Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Map Of The United States. Space (And Time) Are Not What We Think

Bill Maher Has A Problem With Religion

Pope Francis: What Happens When Jesus Is Identified As Love Incarnate

Our Founding Fathers On Christianity

Our Founding Fathers on Christianity

Anyone who tells you that the Founding Fathers were trying to create a Christian nation is either a liar or parroting what other liars told him. This is what they really had to say about Christianity.
The Faith of our Founding Fathers
By Dean Worbis

No one disputes the faith of our Founding Fathers. To speak of unalienable
Rights being endowed by a Creator certainly shows a sensitivity to our
spiritual selves. What is suprising is when fundamentalist Christians think
the Founding Father's faith had anything to do with the Bible. Without
exception, the faith of our Funding Fathers was deist, not theist. It was
best expressed earlier in the Declaration of Independence, when they spoke
of "the Laws of Nature" and of "Nature's God."

In a sermon of October 1831, Episcopalian minister Bird Wilson said, "Among
all of our Presidents, from Washington downward, not one was a professor of
religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism."

The Bible? Here is what our Founding Fathers wrote about Bible-based

Thomas Jefferson
"I have examined all the known superstitions of the world and I do not find
in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They
are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men,
women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been
burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this
coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to
support roguery and error all over the earth."

By John E. Remsburg, letter to William Short

Jefferson again
"Christianity...(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on
man...Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the
teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and imposters led by Paul, the
first great corruptor of the teachings of Jesus."

More Jefferson
"The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for
enslaving mankind and adulturated by artificial constructions into a
contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves...these clergy in fact,
constitute the real Anti-Christ."

Jefferson's word for the Bible? "Dunghill."

John Adams
"Where do we find a precept in the Bible for Creeds, Confessions, Doctrines
and Oaths, and whole cartloads of other trumpery that we find religion
encumbered with in these days?"

Also Adams
"The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for

Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli. Article 11 states
"The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the
Christian religion."

Here's Thomas Paine
"I would not dare to so dishonor my Creator God by attaching His name to
that book (the Bible)."

"Among the most detesable villains in history, you could not find one worse
than Moses. Here is an order, attributed to 'God' to butcher the boys, to
massacre the mothers, and to debauch and rape the daughters. I would not
dare so dishonor my Creator's name by (attaching) it to this filthy book
(the Bible)."

"It is the duty of every true Diest to vindicate the moral justice of God
against the evils of the Bible."

"Accustom a people to believe that priests and clergy can forgive sins...and
you will have sins in abundance."

And; "The Christian church has set up a religion of pomp and revenue in
pretend imitation of a person (Jesus) who lived a life of poverty."

Finally let's hear from James Madison
"What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on
civil society? In many instances they have been upholding the thrones of
political tyrrany. In no instance have they been seen as the guardians of
the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty
have found in the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government,
instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy."

Madison objected to state-supported chaplains in Congress and to the
exemption of churches from taxation. He wrote "Religion and government will
both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."

These Founding Fathers were a reflection of the American population. Having
escaped from the state-established religions of Europe, only 7% of the
people in the 13 colonies belonged to a church when the Declaration of
Independence was signed.

Among those who confuse Christianity with the founding of America, the rise
of conservative Baptists is one of the more interesting developments. The
Baptists believed God's authority came from the people, not the priesthood,
and they had been persecuted for this belief. It was they - the Baptists -
who were instrumental in securing the separation of church and state. They
knew you can not have a "one-way-wall" that lets religion into government
but that does not let it out. They knew no religion is capable of handling
political power without becoming corrupted by it. And, perhaps, they knew it
was Christ himself who first proposed the separation of church and state;
"Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto the Lord that which is the

In the last five years the Baptists have been taken over by a fundamentalist
faction that insists authority comes from the Bible and that the individual
must accept the interpretation of the Bible from a higher authority. These
usurpers of the Baptist faith are those who insist they should meddle in the
affairs of the government and it is they who insist the government should
meddle in the beliefs of individuals.

References The writings of Thomas Jefferson exist in 25 volumes.
The references for this article were found in the book, SIX HISTORIC
AMERICANS, by John E. Remsburg (who interviewed many of Lincoln's
associates). Much of his work on Jefferson came from THE MEMOIRS,
volumes ed. by Thomas Jefferson Randolph (the grandson of Thomas Jefferson).

 WWJD What Would Jefferson Do?

April 13, 2000 marks Thomas Jefferson's 257th birthday. In honor of this
occasion, Americans United has pulled together some of Jefferson's best 
statements on church and state. Jefferson, along with James Madison, was a 
key architect of the religious liberty guarantees we enjoy today. What better 
way to honor the memory of this visionary founder than spending a few moments 
reading and reflecting on his timeless wisdom? With issues such as voucher 
aid to religious schools and government-sponsored prayer in public schools 
pending in Congress and the state legislatures, Jefferson's comments are 
just as relevant today as they were then.

Religious Right activists claim the framers never intended to
separate church and state. Christian Coalition president Pat Robertson
says separation is a "lie of the left." TV preacher Jerry Falwell calls it
"a modern fabrication."

Here are Jefferson's own words on the subject.

Separation of Church and State

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely
between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith
or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions
only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of
the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church
and State."
--Letter to the Danbury (Conn.) Baptist Association, January 1, 1802

Taxation for Religion
"[T]o compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the
propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical;
that even the forcing of him to support this or that teacher of his own
religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of
giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would
make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to
righteousness....Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That no
man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place
or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or
burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of
his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to
profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion,
and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their
civil capacities."
--Excerpts from Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, 1786

Government-Sponsored Prayer and Other Religious Worship
"I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the
civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its
doctrines; nor of the religious societies, that the General Government
should be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time or
matter among them. Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the
enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right
to determine for itself the times for these exercises, and the objects
proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and the right
can never be safer than in their hands, where the Constitution has
deposited it."
--Letter to Samuel Miller, January 23, 1808

One quote the writer forgot to include: "I have sworn an oath on the altar of God of eternal hostility to tyranny" from Tom Jefferson.

What's Up With This Map Of The World?

Einstein On "The Most Beautiful Thing"

Labor Day, 2014. Not One Union Official Interviewed On ABC, CBS, NBC Or Fox

Leaving Out Labor Award: ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox
In time for Labor Day, FAIR (8/28/14 [15]) looked at the guest lists for the network chat shows to see how often union leaders were invited to the debate. The answer? Not once. Former and current corporate CEOs, though, made a dozen appearances. The closest labor came to being a part of the conversation was a mention of one former union leader: former Screen Actors Guild chief Ronald Reagan, who later became a notoriously anti-labor US president.

Einstein On Common Sense... And Then "The Double Whammy"

Compendium Of Pax Posts On Violent Criminals And Violent Police

"Listen kid... Don't even think about winging him. 
The sweet spot is right between the eyes."

"The US Murder Rate Is On Track To Be Lowest In A Century"

America's Real Criminal Element: Lead

The Thinking Housewife's Deluded Belief That "Black Violence Has Gotten Worse"

Diane Rehm Guest Gets To The Nub Of Police Violence And How Easily It's Prevented

Harvard's Steve Pinker Notes Slight Uptick In Violence In A Much More Peaceful World

American Police Shoot An Unarmed Black Man Every 72 Hours
(Taking police and vigilante shootings together, we find that an unarmed black man gets shot every 29 hours.)

"Non-Racist" Gringos Cheer Black Man Who Would "Ventilate Black Asses With M16s"

Whites Think Discrimination Against Them Is A Bigger Problem Bias Against Blacks

"Given FL's "Stand Your Ground Law," Can This Black Woman Kill The White Cop Who Assaulted Her?"

"Video: WalMart Shopper John Crawford Didn't Aim Toy Gun At Anyone Before Police Shot Him Dead"
(Imagine Crawford as a young white guy. Maybe your son...)

Black Kids Get Shot For Their Mistakes. White Kids Get Psychologized

WalMart Video Shows Man Shot Dead, Without Warning For Leaning On Toy Gun

White Man Jaywalks With Assault Rifle. Guess What Police Do

"White Teen In BMW Hits Three Cars, Flees Scene, Assaults Cops, And Doesn't Get Shot"

"Bad Black People." Why Bill O'Reilly Is Wrong Even When He's Right

"Gun Cartoons and Gun Violence Bibliography"

Palestinians Eye War Crimes Case Against Israel

433% More Americans Died From Fireworks 
Than Israeli Citizens From Hamas Rockets

"Is Israel The World's Worst Terror State? An Israeli General's Son Thinks So"

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says the Palestinians will join the International Criminal Court — a move that sets the stage for filing a war crimes case against Israel.
Abbas made the announcement in the West Bank on Wednesday, a day after the U.N. Security Council failed to pass a resolution that had aimed to set a deadline for Israel to end its occupation of territories sought by the Palestinians.
Abbas had warned that if the resolution failed, he would resume a Palestinian campaign to join international organizations to put pressure on Israel.
Abbas’ decision is expected to trigger a harsh response from Israel.
Israel says all disputes should be resolved through peace talks, and such actions are aimed at bypassing negotiations.

The Singularly Slimy Way Conservatives Lie... Just To Piss, Moan, Whine, Bitch

"Do Republicans Do Anything But Piss, Moan, Bitch, Whine?"

Canadian Letter To The Editor: "You Americans Have No Idea How Good Obama Is"

"The Queen of Versailles" was a film documentary based on the sleazy time-share mogul, David Siegel, and his wife, Jackie.  David had major financial troubles following Bush's 2008 economic crises.  He even had to stop work on his private home, dubbed "Versailles", which was to be the largest home in the U.S.  Poor guy.
Naturally, Obama was to blame for this.  As you may recall during the peak of the presidential campaign, Mr. Siegel penned a letter threatening to fire all his employees and close down his Orlando-based company, Westgate, if Obama was elected.  A snippet from the full letter:
So where am I going with all this? It's quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company. Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone.
So, when you make your decision to vote, ask yourself, which candidate understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn't? Whose policies will endanger your job? Answer those questions and you should know who might be the one capable of protecting and saving your job. While the media wants to tell you to believe the "1 percenters" are bad, I'm telling you they are not. They create most of the jobs. If you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the "1%"; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country.
You see, I can no longer support a system that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, so will your opportunities. If that happens, you can find me in the Caribbean sitting on the beach, under a palm tree, retired, and with no employees to worry about.
Signed, your boss
Yeah, that happened.  
This wasn't the first time either. In 2000, Siegel did something just as slimy.  He put negative articles about Gore in every paycheck, and also forced his managers to conduct an inappropriate survey on who was voting for Bush and Gore.  Those that said Bush were "required" to register to vote.  Ironic, considering how Bush's economy almost put him out of business.
Fortunately for everyone, this time, his despicable letter threatening to fire everyone backfired.  Obama won Florida handily. The press mocked Siegel.  We all expected this time-share sleazeball to retire and close his company.  But then a funny thing happened...
Instead of his company being dragged down by the evil black man in the Oval Office, his company started flourishing again.  The Obama recovery saw companies make record profits, and Siegel's was no exception.  Today, Westgate is doing better than ever.  Under Obama, we also have had the best stock market in history, so investors like Siegel made out like bandits.  (Obama=worst socialist ever).  
Instead of firing, Siegel has had to hire more people.  Since his employees were finally able to get reasonably-priced health insurance, he was free to invest his money in all kinds of things.  He bought the Orlando Predators.  He also bought a massive hotel/casino in Las Vegas.  Saints be praised, he was even able to finally start work again on his gaudy, 90,000 square foot house complete with a bowling alley, a 30-car garage, and a roller-skating rink.
Turns out that he never had any intention to flee to the Caribbean.  
Turns out Obama has been great for him.  
Turns out he was just another rich, entitled a$$hole.

Bill Maher: The Zombie Life Cycle Of Republican Lies. They Never - Ever - Die

The Psychiatric Diagnosis Of American Conservatives: Folie a Plusieurs 

"American Conservatives And Oppositional-Defiant Disorder"

"Are Republicans Insane?"

"The Republican Party Is A Satanic Cult"

Jindal Criticizes The Stupid Party: "Simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys"

"The Reign of Morons Is Here," Charles P. Pierce, The Atlantic

"A Southerner Explains Tea Party Radicalism: The Civil War Is Not Over"

"People Who Watch Only Fox News 
Know Less Than People Who Watch No News"

Bill Maher: The Zombie Life Cycle Of Republican Lies. They Never - Ever - Die

"Bank On It: The South Is Always Wrong"

"Why The Bible Belt Is Its Own Worst Enemy"
  2. "Republicans For Revolution," A Study In Anarchic Apocalypticism

Mom Killed By 2 Year Old Child Described As "Responsible." NOT!

"Listen kid... Don't even think about winging him. 
The sweet spot is right between the eyes."

Teach Your Children Well

Alan: It is madness to normalize guns-in-homes where children live. 

Harboring guns near children is not only irresponsible but constitutes reckless endangerment. 

If you are a gun supporter, ask yourself these 4 questions: 

"Do you know anyone who saved his life by pulling a pistol in self-defense?" 

"Do you know anyone who died from a pistol shot?"  (If so, suicide or homicide?)

"Do you know anyone who was killed in a car accident?" 

"Do you know anyone who was killed in a car accident who was not wearing a seat belt?" 


For young Americans, 15-24, suicide (60% by firearm) is the third leading cause of death

Suicide in the Home in Relation to Gun Ownership
Arthur L. Kellermann, MD, MPH; Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH; et al, The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 327, No. 7, August 13, 1992
Key Statistic: The presence of one or more guns in the home increases the risk of suicide in the home nearly five times. 

Guns in homes increase risk of death and firearm-related violence

Firearm Access Is A Risk Factor For Suicide

Guns in home increase likelihood of violent death

Sandy Hook Kindergarten Carnage

Firearm Injury And Death Charts For The U.S. (And The World)
University of Pennsylvania 
There are over 40% more "firearm suicides" than "firearm homicides" in the United States.

The Most Violent Culture In The History Of The World

America's Gun Violence Map
by conservative columnist and George W. Bush advisor, David Frum

Mom killed by own gun at Idaho Wal-Mart described as responsible

HAYDEN, Idaho -- A 29-year-old woman fatally shot with her own gun by her 2-year-old son at a northern Idaho Wal-Mart was described as "not the least bit irresponsible."
The little boy reached into Veronica J. Rutledge's purse and her concealed gun fired, Kootenai County sheriff's spokesman Stu Miller said. The woman was shopping Tuesday with her son and three other children, Miller said.
CBS News correspondent Don Dahler reports law enforcement officials have reviewed surveillance tapes from inside the store but have yet to decide whether to make that video public.
The other children, all under the age of 11, were members of her extended family, Dahler reports. Rutledge was from Blackfoot in southeastern Idaho, and her family had come to the area to visit relatives.
Carrying a concealed weapon is legal in Idaho, and more than 7 percent of its adults have a permit to do so, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
Rutledge was an employee of the Idaho National Laboratory, The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Washington, reported. The Idaho Falls laboratory supports the U.S. Department of Energy in nuclear and energy research and national defense.
Miller said the young boy was left in a shopping cart, reached into his mother's purse and grabbed a small-caliber handgun, which discharged one time.
Deputies who responded to the Wal-Mart found Rutledge dead, the sheriff's office said.
"It appears to be a pretty tragic accident," Miller said.
The victim's father-in-law, Terry Rutledge, told The Associated Press that Veronica Rutledge "was a beautiful, young, loving mother."
"She was not the least bit irresponsible," Terry Rutledge said. "She was taken much too soon."
The woman's husband was not in the store when the shooting happened at about 10:20 a.m. Tuesday. Miller said the man arrived shortly after the shooting. All the children were taken to a relative's house.
The shooting occurred in the Wal-Mart in Hayden, Idaho, a town about 40 miles northeast of Spokane. The store closed for the rest of the day.
Brooke Buchanan, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, said in a statement the shooting was a "very sad and tragic accident."
"We are working closely with the local sheriff's department while they investigate what happened," Buchanan said.
Idaho National Laboratory senior chemical engineer Vince Maio worked with Rutledge on a research paper about using glass ceramic to store nuclear waste, The Spokesman-Review said.
Maio said he was immediately impressed with her.
"She had a lot of maturity for her age," he told the newspaper. "Her work was impeccable. She found new ways to do things that we did before and she found ways to do them better."
"She was a beautiful person," he added.
There do not appear to be reliable national statistics about the number of accidental fatalities involving children handling guns.
In neighboring Washington state, a 3-year-old boy was seriously injured in November when he accidentally shot himself in the face in a home in Lake Stevens, about 30 miles north of Seattle.
In April, a 2-year-old boy apparently shot and killed his 11-year-old sister while they and their siblings played with a gun inside a Philadelphia home. Authorities said the gun was believed to have been brought into the home by the mother's boyfriend.
Hayden is a politically conservative town of about 9,000 people just north of Coeur d'Alene, in Idaho's northern panhandle.
Idaho lawmakers passed legislation earlier this year allowing concealed weapons on the state's public college and university campuses.
Despite facing opposition from all eight of the state's university college presidents, lawmakers sided with gun rights advocates who said the law would better uphold the Second Amendment.
Under the law, gun holders are barred from bringing their weapons into dormitories or buildings that hold more than 1,000 people, such as stadiums or concert halls.
The Right-Wing Dream
Absolute Safety vouchsafed by ubiquitous firearms.
(The impossible quest to make Reality safer than God intended is the core appeal of fascism.)

If every passenger can "pack," then every terrorist would have a firearm and relatively few citizens. 

Those who think ubiquitous firearms are a solution to any of life's problems contribute to  the problem.

The likelihood that well-armed citizens will perform acts of sudden, salvific heroicism when a criminal already "has the drop" is vanishingly remote. 

Such wishful thinking is the product of arrested development, the vestigial puerility of children playing at "cowboys and Indians."

Many more innocent Americans are killed by firearms "in the home" than the piddling number of Americans saved by domestic firearm heroics.

And when, at rare intervals, such heroics do occur, they often result in the death of property thieves who harbor no violent intent.

Where are the Christian literalists when we need them?

“You have heard it said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But now I tell you: do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap your left cheek too. And if someone takes you to court to sue you for your shirt, let him have your coat as well. And if one of the occupation troops forces you to carry his pack one mile, carry it two miles. When someone asks you for something, give it to him; when someone wants to borrow something, lend it to him. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your friends, hate your enemies.’ But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil. Why should God reward you if you love only the people who love you? Even the tax collectors do that! And if you speak only to your friends, have you done anything out of the ordinary? Even the pagans do that! You must be whole—just as your Father in heaven is whole."

I am 67 years old and have friends "on both sides of the aisle." 

I have never heard any of them say that their firearm saved a life.

I have never heard any of them say they know someone whose life was saved by a firearm.

Occassional anecdotes do not establish "general rules." 

On the flip side of this coin, I have heard several friends say firearms were used by family members to kill themselves.

Whether by accident... sudden eruption of anger... or by psychological disease... firearms in citizens' homes exact a terrifyingly high toll with correspondingly trivial benefit.


The belief that individual heroes will "save the day" is essentially self-ish.

Yes, an occasional hero will "save the day."

But arming an entire society increases cumulative carnage.


"One of the most disturbing facts that came out in the [Adolf] Eichmann trial was that a psychiatrist examined him and pronounced him perfectly sane. I do not doubt it at all, and that is precisely why I find it disturbing. . .  The sanity of Eichmann is disturbing. We equate sanity with a sense of justice, with humaneness, with prudence, with the capacity to love and understand other people. We rely on the sane people of the world to preserve it from barbarism, madness, destruction. And now it begins to dawn on us that it is precisely the sane ones who are the most dangerous. It is the sane ones, the well-adapted ones, who can without qualms and without nausea aim the missiles and press the buttons that will initiate the great festival of destruction that they, the sane ones, have prepared. What makes us so sure, after all, that the danger comes from a psychotic getting into a position to fire the first shot in a nuclear war? Psychotics will be suspect. The sane ones will keep them far from the button. No one suspects the sane, and the sane ones will have perfectly good reasons, logical, well-adjusted reasons, for firing the shot. They will be obeying sane orders that have come sanely down the chain of command. And because of their sanity they will have no qualms at all. When the missiles take off, then, it will be no mistake." 
"A Devout Meditation in Memory of Adolf Eichmann" in Raids on the Unspeakable." Thomas Merton - New York: New Directions Publishing Co., 1964