Joe Walsh, ex-Republican, anti-Trump, but still conservative

It’s no secret that as a progressive/liberal/leftist I bitterly despise most conservatives, seeing nearly all of them as hypocrites who deserve no respect at all. But there is one that I have noticed recently on Twitter that challenges that perception quite well and so he may indeed be the exception that brings redemption to conservatism as a philosophy. He is Joe Walsh.

But before I actually talk about him, read this first:

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HeelFaceTurn

Heel–Face Turn

When a bad guy turns good. This usually makes for a good plot, for three reasons:

  1. It lets the writer reintroduce the villain as a “darker, edgier” hero.
  2. It reinforces a desired notion of the inherent goodness within people.
  3. It prevents the Worthy Opponent from falling victim to What a Senseless Waste of Human Life.

There are also various in-story motivations for the bad guy to make the turn:

  1. An encounter with an All-Loving Hero or gaining a Morality Pet.
  2. Discovering that Being Evil Sucks or possibly that Good Feels Good.
  3. An Enemy Mine situation leading to Fire Forged Friendship or The Power of Love in the form of Deliver Us from Evil or Love Redeems changing their priorities. Conversely Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal makes them rethink their loyalties.
  4. Realizing that they are a Noble Demon.
  5. A Heel Realization, if they had never considered their actions evil or wrong in the first place.
  6. They become friends with a hero after fighting them.
  7. A case of Even Evil Has Standards, if one villain becomes a good guy to stop another villain from doing something so horrible that they just cannot allow it.

Now on to our actual subject:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Walsh_(American_politician)

William Joseph Walsh (born December 27, 1961) is an American politician, conservative talk radio host, former social worker, and former 2020 Republican presidential candidate who served one term in the United States House of Representatives representing Illinois’s 8th congressional district.

Rep Joe Walsh.jpg

Born and raised in the Chicago metropolitan area, Walsh began his career as a social worker providing education and job skills training to students in low income areas, gradually becoming more politically active. Walsh had unsuccessfully campaigned for Congress in 1996 and the Illinois House of Representatives in 1998, but was elected to the U.S. House in 2010, defeating three-term incumbent Melissa Bean. Though he received little Republican Party support in his bid against Bean, he was popular with the Tea Party movement. In the 1990s, he identified as a moderate Republican, but he later became a conservative and a Tea Party activist.

During his time in Congress, Walsh was criticized for his often personal attacks against members of the Democratic Party and, specifically, President Barack Obama. He accused the president of abandoning the U.S.–Israel alliance and bankrupting the country. Walsh maintained a no-compromise approach to legislating that included rejecting any tax increases. He consistently voted against raising the federal debt ceiling and authored a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution. Walsh rejected the scientific consensus on climate change and supported tougher border control. Later, during his presidential campaign, Walsh expressed regret for some of the comments and stances he made during his time in Congress.

As a result of redistricting following the 2010 United States Census, Walsh’s district was redrawn by the Democratic-controlled Illinois General Assembly in 2012. While he initially planned to run in the newly drawn 14th district against fellow Republican Representative Randy Hultgren, he eventually decided to run in the remapped 8th district against Democratic candidate Tammy Duckworth. Walsh was defeated by Duckworth in the general election on November 6, 2012. After leaving office, Walsh began hosting a talk radio show. Though initially a strong supporter of Donald Trump, Walsh became increasingly critical of the president and, on August 25, 2019, he announced his presidential campaign. He dropped out of the race on February 7, 2020, after a poor showing in the Iowa caucus, and subsequently left the party.[2] He later endorsed Democratic candidate Joe Biden, who won the election.

Say whatever else you will about this guy, but he is not (anymore, at least) a liar. He just doesn’t seem to be a backstabber like so many others I could refer to.

His Twitter account: https://twitter.com/WalshFreedom

And here are some of his actual recent tweets:

I’m going to be watching him over the next few months, at least. And maybe listening to him too.

http://fsilencepodcast.com/

If he really wants to make a difference soon, I think he should join the Libertarian Party and build it up to overthrow the corrupted Republicans.

https://www.lp.org/

Bigotry and laziness disgrace America’s medical profession

Look at this story:

https://news.yahoo.com/am-worth-why-thousands-doctors-194203051.html

‘I Am Worth It’: Why Thousands of Doctors in America Can’t Get a Job

Emma Goldberg

 

Dr. Kristy Cromblin knew that as the descendant of Alabama sharecroppers and the first person in her family to go to college, making it to medical school might seem like an improbable dream. Her parents watched in proud disbelief as she inched closer to that goal, enrolling in a medical school in Barbados and enlisting in the military with plans to serve one day as a flight surgeon.

Then came an unexpected hurdle: A contentious divorce led Cromblin to take seven years away from medical school to care for her two sons. In 2012, she returned for her final year, excited to complete her exams and apply for residency, the final step in her training.

But no one had told Cromblin that hospital residency programs, which have been flooded with a rising number of applications in recent years, sometimes use the Electronic Residency Application Service software program to filter out various applications, whether they’re from students with low test scores or from international medical students. Cromblin had passed all her exams and earned her M.D., but was rejected from 75 programs. In the following years, as she kept applying, she learned that some programs filter out applicants who graduated from medical school more than three years earlier. Her rejection pile kept growing. She is now on unemployment, with $250,000 in student loans.

“There are times you question your worth,” Cromblin, 43, said. “You wonder if you’re useless. I’ve had to encourage myself over and over: I am worth it. I am useful. I am damn good.”

Cromblin is one of as many as 10,000 chronically unmatched doctors in the United States, people who graduated from medical school but are consistently rejected from residency programs. The National Resident Matching Program promotes its high match rate, with 94% of American medical students matching into residency programs last year on Match Day, which occurs annually on the third Friday in March. But the match rate for Americans who study at medical schools abroad is far lower, with just 61% matching into residency spots.

Note the description of the doctor in question:

the descendant of Alabama sharecroppers and the first person in her family to go to college

A contentious divorce led Cromblin to take seven years away from medical school to care for her two sons.

Which indicates to me that she is black, and as a single mother as well she has TWO strikes against her!

Continuing the article:

Last year, the Association of American Medical Colleges released a study that found that the country would face a shortage of 54,100 to 139,000 physicians by 2033, a prospect made all the more alarming as hospitals confront the possibility of fighting future crises similar to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet each year thousands of graduates emerge from medical schools with a virtually useless M.D. or D.O.; without residency experience, they do not qualify for licensure in any state.

Then don’t make residency experience an issue, obviously.

Residency directors say that although they are committed to diversity and consider many factors beyond test scores, they sometimes use filters in sifting through applications because they receive thousands of applications for just a handful of spots. “Nobody has the time or desire to read this many applications,” Dr. Suzanne Karan, an anesthesiologist at the University of Rochester, wrote in a 2019 blog post. “It makes my job a lot easier when I can filter your applications by M.D./D.O./foreign graduate.”

But Dr. William W. Pinsky, the chief executive of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, which credentials graduates of international medical schools, said residency directors who down-rank medical students from abroad were missing out on opportunities to diversify their programs.

“I understand program directors have to do what they have to do,” Pinsky said. “But if they put on a filter to leave out international graduates, they’re cheating themselves.”

Of course, but to a racist, cheating yourself doesn’t matter if in the end you can surround yourself with people like you. We need to stop making excuses for these biased hiring practices and just call these residency directors out on their bullshit.

Aspiring to help

The pool of unmatched doctors began to grow in 2006 when the Association of American Medical Colleges called on medical schools to increase their first-year enrollment by 30%; the group also called for an increase in federally supported residency positions, but those remained capped under the 1997 Balanced Budget Act. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., introduced the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act in 2019 to increase the number of Medicare-supported residency positions available for eligible medical school graduates by 3,000 per year over a period of five years, but it has not received a vote. In late December, Congress passed a legislative package creating 1,000 new Medicare-supported residency positions over the next five years.

Dr. Adaira Landry, an emergency physician in Boston, said of all the young doctors she had mentored, those who went unmatched were the most challenging to assist: “They want to be part of our health care system,” she said. “But they have this boulder blocking them.”

But it’s not just black doctors that are discriminated against.

At some point, Dr. Saideh Farahmandnia lost count of the number of residency rejection emails she had received. Still, she could remember the poignant feeling of arriving in 2005 at Ross School of Medicine in Dominica, thinking she was “the luckiest person in the world.” She had grown up in a religious minority community in Iran in which access to higher education was restricted. When she passed her licensing exams, she ecstatically called her parents to tell them they had raised a doctor.

After medical school, she spent two years doing research with a cardiothoracic surgeon at Stanford, thinking it would make her residency applications more competitive. But she applied to 150 residency programs, from rural to urban community hospitals, and received 150 rejections. She kept applying every year until 2015, when her mother died suddenly and she took a break to grieve.

“You leave your family to follow your passion and promise you’re going to help the country that adopted you,” Farahmandnia, 41, said. “At the end, you’re left with $300,000 in student loans and a degree that took so much of your life and precious time with your mother.”

Note this detail:

She had grown up in a religious minority community in Iran in which access to higher education was restricted.

Most likely, she is a Baha’i, and Baha’is in Iran ARE denied higher education. Even as a critic of the Baha’i Faith, that strikes me as stupid.

The average medical school debt for students graduating in 2019 was $201,490, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Students who match into residency positions soon advance and become attending physicians, making an average of nearly $200,000 a year. But unmatched students are left scrambling to find other areas of work that can help them repay their debts.

With the ongoing controversy over student debt in general, this is even more serious. I wonder if some kind of class action lawsuit would help.

Dr. Douglas Medina, who graduated from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 2011 and has been unable to match, says he pays at least $220 each month in loans, though some are now paused. “Just a couple of weeks ago I tried to decide between student loans or a stroller for the baby that’s coming,” he said. “It’s not just our careers being ruined, it’s our families.”

Remember this the next time you see some conservative in politics speak about the need for “family values”. They mean WHITE family values.

‘The cold smack of reality’

Students graduating from American colleges choose to go to medical school abroad for many reasons. Some have test-taking anxiety and prefer to apply to schools that don’t rely on MCAT scores for admission; others are attracted by the warmth and adventure promised by schools based in the Caribbean, which tend to have acceptance rates that are 10 times as high as those of American schools.

But many applicants, especially those coming from families unfamiliar with the intricacies of medical training, say they aren’t warned of the low match rates for international medical students.

“When I graduated, I got the cold smack of reality that all my credentials don’t matter, because you’re not getting past that match algorithm,” said Kyle, an international medical school graduate who asked that only his given name be used because he is reapplying for residency after an initial rejection.

Most frustrating, Kyle said, is being unable to work when he is aware of the urgent need for Black physicians like himself, especially in places like Atlanta, where he was raised. “It really hurts, because everyone thinks I should be a doctor,” he said. “They saw me pass my tests, they celebrated with me.”

Pinsky of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates said that the organization was working with the World Directory of Medical Schools to ensure that international schools described their credentials in a more clear and honest way.

“Unfortunately, there are schools that perhaps exaggerate a bit on their websites in terms of the success of their graduating students,” Pinsky said.

The 61% match rate for international students may understate the problem, some experts say, because it does not account for medical students who receive no interview offers. With those students included, the match rate for international medical students may drop as low as 50%.

Residency program directors said that in recent years they had increased their efforts to look at candidates holistically. “Straight A’s in college and perfect test scores does not a perfect applicant make,” said Dr. Susana Morales, an associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. “We’re interested in diversity of background, geographic diversity.”

Question: Why do medical students who study abroad insist on coming back to America to proceed with their careers?

Standing on the sidelines

Some international medical students struggling to match have looked for alternative pathways into medical work. Arkansas and Missouri are among the states that offer assistant physician licenses for people who have completed their licensing exams but have not completed residency. Unmatched doctors, eager to use their clinical skills to help in the pandemic, said that they had found the opportunity to serve as assistant physicians particularly meaningful during the crisis.

After she failed a first attempt at a licensing exam, then passed on her second try, Dr. Faarina Khan, 30, found herself shut out of the matching process. Over the past five years, she has spent more than $30,000 in residency application fees. But with an assistant physician license, she was able to join the Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team in the spring, helping out in medical facilities where staff members had tested positive for coronavirus.

“Hospitals need to realize that there are people in my position who could show up to work in the next hour if we’re called,” Khan said. “I didn’t go to medical school to sit on the sidelines.”

Legislation allowing for similar licensure is being considered in a handful of states. This position typically pays about $55,000 per year — much less than a physician might earn — which makes it challenging to pay off loans, but it allows for medical school graduates to keep up with their clinical training.

Cromblin, in Prattville, Alabama, felt a similar urge to join the COVID-19 front line in the spring. She had defaulted on a loan and had little in her bank account, but as soon as she received her stimulus check she bought a plane ticket to New York. She spent the month of April volunteering with the medical staff at Jamaica Medical Center in Queens.

She applied again for residency positions this year, although she says her sons have a hard time believing that their mother will ever become a practicing doctor.

“Every time I get a rejection letter, I go through my positive affirmations,” she said. “I say, ‘There’s a place for me, this just isn’t the one.’ ”

I know a place that must be desperate for doctors to come help its people: AFRICA!

Two Reasons for Public Ignorance

There is a reason why I call Africa the Cursed Continent. It was almost entirely taken over and beaten down by European imperialism around the turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries:

africa-partition

And even after the Europeans gave up control of those areas after World War II, they mostly left the Africans to fend for themselves. The results were horrific. The following cartograms, representing different territories in the world by size according to various statistics, show what Africans are suffering:

http://archive.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=230

Malaria Deaths

https://i1.wp.com/archive.worldmapper.org/images/largepng/230.png
In 2003, 92% of malaria cases and 94% of malarial deaths were recorded as being in African territories. The other 6% of deaths were mainly in Asia Pacific and Southern Asia. The total deaths recorded were 0.15% of the total cases. Whilst there were most malaria cases in Southeastern Africa, there were most deaths in Central Africa. Symptoms of malaria include fever and vomiting. Most deaths occur in cerebral malaria.The term ‘malaria’ comes from the medieval Italian ‘mala aria’ meaning ‘bad air’. The term was coined at a time before the mosquito had been identified as the carrier of the parasite.

http://archive.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=232

Cholera Deaths

https://i1.wp.com/archive.worldmapper.org/images/largepng/232.png

Cholera deaths result from severe dehydration caused by diarrhoea. This is treatable: in 2004 the number of cholera deaths was only 2.5% of the number of cholera cases that year. Distributions of cholera cases and deaths differ due to differing availability of treatments.

In 1962, in Papua New Guinea, 36% of cholera cases, which was 464 people, died. In 2004, in the Central African Republic, 15% of cholera cases, which was 48 people, died.

In contrast, there were 73 territories where nobody died from cholera, because of good sanitation, clean water and available treatment. These territories have no area on this map.

http://archive.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=236

Yellow Fever

https://i2.wp.com/archive.worldmapper.org/images/largepng/236.png

Yellow fever is a disease that is spread by mosquitoes. Unlike malaria, also carried by mosquitoes, yellow fever is not found in Southern Asia. This disease is almost exclusively found in Northern Africa (68% of cases) and South America (31% of cases).

Yellow fever is also known as black vomit (vomit negro in Spanish). Both of these names describe some of the more severe symptoms. “Yellow fever” due to the fever and jaundice that can occur. “Black vomit” because of the congealed blood in the sick of its victims.

A vaccine against yellow fever exists, but not everyone has access to this. 1 in 10 yellow fever cases lead to death.

http://archive.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=227

HIV Prevalence

https://i2.wp.com/archive.worldmapper.org/images/largepng/227.png

HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection, attacks the immune system. It eventually causes AIDS, which stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. With cases first recognised in the United States in 1981, AIDS increases the risk of many infections and tumours.In 2003, the highest HIV prevalence was Swaziland, where 38%, or almost 4 in every 10 people aged 15 to 49 years, were HIV positive. All ten territories with the highest prevalence of HIV are in Central and Southeastern Africa.Transmission of HIV is through sex, using infected needles and in the womb. Infected children are not shown here. HIV/AIDS often has an acquired social stigma.

Despite Africa being the most disease ridden continent, it also has the fewest doctors to treat those diseases.

http://archive.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=219

Physicians Working

https://i0.wp.com/archive.worldmapper.org/images/largepng/219.png

A physician can also be called a medical doctor. Physicians may be general practitioners or may specialise. The Caribbean island of Cuba has the most physicians per person working there; the fewest physicians per person are in the Southeastern African territory of Malawi.In 2004 there were 7.7 million physicians working around the world. The largest number were in China, which is the largest territory on the map. If physicians were distributed according to population, there would be 124 physicians to every 100,000 people. The most concentrated 50% of physicians live in territories with less than a fifth of the world population. The worst off fifth are served by only 2% of the world’s physicians.

So there is the obvious solution: if you can’t get a position in America, MOVE TO WHERE YOU ARE REALLY NEEDED!

Rush Scumbaugh is dead

Read this story:

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/att/cm/rush-limbaugh-conservative-radio-titan-172612686.html

Rush Limbaugh, conservative radio titan, has died of lung cancer at age 70

Maria Puente, USA TODAY

Rush Limbaugh, the talk titan who made right-wing radio financially viable in American media and himself a Republican kingmaker years before Fox News, died Wednesday, after he revealed in 2020 that his lung cancer was terminal. He was 70.

His death was confirmed by his wife, Kathryn, at the beginning of Limbaugh’s radio show, from which he’s been absent for almost two weeks.

A longtime cigar smoker who stocked the humidors in his homes and studios with the finest, Limbaugh succumbed to cancer after battling drug addiction and loss of hearing earlier in his career (he was deaf by the end and broadcast his daily show in spite of it).

A Republican conservative and die-hard supporter of former President Donald Trump to the end, Limbaugh was among Trump’s most important enablers of his failed effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election with baseless claims of voting fraud.

At one point in December, Limbaugh declared he thought the country was “trending toward secession,” then had to walk the comment back the next day. He wasn’t advocating another civil war, he was only repeating what he had heard being said, he told listeners.

After a mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, provoking outraged sputtering from Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives alike, Limbaugh stood out in dismissing the controvery.

“We’re supposed to be horrified by the protesters,” Limbaugh scoffed on his program on Jan. 7. “There’s a lot of people out there calling for the end of violence…lot of conservatives, social media, who say that any violence or aggression at all is unacceptable regardless of the circumstances…I am glad Sam Adams, Thomas Paine, the actual tea party guys, the men at Lexington and Concord, didn’t feel that way.”

Love him or loathe him, few would deny that Limbaugh was one of the most influential commercial broadcasters, if not the most influential, in American history, says Michael Harrison, founder and publisher of Talkers trade magazine, which covers talk radio.

Harrison believes Limbaugh’s legacy – his impact on public policy, on the national culture and on GOP politicians from the presidency on down – remains unmatched.

“Limbaugh’s radio talent an dedication to the medium are unparalleled in the modern talk industry,” he said. “At a time when the very future of radio and its talent pool could very much be on the wane in terms of cultural relevance and prestige, he raised it to a level of importance on a par with the most influential media platforms and players of our time.”

Journalist Ze’ev Chafets, whose 2010 biography of Limbaugh (“Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One”) grew out of a New York Times magazine cover story in 2008, says Limbaugh was one of the top two or three most important figures in Republican politics in the 1990s.

“The reason is his show was heard in every congressional district in the country, and certainly every state, by a huge number of Republicans who almost entirely made up his audience,” Chafets says. “He was able, at a granular level, to affect elections. The year Newt Gingrich became speaker of the House (1994), he gave Limbaugh an honorary membership in (the Republican caucus in) Congress because of his influence.”

“Coastal Americans” who didn’t listen to Limbaugh had no idea of his “gravitational pull” because they underestimated his communication talents and his smarts, at least initially, Chafets said.

“They didn’t understand because they thought he was a carnival barker talking to rubes,” Chafets said. “He talked about issues, not gossip. His show (consisted of) three-hour monologues without notes and included minute details about arcane matters that most talk-show hosts could not do.”

He was original, he was funny and he was adept at assembling key elements of broadcasting to produce entertaining and compelling radio, Harrison says.

“He was a consummate pro and even people who disagreed with him politically, most who are honest will tell you what a great broadcaster he (was),” Harrison said. “Because he used so many elements of great radio: pacing, his voice, satire, sound effects. The flow and feel of his show was very appealing in his use of sound and broadcast principles.”

Limbaugh’s show was the most listened-to talk radio broadcast in the United States, with an estimated cumulative weekly audience of 15.5 million listeners at his peak, according to Talkers’ tracking. “No one beats Rush in the political-news talk-radio format – he’s #1,” Harrison said.

His was a life and career of wild success pockmarked by controversies and health calamities, including years of chronic back pain and unsuccessful surgery, leading to long-term prescription opioid addiction and 30 days in rehab in 2003.

In 2006, he was criminally investigated and arrested for alleged “doctor shopping” to obtain multiple prescriptions in Florida, a charge eventually dropped after a plea agreement and his promise to continue addiction treatment (although Limbaugh continued to maintain his innocence).

Earlier, in 2001, he announced he had gone deaf over three months for unknown reasons, although his doctors said it could have been due to years of drug addiction. Eventually, he had cochlear implants to restore some of his hearing.

Then lung cancer struck. Limbaugh gave his legions of fans plenty of advance notice of the coming end. On Oct. 20, he told listeners that his lung cancer was terminal.

“You measure a happy life against whatever medication it takes. And at some point you decide, you know, this medication may be working, but I hate the way I feel every day,” Limbaugh said on the air. “I’m not there yet. But it is part and parcel of this.

“It’s tough to realize that the days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over.”

His listeners were shocked when he first revealed his diagnosis on his show in February 2020, not long after being told on Jan. 20 the grim news by “two medical institutions.”

“This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory for me. I’ve known this moment is coming in the program…I’m sure that you all know by now that I really don’t like talking about myself and I don’t like making things about me,” Limbaugh said. “I like this program to be about you and the things that matter to all of us.”

But, he said, he knew he had to explain what was going on in his life because listeners would be curious if he wasn’t at his usual post every day. Even though he had no symptoms at that time, he realized that would not last and he would have to be absent for treatment.

“It’s not that I want to fool anybody, it’s just that I don’t want to burden anybody with it and I haven’t wanted to,” he said. “But it is what it is. “You know me, I’m the mayor of Realville.”

A day later, he was visibly moved when his longtime friend and Florida neighbor, President Trump, awarded him the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, during the State of the Union address in the House of Representatives.

Attending as one of Trump’s “special guests,” the white-bearded and ruddy-faced Limbaugh sat in the House gallery next to first lady Melania Trump, who fastened the medal on a blue ribbon around his neck.

“In recognition of all that you have done for our nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and that you inspire, and all of the incredible work that you do for charity, I’m proud to announce tonight that you will receive our nation’s highest civilian honor,” Trump said to applause in the chamber.

In May, Limbaugh updated his listeners on the state of his health with a candid assessment.

“I vowed not to be a cancer patient on the radio. I vowed to shield as much of that from the daily program as I can,” Limbaugh said before talking about his third wave of treatment. “I have to tell you, it’s kicking my ass.”

He said the previous week of treatments had left him “virtually worthless” and “virtually useless.” He hasn’t left the house or done much of anything, as doctors warned him would happen.

“It’s the price that you pay if you make the decision to go ahead and do treatment to try to prolong your life,” he said, adding that he is doing “extremely well, all things considered.”

Then came his grim assessment in October. He tried to be upbeat but the progression of the cancer or the treatment or both had not been easy.

“Some days are harder than others,” he said. “I do get fatigued now. I do get very, very tired now. I’m not gonna mislead you about that. But I am extremely grateful to be able to come here to the studio and to maintain as much normalcy as possible – and it’s still true.”

The day before Christmas 2020, on his final show of the year, he updated listeners on his health again, saying he hadn’t expected to make it past October let alone into December. “And yet, here I am and today, got some problems, but I’m feeling pretty good today… God knows how important this program is for me today,” he said, thanking listeners.

Limbaugh is survived by his fourth wife, Kathryn Rogers, whom he married in 2010. Three previous marriages ended in divorce. He did not have children.

Born on January 12, 1951, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Rush Hudson Limbaugh III came from a line of conservative Republicans that included lawyers, judges and ambassadors. His was a family that looked askance at his early yen – while still in grammar school – to become a radio star.

“I said, ‘Pop, I love this. I know I’m great at it. I’m gonna get even better,'” Limbaugh told interviewers later.

When he was 9, he got a toy radio as a gift and began “broadcasting” on AM frequencies in his home, entertaining his family playing DJ with his records. In high school he worked as a DJ at a local station co-owned by his father. He lasted only one year at Southeast Missouri State University before leaving to pursue a career in radio.

It did not go well at first. He was fired from stations in Missouri and Pennsylvania for being too controversial as a news commentator. In the mid-1980s, he landed at KFBK in Sacramento as an on-air host. Within a year, he was Sacramento’s top radio host.

The 1987 repeal of the Federal Communications Commission’s Fairness Doctrine gave Limbaugh his head to broadcast his controversial opinions without having to present opposing views. In July 1988, he launched his own show on a talk station in New York City, and he was off to the races: His star was rising, and people noticed.

“A large new noise echoes across the invisible cacophony that is talk radio,” reported Louis Grossberger in The New York Times in December 1990. “His subject is politics. His stance: conservative. His persona: comic blowhard. His style: a schizoid spritz, bouncing between earnest lecturer and political vaudevillian.”

It helped that the first Gulf War was under way and Limbaugh demonstrated his fervent support by ridiculing anyone who sought peace. His show was moved to stations with larger audiences; eventually Limbaugh was broadcasting on more than 650 stations nationwide. The election of President Bill Clinton in 1992 only fueled the possibilities of lacerating satire aimed at Democrats.

Ever since, Limbaugh maintained his position as the king of talk radio while fending off multiple flaps over controversial things he said on the air, about racial and ethnic minorities, feminism and the notion of sexual consent, environmentalism and climate change, his admiration for Trump and his disdain for former President Barack Obama; Limbaugh was an on-air super-spreader of the “birtherism” lie that Obama was not born in the United States.

Most of these controversies rolled off him, except for Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student who testified in Congress in 2012 in support of mandating insurance coverage for contraceptives. Limbaugh mocked her, suggesting this view made her a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

“That was the most damaging thing he ever did,” Harrison says. The outcry that followed kicked off boycotts by major sponsors of talk-radio, even though Limbaugh issued a rare apology for “insulting word choices.”

“It had a terrible economic impact on the talk-radio business in general,” Harrison says. “It’s the one major blemish on his history that hurt his fellow broadcasters. Now he’s been forgiven because of what he’s done for the industry that outweighs that.”

In between doing his show and advising Republican presidents and candidates, Limbaugh wrote best-selling books (“The Way Things Ought to Be” in 1992, followed in 1993 by “See, I Told You So”), including a series of children’s books.

He supported several charities, including a telethon for leukemia and lymphoma, the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, and the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which honors a firefighter who died saving others in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the twin towers in New York.

Chafets, who grew up in Michigan, remembers when he first heard Limbaugh on the radio as he was driving one day near Detroit.

“Before Rush Limbaugh, you could not hear conservative thought on the radio in the USA – Rush is the first guy to provide that, the rock-and-roll DJ with the news. And that shocked people,” Chafets said. “I could not believe it myself. I actually pulled over to listen to what he was saying. I couldn’t believe it.”

Considering all the terrible things Limbaugh said and promoted, and his demonization of liberals, I can only think of one thing in reference to his death:

index

I mean I don’t believe in hell because there is no evidence it exists, but people like Limbaugh make me wish he could be sent there!

A critical analysis of the Transformers Movie of 1986

Back in the 1980s, the time of my late childhood and teen years, one of the biggest toy franchises was the Transformers. I often watched the TV show based on the toyline after coming home from school and so when I heard a movie based on the show was being released, I went to see it. It proved to be quite a shocker, considering the toyline and the TV show was marketed to children…..but no child could have been prepared for the extreme violence seen in the movie!

Continue reading

Mormon leaders need to STFU about tithing!

A common complaint in the ExMormon subreddit is over the obsession the Mormon leaders have with tithing, which is paying 1/10th of your earnings to the church. Many Christian churches encourage this and some also accept “offerings” (any payment that is not a part of tithing).

I can understand a church suggesting tithing as a means of its support, but making it MANDATORY seems absurd. And yet…….

I couldn’t believe the Mormon church would do such a thing. And then I saw the proof:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2012/12/sacred-transformations?lang=eng

The Vigils’ bishop, César Orellana, also saw changes in their lives. Soon after their baptism, Amado approached Bishop Orellana and said, “We want to pay tithing, but we don’t know how.”

Bishop Orellana explained that tithing was 10 percent of their increase. Amado was somewhat concerned. At the time, Evelyn had a job, but he did not. “We always come up short,” Amado explained to his bishop, “but we want to pay tithing.”

Bishop Orellana responded, “Brother, the Lord has made many promises.” Together they read scriptures about the blessings that come from faithfully paying tithing, including the Lord’s words through the prophet Malachi: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, … and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).

After reading these scriptures together, Bishop Orellana looked at the new convert and said, “If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing. The Lord will not abandon you.”

The next Sunday, Amado approached Bishop Orellana again. This time he didn’t ask any questions. He simply handed his bishop an envelope and said, “Bishop, here is our tithing.”

If you are actually trying to get people to starve themselves or go without any basic necessities to give you anything, YOU ARE A DAMNED PARASITE!!!!

People like Bishop Orellana are con artists, pure and simple.

Understanding Marginal Tax Rates

Increasing numbers of American billionaires have appeared since the Republicans began cutting taxes for the rich, first under President Reagan, then under Bush Jr (Bush Sr condemned this as “voodoo economics” even before Reagan’s time) and finally under Trump. And it’s time we ended that crap forever! The proliferation of billionaires is not a sign of economic prosperity, but distress, since the members of the working class have not increased their buying power in the same time. That would only happen if their wages went up, but economic conservatives tend to oppose that and thus the federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour. A person CANNOT make a living at such a wage!

It is a moral and logical imperative that we raise marginal tax rates on the wealthy to properly fund the government and prevent economic tyranny from those same rich people.

Imagine such a tax policy in place. If we have a tax rate of 0% for people who make up to $50,000 per year, a rate of 30% on those who make up to $100,000 per year, 50% for those who make up to $1,000,000 per year, and finally 90% for those who make above $1,000,000 per year, here’s what the results would look like.

First example is a person with annual wages of $90,000. He would pay nothing on the first $50,000 and then 30% on the remaining $40,000, so he would pay $12,000 in tax, resulting in his keeping $78,000.

Second example is someone with annual wages of $800,000. He would pay nothing on the first $50,000 and then would pay 30% on the next $50,000 ($15,000 in tax) and then 50% of the remaining $700,000 ($350,000 in tax). Thus he would keep $435,000.

Finally, you have someone who makes $100,000,000 per year. His tax rates would be nothing on the first $50,000 and then would pay 30% on the next $50,000 ($15,000 in tax), 50% of the next $900,000 ($450,000 in tax) and finally 90% of $99,000,000 ($89,100,000 in tax). Thus he would keep $10,435,000. He would still be rich!

The ONLY ethical reason to lower taxes on ANY people is if those tax rates were so high that they were keeping people in poverty. That only applies to the working class.

As I noted a long time ago:

Two Reasons for Public Ignorance

We delude ourselves into thinking that if having a million dollars is good, having ten million must be better, so we strive for that while never thinking of anyone who considers himself lucky to even have $100,000. Or never gets even close to having that much.

Greed is a vice and we must do everything we can to condemn it and prevent people from getting away with it.

Obama bashing, Libertarian style

Tax hikes on the wealthy are to punish GREED, not success. There’s nothing wrong with making enough money to live comfortably on, but if you make enough to become a BILLIONAIRE, you become more of a parasite than a contributor to the economy.

And hearing that so many of these rich people have become even RICHER even in the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic (throwing millions of workers into unemployment) makes me want to go after them!

Incidentally, Wayne Allyn Root, the guy who wrote that cynical hit piece I quoted in the blog entry about President Obama, was later disowned by most of the other Libertarians because of his racism and his constant lying. He is now a Republican and ally of Donald Trump. If I were God, I’d send that bastard to hell!

Tribute to Nick Karean

Strictly speaking, as an Honorable Skeptic, I do not expect to have followers of my ethical philosophy. Nor am I a blind follower of anyone (because then I wouldn’t be a skeptic). No, not even Carl Sagan, though he was a idol of mine in childhood and he was one of my direct influences in the creation of my standard of ethics. But there is one person whose vision so closely mirrors my own, and even exceeds it in many ways, that I must pay tribute to him as a brother in arms against ignorance, superstition, and self-serving bigotry: Nick Karean.

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and outdoor

His Facebook profile:  https://www.facebook.com/nickkareanz

His YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/nickkarean

His blog: https://nickkareanhobbyshots.blogspot.com

He lives in a nation split between Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and Hindus, among other religious communities, yet he was a fundamentalist Christian early in his life, just as I was. Eventually, however, he learned to get away from that and developed critical thinking, becoming one of the strongest advocates for reason, science and objective truth I’ve ever known. He currently travels in his free time and captures his experiences on photo and video which he shares on his blog and his YouTube channel.

I invite all who know me to also join with him.

Some great ideas for Unitarian Universalist sermons.

I am a member of First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church and I love it. Last year, the church made its own YouTube channel and with the coming of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been broadcasting its services on its Facebook page and then uploading them to YouTube.

Here is a recent fine example:

It has occurred to me, however that we UUs could increase the appeal of our churches among younger people by making sermon topics that appeal more to their age group by sounding more like YouTube videos rather than like most churches do now. Let me provide some examples.

Telltale is a former Jehovah’s Witness who is highly critical of his former religion as well as many other cults. Recently he even took on Donald Trump, calling him a cult leader.

He also does podcasts that are less “arty” and more wordy, but still informative, like this:

Then there is Blair aka the Iiluminaughtii who I spoke of twice before. Many of her videos can serve as UU sermons, with a practical purpose.

There is also Adam Buckley, who I also have written about more than once. If you don’t like the foul language he often uses, but agree with some of his ideas, you can present them with “clean” language.

Genetically Modified Skeptic advocates directly for atheism, but he also tackles MLMs like Blair does.

But he also is willing to criticize his fellow atheists, making him more credible than most.

Indeed, he is surprisingly balanced about Islam, but still gets lied about by misinformed people.

Well, that also happened to me in a UU subreddit!

My point was that no UU should be Islamophobic, but likewise we must be free to criticize Islam……and ALL other religions. Refusing to face flaws and failures in other religions, and even our own, enables prejudice and ignorance. And that doesn’t help the credibility of UUism. We don’t even have to claim that Islam (or any other world religion) is false, but that allowing its dogmas to go unchecked is dangerous. That was indeed the whole point of my Spiritual Orientation series.

If more UUs like me took this balanced approach to criticizing religions while defending the rights of religious people, more people might flock to UUism.

Were blacks among the Southern Baptists really expecting better from their white leaders?

Read this story:

https://news.yahoo.com/prominent-black-pastor-pondering-exit-140305638.html

Some Black Southern Baptists feel shut out by white leaders

DAVID CRARY

As a student in college and seminary, then as a pastor in Texas, Dwight McKissic has been affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention for more than 45 years. Now he’s pondering whether he and his congregation should break away.

“It would feel like a divorce,” McKissic said. “That’s something I’ve never had, but that’s what it would feel like.”

If he does, he would be following in the footsteps of several other Black pastors who have recently exited in dismay over what they see as racial insensitivity from some leaders of the predominantly white SBC. Tensions are high after an election year in which racism was a central issue, and after a provocative declaration by SBC seminary presidents in late 2020 that a fundamental concept in the struggle against racial injustice contravenes church doctrine.

A crucial moment for McKissic and other Black pastors could come in June at the SBC’s national meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, if delegates rebuff their views on systemic racism in the U.S., and if Rev. Albert Mohler, a high-profile conservative who heads the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is elected SBC president.

Last year, even while announcing new scholarship funds for Black students, Mohler declined to change the names of buildings at his seminary named after slaveholders. More recently he played a key role in the seminary presidents’ repudiation of critical race theory — a broad term used in academic and activist circles to describe critiques of systemic racism

The presidents later apologized for not consulting Black pastors before issuing that repudiation, but Mohler told The Associated Press the presidents would likely have reached the same decision in any case.

The seminary leaders’ stance on critical race theory, as well as Mohler’s public support for Donald Trump in the 2020 election, “should disqualify him from being SBC president,” said McKissic, who has become one of the SBC’s most prominent Black pastors since founding the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, in 1983.

Some of the pastors who cut ties with the SBC in recent months also share negative views of Mohler. The Rev. Ralph West, whose Church Without Walls in Houston claims a weekly attendance of 9,000, called him “a polarizing figure” who would worsen divisions within the SBC.

Mohler suggested his critics do not reflect the opinions of most Southern Baptists, white or Black.

“I believe I represent the vast mainstream of conservative Southern Baptists on these issues,” he said. “I think I am polarizing only at the extremes.”

Regarding Trump, who had overwhelming backing from white evangelicals, Mohler said he consistently pointed out the former president’s flaws, but opted to endorse him based on his stances opposing abortion and defending religious liberties.

The SBC, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. was founded in an 1845 split with northern Baptists over slavery and became the church of Southern slaveholders. Its membership of about 14.5 million remains overwhelming white — its predominantly Black churches claim a combined membership of about 400,000.

While the SBC formally apologized in 1995 for its pro-slavery past, and later condemned white supremacy, some tensions flared again after the Nov. 30 statement from six seminary presidents, all of them white. They declared that critical race theory was “incompatible with” central tenets of the SBC’s Scripture-based theology.

The statement swiftly created friction far beyond the realm of SBC academia, particularly due to the lack of Black involvement in its drafting.

Virginia pastor Marshal Ausberry, president of the organization that represents the SBC’s Black pastors, wrote to the presidents saying concepts such as critical race theory “help us to see and discover otherwise undetected, systemic racism in institutions and in ourselves.”

“The optics of six Anglo brothers meeting to discuss racism and other related issues without having ethnic representation in the room in 2020 — at worst it looks like paternalism, at best insensitivity,” Ausberry, first vice president of the SBC, elaborated in an interview with Baptist Press, the SBC’s official news agency.

The presidents apologized for not consulting Black pastors and met with some of them Jan. 6, but have not wavered in their rejection of critical race theory.

McKissic, who was in the Jan. 6 meeting, said the conversation was polite “but the outcome was not respectful to who Black people are in our history.”

He’s likely to remain in the SBC until the June meeting but is prepared to exit then if the delegates ratify the presidents’ stance on critical race theory as official policy.

“if they adopt that statement in June, it would be the feeling to me that people you trusted hit you in the face with a baseball bat,” McKissic said.

Another possible trigger for him would be if delegates rescind a 2019 resolution that included a positive reference to critical race theory, suggesting it could be useful as an “analytical tool” as long as it was subordinate to Scripture.

The Rev. Charlie Dates of the Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago, one of the pastors who have already severed ties, said the November statement was “the last straw.”

“When did the theological architects of American slavery develop the moral character to tell the church how it should discuss and discern racism?” Dates wrote in an op-ed for Religion News Service. “The hard reality of the seminary presidents’ statement is that Black people will never gain full equality in the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Other Black pastors who have cut ties include the Rev. Seth Martin, whose multiracial Brook Community Church in Minneapolis had been receiving financial support from the Southern Baptist association in Minnesota, and the Rev. Joel Bowman, who abandoned plans to move his Temple of Faith Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, into the SBC fold.

“I genuinely believe the SBC is headed in the wrong direction,” Bowman said. “White evangelicals have gotten in bed with the Republican Party.”

Some white SBC pastors are also troubled, such as the Rev. Ed Litton of Mobile, Alabama, who is one of Mohler’s rivals for the SBC presidency. McKissic has endorsed Litton’s candidacy.

Litton was a co-signer of a statement by a multiethnic group of Southern Baptists last month which asserted that “some recent events have left many brothers and sisters of color feeling betrayed and wondering if the SBC is committed to racial reconciliation.”

When evangelical churches get involved in partisan politics, like they have so much since the 1980s, both the government and the churches become corrupted. That’s what we saw in the case of Donald Trump being elected President.

Even if I were still a Christian, I could never return to the Southern Baptist Convention because of its racist roots. I’d be more likely to join the United Methodist Church or some other mainline or liberal Protestant body.

Since 2017, Unitarian Universalists have had their own struggles about race issues. And I believe strongly that the path should be open for blacks who are Christians to feel welcome among UUs. Consider the case of Bishop Carlton Pearson.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlton_Pearson

I actually saw him preach at First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church, and he also has a regular place at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/the-gospel-inclusion

When the story broke that evangelicals were calling Carlton Pearson a heretic, Lavanhar recognized right away that what he was preaching was classic Universalism. He called Pearson up and invited him to lunch. “Marlin was very sensitive and seemed to understand even more than I did in some ways where I was,” Pearson recalls. “He was probing my mind, and I his, and he was offering brotherhood. I didn’t have many friends in this town.”

Then Lavanhar invited Pearson to preach at All Souls. The sanctuary was packed. “They gave us their Sunday morning offering,” Pearson recalls, tearing up. “It makes me emotional just to think about it.”

Tulsa’s United Church of Christ ministers also reached out to Pearson. (He was granted ministerial fellowship in that denomination in 2006.) “But I was fellowshipping with Marlin,” Pearson says. “He grasped my position on Universalism even more than the UCC folks.” Pearson had read about Universalism at ORU, but he didn’t realize that All Souls Unitarian was part of that tradition.

In late 2005 Pearson sold the Higher Dimensions organization in order to avoid foreclosure, at a loss of $3 million in equity. The building is now a Christian prep school. “We were hurting, scattered, wandering through the wilderness like Moses and the children of Israel,” Pearson says. But they weren’t giving up. The 200 or so survivors renamed themselves New Dimensions. For the next two and a half years they held a one o’clock Sunday service in Trinity Episcopal Church downtown, attended on Sunday mornings by Tulsa’s country club and business elite.

Meanwhile, lunch had become a monthly ritual for newfound friends Pearson and Lavanhar. In April 2008, Lavanhar preached a sermon that got some buzz on the Internet, defending presidential candidate Barack Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, by placing him in context with the Hebrew prophets and the historic black church. He showed Pearson a thankful letter Wright had sent.

Pearson thought out-loud, “We should have come to All Souls, because y’all really are interested in this kind of thing, racial justice. We wouldn’t be like boarders or visitors. Y’all would want us there. It would mean a lot to you.” So Lavanhar extended yet another invitation. New D could have the 11:30 a.m. Sunday service slot, free, for the summer, when All Souls went down to a single 10:00 a.m. service.

What caught everyone off guard was that about half the people who showed up at that service were All Souls folks. They loved the emotion, the spirit, the high they got from “bucking and shouting and getting our praise on,” as Cassandra Austin, a New D member since 1994, describes it.

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/humiliation-hostility-riot-lives

After Pearson was declared a heretic by his fellow Pentecostals for preaching universal salvation in the megachurch he led, he accepted Lavanhar’s invitation to lead worship at All Souls. He and approximately 200 of his parishioners started worshiping at All Souls in 2008, and today, about 4 percent of the church’s 2,023 members are black. 

Black membership among UUs may grow enormously if all UU churches do become as inclusive as All Souls is.

Let It Go… my analysis of its lyrics

In an earlier blog entry, I spoke of the experience of people leaving their former religion and seeking personal freedom. I also referred to a song that seems to speak of that experience. Here is that song again:

And here are the lyrics:

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation
And it looks like I’m the queen
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know
 
Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway
 
It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free
 
Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand and here I stay
Let the storm rage on
 
My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back, the past is in the past
 
Let it go, let it go
When I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand in the light of day
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway
 
And here is my interpretation of those lyrics.
 
The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation
And it looks like I’m the queen
 
When you realize that a religion you based your entire life around is not true, or at least not suitable for you, you don’t just lose that religion, you lose the COMMUNITY that religion creates, and thus you feel terrified about what may happen to you later. We humans are social animals, so this is indeed trauma on a grievous scale.
 
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know
 
At first, you may try to pretend to still believe in and follow your former religion, but this is no long term solution if you value your integrity. And eventually, those in the faith closest to you may figure out you are just pretending and condemn you, rightfully, as a hypocrite. The sooner you come out with the truth about yourself, the better.
 
 
Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway
 

Once you turn that corner and admit openly you have abandoned your past faith, your fears will be replaced with inner peace, perhaps the same inner peace the religion itself was supposed to give you. Now you can face the others who still follow your old religion and refute their claims. The controversy (cold) wasn’t the issue; you were just on the wrong side of it!

It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free
 
People who reject all dogmatic religions do so because they realize the rules of those religions are not grounded in reality. The only rules and laws that should ever matter are those that serve real needs of real people in real time. Religions can’t do that!
 
Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand and here I stay
Let the storm rage on
 
So now you can prove that leaving a religion won’t destroy you as a person, but make your life better!
 
My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back, the past is in the past
 
Leaving an oppressive religion increases your creativity, allowing you to  explore possibilities that you were fearful of before. And that justifies your leaving and makes you see there is no point in ever turning back.
 
Let it go, let it go
When I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand in the light of day
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway
 
The religion you left promised you light, but it was a lie; you only became truly enlightened once you left it and found what was right for you. You stopping seeking moral perfection once you recognized it never existed. Instead, you make up your own standards and live by them. Just as I did in 2005:
 

An Honorable Skeptic

Bigotry is bigotry, and NONE of it should EVER be excused.

The most troublesome bigots in American society are often the ones who are white and/or Christian and say crap like “I have black/Jewish/Muslim/(other minority) friends,” but being conservative they must have lower standards for friends than me, because if they truly saw every other person in their community as equals, THEY WOULDN’T BE CONSERVATIVE! Liberals are the ONLY ones that truly champion equal justice for all.

Want proof of that? Read this article

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/viral-video-forced-wealthy-texas-suburb-confront-racism-silent-majority-n1255230

Southlake, Texas is a community not far from where I live (Haltom City, just outside Fort Worth). And Texas is a notoriously red (conservative) state.

Let’s zero in on some specific parts of the article in question.

This past summer — nearly two years after the viral video — the school board unveiled a plan that would require diversity and inclusion training for all students as part of the K-12 curriculum, while amending the student code of conduct to specifically prohibit acts of discrimination, referred to in the document as “microaggressions.”

Within days, outraged parents — most of them white — formed a political action committee and began packing school board meetings to voice their strong opposition. Some denounced the diversity plan as “Marxist” and “leftist indoctrination” designed to “fix a problem that doesn’t exist.” The opponents said they, too, wanted all students to feel safe at Carroll, but they argued that the district’s plan would instead create “diversity police” and amounted to “reverse racism” against white children.

Basically, they were saying they wanted minorities to feel maybe 90% equal to whites, NOT 100% equal. We mustn’t be fooled by their false rhetoric.

Like many small towns in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area in the early 1990s, Southlake was on the cusp of explosive population growth. In the nearly three decades since the Cornishes arrived, Southlake’s population has tripled to more than 31,000 residents, driven in part by a surge of immigrants from South Asia. Hundreds more Black people also moved in, though they still make up less than 2 percent of the population in a city where 74 percent of residents are white.

With its proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and the headquarters of several Fortune 500 companies, the city became a magnet for wealthy professionals, with the median household income now topping $230,000.

As it grew, Southlake gained a reputation in the Dallas area as a sort of suburban utopia, with master-planned neighborhoods and dominant high school sports programs. A 2007 D Magazine article about the Carroll football team’s run of state championships described the city’s “otherworldly” charm.

Despite having lived most of my life in suburbs like Haltom City, North Richland Hills, and Arlington, I am perceptive enough to recognize that the purpose of establishing most of those suburbs, including Southlake, was to provide places where whites could move away from the huge cities where minorities are concentrated. But then some members of those minorities began to follow the whites to those places. Including the Cornish family.

One example: Every year when Cornish’s children were small, Carroll fifth graders were required to participate in Colonial Day, an educational celebration in which students dress up like characters from the 1600s. But little thought seemed to go into what that meant for Black children, Cornish said, an oversight that became all too clear when a classmate told one of her daughters that she couldn’t dress up like a nurse; she would have been a slave.

Which is exactly why we need to teach ALL aspects of American history, good, bad and ugly, and stop glorifying so much of it when it clearly involved the abuse of blacks, Native Americans and other minorities. Colonial Day in Southlake should be ended for that reason!

As in-person classes resumed in the fall, Moore and other Carroll board members searched for a compromise. The board agreed to appoint seven new volunteers to the diversity committee, including some who’d been critical of the plan, and asked the group to propose revisions based on community feedback.

But that work was halted after one parent, Kristin Garcia, sued the district over the way the diversity plan was developed, alleging that board members had violated the Texas open meetings law. Although the district has disputed that claim in court filings, a judge issued a temporary restraining order in December prohibiting the school board from working on the plan while the litigation is pending.

Garcia declined to comment through her lawyer, and messages to the Southlake Families PAC went unreturned. NBC News reached out to a dozen other residents who’ve spoken against the diversity plan, but none responded directly. Instead, a group calling itself Concerned Parents of Southlake Students reached out to NBC News to share a statement saying the district’s plan “is its own form of racism that categorizes students based on their skin color to purportedly achieve equitable outcomes.”

“As parents of Southlake students from many different backgrounds, we condemn discrimination and racism in any form,” the statement said. “We are gravely concerned with attempts to infuse our children’s education with political indoctrination that seeks to divide rather than unite.”

This seems to be the standard subversive playbook: In most cases, don’t be willing to talk about what you are doing and your motives about it and when you do, LIE OUTRIGHT ABOUT IT!

And it gets worse!

The fight in Southlake eventually caught the attention of state Republican Party officials.

Allen West, the Texas GOP chairman, addressed the dispute in August when he was invited to speak at a church near the city. In a video of the speech posted to YouTube, West told the audience that the situation in Southlake follows a pattern of school districts attempting to indoctrinate children with liberal values.

West, who is Black, then offered a suggestion for how to fight back. He told the audience to welcome new residents from out of state with a pecan pie, but then to ask, “Now why are you here?”

And if those new neighbors don’t share traditional conservative beliefs about gun rights and tax policy, West advised the audience to respond with seven words: “Go back to where you came from.”

With that, the room of mostly white Southlake residents, including City Councilman and mayoral candidate John Huffman, jumped to their feet in applause, the video shows. Huffman, who has opposed the district diversity plan on social media, did not return messages seeking comment.

West ended his remarks by urging the crowd to continue the fight to “run these progressive socialists the hell out of Texas,” and was again given a standing ovation.

Just because you are a black person doesn’t mean you should be using bigoted hate speech. Allen West is an enabler of not only racism (despite being one of the “good” blacks in the eyes of white supremacists), but various other forms of bigotry (including those of anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT), favored by the privileged classes across America. And NONE of it should be accepted, period!

Seriously…….FUCK WEST AND FUCK HIS CONSERVATIVE CRAP!

I am a Liberal who was born and raised in this state of Texas and I am not going anywhere!

A critical analysis of a Muslim to Baha’i testimony

Today, I can celebrate, as Joe Biden finally takes his rightful place as the new President of the United States. I really hope Donald Trump fades away into the void like the degenerate scumbag he always was.

Meanwhile, I am still dealing with religious issues in reddit. Take a look at this:

https://www.removeddit.com/r/bahai/comments/l189z7/from_shia_exmuslim_to_bahai/

they_marked_me

I grew up in a strict Iraqi Shia family. I always had a place for God in my heart but I could never reconcile with the teachings of the Quran and the effects Islam had on the Muslim communities around me, shia, sunni, moderate and others. I saw sexism, homophobia, gossip, emotional isolation and of course violent enforcement of religious teachings. When I was finally old enough to legally leave my family home I did. I left religion, my hijab and the community behind. I needed to finally breathe.

10 years passed and I noticed that God’s place in my heart was getting smaller and smaller. There was even a point where I doubted my belief. Why was there so much hatred in his communities? Why was so much pain caused by his believers? Their worship and and words were so different that they might as well be descended from different Gods. I resented that I was told to believe in a God that promised nothing but horror, torture and hell fire. There was no compassion for Gods creatures, no pleasure in bowing down for him, no inspiration in their teachings and no guidance for my modern life. Deep down I knew of God and his true nature. His compassion, his beauty, his love for us. I couldn’t follow any religion or book that besmirched his name like that.

I wasn’t approached by any Bahai. I never saw any of their online work. I just searched for an answer. I refused to believe that God would let us rot in this horribly defect world we created. I believed that he must have thought of us and sent us guidance. I just needed to find it. It didn’t take long. When I learned about the Bab and his story it all clicked into place. The Shia teachings that I learned about in madrassa allowed me to recognize the Bab’s truth.

I’m only in the learning stages and I have no Bahai communities near me. But I call myself a Bahai because now I know that the God I have in my heart has never abandoned us.

Let’s do an examination of this testimony.

I always had a place for God in my heart but I could never reconcile with the teachings of the Quran and the effects Islam had on the Muslim communities around me, shia, sunni, moderate and others.

Millions of moderate and progressive Muslims can do just that. Indeed, there are subreddits of such Muslims, like this one:

https://www.reddit.com/r/progressive_islam/

I saw sexism, homophobia, gossip, emotional isolation and of course violent enforcement of religious teachings.

There is sexism and homophobia in the Baha’i Faith, even while the Faith’s leaders lie about believing in equality of men and women and claim they reject prejudice against gays

Why was there so much hatred in his communities? Why was so much pain caused by his believers? Their worship and and words were so different that they might as well be descended from different Gods. I resented that I was told to believe in a God that promised nothing but horror, torture and hell fire. There was no compassion for Gods creatures, no pleasure in bowing down for him, no inspiration in their teachings and no guidance for my modern life.

Those are exactly the sort of issues that lead many people to become atheists. And yet…..

Deep down I knew of God and his true nature. His compassion, his beauty, his love for us. I couldn’t follow any religion or book that besmirched his name like that.

Then why not embrace a form of Universalism?

I wasn’t approached by any Bahai. I never saw any of their online work. I just searched for an answer.

If you haven’t dealt directly with Baha’is, then you know nothing about how their religion works in terms of community. You just saw an abstraction. Religion is only useful in terms of its people.

I refused to believe that God would let us rot in this horribly defect world we created.

Ironically, atheism, so reviled by followers of Abrahamic religions, actually lets God off the hook; you can’t blame God for anything if he doesn’t exist.

I believed that he must have thought of us and sent us guidance. I just needed to find it.

I had the same assumptions in the mid 1990s, so I too became a Baha’i.

When I learned about the Bab and his story it all clicked into place. The Shia teachings that I learned about in madrassa allowed me to recognize the Bab’s truth.

Bullshit! The Bab claimed to be the Mahdi, a Messianic figure in Shiite Islam much like Jesus was supposed to be in Christianity. The Bab was expected to overthrow the evil rulers of the world and bring about a new age, but his being killed in 1850 by a firing squad should have discredited him and his movement forever. That didn’t happen because only a few years later, Baha’u’llah revived the Babi community and then claimed that he was “He Who God Will Make Manifest” that the Bab foretold. Most of the Babis, desperate to retain their faith, accepted Baha’u’llah and became Baha’is. To me, this would be an example of the sunk cost fallacy; the Babis and later Baha’is had suffered so much for their beliefs that they couldn’t bring themselves to admit they had been duped and their leadership had failed. This irrational view has kept the Baha’i Faith going to this day!

It is interesting that she is more interested in the Bab than Baha’u’llah. Could she become a Bayani/Azali if she discovers propaganda discrediting Baha’u’llah? But that movement is even less successful than the Baha’i one!

It is possible that the real reason she rejected Islam is that it does not fit her Spiritual Orientation. Could the Baha’i Faith be better for her? Then she should read this:

https://dalehusband.com/2018/05/04/if-your-spiritual-orientation-is-bahai/

And for clarity, she should also see this:

https://dalehusband.com/2018/04/24/if-your-spiritual-orientation-is-muslim/

She should also see THIS about a girl raised Muslim:

https://dalehusband.com/2019/06/16/a-conversion-to-unitarian-universalism/

There are SO MANY options they_marked_me can look up and consider before she goes off the deep end and wastes her time and life serving the cult of the So-Called Baha’i Faith (SCBF)!

 

 

Advice for people leaving or thinking of leaving their religion.

In reddit, there are many subreddits that are made as support groups for people doubting or denying the religion they were raised in and wanting to leave it. This blog entry is for those people.

Here is a list of those ex(religious) subreddits.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Exittors/     (A general subreddit for various people leaving any religious group allowing them to  compare notes and see how much alike they are.)

https://www.reddit.com/r/exchristian/

https://www.reddit.com/r/excatholic/

https://www.reddit.com/r/exmormon/

https://www.reddit.com/r/exjw/     (A subreddit for former Jehovah’s Witnesses, not to be confused with ex-Jews)

https://www.reddit.com/r/exmuslim/

https://www.reddit.com/r/exjew/  (THIS is the subreddit for people who have rejected the Jewish religion, even if they are considered of Jewish ethnicity.)

https://www.reddit.com/r/exAdventist/    (For those who reject Seventh Day Adventist teachings)

https://www.reddit.com/r/exscientology/

https://www.reddit.com/r/EXHINDU/

https://www.reddit.com/r/excoc/      (For those rejecting the “Church of Christ”)

https://www.reddit.com/r/thegreatproject/     (Another subreddit for people wanting to tell stories about leaving their religion.)

And last but certainly not least (at least to me):  

https://www.reddit.com/r/exbahai/

Warning: Do NOT go to a religious group of any kind and openly state you want to quit their religion. All that will do is start a fight you don’t need to be involved in. Examples:  

Once you decide what you really are, you can join a subreddit that defines you in a positive rather than a negative way. Such as:

https://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/

https://www.reddit.com/r/agnostic/

https://www.reddit.com/r/Humanist/

https://www.reddit.com/r/skeptic/

https://www.reddit.com/r/UnitarianUniversalist/

Finally, here is a song for all those ex(religious) people in the world to celebrate their freedom from whatever cult or dogmatic bullshit they were once in:

 

 

The New York Post vs. a Right-wing Extremist in Congress

Read this Wikipedia entry:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Post

The New York Post (sometimes abbreviated as NY Post) is a conservative-leaning[3] daily tabloid newspaper in New York City. The Post also operates NYPost.com, the celebrity gossip site PageSix.com and the entertainment site Decider.com.

It was established in 1801 by Federalist and Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and became a respected broadsheet in the 19th century under the name New York Evening Post. In 1976, Rupert Murdoch bought the Post for US$30.5 million.[4] Since 1993, the Post has been owned by News Corporation and its successor, News Corp, which had owned it previously from 1976 to 1988. Its distribution ranked 4th in the US in 2019.[5]

Keep in mind that this tabloid is thus owned by the same company that owns FOX News, which is notorious for its obvious right-wing biases. And yet it seems that even they are becoming fed up with extremism among Republicans in the wake of Donald Trump about to leave the Presidency.

Now read THIS:

https://nypost.com/2021/01/16/gop-rep-lauren-boebert-and-husband-have-racked-up-arrests/

GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert and husband racked up arrests in home district

Rep. Lauren Boebert has a rap sheet unusually long for a member of Congress.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, the gun-toting freshman Republican Colorado congresswoman who ran on a law-and-order platform, has had several dust-ups with police, starting as a teenager.

The 34-year-old lawmaker, who beat her district’s very conservative Rep. Scott Tipton in a primary upset last June, has a rap sheet unusually long for a member of Congress.

And her track record of thumbing her nose at law continued this week after she tussled with Capitol Police officers over her refusal to walk through newly installed House metal detectors.

“I am legally permitted to carry my firearm in Washington, DC, and within the Capitol complex,” she tweeted in defiance, while calling the detectors “another political stunt by Speaker Pelosi.”

While the lawmaker was eventually allowed to enter the House chambers, she is facing growing questions about her role in assisting the deadly riot on Capitol Hill Jan. 6. Just hours before the violence, she tweeted, “today is 1776.” In the days leading up to the unrest, Boebert made a spectacle of her intention to remain armed in the Capitol, earning another rebuke from local law enforcement.

Back in June 2015, Boebert was cuffed for disorderly conduct at a Country Music festival near Grand Junction, Colo., after police said she attempted to interfere in the arrest of minors busted for underage drinking and encouraged the accused to run off. Boebert said the revelers had not been read their Miranda Rights and that the arrest was illegal.

“Lauren continued yelling and causing the underage drinkers to become unruly,” an arresting officer said in a statement at the time. “Lauren said multiple times that she had friends at Fox News and that the illegal arrest would be national news.” At the time, Boebert was running Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colo. The story was first reported by Colorado Newsline.

Boebert subsequently missed two court appearances and was arrested again in December 2015. The charge was dismissed.

Lauren Boebert was booked in 2017 after she failed to show up for court.

A year later, in September 2016, Boebert was charged with careless driving and operating an unsafe vehicle after rolling her truck into a ditch, police said. When she failed to show up for court a month later, a warrant was issued for her arrest. She was booked on Feb. 13, 2017. She ultimately pled guilty to the unsafe vehicle charge and paid $123.50 in fines and court costs. The careless driving charge was dismissed. The incident was first surfaced by the Colorado Times Recorder.

“It’s certainly of concern that on a couple of occasions she apparently failed to appear for court,” Tom Silverman, a Democrat and former president of Colorado Municipal Judges Association, told The Post. “I was disappointed when she was elected.”

Colin Wilhelm, a Colorado defense attorney and Democrat who plans to challenge Boebert in 2022, agreed: “It’s concerning when you claim to be a member of ‘back the blue’ and yet are so anti-authority when they are trying to do their job.”

In September 2010, Boebert was arrested after a neighbor, Michele Soet, accused Boebert’s two pit bulls of attacking Soet’s dog. Soet’s dog narrowly escaped injury after jumping into a van. The future legislator pled guilty to a single count of “dog at large,” paying a $75 fine.

Boebert’s future husband Jayson also had brushes with law enforcement. In January 2004 he was arrested after allegedly exposing his penis to two women at a bowling alley, according to an arrest affidavit. Lauren Boebert (then aged 17 and known as Lauren Opal Roberts) was also there. Jayson Boebert pled guilty to public indecency and lewd exposure, earning himself four days in jail and two years probation.

In February 2004, he was booked on a domestic violence charge, against Lauren Boebert. He “did unlawfully strike, shove or kick … and subjected her to physical contact,” a spokesman for the Garfield Associate County Court clerk told The Post. They had been dating at the time.

Jayson Boebert ultimately served seven days in jail. The busts were first unearthed by Colorado blogger Anne Landman.

Lauren Boebert took her revenge in May 2004 during an altercation with Jayson at his home in which she scratched his face and chest and trashed his residence, according to a police report. She was slapped with third-degree assault, criminal mischief and underage drinking charges. A rep for the Garfield County Combined Court said they could not reveal any information about the case’s final disposition.

The Boeberts married in 2005, and have four children.

Rep. Lauren Boebert and her husband Jayson have had several dust-ups with police.

Jayson Boebert did not respond to a request for comment from The Post. In a statement, Rep. Boebert’s chief of staff Jeff Small called the arrests “a retread of a failed personal attack by the Democrats from the last campaign.”

“Attacking her family, trying to criminalize a $100 traffic fine or a dismissed case, and vilifying ordinary business transactions is exactly what people hate about politics.” he said.

Why the hell is such a hypocritical lunatic in Congress?!

This is what the Republican Party has totally degenerated into because of Donald Trump rising to become its leader! Biden replacing him as President is clearly not enough; we must oppose and defeat right-wing extremism in Congress too! Rep. Boebert and others like her must be voted out in 2022!

Even worse than Michelle Bachmann!

Read this disturbing report:

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/att/cm/marjorie-taylor-greene-says-she-073906731.html

Marjorie Taylor Greene says she’ll file impeachment articles against Joe Biden on his first day in office

<p>U.S. Representative Greene walks to the House floor during the second Trump impeachment debate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington</p> (Reuters)

Newly elected Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has said she would be filing articles of impeachment against incoming president, Joe Biden, for alleged “abuse of power” on his first day at the Oval Office.

Representative Greene announced her plan on Twitter after the Democrat-controlled House passed the threshold to impeach president Donald Trump on charges of inciting insurrection. While 10 Republicans voted to support the impeachment article, congresswoman Greene was amongst the 197 House representatives, who defended the president.

“On January 21, 2021, I’ll be filing Articles of Impeachment against Joe Biden for abuse of power,” she wrote on Twitter, adding the hashtags, “#ImpeachBiden,” #QuidProJoe” and “BidenCrimeFamilly.”

Ms Greene, in an interview with Newsmax on Wednesday, said, “On behalf of the American people, we have to make sure that our leaders are held accountable. We cannot have a President of the United States that is willing to abuse the power of the presidency and be easily bought off by foreign governments, Chinese energy companies, Ukrainian energy companies.”

“I can’t imagine people in this country being so fearful of the future of a Biden presidency that they may be willing to commit violence like they did in the Capitol here in Washington, DC,” she continued. “The American people need hope, they need to know that there are Republicans in Congress who are willing to stand up and fight for them regardless of being in a minority, regardless of having all odds against us.”

The QAnon supporting congresswoman on Wednesday backed president Trump in the House in an attempt to minimise his role in the Capitol violence, while launching an attack on Democrats for supporting the Black Live Matter protest last year.

“He has held over 600 rallies in the last four years and none of them included assaulting police, destroying businesses or burning down cities,” she said. “Democrats have spent all this time endorsing and enabling violent riots that left billions in property damage and 47 dead.”

Before her speech, congressman Jason Crow denounced Ms Greene and those sharing her political view, as “depraved” and “dangerous”.

“There are, unfortunately, a handful of members of Congress — and Ms Taylor Green is just one of them — who are morally bankrupt,” Mr Crow told CNN. “They are depraved, and they’re frankly dangerous individuals.”

It seems like the height of absurdity to try to impeach someone who hasn’t even committed any offenses as President. And her rhetoric seems like baseless hyperbole.

The U. S. Constitution says this about the issue of impeachment:

https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Rep. Greene could also be impeached and indeed:

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

And I think Greene should be expelled, because:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/1/13/2008897/-A-week-after-Capitol-attack-Rep-QAnon-again-tries-to-incite-violence-against-Democrats

QAnon congresswoman is really trying to get someone killed with her latest incitement

Ten days after joining Congress, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene continues building the case for her removal from the House of Representatives. In the wake of the violent attack on the Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump trying to keep Congress from formalizing his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, Greene tweeted out another incitement to violence.

“These Democrats are the enemies to the American people who are leading the impeachment witch hunt against President Trump,” Greene tweeted Wednesday. “AGAIN!”

Then, ominously, “They will be held accountable.”

Enemies to the American people who will be held accountable, huh? That sounds like a call to violence from a member of Congress who described Jan. 6 as a “1776 moment.” When you have spent months trying to overturn an election and then compared the day on which a violent attack on the Capitol was planned to the American Revolution, you don’t get the benefit of the doubt on “enemies of the people” who “will be held accountable.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene is dangerous and she’s reveling in it. She’s positioning herself as some kind of brave freedom fighter, but she’s standing on the sidelines, in a position of privilege, egging others on to do her dirty work. She’s joined Trump in spending months working to convince his followers that the election was stolen—every single fact to the contrary—and now she’s trying to use that belief to get people killed. To get elected Democrats killed in a larger coup attempt.

She needs to go before (more) people are killed, not after.

Most Republicans are Conservative, but this person is a right-wing extremist, the sort that can incite a civil war to overthrow our Constitutional democracy. She must go!

Bigotry in Religion

When I rejected the Baha’i Faith in 2004, I also rejected theism itself, reasoning that if any God-centered religion could have been true, the Baha’i Faith was because it was the newest and most progressive in nature. So I could not revert to any older faith, not even the Christianity I had been raised in. They had already failed, and once I understood that the Baha’i Faith was also a failure, I couldn’t believe in God at all.

Most followers of the Abrahamic religions regard non-theists with contempt, and they are encouraged to have this bigoted attitude by the scriptures of their religions. Here are some noteworthy examples.

The first is from the Bible.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+14&version=NIV

Psalm 14

For the director of music. Of David.

The fool says in his heart,
    “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
    there is no one who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven
    on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
    any who seek God.
All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
    there is no one who does good,
    not even one.

Do all these evildoers know nothing?

They devour my people as though eating bread;
    they never call on the Lord.
But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
    for God is present in the company of the righteous.
You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,
    but the Lord is their refuge.

7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores his people,
let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

From the Quran we have this:

2: The Cow

6 As for the Disbelievers, Whether thou warn them or thou warn them not it is all one for them; they believe not.
7 Allah hath sealed their hearing and their hearts, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be an awful doom.
8 And of mankind are some who say: We believe in Allah and the Last Day, when they believe not.
9 They think to beguile Allah and those who believe, and they beguile none save themselves; but they perceive not.
10 In their hearts is a disease, and Allah increaseth their disease. A painful doom is theirs because they lie.
11 And when it is said unto them: Make not mischief in the earth, they say: We are peacemakers only.
12 Are not they indeed the mischief-makers ? But they perceive not.
13 And when it is said unto them: believe as the people believe, they say: shall we believe as the foolish believe ? are not they indeed the foolish ? But they know not.

Here’s another example from the Gleanings of the Writings of Baha’u’llah:

www.bahai.org/r/207266714

CXIV (that’s Roman numerals, it would be 114 in Arabic numerals)

Know thou for a certainty that whoso disbelieveth in God is neither trustworthy nor truthful. This, indeed, is the truth, the undoubted truth. He that acteth treacherously towards God will, also, act treacherously towards his king. Nothing whatever can deter such a man from evil, nothing can hinder him from betraying his neighbor, nothing can induce him to walk uprightly.

As a non-theist who has personally known many other honorable non-theists, these passages show the writers of these scriptures to be as ignorant as it gets when it comes to the true character of atheists and agnostics.

My strict ethical standards are defined here:

https://dalehusband.com/about-the-author/an-honorable-skeptic/

I have seen plenty of examples of treacherous and dishonest behavior from people who profess to believe in God.

Atheists do not reject theism because they are corrupt (though to be fair, some are). They cannot behave treacherously towards one they do not believe exists. To disbelieve in God is not evil, merely a different point of view. Saying otherwise is hate propaganda.

Ethical standards only make sense if they come from reality and are applied to reality. People are real. God(s) may not be. And if your only source of ethics is religion, what happens if a religious leader commands you to commit mass murder and rape?

This attitude of bigotry towards non-theists was used to justify the nonsense written by Hugh Ross, as recorded here:

Insulting and Libeling Unbelievers

And we simply shouldn’t accept that anymore.

Donald Trump is banned from social media!

As much as I usually hate censorship, it is telling that Twitter, which was the platform most infamous for hosting Donald Trump’s political rants over the years, finally grew a spine and shut him down for good!

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/att/cm/twitter-suspended-president-donald-trump-232702015.html

Twitter bans President Trump permanently

Twitter has suspended President Trump from its platform, the company said Friday evening.

“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter said.

“In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action.”

Twitter’s decision followed two tweets by Trump Friday afternoon that would end up being his last. The tweets violated the company’s policy against glorification of violence, Twitter said, and “these two Tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks.”

The first tweet was about Trump’s supporters.

“The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”

The second indicated Trump did not plan to attend Joe Biden’s inauguration.

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”

Twitter said the tweet concerning inauguration could be viewed as a further statement that the election was not legitimate. It also said that the tweet could be interpreted as Trump saying that the inauguration would be a “safe” target for violence because he would not be attending.

Trump’s other statement about American patriots suggested that “he plans to continue to support, empower, and shield those who believe he won the election,” Twitter said.

Twitter’s ban specifically addresses “the @realDonaldTrump account,” not Trump personally.

Twitter will enforce its policy against ban evasions to ensure that Trump does not circumvent his personal account’s suspension, the company told CNN.

“If it is clear that another account is being used for the purposes of evading a ban, it is also subject to suspension,” Twitter said in a statement. “For government accounts, such as @POTUS and @WhiteHouse, we will not suspend those accounts but will take action to limit their use. However, these accounts will be transitioned over to the new administration in due course and will not be suspended by Twitter unless absolutely necessary to alleviate real-world harm.”

Twitter’s policy would also prohibit Trump from directing a third party to operate a Twitter account on his behalf.

Trump sought to test Twitter’s ban evasion policy at roughly 8:30 pm ET Friday evening, when he or someone acting on his behalf published four tweets from the @POTUS account.

“As I have been saying for a long time, Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech, and tonight, Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me,” Trump tweeted.

The tweets disappeared almost instantly.

Twitter told CNN that the Trump campaign’s account has also been permanently banned. Before @TeamTrump was suspended, it had been seen sharing the same four-tweet thread that Trump had attempted to post from the @POTUS account.

After Twitter permanently banned the Trump campaign’s account, Mike Hahn, the campaign’s social media director, objected.

“We copied and pasted a White House pool report,” Hahn tweeted.

Earlier in the evening, a White House pool report was distributed that contained the exact language that Trump had attempted to share from the @POTUS Twitter account.

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed to CNN that what prompted @TeamTrump’s ban was its attempt to share the same language Trump tried to tweet earlier.

Hahn argued it is nonsensical for journalists to be allowed to share Trump’s words but that the Trump campaign is not.

“A serious question that needs to be asked by journalists: If you post exactly what the president said will you be suspended as well? Because that is all we did,” Hahn said.

Asked whether it saw a difference between journalists reporting Trump’s words and the Trump campaign repeating Trump’s words, Twitter told CNN that there was a distinction.

“There’s a difference between someone reporting on the President, and someone attempting to allow their account to be used by the president to essentially get around the ban,” a Twitter spokesperson said.

Civil rights leaders who have long criticized tech platforms for spreading hate speech and division welcomed Twitter’s decision.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, called it an “excellent step.”

“A fitting end to a legacy of spewing hate and vitriol,” Greenblatt said. “President Trump incited the violent riots at the Capitol using social media & paid the price.”

Eric Naing, a spokesman for Muslim Advocates, said Twitter “is showing real leadership.”

“As Twitter notes, letting Trump continue to post tweets, Facebook posts and YouTube videos for his white nationalist supporters risks ‘further incitement of violence,'” Naing said. “Now it is up to Facebook and Google/YouTube to follow Twitter’s lead.

Keep in mind that Trump was banned from a private company’s property. He will not and should not face jail time or any other legal punishment for merely exercising his right to free speech.

free_speech

Nevertheless, he does belong in prison for his blatant acts of corruption and abuse he is known for and should stand trial for these things once he finally leaves office on January 20.

My new political rants on Twitter

When I first started with this blog way back in July 21, 2007, I titled it “Dale Husband’s Intellectual Rants” as something of an ironic joke, since ranting and being intellectual are supposed to be opposite things, but now I find myself doing both at once as a result of the actual attack on our democracy that happened at the Capitol in Washington D.C. yesterday.

So here are my exact tweets from my Twitter account right after the outrageous event:

I started with something positive, since I was happy the Democrats had won at the runoff Senate elections in Georgia:

The U S Senate dictatorship is finally OVER! Thank you, good people of Georgia, for ending it!

Then a few hours later:

Note to all the Republicans who have been shocked at the rioting and yes, TERRORISM that happened today at the nation’s capital: YOU ENABLED THIS SHIT FROM THE VERY DAY YOU ELECTED DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENT IN 2016, YOU BASTARDS!

People are calling for Trump to be impeached. That’s not enough. The entire Republican Party has enabled his corruption, abuse, dishonesty and treachery. WE MUST DISMANTLE IT FOREVER! We must replace it with a party that can act as a true “loyal opposition” to the Democrats.

Bush Sr got us into one war with Iraq and then his son led us into a second war with it. Both were completely needless conflicts, but both Bushes played the American people like suckers. We learned NOTHING from the disaster at Vietnam!

After Bush Jr as President started the Iraq War over totally bogus premises(2003), I swore that I would NEVER vote for a Republican again. To this day, I have kept that pledge. I then started calling for the Republican Party to be destroyed after Trump was elected.

Once Biden takes office as President, he needs to do two things: bring federal charges against all Republicans who tried to stop his taking his rightful place as President and file lawsuits against the media outlets (like FOX News) who told lies against Democrats for years.

With Donald Trump, it has become clear that we need to severely clean house. Our Constitution already bans monarchy, fascism, and communism. It’s time to ban CONSERVATISM too.

Republicans have been spiraling down to disgrace ever since Richard Nixon launched his “Southern Strategy” in the 1960s because he cared more about winning elections than upholding the principles of the U S Constitution. Now we see the results!

Even Nixon got off lightly, being allowed to resign and walk away with some dignity intact after being responsible for Watergate. Then Reagan committed an even worse betrayal of American values with the Iran-Contra scandal.

FOUR people died today as a result of the rioting today at the Capitol! As many as died at Bengazi, which Republicans used as a political football against Hillary Clinton for years.

Oh, someone else said this:

Preach it, sister!!!!

UUism should be more than a social club for religious exiles

Someone said this in a Unitarian Univeralist (UU) group in Facebook and it really annoyed me:

The UU local churches turn over half of their members every five years. One quarter will still be present in ten years, one eighth in 15 years, with only about 1/16 of the original crowd in 20 years.

UUs maintain their ranks through the constant influx of refugees from other denominations, most of whom want to keep their kids in church. People who leave their previous denominations are often people who had a conflict of conscience in their previous religious home.

Some UUs just wandered in, but most were leaving something.

Ironically, ninety percent of folks who grew up UU want nothing to do with it as adults and, unfortunately, this is just fine to most UUs.

We call it the upstairs/downstairs division in UUism. So, it helps to understand that UUs are a “standing wave” phenomenon of people moving into and out of local churches at a brisk pace, with little growth.

The serious discussion of religious beliefs is not what UUism is mainly about, so much as finding a place where religious beliefs are not discussed much.

The internet provides more of a place for discussing UU beliefs than a typical Sunday at church does.

Most UUs believe that most other UUs have similar religious beliefs, but nothing could be further from the truth. We just don’t really talk about our religious beliefs much once we get to church.

I see these as serious problems and think we need to make changes to get younger UUs to WANT to remain loyal to the UUA and its churches. So let us discuss how. What can we do to make the UUA one of the fastest growing religious groups in America?

Fortunately, other UUs are just as concerned about this matter as I am. Thomas A. Earthman, who is the “Lifespan Religious Educator” at First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church, wrote the following essay several years ago:

Rehabilitating the UU Half-way House Trope

 

Rehabilitating the UU Half-way House Trope

Unitarian Universalism has a reputation of being the rehabilitation clinic for people who are leaving religion. That is a sad statement on how we view faith. People don’t come to us because they want to leave religion; they come because they want a religion that speaks to a broader world view and inclusion. People aren’t coming to church, even a Unitarian Universalist church, to get away from religion.

What many are looking for is community, encouragement, hope, and mental or ethical stimulation, and maybe some music or ritual. They are looking for religion when they show up, just one that is liberal and offers them a chance to explore theology, philosophy, and morality safely and sa part of a community. They are looking for a faith that allows them to be honest about who they are as a heretic, a doubter, or maybe just a hippie. It is when they don’t find anything fulfilling, for whatever reason, that they leave, often leaving religion behind for good. We need to tell them that we are believers, and that their faith, whatever shape it takes, maters [sic] as part of our shared identity.

UU ideals

“…we are believers. We believe in intellectual freedom; we believe in justice; we believe in compassion and concern for each other and the whole world. We believe in commitment to those ideals which make us caring and active in the struggles for human dignity. We are Unitarian Universalists.”
~ John M. Higgins

We are sometimes the last chance for religious community to embrace a person and make them feel welcome. Even after they are welcome, they have deeper needs we are obligated to meet. Our principles call on us to encourage one another to spiritual growth. They require our congregations to be laboratories for free, but responsible, exploration of the world and our role in it. That means we have to be communities of faith as well as covenant, or we’ve devolved into social clubs that are easily replicated in coffee shops and on-line message boards. Even sermons can be read in blogs or watched on YouTube. We have to offer more than Sunday services and coffee hour.

That is why Life-span faith development and small group ministry matter. That is why the focus of Unitarian Universalism needs to be open to change. It is why our mission is making the ideas we hold dear easy for people to share with their friends and family, so that we can spread them through human connections. It is what we ask you to support by being part of the I Am UU community.

The future of church is to offer what libraries, coffee shops, and the Internet cannot: a place where all of that is given freely, and supported by the folks who believe in the power of human beings, working together, to build a more just, more loving, more connected world. Is that what your congregation is? Tell us in the comments what is being done to take those ideas into the real world.

Thomas then said directly to me in Facebook:

People don’t come to a UU church because they are fleeing religion. They come looking for a religion they can believe in. They leave if they don’t find it…

Also, if you actually talk to young adults who grew up UU, they leave because the way adults do church isn’t the way we taught them to do church (most congregations force their kids out of their worship service) and we haven’t embraced the small group style that they are used to.

So now I want to use the blog to explore more the possiblities of UUism to become a true force for change in American society. And that can’t happen if we do not commit ourselves to growth to have many millions of members from all walks of life!

Another Creationist Meets his Maker

Read this announcement:

https://www.icr.org/article/in-loving-memory-of-dr-henry-m-morris-iii/

In Loving Memory of Dr. Henry M. Morris III
It is with heavy hearts that the Institute for Creation Research announces the homegoing of our CEO, Dr. Henry M. Morris III. He went to be with his Lord on December 12, 2020.

After his years of faithful service, Dr. Morris, known affectionately around the office as Dr. Henry, was planning to retire from his ICR leadership position at the end of this month. A tribute article about him was included in the December issue of Acts & Facts.

We’d like to share some excerpts from that article as we reflect on what Dr. Henry has meant to ICR’s ministry and to so many people who have been touched by his life and influence over the years.

Dr. Henry M. Morris III has been at the heart of ICR’s ministry work for decades, using his gifts as a leader, speaker, and writer to proclaim the truth of God’s Word and how science affirms creation. Some might say a passion for creation ministry has run in his family. His father, Dr. Henry M. Morris—widely known as the father of modern creationism—founded ICR in 1970, and his brother Dr. John Morris served as ICR President from 1996 to 2014 and as President Emeritus after that.

Here’s the thing to remember: The Morris family claimed to be scientists, researching evidence for creationism, but that is fraudulent; genuine scientists never make assumptions about reality and twist the results of their work to fit the assumptions. But that’s what Creationists have always done, because they are motivated by dogma, not objective truth.

science-v-spooky

Reading the announcement further:

Dr. Henry joined ICR in 2000 as Executive Vice President for Strategic Ministries. In 2004, he and his wife, Jan, moved to the Dallas area to prepare for the relocation of ICR from Santee, California, to that more central region of the United States. Once they found a place to live, their home functioned as a hub of the Texas “branch” for about two years, with the Dallas staff working from their living room until an office building could be located.

And why would the ICR move from one state to another? Most likely for political reasons. California is a “blue” (liberal Democratic) state while Texas is a “red” (conservative Republican) state, so perhaps Morris hoped to get more political support from the people and even the state government in Texas. Another Creationist group, Answers in Genesis, is also headquartered in a red state, Kentucky.

Between 2007 and 2010, Dr. Henry worked to establish a new generation of creation scientists who would be eager to uncover new evidence for biblical creation. The most important criteria he looked for were an unwavering commitment to Scripture and strong technical training in a scientific field.

Quite simply, you cannot uncover evidence that doesn’t exist. And the point of having training in science is to be able to write propaganda in “scientific” sounding language to deceive Christian readers who are themselves scientifically illiterate.

He was also instrumental in the push to create a DVD series churches could use to introduce their members to creation truth without the time and expense of bringing in an ICR speaker. He said, “I became convinced that we needed to do something that would offer the smaller churches a quality educational resource without the expense of funding a seminar. That generated the idea of having a collection of these short, 20-minute, movie-quality episodes.”

This is actually a damning indication of how far Creationism has fallen since its heyday decades ago. Plus not having a speaker means people can’t ask them critical questions about their claims and dogmas.

As a passionate and engaging speaker, Dr. Henry often joined the ICR science team at creation seminars and conferences. He communicated the importance of the authority and accuracy of God’s Word and exhorted Christian believers not to compromise but to uphold Genesis as a true account of our beginnings.

Again, in real science, the authority and accuracy of ANYTHING besides the scientific research itself should never be an issue. Mere stories that were popular in the past don’t matter.

applesandoranges

But Dr. Henry’s biggest undertaking was the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History. It took years for this vision of a creation-based Dallas museum to come to pass as ICR encountered various obstacles along the way.

<snip>

He was intimately involved in the plans and decisions to ensure that the Discovery Center reflected ICR’s commitment to solid science and the ultimate authority of Scripture. It was his hope and expectation that the Discovery Center would equip Christian believers with the scientific evidence that confirms biblical creation and refutes evolution. He wanted the new facility to build visitors’ confidence in the Bible, as well as serve as a training ground for Christian pastors and educators. He had a heart to reach homeschool families and other students ranging from elementary through college.

Since the Discovery Center’s grand opening in 2019, thousands of visitors have already come to explore the wonders of God’s creation and gain confidence in the veracity of His Word. Dr. Henry said, “It’s been an absolute delight and joy to see it birthed from a scrawling idea on the back of a lunch napkin to something that is really significant.”

Answers in Genesis’ Creation Museum was established in 2007, so why would the ICR found their own museum 12 years later? Not to mention yet another Creationist museum also in Texas that has existed for decades before the museum in Kentucky. Oh, wait…..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_Evidence_Museum#Criticism_from_creationists

Young Earth creationist organizations such as Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries International have criticized Baugh’s claims saying he “muddied the water for many Christians … People are being misled.”[1] Don Batten, of Creation Ministries International wrote: “Some Christians will try to use Baugh’s ‘evidences’ in witnessing and get ‘shot down’ by someone who is scientifically literate. The ones witnessed to will thereafter be wary of all creation evidences and even more inclined to dismiss Christians as nut cases not worth listening to.”[37] Answers in Genesis lists the “Paluxy tracks” as arguments “we think creationists should NOT use” [emphasis in original].[38] The old Earth creationist organization Answers In Creation also reviewed Baugh’s museum and concluded “the main artifacts they claim show a young earth reveal that they are deceptions, and in many cases, not even clever ones.”[39]

The “Burdick track” and “fossilized finger” were featured on the controversial NBC program The Mysterious Origins of Man, aired in 1996 and hosted by Charlton Heston.[16] Creationist Ken Ham criticized the production in the February 1996 Answers in Genesis newsletter in a review titled “Hollywood’s ‘Moses’ Undermines Genesis.”[40] Ham attacked Baugh’s claims, saying, “According to leading creationist researchers, this evidence is open to much debate and needs much more intensive research. One wonders how much of the information in the program can really be trusted!”[40]

It’s almost like playing  a game of whack-a-mole; you debunk one phony museum’s exhibits and another museum arises to try to make a more credible presentation of Creationist claims instead of reaching the obvious conclusion that CREATIONISM ITSELF IS A LIE!

Then there are these web pages:

https://answersingenesis.org/creationism/arguments-to-avoid/

https://creation.com/arguments-we-think-creationists-should-not-use

Keep in mind that in most cases, these arguments were seriously used by Creationists in the past. The reason they are denied now is because real scientists have torn down those arguments with the objective TRUTH, which even Christians can easily find through the internet. Hence the damage control I just listed.

I myself have written many blog entries debunking Creationist nonsense:

The Planets Won’t Cooperate, with CREATIONISM!

It’s not just evolution that discredits Genesis!

How to be a good Creationist

The bottleneck effect and the Genesis creation myth

Blasphemy by Creationist bigots

Dinosaurs and Creationism

Creation Museum Running Out of Cash and Going Extinct?

Insulting and Libeling Unbelievers

But since Christian Creationism is ultimately based on the claim of the infallibility of the Bible, we really need to strike at that dogma itself, even without referring to evolution or other scientific issues.

Lying About History for the Bible

Lying About History for the Bible, Round 2

Teaching religion dishonestly

The prophet Isaiah did NOT predict the coming of Jesus!

Creationists are frauds, period and we need to keep discrediting them until they are gone from society.

Beautiful music for sleep, comfort and inspiration

Here are some long videos featuring music to help you sleep, relax, de-stress and feel the purest joy in the night.

Then we have these videos that are also inspiring:

The first time I saw THAT video, I was reduced to tears. The music was by 2002 and the same group made THIS music many years later:

So for all my readers:

Merry Christmas, blessed Yule, joyful Kwanzaa and happy New Year!

Why I Rejected the Baha’i Faith, 4th Edition

The three previous accounts of my defection from the Baha’i Faith are as follows:

https://dalehusband.com/2007/10/19/why-i-quit-the-baha%e2%80%99i-faith/

https://dalehusband.com/2011/02/22/my-resignation-from-the-bahai-faith/

https://dalehusband.com/2017/01/22/why-i-abandoned-the-haifan-bahai-faith/

Here is the newest, most updated edition.

From 1995 to 2004, I was a member of a religion known as the Baha’i Faith. This religion teaches that God is called by various names but is still the same all over the world, that all religions teach the same basic message, and that humanity is actually one race and is destined to unite under the banner of the Baha’i Faith in a new age of peace and unity.

I was eager to see and to achieve the highest goodness in my life and in the world, so this was a Godsend to me! I embraced the faith after attending firesides about it in Bedford, Texas and became an active teacher of it, even attempting to convert others to it. I had been a Christian, specifically a Southern Baptist, in my teens, but had become disgusted with Christianity and left that faith in my early 20s because I saw the errors, contradictions, and failures of it. The Baha’i Faith explained that away by claiming that while Jesus was indeed a Messenger (or Manifestation) of God, His faith had become corrupted over time and thus most Christians were not truly following him, but the doctrines of men. In joining the Baha’i community, I thought I was seeing what the early Christians in the Roman Empire were like, except that unlike them the Baha’is would not split into competing sects and engage in wars against each other. If only everyone in the world became Baha’i, I was told, we would be at peace and prosperity forever.

What a wonderful vision! But human nature will NEVER allow for it! The reason is that the leadership of the Baha’i Faith, from its founder, Baha’u’llah, to the Universal House of Justice today, claims to be infallible because it is guided by God. Yet we know that Baha’u’llah, his son Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha’s grandson Shoghi Effendi (the Guardian of the Faith), and the members of the Universal House of Justice were/are all HUMAN BEINGS. What evidence do we have that ANY of them are infallible? NONE! And if you cannot question the will of a leadership, what do you in fact have? Tyranny! And what does tyranny always lead to, according to history? Corruption and injustice! And that, in turn results in the system breaking down over time. Indeed, the very idea that any human being, human run institution, or human product is infallible is sheer nonsense. It is the most dangerous idea in the world!

Religious fundamentalism is blasphemy!

Also, I finally began to see that the Baha’i Faith also has errors, contradictions, and failures of its own, despite being less than 200 years old. It was my coming to understand this that finally led me to leave the Faith with a heavy heart. The truth about the Faith Faith, as revealed over the years by my research, is shown in these blog entries, among many others I have made:

The Fatal Flaw in Baha’i Authority

Baha’i Scandals

FIVE Ways to Create a Religion of Hypocrites

So at the end of 2004, realizing that I had to remove myself from that community outright as a matter of honor, I wrote the following to the National Spiritual Assembly (NSA) of the Baha’is of the United States:

After years of investigation and soul-searching, I have finally come to the sad understanding that I can no longer bring myself to believe in Baha’u’llah or any of the institutions established in His name, including the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice. I am totally convinced that the Baha’i Faith is doomed to fail in its mission to bring peace, unity, and a Golden Age to humanity and I therefore resign from my past membership in the Faith. Goodbye.
Regretfully,
Dale Husband

I composed that letter on my computer and then mailed it in January of 2005. A few weeks later, the NSA replied that they had accepted my resignation and expressed hope that I would one day decide to return. That looked like denial to me, so I dismissed it and threw away the letter. Then I cut completely all personal ties to the Baha’is in the Fort Worth area. Despite this, I stayed silent about my defection from the Baha’i Faith until October 19, 2007, when I posted my first blog entry attacking it. Encouraged by the feedback I got as a result, I stepped up my efforts until I found myself in battle over the years with various members of my former religion, all of whom only showed me why I had no reason for being among them anymore! They were not nearly as good or as intelligent as I thought originally.

Baha’is must reject the Guardianship!

My Battle on Amazon with a Haifan Baha’i

Another Battle with a Haifan Baha’i, this time on Blogspot
Another Baha’i picks a fight with me on YouTube
Confronting Scott Hakala on Quora

I have joined the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and found its principles to be far more enlightened than those of the Haifan Baha’is. And better still, they truly LIVE those principles too!

1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Despite my rejection of most Baha’i teachings, I later supported my friend Eric Stetson’s effort to establish a new Unitarian Baha’i (UB) community, blending Baha’i and Unitarian Universalist ideas. We thought it was the only way to save the Baha’i Faith itself from continuing to degenerate into a destructive cult. But the UBs remain an online community of only a few dozen members and even Stetson left it to return to liberal forms of Christianity. I have also given up on advancing the cause of the UBs. Let it fade away, like the Baha’i Faith itself should.

In 2018, I joined Reddit and a subreddit for former Baha’is and have been mostly focused on discrediting the Baha’i Faith and promoting Unitarian Universalism there. This led me into more battles with Baha’is and increased my determination to see the Baha’i Faith crash and burn into total oblivion.

Treachery of Baha’is @ reddit
Muslim-bashing and Libel Against Ex-Baha’is in Reddit
Is the Baha’i community disintegrating?
Another victory over the Baha’i Faith and one of its bigoted hypocrites

I am a non-theist now, worshipping no God and refusing to adhere to any other religion than that of the UUA. And I do not foresee myself being anything else. The Baha’i Faith was the last chance I was willing to give for a God centered religion to rule my life….and now I know that none ever will.

An Idiotic Cause from Change.org

I just got this e-mail:

Save Ducktales Reboot!

Change.org <change@e.change.org>

It was recently announced on twitter that Ducktales Reboot 2017’s Season 3 would be it’s final season. This is terribly heartbreaking to all of its dedicated fanbase. This show appeals to both old and and new fans and has inspired many people to create amazing things. After an initial hiatus the show is now back on one and with the announcement from Drew Taylor on twitter- well most of the fans are very upset.

This show brings a whole new appeal with a great set of lessons and fun for it’s audience. For the creator of this petition, it’s given them a place to belong and a reason to keep going on through hard times. When this show ends, the fandom fades with it. We can’t have that happen, especially with how much more there is to experience. Scrooge has a lifetime of adventure ahead of him and his family and we can’t let that end now! 

We know most companies like Disney don’t care, but we hope you will listen to the stories of the viewers. Listen to all the fans talk about how much this show has done for them and you will see that this show needs to be renewed and keep airing new episodes. 

Continue reading

The Myth of American Innocence

Read this story:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/08/unlearning-the-myth-of-american-innocence

Unlearning the myth of American innocence

When she was 30, Suzy Hansen left the US for Istanbul – and began to realise that Americans will never understand their own country until they see it as the rest of the world does

My mother recently found piles of my notebooks from when I was a small child that were filled with plans for my future. I was very ambitious. I wrote out what I would do at every age: when I would get married and when I would have kids and when I would open a dance studio.

When I left my small hometown for college, this sort of planning stopped. The experience of going to a radically new place, as college was to me, upended my sense of the world and its possibilities. The same thing happened when I moved to New York after college, and a few years later when I moved to Istanbul. All change is dramatic for provincial people. But the last move was the hardest. In Turkey, the upheaval was far more unsettling: after a while, I began to feel that the entire foundation of my consciousness was a lie.

For all their patriotism, Americans rarely think about how their national identities relate to their personal ones. This indifference is particular to the psychology of white Americans and has a history unique to the US. In recent years, however, this national identity has become more difficult to ignore. Americans can no longer travel in foreign countries without noticing the strange weight we carry with us. In these years after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the many wars that followed, it has become more difficult to gallivant across the world absorbing its wisdom and resources for one’s own personal use. Americans abroad now do not have the same swagger, the easy, enormous smiles. You no longer want to speak so loud. There is always the vague risk of breaking something.

Some years after I moved to Istanbul, I bought a notebook, and unlike that confident child, I wrote down not plans but a question: who do we become if we don’t become Americans? If we discover that our identity as we understood it had been a myth? I asked it because my years as an American abroad in the 21st century were not a joyous romp of self-discovery and romance. Mine were more of a shattering and a shame, and even now, I still don’t know myself.

I grew up in Wall, a town located by the Jersey Shore, two hours’ drive from New York. Much of it was a landscape of concrete and parking lots, plastic signs and Dunkin’ Donuts. There was no centre, no Main Street, as there was in most of the pleasant beach towns nearby, no tiny old movie theatre or architecture suggesting some sort of history or memory.

Most of my friends’ parents were teachers, nurses, cops or electricians, except for the rare father who worked in “the City”, and a handful of Italian families who did less legal things. My parents were descendants of working-class Danish, Italian and Irish immigrants who had little memory of their European origins, and my extended family ran an inexpensive public golf course, where I worked as a hot-dog girl in the summers. The politics I heard about as a kid had to do with taxes and immigrants, and not much else. Bill Clinton was not popular in my house. (In 2016, most of Wall voted Trump.)

We were all patriotic, but I can’t even conceive of what else we could have been, because our entire experience was domestic, interior, American. We went to church on Sundays, until church time was usurped by soccer games. I don’t remember a strong sense of civic engagement. Instead I had the feeling that people could take things from you if you didn’t stay vigilant. Our goals remained local: homecoming queen, state champs, a scholarship to Trenton State, barbecues in the backyard. The lone Asian kid in our class studied hard and went to Berkeley; the Indian went to Yale. Black people never came to Wall. The world was white, Christian; the world was us.

We did not study world maps, because international geography, as a subject, had been phased out of many state curriculums long before. There was no sense of the US being one country on a planet of many countries. Even the Soviet Union seemed something more like the Death Star – flying overhead, ready to laser us to smithereens – than a country with people in it.

I have TV memories of world events. Even in my mind, they appear on a screen: Oliver North testifying in the Iran-Contra hearings; the scarred, evil-seeming face of Panama’s dictator Manuel Noriega; the movie-like footage, all flashes of light, of the bombing of Baghdad during the first Gulf war. Mostly what I remember of that war in Iraq was singing God Bless the USA on the school bus – I was 13 – wearing little yellow ribbons and becoming teary-eyed as I remembered the video of the song I had seen on MTV.

And I’m proud to be an American

Where at least I know I’m free

That “at least” is funny. We were free – at the very least we were that. Everyone else was a chump, because they didn’t even have that obvious thing. Whatever it meant, it was the thing that we had, and no one else did. It was our God-given gift, our superpower.

By the time I got to high school, I knew that communism had gone away, but never learned what communism had actually been (“bad” was enough). Religion, politics, race – they washed over me like troubled things that obviously meant something to someone somewhere, but that had no relationship to me, to Wall, to America. I certainly had no idea that most people in the world felt those connections deeply. History – America’s history, the world’s history – would slip in and out of my consciousness with no resonance whatsoever.

Racism, antisemitism and prejudice, however – those things, on some unconscious level, I must have known. They were expressed in the fear of Asbury Park, which was black; in the resentment of the towns of Marlboro and Deal, which were known as Jewish; in the way Hispanics seemed exotic. Much of the Jersey Shore was segregated as if it were still the 1950s, and so prejudice was expressed through fear of anything outside Wall, anything outside the tiny white world in which we lived. If there was something that saved us from being outwardly racist, it was that in small towns such as Wall, especially for girls, it was important to be nice, or good – this pressure tempered tendencies toward overt cruelty when we were young.

I was lucky that I had a mother who nourished my early-onset book addiction, an older brother with mysteriously acquired progressive politics, and a father who spent his evenings studying obscure golf antiques, lost in the pleasures of the past. In these days of the 1%, I am nostalgic for Wall’s middle-class modesty and its sea-salt Jersey Shore air. But as a teenager, I knew that the only thing that could rescue me from the Wall of fear was a good college.

I ended up at the University of Pennsylvania. The lack of interest in the wider world that I had known in Wall found another expression there, although at Penn the children were wealthy, highly educated and apolitical. During orientation, the business school students were told that they were “the smartest people in the country”, or so I had heard. (Donald Trump Jr was there then, too.) In the late 1990s, everyone at Penn wanted to be an investment banker, and many would go on to help bring down the world economy a decade later. But they were more educated than I was; in American literature class, they had even heard of William Faulkner.

When my best friend from Wall revealed one night that she hadn’t heard of John McEnroe or Jerry Garcia, some boys on the dormitory hall called us ignorant, and white trash, and chastised us for not reading magazines. We were hurt, and surprised; white trash was something we said about other people at the Jersey Shore. My boyfriend from Wall accused me of going to Penn solely to find a boyfriend who drove a Ferrari, and the boys at Penn made fun of the Camaros we drove in high school. Class in America was not something we understood in any structural or intellectual way; class was a constellation of a million little materialistic cultural signifiers, and the insult, loss or acquisition of any of them could transform one’s future entirely.

In the end, I chose to pursue the new life Penn offered me. The kids I met had parents who were doctors or academics; many of them had already even been to Europe! Penn, for all its superficiality, felt one step closer to a larger world.

Still, I cannot remember any of us being conscious of foreign events during my four years of college. There were wars in Eritrea, Nepal, Afghanistan, Kosovo, East Timor, Kashmir. US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were bombed. Panama, Nicaragua (I couldn’t keep Latin American countries straight), Osama bin Laden, Clinton bombing Iraq – nope.

I knew “Saddam Hussein”, which had the same evil resonance as “communism”. I remember the movie Wag the Dog, a satire in which American politicians start a fake war with foreign “terrorists” to distract the electorate during a domestic scandal – which at the time was what many accused Clinton of doing when he ordered a missile strike on Afghanistan during the Monica Lewinsky affair. I never thought about Afghanistan. What country was in Wag the Dog? Albania. There was a typical American callousness in our reaction to the country they chose for the movie, an indifference that said, Some bumblefuck country, it doesn’t matter which one they choose.

I was a child of the 90s, the decade when, according to America’s foremost intellectuals, “history” had ended, the US was triumphant, the cold war won by a landslide. The historian David Schmitz has written that, by that time, the idea that America won because of “its values and steadfast adherence to the promotion of liberalism and democracy” was dominating “op-ed pages, popular magazines and the bestseller lists”. These ideas were the ambient noise, the elevator music of my most formative years.

But for me there was also an intervention – a chance experience in the basement of Penn’s library. I came across a line in a book in which a historian argued that, long ago, during the slavery era, black people and white people had defined their identities in opposition to each other. The revelation to me was not that black people had conceived of their identities in response to ours, but that our white identities had been composed in conscious objection to theirs. I’d had no idea that we had ever had to define our identities at all, because to me, white Americans were born fully formed, completely detached from any sort of complicated past. Even now, I can remember that shiver of recognition that only comes when you learn something that expands, just a tiny bit, your sense of reality. What made me angry was that this revelation was something about who I was. How much more did I not know about myself?

It was because of this text that I picked up the books of James Baldwin, who gave me the sense of meeting someone who knew me better, and with a far more sophisticated critical arsenal than I had myself. There was this line:

But I have always been struck, in America, by an emotional poverty so bottomless, and a terror of human life, of human touch, so deep, that virtually no American appears able to achieve any viable, organic connection between his public stance and his private life.

And this one:

All of the western nations have been caught in a lie, the lie of their pretended humanism; this means that their history has no moral justification, and that the west has no moral authority.

And this one:

White Americans are probably the sickest and certainly the most dangerous people, of any colour, to be found in the world today.

I know why this came as a shock to me then, at the age of 22, and it wasn’t necessarily because he said I was sick, though that was part of it. It was because he kept calling me that thing: “white American”. In my reaction I justified his accusation. I knew I was white, and I knew I was American, but it was not what I understood to be my identity. For me, self-definition was about gender, personality, religion, education, dreams. I only thought about finding myself, becoming myself, discovering myself – and this, I hadn’t known, was the most white American thing of all.

I still did not think about my place in the larger world, or that perhaps an entire history – the history of white Americans – had something to do with who I was. My lack of consciousness allowed me to believe I was innocent, or that white American was not an identity like Muslim or Turk.

Of this indifference, Baldwin wrote: “White children, in the main, and whether they are rich or poor, grow up with a grasp of reality so feeble that they can very accurately be described as deluded.”

Young white Americans of course go through pain, insecurity and heartache. But it is very, very rare that young white Americans come across someone who tells them in harsh, unforgiving terms that they might be merely the easy winners of an ugly game, and indeed that because of their ignorance and misused power, they might be the losers within a greater moral universe.


In 2007, after I had worked for six years as a journalist in New York, I won a writing fellowship that would send me to Turkey for two years. I had applied for it on a whim. No part of me expected to win the thing. Even as my friends wished me congratulations, I detected a look of concern on their faces, as if I was crazy to leave all this, as if 29 was a little too late to be finding myself. I had never even been to Turkey before.

In the weeks before my departure, I spent hours explaining Turkey’s international relevance to my bored loved ones, no doubt deploying the cliche that Istanbul was the bridge between east and west. I told everyone that I chose Turkey because I wanted to learn about the Islamic world. The secret reason I wanted to go was that Baldwin had lived in Istanbul in the 1960s, on and off, for almost a decade. I had seen a documentary about Baldwin that said he felt more comfortable as a black, gay man in Istanbul than in Paris or New York.

When I heard that, it made so little sense to me, sitting in my Brooklyn apartment, that a space opened in the universe. I couldn’t believe that New York could be more illiberal than a place such as Turkey, because I couldn’t conceive of how prejudiced New York and Paris had been in that era; and because I thought that as you went east, life degraded into the past, the opposite of progress. The idea of Baldwin in Turkey somehow placed America’s race problem, and America itself, in a mysterious and tantalising international context. I took a chance that Istanbul might be the place where the secret workings of history would be revealed.

In Turkey and elsewhere, in fact, I would feel an almost physical sensation of intellectual and emotional discomfort, while trying to grasp a reality of which I had no historical or cultural understanding. I would go, as a journalist, to write a story about Turkey or Greece or Egypt or Afghanistan, and inevitably someone would tell me some part of our shared history – theirs with America – of which I knew nothing. If I didn’t know this history, then what kind of story did I plan to tell?

My learning process abroad was threefold: I was learning about foreign countries; I was learning about America’s role in the world; and I was also slowly understanding my own psychology, temperament and prejudices. No matter how well I knew the predatory aspects of capitalism, I still perceived Turkey’s and Greece’s economic advances as progress, a kind of maturation. No matter how deeply I understood the US’s manipulation of Egypt for its own foreign-policy aims, I had never considered – and could not grasp – how American policies really affected the lives of individual Egyptians, beyond engendering resentment and anti-Americanism. No matter how much I believed that no American was well-equipped for nation-building, I thought I could see good intentions on the part of the Americans in Afghanistan. I would never have admitted it, or thought to say it, but looking back, I know that deep in my consciousness I thought that America was at the end of some evolutionary spectrum of civilisation, and everyone else was trying to catch up.

American exceptionalism did not only define the US as a special nation among lesser nations; it also demanded that all Americans believe they, too, were somehow superior to others. How could I, as an American, understand a foreign people, when unconsciously I did not extend the most basic faith to other people that I extended to myself? This was a limitation that was beyond racism, beyond prejudice and beyond ignorance. This was a kind of nationalism so insidious that I had not known to call it nationalism; this was a self-delusion so complete that I could not see where it began and ended, could not root it out, could not destroy it.

In my first few months in Istanbul, I lived a formless kind of existence, days dissolving into the nights. I had no office to go to, no job to keep, and I was 30 years old, an age at which people either choose to grow up or remain stuck in the exploratory, idle phase of late-late youth. Starting all over again in a foreign country – making friends, learning a new language, trying to find your way through a city – meant almost certainly choosing the latter. I spent many nights out until the wee hours – such as the evening I drank beer with a young Turkish man named Emre, who had attended college with a friend of mine from the US.

A friend had told me that Emre was one of the most brilliant people he had ever met. As the evening passed, I was gaining a lot from his analysis of Turkish politics, especially when I asked him whether he voted for Erdoğan’s Justice and Development party (AKP), and he spat back, outraged, “Did you vote for George W Bush?” Until that point I had not realised the two might be equivalent.

Then, three beers in, Emre mentioned that the US had planned the September 11 attacks. I had heard this before. Conspiracy theories were common in Turkey; for example, when the military claimed that the PKK, the Kurdish militant group, had attacked a police station, some Turks believed the military itself had done it; they believed it even in cases where Turkish civilians had died. In other words, the idea was that rightwing forces, such as the military, bombed neutral targets, or even rightwing targets, so they could then blame it on the leftwing groups, such as the PKK. To Turks, bombing one’s own country seemed like a real possibility.

“Come on, you don’t believe that,” I said.

“Why not?” he snapped. “I do.”

“But it’s a conspiracy theory.”

He laughed. “Americans always dismiss these things as conspiracy theories. It’s the rest of the world who have had to deal with your conspiracies.”

I ignored him. “I guess I have faith in American journalism,” I said. “Someone else would have figured this out if it were true.”

He smiled. “I’m sorry, there’s no way they didn’t have something to do with it. And now this war?” he said, referring to the war in Iraq. “It’s impossible that the United States couldn’t stop such a thing, and impossible that the Muslims could pull it off.”

Some weeks later, a bomb went off in the Istanbul neighborhood of Güngören. A second bomb exploded out of a garbage bin nearby after 10pm, killing 17 people and injuring 150. No one knew who did it. All that week, Turks debated: was it al-Qaida? The PKK? The DHKP/C, a radical leftist group? Or maybe: the deep state?

The deep state – a system of mafia-like paramilitary organisations operating outside of the law, sometimes at the behest of the official military – was a whole other story. Turks explained that the deep state had been formed during the cold war as a way of countering communism, and then mutated into a force for destroying all threats to the Turkish state. The power that some Turks attributed to this entity sometimes strained credulity. But the point was that Turks had been living for years with the idea that some secret force controlled the fate of their nation.

In fact, elements of the deep state were rumoured to have had ties to the CIA during the cold war, and though that too smacked of a conspiracy theory, this was the reality that Turkish people lived in. The sheer number of international interventions the US launched in those decades is astonishing, especially those during years when American power was considered comparatively innocent. There were the successful assassinations: Patrice Lumumba, prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in 1961; General Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, also in 1961; Ngo Dinh Diem, president of South Vietnam, in 1963. There were the unsuccessful assassinations: Castro, Castro, and Castro. There were the much hoped-for assassinations: Nasser, Nasser, Nasser. And, of course, US-sponsored, -supported or -staged regime changes: Iran, Guatemala, Iraq, Congo, Syria, Dominican Republic, South Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina. The Americans trained or supported secret police forces everywhere from Cambodia to Colombia, the Philippines to Peru, Iran to Vietnam. Many Turks believed that the US at least encouraged the 1971 and 1980 military coups in Turkey, though I could find little about these events in any conventional histories anywhere.

But what I could see was that the effects of such meddling were comparable to those of September 11 – just as huge, life-changing and disruptive to the country and to people’s lives. Perhaps Emre did not believe that September 11 was a straightforward affair of evidence and proof because his experience – his reality – taught him that very rarely were any of these surreally monumental events easily explainable. I did not think Emre’s theory about the attacks was plausible. But I began to wonder whether there was much difference between a foreigner’s paranoia that the Americans planned September 11 and the Americans’ paranoia that the whole world should pay for September 11 with an endless global war on terror.

The next time a Turk told me she believed the US had bombed itself on September 11 (I heard this with some regularity; this time it was from a young student at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University), I repeated my claim about believing in the integrity of American journalism. She replied, a bit sheepishly, “Well, right, we can’t trust our journalism. We can’t take that for granted.”

The words “take that for granted” gave me pause. Having lived in Turkey for more than a year, witnessing how nationalistic propaganda had inspired people’s views of the world and of themselves, I wondered from where the belief in our objectivity and rigour in journalism came. Why would Americans be objective and everyone else subjective?

I thought that because Turkey had poorly functioning institutions – they didn’t have a reliable justice system, as compared to an American system I believed to be functional – it often felt as if there was no truth. Turks were always sceptical of official histories, and blithely dismissive of the government’s line. But was it rather that the Turks, with their beautiful scepticism, were actually just less nationalistic than me?

American exceptionalism had declared my country unique in the world, the one truly free and modern country, and instead of ever considering that that exceptionalism was no different from any other country’s nationalistic propaganda, I had internalised this belief. Wasn’t that indeed what successful propaganda was supposed to do? I had not questioned the institution of American journalism outside of the standards it set for itself – which, after all, was the only way I would discern its flaws and prejudices; instead, I accepted those standards as the best standards any country could possibly have.

By the end of my first year abroad, I read US newspapers differently. I could see how alienating they were to foreigners, the way articles spoke always from a position of American power, treating foreign countries as if they were America’s misbehaving children. I listened to my compatriots with critical ears: the way our discussion of foreign policy had become infused since September 11 with these officious, official words, bureaucratic corporate military language: collateral damage, imminent threat, freedom, freedom, freedom.

Even so, I was conscious that if I had long ago succumbed to the pathology of American nationalism, I wouldn’t know it – even if I understood the history of injustice in America, even if I was furious about the invasion of Iraq. I was a white American. I still had this fundamental faith in my country in a way that suddenly, in comparison to the Turks, made me feel immature and naive.

I came to notice that a community of activists and intellectuals in Turkey – the liberal ones – were indeed questioning what “Turkishness” meant in new ways. Many of them had been brainwashed in their schools about their own history; about Atatürk, Turkey’s first president; about the supposed evil of the Armenians and the Kurds and the Arabs; about the fragility of their borders and the rapaciousness of all outsiders; and about the historic and eternal goodness of the Turkish republic.

“It is different in the United States,” I once said, not entirely realising what I was saying until the words came out. I had never been called upon to explain this. “We are told it is the greatest country on earth. The thing is, we will never reconsider that narrative the way you are doing just now, because to us, that isn’t propaganda, that is truth. And to us, that isn’t nationalism, it’s patriotism. And the thing is, we will never question any of it because at the same time, all we are being told is how free-thinking we are, that we are free. So we don’t know there is anything wrong in believing our country is the greatest on earth. The whole thing sort of convinces you that a collective consciousness in the world came to that very conclusion.”

“Wow,” a friend once replied. “How strange. That is a very quiet kind of fascism, isn’t it?”

It was a quiet kind of fascism that would mean I would always see Turkey as beneath the country I came from, and also that would mean I believed my uniquely benevolent country to have uniquely benevolent intentions towards the peoples of the world.

During that night of conspiracy theories, Emre had alleged, as foreigners often did, that I was a spy. The information that I was collecting as a journalist, Emre said, was really being used for something else. As an American emissary in the wider world, writing about foreigners, governments, economies partaking in some larger system and scheme of things, I was an agent somehow. Emre lived in the American world as a foreigner, as someone less powerful, as someone for whom one newspaper article could mean war, or one misplaced opinion could mean an intervention by the International Monetary Fund. My attitude, my prejudice, my lack of generosity could be entirely false, inaccurate or damaging, but would be taken for truth by the newspapers and magazines I wrote for, thus shaping perceptions of Turkey for ever.

Years later, an American journalist told me he loved working for a major newspaper because the White House read it, because he could “influence policy”. Emre had told me how likely it was I would screw this up. He was saying to me: first, spy, do no harm.


American innocence was a lie from the very beginning.

White Americans need to grow up!

https://dalehusband.com/2015/10/08/the-louisiana-purchase/

Indeed, the entire history of the USA, can be summed up as follows:

WHITE people from Europe came to North America, displaced RED people from lands they had lived on for thousands of years, captured and brought from Africa BLACK people to be our slaves, conquered more land from BROWN people in the southwest, and finally fought not one, not two, but three wars against YELLOW people on the other side of the world.

There are other matters to consider that most American don’t usually think about, but they are no less true.

The simple fact that Cuba’s Communist government did not collapse soon after the ones in eastern Europe did totally discredited the political narrative that the USA has made about Cuba since the 1960s: that Communism is by nature oppressive and when given the chance all people will embrace democracy and capitalism. The reason this is false: Cuba never had democracy, but before the 1960s was ruled by dictators that were friendly to the USA because they were also pro-capitalist! CAPITALISM DOES NOT PROMOTE DEMOCRACY! And the trade embargo forced on Cuba actually enabled Fidel Castro to demonize the USA as a bully and hypocrite for decades, keeping him in power.

Indeed, throughout the Cold War period (late 1940s to late 1980s) we Americans were NOT fighting for freedom and democracy against Communism but for capitalism, which led us to do some really despicable things to other countries (Iran in 1953, Chile in 1973, Vietnam in the 1960s and Nicaragua in the 1980s, among other examples). The notion that capitalism promotes freedom is one of the biggest lies ever invented; A corporation in a capitalist economy actually operates like a dictatorship, with the workers taking orders from their superiors and having no say in who their corporate executives are or what they do.

____________

Remember when Hitler referred to the Holocaust as the “final solution”? Because the Nazis has been discriminating against Jews for years and most Jews remained in Germany.
Once you start down the path of dehumanizing anyone, you make it easier to kill them eventually.
It could also happen in America against any despised minority, such as Mexican-Americans and Muslims.
There are two “problems” with my argument above about the Holocaust. One, we tend to demonize Hitler, calling him a monster rather than a man. Second, we think very highly of ourselves and our country and think we would never been so horrible.

But he wasn’t a monster, he was a human product of his time and culture, just as most of us are. And we HAVE committed acts of genocide and outright conquest! We actually put Native American tribes by the thousands into concentration camps called “reservations”. We even did the same to Japanese-Americans during World War II, even while fighting Hitler! We did not exterminate them….but we could have!

__________________

The Gulf War of 1990-1991 was notable for two things that I did not even consider when it was happening but are clear to me now.

  1. The dispute between Saddam Hussein and the government of Kuwait that led to the invasion of Kuwait was absolutely NONE of the United States’ business, period. It should have been kept a local matter.
  2. There was never any evidence that Saddam Hussein was planning to attack Saudi Arabia or any other country.

So why did we launch Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, put Iraq under economic sanctions and no-fly zones for over a decade and then finally finish off Saddam in the Iraq War starting in 2003? I have not the foggiest idea. Everything I was told before about why we went to war both times was shown over time to be……lies.

When we attacked Iraq in 2003, we claimed it was because it had weapons of mass destruction. But we seemed to ignore just how much smaller and weaker Iraq always was compared to us Americans. The whole point of a small and weak country developing such weapons would be to deter attacks by its enemies. So in essence, even if the claim was true, we would have been attacking Iraq for trying to prevent its being attacked! Bush Jr was not just a liar, but a pathetic bully too!

_______________

People who consider the Japanese during World War II as horribly evil for what they did to their neighbors and to Americans never consider two things:

  1. The Japanese were isolationists for much of their history and rarely attacked anyone else before the 20th Century.
  2. They were finally forced to open up to the rest of the world by….the United States, which wanted to trade with them.

And when Japan looked at the rest of the world, including the United States, what did they see? Imperialism everywhere! So of course they thought they had just as much right to wage war on others as the Europeans and Americans were doing themselves.
WE made Japan what it became in that war! As the old saying goes, what comes around goes around.

____________

I was born in 1969, raised in a family of Republicans and came of age when Ronald Reagan was still President, but I am now so hard-core liberal that some might call me a socialist. Why? Because the more I look at how America and much of the world has been run since the 1980s, the more I see white, rich and “Christian” people screwing with the rest of the world to profit themselves while keeping poor white Christians sedated with bogus issues like “religious freedom” and you can’t do that and sincerely claim to promote freedom and justice for all. And if you are not doing that, you are a DAMNED PARASITE!

____________

Conservatism itself has never been an honest, ethical, or productive ideology. All Donald Trump really did was tear off the phony rhetoric and show the people what is at the actual core of right-wing political ideas. To be a conservative in the USA, you must believe at least one of the following:

  1. That whites deserve more social power than non-whites.
  2. That men deserve more social power than women.
  3. That Christians deserve more social power than non-Christians.
  4. That straights deserve more social power than gays/lesbians.
  5. That cis-gender people deserve more social power than trans-gender people.
  6. That the rich deserve more social power than the poor.

That’s it. If you truly believe in “liberty and justice for ALL”, then you CANNOT be a conservative!

Conservatism is not so much a distinct political philosophy as it is an attitude based on the already powerful doing whatever they can via social engineering to keep their power. For example, in the last days of the Soviet Union, hard-line Communists were the conservatives of that society. In the late 1770s, conservatives in the American colonies were called “Loyalists” because they opposed the American Revolution and professed loyalty to the British King. In the early 19th Century, they supported slavery and in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, they opposed equal rights for racial minorities. In religions, they support traditional dogmas and morals, even at the expense of objective truth and justice.
 
Conservatives are backstabbers of every democracy, every scientific advancement and every movement to make equality a genuine thing in real life. We must find a way someday to destroy it completely and forever!

Conservative political philosophy is based on three standards that were the norm centuries ago:

  1. Obedience to religious authorities.
  2. Every person or family fending for themselves.
  3. The majority ruling as an upper class over minorities, regardless of merit.

Under those standards it was common for people to starve, to become homeless, and to be treated with contempt for either being a lesser being or failing to obey unrealistic rules.

Liberals have an absolute standard of justice that rejects all these standards. The Declaration of Independence and the U S Constitution were LIBERAL documents. We have been generally moving in a more liberal direction ever since 1787. But conservatives constantly lie to the people to justify their hijacking our government so they can try to restore the older standards that benefit them.

I am a white, cis-gendered male of Protestant background and a natural born American citizen, so I have several reasons to feel privileged and thus vote for conservatives that claim to represent MY interests. Then I remember that I am also a member of the working class and all those other issues mean NOTHING. If you are poor, what does being of a certain race, gender, or anything else matter? Only an idiot thinks otherwise.

I abandoned the myth of American innocence in college when I was about age 20. And I didn’t need to go to a foreign country to see the truth about America either.

Historical narratives in religion

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrative_history

Narrative history is the practice of writing history in a story-based form. It tends to entail history-writing based on reconstructing series of short-term events, and ever since the influential work of Leopold von Ranke on professionalising history-writing in the nineteenth century has been associated with empiricism. The term narrative history thus overlaps with the term histoire événementielle (‘event-history’) coined by Fernand Braudel in the early twentieth century, as he promoted forms of history-writing analysing much longer-term trends (what he called the longue durée).[1]

Though history is considered a social science, the story-based nature of history allows for the inclusion of a greater or lesser degree of narration in addition to an analytical or interpretative exposition of historical knowledge. It can be divided into two subgenres: the traditional narrative and the modern narrative.

Traditional narrative focuses on the chronological order of history. It is event driven and tends to center upon individuals, action, and intention. For example, in regard to the French Revolution, an historian who works with the traditional narrative might be more interested in the revolution as a single entity (one revolution), centre it in Paris, and rely heavily upon major figures such as Maximilien Robespierre.

Conversely, modern narrative typically focuses on structures and general trends. A modern narrative would break from rigid chronology if the historian felt it explained the concept better. In terms of the French Revolution, an historian working with the modern narrative might show general traits that were shared by revolutionaries across France but would also illustrate regional variations from those general trends (many confluent revolutions). Also this type of historian might use different sociological factors to show why different types of people supported the general revolution.

Historians who use the modern narrative might say that the traditional narrative focuses too much on what happened and not enough on why and causation. Also, that this form of narrative reduces history into neat boxes and thereby does an injustice to history. J H Hexter characterized such historians as “lumpers”. In an essay on Christopher Hill, he remarked that “lumpers do not like accidents: they would prefer them vanish…The lumping historian wants to put all of the past into boxes..and then to tie all the boxes together into one nice shapely bundle.”

Historians who use traditional narrative might say that the modern narrative overburdens the reader with trivial data that had no significant effect on the progression of history. They believe that the historian needs to stress what is consequential in history, as otherwise the reader might believe that minor trivial events were more important than they were.

Virtually all the “history” you read in the Bible is this type of narrative.

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Debunking the lies of anti-drug crusades

Back in the 1980s, I often saw ads like these on TV:

“Just say no”

“This is your brain on drugs”

The Original Rachael Leigh Cook Brain on Drugs

Yikes! Oh, wait, in 2017, that same actress made this:

What happened? Well, she was exposed to the truth, the WHOLE truth, about the actual results of the anti-drug crusades from the 1970s onward.

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What is a “true” religion?

It is no secret that as a non-theist I personally reject ALL God centered religions. That stems from my desire to avoid all double standards in my life; if I can no longer accept Baha’u’llah as a Messenger of God because his writings and character were flawed, by what standard can I accept any previous Messenger, such as Moses, Jesus, or Muhammad? Didn’t they ALL have failings and flaws from present day and secular standards? My desire for perfection in religion made me reject all of them…….but I must also recognize that my own religion, Unitarian Universalism, is also less than perfect. The reason is simple: ALL religions are run by humans, and humans are not perfect.

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