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byronius

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Member since: Wed Feb 23, 2005, 03:32 PM
Number of posts: 6,498

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This feels more like the Cuban Missile Crisis than Watergate.

Brand new, edge-of-the-earth challenge. We have to win this. We have to.

Certainly Russia's thinking on this was as concise and strategic as Osama Bin Laden's on 9/11. Talk about your asymmetric warfare. This has got to be the most impressive example in history since the Trojan Horse.

We got got. Now we have to set it right. Have to. The United States must survive this.

I'm ready to hit the street anytime. But I have a feeling that this breaks open soon, and it feels like there's a clock ticking.

Cuban Missile Crisis.

A Short Note On Christian Atheism.

I was taking the cat poop out to the dumpster last night at about 9:30 PM -- we sponsor three feral cats who live in our building -- and I saw a young woman hovering around the dumpsters. I routinely talk to the homeless who haunt the business park dumpsters at night, mostly because I spent a year as a homeless person, and understand how it happens to people.

The young woman was perhaps in her late twenties, shy and raggedly dressed. I said hello, and asked her how she was.

"Do you have any extra food?" she replied. Her voice was warm and intelligent. She had what some would call buck teeth, and was trying to hide them, but her eyes were quite clear and personable. Most of the homeless I speak to by the dumpster are just that -- intelligent, warm, human -- always concerned about my reaction at first, because I look just like a conservative. Once they read the complete lack of judgment they relax and open up.

I said no at first, and then remembered -- "How about a loaf of bread?" My lunch stuff. I'd forgotten my lunch stuff. She said yes, absolutely, and I said I'd be back in a minute. She met me out in back of the building, and I gave her almost a full loaf of Dave's Killer Bread (so good, and he hires only recovering ex-felons), a bag of carrots, an apple, and some string cheese.

She was grateful, disappeared around the corner, and that was that.

Here is my point: I'm an atheist. Certainly I'm a tree-hugging dirt-worshipping nature boy who reads a lot of the new wild-assed quantum physics books and thinks that it's probably the strongest argument possible for some type of innate intelligent order based on particulate consciousness, but I could never be a practicing Christian.

My grandmother was. She was a devout Southern Baptist who never spoke about her faith -- she thought it was un-Christian to do so, and instead focused on helping and feeding people without any religious overtones whatsoever. She'd had a dream about walking with Jesus in the Garden, she once told me when we got stoned together (she was 82), and that was the basis for her beliefs, nothing more, nothing less. Feed the poor, care for the children, love, the end.

Here's my problem -- the Bible is pretty goddamned clear about this stuff. For a practicing Christian to hoard wealth while a single human being goes hungry anywhere in the world should be ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN BY THEIR FAITH.

For a practicing Christian to go to a service in a clean, warm and well-lit church where security guards roam the perimeter to exclude the rough-looking should be ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN BY THEIR FAITH.

For a practicing Christian to exclude anyone from their company or concern for any reason whatsoever, be it race or religion or sexual orientation or criminal history should be ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN BY THEIR FAITH.

For a practicing Christian to admit to these cognitive dissonances by insisting that the Lord forgives their transgressions as they continue to commit them should be ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN BY THEIR FAITH.

Yet many large churches commit these social crimes regularly, from the pulpit, in word and in deed.

Dial it down to this nation alone. As long as any American citizen is hungry or homeless, I do not think anyone should be allowed to hoard any wealth at all. I think there are more than enough houses for everyone, more than enough food, more than enough medical supplies and clothing for every single American citizen, and if custom prevents us as citizens from solving the clear need of our fellow citizens, then that is the most stark argument in favor of the fact that we are effed up, crazy, full of shit, and undeserving of God's grace in any measure.

I'm an atheist. And yet I'm a better Christian than most Christians. And what I saw in that young woman's eyes -- not a lost soul, just a human being under stress and looking for a little food on a cold night -- burned me. It burned me.

We suck. And we have to do better. And False Faith is worse than no faith at all.



A Polar Bear Died For Our Fucking Sins.

There is no greater gift.
he/she taught me
give no quarter
brook no fantasy
know the truth
speak the truth
fix the soul
heal the rift
grow the earth
make it right

For the overly wealthy, it's not just about having more -- it's about making you have less.

This is classic hoarding-frenzy behavior, goes back all the way to when we split off from reptiles. It was always a significant attribute of royalty, historically very common in the upper merchant classes, and it goes like this: having more than you could ever need is not stimulating enough unless you know for a fact that others are suffering from having less than they need.

It is a clear fact of the hoarding disease -- and it is a disease -- that the hoarder's peak enjoyment comes from the vicarious thrill and guilty pleasure of watching other people starve. For the hoarder, too much becomes ever so much more enjoyable when the difference between themselves and the starving or stress-ridden lower classes grows wider. For them, it's like being a timid person watching a scary movie -- but it's all real.

Wealth is poison. Enough is as good as a feast, and too much in this case is a ticket to disturbingly psychopathic behavior. We all know this, and unfortunately our laws have been warped to satisfy the dark urges of addicts, weakening the nation and casting doubt on the survival of the human species.

Think of it in tribal terms. Say an ancient island culture of perhaps 100 individuals creates a monetary system based on shells. One hoarding-obsessed individual spends their entire life focusing not on work, or building -- but on gaming the economy to get hold of all the shells. Once they have most of the shells, they will still scheme to get the remainder, even though the rest of the tribe will be forced into starvation. How long do you think the other 99 members will allow this to go on? Awhile, perhaps. It's the nature of systems. But when the markers become more important than their meaning, the tribe is doomed unless it acts. They will either seize the shells and cast out the hoarder, or simply disregard the markers and make new ones. It's difficult for larger and more complex cultures to take these steps, but the principles are the same. Money is just an agreement. It is not a thing of value in and of itself, shells or dollars.

First chance we get, let's solve this problem. A 99% confiscatory tax on all incomes over a million dollars per year would certainly help to begin correcting this extremely damaging habit. Simple, fair, clean -- and the hoarding class would still get some pleasure out of maximizing their remaining one percent.

The Best Revenge.

Ryan Cooper

We now know there shall be no quarter from the ultra-rich in their quest to take as much of the national income and wealth for themselves as possible. So they should be given no quarter either.

At the earliest opportunity, a left-wing economic reform bill should deliberately destroy the power of the plutocrats: Break up their monopolist corporations, sharply increase taxation on their capital gains and dividends, levy a confiscatory tax rate on income over $1 million and a 100 percent inheritance tax on estates over $1 million, and kneecap finance with burdensome regulations. Then, strengthen the lower class: Ban "right-to-work" laws at a national level, increase the minimum wage and index it to inflation, beef up the welfare state, and spend to achieve full employment.

Some of the wealthiest and most privileged people who've ever existed are attempting to loot the pockets of penniless grad students so they can have even more money to spend on stuff like $450-million paintings. They've forfeited any right to deference or consideration.


Found this on Digby.


I think this is the best idea I've heard in a year. Let's end this class war forever.

Sea lions in the Sacramento River.

Hiking along the river near the I-80 bridge, my son and I saw a giant black head breach the water and snort in a deep bass whuff. Could not figure it out. Whales? Giant otters? We'd seen otters in a small wetlands area near the American River Parkway.

But these shapes -- massive. Broad backs, giant heads -- there were at least two near where we were sitting by the river's edge, and then we saw perhaps three more down near the railroad bridge on the way back.

My son googled 'seals in the Sacramento River', and came up with this --

http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2016/12/10/sea-lion-making-its-way-through-sacramento-river/

She was taking pictures by the river Friday morning when she saw it.

“I couldn’t tell what it was,” said Grear.

Scott Buhl, a Wildlife Response Specialist at UC Davis, knew immediately

“Oh that’s definitely a California sea lion,” said Buhl looking at some cell phone video I shot Friday morning.

Not a dolphin, porpoise or seal, but a sea lion in the Sacramento river.

“He was just hanging out enjoying the day and didn’t seem to be in any distress,” said Buhl.

Buhl, says the the sea lion appears to be a healthy male, weighing roughly 400 to 500 pounds.

“It could definitely surprise you and startle you to see a sea lion staring back at you,” said Buhl.

It’s not uncommon to see a sea lion once every year or two in the River explained Buhl.


And of course a few idiots immediately suggest killing them. Just -- you know, because.

Humans. Ugh.

They were gorgeous. Beautiful. Heart-tugging. Awesome. Amazing experience on a Sunday afternoon.

herstory writes

in the end it was itinerant old pot farmers
green grocers and pot smoking clerks
T.A.'s with things in the closet
typecast kid stars and their momentous assistants
painfully awkward shyboys
sisters of no mercy
tripe mongers and vishnu programmers
secret keepers
pawn shop sweepers
ted behind the safeway
the critical mothers worried about the sun
superstitious wand waving sage burners
little short thinkers
super tall drinkers
the worst and the best
types and offtypes and notypes
persectured songsmiths
fancy little rich snobs who read
and every member of democraticunderground
who saved the human race
from the soviet ghost invasion of two thousand and sixteen
let us drink to them tonight
tell the stories of their mild and scattershot bravery
their hopeless losses
their impossible contraindications
their savaging and their comforting and their sweet wisdom
that lifted the species and sent it out
to the infinite
where it belongs.

One wonders, as an American --

If a foreign government secretly invaded and controlled the highest levels of our government, are we bound to policy enacted by the foreign agents while the invasion was active?

Asking for a friend. Name of Gorusch.

42.

Netflix is showing this film; I'm having trouble watching it.

Why? It's just too damn powerful.

Why?

Because Jackie Robinson is probably the finest American story there is.

Maybe Martin Luther King, just maybe -- but Jackie Robinson...

There you go, there's the test --

True Americans love Jackie Robinson.

It's the best story ever told in this nation.

Period.

Met my first Trump voter the other night.

Late twenties, ex-military, ex-MP. Half African-American, half Italian. Works at the facility across the street. We were both leaving late, so I introduced myself in the parking lot. I made a political comment that drew the admission from him that he had voted for Donald Trump. This was difficult for me to hear -- but I kept my temper in check and sought out an actual discussion.

'Why?', of course, was my first question. The young man tried to explain that he gets his news from 'all over', that he had examined both candidates, and chose Trump. Trump has disappointed him, however, and he wishes he could take it back.

I wanted to know more. For an hour we stood in that dark parking lot talking; it only got heated once, and I backed off. Clearly he was feeling guilt about it. 'Why would you vote for such a man?'

1) Because Hillary was going to spend all sorts of money on prisons, he had read. 'Replacing private prisons, you mean?' He didn't know what that was. Horrified when I explained it.

2) Because Barack Obama was a tool of the 'white elitists'. 'Why would you say that?' 'They'll never let a black man be president for real', he answered, as if that was an absolute fact. Evidence? 'He legalized gay marriage.'

WTF? 'Are you a homophobe?' 'No, my brother is gay.' 'So you support gay marriage, but because Obama legalized it, he's a tool of white elitists?'

Yep.

Aaaaand that was about it. A lot of feeling and mushy logic, no facts. But now he feels stupid because Donald isn't doing anything like what he promised.

I let him know how I felt about his falling for and enabling a Russian sneak attack on our nation, and how the ever-increasing body count will be kinda on his karmic record.

'If Mueller indicts him, I'll have to spend the rest of my life repairing the damage I've done.'

Not your typical Trumpling. Still --

'Have you ever heard of Citizens United?'

No. And he's horrified when I explain it. 'Republicans did that? That should be totally illegal!'

Yep.

You know, it was good that I kept the rage in check. But it was dismaying for me to realize just how f%#@ing stupid people can be. Nice guy, young fellow with a future, may have condemned his nation to the flames because he could not think critically.

The conversation ended well. Maybe I made an impact. Hope so.
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