Archive for September, 2011

Let’s Not Confuse The Girls

On September 27, 2011, a homophobic and transphobic ad ran in Canadian National Post, apparently paid for by a group calling themselves the Institute for Canadian Values.   Doesn’t that just sound cozy?  I know a few Canadians, and I think they have values.  But maybe their values aren’t really Canadian values,  along the lines of the “no true Scotsman” fallacy.

This is the banner on a homophobic and transphobic ad.  Click on it to see the whole thing.

Correctly described in the comments under the post as a “piece of shit”, this ad somehow slipped past the editors of a mainstream Canadian publication.  As I understand it, the ad seriously violates Canadian journalism standards.  Here’s a link to the Vancouver Open File site that brought it to my attention.  If that site has removed the ad, or is slow to open, click here to see the original ad.

Once you’ve checked it out, come back and take a look at my version.

I have FreeFox in the comments over at the Jesus and Mo site to thank for bringing this to my attention.

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Christian Confuses Cause With Effect

Further to my conversation with the devout Mormon in my previous post, we were talking about capital punishment.  She told me about a young Mormon man who murdered five women.  When the pastor went to talk to him, and asked him why he did it, he said it all started with pornography.

This young man, according to my death penalty supporting Christian informant, refused to make any appeals of his case.  He said he was guilty, and he didn’t want to cost the taxpayers any more money.  Just snuff him out.  Do him in.  Give him the needle, or the chair, or the gas chamber, or whatever else they do to terminate the life of a murderer.  My informant seemed to think that he was, deep down, a highly moral Mormon boy.  But pornography had done him in.  Pornography had led him astray, and caused him to commit terrible murders.  It was all the fault of pornography.

If watching porn leads to murder, there should be a lot more murders going on than we see.I’ve been thinking about this.  This young man was obviously very confused,  mentally disturbed, mentally ill.  Yet the Christian is perfectly willing to accept his analysis of why he committed the terrible crimes.  This is because his explanation dovetails perfectly with her own beliefs, and the anti-sexual beliefs of her church.

If he had said it all started with orange juice, she would have written his diagnosis off as nonsense.  If he had said that it all started with the CLS, Mormonism, and going to church, she would have dismissed his explanation as absurd.  I don’t.  I think it’s a much better explanation than that pornography caused his crimes.

Millions upon millions of people enjoy pornography without murdering anybody.

I have watched pornography, and I must say I didn’t feel any blotch appearing on my soul, or any instant impulse to go out and murder women.

I don’t happen to like pornography, though I can be a big fan of erotica and Japanese woodblock prints.  I find that most pornography is ugly.  But I think pornography is certainly less harmful than the Saturday morning cartoons I watched as a kid, or video games, or movies about murder and violence.  I’d rather have my children watch sex than watch murders.  I think pornography is less harmful than, dare I say it, Mormonism or any other Christian sect.

The porn industry has been with us for a long time.  It thrives on repression.If that boy had been raised in an atmosphere that accepted our sexuality, gloried in our sexuality, saw our sexuality as healthy and good and valuable, I think he might not have murdered anybody.  He would have enjoyed his porn.  He would have whacked off and enjoyed his body.  He wouldn’t have hurt anybody.  It was only the association of sex with guilt and sin and forbidden pleasure that caused him to distort his pleasure into an evil abomination.  That’s what unbalanced his mind.  That was the root cause of his mental illness.  If he had felt good about himself, and felt good about sex, he wouldn’t have killed anybody.

And perhaps it was Mormonism that drove him to pornography in the first place.  When they legalized pornography in Denmark, and allowed it to be openly sold, there was a sharp decline in sales.  Why?  Because it was no longer forbidden fruit.  The thrill was gone.  It became ordinary, and suddenly was seen for what it is, which is mostly damn boring.

No doubt my Mormon acquaintance is a devout campaigner against pornography.  But was it pornography that is to blame here?  Was it pornography that lead this young man to murder?  Or is it the sick and perverted teachings of the Christian religion that lead the young man to seek pornography, and then the shame and guilt engendered by his upbringing in Mormon society that lead him to murder?

You can guess where my vote goes.  But then, I’d be making the same mistake as the Christian makes.  The factors that drove that young man to murder are far more complex than whether he watched porn or went to church.

Just as there are millions who enjoy porn and don’t kill anybody, there are millions who go to church and don’t commit murder.  My vote actually goes for neuroscience, which has fairly recently discovered that virtually all serial killers have brain damage.

He didn’t get the brain damage from porn, or from the Mormon church.  So let’s stop blaming the innocents.  The Mormon church is probably no worse than porn.  It’s just a contributing factor.

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Cherry Picking Christians

Christians cherry pick their holy book.  If necessary, they'll get help to do it.Troy Davis has been on my mind.  I got sucked into reading some of the facts about his case yesterday.  He quite possibly was guilty.  He also quite possibly was innocent, and the guilty person may still be breathing in and out with no threat of punishment.  It doesn’t matter whether Troy Davis was guilty or not.  That’s not the point.  The point is he should not have been executed.  It is wrong to execute a man when there is the slightest doubt about his guilt.  I believe it’s wrong to execute anybody.

I had a conversation with a devout Christian last night.  Well, sort of a Christian.  A devout Mormon, a person steeped in that particular sect.  A person who considers herself a “good Christian”, who goes to church every Sunday without fail, and thinks about things like sin and Heaven and Hell.
Because he has been on my mind, we talked about the execution of Troy Davis, and the Christian agreed with me that it was a bad thing, but only because of the possibility that Troy Davis was innocent.  Otherwise the Christian remains a devout supporter of  capital punishment.

It’s something I’ve never understood.  I remember learning the Ten Commandments a long time ago, back when my parents still had the power and authority to make me go to church every Sunday.  Now, my understanding of a “commandment” is that it is something you have been told to do, commanded to do. It’s not something you can shrug off or rationalize away.  Christians tell me that these commandments came directly from God, the real He-who-must-be-obeyed, the big Kahuna Himself.

To me the Ten Commandments seem very clear.  I remember one of them being:  Thou shalt not kill.  That one in particular seems as clear as it’s possible for a commandment to get.

How could God’s voice be clearer than that?   “Thou shalt not kill.”   See, it’s in quotes.  It’s the Voice of God.

Can you find any confusion there?  Any vague wiggle room?

It does not say:  Thou shalt not kill unless you are really really angry and the person you want to kill really deserves it.

It does not say:  Thou shalt not kill unless you get together in a large group and all agree that, in this case, it’s acceptable.  You can make an exception this time.  I’m your God and I’m not really serious about this one.  I’m just putting it in as boiler plate.  Just for show.  It’s a PR kind of thing, like Republicans supporting the fight against Global Warming.  Go ahead and ignore this one.

It does not say:  Thou shalt not kill unless you do it all together and spread the collective blame.

To my simple mind, this Commandment could not be more clear and unambiguous.  THOU  SHALT  NOT  KILL.

It doesn’t even say:  Thou shalt not kill except in self defense.  It doesn’t even allow us to defend ourselves.  No wiggle room at all.

It’s very easy to find this commandment.  Christians tell me it is central to their beliefs and faith.  Christians tell me that it is a commandment, not just a suggestion, and that it comes directly from their God.

My partner tells me that some Christians argue “Thou shalt not kill.” is a mistranslation from the original, whatever the original actually was, and that the true “voice of God” said “Thou shalt not commit murder.”   Wouldn’t you know it?  Their book is the inerrant Voice of God, unless they don’t agree with it, in which case it isn’t inerrant at all.  It’s been mistranslated by some previous doofus under orders from King James.  This argument brings up the whole question of what is murder, and how many people does it take to agree on a killing before we stop calling it murder and start calling it capital punishment.   I see this as just a variation of cherry picking.  A fart by any other name is still a fart.  If they agree with their book, it’s the inerrant the voice of God.  If they don’t agree with their book, it just doesn’t apply, for whatever reason or excuse.

Cherry Picker - Berthe Morisot.  I do not know whether Morisot was a Christian, but I do know that Christians cherry pick without giving it a thought.  It's expected.So, the next time a Christian complains that we take passages from their outdated Old Testament to make their religion look silly, asking them why we can’t sell our daughter into slavery or stone our neighbour for working on the Sabbath, you can toss this one at them.
If Christians didn’t cherry pick, there would be no capital punishment in any “Christian nation” and the deep South of America would have the staunchest advocates for abolition of the death penalty on the planet.

They all ignore the actual voice of God commandments which they say they believe in.

I am not a Christian.  So I am free to support capital punishment.  I don’t.  I think capital punishment is a primitive response fed by a desire for revenge, justice, and fairness that is seriously misplaced.  It makes no logical or rational sense, and carries the terrible risk of killing the innocent.

If you put me in a room with Clifford Olson and gave me a gun, I’d happily blow the bastard away.  I’d pay money to do it.  But this is because I’m still a primitive human at the hard wired neuron level.

Clifford Olson is slowly dying of cancer, according to the latest news report.  Can’t happen slowly enough for my taste.  But even if he wasn’t, he’s a monster.  He’s a brain damaged aberration of humanity.  We need our monsters.  We’ll never understand our monsters if we kill them the minute they are discovered.

Aside from this, Olson will be dead soon enough.  Killing him would make us, in no small way, just like him.  Even if we do it collectively.  I do not want to be a killer.  I do not want to support killing.  I do not want to be, in any part, like Clifford Olson.

Christians ask me:  Why should we have to pay to keep a man like Clifford Olson alive for the rest of his life?  And now we are down to the real basis of Christian morality.  It’s a matter of economics.  It’s about money.  It’s just not fair that we have to feed and cloth and house this monster when he has done such terrible things and so richly deserves to die.  And my response:  Suck it up, folks.  We can afford it.  America has privatized jails and made them into a growth industry.  It’s good for the economy.  Chip in the few pennies that are your share to support murderers and feel good about your moral position.  Be consistent.  Listen to the voice of your God.

I don’t support capital punishment for what I hope are rational reasons consistent with my personal beliefs.

But Christians?  They scoff at consistency.  They have no trouble with contradictions within their belief system.  They have no problem with cognitive dissonance.

Christians can cherry pick.

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Happy Bisexuality Visibility Day

If you are bi, say hi.The delightful Greta Christina has alerted us all that today is Bisexuality Visibility Day.  I’m all for it, being bi myself.   But hey, we’ ve got to get better names for these days.  I mean, does “Happy Bisexuality Visibility Day” roll trippingly off YOUR tongue?  How about “Happy Hi I’m Bi Day”?  Or … well, suggestions anybody?

At the moment I’m in a committed heterosexual relationship, and my bisexuality is only expressed in the occasional fantasy of “bowling from the pavilion”, as Mr. Gronk over at J&M so charmingly expressed it.  Of course saying this in the voice of Darwin Harmless hardly counts as coming out about it.  But I’m also out in my non-anonymous life, at least to people who know me well and I think could handle it.  My sexuality is not something that comes up in many conversations.  I’m sure most people just assume I’m completely hetero, and I would only correct that assumption if they express homophobia or start talking about what is “normal”.

For the most part I am decidedly hetero, and have only found occasion to express the bisexual aspect of my nature a grand total of three times (fond memories all) in what is becoming a rather long life.  Still, I call myself bi because that’s what I am.  It’s hard for me to believe that most people are not bi to some extent.  Why wouldn’t we be?  Sexuality and sensuality blend together in a smooth spectrum, and without repression one becomes the other naturally and smoothly.  As Lenny Bruce put it, “You put a guy on an island he’ll do it to mud.”

Will I be seeking to express the bisexuality of my nature in the near future?  Not likely.  As I said, I’m in a committed heterosexual relationship at the moment.  I value that relationship, and I don’t need complications.  I also have a partner who is very concerned about diseases.  She doesn’t feel she has to own my every ejaculation, but she would not be comfortable were I to dally in the queer world.  I’m okay with this situation.  Some sexuality is best left in the realm of fantasy.  I do not need to manifest every fantasy in my reality.

Still, I like the idea of everybody being open about their sexuality.  If everybody stopped hiding in the closet, whatever their closet might contain, this world would be a much more tolerant place and we’d all have a new definition of “normal”.

So, that said, if you are bi, say hi.

 

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Same old America, Same Ugly Country

I had hopes that America might be changing.  I had hopes that Americans had learned some lessons, and had an interest in improving their image in this world.  Once again, my hopes for that nasty country have been proven naive.

The Supreme Court refused to commute the death penalty for Troy Davis.  Accordingly he was put to death, despite strong doubts about his guilt.

Troy Davis - Possibly innocent.  Murdered by the people of America.

Troy Davis - Murdered by the people of America.

There are people I would be happy to see dead.  Clifford Olson comes to mind.  In fact, give me a gun and put me in a room with Olson and I think I’d enjoy killing him myself.  But Olson is a man about whom there is no doubt at all.  To kill a man when there is the slightest doubt about his guilt seems incredibly barbaric.

The execution of Troy Davis is one more black smudge on the American conscience.  One more reason most of the world still thinks of Americans as primitives.  One more opportunity lost.

Another sad day for America, even if Americans don’t know it.

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He’s My Troll Now

I woke up this morning to an email from Neil C. Reinhardt.  Not hard to recognize his voice, since his caps lock key is still stuck:

Neil C. Reinhardt.  Troll.  'Nuff said.

HEY DUMB, DELUDED, DEMENTED DARWIN THE COWARD,

“I am curious about whether you can turn up ANY double blind peer reviewed investigation of noni that indicates it has value.”

IF YOU ACTUALLY USED YOUR BRAIN EFFECTIVELY, YOU WOULD HAVE READ THE INFORMATION IN THE CLINICAL TRIAL LINK I INCLUDED

Clinical Studies prove Noni Juice boosts our immune systems! For a brief
summary of TNI’s 14 human clinical trials

http://www.gononi.com/united_states/english/link/updates/full?id=316871

YOU WOULD HAVE SEEN THERE WERE MANY DOUBLE BLIND STUDIES DONE.

HAD YOU DONE SO, THEN YOU MAY HAVE NOT POSTED AND AGAIN PROVEN WHAT A TOTAL RETARD YOU ARE

OF COURSE, AS YOU HAVE ALREADY PROVEN, OVER AND OVER AGAIN YOUR READING COMPREHENSION SKILLS ARE EVEN WORSE THAN
THAN YOUR NEARLY NON-EXISTENT ABILITY TO USE LOGIC, YOU WOULD MOST PROBABLY STILL POST YOUR TOTALLY IGNORANT COMMENTS.

“That of course is the only kind of endorsement that means anything at
all.”

THAT IS JUST MORE PROOF YOUR LOGIC IS IN THE GUTTER ALONG WITH YOUR INTEGRITY AND HONOR!

ENDORSEMENTS FROM ACTUAL REAL DOCTORS WHICH INCLUDE THEIR SPECIALTY AND THE CITY THEY PRACTICE IN ARE MORE THAN SUFFICIENT FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT AS DELUDED, DEMENTED AND AS DUMB AS YOU ARE!

AND FYI CHILD,

I MAY DECIDE TO FIND YOU AND SEE IF YOU HAVE THE BALLS TO SAY THE SAME THINGS TO MY FACE AS YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE HIDING LIKE A COWARD BEHIND YOUR COMPUTER.

NEIL C. REINHARDT

So of course I had to follow his link, and that was interesting.  His link took me to “A brief summary of TNI’s 14 human clinical trials”, a page inflating the results of those 14 clinical trials and  hyping Neil’s noni juice.

Gosh.  A real scientist in a lab coat doing important science.  Or maybe an actor.  Sure gives me confidence in noni juice. For example, the first summary includes this claim:  “Results: TNJ absolutely safe & reduced number of illness related events”.  But then I followed the link to the actual study, which  is… not quite as enthusiastic about the juice.

“ABSTRACT: Morinda citrifolia L. (noni) fruit has been used in tropical regions as both food and folk medicine. The recent use of noni as a dietary supplement has increased greatly. To describe the safety of this fruit, a literature review and data from new studies are presented. Several preclinical safety tests and a human clinical safety study have revealed no adverse health effects, even at high doses. The available data substantiate its continued use as a safe food.”

Oh, I see.  Safe. Not actually good for anything much.  Not a word about “reduced number of illness related events”. Just “safe”.  Safe as drinking orange juice.  It’s a cute trick, extrapolating “safe” to “beneficial”.

I’m not wasting any more of my time investigating Neil’s information.  I’ll leave that to George W. over at Misplaced Grace, who is already on the case and has devoted considerable time to his research, promising us a follow up post in the near future.

ENDORSEMENTS FROM ACTUAL REAL DOCTORS WHICH INCLUDE THEIR SPECIALTY AND THE CITY THEY PRACTICE IN ARE MORE THAN SUFFICIENT FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT AS DELUDED, DEMENTED AND AS DUMB AS YOU ARE!

Oh really.  So, individual doctors are good sources of advice on the value of a nutritional supplement?  Would these be the same doctors who, just a few years ago, told us that masturbation causes insanity, curvature of the spine, epilepsy, and heart problems and therefore all infants should be circumcised to cure this horrible vice?  Or would these be the doctors who recommended we smoke Camels until the evidence became overwhelming?  Or the doctors who performed a century of useless radical mastectomies, and only stopped when double blind clinical trials proved this mutilation of women had no value?

If you weren’t such a credulous troll, Neil, you would know that the only proof of efficacy comes from double blind clinical studies, and that anecdotal evidence proves nothing, even if it comes from a doctor.  Doctors are as human, and fallible, as anybody else.

Neil C. Reinhardt continues to rant in his troll voice, expecting people to be persuaded by his arguments while showing me no courtesy or respect at all.  Fuck him.  He’s just an asshole.

By the way, I wonder if he’d be so ready to “FIND YOU AND SEE IF YOU HAVE THE BALLS TO SAY THE SAME THINGS TO MY FACE AS YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE HIDING LIKE A COWARD BEHIND YOUR COMPUTER.” if he knew that, following the last time I was challenged to a fight, I spent two years in jail for manslaughter.  Just how much of a fool is Neil C. Reinhardt?   I hope I don’t find out.  There are events in my life I’m not anxious to repeat, and pointless bullshit schoolyard style fights are high on the list.  Come and beat me to a pulp or die trying, Neil.  Would that prove you are right?  Asshole.

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For Whom the Jerk Trolls

This post started as a response to George W.’s  comment on my last post, but grew so long I decided to post it on it’s own.  So thanks for the inspiration, George.  Today’s subject:  Internet anonymity and trolls.  There are those who recommend identity verification – unmasking pseudonyms and banning handles – as a remedy for controlling trolling.  But as Neil C. Reinhardt, who trolls under his own belligerent name, so aptly demonstrates, this isn’t going to work.

Neil C. Reinhardt, self described "grumpy old man" AKA troll.  As if grumpy is an attractive personality trait.

What doing away with handles and pseudonyms would do is limit speech on the Internet to bland, innocuous, triviality.  Here’s a link (also included in my last post, so you may have been there already) to a very interesting discussion of Google+ instigating a real names only policy.   I don’t use Google + yet, and may never use it.  I’m not really familiar with this new FaceBook competitor.  But the discussion here does a great job of listing all the reasons why we might like some privacy when we talk to our friends, with potential enemies possibly listening in.

I’ve been blogging for years under my own name, with everything about me including my location easily available, on another site.  Darwin Harmless was born of my frustration with not being able to speak freely about things I care about, or things I’m simply curious about, my frustration with not being able to be honest.  This is not just about personal issues.  I have a presence in several countries, more than one of which is very touchy about what one says online.  I also have an occupation that is not tolerant of counterculture ideas.  No doubt any dedicated computer expert could put my two identities together in about ten seconds, but why make it easy for the ignorant and intolerant nutters to find me.

I take my anonymity, not as a license to be an asshole (unless of course I happen to be an asshole about some issue or situation, in which case honesty demands that I be one), but as a shield against the assholes of this world, many of whom are murderous and not subject to reasonable restraint.  Mumtaz Quadri comes to mind with his forehead calloused from bashing into his prayer mat every ten minutes, the bodyguard fanatic who used the AK47 he’d been issued to kill his unarmed employer, the man he’d been hired to protect, Salman Taseer.  Then of course there is Kurt Westergaard, the Danish cartoonist attacked by a man with an axe in front of his grand daughter.   And let’s not forget Jen McCreight, advised to go into hiding after inspiring us all with Boob Quake.  I do not need to risk having the fanatics with no sense of humour or proportional response taking an interest in me or my family, no matter how unlikely that might be.

I do want to increase the harmony and tolerance in this world, and I long for a world where we can all admit our harmless sexual quirks and foibles without being subject to shame or more serious repercussions.  I regret the necessity for my anonymity, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to expose myself to nutters out of false bravado.

All of this said, I don’t mind aggressive talk, and I rather enjoy a good roll with a troll.  Neil C. Reinhardt was fun because he so completely represented trolldom.  Here’s a link to a good discussion about trolls on flayme.com.  You can see how well N.C.R. epitomizes the breed.  In particular, I had to laugh when Neil started going on about how smart he is,  while calling us all retards.  Here’s a troll IQ test from the same source.  Apparently ALL trolls have an IQ of over 150, and this test verifies that fact.  Neil fits right in.

Another rather amusing thing about Neil is that he kept going on about his wealth of experience, his great success at bedding women, his athletic prowess, all the time suggesting that we,  youngsters and retards that we are, have done nothing noteworthy.  This made me laugh because I’ve done just about everything on Neil’s list, with the exception of military service.  The military and I do not get along very well.  Too authoritarian for my liking.  The time I’ve spent with the military had me in a position of some authority over them, a situation which did not sit easy on the military mind and made nobody very comfortable.

I enjoy trolls in moderation and when sufficiently moderated.  I have no intention of becoming one.  I want to build the Darwin Harmless persona into a respected voice for tolerance and reason on the Internet.  I rather enjoy being a bit mysterious, but I also like to be taken seriously and to engage in intelligent discussions.  For me, anonymity is a shield, not a license.  I hope my readers will accept it as such.

The other purpose to Darwin Harmless is to gain understanding of social issues that affect our times.  To this end, please go and take my circumcision survey.  I’m going to admit right now that so far only 97 people have done so.  How about pushing it over the centennial?  It’s a totally anonymous survey or I’d offer a prize for the 100th participant.

Thanks for taking my infant male circumcision survey.  Your opinion is important.

Even though less than a hundred people have completed the survey, they represent every part of the world except Central and South America.  I’ve found the results and comments very enlightening.  I know there is no statistical legitimacy, given the self selection of participants and the distortions caused by the sample group.  But I am hearing from people on both sides of the issue of infant male circumcision and some of the comments have been very valuable.  Also very gratifying.  I particularly liked the comment from one participant on my survey evaluation question:  “Great survey it’s what all survey should be like”.  I worked hard on this survey.  It’s sure nice to get this kind of feedback.

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Cowardice or Wisdom

Even Superman needed a secret identity.

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger
And you don’t give your name and home address out to fucking murderous nutbar fanatics.
once again WordPress refuses to format as I want -with apologies to Jim Croce

I’ve been in a bit of a flame war recently with a guy named Neil C. Reinhardt (proudly his real name, apparently) over at George W.’s blog, Misplaced Grace.  The eloquent Mr. Reinhardt, who likes to post in all caps “JUST TO PISS OFF YOU RETARDS”, spammed a eulogy that George posted in honour of the recently deceased Canadian politician, Jack Layton.  It was the equivalent of showing up in a plaid suit at a funeral and using the gathering of grieving mourners  as an occasion to sell snake oil.  George reacted accordingly and tore a strip off the troll,  leading to 121 comments, so far, every second one by Mr. Reinhardt in all caps.  This has forced George to develop a comments policy, which I think is excellent and which I am thinking of adopting.  And it has caused me to think about my anonymity.

You see, one of Mr. Reinhardt’s big things is calling anybody who hides behind a screen name a coward.  He uses his own name, and even posted his real address with an invitation to come and visit him and a promise that we’d be pushing up daisies (yes, he really talks like that) if we did.  I explained to Mr. Reinhardt the reasons why I am anonymous.  This only served to alert him to what he sees as a sore point he can poke at.  He’s not interested in understanding anything.  He’s only interested in inflicting pain on those he sees as his enemies.  Of which I’m rather happy to be one.  So he seems incapable of addressing me without appending the term “coward”,  and this makes me more convinced than ever that he is an idiot.

Recently, Bruce Schneier of security fame posted a link to a Kee Hinkley article about pseudonyms.  It’s long, but it’s really good and worth reading.  It says everything I could want to say about the reason we should value anonymity on the Internet.  It isn’t just a matter of keeping people civil.  I don’t actually care all that much about civility.  It’s because no matter who you are, there is somebody in this world who hates you and would like to plant your ass six feet deep.  It’s fine to post on Facebook or Google+ using your real identity if all you are talking about is where you are having dinner, or your plans for the weekend.  It’s an entirely different thing is you want to post about your religious convictions, your political position, your sexual orientation, or the blow job you gave in that interstate rest stop washroom.  There should be some place on the net where a person can be real, and very few people can be real using their real name.  Not without the potential for terrible, possibly lethal, consequences.Kurt Westergaard's Mohammed.  When posting something like this can get you killed, don't tell me it's cowardice to be anonymous.The smug argument that we have no reason to hide if we aren’t doing anything to be ashamed of is specious in the extreme.  I’m not the least bit ashamed of my opinions or experiences.  But this doesn’t mean I want to invite the world to judge me, in person, possibly with violent intentions, endangering not just my life and livelihood but also those I love.  Only a chest thumping fool like Neil C. Reinhardt would see it this as cowardice.

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I’m Tired Too. Tired of Stupid

What am I tired of?   I’m tired of bitter old people who sit in the lap of luxury and whine about how unjust it is that they have to consider anybody else in society.

Today a relative, a rather old relative who doesn’t work anymore and yet drives a nice late model car, eats good nutritious meals three times a day, is never cold or uncomfortable because his roof doesn’t leak, his home is modern and well insulated, his kitchen includes all the modern appliances including a dishwasher, whose television includes a remote control so he doesn’t’ have to move his lazy ass to change the channels,  and who has enough discretionary cash to send the grand kids a small Christmas or birthday present, sent me the following rant with a note saying:

“I can really relate to this one…….
This should be required reading for every man, woman and child in the UK , in the U.S.A, Canada , Australia and New Zealand ….
Excellent short read – pass it on.

I do not relate to this one, except to find it shallow and stupid.  But I’m happy to share it with you, with a few added comments.

Robert A Hall.  Thinker of deep thoughts.I’m 73 and I’m Tired

By Robert A. Hall
I’m 73. Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I’ve worked, hard,since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven’t called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn’t inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there’s no retirement in sight, and I’m tired. Very tired.
( WordPress is refusing to put in a line feed here, so I’m adding this as a work around.)
Sounds like you’ve had a very busy and productive life.   You should be rightfully proud of yourself.   But fifty hours a week… that’s a lot of time at work for a guy who should be retired.  No wonder you are tired.

I’m tired of being told that I have to “spread the wealth” to people who don’t have my work ethic. I’m tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.

Oh, I see.  You are blaming those at the very bottom of the socio-economic system for your financial problems.  I guess the widening gap between the wealthy and the poor, the fact that the super-rich are richer than ever, and the fact the the current economy was caused by those very people who pushed for removal of controls that were put in place to prevent a repetition of 1929, none of this impresses you at all.  You have financial trouble because that tiny percentage of the population who are moochers are getting all your cash.  It has nothing to do with the high rolling speculators that are your fellow Senators’ buddies on Wall Street.  Oh dear.  You poor thing.

I’m tired of being told that Islam is a “Religion of Peace,” when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family “honor”; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren’t “believers;” of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for “adultery;” of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur’an and Shari’a law tells them to.

I can identify with this too.  I’m not fan of  Islam.  But I refuse to accept that ALL Muslims are to be despised.  No more than All Christians, most of whom by the way are perfectly complacent about mutilating the genitals of infant boys.

I’m tired of being told that, out of “tolerance for other cultures,” we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and mandrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America and Canada , while no American nor Canadian group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.

I’m not sure I catch your point here.  Are you saying you’d like to live in a country where the government dictates which religions can have a place of worship?  Doesn’t sound like America to me, and I hope it never is.  Again, I’m no fan of the Saudis.  But I’m also tired of being told that Christianity is a religion of  “love and tolerance”, ignoring Fred Phelps and the Westboro Babtist Church whose members picket military funerals with signs reading “God Hates Fags”, ignoring the fact that the leader of one of the word’s largest and most powerful Christian organizations is currently killing people in Africa by discouraging condom use that could help stop the AIDS epidemic, ignoring the fundamentalist Christians in Uganda who are pressing for the death penalty for homosexuality, for simply being what a person is.  People who live in tin houses shouldn’t throw can openers, Mr. Hall.

I’m tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate.

Excuse me?  No one is allowed to debate this?  What planet are you living on?  What nobody should be allowed to do is  deny facts, distort evidence, and lie to the people while financed by big oil and coal, but you will find lots of that on the Internet if you just do a quick Google search.

I’m tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off?

Okay.  Now you are sounding really stupid.  You have a simple choice.  Treat drug addicts as criminals, punish them for their “immorality”, and put them in jail.  In which case you will spend a huge amount of your money on ineffective enforcement, corrections facilities that correct absolutely nothing, and ineffective health care for the addicts who make themselves sick because your repressive policies have forced them to go into hiding, share needles, and inject under unsanitary conditions. (Addicts will aspirate water from a mud puddle in a urine soaked alley to cook up their fix.  Do you really think your control freak policies will have an effect on such people?)  The net result of this is to spend the tax payers’ money to enforce the monopoly of organized criminals.  This choice, by the way, has resulted in the America having a higher percentage of its population in jail than ANY other country in the world, and that includes the third world and developing countries.  Is this the form of world leadership you prefer?
The alternative is to treat addicts like people with a problem, spend the money (far less money than you are currently spending on your stupid War on Drugs) on education, prevention, treatment, and harm reduction, and save your government a freaking fortune while actually improving the situation instead of making it worse.  Your choice here.
Oh, there is a third choice.  You could simply execute addicts and drug dealers (who are also addicts, and mostly deal to pay for their habit).  That is not the kind of world I want to live in.  But you sound like a guy who would approve of this choice, because you are suffering financially so terribly.  You could live under such a government right now if you want.  All you have to do is sell out your holdings in America and move to China where you will find your money goes quite a long way.

I’m tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I’m tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.

I don’t suppose you can hear the irony in this last sentence of yours, so I will point it out to you.  Your sense of entitlement is huge, unbelievably huge.  You seem to think that living in one of the wealthiest nations on earth, with all the privileges you were given, enjoying the lifestyle you currently have, is your due and that nobody else in the world is entitled to it.  Man, would I like to strip you of all those advantages and plunk your ass down in rural Bangladesh for a few weeks.
You think the working poor, the minimum wage earner trying to support a family, doesn’t work hard?  You think a kid born into a poverty culture doesn’t look at you and envy your lily white ass?  You think a Chinese peasant wouldn’t be willing to trade places with you in a heartbeat?  Think again, Mr. Hall.  You won what Warren Buffet calls “the ovarian lottery” and you don’t even know it.

I’m real tired of people who don’t take responsibility for their lives and actions. I’m tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.

Again, the irony of your rant is almost painful.  What the hell have you been doing if not blaming others for your current situation?  Except you blame the poor, the weak, the disenfranchised, the sick, the underprivileged.  Smart thinking there.

Yes, I’m damn tired. But I’m also glad to be 73.. Because, mostly, I’m not going to have to see the world these people are making. I’m just sorry for my granddaughters and grandson.

And I’m sorry for you.  Because if you could just get over your sense of entitlement and privilege, and stop whining about how hard done by you are, you might notice that the world needs some energy to actually improve things instead of just bitching about them.  The good old days were not all that good, except for privileged white people, mostly men.  Going back is not an option.  Whether you have noticed it or not, this world is a far better place than it was when you were a school kid, back when a black man couldn’t drink from the courthouse fountain and could not even enter your senate chamber, sexual harassment was a perk of management, and gays had to hide in the closet for fear of being beaten to death by some loving Christian.

Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate.
And this might go a long way toward explaining why America is in such trouble these days.  This man has been in a position of great power and authority, and he’s as useless as tits on a boar.

There is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on!
This is your chance to make a difference.

And what will that difference be, exactly?  How is anything this idiot is saying going to improve anybody’s life?

“I’m 73 and I’m tired.” If you don’t forward this you are part of the problem.
And if you do forward it, this is going to improve things?  Please.  Give me a fucking break.

Comments (1)

Wholesome and Worthy, but Wrong

I subscribe to the The Parkesburg Baptist Church Newsletter.  This may seem like a strange thing for a foaming at the mouth radical atheist to do, but I like to keep an eye on what the religious are up to.  Reading the September edition of “The Higher Ground”, as their newsletter is called,  made me feel all warm and fuzzy about this group of people, so obviously sincere, kind hearted, building loving community based on family values but also very tolerant.  The motto of the church: Where Everybody Is Somebody and Jesus Christ Is Lord!  Who could argue with that?  (Okay, maybe an atheist who doesn’t accept Jesus as Lord, of course.) And they seem to want to live up to this motto.  There’s no hatred obvious in this newsletter.  Just good wholesome community.  It all makes me want to join them.  Really.  I wish I could believe the dogma, which all seems so silly and foolish to me, because the organization has a lot going for it.

Check out this passage in anticipation of the anniversary of 9/11.

Lest we forget we need to pray for the enemies that existed after 9/11/01 as we remember
the Tenth anniversary on Sunday 9/11/11.
ONE
As the soot and dirt and ash rained down, we became one color. As we carried each other
down the stairs of the burning building, we became one class. As we lit candles of waiting
and hope, we became one generation. As the firefighters and police officers fought their
way into the inferno, we became one gender. As we fell to our knees in prayer for strength,
we became one faith. As we whispered or shouted words of encouragement, we spoke one
language. As we gave our blood in lines a mile long, we became one body. As we mourned
together the great loss, we became one family. As we cried tears of grief and loss, we became
one soul. As we retell with pride of the sacrifice of heroes, we become one people.
We are one color, one class, one generation, one gender, one faith, one language, one body,
one family, one soul, one people.
We are the power of one. We are united. We are America.
Yours and His
-  Pastor Bob Coats

Pray for the enemies?  That’s very Christian, or very Christian as the Christians would like to be perceived, and would be quite praiseworthy if prayer had any value.  I’m not a fan of American flag waving patriotism, and I think 9/11 was an attack on the entire civilized western world and way of life – it was called the World Trade Center after all – but we can hardly fault Americans for being American. This is patriotism and inspiration.  Nicely put.  Beautiful sentiment.
Beneath this is a “prescription for hugs” by Dr. Virginia Satir, who extolls the medicinal value of touching each other, of physical affection.  Again, it’s good stuff.  I agree.  Seriously.  These are nice people going to this church, the polar opposite of another Baptist Church, the one lead by Fred Phelps and his family, the Westboro Baptist Church.  Even though they both sail under the Baptist flag, and even though I detest the silly Christian dogma,  the Parkesburg Baptist Church seems like a downright wholesome organization.  I wouldn’t mind having these people in my neighborhood, or even in my family.

Now, here’s the problem.  The church has an obvious and legitimate mission to expand it’s membership and to bring the youth into their fold.  But when they get behind a guy like Bob Lenz, who’s main thing is taking religion into schools and using a combination of standup comedy, charm and bullshit to convert young impressionable minds to his fervent brand of Christian nonsense, this is too much.  If I had kids in one of those schools, I’d be screaming.  This is not about being politically correct, or banning the word Christmas, which I think is stupid.  This is about preaching the gospel where it isn’t appropriate.  Bob Lenz doesn’t belong in a secular institution like the school system.

Bob Lenz targets school kids with his Christian message.  Not appropriate.I don’t know why, but clicking on this poster makes it much more readable.  It’s worth a close inspection and some serious consideration.  Is this the kind of thing we want in our schools?  Not any school I have anything to do with, I can tell you.

The Parkesburg Baptist Church presumably has a building specifically dedicated to celebrating and preaching their silly religion.  That’s the place for clowns like Bob Lenz.  He shouldn’t be allowed to speak  in any school.  Not unless Greta Christina or Ophelia Benson or maybe Julia Sweeney get equal time at the same event.

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