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When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it. – Frederic Bastiat

tgLife happens, and mine has been busy. I could be blogging about all that’s going on, but frankly I’m not in the mood.

I did share a bit a couple of months back, but haven’t felt the need to blab much lately. Yes, on a personal level life is grand; it’s in general, which includes everyone else (those not within my sphere, or spinning away over on the periphery) that has me hunkering down here on PP and instead popping off regularly in 140 characters like  screaming goats at a curry protest.

It’s Trump. Of course it’s Trump! But, then again, it’s so much more than SoCalledPOTUS Tangerine Skidmark Shit-Gibbon. He is vile, and that’s for sure. He’s also insane, stupid, glaringly shallow, ugly, insipid, avaricious, acquisitive, covetous, grasping, materialistic, mercenary, self-indulgent, self-aggrandizing, self- possessed, and … OH! … how I could go on, but a rather new, yet keen awareness of how quickly 140 characters flow by has tempered my use of descriptive adjectives. (You’re welcome.)

So actually it isn’t Trump that set me to raising my hand and my voice and my hackles in outrage at the world we live in now. Nope. It’s the people who allowed this blathering turd to take charge of the United States of America. Voted for him? You are complicit. Vote 3rd party? You are complicit. Didn’t bother to vote? You are complicit. Work in news or any sort of communication or information providing, yet did not bother to drag him down? You are complicit. GOP party faithful letting him slide? You are complicit. Politician of any stripe covering your own ass? You are complicit.

Yep. Anyone who is pulling a punch is helping the setup that has set us ALL up.

As a student of history, and now old enough to have a slice of it under my belt, perspective might have a chance of offering some comfort … if anything like this had ever happened in my lifetime.

But it hasn’t, so when my 30-something friend was disheartened and desperate and terrified of a future that no longer seemed assured to be at least reasonably reasonable asked, “Is this what it felt like back in the ’60s and ’70s?”, I was forced to pull that tiny shred of hopeful rug out from under his feet and admit that, no, putting an end to the Vietnam War and removing Richard Nixon from the Oval Office was NOTHING like what is going on today.

Robert Redford summed this reality up well when he said recently after being asked to equate the “All the President’s Men” days with what is happening today:

… while watching archival footage of the Senate grilling former White House Counsel John Dean in the Watergate Hearings, he had “a realization that made me sad, about something being lost having to do with our country.”

Continued Redford: “What I saw was the panel was made up precisely of both sides, both Democrats and Republicans, all acting as one, trying to get to the truth, and that hit me like a ton of bricks when I revisited. I said, ‘Oh, so there was a time.’

So … not in my time, and not in my place, which is NOT to say this hadn’t happened before.

Cue the DVD of the 1959 film “The Diary of Anne Frank“.

WWII ended in Europe with the unconditional surrender of Germany in May 1945, so 14 years before the release of this film, and I was I was eight-years-old when the movie came out.

I’d read Anne’s book before seeing the film and been deeply touched and totally terrified by the knowledge that something as horrible as the holocaust not only could happen, but DID happen in a place not long ago and not all that far away, so the movie served to underline the fact that humanity was not to be trusted.

I watched the film again this afternoon. Everyone should watch it. Everyone’s kids children should watch it. Everyone should hear the sound of jackboots pounding the pavement just outside the hiding place of two families while the knowledge that the 13-year-old girl portrayed died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp along with her mother and sister and thousands of others because … well … Jewish.

It is fact that more than 6 million people were killed because other people lined up behind a lunatic and his insane hatred. They turned their backs to blatant bigotry, let stupidity run rampant, clucked sympathetically when losers laid blame by color or status or favored books, let their attention be diverted by cheap and trivial shiny things, and allowed themselves to be amused through various versions of perceived intellectual superiority to the idiot shouting catch phrases ad nauseam.

And here we are again.

Who made up the Gestapo? The SS? Commanded the death camps? Turned in their neighbors? Were those we now see as a hideously evil faction within the Third Reich somehow manufactured for the events?

Of course not. They were neighbors and school chums, buddies from church and the PTA, the harmless nutcase next door, the crazy uncle who creates trouble every holiday. And they didn’t do it just for the hats or the boots or the preferred parking, although all those things did convey a sense of being somehow special.

They gassed children, raped and killed, stole every bit of everything from anyone who fit the profile because it made them feel good about themselves. They suddenly belonged and life had meaning. Well, THEIR lives had meaning.

This massive festering blight on the history of our species did not begin with gas chambers, but with lies and diversions and divisions and insanity that it was not polite or profitable to address.

This is the world we live in now.

#Resist

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“How very wet this water is.”
― L. Frank Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz

d_oh_posterWell … yeah.

A keen grasp of the obvious can be considered a skill, and often is by those who take pride in noticing something everyone notices, then bringing it to the attention of other noticers as if “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born” and such are revelations. (Quote attribution: Ronald Reagan. Yes. Really.)

Yes, it is hot and, yes, politicians lie and the earth is not flat and water is wet; film at 11 FFS!

“I figured something out. The future is unpredictable.”
John Green

It’s as plain as the nose on your face … but this is where the obvious gets tricky. No, not the future, but right here, right now.

Try this little exercise: Let’s assume you’re reading this post at the moment; pause after this line to think about what you see.

Words on the page? A glass of white wine? Some scenery? The covers of some books?

Okay. Now think about what you don’t see. Not the existential angst residing between the lines or possible motives for a woman to pass time so far up her own ass that she is compelled to write the shit down, but what you don’t SEE.

Your nose. You don’t see your nose, even though it’s right there in front of your organs of site, and depending on genetics could be blocking the view a bit, which is the reason the “Got Yer Nose” trick freaks little kids out.

This isn’t an ‘elephant in the room’ sort of thing, intentionally ignored for sake of convenience, but a part of your very own physical presence … and you miss it completely.

Despite the amazing resolution and sophistication the visual system has, what could be argued as one of its most interesting features is a mechanism of noise filtration in which the brain effectively ignores irrelevant information it receives, even resulting in features in the environment being completely deleted from the scene a person sees. One of the most familiar examples of this is that you can’t see your own nose when you look at a scene. The position of the nose means it should take a commanding, even blocking position in the visual field, and prevent us seeing objects in front of it. However, we never see the dark shadow of our nose when we look around. This is because the brain filters out the stimulus. Instead, it seems the scene is ‘filled in’ where the nose should be with what the brain ‘expects’ to see- the nose is there all the time, but rarely provides anything informative, so can usefully be ignored.

Which begs the question: What else are we missing?

Quite a lot, actually, and the more attention we pay, the more we miss through what is known as ‘inattentional blindness’:

One would imagine, that when a person is concentrating intensely on a task which involves vision, that they would be more observant. It seems, the opposite is the case, and they are in fact much more likely to miss obvious features in a scene presented right in front of their eyes. A famous example is what happens when subjects are shown a video of a basketball match, and are asked to count the number of passes that happen during a game sequence. During play, a person dressed in a gorilla costume crosses the shot. When asked to report on what they saw, a 1999 study showed subjects could report the number of passes observed, yet, incredibly did not report seeing the gorilla if asked whether they noticed anything unusual about the video. In fact, people appear flummoxed when they are told the gorilla featured, and are astounded when they watch the video back, knowing that it will appear.

Whether through inattentional blindness, preconceived notions or rose-tented specks, our capacity for a truly keen grasp of the obvious is greatly limited, and would serve us well to keep that in mind as we stumble more-than-half blindly through the world.

So, the next time you decide to point out that ‘it’s so feckin’ hot’ or ‘sitting in traffic sucks’ or ’Trump is a moron’, don’t worry too much about some Charlie Fletcher-like dude calling you “… the grand bloody panjandrum of the painfully bleeding obvious.”

Just give a smile that lets them know they might well have missed those bits. That’s my plan, so you who spend time in my company … you’re welcome.

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ImageA couple of things happened over the weekend that have gained some ground in restoring my faith in humanity. Unfortunately and predictably, others had completely the opposite reaction and are now writhing around on the grubby floors of social media and the halls of urine-colored ‘journalism’ as if possessed by really stupid demons of the going-to-hell-in-a-handbag-because-the shoes-don’t-match-it sort as if they don’t know the difference between rapture and rupture.

Let’s start with football. The American version, of which I am … or was, when I had any access to viewing … a fan.

In a sport that makes constant reference to ‘penetration in the end zone’, ‘tight ends’, ‘wide receivers’, ‘defensive ends’, ‘long snaps’, ‘ball carriers’, ‘pump fakes’, ‘ball control’, ‘man-on-man’, ‘man-in-motion’ and where the point is ‘going (for the) down’, you’d be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that ‘man-on-man’ was okey-dokey with the National Football League in just about any context. You’d be wrong.

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Michael Sam gets the call …

Michael Sam just became the first OPENLY gay draft pick in the NFL. Just now. Yesterday. In May of 2014.

Michael Sam, the first openly gay player ever to enter the National Football League draft, was taken by the St. Louis Rams with the 249th pick of the draft Saturday, proving precisely nothing about the state of homophobia in professional football.

This is not to say there haven’t been loads of gay players, may of whom were at least party out of the locker. (More than 30 years ago, a dear friend moved to California with his boyfriend who had, coincidentally, been drafted by the Rams.)

Although there have been many positive public reactions to the news … and to the video of Sam being congratulated and cuddled by his partner as the call came … there are still far too many humans that have yet to recognize the simple fact that we’re not all the same.

Here’s what some fuckwad of an NFL ‘player personnel assistant’ had to say:

“I don’t think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet,” said an NFL player personnel assistant. “In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it’s still a man’s-man game. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It’d chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room.”

Sound familiar?

Back in 1946, the Rams signed Kenny Washington, the first African-American football player in the modern era of the NFL. Fisher was aware of the historical resonance Saturday.

Perhaps someday football fans will value gay players as much as they do Black players, as the league wouldn’t amount to shit without them.

Now … keeping with this Monday theme …

The winner of the Eurovision Song Contest

To be honest, I’d never heard of this extravaganza until I moved to England way back in the early ‘90s. To this day I don’t know if I was simply clueless or if the US just didn’t pay much attention and I went along with that. I was stunned by the enthusiasm, the parties planned for the occasion, the dressing up to watch it on the telly, and more than a bit confused about the process. Having the same experience a few years later a small, very crowded apartment in Zurich, I am now convinced that this is a VERY big deal.

Eurovision is about music; the song and the performers.

Historically, a country’s votes were decided by an internal jury, but in 1997 five countries (Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom) experimented with televoting, giving members of the public in those countries the opportunity to vote en masse for their favourite songs. The experiment was a success,and from 1998 onwards all countries were encouraged to use televoting wherever possible. Back-up juries are still used by each country, in the event of a televoting failure. Nowadays members of the public may also vote by SMS, in addition to televoting. Since 2009, national votes in semifinals are a 50/50 combination of both telephone votes and the votes of juries made up of music professionals.

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Conchita and her trophy …

Hundreds of thousands of people watch and vote, and this year the country-by-country talent contest that brought ABBA to the world made even more history than they have since their win 40 years ago …and the winner was humankind.

That not everyone is happy with this outcome is as obvious as peaches having fuzz. The Russians in all their icky homophobic skid … complete with marks … toward the Dark Ages are particularly peeved:

Conchita Wurst’s Eurovision win has been branded “the end of Europe” by Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky. After last night’s 2014 song contest in Copenhagen, Russian state television broadcast a debate on her victory, as politicians and celebrities launched a hate-filled attack. Outspoken ultranationalist MP Zhirinovsky called this year’s result “the end of Europe,” saying: “There is no limit to our outrage. “It has turned wild. There are no more men or women in Europe, just it .”

Hm. It … It seems that take ended up biting Russia on the furry butt:

Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws, restricting the spread of information on what was called ‘non traditional sexual relations’ did not go down well with last night’s audience. Russia’s entry, The Tolmachevy Sisters, were greeted by loud boos from those in the venue, with many of the onlookers waving rainbow flags. The tension then reached boiling point during the results announcements, which saw Russia receive further boos with every point received.

I must admit to having had a few less-than-pleasant encounters with drag queens in the past, having taken no little guff from some who find amusement in being unmercifully snarky to straight women who’d just like a top-up on their wine thankyouverymuchMarge, and have been slightly intimidated when standing in line between 6’7” blonds … big shoes … with hair the hight of the Tetons while waiting for a free cubical.

I have also, however, has some uproarious times laughing my head off, straightening stocking seams and dissing … yes, I can do snark, too … the polyester-clad clueless that seem to form herds wherever drag queens congregate.

It takes huge balls to be transgender true to yourself … even bigger than necessary to tell the NFL you’re gay. The world is full of ‘transphobic’ fuckwads

Researchers describe transphobia as emotional disgust, fear, anger or discomfort felt or expressed towards people who don’t conform to society’s gender expectations,[and say that although it is similar to homophobia, racism and sexism, those attitudes are becoming generally considered unacceptable in modern society, whereas some individuals still maintain transphobic views without fear of censure.

As adults, transgender people are frequently subjected to ridicule, stares, taunting and threats of violence, even when just walking down the street or walking into a store. A U.S. survey of 402 older, employed, high-income transgender people found that 60% reported violence or harassment because of their gender identity. 56% had been harassed or verbally abused, 30% had been assaulted, 17% had had objects thrown at them, 14% had been robbed and 8% had experienced what they characterized as an unjustified arrest.

All because of their look, their dress, they’re undeniable style? How stupid is THAT?

Conchita deserves admiration. She is brave beyond measure, beautiful and talented … and her attitude is fabulous!

“Hey, I’m just a singer in a fabulous dress, with great hair and a beard.”

She is also the WINNER! Watch her performance here.

Could it be that the world became a better place this weekend?

I think so.

Those deeply invested in enjoying their fundamentalist frantic frenzy of fucked-uppery … carry on. Sigh …

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Have fun storming the castle …

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Sometimes it’s all about the punctuation since nothing makes much sense without properly placed points. As in “eats shoots and leaves” or “woman without her man is nothing”, the placement of a comma or other mark to punctuate can make all the difference in the meaning of a string of words.

Interestingly, however, no matter how you punk28 her, Michele Bachmann is an idiot.

Bachmann. Turn her; over, drive!

Bachmann turn? Her over. Drive!

Bachmann. Turn her over. Drive …

Although she may think she’s taken’ care of business as she offers service with a smile and shouts , “Gimme your money, please”, but truth is she ain’t seen nothing … yet …

Which brings us to Miracle Mike

I have been astounded by the fact that in these times of political fatuousness when the brainless are so widely splattered across headlines like shit in a coop, the story of Miracle Mike remains a mystery to many.

I mean … really! It’s a natural!

As this juxtaposition shows:

Mike the Headless Chicken (April 1945 – March 1947), also known as Miracle Mike, was a Wyandotte chicken that lived for 18 months after his head had been mostly cut off.

with this:

Then there’s this …

On September 10, 1945, farmer Lloyd Olsen of Fruita, Colorado, United States, had his mother-in-law around for supper and was sent out to the yard by his wife to bring back a chicken. Olsen chose a five-and-a-half-month-old cockerel named Mike. The axe missed the jugular vein, leaving one ear and most of the brain stem intact.

Despite Olsen’s botched handiwork, Mike was still able to balance on a perch and walk clumsily; he even attempted to preen and crow, although he could do neither.

… and this:

An examination of her record and finances showed that the counseling clinic run by her husband received nearly $30,000 from the State of Minnesota in the last five years, some of which came from the federal government. And a family farm in Wisconsin, for which she is listed as a partner, received about $260,000 in federal subsidies.

Bachmann and her staff declined to talk about the government assistance for the Los Angeles Times article. But asked about the issue on Fox News Sunday, she said she and her husband had not benefited from federal and state taxpayer money.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, however, in financial-disclosure forms, Bachmann reported receiving $32,503 to $105,000 in income from the farm, at minimum, between 2006 and 2009.

Okay … maybe it’s not about the punctuation …

(Photo credits: Wiki images and BuzzFeed)

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A jar of miracle ... make do

“All the tales of miracles, with which the Old and New Testament are filled, are fit only for impostors to preach and fools to believe”
~ Thomas Paine

Growing up as I did with spells of Catholicism constantly cast in my general direction, the idea of miracle cures seemed … well … reasonable for a while. The film version of St. Bernadette’s escapades at Lourdes did much to solidify images of the manifestations made possible by just enough faith to draw the attention of the Man Upstairs toward the suffering of those who jumped through the right hoops and deserved to be healed.

I was probably about ten when it dawned that such concepts pretty much left anyone unhealed in the shit pile of undeserving, a concept contrary to all those warm fuzzies created through the magic of Hollywood and the smoke and mirrors of Rome, and although I will to this day still acknowledge occasional unexplainable restorations of health and the sometimes-effective wonders of modern medicine the idea of miraculous cures seem nothing but more marketing of snake oil in various flavors for the obvious benefit of those collecting the profits.

I do understand the motivation behind the desperately ill, the hopelessly condemned; when there’s nothing left to do but grasp at straws the option can seem sensible, but since none of us get out of this alive, perhaps more than a bit futile or at most a temporary reprieve.

When a miracle can be bought at a reasonable price … a trip to France, maybe, or some set amount of hours on the knees while fingering beads X number of times … it’s a viable option for passing the time. Waiting for the magic to happen isn’t a bad way to spend that eleventh-hour, unless by doing so those last bits of life are sacrificed in the process.

When, however, attempts at intervention come in a jar labeled “Utter bollox at great cost”, the evil of canned hope becomes apparent, as evidenced in this article:

A Tanzanian pastor has asked people to stop going to his remote home for a “miracle cure” after thousands flocked there, causing chaos in the surrounding area.

Rev Ambilikile “Babu” Mwasapile, 76, says he does not want any new arrivals until after Friday 1 April, to let the crowds die down.

Local media report that about 52 people have died while waiting to see him.

A BBC reporter says the queues to see him stretch for 26km (16 miles).

Belief in magic and the powers of traditional healers are widespread in Tanzania.

Some witchdoctors say that the body parts of people with albinism are effective when making magic charms, leading to the killing of dozens of albinos in recent years.

The retired Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania preacher is sick and tired of the crowds of people who are yanking loved ones out of hospitals and making the trek to his village … while dying both before and after spending time and money … as “medical experts” investigate and debate the intrinsic value of his snake oil.

Yeah, sure … this is Africa and such mumbo-jumbo is part of the culture in many areas, but it’s not the only place claptrap flies to the detriment of others.

Although Africa is presently one scene of devastation in the name of remedy, that’s only because one cornucopia of crap has been virtually wiped out in the parts of the world that insist there’s a cure in them thar hairs.

Rhino populations in Africa are facing the “worst poaching crisis for decades,” say conservationists.

Over the past three years, gangs are said to have killed more than 800 rhinos for their horns, which can fetch £22,000 per kilo on the black market.

Experts fear the rise in poaching could undermine recent efforts to stabilise black and white rhino populations.

… t is estimated that 333 rhinos were killed in South Africa alone last year, with a further 70 being shot dead so far this year.

Conservationists suspect that most of the illegally harvested rhino horn are destined for the traditional medicine markets of South-East Asia, and the growing demand and high prices are fuelling the sharp rise in poaching.

We’re not even talking hopeless desperation here, since murdering a magnificent animal seems a fair enough tradeoff for comfort:

Rhino horn is a time-honored component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). For thousands of years, TCM has credited rhino horn with the potency to cure an unusually wide array of maladies, from headaches to pus-filled boils–and even devil possession.

… Rhino horn has been an essential ingredient in traditional chinese medicine for centuries. An unfortunate proximity to China explains why the combined total of the three Asian rhino species (Javan, Sumatran, and greater one-horned rhino) is still smaller than Africa’s critically endangered black rhino population.

Despite China being a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and banning trade in rhinoceros horn and its derivatives in 1993, current rhino poaching levels suggest that the use of rhino horn continues unabated in traditional medicine markets.

According to Bernard Read’s 1931 translation of Li Shih-chen’s 1597 materia medica Pen Ts’ ao Kang Mu, rhino horn was prescribed for nearly everything: “To cure devil possession and keep away all evil spirits and miasmas. For gelsemium poisoning. To remove hallucinations and bewitching nightmares. Continuous administration lightens the body and makes one very robust. For typhoid, headache and feverish colds. For carbuncles and boils full of pus. For intermittent fevers with delirium. To expel fear and anxiety, to calm the liver and clear the vision. It is a sedative to the viscera, a tonic, antipyretic. It dissolves phlegm. It is an antidote to the evil miasma of hill streams. For infantile convulsions and dysentery. Ashed and taken with water to treat violent vomiting, food poisoning, and overdosage of poisonous drugs. For arthritis, melancholia, loss of the voice.”

Since rhino horn is made of the same stuff as fingernails … agglutinated hair … hiring nail biters to spit shards into a collection plate would make as much medical sense and perhaps save a species.

Of course, it seems our species … we furless bipedal wimps that we are … calculates our worth in profit-per-head, and it matters little if it’s grinding up albinos, raping child virgins or ridding the world of rhinos … tigers, bears, whatever … that generates income as long as someone can make a buck and others are so easily convinced to hand over their money for snake oil.

Perhaps there’s a way to turn this inborn stupidity to the advantage, however …

How about we try pushing the notion that powdered brain of greedy people will make one rich?

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A thought pondered publicly on my facebook page yesterday:

Hard to decide which is worse today … mother nature or human nature …

Since my thoughts were bouncing around between the hell in Japan going on now, the mess in Libya and the safety of friends in Bahrain … and feeling bloody helpless on all fronts … it seemed a valid point to focus upon.

Responses provide perspectives, as always …

Claire: nah – mother nature does not know spite – revenge – greed. She is an equal opportunities destroyer. Human nature picks off the weak, the frial, the least able to defend themselves.

Wow – that was a bleak thought!!

Bill: Gotta vote for human nature. Mother Nature is great. As Claire pointed out, she is equal opportunity. Do something stupid you get what you probably deserve. Act responsibly, sustainable and with the flow instead of against it and you’re golden. Mostly.

Yes, it does boil down to a case of Nature vs Nuture Murder.

There’s so often very little kind in mankind, as today’s world shows only too well. At a time when thousands upon thousands of fellow humans are suffering the consequences of living on our natural world, the best other thousands can come up with is beating the crap out of their neighbors.

Can we even imagine a world where dealing with the mindless harshness of our planet would be a group effort of global dimensions?

We all know shit happens … quakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, fires, floods, droughts, avalanches, polar shifts, incoming asteroids, solar flares, and on and on and on … and that we are frail, furless creatures at the mercy of said shit. Doesn’t it seem that should be enough to bond us together as a species?

If resources were poured into hedging bets against the forces of nature instead of building weapons stores, our response to catastrophic events would look nothing like it does today. We’d live in safer, stronger places, have plenty of food and water set aside for emergencies and take care of each other, our children, and our futures.

After all, are we not sentient beings? Don’t we have the intelligence to see big pictures, understand consequences and make plans?

How can it happen that, given the instability and unpredictability of the rock we spin through space upon, the total stupidity of placing enough importance on ever-so-slight differences of opinion to have us killing each other makes any sense at all to anyone?

Sure, there were times when Japan was as if another planet and what happened there impacted no one else, when some asshole despot could wipe out a good percentage of his population and nobody would be the wiser. That, however, is no longer the world we live in, and we must be really fucking stupid if we think what happens over there can’t be biting our own personal ass within days or hours or minutes.

And maybe that is the answer: We ARE that fucking stupid.

We’ll continue as humans to be perpetually taken unawares when shit happens, to abuse each other in any way seems fit at any given moment, to foul our own dens and kill our own kind over things that don’t matter in the slightest in any big picture. We’ll learn little from disasters, continue making the same mistakes over and over again and suffer the consequences while shocked by events.

Yep. We are THAT fucking stupid.

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Sunday … time for a bit of R.E.M.

The hint of the century
Consider this
The slip that brought me
To my knees failed
What if all these fantasies
Come flailing around

From the Huffington Post, this, from David Briggs titled, “An Inconvenient Truth: More Religious Freedom Means Less Religious Conflict”, starts off the day.

Before going into the piece, I will point out that religious freedom also includes the right to be free FROM religion, and although I’m not especially comfy with the idea of atheism or humanism or secularism … whatever … being considered a religion, non-or-othewise, some lumping happens; it must do with secularism hitting Number 3 on the religion-in-the-world charts.

With that established, moving right along …

Citing info in a new offering from Cambridge University Press, The Price of Freedom Denied”, Briggs makes the point well that ramming religion down the throats of anyone is a very bad idea with horrific consequences.

The more severe the levels of religious restriction, the greater the risk of violent persecution, the authors found. Forty-four percent of governments interfering with the right to worship had more than 200 cases of violent religious persecution; only 9 percent of countries with freedom of worship had similar rates of abuse.

And I will add … or NOT to worship … a point he’s not making, but I so am.

Of course, we’re not just talking Islamic nasties in the Muslim world … the disgusting treatment of women, for starters … although there are plenty of those to wag fingers toward.

Hate crimes motivated by a religious bias have been reported to the FBI in nearly all 50 states for every year in the 21st century. In 2006, there were documented reports of one person being killed, 178 assaulted and 718 properties damaged or destroyed due to religious bias.

Although this article focuses mainly on the Ground Zero Mosque and stuff about zoning, my thinking goes more toward those not even included in those numbers, the kids who were literally bullied to death with religion granting the right to bully at the same time the right to love is denied.

Like it or not, religious nut jobs, you do not get to win this one. Really. Just because you’ve imbibed the anti-whatever Kool-Aid does not mean anyone else has to take even a sip.

“We don’t have a law against offending anyone’s sensibilities,” said political scientist Anthony Gill of the University of Washington. “This is just the messiness of democracy.”

You’d think the religious would be most in favor of religious freedom, but that is never the case. So convinced are they of their “rightness”, everyone else MUST be wrong, and that translates to running up their own asses and spending a whole load of time in the dark. Slinging shit is the logical outcome.

Seems the lack of light has so many missing so much of the actually point …

“The clear message is that even though religious freedoms are inconvenient, they’re the very thing that diffuses religious tensions,” Finke said. “Their religious freedoms are my religious freedoms.”

Amen.

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