Have I told you how much I hate these people? - Mike Malloy. It is every thinking person’s responsibility not to side with his or her executioners. - Albert Camus. Popular democracy anywhere threatens fascism everywhere. - The Scallion. A fascist junta of neocons using George W. Bush as its shill has taken over America by bloodless coup. What will it take for us to stage a revolution and take our country back? - Dot Calm. Drive a hybrid. Leave a lighter footprint on the planet. - Dot Calm.
Like Granny D, I have watched my own beloved country change, and I am angry beyond words about what I see. I grew up seeing America as the equivalent of the movie good guy, the hero in the white hat who came to the rescue of those in need around the world. I have watched in silent horror as the corporations, the captains and the kings of industry, used a comparatively small outlay of cash to buy the Republicans to use as their shills. George W. Bush is the puppet cowboy-king of shills, the proverbial emperor with no clothes. Every day, I watch these evil men legalize, legitimize, and institutionalize robbing the poor to pay the rich. They are carving up America like a giant carcass and doling out choice chunks of its meat to themselves and their cronies. Since the Democrats have been sipping at the same corporate teat where the Republicans have been gorging for the past generation, the fascists are free to do their worst; there is no longer any opposition. There is no one left to stand up for the rights of the American people, the Constitution, or the democracy, which I fear will be replaced by a fascist dictatorship in my lifetime. Wake up, America: we need a REVOLUTION NOW!
"[B.F.] Skinner conducted his research on a group of hungry pigeons whose body weights had been reduced to 75% of their normal weight when well-fed. For a few minutes each day, a mechanism fed the birds at regular intervals. What observers of the pigeons found showed the birds developing superstitious behaviour, believing that by acting in a particular way, or committing a certain action, food would arrive.
"By the end of the study, three quarters of the birds had become superstitious. One pigeon, in pursuit of food, believed that by turning around in the cage twice or three times between being fed, but not just in any direction; the bird learnt to turn anti-clockwise and appeared to believe that this would mean it being fed.
"Now, it's easy to dismiss such behaviour as normal - a bird in a cage might be expected to exercise a little. But the other birds developed unique superstitious behaviours in an attempt to gain a meal.
Other behaviors the observers discovered include what they described as a 'pendulum' movement of the head of one bird and a regular nodding movement in another bird.
"Skinner's Pigeon Experiment revealed that even pigeons can be conditioned to develop superstitious behaviours in belief that they will be fed. But superstition is more obvious in everyday human behaviour; for example, avoiding 3 consecutive grates in a street, or avoiding walking under ladders."
In other words, it's understandable that, in the absence of understanding, animals and humans mistakenly associate unrelated behaviors with rewards.
Sadly, humans associate imaginary rewards with unrelated behaviors that deprive other humans (not to mention animals) of life and liberty--like depriving unfavored populations of their rights (women, other races, LGBTQ+, other religions, atheists, etc.)...and like all the human sacrifices made to the Judeo-Christian God (not to mention the Aztec gods and hosts of other gods through the ages).
If you don't have an accurate understanding of reality, you won't act reasonably within that reality.
Suppose you have a very dear friend.
Now suppose that your friend believes she has faeries in her garden.
And suppose she believes that she can talk to the faeries and that they talk back.
Naturally, these faeries are shy...they are invisible to those who don't believe in them, and your friend is convinced that only she--and other faerie-lover/believers--can talk to and hear them.
Now suppose that your friend does nice things for others because she believes that doing so will appease the faeries.
Isn't that lovely? What a harmless little belief--charming, in fact.
But suppose that, just last night, the faeries "told" her to kill someone. Like her first-born child. Or your first-born child.
Not so lovely or harmless any more, is it?
The truth of the matter is that there is no proof--there is zero objective evidence--for any god anywhere. Not Yahweh or Jehova or El...not Allah...not Vishnu...not Poseidon...not Pele...not any of the thousands of gods posited, worshiped, and believed real throughout recorded history.
Zero, zip, nada.
But people claim to talk to and hear from these gods just the same. And these people do things--sometimes nice, sometimes murderous--in the names of these gods.
Like shooting up an abortion clinic...or shooting up a gay night club on Latin night...or suicide-bombing the eleventh busiest airport in the world.
And voting against equal rights for others.
And voting to harm the poor.
And voting for bigots.
"But why won't you just let us believe what we want?"
Hello...because your wield your crazy beliefs like a club to hit everyone else over the head with--to make others who do not think as you do behave...live their lives...as you dictate.
I refuse to tolerate people doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason, and I won't legitimize doing the right thing for the wrong reason.
No matter how wonderful the "right thing" is, if it's being done for the wrong reasons, it's meaningless. And it's a huge red flag that you're just as willing to do the "wrong thing" for the wrong reasons.
As a society, we will not survive if we cling to the imaginary. Reality is challenging enough, and we need to be firing on all cylinders if we are to be effective in finding solutions to our problems.
Coddling a group of people who claims to disbelieve science in JEEzus' name while yakking on their shiny iPhones and driving their cars with GPS navigation isn't going to make the present or the future any easier. Once we abdicate understanding science, we stop being innovators. We stop driving our own economic future, and we are reduced to consuming other nations' technology--which will seem like magic to us. We will become like the backward, primitive populations we love to hate as "savages" as we give ourselves over to the competitors we love to hate. And since we no longer value science--nor understand that technology is the fruit of science, dependent on rather than independent from it--we run heedless and headlong toward that cliff.
Just wishing away and tolerating religious intolerance, hatred, and bigotry...and letting people cause each other grievous harm in the name of religion...just doesn't cut it.
It never did; it never will; and we should know better than to condone it.
"Oh, but there is proof of God--it's called 'creation.'"
I hates ta disappoint ya, but the existence of the universe does not prove a creator. All the universe proves by existing is that it does exist. The argument from complexity--that complexity demands a creator--fails because it just kicks the can down the road. If God created us, then who created God? And then who created God's God? And so on, ad infinitum. RationalWiki has more about the fallacies that religious apologists use, so I won't get into them here.
But here's the cool part: you can prove to yourself that there is no God.
If you're willing to be intellectually honest with yourself, that is.
1. Write down 10 things you really want. For 5 of those things, pray to God. For the other 5, pray to something else, like a pet, a favorite stuffed toy, a milk jug, etc. Ask for answers in the form of "yes," "no," or "wait." Over the course of six months, write down what happens "in answer" to each prayer.
2. Write down 10 questions you really want answered or predicted. For 5 of those things, pray to God. For the other 5, pray to something else. Write down each answer or prediction you get, and write down how each pans out over the course of six months.
What you will find, if you're honest with yourself in recording the results, is that praying to God is no more effective than praying to your dog or teddy bear or milk jug.
What you will find, if you're honest with yourself in recording the results, is that you WILL get at least some WRONG answers to your questions.
Because the person answering your prayers and giving you the predictions is YOU--even when you think you're praying to God. Oh, sure, it may be a different aspect of your consciousness than you're usually aware of...that "feels" different from your usual inner dialog of thoughts...so, it may "feel" foreign to you...like you are hearing from God. But you're not hearing from God...or Fluffy...or Borden 2%.
I suspect (but have no proof) that what you're accessing is your own unconscious. I say that because you WILL get SOME answers that will amaze you in their accuracy because you're not consciously aware of them. But that's beside the point. What matters is that you are talking to and hearing from YOU...if you get any answers at all, that is. Many people's brains just don't work that way. Just like most things about us as a species when it comes to neurology and psychology, it seems to be a continuum. (And that's just another way of saying that there's no such thing as "normal.") It seems to be related to activity in the temporal and parietal lobes of the brain--no God needed to give us these right AND wrong answers.
The sooner we as a species wrap our heads around this fact, the better off we'll be.
Like I said, reality is challenging enough without willfully misunderstanding it.
Don't forget to read Dot Calm's shadow's favorite independent sources of news and information:
Please keep supporting Bernie (fundraiser links below, in the Mailbag) and other populist candidates trying to bring our society from far right back to the center.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for being good to yourself and your loved ones. Thanks for continuing to love and support the dear, delightful never-been-"normal" people in your life. And thanks for keeping up the fight to make this world better and safer for everyone. Thanks for doing what you can when you can. Thanks for helping the Orlando victims and their families. And thanks for letting your freak flag fly!
I'll see y'all in the funny papers next Wednesday...going out of town til then. I'll miss ya while I'm away!
With love to Orlando and in solidarity with my LGBTQ+ brothers, sisters, and everything in between around the world, I remain
- Dot Calm's shadow
(P.S.--consider the standard Blogger-random-formatting disclaimer to be still in effect. Grrrrr!)
..."Anger Management," anyone? "I feel pretty...oh , so pretty..." Spoilers: the fix is mindfulness practice, like mindfulness meditation. I've been practicing mindfulness meditation for nearly ten years now, and I swear by it. It works.
Before our nearly 1,900 delegates can vote at the Democratic convention
next month, we need to actually get them to Philadelphia.
Here's the thing: our delegates are not wealthy campaign contributors. They're not party insiders or establishment elites. They're working folks, and it's not easy for many of them to fly to Philly and stay in hotels for a week.
We really need to have all of our delegates at the Democratic
convention because we expect there could be critical votes for the party
platform and electoral process. We'd hate to fall short on these votes
because some of our delegates couldn't afford to go to the convention.
That's why I'm asking you directly:
Make a contribution to our campaign before Thursday'smidnight
FEC deadline to help our delegates come to the Democratic convention so
we can have our entire political revolution represented next month in
If you've saved payment info with ActBlue Express, your donation will go through immediately:
You'd be shocked at how expensive it is to attend the Democratic convention. It can cost more than $4,000 per delegate!
Hotels are booked months in advance, and then resold at higher prices.
Lobbyists throw all sorts of fancy parties. It's easy for the political
establishment to navigate this and know whom to call to find the right
way in. That, or they're wealthy enough to pay for themselves.
Our political revolution is not made up of people like that. Our folks need help to get to the convention and stay there.
You can make sure all our delegates represent Bernie at the Democratic convention. Can you help us before Thursday'smidnight FEC fundraising deadline?
Gov. McAuliffe is working hard to reduce Virginia's carbon footprint and move the state toward clean, renewable energy. The entire commonwealth is being negatively impacted by climate change, so the time to act is NOW!
House Speaker Paul Ryan just introduced a plan to slash America’s earned health care benefits.
His latest attack on Medicare would raise the eligibility age from 65
to 67, leaving millions stuck paying for expensive private insurance at a
time when countless Americans have little or no retirement savings.
Ryan is making it clear yet again that gutting Medicare is a key component of his Republican Party’s extreme right-wing agenda. We
need a loud and immediate outcry to stop this plan in its tracks and
make sure both parties know cutting Medicare is a political loser.
From Rootstrikers.org--do you agree with Jimmy Carter that campaigns MUST be public-financed, not sold to the rich?
Moving to a system where candidates can
really power their campaign with $5 and $25 contributions matched 6-to-1
with public funds means that elected officials WILL have to listen to
people like you, not just big money lobbyists.
There are already bills introduced in
the House by Rep. Sarbanes – called the Government by the People Act –
and in the Senate by Sen. Richard Durbin – called the Fair Elections Now
Act – that would fundamentally change how we fund our elections. Plus, both bills already have the support of the majority of the Democratic Caucus!
But with the cards stacked against us in favor of big money interests, we need to get loud to make sure Congress hears us.
From Daily Kos--predatory (e.g., payday) lending KILLS
some of the best writing at Daily Kos comes from real-world examples
on the hidden costs of being poor. A lot of that happens with predatory
Have you been a victim of predatory lending? Log in or sign up for a Daily Kos account, and write a blog post about your personal experiences.
Predatory lending comes in many forms. Unethical companies prey on
low-income people by offering them loans they could never hope to pay
back, with hidden late fees and outrageous interest rates. Much of it is
illegal, but they often get away with it due to lax enforcement.
The California Reinvestment Coalition (a consumer rights non-profit)
has written some good blog posts at Daily Kos on this issue, but
personal stories are always the most persuasive:
The negative symptoms of Adult Post-Bullying Syndrome can mimic those of PTSD or the effects seen from child abuse. READ MORE»
Hey, Dick Cheney...
-- Dot Calm
Dick(head) Cheney threatens nuclear war over peace deal...hurrr?!??
Oh, those oh-so-Christian Christians...showing their Christ-like "love" by vandalizing a gay-friendly church: "You'll burn"...hey, at least they didn't burn the church.
You must prevent your kids from gay experiences...?!?? This is some of the worst religious bullshit I've ever heard. Do you see why I refuse to shut up about religious bullshit?!?? ...Like I always say, the worst homophobes are gay themselves. If we could just eradicate religion and its bullshit, we wouldn't have all this hate, all these lies, all this bloodshed and violence.... When it's about religion, it AIN'T about truth, friends!
This conservative would gladly end democracy to stop gays from being treated like people with equal rights. You know this guy sucks cock every chance he gets....
Christian Fundamentalist Bryan Fischer is apparently gay, too, calling marriage equality the Christian "911"
Clarence Thomas--another closeted gay and uncloseted moron on the wrong side of history not only for marriage equality but also for internment camps and slavery? Yes, marriage equality is a year old, but religious bullshit lives forever.... So, apparently, does right-wing idiocy, like what brought us Citizens United and what declared that corrupt Bob McDonnell isn't corrupt by changing the definition of corruption. Anyone else see where that's going, aside from the ghost of George "Newspeak" Orwell?!??
In 2015, Trump demanded for Rick Perry to take an IQ test. Of course Rick Perry shouldn't take an IQ test--he'd FLUNK! Rick Perry can't even SPELL "IQ"! Of course, Trump can't spell "IQ," either, and would also FLUNK an IQ test...! So much fun watching mental midgets mud wrassle...unfortunately, one of these chowder-heads could end up in the White House...ARGH!!!!!
John Oliver following up on the cluster that is Brexit
Trae Crowder--the Liberal Redneck--on making America white again
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