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Showing posts from 2016

A Myth in Pursuit of Happiness

The man knew what he wanted and went out and got it! Walked into a jungle and comes out at the age of twenty-one, and he's rich! - Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman

Show Me The Money!
Is it true that anyone living in America can get rich? A popular myth* promoted in everything from best-selling books to TV sitcoms says that it is. We are told that America is the land of endless opportunity, and anyone who works hard can come out of the jungle rich. There is even the suggestion by some that refusing the call to passionately pursue wealth is un-American.

The reality, however, is quite different. The promise of untold wealth - and the personal power that supposedly comes with it - is dangled like a carrot on a stick, enticing the aspiring rich to keep focused on reaching for something the already rich know full well is forever beyond their grasp. The myth, therefore, is part of an elaborate deception, a con game.

While it's true that many people do rise above humble beginnings to …

From Fox News to Fake News: Propaganda vs.Truth and The Struggle to Save Our Cultural Soul

People need good lies. There are too many bad ones. -Kurt Vonnegut

Politics, Money and Culture
Politics, money and culture have become bound together in an immense Gordian knot. Many accept this perverse relationship as normal. However, it is not normal, and the co-mingling has produced an intractable force which exploits society's willingness to substitute pleasure and power for value and meaning.

Besides having aesthetic value, the arts are legitimately used to raise awareness and help resolve issues that affect society. But they are also used as a means for achieving crass political ends.

Politics (the act of influencing actions and policies for the purpose of gaining and keeping power) has become like something straight out of a Kurt Vonnegut novel. Current events bear an uncanny resemblance to the writer's comically addled characters and absurd story lines. The line between reality and satire has become so blurred, it's sometimes difficult to tell which is which. Add to…

How Corporations Infiltrated the Supreme Court - Video

Futurist Who Predicted the Fall of Soviet Union Says US Power Will Decline Under President Trump

Johan Galtung, a Norwegian professor at the University of Hawaii and Transcend Peace University, first predicted in 2000 that the “U.S. empire” would wither away within 25 years, but he moved up that forecast by five years with the election of President George W. Bush. Now, nearly 17 years later, Galtung predicts that decline could come even quicker under a Trump administration. He predicted in his 2009 book, “The Fall of the American Empire — and then What?” that the U.S. was plagued by 15 internal contradictions that would end its global power by 2020. Galtung warned that phase of the decline would usher in a period of reactionary fascism. American fascism would spring from its "capacity for global violence, a vision of exceptionalism, a belief in an inevitable and final war between good and evil, the cult of a strong state leading that battle, and a cult of the 'strong leader'.”

Members of Congress and the Religious Right Pray to Remove Satan from the Capitol

There must be something about the separation of Church and State concept that either I or some people in Congress don't understand.

Conservative pastors recently gathered on Capitol Hill, joined by dozens of members of Congress for a "Congressional-Clergy Town Hall". The conclave was organized by the National Black Robe Regiment and Wallbuilders, a right-wing organization run by GOP operative David Barton. The Jefferson Gathering, a prayer organization started by anti-LGBT Religious Right preacher Jim Garlow was also involved.

Clergy met with members of Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Rep. Louie Gohmert, and Sen. James Lankford, Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Trent Franks and Sen. Chuck Grassley. At one point, Rep. Barry Loudermilk led the group in prayer. U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black preached and reportedly prophesied that a revival is about to sweep America and "it will commence . . .  in the halls of Congress".

Dale Walker of the Tennessee Pastors Netwo…

The Christian Church In America is Dead - Trump's Election Proves It!

Theologians have been preoccupied with the religion "about" Jesus, and it is the rejection of this religion that has produced the "Christian Atheists". But what about the religion "of" Jesus. -Eric Butterworth

Christian churches in America are social clubs. We do a nice job of providing excuses for people to exercise their instincts as a social animals. There are bowling teams, softball teams, basketball teams, ladies auxiliaries, youth groups and various boards on which to serve. We put on nice pot-luck dinners and serve coffee after worship services where members gather to discuss everything, except the content of the holy ritual they just attended. We discuss the sermon by noting it wasn't too boring, but the delivery could still use some work. We do a good job administering the rites of passage. Baptisms, confirmations, marriages and funerals legitimize our existence as religious institutions.

Indeed, the church should be a comfortable place where…

Long as You Buy, Big Food Doesn't Care If You Live or Die

You know those ads and commercials that show how much the food industry cares about your well being? The ones where happy and healthy families are laughing and having a good time while consuming generous quantities of the company's latest junk?  Pure propaganda. We know it, and yet we still devour. Why? Because they've got us hooked! They know, as with any junkie, we can't resist getting our preferred fix.

The agriculture, dairy, food processing and retail industries only care about squeezing out every penny of profit - at the expense of the public's physical, emotional and spiritual health. Your health and happiness are of no concern, despite all those feel-good images of vibrant consumers.

We've seen the warnings about mercury in tuna, wood pulp in Parmesan cheese, ground beef treated with ammonia to retard E. coli. These are examples of how the media exposes some of the dangerous and deceptive practices of Big Food. The problem is, the public assumes corrective…

Big Tobacco is Proud to Support the Mentally Ill

Want more proof that nothing is out of bounds for tobacco companies in carrying out their profitable mission to push "nicotine delivery systems" any way they can? Consider this -

Did you know mentally ill adults smoke one third of all cigarettes in the US? It's true, and it didn't come about just by accident. In 2007 Big Tobacco was forced to admit that starting in the 1950s it had targeted mentally ill people with bogus scientific evidence and free cigarettes.

Two whopping lies were used to convince vulnerable people, their families and even the medical profession that smoking cigarettes was a good idea. It was claimed:
Smoking relieves the symptoms of psychosis, depression and anxiety.Mentally ill people have special immunity to tobacco-related disease. These unbelievably cynical fabrications were pushed so aggressively by cigarette-makers that many customers/victims still believe them and suffer the effects.

But that's not all we have to offer!

Smoking has beco…

Could It Be Trump Is Actually Trying to Lose the Election?

Is it possible that Donald Trump doesn't want to be President, and is trying to lose the election on
purpose? Consider these facts:
Fact: He continues to do all he can to alienate three of the largest minority groups in the nation.Fact: He does nothing about his lack of popularity with women.Fact: In addition, recent statements have now alienated the military and the NSA.Fact: He has no campaign organization or strategy to speak of, and shows no sign of plans to do so.Fact: His words and actions continue to separate him from the Republican Party's leadership.Fact: His words and actions have inspired new movements within the Party to undermine his candidacy.Fact: He once admitted that entering the race was just a lark, and he never expected to be nominated.Fact: He is exploring the possibility of starting his own cable tv network.Fact: Wouldn't he see this as a spectacular way to build his brand, even if only in his own mind? You have to admit, it makes as much sense as anyt…

Addicted to Guns & Violence: America Needs An Intervention

Addiction isn't about substance - you aren't addicted to the substance, you are addicted to the alteration of mood that the substance brings. -Susan Cheever

Guns, rights and regulations. A toxic threesome. With the possible exception of abortion, nothing in the US of A inflames the passions as much as the debate over guns and whether or not they ought to be controlled. Personally, it's always been difficult to understand the level of attachment many gun owners display for their weapons. I could never comprehend the manic resistance expressed whenever the subject of gun control would arise - that is, until I viewed it through the eyes of a recovering alcoholic.

The panic that can be seen in those who fear the loss of their weapon is like that of an addict who fears being deprived of his drug. Addicts will kick and scream, and do whatever it takes to protect their addiction. We will sacrifice all if need be, including our jobs, our families, our freedom, our sanity, and even …

My Run-In With The Law (of Attraction)

The law of attraction is the name given to the belief that "like attracts like" and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results. This belief is based upon the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from "pure energy", and the belief that like energy attracts like energy. - From Wikipedia 

Man those roots were deep! The bushes had probably been there since the house was built, and they weren't interested in leaving. Besides being deep, they were a tangled mess, winding around each other like snakes in a pit. But the bushes were looking tired now, and were out of date as landscape elements. So my wife and I decided to remove them. It would open up the front of the house, and we could put in a little terraced flower garden for a nice contemporary touch.

So one pleasant spring Saturday morning, I embarked, shovel in hand, on what I hoped would be an easy job of extracting some old, weak, decomposing…

A Warning From Easter Island

Easter Island (Rapa Nui), is the Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, most famous for its 887 giant carved stone statues (Maoi). What many don't know is that the now desolate island was once a verdant paradise with a thriving culture.

Understanding what happened there, and why, should sound a loud alarm to all the other cultures now on a similar cataclysmic path.

The rise and fall of Easter Island can be seen as a microcosm, demonstrating the potential disastrous result that overpopulation, deforestation, and depletion of natural resources could have on a global scale. Cultural and environmental exploitation led to the demise of a vibrant society, which was technically sophisticated enough to carve, move, and erect the giant stone monuments, using a method that remains a mystery to this day.

In his best-selling book, Collapse, Jared Diamond cites Easter Island as the "clearest example of a society that destroyed itself by over-exploiting its own resources.&qu…

How Long Does It Take to Make A Trillion?

If you're mathematically challenged like me, you need help relating to numbers followed by lots of zero's. I understand the hundreds and thousands well enough, and can even comprehend millions - at least in the abstract. But for anything beyond that, you might as well be speaking Abyssinian.

So in order to get some sort of intelligible context for the incomprehensible, I devised a thought experiment (just like Einstein!) in which I have a printing press that produces dollar bills (legally of course) at the rate of one per second. Furthermore, the machine can run non-stop, 24/7 - forever. The results of the experiment are as follows:
It took 12 days to print $1,000,000 (one million). Actually it was slightly less, but I rounded up (I love math talk).At this rate we can print nearly $32 million in 1 year. Cool. I could live on that.  Getting from $1,000,000 (one million) to $1,000,000,000 (one billion) takes a bit longer than expected. Hint - We're no longer talking about day…

Donald Trump And The Forbidden Planet

Watching the new Donald Trump reality show has brought to mind one of my all-time favorite sci-fi movies. With a little impish imagination, I can see the drama being played out between Trump and the Republican Party having a curious similarity to the movie plot.

Here's a quick synopsis of Forbidden Planet, the classic from 1956:

In the 23rd century an expedition from earth travels to a distant planet to learn what became of a previous expedition. They find a survivor, a scientist and who tells them about a highly evolved race (the Krell) which once inhabited the planet, but had mysteriously disappeared. They learn of an enormous atomic powered machine built by the Krell and capable of materializing anything imagined. Thus, it is possible to form and project matter with the power of thought.

But there's a problem (no doubt). While projections could result from thoughts in the conscious mind, the same could be spawned by the unconscious mind. While the Krell built a culture wh…