Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Brief History Of Civilization: Three Crazy Ideas

Many years ago civilization took a turn for the worst, about the time of the Romans. A few mutant crazy humans decided that some people were special, and others were not. Some people deserved all the wealth they could finagle from others, and screw everybody else. This modest sophistry, enabled the humans with that dysfunctional frame of mind, to become the wealthy leaders and make the rules. The sane humans, concerned with their children and care of the planet, missed most of this because it was irrational to believe that anyone would want to rule the world. These crazy people became the Roman Empire and spawned more crazy people, who believed just like them.

As far as I can tell, humans have always believed that killing someone was OK, if they didn't agree with you. Murder is the ultimate form of persuasion. This is especially true of religion, at least according to the old saw that goes something like, "...more people have died in the name of religion than any other.." I'm sure you've heard it. Apparently, it is true. Armed with this simple idea, the crazy Romans went forth and conquered the sane people. The insanity was transmitted to the conquered, usually by way of rape and slavery, which spawned still more crazy people, who believed just like them.

Now this is a strictly personal opinion, and I'm not sure how to phrase it without insulting someone. Therefore, I will try to be succinct: Anyone who believes in any religion is crazy.

For that matter, Anyone who believes in any religion is an idiot. I don 't believe I can put it any more plainly than that. The religion doesn't matter. It is the need and willingness to believe that identifies that most common Human neuroses. It only gets truly crazy, when you are willing to kill others who don't believe in your version of the Fairy Tale. So, with the righteous power of God (s) behind them, the various Crazy People (not just Romans any more) conquered the infidels. By virtue of torture, rape, murder and slavery, they spawned still more crazy people, who believed just like them. (As long as we're at it, most of the old Fairy Tales, are more reasonable explanations than Creation Theory. )

By stirring these three erroneous premises into the rise of civilization, things are much clearer. Here they are in summary:

  1. I'm special and you are not.

  2. It is OK to kill you if: you don't agree with me, or have something I want

  3. My religion is the only true faith (see 1 and 2)

The popularity of these three erroneous premises, have led us from the Roman Empire, to the fragmented Roman kingdoms. From there to the British Empire and eventually to the Bush Neocons. All of whom accepted the three crazy ideas as correct. Through each of these eras, and the many that I passed over, one thing has held true. Each new version of the craziness that sprung up, was a little better for the sane people. Generally it took a overload of oppression to start the sane people into action, but eventually it happens. Happy people never start a revolution.

To me it seems that the Bush Administration, Our first Saudi Presidency, has embraced these ideas as the basis for their foreign and domestic policies. Much as in the Corporate arena, where the 3 ideas have always been "Business as usual". Eventually, most governments have to respond to the sane people, they will only let so much slide.

So it is up to us sane people, I consider myself sane in that regard, to slow the crazies down. They can't really be stopped, no truly sane person would run for political office. But they can be slowed. We can support and vote for the least crazy of them and slow down the others, for a while.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Democrat or Republican

I am told that the clinical definition of insanity is the tendency to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. - Stephen F. Lynch

I like to start with a quote, it makes it seem as if I know something. I have just started "State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III" - by Bob Woodward. While it is disturbing, so far, it is not surprising. I think it was a mild profile of the Administration. I always pictured Rumsfeld as a full-blown paranoiac, trying to save the world from the godless liberals and communists. I always figured Rove plays just like the creepy SS Man in Indiana Jones, they look alike. Also, I always thought that the Saudi Royal Family flat-out purchased the Presidency, so they could get rid of Saddam, and give the militants something to shoot at beside the Saudi Royal Family. They can afford it.

We can't. We have lost the Country, Our America, Everyone's America; to the lunatic fringe of religion, prejudice and the very worst parts of Capitalism. In a large part I blame the Media. Morrow and Cronkite and Rudd, fought for nothing. The great and unbiased media news doesn't exist anymore. They are running special interest promotional spots as real news. the news is not, it's a long commercial. It's a dirty joke.

You and I did it. Through action, or the lack of it, we allowed this Administration to screw up America, maybe beyond redemption. By accepting, we allowed the TV news to degenerate into the biased, glitzy beast it has become. The rest of the World has backed away from us. Just as you would back away from the playground bully when he gets that look in his eye, and you know someone is gonna wind up upside-down on the monkey bars.

But all this is nothing new, the news during the Thirties and Forties was filled with exaggerations, staged stories and pure bullshit. Some of most revered politicians have been crooked bastards - some of whom were out of touch with reality. Ideally, anyone who would want to run for office, should be forbidden from doing so; which leaves a whole different set of issues. So what can we, you and I, do about this mess?

Vote, for one thing. Read the paper, it may be little more than fish wrap, but at least it's not TV. Go to a city council meeting, see what you think of the folks you are going to vote for. Join the ACLU, Young Republicans, Greenpeace, Pro-life group or a Pro-choice group. Join the YMCA - Join something, learn something, sign something or SAY something. Watch PBS, instead of the Glitz Channels. Go the the Library, Watch the History Channel. Watch the History Channel and then go to the Library and look it up.

Don't take any one's word for it; use the Internet, the Library, Your children and find out more. Don't take any of that for granted, either. Do your own thinking, make your own decisions. Better yet, stop everything and play with your children. Then get up off your intellectual ass and do something to make yourself feel better about America, Our America. There must be a way for us "Po' Folk" to get it back.

It is unfortunate that we only have two choices; Democrat or Republican. (Please leave the Independents out, this time. All those loose cannons helped the Republicans, in the last election.) I see the Democrats as the lesser of two vile, disgusting, crooked, perverted evils.
Such is American Politics.
If you are as disgusted as I am, register to vote in the 2008 elections. I would consider this unpleasant experience with the Saudi Presidency a victory for America, if 60 percent of the citizens turned out to vote. I wouldn't even care if they voted for another Republican.


Next Time: What I Believe And Why I Don't Give A Damn What You Think.
- Dick Cheney's imaginary diary

Monday, September 18, 2006

Footnote to Kitzmiller v. Dover-

After I originally wrote this, one of my correspondants sent me a link to this item

Meanwhile in Kansas, the State Board of Education has urged schools to criticize evolution. It has also changed the definition of science so it is not limited to natural explanations, opening the way for including intelligent design or other forms of creationism that cannot meet traditional definitions of science. All Kansans interested in a sound science curriculum should heed what happened in Dover and vote out the inane board members.

Editorial: "Intelligent Design Derailed "
Published: December 22, 2005
The NY Times

It's not enough to be outraged at this - VOTE

The War On Intelligence

As this is my first post, I need to do a bit of catching up. More will follow and intelligent comments, as always, are welcome.

There is another battle going on. It is an ancient struggle, which has never been decided. It is not the Crusades, now referred to as the War in Iraq. It is not the Wars on Poverty, Drugs or Crime; we have lost all those. It is not even being acknowledged by the media, yet it is front of your face everyday. For the sake of brevity, and interesting catch phrases, we shall call it the War On Intelligence.

We shall examine this issue with several scenarios, some definitions, a few quotes and then try to come to some conclusions.

The truth is rarely pure and never simple.
Oscar Wilde

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
Blaise Pascal


After I read the judges opinion in the Kitzmiller v Dover Area School District, you know, the newest "Monkey Trial", I couldn't believe it. It's dry reading, but even the judge painted a picture of collusion and coercion so despicable, as to be frightening. This was not a few well meaning but misguided folks. This was a case of religious fanaticism, of conspiracy to dilute the constitution and science itself. And it wasn't just one man. There are well funded organizations out there, that want the USA to become a religious state (Can you say "Theocracy"?).

Here is the disclaimer in full, and let me caution you; If this makes sense and seems right to you, you will be required to red clown nose, from now on, so we know who you are.
The Dover area School Board voted 6-3 to pass this:

--- Verbatim Disclaimer ---
The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin's Theory of Evolution and eventually to take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.

Because Darwin's Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.

Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view. The reference book, Of Pandas and People, is available for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves.

With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of the Origins of Life to individual students and their families. As a Standards-driven district, class instruction focuses upon preparing students to achieve proficiency on Standards-based assessments.
--- Verbatim Disclaimer ---

The disclaimer denigrates Evolution as a scientific theory (and only Evolution) and points students to an insidious publication called Of Pandas and People. The book is a thinly veiled excuse for creationism. The basic premise is that because there are holes in the theory of The Origin of the Species, than God must have planned it that way. This, in these folks opinion, should be taught alongside evolution. Anybody who ever took the most basic science class in High School, should be able to tell you that is not science.

Below is a footnote from the judges opinion, that explains the "Wedge Strategy" a publicly published doctrine of one group. I believe it is the The Discovery Institute, but it may have been the Institution for Creation Research. I don't wish to re-read the 139 pages to verify that.

--- Judges opinion ---
Further support for this proposition is found in the Wedge Strategy, which is composed
of three phases:
Phase I is scientific research, writing and publicity
Phase II is publicity and opinion-making
Phase III is cultural confrontation and renewal.

In the "Five Year Strategic Plan Summary," the Wedge Document explains that the social consequences of materialism have been "devastating" and that it is necessary to broaden the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of ID.
"Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions."

Phase I of the Wedge Strategy is an essential component and directly references "scientific revolutions."

Phase II explains that alongside a focus on influential opinion-makers, "we also seek to build up a popular base of support among our natural constituency, namely, Christians. We will do this primarily through apologetics seminars. We intend these to encourage and equip believers with new scientific evidence that support the faith, as well as to 'popularize' our ideas in the broader culture."

Finally, Phase III includes pursuing possible legal assistance "in response to resistance to the integration of design theory into public school.
--- Judges opinion ---

It scared the shit out of me. These are the real enemies of the US. This is a particularly nasty brand of treason called sedition (Conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of a state.) . If you want to be scared too, go out and rent the video of Inherit the Wind (or search for the Scopes Monkey Trial). This has all happened before, over and over again. It fills me with dread, and this missive barely scratches the surface. So if Friday the Thirteenth, and Freddie Kruger no longer fill you with terror, download the Judges Opinion in the Kitzmiller case and read it.

You can also use this link to download the file, or read it online. I posted the files on my website for convenience.
340 KB pdf file will open in your browser

PS: to whomever this may apply:

Join the ACLU or write your congressman more often, then THEY wouldn't be able to get away with this shit.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke