Bill Maher on the 0.1 Percent

Monday, April 21. 2014

Blame and leaks

Thursday, April 17. 2014

The moment Snowden and leaks come up in the news, what surfaces as the ultimate and most important question is "blame"; who/what is to blame?. That old and over exercised, redundant question will be answered one way or another but of what use is it? Does every issue begin and end with a legal box? I'm sure blame is the most entertaining and creates the most waves but is that all that matters? Why don't we start asking the question, "What is the smartest or stupidest move and who stands to gain or loose from it?".

Whether the man, the act or the spies are to blame is trite. Whether acts by either side in question have caused transparency or opacity is a really important point that could drive the politics. Whether putting lives in danger is worth unfettered transparency is a grave issue that needs answering. Whether the status quo is more important than a completely open box is another big issue. Where are the diplomatic lines going to be drawn where governments have to make decisions that effect the planet? Are they only valuable if there is complete transparency or is there some point where there is a closed door?

I believe this is a central fact we face: There will be no more concealable information in the world. We can encrypt to hell but information will flow. That is a huge lesson we have all learned from this. So, what are the rules of the game now? Fuck blame. 

US Is an Oligarchy Not a Democracy, says Scientific Study

Monday, April 14. 2014

 US Is an Oligarchy Not a Democracy

This is the definition of the United States of America circa 2014 without the hesitation of a doubt.

I find it hard to use the name "United States of America" for the country we now live in.

The founders of United States of America are no longer the founders of this country.

The people who have fought, bled and died for the United States of America did not do so for this country.

The people who have stood for freedom, human rights and civil liberties since the 18th century stood for a different country than we now have.

It may be time to change the name.

Or it may be time to take our country back from those who staged this slow rolling coup d'etat which has engulfed us.

The American Anschluß, and we just let them take it?

It is now - April 11, 0 AE

Friday, April 11. 2014

Welcome to the Anthropocene:

11 April Atmospheric CO2 @ 400.60 ppm

it is now Year 0, the first century of the Anthropocene.

Humans vs. the Planet

Tuesday, April 8. 2014

Humans have had their negative influence on the earth in the last 5000 years for sure. Now there are more of us, we have advanced toys and we have less anonymity. But we still have the same reptilian survival needs turned greed, the same need to protect the clan turned nationalism, and a sense to sacrifice the weaker for the powerful turned politics. Those elements are not conducive to advancing humanity. I think we're devolving and we are now deep in that process. Whether that process can change directions or slow down all depends on our choices before our sociopathic side pulls us to the point of no return. In the end, there will be no end time, because the earth will always be the ultimate winner. 

Peaceful Times

Saturday, April 5. 2014

It's probably true in certain sense that we're actually living in one of the most peaceful times in global history. But I think that depends a lot on a person's definition of peaceful. Peaceful by what means? could make a difference in perspective. Peaceful for whom also makes a difference. Stable peace is different from peace at a point in time. What properties are present that make peace a permanent fixture rather than an period of exception. Time is a strange word when talking about human history and it's nonsensical when comparing it to global history where we are not even a blip. Perspectives are important to survival now that there is a reasoning animal on the planet. 

An interesting take on the nonexistence of the Christ of the bible

Friday, April 4. 2014

Historical evidence that proves “Jesus Christ” never existed and was created by Constantine (Romans)

The Council of Nicea – The Council that created Jesus Christ

The origin of the “Savior” – Later becoming the person worshipped today as Jesus Christ

Ptolemy 1 Meryamun Setepenre (c.a. 367-283 B.C.E- Before Common Era)
(aka Soter) (“Soter” means savior) became the first European pharaoh of
Egypt through military force led by Alexander the Greek (a.k.a Alexander
the Great).


What is Serapis? (Origin of JESUS CHRIST)

Ptolemy’s rule was to create a deity that would be worshipped by both
the Egyptians and the Greeks. He created “Serapis “, the made up
Graeco-Egyptian god that was invented in the 3rd century B.C., portrayed
as Greek in appearance, but with Egyptian accessories, representing
both wealth and resurrection.

“Egypt, which you commended to me my dearest Servianus, I have found
to be wholly fickle and inconsistent and continually wafted about by
every breath of fame. The worshippers of Serapis here are called
Christians and those who are devoted to the god Serapis (I find) call
themselves Bishops of Christ. Hadrian to Servianus 134 AD.”

Constantine and Arius

Constantine the Greek (a.k.a Constantine the Great) Roman Emperor
from 306 to 337, is known for being the first Roman emperor to be
converted to Christianity which strangely enough, Arius of Libya
(256-356 AD) born of African descent centuries after Ptolemy 1, had a
problem with the Roman empire teaching the Africans and the people of
Rome to worship a statue and celebrating death. He was considered a
heretic, a professed believer (of God), who maintains religious opinions
contrary to those accepted by his or her church (what the religious
authorities usually controlled by government deem as the truth). Because
he started attracting so many followers due to his teachings that were
contrary to the Romans, Constantine called the council by summoning all
the bishops to discredit Arius, The Council of Nicaea. During the time
when this meeting was called upon, there was no mention of Jesus Christ
at all; no man had ever existed by the name JESUS Christ, and an
important fact is that this all took place Anno Domino (AD) (which
Christians claim means after the death of Christ) but in Latin means ‘in
the year of the lord’. The name Jesus Christ didn’t exist before the
meeting was called (read the statements made during that timeframe). It
was only after this that they presented to the people the name JESUS

What Lord are they referring to? Kings have always been referred to as Lords or gods.

If Jesus Christ didn’t exist during the time this meeting took place
nor ever heard of whom are people worshipping today? Serapis Christus?

Nicean Creed – Jesus Christ is born

Nicean creed which became the statement of the Christian faith was
written decreed and sanctified by 318 Roman Catholic bishops at the
council in 325 AD (some believe this transformation took place “Council of Chalcedon” 451AD).

“We believe in one God the Father all-powerful of all things both
seen and unseen one Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God the only begotten
from the father, that is from the substance of the father, god from god,
light from light, true god from true god, begotten not made,
consubstantial with the father, through whom all things came to be both
those in heaven and those in earth for us humans and for out salvation
he came down and became incarnate became human suffered and rose up on
the third day went up into the heavens is coming to judge the living and
the dead and in the holy spirit”
 (The origin of the Trinity)

The authorities shut Arius down and threatened him with death to keep
his mouth shut. They positioned the creed during the time when people
started becoming aware of the lies and deception, and ordered all books
to be burned; destroying all ancient writings, “no evidence no
argument”, and the outcome was the transformation from Serapis Christus,
which means Christ the Savior, to Jesus Christ by edict of Emperor
Constantine in 325 AD.

The Link


Wednesday, April 2. 2014

You can't look history in the eye... and not flinch. 

My broad brush global opinion...

Saturday, March 29. 2014

I rarely share my general global opinion because I will admit the CT value of it is pretty far out there. I am very science oriented but there are issues concerning all the perplexing, contradictory decisions by the bureaucrats and ultra wealthy in the world that sometimes leads me to less scientific or reasonable conclusions. In a nutshell, sometimes I think the powers that be know exactly what is happening to the environment, the masses, the old systems of government and civilization in general and I think there is reason in the madness. They are basically hoarding and preparing to protect the ultra few, hunker down and wait out the catastrophe they and their ancestors have dug us all into. It would serve their multi-generational ego to be the sole survivors, the remnants of humankind. Whether their progeny will be able to stick it out that long is hard to say; I say not. But in the end, the earth wins and humankind will have been a very short lived virus that finally purged itself from existence.

That's about as dismal as I can get... but viewing our direction at the moment anything else is almost too pretty. But I'll fight for life. There's no room in my insignificant existence for a complacent party time end.


Saturday, March 29. 2014


If one had money....

Wednesday, March 26. 2014

In this article: Ex-con becomes an investor in a private prison for the purpose of exposing systematic rape by employees.

Here's a snip:

Now, Friedmann is attempting to use the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against both the company that imprisoned him, CCA, and the other largest for-profit prison company, the GEO Group. He purchased shares of stock in both companies, which allow him to attend the annual shareholder meetings and ask uncomfortable questions.

“I would ask questions like, ‘Why do your employees keep raping prisoners?’” Friedmann told VICE News. “Of course they don’t have a good response, other than ‘We’re doing the best job we can.’”

In 2010, he purchased $2,000 in CCA stock, which — according to SEC rules — allows him to submit shareholder resolutions at the annual meetings. CCA is the company in charge of the so-called “gladiator school” prison in Idaho, in which control of the prison was turned over to inmate gangs to save money on guards.

The first resolution he brought to the table was for the company to provide biannual reports on rapes that occurred in CCA-operated prisons.

“They really went haywire when I did that,” Friedmann said. “They didn’t like it.”

Going one step further, taking responsibility for corporations and their actions through the acquisition of company stocks seems a logical conclusion.  If one has money, the idea of putting unethical behavior of the company directly into the faces of corporate owners could be useful for the period of time that the SEC "loophole" exists allowing public shareholders to cause a certain amount of constructive disruption. But we can't forget the systematic divestiture of most working class people over the last few decades for the very purpose of right wing control of corporate capitol and the acquisition of the government. That means the majority of controlling stockholders are in the right wing camp by design and they won't keep allowing themselves to be outed where their investments are concerned even if those investments are secured and multiplied by unethical and inhuman activities.

Constitutional rights and the enforcement thereof are only as good as the government that displays them. We are entering a time when our rights are in the balance. Our focus should lie in bringing our government back into human focus. Fighting a battle on corporate turf is a short lived and less effectual investment.

We're not a "thing"

Monday, March 24. 2014

There is a time to be in people's faces and a time to go the subtle route. There are also times to be cautious. Wars and battles are not always won by overt actions. On the contrary, most things in life are accomplished by thoughtful decisions and respect of other people. I don't mean we should respect their beliefs necessarily, but to respect the persons themselves and be conscious of what they are able to grasp.

I put atheism in a category well removed from theism simply due to the fact that it's not a "thing" it's a condition. Religion is a "thing" not a condition.  To elaborate... because religions have to create the idea they wish to think, it has to be defended and even promoted just to exist. Atheism doesn't need to be defended or promoted because you can't defend or promote a condition of being, it's just what you are.

As an atheist, I promote those things that advance humanity and life; those things do not require atheism but only require a human being. That being said, I would rather promote the causes and qualities that the atheistic condition frees me to understand than a belief that can't even support itself. 

BTW, the word "atheist" is lower case.... because it's not a thing

The hard medicine

Friday, March 21. 2014

When faced with the reality that the world is now local and what was once local is now an entire planet, that fact can be a hard medicine to takeBut we have to face the reality that it has changed and either we are able to see it and remould our lives and policies to the necessities that this change invokes or we prolong the process of stagnation, or maybe worse, we empower the destroyers and hoarders.

The American Dream is not a sacred emblem of worship, it was an idea that had it's time and under a better humanity it may have been able to last longer, but when that dream lost it's sense of the oneness of humankind, it slowly evolved to become each man for himself and with that came it's own demise.

The vices of humankind are deep in the root of our brain. Hunger and sex and the will to survive are very close to the drive of greed. It is no wonder to me that greed made it's way through the ranks of power to become the sum of all vice for the twentieth and twenty first century. If not checked we all have the greed drive working against us through the sensuality of survival, a corrupted form of survival. Sex sells whether the sale is logical or not. Hunger sells; we can be provoked to eat what we are given when there is nothing. Greed sells because it is the pretty shiny thing twinkling and compelling.

We need to break the bonds of greed and cultivate oneness in humankind again by discerning the difference between what is twinkle and what is real. 

Some really, really, really need to believe...

Tuesday, March 18. 2014

When someone really, really, really needs to have a belief system to survive,
yet their entire paradigm is butting against the facts, there's no doubt that denial, straw-men, dismissal, and blame will be their only salvation.

You can't expect a scientific approach to reason from a person who can't stop drinking the booze. The addiction isn't like physical addiction, it's their entire being/self/ego that's at stake. Until they can begin to break the habit or addiction to the sum of their fears and see that there is life (and death) after truth, they can't budge and must find a way out.

Look at it another way... If we who are now atheists were once steeped in religion and were able to come to the realization of our mortality and still find freedom from fear's lie, we were very lucky. 


Saturday, March 15. 2014

The human mind has always tried to see symmetry in chaos. Yes, there are a lot of astronomical events happening all at the same time it seems, but our perspective is an illusion. There is no more likelihood that we will be hit by an asteroid now then there was 5000 years ago nor will there be in another 5000 years. The possibility is there and it's not a small one, but nothing has changed. It's the same with any astronomical anomaly. OK, we've had a couple of major asteroid flybys and one big hit recently, the earths poles are shifting slightly, plus... we have the biggest comet event in 2000 years about to happen, we are crossing the galactic plane and the sun's magnetic field is about to flip all of which are due right around the end of December... add to that the Mayan calendar thingy (Ooops, that was a year ago)... What does it mean? Statistically NOTHING. Nada. Zilch. It's all just stuff that makes us see things that aren't there.

Climate change? Now there is something that we have to think about. We know that story and we know what to do about it, but we are not doing it because we are all more attracted to the unknowns that we can't do anything about or that are statistically unchanged. But the thing we can change is just too... dull.

Yep, an asteroid 20 miles wide could swing around the sun totally without warning and obliterate us all in the next 5 minutes. But the one thing we can do something about.... the one thing that could bring the planet together.... boring, slow, no entertainment factor, no buzz, no religious revelations or sightings of a deity in the clouds or toast to imagine.

We had better get out heads on strait as a civilization and start thinking about what is real and stop with the adrenalin rush nonsense.

My own "Dream of Gerontius"

Wednesday, March 12. 2014

I had a recurring dream over a few month period some 20 years ago. It always started as I walked into a large church reminiscent of a protestant fundi church much like I attended as a child. But as I walked into the sanctuary the people were all dead, as a matter of fact they were piled up waist deep throughout including the isle. I continued walking into the sanctuary and with every consecutive recurrence of the dream I ventured farther up the isle climbing on the dead corpses and walking over them. I was never scared nor did I wake up like in a nightmare but I was very disturbed and hated being there. I noticed some were half dead just laying there looking up at me. Finally after many recurrences I got all the way to the platform where the ministers were dead as well. I turned around and looked at the bodies in the audience and said with a very calm but deeply moved heart, "I do not need to be here". The dream ended and I have not had it since.

Over time, I think my psyche was struggling with a deep seated unsettled issue that played out in this dream. It was my past, growing up in a religious environment, attending churches like this as a child, struggling with the religious teaching that never satisfied my curiosity about reality.... and that it was no longer necessary to be confronted with it. It was the point where it was finally put to rest. The past was dead and I no longer needed to connect to the contradictory religious teachings of my past childhood. I was finally free of it. 

Another rantette on the usefulness of religion

Sunday, March 9. 2014

I've become more convinced today with Syria on our minds that religion is and always has been ultimately an instrument to give people a comfort that allows them to die in battle for their leader and church without worrying about death. To glamorize death: to have an eternally perfect unimaginable happy place to look forward to if they perform their services unto death for their leaders. Of course if they fail... well.... there's always HELL! And there's always that warm feeling you get when you know you have helped send your enemy to suffer eternal damnation. They are the bad ones you know.

It's still happening today even in the enlightened west. Sometimes more subtle... a different angle... but it's still the same.

Religion ruins an otherwise decent planet. 

A Tech Empty Mind...

Thursday, March 6. 2014

I have appreciated technology for the exercise of the mechanics and understanding the principals. Most people like the surface instrument and what the Internet and its managers can supply them without the faintest knowledge of what it's about, what it can do for them, or what it can do to them. I have little interest in being a slave to the din of stupidity and the rush of being drawn into a crowd of sheep. I'd rather make stew than be stew.

Don't get me wrong. I think the Internet has been a great influence for education and human connectivity across the world. It has the potential to give the world a view of itself like never before. But it has also added to the evolution of greed and devolution of social behavior. I'm not sure we were ready for it when it came along because of our primitive social and economic structures. With more human stability its potential would have been exponential.

I miss many things about the 60s and 70s, the simple mechanics, the ability to understand any structure and to be able to mold it at will and actually own it. Now we own nothing, understand nothing and most people don't seem to care because they love their technology with an empty mind. 

This is no small country...

Tuesday, March 4. 2014

315+ million population used to the easy life, at least easy relative to the rest of humanity, with the convenience of a seemingly and mistakenly untouchable religious culture.  Democracy of the US has been successful, could have been more so, and may still be, under logical and reasonable conditions. What is happening to undercut our democracy is not the weakness of the constitution or the weakness of the administrative powers or the incapable disjointed congress, it's the weakness of it's people both in government and the general population to have been duped by a scheme to destroy it. How do you destroy a government? a democracy? You look for the human weaknesses and accentuate them slowly over time.

Our weaknesses?... Our weaknesses are our strongest points turned inside-out:

Our advantage as human beings has been our ability to think... degrade the intellect until we are a nation of dumb.

Another advantage has been our ability to adapt.... accentuate greed and we become a nation incapable of reasonable compromise, empathy and civility.

An advantage? Our ability to imagine and create.... twist that into impassable, unchangeable dogma that demands the world to see their imaginary vision as fact, indeed the demand to accept their belief or die, and you foster the inability to learn; we become unteachable.

This is what has happened to us as a nation. We have become dumb and numb. We have become unable to see each others needs, joys, hopes, pain. We have become a nation burdened and drugged by the irrational.

We are not following the good natures of humanity, we have succumbed to our ancient nature which has made our government, our democracy, and ourselves as humans vulnerable. We are becoming incapable of expanding on our greatest advantages. 


Sunday, March 2. 2014

It's easier to change your conscious logic than to change thousands of years of mythological practice. It's bound to have made some genetic changes in our brains' evolution. People do "think" they see and hear things all the time and those things are very real to them. Others around them may want to see what they see, and it's a rather regular human characteristic to play along to the point of actually thinking you do see or hear those things when you actually do not. People in social groups that have strong rules or social boundaries don't want to be left out of the pack and being left out can be the biggest tool of those in control.

We need to practice reason, logic and facts... that practice can finally become a truth that helps distinguish the difference between reality and myth... then the demons and visions will disappear... and that would be the best thing that could happen to humanity. 

Anger at what this country has become is not something to be ashamed of.

Friday, February 28. 2014

I feel a lot of anger and resentment toward those who have taken in selfishness and apathy thus basically destroying what America was meant to be from the beginning... free from tyranny, free from religious persecution, free to pursue happiness, and justice for all. That original foundation is crumbling underneath us and the feeling I have from that condition has no words I can express.

All we can do is fight and sometimes we must fight even when we know nothing will return. We just fight because it's right and we fight for our children and the future of humankind.

I refuse to be the Christ of any philosophy.

Wednesday, March 13. 2013

This is sort of an addendum to the last post, Negative = Blame.

 I mentioned the idea that negativity can only be found in the perception of it, and it's source is the placing of blame by the perceiver.  This was someone close to me who replied, "Well, you don't live up to that."  You know... they are absolutely correct.  But whether I have lived up to that concept or not does not negate the truth of the philosophy.  I may have tried and failed to exemplify that idea but it doesn't make it less real.  All I can say is, I can't be the ultimate example of every good idea that comes along and I refuse to be the "Christ" of any philosophy.

Stop the blame.  Don't play Jesus.  We'll all be the better for it.

Negativity = Blame

Tuesday, March 12. 2013

Someone told me the other day that they try to stay away from negative people and negativity in their life.  The more I thought about it the more I began to realize that the negativity they despise is created solely within themselves.  What they are really doing is blaming.  Instead of taking responsibility for their perceptions, they pin it on others.  By blaming, the only way to deal with their perception of peoples' negative responses is to dismiss, displace or settle for being dogged by the perception.  In all cases, they would be creating the "negative thing" themselves and deny others the wonderful human ability to feel.

To reduce negative behaviour, the first thing to do would be to stop blaming... then seek the reason for their perceptions of the negative and eliminate it.  And just how do you eliminate it?  By allowing others to feel... planting good things in themselves and others... allow the feelings of others to go to their ears and their mind, their heart but without blame.  Other peoples' feelings belong solely to themselves.  You don't need to let the feelings of other people change you for the worse.  You can laugh with them, cry with them, listen to them, be with them; it's up to you to be in control of your perception, but the blame game has to stop.

I'm no economist but...

Sunday, October 14. 2012

As I remember growing up in the Kennedy/Johnson years, we were living pretty well. As a kid, I remembered the huge government projects that had been successful in the past, the interstate highway system was being finished, and we were headed to the moon. We had a house that was paid off.. you could buy one for $6 to 8 grand, new cars cost about $1400, a new Corvette cost $8000, there were no credit cards but we weren't in debt either.  I don't know what our income was but we were normal middle class folks.  Now, everyone is in debt to hell and the projects are dismal. There's this ad on MSNBC where Rachel Maddow is standing in front of Hoover Dam.  That to me is an extremely powerful picture of the kind of projects Americans were able to accomplish at one time. Now, we can't afford to keep highway bridges from crumbling, our air traffic is unmanageable, and we can't pay for proper and necessary education, teachers, supplies or facilities.  And science? What science?  Some want to teach pseudo-science and religion as fact; stupidity has become an acceptable norm.

Why can't we accomplish the feats of the past?  Why can't we even support what we already have accomplished?  We Can't!  Because it takes a government to do these kinds of things.  Private industry will never... EVER be able to build things of that magnitude.  These are things we did as a nation, and it takes a nation to push us to the limits of our imagination.  If all a person strives for is personal success, then what you end up with is greed.  If greed is the motive, you end up with small minded, short sighted, wealthy, stupid, elites who are lazy and self serving.  You have a society that is depressed and subservient and have no ability to transcend their plight.  It's the human spirit and the pride of being part of something greater than we are that gives us that exponential, super human ability to create the things that take us to the heights we are capable of as the Americans.. as the human race.

We have gone seriously backward.  We need to be a nation again.  We need to be united in the human goals that are not limited by the few self serving corporate landlords of our lives, who simply want war and theocracy as a false nationalism to control us.  Freedom to advance comes from the united efforts of all of us.  It takes a strong government of and by the people, separated from church manipulation, and equally supported by each individual regardless of race, gender, sexual preference or creed to reach the kind of goals we were once capable of.  I have no doubt we are capable of even greater things.

Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives

Friday, October 12. 2012

Robert Draper's book, "Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives" Draper wrote that on inauguration night, 2009, during a four hour, "invitation only" meeting with GOP Hate-Propaganda Minister, Frank Luntz, the below listed Senior GOP Law Writers literally plotted to sabotage, undermine and destroy America's Economy.

Guest list:

Frank Luntz - GOP Minister of Propaganda
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA)
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA),
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX),
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX),
Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI)
Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA),
Sen. Jim DeMint (SC-R),
Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ-R),
Sen. Tom Coburn (OK-R),
Sen. John Ensign (NV-R) and
Sen. Bob Corker (TN-R).
Non-lawmakers present Newt Gingrich

My Child's America

Tuesday, September 18. 2012

My seven year old daughter came home from school today and asked who I was voting for.  I said, "don't you know honey?  President Obama, of course."  She hesitated for a moment and said, "Eric and Evan (brothers) said not to vote for Obama."  I said, "well, that's a decision that everyone decides for themselves and I think the president is the right choice."  Then she said something that made me very upset.. "But Eric and Evan said that their Mom said that Obama was in Arizona killing babies."  Needless to say I was taken way back.  Of course I told her that this was a lie that some people tell when they are told lies themselves.

OK, now... where do people get off poisoning their children's minds with such manipulative and abusive shit?  Sometimes I think there is line that parents cannot cross where teaching a child their beliefs and ideals becomes a form of mental child abuse.  No, in the strict legal sense it is not abuse but teaching children outright lies is teaching them to be liars.  I won't get into a religion rant because that is not where I want to go with this.  I just want to share how utterly abusive the corruption of this election and the right wing players are having on the future of America by using the age old tactics fascists have used throughout history... Get the minds of the children first at any cost, and teach them the agenda so they will not depart from it.

A child's mind and heart are the seat of the human race.  They are our future.  They are sacred.  To purposely desecrate such with hatred is abuse.

I am beginning to feel America shifting under my feet.

Just like Campmeeting! and other historic mistakes...

Friday, August 31. 2012

I was driving along, listening to part of the GOP convention on the radio this evening and I heard something strikingly familiar.  What I heard this evening was a certain raising and lowering of the speaker's voices that is specifically attributed to religious speakers and preachers. I can't put it into words, but you've all heard that kind of tone that religious speakers have when manoeuvring on stage.  There is a relative relationship between the tones and inflection that can give away where you've grown up, where you've learned your speaking skills or what group you have spent time with and it's much more subtle than just an accent.  It's learned subliminally by the speaker from actually hearing these vocal attributes for years, but I have also known that some actually teach one style or another.  To me, it's more than a style.  There are relationships that match certain patterns very consistently when you were brought up with it.  I've heard actors mimic these styles but if you haven't learned it by hearing it repetitively and without thinking about it, there are inconsistencies, give-aways.   The speakers I heard this evening were definitely mimicking that style without a doubt in my mind.  They were mimicking the sound that is particular to many Southern Baptists.  Not just any Baptists or other types of the same speech pattern like "Charismatics" but Southern Baptists in particular.  The kicker for me though was that the specific tone relationships did not exactly match the tried and true sound.  I really think in this case they were doing their damnedest to copy that sway sound that people of fundamental background are accustomed to hearing and are "moved" by in fanatical religious meetings.  It's unbelievable to me.  What I was hearing was "Camp Meeting" so to speak.

People who confine their emotions and belief sources to certain groups will notoriously be drawn in by those subliminal vocal characteristics.  Their emotions will be stirred, they will feel a oneness with.. whatever it is they feel oneness with.. and they will be connecting to a sound, not the information.  Hold on to your seats... What I think is, that it's a kind of hypnosis or hypnotic effect.  I don't really know.  I just know it's a way of connecting your audience to a spiritual experience that may have nothing to do with reality.

Here's a gross example that comes to mind:  There was an article recently where a child preacher was considered a wonder of God, a blessing, maybe some kind of profit, I don't know.  Anyway,  He comes to the microphone and says, "Are you ready"  everyone repeats we're ready.  He says this 5 times getting louder each time, and the last time he screams, "Are you ready for the resurrection of Jesus Christ?"  Everyone screams.... and that's the whole sermon.  That's it.. and everybody is doing spiritual stuff and there's music, and their all having a spiritual ball.  Like I said, this is a gross example, but there are much more subtle ways of doing the same thing whether picked up naturally or blatantly learned... THIS is what I heard this evening.. it was a mimic of Southern Baptist preacher speak.

Anyway, to me, this is just another way I try to understand why people follow these guys.  It's hard to believe that some people are so incapable of discerning the basic facts from the outright lies... But it's like a habit, one that is implanted from childhood in our psyche.  It's emotional security, like a mantra or even basic instincts that are ingrained in our memories.  We must never underestimate the power of suggestion, especially when that suggestion is connected to life long experience that brings solace, pacifies our pain, or brings out passion for a cause.  If we aren't tuned to reality or reason, we may find ourselves, like the gawking masses, hearing and believing whatever we are fed whether real or fabricated.  I think many have fallen for this manoeuvre over the centuries, and in the 20th century, we all know what it has led to.

Seek the facts by trial, and separate the method of delivery from the information.  Otherwise you may find yourself lead to believe anything... anything "the spirit" leads you to believe...

Lawrence O'Donnell Jr.

Sunday, August 19. 2012

Did Einstein believe?

Sunday, August 19. 2012

This is borrowed from the RD site.  It's a letter that went to auction recently which was written a year before Einstein's death.  I think it sums up the answer to the title's question pretty well.


... The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything 'chosen' about them.

In general I find it painful that you claim a privileged position and try to defend it by two walls of pride, an external one as a man and an internal one as a Jew. As a man you claim, so to speak, a dispensation from causality otherwise accepted, as a Jew the privilege of monotheism. But a limited causality is no longer a causality at all, as our wonderful Spinoza recognized with all incision, probably as the first one. And the animistic interpretations of the religions of nature are in principle not annulled by monopolization. With such walls we can only attain a certain self-deception, but our moral efforts are not furthered by them. On the contrary.

The translation above is an abridgment of the letter from Albert Einstein to Eric Gutkind from Princeton in January 1954, translated from German by Joan Stambaugh.

At This Camp, Kids Learn To Question Authority

Friday, August 17. 2012

At This Camp, Kids Learn To Question Authority

I wrote the following comment to the above NPR article...

This is great education.  While most of the world now looks at networks and systems of all kinds as untouchable and mystical, the domain of high industry, governments and criminals, these kids are learning how to understand that these things are their own.  In doing so, it is a way to combat those who are willing to dupe us through our ignorance.

The computer industry by mismanagement, general industry by profiteering, and governments seeking stealth and power have come very close to total control of our politics, education, personal freedom and wealth.  How?  Ignorance... fear... planting complacency... apathy. Teaching kids how to take control of their lives by understanding the dangers and advantages of systems will hopefully make them aware of the loopholes and fragility of those systems and of freedom itself, allowing them to combat freedom's demise by demystifying the control methods.

The machinery we have come to depend on has to remain in the hands of the whole, not the few.  Anything less will doom us to the human nature of past centuries where power, fear, and stupidity reign. 

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