Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Really, Really, Big Lie

What you're missing is that the big lie, maybe the biggest of all the lies, is that the mainstream media are on Hillary's side. The reality is that they are so desperate to prove that they are fair and balanced and so afraid of the conservatives attacking them that they present lies that they know are lies as if they were possibly true.

As I've said before, if Germany had our news media back in the days when Hitler was trying to get into power, they would have reported endlessly on the evil of Jews and the need to exterminate them. They wouldn't have said they were evil and should be exterminated, but they wouldn't have said that it was nonsense either.

They would have just spread the lies and then presented both sides in a debate -- in a balanced manner. "Our first guess is Julius Streicher, followed by Rabbi Hertzmann."

When one side is willing to sell any bizarre lie no matter how foolish and finds that it's believed while the other side tries to least stick generally to the truth and the news media can't tell the difference between the two (or more accurately won't tell the difference between the two), abandon all hope you who enter here.

Note: As you know Fox admitted it lied about Hillary being indicted. It didn't take but A few minutes before conservatives began accusing FOXNews of having been bought off by the Clintons. Yes, that's right. They actually accused FOXNews of being on the Clinton's side. We have entered a world of utter madness, at least, on the conservative side.

News today is about making money. The non right wing news is like the Democrats have been for so long, afraid of offending the right wing wing lying news.

My prediction is that if this election is close it will make the Republican Party more extreme than ever. They will tell themselves' "if only we been a little bit crazier we would have won."

If it's a big loss for Trump, there is a chance that they might begin to mend their ways. But remember, many of them, like the whole Breitbart hate monger machine, are true believers and won't change no matter what.

If Trump wins, this nation may be in the biggest trouble it's ever been in. The Brits were never willing to put out the massive levels of force, blood, and treasure that was necessary to subdue us, as long as we held out they would eventually give up. Hitler and Tojo really didn't have a chance against us. Eventually we would have used the atomic bomb on Berlin, if that's what it had taken. The danger of the Cold War was more nuclear war than anything else. And OK, that would've been a disaster for the whole human race, but we weren't in any serious danger of being conquered, just our entire species becoming extinct.

I'm not the first to point out that the real danger to America is an internal, voter supported coup. I'm also not the first to point out that would be largely religious coup. (And with the military becoming more and more fundamentalist evangelical it's possible that we might not even need voter support.)

Bill Marr recently described the Republican Party's efforts in recent decades as a slow moving coup. I prefer "slow-motion coup" but he makes an excellent point.

America's place as the most democratic nation in the world has long been degrading. We're about number 21 on at least one respected list. Democracy is dying in America. I've said it before, we're turning into a kleptocracy. That is the fault of the Democrats as much as the Republicans.

Republicans are refusing to fill any Supreme Court justices unless their candidate wins the election, an absolute repudiation of the rule of law, of democracy, and of the Constitution. So even if Hillary wins, our nation could be crumbling before our very eyes.

The only reason I have hope is the millennial generation. They are not perfect, but they sure have a lot of very sound basic ideas and they can tell the difference between Internet lies and reality. After all, they grew up with the Internet. I trust our grandchildren. Whatever happens I believe they will save the world and the United States.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

That Was The World That Was

The original post: Half of Americans want to take the US back to the 1950s.

Me: The only good thing about the 50s is that I was young then. Other than that they were really rocky times.

Susan: Personally, they were the best of times, growing up in the Berkshire Hills. We were encouraged to be all we could be, and protected from evil so we could succeed.
You grew up in Victorville, didn't you?

Me: Various air bases. I loved living with my grandparents in Connecticut while Dad that was on remote duty (occupation duty in Germany?) I have a few vivid memories but in general I don't remember it very well but I loved it.

I don't remember the time before that in Wisconsin and Massachusetts. Although maybe I do, I certainly have some memories that are floating around that I can't quite place.

Two years in Oklahoma was a wonderful time. Right behind our house was the railway track and behind that empty space. The stream ran down a sandstone bed to the wetlands with willow islands and the railway tressle.

Then Biloxi Mississippi, "the capital of segregation". We lived on base there. But trips outside were like taking a journey into a hostile land. They're all sorts of rules that everyone had to obey, White and Black. Good memories, but also not so good.

Then Germany, then here.

My point is though that of course all these times were wonderful. I was a kid. But the 1950s was the time when it was still perfectly acceptable to south to murder Black people. Homosexuality was illegal. So was most consensual sex between married couples! You conformed or you were thrown out. Girls were sent home if they dared wear pants to school. The rat race was on. The government was ready to attempt to survive a nuclear war. The polio epidemic. And so on.

That was a lot of hope, but it was balanced by a very real fear.

Things are much better now. I miss some things, like letting us kids loose and not seeing us until sundown. Still, historically it was a very bad century and the 1950s largely seem so wonderful only by comparison to the horrors that had come before.

I remember reading stories nostalgically remembering the whirr of a hand pushed lawn mower making the smell of fresh cut grass as opposed to the smell of burning gasoline and fresh cut grass. Then I read a Ray Bradberry story in which he nostalgically remembered the swish of the scythe to cut the grass. All of us remember our childhoods as such a wonderful time. And so they were. For us as individuals.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Truth, However Ugly, Is The Cure

In response to this article I posted:

Fear and resentment are the main forces at work.

>Interpreting a focus on civil rights as a threat to white Americans is, of course, not new. Just think of the pushback against Black Lives Matter’s expressions of despair over police killings of unarmed African Americans, or the outsize hostility toward San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protests during the national anthem before games.<

And, sorry Trump apologists, economic issues are NOT an important driver of Trump support.

Even in the general election, while support for Trump is correlated most strongly with party ID, the second biggest factor, per the analysis of Hamilton College political scientist Philip Klinkner, was racial resentment. Economic pessimism and income level were statistically insignificant.<

The truth hurts, but only the truth can heal.

 And in response to the above article I posted:

>But if Trump’s strategy is all about dragging Clinton down into the pig slop with him — and about generally spraying a fine mist of pig slop over the whole process, to make (some) voters turn away in disgust — it looks as if this all may end with Trump floundering around in the pig slop all alone. <

This has been the losing strategy for the Republicans for years now. Every time it fails they tell themselves,"We just need to be even more extreme and more hateful". And then it fails again.  They just can't learn.

The Republican Party, in collaboration with its extremist right wing media machine, has created all the problems that they are facing now. Trump is not the disease. Trump is only a symptom.

If the party is not to continue in its steady decline, currently slowed only by carefully rigged elections thanks to the most effective gerrymandering in history, it must cease to base all of its hopes in fear mongering, race baiting, and rage enhancement.

But it's spiral of addiction and self-destructive behavior  seems unbreakable.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret

America was founded as a Christian nation? John Adams said, "It was the general opinion of ancient nations, that the divinity alone was adequate to the important office of getting laws to men…"

So far, so good for the belief.

Later he went on to say that the united American states, "…have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments directed on the simple principles of nature."

Uh oh!

Later in the same work he added, "It will never be pretended that any person employed in that service had any interviews with the gods, or or in any degree under the inspiration of heaven, anymore than those of work up on ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise were agriculture: it will be forever acknowledged these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses."

So says one of the most important Founding Fathers. No religion need apply in America. Love it or hate it, this is the fact: America was intended to be a totally secular nation and its government was intended to have no relationship to God whatsoever.

Quotes taken from John Adams three volume Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America published in 1787.

Note: Adams got one thing wrong. Many people are certainly pretending that their fantasies are real are refusing to acknowledge reality.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

" I Have The Power!" Says He Man The Physicist

Time for a rant. I'm watching Startalk, a  program I enjoy (although not one of my favorites) and I am listening to obviously highly intelligent people make utter fools of themselves.  What about?  Schrodinger's cat, of course!

We keep hearing about this over and over again as if it is a great mystery. Schrodinger presented the concept in order to disapprove the observation theory of reality. His intention was to show just how ridiculous the position was and therefore that it was impossible.

Yet, time and time again people take the issue seriously as if it were a real problem he presented in order to demonstrate the strangeness of reality rather than the foolishness of their ideas.

The original issue was that of quantum uncertainty. Down at that sub microscopic level things happen statistically rather than rigidly. That is to say,  there is a percentage which indicates how likely anything is to happen or an object is to be in a given place rather than an absolute reality. This means that if the quantum level under certain circumstances an object may be in more than one place at any one time. Or to put it another way there is a high probability it is here, a lesser probability it is there, an even lesser probability it somewhere else. This sounds like just a description of working in reality, but any quantum physicist will tell you that this is a description of the actual state of the particle. It isn't entirely in any one of those places.

Down at the quantum level, physicist assure us,  an object may simply stop being where it is and start being somewhere else. It has not moved. It has simply stopped being where it was and started being somewhere nearby. As insane as this sounds, every experiment made to prove or disapprove it has proven it. It is called quantum tunneling and it happens because quantum particles exist where they are only as a matter of probability. They can stop being where they are and start being somewhere else without warning.

This was interpreted decades ago as meaning that in the quantum world nothing existed until someone observed it to exist any particular place. When they made that observation then the thing was there. They had seen it, so that made it be there. It was actually only probably there until someone looked at it.

Schrodinger thought this was ridiculous. He said that if you took a box put a cat in it and next to the cat put a detector which would react if an atomic particle was emitted by a radioactive material, and if that particle would trigger the release of a  poison gas which would kill the cat, then, since the particle might or might not be emitted, according to this theory, the cat would neither be alive nor dead until someone opened the box and observed it.
Schrodinger's point was that the argument was ridiculous and should be discarded.

Unfortunately, people have been taking it seriously ever since he proposed it. It is obviously ridiculous. Furthermore, it is obvious why it is ridiculous.

What makes me the most angry is that this was pointed out at the same time Schrodinger made the suggestion. It is not new data.  It is old data which is ignored for the sake of thrill and showing off.

The response to those who took the issue of observation seriously was  the question, "Does the moon exist if no one is looking at it?" Or "Does the moon exist if a mouse looks at it?"

The answer is at the moon exists, obviously, even if no one and no living thing looks at it. The issue is not that a quantum state cannot be resolved into reality unless someone observes it. It's simply a question of interaction. When a particle can be either here or there it is both here or there in a state of what quantum physicists call super position. But the moment that particle interacts with other particles, no observation required, then it must be in a particular place and therefore it is in a particular place. No observation required. No life required. No experiment required. Only necessity is required.

The moon exists because its gravitational field interacts with the earth's gravitational field, etc. etc. etc. The detector either identifies an emitted particle or it doesn't. No other observation is required.

Or as someone else once put it:

God in the Quad
Ronald Knox

There was a young man who said,
Must think it exceedingly odd

If he finds that this tree
Continues to be

When there's no one about in the Quad."

Dear Sir:
Your astonishment's odd:
I am always about in the Quad.
And that's why the tree

Will continue to be,

Since observed by
Yours faithfully,

Repeating, when a particle must be either here or there then it is either here or there and only in one of those two places.

The error  these scientists are making, and I must assume it's a deliberate error, since the points I have  made above were made decades ago, is one of the oldest problems and philosophy. Solipsism.

Solipsism is the belief that only your mind exists--everything else is created by you. You are the sole creator and the sole power and the sole being that exists in the entire universe.  Taking the Schrodinger's cat situation seriously requires an observer, and surely that observer must be you, if you carry this on to its logical conclusion. So what if Professor Dorffel believes that the cat is alive or dead?  You haven't observed it, and only your God-like observation power can make things real or false.

What nonsense.

I appreciate the desire to make science interesting to ordinary people like me, but it should not be done with the foolish equivalent of pulling a quarter outof someone's ear.  It gains attention, but it illustrates nothing about the nature of reality.

End rant.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Whiter Than White

Excerpts plus very brief comments.

>Baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson, who’d endorsed Richard Nixon in 1960 and attended the 1964 Republican National Convention as a “special delegate” for New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, “asserted that any black leader who demonstrated support for [Goldwater] would lose power and influence since ‘the Negro is not going to tolerate any Uncle Toms in 1964.’ ” <

How times change.

>Attempts to bring nonwhites into the fold inevitably run up against a key reality: that movement conservatism is a white ideology.<

How times stay the same.

>Goldwater wasn’t just offensive; he articulated a vision of national life that would inevitably leave black Americans on the margins as second-class citizens, subject to the whims of segregationists and their allies. And if Goldwater didn’t see it, his explicitly anti-black allies did.<

Exactly the same.

>Romney explained during a Republican presidential debate, “We’d have a card that indicates who’s here illegally. … And if people are not able to have a card, and have through an E-Verify system determine that they are here illegally, then they’re going to find they can’t get work here. And if people don’t get work here, they’re going to self-deport to a place where they can get work.” Romney took the right-most position on immigration, and used it to sink his strongest rivals, like then–Texas Gov. Rick Perry.<

So....16And the second beast required all people small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark—the name of the beast or the number of its name.  Revelations.  👍🏻

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Mad Men 2016 Version

From a  Boston Globe report on a Trump rally.

A Trump supporter, "There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed. But that’s what it’s going to take. . . . I would do whatever I can for my country.”

Including destroying it?

Another Trumpster, "“Trump said to watch your precincts. I’m going to go, for sure,” said Steve Webb, a 61-year-old carpenter from Fairfield, Ohio.
“I’ll look for . . . well, it’s called racial profiling. Mexicans. Syrians. People who can’t speak American,” he said. “I’m going to go right up behind them. I’ll do everything legally. I want to see if they are accountable. I’m not going to do anything illegal. I’m going to make them a little bit nervous.”

Thus genuinely rigging the election.

Joe Cecil, a 39-year-old restaurant manager, said he has never voted before but is newly inspired by Trump.
“If people are offended by the sexual stuff, what do they think is going to happen when Muslims come here, implement Sharia law, and start raping our women?” he asks.

What can you say about simple insanity?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Rights And Wrongs

In response to a post which reported that high school students were expelled in punishment for their Facebook posts supporting neo-Nazis and the murdering of Jews I posted:

Talk about a mixed bag!

1.  The postings were disgusting. There is no excuse for them. It's clear that at least some if not all of the parents were shocked by their children's behavior. I repeat, there is no excuse for this. I make none.
2. Once informed of this, Facebook correctly took down the posts.
3. This is exactly the kind of hate speech the Donald Trump calls politically incorrect. It is exactly what he has authorized and made acceptable again.
4. The school was completely and totally wrong and punishing the students for these actions.

How can I say on the one hand of the actions deserved punishment and then immediately add that the school should not have administered punishment? The answer is very simple. This was none of the school's business.

Once we begin to allow schools to punish students for actions taken off-campus and after school hours, we have given schools an unbelievable excess of authority over parents and children and at the same time we have put upon schools a terrible and impossible burden.

Should schools also punish children for talking back? Not eating their dinner? Not cleaning their rooms? Parents are in charge of the children when their children are not in school. It is been traditional, and  may still be a cultural fact, that Japanese teachers are superior to parents. Parents  traditionally bowed more deeply to teachers than teachers bowed to parents. Teachers were considered to be failing in the duties if they did not spend at least some nights checking to make sure the lights in students' bedrooms were on well after normal bedtime. This was accepted as evidence that the child was studying hard. If a teacher felt parents were not doing their duty, the teacher was expected to give the parents a stern lecture. Parents were expected to listen and comply.

I do not think this would be appropriate in America.

This  also places  a ridiculous burden upon the schools. Every teacher in the high school is to be held accountable for disciplining their students for their behavior of those children after school hours?  Only the principal? So he's now responsible for all the students in the school?

Discipline and lessons are clearly in order for these children, but since these activities took place off-campus and after school hours, the school should not be involved in individual responses unless the parents ask for assistance. The school is responsible for being aware of this conduct and making it a part of lesson plans to prevent such actions as a part of educating our future adult citizens.  This, however is a general action not specifically aimed at individual pupils.

As a parent I did not want the government, not even in the form of the school system, taking responsibility for the actions of my family outside of school hours and activities. As a parent, I will deal with my children.

As an retired educator I would have objected to being required to deal with private disciplinary problems which should be in the hands of the parents.

There is one possible excuse for the school's actions. While the article strongly implies the students were expelled for being a part of the group and for the posts, it also mentioned that at least some students reported being threatened and harassed by members of the group. Such behavior, if it took place on school grounds, would be a valid reason for the expulsion of the students who actually threatened or harassed other students.


The report about parent teacher relationships in Japan is from Samurai's Ghost, a book written by an American who taught in Japan for a number of years.

Donald Trump, Flea Magnet

In response to an article showing in grim detail just how much virilent racists love Donald Trump and how they expect him to bring back the days of white supremacy, I responded:

Trump supporters should remember the old saying, "If you lie down and sleep with stray dogs, you will get up with fleas." Trump is deeply beloved by neo Nazis, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, and other murderous hate groups. Why do they love him so much? Why don't they feel repelled by a man who is so beloved by such monsters?

From the article, “The success of the Trump campaign just proves that our views resonate with millions,” said Rachel Pendergraft, a national organizer for the Knights Party, which succeeded David Duke’s Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. “They may not be ready for the Ku Klux Klan yet, but as anti-white hatred escalates, they will.”

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Memes vs. Facts

A democratic Party meme saying that Donald Trump humiliated himself by misunderstanding the purpose of the 14th amendment when he said that it does not apply to what he referred to as "anchor babies" is not entirely accurate. I reposted and said:

In fairness to Trump, because I think it's good to be fair even to unfair people, the Supreme Court has never ruled on the exact meaning of the 14th amendment.  It does echo the principle of English law which itself was originally controversial but was eventually settled to mean those born in England are English citizens.  Also most of those who supported the amendment agreed that this was its purpose applied in America.

However, some who voted for it did not agree with that, meaning their support was aimed at naturalizing slaves born in America.

In other words, it is generally accepted by legal scholars and courts that Donald Trump is wrong on this issue. There is however a minority group of legal scholars who think he has a point.  But he is certainly wrong in that this is not settled law and his position is contrary to the great majority of accepted opinion, and that means that this meme is also wrong in suggesting he humiliated himself for taking a position not yet settled in constitutional law and which has some supporters in the legal community.

My conclusion is that Donald Trump made a fool of himself for loudly insisting that his minority position is absolutely correct, but he did not humiliate himself completely because the issue is still open to debate.

Interesting note: I also believed that this was absolutely settled law until I researched it. It's always wise to check your facts. Even some of your most cherished opinions may turn out to be wrong and not fact-based. Personally I think the concept of "anchor babies" is repugnant and believe that anyone born in America is an American citizen, but it is not yet settled constitutional law.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Love you then
Love you now
Love you all forever

All for free
No cost or price
Not even shipping-handling

The bridges failed
The roads decayed
But love can fly

From March 2016


Time to be reborn
     Or at least renewed
No need for that for me
     My love endures and thrives

Yet my garden's not secure
     Neglect dries out some precious plants
Dries out the roots
     With self-inflicted drought

So much so lush and green
       Blooming out full display
So much sad and  brown
      Whithered by their self contempt

Strange garden
     Half alive and half dried out
Half loving
     Half hating

This, the garden of my soul
     Loves and waits for gardeners
Loving those who never left
     Loving those who never come


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Constructing Stuff

Constructor theory

My friend asked me to look into constructor theory because he knows I'm interested in nonmathematical  popularizations of physics. He finds the concept quite interesting but since he's currently seeking a professorship and has a life, he lacks the time to check it out himself.  I had never heard of Constructor theory and it sounded really interesting, so I've been digging into it.  Here is my report to him. says:   >Constructor Theory is a new approach to formulating fundamental laws in physics. Instead of describing the world in terms of trajectories, initial conditions and dynamical laws, in constructor theory laws are about which physical transformations are possible and which are impossible, and why. <

Interesting. However, too vague to be meaningful. Further digging revealed more detailed explanations.

The creator of the thory, David Deutsch says on the :
>The purpose of this project is to discover the single underlying explanation for all distinctive properties of information in Physics and beyond, which is at once the root of both the familiar properties of information, such as transcending specific embodiments, and its apparently paradoxical quantum-mechanical ones.
Our main innovative tool for addressing this is Constructor Theory, recently proposed by David Deutsch. This theory expresses all scientific theories in terms of a dichotomy between possible and impossible physical transformations - an audacious departure from existing fundamental physics (whose dichotomy is between what happens and what does not, given initial conditions).
Applying the constructor-theoretic approach to information theory, we have established the result that a simple constructor-theoretic property of the laws of quantum physics implies all the disparate features that distinguish quantum information from classical, thus revealing the hitherto mysterious connection between them. (Deutsch and Marletto, 2014)
Building on these results (Marletto, 2015), we have also addressed the issues of whether and how certain properties of living entities, such as the ability to self-reproduce and replicate, can be possible under no-design laws of physics. One shows that they can, provided that those laws allow, in addition to enough resources, information media, as characterised in the constructor theory of information.
Our work is now focussed on two projects,“Constructor Theory of Testability” and “Constructor Theory of Probability”. The latter generalises the well-known arguments to show how the Born Rule can emerge in unitary quantum mechanics, un-augmented with additional probabilistic postulates. Our constructor-theoretic generalisation depends on fewer and much simpler axioms, which are better motivated physically and are now expressed in an information-theoretic form. The Constructor Theory of Testability uses this argument to show that Unitary Quantum Theory is testable against rival theories. A new strand of research in the direction of investigating the properties of superinformation media has also emerged, using the information-theoretic tools of constructor theory to explore the information-theoretic properties of quantum media – chiefly, the possibility of teleportation  – regarding quantum systems as a special case of superinformation media.<

This sounds like Deepak Chopra; very high sounding language which seems to convey zero meaning.

So I began looking for a more practical, understandable, popularized explanation. You know, something within my range of comprehension.

Things seemed to make a lot more sense at this level.
The idea is that rather than establishing complex sets of rules and laws to predict or describe outcomes, physics should turn to a simpler, more fundamental concept which would underlie those rules and laws.  In the fact they were seeking the E = MC2 (I can't figure out how to get that two little and floating… Oh well, you know what I mean) that underlies all physics. A simple concept, easily expressed which then leads to the much more complicated world when it is applied to reality.

This is a very exciting concept. Many scientists and mathematicians are deeply enamored of the belief of beauty in simplicity. They are convinced that complex descriptions of reality must have an underlying simple and easily understood beauty and symmetry.  Constructor physics promises to be that theory of everything which starts so simple and clear and only becomes complex in application.

I must question the sweeping level of these promises. I always tend to be suspicious when you get this level of conviction.  As one advocate website has it, "Only a fool would bet against the possibility that constructor theory could also become a mainstream idea in physics that will have profound consequences for our future understanding of the universe."

Well I certainly don't want to be a fool,  but is it really foolish to engage in the usual scientific procedure of doubting any new theory until it is conclusively proven?  This kind of enthusiasm strikes me as an attempt to poison the well of anyone who dares to doubt.  It the theory is that wonderful, why the need to denigrate those who question it?

A critic ( says, >What is this constructor theory? It's a sequence of worthless would-be smart sentences sold as a "theory of everything" and a "unifying theory of classical and quantum physics" and "all information in them" which also "defines all forms of information" and transforms all of our knowledge to "claims that some tasks are impossible"....

Some of the most experienced readers already know that
a kettle may heat water.
Fortunately, the authors allow us to formulate even such statements in a more "natural" and more "profound" way:
For instance, a kettle with a power supply can serve as a constructor that can perform the task of heating water. <

This is where the theory loses me, although supporters seem to enjoy this example with particular delight.  So,  a kettle becomes a constructor of bumps if I grab it by the handle and use it to hit someone in the head?  If he chooses to fight back, is the kettle now a constructor of fistfights?  Might it  even become the constructor of a restraining order?

Is this really physics?

The worst criticism of this concept from my point of view is that after all, it describes things that it says are impossible. However, it offers no proof that they are impossible, unless you include the laws which are supposed to be derived from this theory. In practice this means that the theory is simply describing something that the laws have already established. The laws come first, they are not derived from the theory as advertised.

As exciting as I found the idea originally, as I researched it and thought about it, my opinion has settled into believing that this is merely an elaborate linguistic construction.  I'm reminded of the endless ramblings of Wittgenstein.  It is easy to confuse reality with language, but language is only descriptor of reality, not the thing in itself.

Sadly, I have to turn away for what I thought at first was an exciting new idea. When it comes to theories that cannot yet be fully tested, perhaps not even deeply tested, I'll stick with string theory.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Duty Calls

I told myself that I would set a time for myself so that I would begin writing again. I love writing. Outside of family it is my favorite activity. But it is also the hardest work I've ever done. Although often the result of the effort is very negative on my health, yet I don't think I can live without writing. Back to the point, I told myself I'd write in October so I wouldn't feel guilty until then. Well, it's October. And my friend Bobby seemed disappointed when I told him he wasn't doing any serious writing. For whatever reason it helps me a great deal to write when I feel that I'm writing to please someone.

Actually, now that I think about it that makes sense. If I write it in my head, which is my normal procedure, that satisfies me. The point of writing it down on paper, an extremely difficult enterprise, is really only useful if someone's going to read it. So, here we are. I do not intend to post the entire story but I will post a little bit I have gotten down today. I remind everyone that this opening excerpt is protected by the copyright laws of the United States and is my intellectual property.

Whiskey on a Sunday
(...drinking buttermilk through the week, whiskey on a Sunday...)

Late night. Quiet night. The children were nestled all snug in their beds. Their parents were deep in REM rest.
When from the cell phone there rose such a clatter, the two dads woke up to see what was the matter.

"Damn friggin…" Still half asleep but recognizing the shrill steam whistle he used for his sister's number, Mark Carter was ready to kill.

His husband Sam, also still half asleep knew the drill. He grabbed the phone, tapped answer to shut it up before it rang a fourth time and then ignored it to regain some peace.

"OK, steady, remember what we said? I'll take care of it, you just get back to sleep." Almost instantly realizing he had just thrown gasoline on the fire, he immediately injected, "Cleansing breath! Cleansing breath! Come on, deep! Deep."

He was answered by a growl, which he carefully ignored. "No. Don't say anything. I'll take care of her. Please. You' ll wake up the boys." Sam struggled to keep his gaze calm and steady and watchd the anger begin to fade in Marcus' reddened eyes.

And that was enough for now. He gently backed out of bed still trying to get a grip on being awake in the real world and headed out the door while making soothing nonsense sounds. He was rewarded with a muted angry grumble which suggested Marcus was falling back to sleep; probably an angry sleep with angry dreams, but at least sleep.

After a quick check to see that the boys were still asleep, they were, he moved into the kitchen and finally paid attention to the cell phone. "Jenny, why do you hate me? Why do you hate your brother?"

The only answer he got was, "Sorry."

"That's nice. You're sorry. I'm awake. I think your brother is going back to sleep. No, I'm sure he is. Because he's not here yelling at the phone while I try to talk to you."

Then he was awake enough to ask a very pertinent question, "Why did you call on his phone? Why didn't you call on mine?"

"I did call on yours. You'd turned it off."   Astonishingly, she had chutzpa to sound like the aggrieved party.

"That's because we are trying to get some sleep. That's because it's Friday night. That's because the boys will be up at 7:30 tomorrow morning like they always are. That's because we'd like to get a little sleep before that happens." He glanced over the microwave, "Oh Lord! Are you aware, Jennifer, but it is 2:34 in the morning?"

Perhaps realizing the impact of her actions, she responded "Yes?"

"OK. You know I'm going to listen to you. I always listen to you. But first I would like to vent a little steam. That all right with you? Because if it isn't, then just hang up and I'll talk to you tomorrow. During the day. When people are awake."  He waited, then he took the silence as consent.  "You know what your brother said after the last time you called us in the middle of the night?  Of course you don't. But now I'm going to tell you.

First, he said that the next time you do this I should ask you to Google the lyrics to a song. The song is called Laura. By Billy Joel. Listen to it.

Then he told me that the next time you called either I would tell this to you or he would. So I am.  He said you should stop living in those sitcoms you  watch all the time. He said in the real world there are no cute adorable completely safe gay friends that a woman can always come to anytime of the day or night and talk to and is always so understanding that he always makes things right because he's so sweet and lovable and safe."  His word spliced together into one smooth and unpunctuated sentence.

He waited for an answer. After a bit, it came. "There's one. There's you.  And that Laura crack is unjustified. I'm not just anybody, I'm your sister in law.  I'm the little sister you always wanted but never had."

He let out a long plaintive sigh. "Maybe I was wrong to want a little sister."

"You're being really mean. Maybe I should just hang up. I guess I'm really sorry. I just needed somebody to talk to."  She sounded sad.

He knew her well enough to realize she really meant it. So now he found himself feeling guilty for being upset that she had destroyed the peace and serenity of an otherwise perfectly pleasant Friday.

"Cleansing breath. Deep cleansing breath."  He told himself. Then he took it in. Then he breathed it out, very slowly. "Jennifer, you know I love you. But tomorrow the boys will be up. And you'd think they had an alarm clock set the way they get up almost exactly at 7:30. It's been a long week and we're both very tired. So I've got a deal for you."

He waited, but when there was no answer he proceeded, "I will listen to you. For as long as you want. Then, tomorrow morning at 7 o'clock you will let yourself into the apartment, very, very quietly. Then you will sit in front of our closed bedroom door. When the boys wake up they will be delighted to see their Auntie Jenny waiting to get them dressed, get them fed, and take them out for the day."

"How long?" she asked is if she had room for bargaining.

"2 o'clock. Until 2 o'clock." He was very definite.

"Noon." She tried to be firm, but she knew she was not on stable ground.

"2 o'clock or good night. You choose." His tone left no room for negotiation.

"OK. You got me. I wouldn't have called if this wasn't important, so OK." She didn't let any of her exultation show. This way she got the attention she needed, and got to spend a day with her beloved nephews. Good deal. No, great deal.  Trump, I got you beat!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Look At The Funny Man, Mama!

The original post was of a smirking man holding up a sign which said "I'd rather be a conservative nut job than a liberal with no job and no nuts."

ME: Mindless hate, fact free hate.

HH: (Apparently HH miss posted this thinking that the meme he was responding to said something about Washington.)

Washington's quote is a bit out of context... here is the actual quote (per the best information I have been able to find)

A free people ought not only to be armed but disciplined; to which end a Uniform and well digested plan is requisite: And their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories, as tend to render them independent on others, for essential, particularly for military supplies.

The proper establishment of the Troops which may be deemed indispensible, will be entitled to mature consideration. In the arrangements which may be made respecting it, it will be of importance to conciliate the comfortable support of the Officers and Soldiers with a due regard to economy.

HH: Jim... what the hell are you babbling about? Has your bigotry and leftist indoctrination clouded your mind? Have you become a "tolerant liberal"?

(He added a picture showing a screaming, shrieking maniac attacking racists and etc. Apparently conservatives believe that liberals are not really tolerant because they don't tolerate racists. I guess liberals are also supposed to tolerate murderers. Conservatives don't understand that tolerance is not about accepting cruel or savage acts, tolerance is about tolerating difference and dissent.)

ME: I'm not a liberal. I'm a pragmatist. Your bizarre assumption that liberals have no jobs and manly men are conservatives is clearly that hate mongering, so I said so.
Look in the mirror and see the hate staring back at you.

HH: OK Jim... you have shown yourself to be an abject idiot... now where is that block button!

ME: You're so afraid of me you have to block me? So typical, so sad.

You see, we aren't angry at you. You aren't powerful or important enough for anger, much less hate. You are an endangered species, well on the way to extinction.

You think we get together and rage at you. We don't. We get together and we do one of two things, or sometimes both. We either laugh at you or we express our deep pity of you. Once you ruled the world. Now you're an endangered species. You are one small minority of a shrinking minority. I find it very sad, but I have to admit you are also pretty funny.

ME: PS, Obviously you think you responded to a meme referring to Washington. But if you look at the top of this set of posts you'll see that Washington is not mentioned. There's a man holding up a sign. Read what the sign says. Then you'll understand what I said.

NOTE: I wonder if HH ever did look up and see what he was actually responding to?


S commented on my blog post: Jeez!!! I am sorry you had to put up with that idiot's rants. Glad you didn't back down. He was a classic bully. If you don't back down, after a while a bully will simply slink off to hide under the rock from whence he slithered out.

ME: Honestly, I feel a little bit guilty. If he just had not jumped on me, I would've pointed out that he had misposted under the wrong meme. It's funny because it could've happened to anybody. But, of course he's one of those conservatives who believe everyone who opposes him must be a liberal -- liberal meaning two things 1. everybody he disagrees with and 2. crazy evil satanic monsters from…I don't know…The Black Lagoon?
Still, he was such an easy target.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

He Said. She Said. I Said. 'Nough Said. (Suess Said?)

OK so:

Sherbet. Sherbert.
Espresso. Expresso.
Morse Code. Morris Code.
Coleslaw. Coldslaw.

We could go on forever. Is is just a joke or a serious degradation of language?

PS, do not confuse Morris code with Morris dancers. Morris code is a new way of pronouncing the name of the code which was invented by Mr. Morse. Morris code IS a code. Morris dancers are English lunatics who perform bizarre and meaningless rituals in the form of dance. It is considered bad luck to laugh at them, as they are generally soccer rowdies in their normal lives and are very good at fistfights.

PPS, I just realized that this post makes no sense whatsoever. I don't see that that is any reason not to post it. I read a lot of post from other people every day that make no sense. (I mean both the posts and the people.)

It's my turn.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Pay For Pray

R posted a video declaring, Do agree you should be allowed to pray wherever you are? Never let anyone tell you not to pray… No matter where you are! Do you agree?

The video that showed various groups of people praying in public and making a very big show of it, in some cases being sure that there were television cameras recording their actions.

I responded: “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:5-6

He replied: Guess this means we don't pray together Sunday's in church, hey Jim????

Me: I think Jesus meant to make an exception for praying in the synagogue. But you should ask him that question. I'm just quoting him.

That ended the exchange, but I have been thinking about it in the days that have passed. It's actually a very good question. I think it needs to be explored further; so I have done so and here is what I have concluded:

By combining Matthew 6:5-6, which refers to the public show of prayer, with other passages, the meaning becomes quite clear.

9And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified ratherthan the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Luke 18:9-14

This is clear enough. Ask yourself if you are praying to make sure that everyone, including God, knows what a great prayer and wonderful person you are or are you praying sincerely to God? It's a question of the target. Is your prayer a communion with God or bragging to your audience?

This is true whether you are praying in the privacy of your chamber or in the temple.

Or, to put it another way, don't let anyone tell you you can't pray anywhere you want anyway you want, not even Jesus!

Although the first portion of the Matthew verse I've already quoted does not directly refer to prayer, it does refer to doing things privately not publicly. I believe this is relevant.

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Matthew 6:1-4

I believe that this indicates that it is not so much the privacy that is so important as is the sincerity. You should avoid public displays not because they are inherently offensive but because of very serious temptation to show off, to brag, to seek self justification, to seek worldly rewards rather than sincere communion with God.

I conclude that sharing prayer with your fellow believers during services may be good or bad, depending upon your intent. Sincere humility and love of God are pleasing to God. Shows and displays displease God. Even internal bragging and self justification displease God.

In short, motive is everything and God knows your motive.

This is why I try not to make a great show of public prayer. As I have noted in earlier posts, I require myself to pray whenever I hear a siren. I am often out in public when I hear one. Keeping in mind my feelings about the subject, I try not to pray too obviously. Not being a completely orthodox Catholic (American and European Catholics frequently aren't) doesn't preclude me from using the sign of the cross when I pray. In public I try to do it in a subtle manner with very small gestures which are unlikely to be noticed by those around me. If I feel I am too closely observed, I make the sign of the cross in my mind rather than as actual physical gestures, simply holding my hand up near my face as if being thoughtful. This permits me to meet this religious obligation without making a public show of it.

Contrast this with examples like those of Mr. Tebow, who makes a great show as he prays in front of millions, and I think it's easy to see why I am suspicious of his motivations. Then look at members of Congress who obviously exchange public prayer for votes...

'Nough said.


The classic tale of modern Japan. You guys invent something, we'll perfect it.

A few examples:

➡ Having been introduced to the idea of clockwork figures from China via Korea, The Japanese produced a remarkable number of complex devices including amazing little clockwork puppet figures which many regard as the seed from which the Japanese fascination with robots has grown.

➡ Shortly after Commodore Perry forced Japan to open her ports, modern guns were introduced from the West. This struck Japanese society at its roots as peasants could now be formed into a brutally effective fighting force with minimal training, which threatened samurai supremacy. Soon Japan was producing the finest guns in the world. The corps of musketeers was so effective that eventually Japan did a remarkable thing, they banned a highly effective and desirable technology and made the ban stick! Probably this only happened because all the samurai class, from lowest soldier to the Shogun, were deeply committed to the concept of honor and guns were clearly a dishonorable weapon (which also happened to threaten their own power).

➡ Japan eventually realized that their military system was inferior to the west. During the Meiji era, the country used the British as a model for the Navy and the Prussians as a model for their army. They quickly became one of the finest militaries in the world. At the beginning of World War II there is no question that the best operational air supremacy fighter in the world was the Mitsubishi Zero.

➡ Disney style animation swept the nation after WWII and today Japan produces much the world's most popular versions.

➡ Electronics was largely an American invention, but, as Marty McFly declared, "Japan makes the best stuff!"

➡ Interestingly, the Japanese recognize serious failures in their educational program. They have long envied the invention and creativity that America's system produces. This has been so for at least the last 20 to 30 years. Ironically, we are now imitating all the flaws of the Japanese system and weakening or even destroying the strengths which were once inherent in our own.
Read "Samurai's Ghost" for more on this topic.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Revelation Revolution

Taken from an article which I have lost (sorry):

>...Thomas Jefferson that the final book of the New Testament is “merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy, nor capable of explanation, than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams.”<

This is an interesting point considering the attitude of some of the early Church Fathers who decided what books would be included and which excluded from the Bible. Eusebius, one of the chief supporters and apologists for Constantine (also the Bishop of Caesarea which we today call Israel), was quite clear in stating that there was no way in which the text could be accepted as an actual revelation and taken literally. It simply contradicted everything previously taught in the Gospels. He also was convinced that the John who wrote the book of revelations was not the Apostle John .

He agonized over including the text in the Canon until finally he decided to include it in both lists, the accepted AND the rejected. It is hard to consider that to be a vote of confidence in the authenticity of the work.

Nevertheless, this highly questionable book, which some Fathers of the Church rejected outright, has not only become part of the Canon, it has become the single most important portion of the entire Bible for a significant number of American Christians.

As for me, long before I ever heard of the name Eusebius, I stated, to the intense distress of some family members, that I felt that Revelations was wrongly included and should never have been part of the Gospels, or any part of the Bible. It was more an emotional than a reasoned response, but I am pleased to say that as I have learned more about the history I find more and more reasons to believe that I was correct.

This is yet another reason I find myself so deeply opposed to the beliefs and actions of the Religious Right. They obsess about this one Book more than the rest of the Bible put together. When they do consider the other Books, it is often to interpret them in the light of Revelations; of Revelations taken literally.

No wonder their theology and mine are at such loggerheads.

I find myself much more in agreement with Mr. Jefferson. I have come to doubt all the miracle stories, although I do not necessarily reject them out of hand as he did. Miracles not withstanding, I can certainly agree that I am a Christian in the sense that our third president was a Christian. That is, I believe in the teachings and guidance of Jesus whatever his actual nature might be.

It is a painful irony to note that those of the Religious Right, who so often and so loudly proclaim their love and worship of Jesus, allow his teachings to be completely overshadowed and even poisoned by the bizarre imagery of the Book of Revelations, which, from the very beginning, has been regarded as suspect and even unacceptable.

A La Carte

Been a busy couple of days, So I'm lumping together some of my Facebook responses to make a single post here.

In response to a left-wing group posting the video snippet that declared that Sean Hannity had raged about those Republicans who refuse to support Trump, I responded:

Point 1: that's the calmest rage I've ever heard. Foolish exaggeration is the Republicans' territory. Democrats please don't wander into that room or I will be compelled to start jumping on you with both feet just like I do on the Republicans.

Point 2: Sean Hannity is not upset that people refuse to blindly follow Trump. Sean Hannity is upset because he just learned that if you pander you must go along with whatever the crowd commands. You don't get to lead. Panderer and leader are mutually exclusive concepts. Sean Hannity is upset that Sean Hannity can't issue orders and be obeyed. He thought he was making public opinion. He just realized that he's been caught in a riptide.

He don't like that.


in response to a post taking apart the arguments of gun worshiper John R. Lott, Jr.
(author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws), I posted:

A careful analysis of the easily falsifiable claims of one of the leading gun advocates in this nation. Everyone should read it. Conservatives and Republicans won't. This is because this is a set of facts which contradict their emotionally satisfying superstitious belief system. Those who advocate thoughtful gun control should read it because then they will know how to answer those who refuse to let facts interfere with their emotionally satisfying superstitious belief system.


In support of my friend, Charles in his dialogue with a conservative extremist after that individual condemned him for joining Alice in Wonderland, I posted:

I find it a delightful irony that those most divorced from reality and most insistent upon living in an alternate universe are those who most often accuse realists of being deluded.
Ask any UFO nut. He will decry your incredible stupidity and foolishness for not realizing that the aliens have been running the earth for centuries perhaps even millennia.
Hollow earth? Bigfoots? (Bigfeets? Bigfeet?). Hillary Clinton as super villain mass murderer par excellence?
What a fool you are, if you ignore the obvious facts!
I repeat an earlier post I made today:

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”
Charles Bukowski


Two points: First, from what I read here there does seem to be a difference between a wormhole and quantum entanglement. Both ignore or at least dispense with the space part of the continuum. OK. But quantum entanglement does not permit one particle to change instantaneously in the future or in the past in response to a change made to its partner particle in the present (unless that explains the spooky action at a distance). Wormholes are time machines as much as they are transportation machines. That would seem to be a profound difference between a wormhole and quantum entanglement.

Second, I'm not sure why The author included the video "explanation" of the theory by the theorist. Undoubtedly it makes things crystal-clear to those who understand advanced mathematics. Since I have trouble with high school level geometry and algebra, he might as well have been speaking Mandarin or perhaps even Sanskrit. I expect anyone who viewed the article would be unlikely to be familiar with such advanced mathematics and so I wonder why it was included.

Which brings me to my own question regarding spooky action at a distance. Bobby, I assume you will be seeking a position at a University now that you have your PhD. I also assume you will make friends with everyone in sight as you usually do. If one of those people deals with quantum theory maybe you could ask him a question that's been bothering me. If we have multiple dimensions in excess of the four currently known and which are curled up into a very tiny state, is it not possible that the information which seemingly travels faster than light in a quantum entanglement situation is in fact traveling through one or more of those dimensions? Information traveling at the speed of light across such a tiny dimension would seem instantaneously transmitted

I assume this will result in an amused chuckle from said quantum physicist. That's OK. I don't deny my ignorance of quantum physics. I would just like to know why I'm wrong.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

US Pilots Defy Obama And Bomb White House!

In response to a Republican post which claimed that pilots defied Obama and attacked ISIS when Obama wants ISIS protected, I responded:

Once again, I'm reposting this so that those who don't follow Republicans can understand just how insane their beliefs are. If commanders went over Obama's head to make an unauthorized strike, they have committed mutiny, an offense punishable by death after a general court-martial.

When your Republican friends act in a manner that makes no sense at all, remember it's because they believe these bizarre and utterly unfounded statements. If these insane statements were true, the actions of Republicans would make sense.

What they don't understand is that this post is intended to deny Obama the credit for what Obama has done.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

DEA Declares War On Water

A friend posted a report that the DEA continues to regard marijuana as a dangerous drug requiring a high level of illegality. A lengthy series of interesting comments followed. I'm really not feeling well enough to repost them, so anyone reading this blog will have to do without them. Nevertheless, the discussion was interesting enough that I also commented.

My post: The government's position is, and has been since its inception, irrational and self-destructive. John Erlichman has stated that:

“You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Other former members of the Nixon administration have insisted that this must have been a satirical, non-factual statement. This is almost irrelevant. The effects of the war on drugs have been essentially identical to conducting a decades long assault on American society.

An enemy nation would be hard pressed to plan a more effective method of destabilizing and damaging the United States economically, socially, and morally. I sincerely doubt they could effectively implement such a plan.

When the war on drugs was first announced, I was still a student. At that time many of us immediately responded, "Isn't this just Prohibition all over again? Wasn't that a miserable failure? Isn't this just going to make gangs more powerful and hurt the people it is supposed to protect?"

In Washington, and sadly much of America, the obvious is irrelevant.

(For the record, I don't use marijuana. I don't even use it medically.)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The One Way

This is a most interesting post. I am generally regarded as good with words, yet I always found diagramming sentences onerous and difficult. I thought it was a pointless and obfuscating exercise with no benefits. Then one of my colleagues told me how much she loved it when she was a child. She declared it had given her much insight and helped her to write better and comprehend more.

A good teacher teaches in many different ways because students learn in many different ways.

I went to preschool reading years ahead of expected grade levels. Phonics was a senseless burden for me -- confusing, meaningless work.; but for other students phonics opens the door to reading itself.

Good teachers teach in whatever way it takes for their students to learn.

Whiny Guy 7 The Reset

Forget the best of times...though the worst of times is not quite here. It's odd that I have made so many posts today. I've barely made it through today. I don't remember making all those posts. But there they are. And here I am posting again. Odd.

I forgot a pill yesterday morning. By the time I realized that, it was too late to take it because the next dose was due in a while. This only happened once before, and I was sick for four days before my body got back in balance.

Today was very confused. It was mostly a dark silent room day. I made sure I took my pill, but it didn't really help. I should eat regular meals. That helps a great deal. But food was and is quite disgusting. I made myself to eat one light meal and I managed to eat most of a second meal at night. That didn't help.

I only made it to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee this morning. I really need to make a pot of tea for the day but I didn't manage to do that. The kitchen is too many steps away. Thankfully, the bathroom is closer. Bills are not getting paid and things aren't getting done, but somehow I made all these posts. And I am making this post. Nothing really makes much sense right now.

Hopefully, things will get better tomorrow. Until then this is your friendly local whiny guy, whining all he can.

Sometimes getting through the next hour is very, very hard.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Justice Or Just Cash?

As strongly as I support the Black Lives Matter movement this is a foolish, divisive, evan a self-destructive concept. It can only cause resentment and exacerbate racial divisions. Black people don't need special help. They need justice and a fair chance like every other American.

Consider the possible ramifications. If a person is half Black and half White, it can be argued that they should receive no reparations since 50% of their genetic ancestry cancels out the other 50%. Also, how would a possible recipient prove that their ancestors were here in America held in slavery as opposed to having come to America at a later time or under different circumstances? Shouldn't a White person who could prove that their ancestors were abolitionists be exempt from the reparations? Maybe they should even receive some reparations themselves.

And if we grant reparations to slave descendants, what about American Indians? What about French and Spanish individuals who had their land stolen by American settlers without any compensation? And so on, ad finitum.

Reparations? Of course, for anyone who was held in bondage. Not for their descendants.

Note: There are living individuals who suffered under Jim Crow laws...

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Inner-City Of God


"I’m urging people to make these regular donations so we can offer up special prayers to guarantee their homes in heaven,” Bakker said. “People need to look at this like a down payment on their heavenly mortgage.”
Bakker and his ex wife Tammy Faye were among the most flamboyant televangelists of the 1980s, until they were brought down by financial and sex scandals. Bakker went to jail, but has resumed his ministry.
“Heaven has all kinds of property, ghettos, shacks, apartments, starter homes and mansions,” Bakker said. “Send in your love offering to ensure you have a palatial mansion in heaven. You want to make sure you are in a good heavenly neighborhood.”

There are bad heavenly neighborhoods? They must be in the ghetto. You know, the inner-city of God.

Well... In one of the lost Gospels, a wealthy man hires an apostle to build a mansion. When the wealthy man checks he finds that the apostle has been using the money building homes for the poor. Confronted, the apostle replies that by building these homes for the poor here in this world I have built you a mansion in heaven. Sorry, can't remember which lost Gospel it was.

Of course, the lesson of that parable would be the opposite of what the preacher man is saying. Building actual mansions for an actual rich man is not quite the point.

Ever wonder why people are so upset with self-proclaimed "Christians" these days? It's not persecution. It's disgust.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

New Lows, Who Cares?

Response to the following article which lead Michael to state, "If this doesn't convince, nothing will.":

Nothing will. The Trumpsters want a powerful man who bullies everyone else into doing what they want. It doesn't ever occur to them that Trump might end up bullying them as well.

No, they don't want a Hitler. They want a Mussolini. As I have pointed out before, Mussolini was at least competent and effective. Trump is neither.

Also, never forget that right up to the moment he was murdered by partisans, Mussolini maintained a core support among a few of the Italian people.

Nothing would change their devotion.

Monday, July 18, 2016


In response to a post from my friend, Charles which asked who agreed that the media was responsible for promoting racial division, I responded:

Well, yes. In the same sense for that the drug dealer is responsible for spreading drugs around. If nobody came to buy the product, they would sell a different product.

Remember that even supporters of the right wing media lie machine state freely that the "Conservative" venues were created in order to give conservatives the news they wanted to hear as opposed to all the news they didn't want to hear. They don't understand that the news they wanted to hear wasn't being promulgated because it was lies and deceit. The bottom line is millions of Americans are saying, "I will make you rich, famous, and powerful if you tell me the lies I want to hear."

Is it so surprising that there are people out there willing to sell that product?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Doing It Right

In response to a post suggesting that Ruth Bader Ginsberg has nothing to apologize for in having made statements regarding Donald Trump's candidacy I responded:

There's no doubt how much I despise Trump and believe his presidency would destroy America so thoroughly that he would make George Bush Junior look like the greatest president in history by comparison. I also have a deep respect for Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

Having said that, I must say she did the wrong thing. It is true that the Supreme Court is very political and the conservative Justices are more political than judicial, yet it remains inappropriate for a Supreme Court Justice to speak up and attempt to influence voters in an upcoming election.

Certainly Republicans in general and conservatives in particular demonstrate no regard for common decency, or manners, or politeness. Trump himself regularly declares that you can say anything you want because even opposing insults and racial smears is only political correctness. This does not mean the moderates, independencts, and liberals need to descend to those levels. Nor does it mean they should.

Finally, I think her actions are understandable and are therefore entirely forgivable. This doesn't change the fact that they were wrong. She did apologize, so as far as I'm concerned, apology accepted.

Friday, July 8, 2016

I Don't Got A Problem..,

Charles posted an article stating that Obama is too intelligent for Republicans to understand.  I responded:

It's not the first time I've said it but:   It's an excellent point though I must add a caveat. It is that the Republicans are not able to act intelligently, but not because of low intelligence quotients. It's because of that most memorable quote for the science-fiction classic "Dune".  "Fear is the mind killer."

The quote is accurate, but  incomplete.  A brain  awash with the biochemicals produced by fear and rage is a brain incapable of higher cognitive functions.

All propagandists know this. This is why propaganda focuses heavily upon emotions. This is why the emotions propaganda focuses upon are generally fear and rage.  In my posts, I often ask Republicans who are addicted the right wing media when are they going to get tired of being wrong and when are they going to get tired of being constantly terrified and enraged.  It's the same pair of questions I asked when I spoke to loved ones who were addicted to self-destructive, self delusional behavior patterns.

In other words, Republicans have this problem not because of a low intelligence level, but because they, like any addict, are incapable of facing reality. They are in a state of clinical denial.

And the answer to my questions is that someday they will either hit rock bottom and begin a long hard climb back up to self-respect, or they will die still wrapped up in their self delusions.  It is up to each individual.

I fought this battle with those I loved who were alcoholic and/or addicted to drugs. I know how clear reality is and how bitterly they will ignore the most obvious facts.  Trying to have an intelligent conversation with a Republican is exactly the same; and for exactly the same reasons.

I don't make my posts in response to their inanities in an attempt to convert them. I know better. I make my posts to let them know that their delusions are not shared by the whole world, to make sure that my non-addicted friends and associates are aware of what is happening to the addicts, and to help people understand the bizarre beliefs that are driving Republicans to commit otherwise inexplicable self-destructive acts.

Also, sometimes I get so angry that my higher brain functions shut down and I simply must make a response which is not a slap in the face to reality.  Still, I never get so confused as to think that it will actually reach any of them, or do any of them any good. Which is sad. No one likes to feel helpless when seeing others suffering, even if they are inflicting that suffering upon themselves.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Pity Trip

The article, which claims regular Christians are being rejected by society:

This article is a pile of self-deluded nonsense. It defines "regular Christians" as the most extreme and most politicized members of the minority known as fundamentalist evangelical Christians, aka, the Religious Right.  Apparently the author defines "regular" as "the people who think the same way I do and believe exactly the same extremist, narrow dogma that I do". Sorry, but regular Christians are all the Christians who are embarrassed by your extremist antics.

She is correct in that extremist Christians are becoming less and less welcome in society. This is because the rest of society is becoming more tolerant and therefore less accepting of bigotry. It is because the rest of us do not want you to force your religion upon us with special laws that give you special privileges that none of us share.

A few corrections:

When you say you want prayer in schools you mean you want your prayers in schools interpreted according to your version of the Scriptures. You claim you only want tolerance, but what you really want is the same thing the Puritans wanted when they came to America, the religious freedom to persecute all other religions.

You demand tolerance for yourselves and deny it to everyone else.

Ever wondered just whom Christ was talking about when he spent such a large amount of time on earth condemning the sanctimonious, overly pious, smug, hypocritical Pharisees? Look in the mirror. That's what he condemned when he walked this earth.

As a fellow Christian, I say to you, it's way past time to repent.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


As some of you know, my ex-wife has just been put on hospice. The doctors have given her no more than six months to live. Medical circumstances are complex but they include the need for open-heart surgery without which her heart will give out but which cannot be performed because the anesthesiologist says that putting her under anesthesia will kill her in her weakened condition, pernicious MRSA infection which has gone on for years and already cost her one leg, organ failure… Well, you get the picture.

I've been through this too many times before. When someone you care about reaches a point where you begin to pray not for recovery, because you know that's impossible, but just for an end to the suffering. The good news about hospice is that she now has drugs available to her that are not available to patients expected to live. This means she will probably sink deeper and deeper into a haze and be less and less alive even as she continues to breathe, but at least the suffering will have the edge taken off.

Again, any of you who know us know the divorce was long and bitterly fought. While it did put an end to my being in love with her, it did not stop me from loving and caring about her. Nevertheless, most of the suffering I experience is the suffering of my children.

There are different ways to handle grief. For me the good poem helps a lot. So today I wrote four brief ones. They follow.

Seasons End

The tree no longer as yellow with fruit
As it still is with leaves
The ground beneath its skirt
Littered with the ruins
Pecked, nibbled, rotten
Rich with next year's nutrients

The Crowning jewels
Given back
Returned for rebirth

Why must seasons end?


Ode to Nefertiti

Once she entered in a room
And The Beautiful One Was Here

Men stood tall
Women smiled

She did not walk across a room
She sailed

Every chair
Became a throne

Her diamonds
Were crown jewels

She was always a woman
As Billy Joel sang

Her flaws
Were just her frame

Where has Nefertiti gone?
When will she come home?



Those we love that we have lost
Are Schrodinger's cat made manifest
Dead alive
Both and neither

In memory so vibrant
In reality so macabre,
Dead alive
Both and neither

This is true
That is true
Dead alive
Both and neither



Words are only words, you'll hear
Sounds that signify the insignificant
Often true I don't deny
But also often false

Words can cut and words can heal
Words are the heart and soul
Struggling to be known
Striving to be born

Words are the sweat and tears and blood
Of the living us encased in flesh
The real you and the actual me
Reaching out to touch

Unsaid, they mold and spoil
Said, they may dry out and die
But at least they have a chance
To act as seeds of grace


Friday, June 3, 2016


Here's an interesting thought. Below is Jon Ronson's psychopath checklist [source-- psychologist Robert Hare's widely used psycho diagnostic tool, the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R)]. How many of these traits do you think apply to Donald Trump?

You have glibness and superficial charm

Grandiose sense of self-worth

Need for stimulation/proness to boredom

Pathological lying


Lack of remorse or guilt

Shallow affect/emotional range

Callous/lack of empathy

Parasitic lifestyle

Poor behavioral controls

Promiscuous sexual behavior

Early behavior problems

Lack of realistic long-term goals



Failure to except responsibility for own actions

Many short term marital relationships

Revocation of conditional relief (recidivism if paroled)

Criminal versatility

Juvenile delinquency

Democracy For All (Educated, Wealthy, And White)

An OpEd in the Washington Post suggests Americans should be required to pass a test before  being allowed to vote. The idea is that this would weed out ignorant voters.

I responded:

Define ignorant.  My definition will be wildly different from Trump's. Who designs the test? Administers it? Scores it?

This reminds me very much of an old ploy used by the Soviet Union. Public relations were an important aspect of the Cold War. The Soviets made great gains in this area out of America's treatment of minorities and out of our Jim Crow laws.   We made great gains in this area out of the Soviets treatment of dissidents.

In order to protect themselves from this effective criticism, the Russian communists came up with a very clever solution. They started with the undeniable fact that communism was a scientific system of governance and economics.  Since it was the only scientifically designed government, it was proven to be the most effective and best government available on earth. Therefore, anyone who thought that it was a bad system must be insane. This person was not a dissident. This person was mentally ill. In order to protect these poor victims of their own delusions from harming themselves and others it was necessary to place them in a mental institution.

You get the picture.

In an age when there is a serious attempt to destroy democracy in America by rigging elections through computer guided gerrymandering and voter ID laws, it should be obvious to everyone that this is just another way for government to deny people the right to vote if those people are likely to vote in the "wrong" way.

Down south it was the literacy test which prevented minorities from voting. It's remarkable how many college graduates and professionals, who happened to also be Black, failed the literacy test. It was also amazing how many Whites, many of whom had difficulty reading the TV Guide, passed it easily.

So unless they're going to appoint me the test creator, chief administrator, and creator of the criteria for passing or failing; this is a bad idea.

PS, I wouldn't test for trivia regarding details of governance. I would test for critical thinking skills.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Once We Were Christians


ME:  Laws against abortion don't prevent abortion. They prevent safe abortion, and in the process they promote unsafe abortion. > Roberts’ past work is part of a body of evidence suggesting that women who want an abortion aren’t deterred by abortion restrictions. “We’re not finding anything that would turn that assumption completely on its head,” she said. “Women who really want an abortion, for the most part, will figure out how to get one.” <

DAN:  Weak politicians pump up the excitement among the religious and any other people who might vote for them.  Especially when they can't think of anything more important to do.

ME:  Once upon a time evangelicals deeply believed politics was a dirty, bad thing. It was something which could pull them in and make them lust after worldly power instead of being dedicated to saving souls. They were right.
Then some Republican Party operatives realized there was a whole pool of untapped voters available in fundamentalist churches, if only they could find one subject to rouse them up.  They finally settled on  abortion, previously not an area of great interest in  evangelical churches, and sent out propaganda films to create a new interest and generate new Republican voters.

It worked.  Evangelical churches have been transformed into Republican Party campaign centers.  Pastors are now political operatives.  Party platforms have replaced the Gospels.
"Blessed be the name of (insert name of current candidate)!"

Sunday, May 15, 2016


An  excellent summation of the issues. Some points from the article I'd like to highlight:  1. "You have to separate out the Japanese public from the right-wing politicians."  The Japanese people in general, the author notes, want to compensate the comfort women and face the evils of the past.  The politicians don't.  2. The American people regard the dropping of the bomb as the end of the story and the war. The Japanese people regard the dropping of the bomb as the beginning of the story; the story of their liberation from evil rulers and of their devotion to prevent future wars.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


Here's an interesting and fun challenge for all my friends. If you're a religious person, it's probably a critical issue in your mind. If you are an atheist, it still remains an interesting intellectual exercise and a great insight into your view of the nature of the reality and justice.

The challenge is, assuming there is an afterlife, what would be the nature of hell? For the sake of limiting the discussion, let's assume that God is both just and loving.  If any of my atheist friends simply can't imagine there being a God, then imagine the singularity has arrived. There is now a God. It is the great over consciousness created in the unity of all organic and silicon sapience.  So eternal life has been created and Techno God has to decide what to do with all the subconsciousnesses; like, say, a contemporary Hitler.

This has been an important issue for me for a very long time. Even as a child I could not understand what loving God could possibly maintain a private torture chamber just to amuse Himself punishing those that didn't obey.  On the other hand, as indicated in the website A Puritans Mind, many take quite a different attitude, "That the torments of the damned are no matter of grief, but of joy, to the inhabitants of heaven..."

So, according to some, not only are the unspeakable horrific torments of the damned well-deserved, we are all going to sit around in heaven (I guess eating popcorn and having a great time) watching the screaming victims as they suffer horrible, unspeakable torture.  Sorry, I mean evil bad people who deserve everything they get suffering horrible, unspeakable torture.  

Sorry, but I never could believe that, not even when I was a little kid in Sunday school. Somehow it just doesn't fit in with my concept of "a loving God".   Points out that;
>  an alternative doctrine, known as “annihilationism” or “conditional immortality,” which holds that, after death, sinners simply cease to exist, while those who are saved enjoy eternal life under God’s grace. Although it’s not a positive outcome for the wicked—in fact, it amounts to spiritual capital punishment—it’s deemed a far more merciful and just fate than an eternity of torture.  <   

The article also points out that while today many traditionalists insist that their position is the only acceptable one, the fact is that early Christianity had many differing opinions on the nature of hell.

>   Origen Adamantius, a third-century theologian, believed the wicked were punished after death, but only long enough for their souls to repent and be restored to their original state of purity. This doctrine, known as universalism, envisioned that everyone—including Satan—would eventually be redeemed and reunited with God.  <   

Augustine, the oh so sexually obscessed and oh so very creepy father of much of modern Christian belief, was the one who insisted that hell had to be  eternal and horrific and unspeakable and all the other awful things that so many loving Christians believe it must be today.  Although he is widely revered, I think he is about the least reliable internal source for Christian theology.

So, if you were God, what would you do about bad people who have done bad things? Would you just wipe out everybody's memory and send them to heaven? Would you have them suffer only enough to cleanse themselves of their sins, making hell into an upgraded version of Catholic purgatory? What would be just and loving?

Depending on your religion you might want to be careful about responding to this. As the National Geographic article pointed out by quoting one minister, some churches are not very tolerant of differing opinions.
>  “We have a very fear-driven evangelical culture where if you don't toe the line, you get kind of shunned,” says Sprinkle. “It's really kind of scary.”  <   

As for me, I long ago lost my belief in an afterlife. Some have asked me how I can still be a believer because they say that eternal salvation is the only reason to believe.  I say that's ridiculous. Believing in God is not a business deal where we have a contract and He gives me eternal life in response to my believing in Him.  I believe in God because I know God. No deal or special arrangement is required.

Yet, somehow I still have that all so human desire for justice. The question remains an intriguing one. It relates to how one conceives of the very idea of justice. If you were God, what would you do?

My answer is that I would be sure that everyone saw themselves as they really were. No more delusions. No more self-justification. No more excuses. Here you are. This is the real you. That could be a real hell for many people.


Since I don't believe God wants to torment people forever I believe He would help people to come to terms with what they once were and try to guide them into being repentant and to making what amends are possible. If some people were truly so horrible they could not stand their own existence, I believe He would permit them to commit a sort of soul suicide so they would simply cease to exist.

That's what I'd do.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Real Solution To A Real Problem

The Vox headline reads:

Abortion rates in North America and Europe are now at 30-year lows

Note that the use of abortion has dropped in both America and Europe, even though in Europe there are no highly restrictive abortion laws being desperately passed by conservatives on a crusade to save what they say are human beings fully developed, fully formed, already born, and perhaps even already raised.

 I remind my readers that I hate abortion and find it repugnant. However,  I find the situation in which desperate women are forced to engage in illegal and unsafe abortions even more repugnant. Our choice is not, do we lose unborn children or protect them? The choice is, do we lose unborn fetuses and their mothers or do we allow safe, legal abortion but prevent the necessity of it by providing free, or at least very inexpensive, contraceptives?

 The most important question here in America is why do conservatives keep insisting on hurting both the unborn and their mothers by not providing contraceptives to those who need them? The solution to the problem is clear, simple, and effective, yet conservatives refuse to do what works and insist on doing what has the opposite effect of what they desire. It is hard to respect people who say they want to put out the fire in your house by banning the use of firehoses and that they are going to save your property by throwing on so much gasoline that this will cause all the oxygen to be burned up, thus extinguishing the fire.

To repeat the key point, why has abortion so sharply declined in North America and other developed countries? The answer has nothing to do with laws against abortion. As this study by one of the most highly respected medical journals in the world notes:

-- The declining abortion rates in the developed world, experts say, tell a story about better access to contraceptives. More frequent use of better birth control gives women more control over their fertility — and ultimately seems to lower abortion rates internationally.
"When contraceptives aren't available, women use abortion, even if it isn't legally sanctioned and even if it puts them at great physical risk," ...

..."When contraceptives are more available, use of abortion declines."...

...Countries where abortion is illegal don't have lower abortion rates... --

Why is this so hard for conservatives to understand? In many ways, this is a silly question. Conservatives don't like facts. Conservatives don't like reality. Conservatives live in a delusional alternate reality in which everything is exactly the way they feel it should be.

I know that this is so. I just can't understand how obviously intelligent people can allow their emotions to shut down their higher brain functions. If abortion is such a critical issue, then perhaps they should take effective action to reduce abortion rates even further. Sorry, I just keep trying to be realistic. That's a losing battle.