then uploaded to her computer and sent to my computer via email.

A week ago, after several years of yearning to have a camera of my own, I purchased a diminutive Nikon weighing a mere five ounces. I must confess that electronic gizmos, even very simple ones, befuddle me, and that is the main reason I waited so long to buy a digital camera. I do not own a mobile phone, either smart or dumb, nor will I ever. For the likes of me, owning such a device would be akin to carrying around an incessantly yapping dog that can never be appeased.

Why Congress needs an openly atheist member, now…




From The Hill

In 2013, Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) became the first openly gay U.S. senator. It’s easy to understand why members of the LGBT community hailed this achievement as another meaningful step toward equal rights. After all, Congress is an extremely human place where the personal experiences of its members are critical to everything they do. As former Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) once stated, “Each of us, as United States senators, comes to … this public place with the sum of our beliefs, our personal experience and our values, and none of us checks them at the door.” Predictably, Baldwin has been a champion for gay rights. Just last year, she introduced legislation to “amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation.”

While members of Congress need not be part of a marginalized community to speak up on its behalf, the reality is that they are much more likely to do so if their lives have been personally touched by an issue. For example, former Sen. Pete Domenici, (R-N.M.) was a leading proponent of mental health while in Congress, mainly because his daughter suffered from schizophrenia. As former Rep. Lynn Rivers (D-Mich.) said, “I think it’s possible that nothing at all would have been done by Congress if it weren’t for legislators like Domenici who were galvanized by personal experience.” The unhinged gunman who murdered the husband of Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) motivated her to become the nation’s most vocal gun control advocate.

How Fish Oil Is Made…


foFrom Nourishing Traditions

Why We Need Fish LIVER Oil, Not Fish Oil

Twenty years ago, no one had heard about omega-3s—we may have thought they were a type of car or a variety of Greek column. Now omega-3 (omega-3 fatty acids, that is) is a household word, considered good little guys that we can’t get enough of. As usual, however, the truth is more nuanced.

Omega-3 fatty acids caught the public eye in a cookbook called Nourishing Traditions (published 1996), which argued that the American diet provided an excess of omega-6 fatty acids with very little omega-3, and that human beings need to obtain these two essential fatty acids in a balance of something like 2:1, 3:1 or perhaps even 4:1—but not the 20:1 that comes with a diet based on industrial seed oils. The total of omega-6 plus omega-3 should not exceed about 4 percent of total calories—that’s less than a tablespoon from all sources in a diet of two thousand calories. (The other fats should be a combination of saturated and monounsaturated, with no set limit on either.)

The proposed solution in Nourishing Traditions  was to avoid all industrial fats and oils (which tend to contain mostly omega-6 fatty acids, and damaged ones at that), eat liberal amounts of natural fats like butter, egg yolks and meat fats (which all contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, even if not pasture fed), add a small amount (emphasis on small) flax oil to salad dressings, and choose organic vegetables, wild fish and pasture-raised animal products over those that are conventionally raised—because the omega-3 levels tend to be higher in foods that are naturally raised.

But omega-3s found themselves in the headlights with the publication of The Omega Diet: The Lifesaving Nutritional Program Based on the Diet of the Island of Crete (published 1999, now out of print) by Artemis P Simopoulos and Jo Robinson.

Unlike Nourishing Traditions, The Omega Diet exudes political correctness, promoting a “Mediterranean Diet” low in red meat (because “saturated fats contribute to heart disease by raising cholesterol”) but rich in vegetables, legumes and sea food, with a grudging inclusion of cheese and eggs.

How Music Works…



STOICON ’16: the largest gathering of Stoics, ever?


From How To Be A Stoic

What STOICON ’16 looked like

STOICON ’16 just ended in New York City, and according to one of our speakers, Bill Irvine, it was the largest gathering of Stoics, ever: 331 attendees. It was, more importantly, an amazing opportunity to meet and mingle with people from different parts of the world who are interested in, or regularly practice, Stoicism as a philosophy of life. All the talks, and one of the workshops, will soon be available as video on YouTube (stay tuned for announcements!), but let me give you a flavor of what happened this past Saturday in the Big Apple, just to whet your appetite.

The first speaker of the day was Don Robertson, with his inimitable Scottish accent. Don, who is the author of the very first book on modern Stoicism that I read — Stoicism and the Art of Happiness — talked about the connection among Stoicism, mindfulness, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (he is a licensed practitioner of the latter). He pointed out that Stoic mindfulness is different from techniques aiming at emptying your mind of wandering thoughts, for instance, as it is done in some strands of Buddhism. The Stoics meant it as a cognitive exercise to constantly remind themselves to live by focusing in the here and now (hic et nunc), as well as by paying attention to the ethical dimension of everything they do (though both of these concepts are also found in Buddhism).

Julia Annas, one of the foremost scholars in ancient philosophy and author of Intelligent Virtue, rhetorically asked the audience if Stoic virtue is as off-putting as it seems, proceeding to regale us with an in-depth analysis of apparent paradoxical concepts, such as that we are all equally unvirtuous, and yet we can make progress (see the “drowning man metaphor“); or that the Sage is like the mythical phoenix, i.e., a state that can never be achieved by actual human beings. But if so, then why bother trying? My own take on these questions is that the Sage is an ideal, and it doesn’t matter if any such man or woman ever existed, it is simply something to strive for. As for the apparent paradox that we can make progress (we are all prokoptontes) and yet we all equally lack virtue, I take it to be the Stoic way to remind us to be humble, that the job is really never finished, it continues to the end of our lives.

William Edelen: It’s In the Genes — The Bright Light of Truth


eMy maternal grandparents: Papa and Mama Deaver

From Our Archives August 2014
WILLIAM EDELEN (1922 – 2015)
The Contrary Minister

Over the entire 40 years that I have been writing “religious” columns… I have received, literally, hundreds of letters, emails, and phone calls saying “THANK YOU… for setting me free from the mental prison of organized doctrine and dogma”. Maybe my column today will have a similar effect on human lives, suffering from this issue.

My subject is about ‘GENETICS’ and family history. Why am I writing about that? Because TRUTH matters. And truth is not as bad as our ignorant and half formed fears about it. Everybody today is knowledgeable about DNA (genetics) and its value in family history… relationships… paternity… and so forth. But many remain ignorant about the value of genetics in shaping a human being with values and personality traits and habits. “MAN IS A THINKING MUTANT,” wrote Pascal. And so it is.

Sunday Song: Why I Don’t Believe In God


Thanks To Bruce

I heard the truth about you
And it really doesn’t read at all
Like the whipping stick you raised me with
A scared woman in a private hell
Hushed voice like electric bell
Strange talk about Edgar Cayce and the long lame walk of the dark 70’s
I heard the truth about you
Yeah you
Mama they woke me up
I was deep in an idiot sleep
I was just eight years old
Heard big words with a horrible sound
Why’d they have to call my school
Tell me my mother had a nervous breakdown
I wish I believed like you do
Yeah you
In the myth of a merciful god
In the myth of a heaven and hell
I hear the voices you hear sometimes
Sometimes it gets so much I feel like letting go
Sometimes it gets so goddamn hard I feel like letting it all go
Letting it all go
I ran away, went looking for you
Back to Culver City and the old neighborhood
Need to know if you were really gone
Need to know if you were gone for good
I ran through the projects at night
Hide in the dark from my friends in the light
Hide from my brother-in-law
Hide from the things he’d say
Said you weren’t losing your mind
He said you just needed a rest
He said you’d be coming home soon
He said the doctors there would know what’s best
Said that maybe I could go live with them for a while
I know the truth about you
I know the truth
Mama they woke me up
I was just eight years old
Sometimes it gets so hard I feel like letting it go
Letting it all go

Freethinker: Friedrich Nietzsche Born On This Day In 1844…


From Freedom From Religion

On this date in 1844, Friedrich Nietzsche was born in a town near Leipzig, Germany. “Fritz” was the son of a Lutheran minister who died when Friedrich was four, and the grandson of two Lutheran pastors. At age 20, he wrote his sister that one could choose consolation in faith, or pursue the truth no matter where it led. During a stint of mandatory military service, he suffered a serious chest injury. He then enrolled at the University of Leipzig, where he met and became friends with Wagner and Wagner’s wife.

The brilliant student was given his Ph.D. without an examination, and joined the faculty of the University of Basel at age 24. Working as a hospital attendant during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, Nietzsche’s health was permanently weakened when he came down with diphtheria and dysentery. His first book, The Birth of Tragedy (1872), was written when he was 28. It was followed by Human, All-Too-Human (1878-80), which ended his friendship with Wagner. Nietzsche resigned from his University position due to health problems.

TODD WALTON: Sweet Libby’s


queen for a day toddq

Queen For A Day painting by Nolan Winkler

Under The Table

“Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.” Romeo and Juliet

There are days when things juxtapose so exquisitely, one can’t help feeling some sort of transcendent author is writing out the simultaneous arrival of related elements composing a harmonious whole greater than the sum of the parts.

To wit: on the very day Marcia read to me from the Anderson Valley Advertiser that Libby’s restaurant in Philo is closing, we received in the mail our Netflix copy of the Japanese movie Sweet Bean. Libby’s beans—if you have never dined at that incomparable Mexican restaurant—are not sweet, but the experience of eating Libby’s beans comingled on a fork with her delectable rice is a divine culinary experience—sweet in the sense of magnificent.

The 2015 movie Sweet Bean is based on the novel An by Durian Sukegawa, adapted to the screen and directed by Naomi Kawase. An translates as “sweet red bean paste” and is the filling for a favorite Japanese confection know as dorayaki, consisting of sweet red Azuki bean paste sandwiched between two small round sponge-cake patties. The quality of the dorayaki depends entirely on the quality of that red bean paste, and thereby hangs the cinematic parable Sweet Bean.

Trump in Exile…



From Sam Harris

It is a cliché, of course, to claim that a presidential election is the most important in living memory. But we arrived at that point in the 2016 campaign many months ago, when both sides declared their opponent unqualified for office. Unfortunately, this time the cliché is true, and one side is actually right. A choice this stark proves that there is something wrong with our political system.

Hillary Clinton is a terribly flawed candidate for the presidency, and this has allowed millions of otherwise sane Americans to imagine that she is less fit for office than Donald Trump is. Much depends on a majority of the electorate seeing through this moral and political illusion in the weeks ahead.

To consider only one point of comparison: We have now witnessed Donald Trump bragging about his sexual predations in terms that not even Satan himself could spin to his advantage. He has admitted to repeatedly groping women, kissing them on the mouth without their consent, and invading the dressing rooms of teenage pageant contestants to see them naked. Every day, more women come forward confirming the truth of these confessions. Trump has even said that he would have sex with his own daughter, were she the offspring of another man. He talks about his libido as only a malignant narcissist can: as though it were a wonder of nature, a riddle no mortal can solve, and a blessing to humanity.

Deep Time…



From John Michael Greer

An Afternoon in Early Autumn

I think it was the late science writer Stephen Jay Gould who coined the term “deep time” for the vast panorama opened up to human eyes by the last three hundred years or so of discoveries in geology and astronomy. It’s a useful label for an even more useful concept. In our lives, we deal with time in days, seasons, years, decades at most; decades, centuries and millennia provide the yardsticks by which the life cycles of human societies—that is to say, history, in the usual sense of that word—are traced.

Both these, the time frame of individual lives and the time frame of societies, are anthropocentric, as indeed they should be; lives and societies are human things and require a human measure. When that old bamboozler Protagoras insisted that “man is the measure of all things,” though, he uttered a subtle truth wrapped in a bald-faced lie.* The subtle truth is that since we are what we are—that is to say, social primates whow have learned a few interesting tricks—our capacity to understand the cosmos is strictly limited by the perceptions that human nervous systems are capable of processing and the notions that human minds are capable of thinking. The bald-faced lie is the claim that everything in the cosmos must fit inside the perceptions human beings can process and the notions they can think.

(*No, none of this has to do with gender politics. The Greek language, unlike modern English, had a common gender-nonspecific noun for “human being,” anthropos, which was distinct from andros, “man,” and gyne, “woman.” The word Protagoras used was anthropos.)

It took the birth of modern geology to tear through the veil of human time and reveal the stunningly inhuman scale of time that measures the great cycles of the planet on which we live. Last week’s post sketched out part of the process by which people in Europe and the European diaspora, once they got around to noticing that the Book of Genesis is about the Rock of Ages rather than the age of rocks, struggled to come to terms with the immensities that geological strata revealed. To my mind, that was the single most important discovery our civilization has made—a discovery with which we’re still trying to come to terms, with limited success so far, and one that I hope we can somehow manage to hand down to our descendants in the far future.

The thing that makes deep time difficult for many people to cope with is that it makes self-evident nonsense out of any claim that human beings have any uniquely important place in the history of the cosmos. That wouldn’t be a difficulty at all, except that the religious beliefs most commonly held in Europe and the European diaspora make exactly that claim.

The Baseless and Detrimental Nature of ‘Gender Roles’ Shoved Onto Our Youth…


From The Bangladeshi Humanist

“Real men don’t cry.”

“Real women should like cooking and cleaning .”

“Real men don’t show their feelings.”

“Real women always wear nice clothes.”

“Real men don’t like the color pink.”

“Real women should play with dolls, not action figures.”

“Real men play with action figures, not dolls.”

“Real women have ‘caring’ jobs such as teachers, nurses, and secretaries.”

“Real men should be in a position of authority, such as principals, doctors, and bosses.”

“Real women don’t work out physically, it makes them ugly.”

“Real men shouldn’t cry.”

“Real women don’t talk loudly or laugh too much.”

“Real men should be playing video games and enjoy violence, such as in the form of wrestling.”

“Real women don’t watch sports.”

“Real men should be buff and be adept at sports and physical tasks.”

“Real women should get married and have children.”


The perpetual collection of baseless stereotypes enforced in the domain of gender is dangerous. It’s common, it’s ubiquitous, it’s ingrained into our perception of normalcy, and it’s utilized to bring shame and discomfort when one does not conform to these standards. Undeniably, both men and women fall prey to the jaws of social ostracism on the basis of not “maintaining the image” of your gender. Men are expected to be firm and heavy-handed and authoritative. and boys are shamed and labeled “weak and un-manly” when they display emotion or sentiment. Women are anticipated to be sentimental and submissive, and are suppressed when they take interest in sports or science or typically “masculine” areas of life.

MAD Magazine took John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ and rewrote the lyrics to honor one of the most despicable men in the world…



Michael Moore: Trump Is Not The Only Grabber Who Must Go…


From Michael Moore

The rats are quickly jumping from the sinking ship of Trump. But not so fast, dear Republican senators and congressmen. Trump may have verbalized his misogyny, sexism and abuse of women into an open microphone, but over the past decades you – YOU – have LEGALIZED it. He may talk of “grabbing” sexual organs, but YOU have created laws that legally grab control over women’s bodies. Trump may brag about his power over women; YOU, the Republican legislators (and your backers, the Christian Right and rich businessmen), have made sure women aren’t paid the same as men, don’t have paid maternity leave, or can’t get easy access to birth control.

Trump has been called “disgusting” for his remarks. But you, by actually blocking women’s equal rights, you’ve been rewarded for your misogyny with re-election, campaign cash and future lobbying jobs. You think by disowning Trump now that we, the people, are going be grateful to you. But we know that Trump is only the natural result of a Republican culture that has viciously fought the women’s agenda for years. Trump hasn’t destroyed your party; he’s your end game, the grim reaper from the seeds you have sown, showing up now to preside over your demise. Defeating Trump, or pushing him to drop out, is NOT what will make this right for the majority of us Americans. Like any good doctor, we need to remove the cancer from its source, and that source is you.

Don’t try to make Mike Pence out to be some sane, better alternative. This guy was behind the legislation to require women who have an abortion to hold an actual funeral for the fetus! The rest of you have tried to kill Planned Parenthood and many other things that make life a bit easier for women.

Trump bragged to Billy Bush about his “grabbing pussy.” But those of you who are the elected officials, who have spent this weekend decrying Trump with your crocodile wails of “shame” and trying to distance yourselves from him, YOU are the ones who’ve been “grabbing” women the legal way by passing laws that, in effect, assault them. It is an assault to pay women less. It is an assault to block day care for all. It is an assault – and a form of gender apartheid – when only 20% of Congress is women, the majority gender.

As far as I’m concerned, there are 54 Trumps in the US Senate and 237 Trumps in the House. You can’t make this look good by removing your endorsement from Trump. Yes, Trump has to go — but so do you, all of you. Starting with the election on November 8th, we need to show up at the polls and remove as many of you as possible. This abuse of women stops now. I believe that most women and many men are going to determine their vote with this one thought, thanks to you and Trump:


And if you’re against women, you’re over. There’s a fourth wave of feminism afoot now — and you are going to be its first casualties.

Or, as I prefer to see it, its first victory.

Thank you for letting the American public see your true (orange) face. I’m glad you “grabbed” our attention and mobIlized the masses against you. The only thing sweeter than seeing the lot of you gone would be a 50-state sweep for Hillary.


Those Seven Times Christopher Hitchens Nailed Everything…



Christian Crock: Women Should Not Be Leaders…