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Daniel Voisin
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Well, Republicans are nothing, if not consistent. Having doubled down on “Supply Side” fantasies for 20 years, they promised that every tax cut for the rich would “pay for itself and erase federal deficits,” after the rich used the gifts to invest in productive enterprises. They never did. And so, instead, every such cut sent us into steep deficits and debt.
 
Now? They are doubling down on the voodoo. Switching to well-proved “demand side” would have hired half a million workers to repair bridges and infrastructure — things we will have to do anyway. But sending high-velocity cash through poor pockets and stimulating the economy would admit the Keynsians were right. Indeed, preventing that recovery is one reason the GOP blocked the Infrastructure Bill. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/republicans-push-for-a-permanent-aristocracy/2015/04/14/aa434f82-e2e5-11e4-81ea-0649268f729e_story.html
 
So, what do they want? To end the Estate Tax, a cut costing the treasury $269 billion over a decade, “that would exclusively benefit individuals with wealth of more than $5.4 million and couples with wealth of more than $10.9 million. That’s a tax break for only the 5,500 wealthiest households in the country.” And as proof of pure stupidity, the “populist” Tea Party movement backs up this proposal, to the hilt.
 
Read this article!  But it leave one thing out.  The Estate Tax need never be paid! Just create a foundation and use most of your riches to do some cool thing in the world, ion your name, instead of pursuing the ancient ambition of inherited aristocracy.
 
See the proof of supply side’s failures here.
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html
 
No wonder they hate science and facts. Feudalism failed across 6000 years.  So those aiming to bring it back must rely — as the Lords always did — on incantations and fantasy.
A bill to end the estate tax is the ultimate perversion of the tea party movement.
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I think I spoiled a really sly troll here. I actually thought a Christian had picked it up elsewhere and just didn't catch the meaning.
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+Barry Stephen Nieuport where in the bible does it state oxygen is a part of water?
Where does it state that oxygen enables fire?
Does the bible also state that nitrogen makes up the greater part of the air we breathe?
The bible is a shit book with no plot and no evidence for a deity.

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Further exposure that libertarians are actually fascist foot soldiers.
I used to be a Libertarian. Then I had the gall to criticize them in an article -- and here's what happened next
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A libertarian is just a republican trying to reinvent themselves as someone who didn't fuck things up the last time they ran our government.
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Great, thought-provoking article.
Out of 35 million people in Canada, Stephen Harper has chosen to single out for verbal abuse one lone, niqab-wearing Mississauga woman, Zunera Ishaq
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What has our country become? Is this what we stand for?
Jeremy Morlock, 23, tells US military court he was part of a 'kill team' that faked combat situations to murder Afghan civilians
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+Ded Jezter you ever been in the military,ever been to prison......
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Stumbled on this whole looking for people to argue with in my what's hot thread.

Fantastic article. Instead of focusing on why objectivism is so wrong, the author looks at the type of person that is drawn to it, splitting people into CSI types and Columbo types. This reminds me very much of the split you often see in atheist communities. Where the CSI types are entirely incapable of understanding how a religious person might need religion or how they tend to divide things into facts and beliefs where facts are the things they believe while everything else is faith.
 
#AynRand   #Objectivism   #Cult   #Psychopathy  
For Justin Templer, the Objectivist Psycho!
"Objectivism works by describing a certain type of person who is probably not weak minded enough to join a traditional cult or even a supremacist movement. But they probably were born with some of the traits that can lead to Objectivism. They are also less likely to be total social failures than the people who join such movements. A potential Objectivist may well be at the top of general society in some respects, like education or income. But such people have strong deficiencies in other areas, like empathy or imagination. These are people who tend to be emotionally immature and possess low emotional intelligence. More likely than not, they feel separated from other people and/or lack social skills. So it’s easy to sell them on the idea that this is all evidence of their superiority."
The Objectivism Cult: What types of people are drawn into it and why?
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We're all biologically inclined towards pattern seaching/finding, beyond what's actually there. I'd never call that weak or stupid (though I suppose some would).

As to a recognizing it as a true understanding, randian objectivism, just like much of religion, is an ideology, i.e. a belief system based on what they feel reality should be like rather than one based on what reality actually is (and what we've managed to find out about it). That's why both religion and objectivism lead to many a contradiction, as well as having a tendency to measure themselves and other people on two different scales. Rand's work is full of this (e.g. no physical force whatsoever, except if it's the hero doing it), and so is religion (e.g. killing is bad, unless they're headens).
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This kid is sure going to remember this birthday. Send him a text and remind him the world isn't filled with assholes.
 
Can you spare a moment (and the cost of an SMS) to text a happy birthday wish to a special 13-year-old? He's an Aspie going through some tough times (freakin' bullies), and could use a pick-me-up on his special day.

Apparently, his mom tried to organize a bowling party for him, but nobody has RSVP'd, so she's relying on the power of the internets to flood his phone with birthday texts: 705-808-3086

#HappyBirthdayOdin   #aspergers   #bullying
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That'd be fantastic if that happened. He's got the best mother ever
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#AynRand  
QUOTE Ayn Rand was born Alissa Rosenbaum", in St. Petersburg in 1905. Her father, a pharmacist, was successful enough to buy both the pharmacy he worked in and the building that housed it. Her mother, foreshadowing her daughter’s future, named the family cats after American place-names. *The family employed a cook, a nurse, a maid, and a governess. It was a bad time, of course, to be Russian Jews, and also a bad time to be a prosperous business owner—to be both basically guaranteed disaster. The Rosenbaums were subject to strict anti-Semitic laws, the constant threat of pogroms, and—just as Alissa was hitting adolescence—the Russian Revolution. At 12, Rand watched Bolshevik soldiers march in and take her father’s pharmacy. He would never really work again, and she would spend her adulthood railing, from across the world, against anyone who used force to “loot and mooch” from productive businessmen. As violence escalated and the Russian economy imploded, the Rosenbaums were forced to leave St. Petersburg and move into a small unheated house in a resort town on the Black Sea.

QUOTE: It’s hard not to suspect, based on many of these childhood anecdotes, that Rand suffered from some kind of undiagnosed personality disorder. 

QUOTE: Toward the end of her life, Rand listened as a prominent psychologist stood onstage and dismissed her fictional heroes—those idealized steel barons and physicists and composers—as implausible. Soon she’d had enough and stood up in the crowd, outraged.       “Am I unreal?” she shouted. “Am I a character who can’t possibly exist?”     She intended this, one suspects, as a refutation. It strikes me as maybe the most profound question she ever raised.

COMMENT: So Ayn Rand was really a Russian Jew who repeated her father's outrage that his business was taken from him, and who called the people who took his business from  him 'moochers.' In addition, she was a liar. She did not make it on her own. She had relatives in America who loaned and gave her money, plus allowed her to eat for free. 

STORY: http://nymag.com/arts/books/features/60120/index1.html
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Ayn Rand was an opinionated, hypocritical elitist who never came to grips with her bitterness over her family's past. I never understood how she got elevated to goddess-hood in some people's minds.
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Thank you so much Fox News for letting me see history being made so directly. As the American empire slowly crumbles under its own weight it's fascinating to watch your wealthy working hard to funnel the frustration and rage of the people away from them and onto the omni present invaders.

There are so many interesting things going on in this story. Such a precise use of language and rhetoric. People often call American cultural products cheap or empty, but there is technical brilliance in the propoganda unlike anything in the world.

Notice in the piece that one of the first points is to reference a poll that shows the majority of people agree with the argument of the article. It's a good way to make an illegitimate argument, everyone else thinks so, seem legitimate. You could use a poll from New York that would turn out exactly the opposite. But seeing that poll gives the feeling everyone else thinks this way so maybe I should too. It's emotional manipulation.

Let's also think of the persecution myth itself. Good Friday is the day we celebrate the persecution, death, and rebirth of Christ. Here that same story and the emotional charge from the holiday are being drawn on to make the connection between Christ being persecuted and Republicans being persecuted. They want you to empathize with Republicans in the same way you empathize with Christ. Suggesting Republicans and Christians are one on the same.

The next thing to consider is how Ann keeps suggesting Christian and Republican are one in the same. She keeps repeating this over and over again. What's she's trying to do is convince you that an attack against Republican policy is an attack against Christianity. That's really the important idea they're trying to get you to agree with here. Successfully merging political and religious ideas means the politicians quite literally control the church and control how scripture should be understood.

Let's remember that it was Christian socialists who brought universal health care to much of the world. To say Christianity must suggest Republican political beliefs is flatly not true.

Just as it's not true the left hates Christianity. If anything the sentiments of the left, to put people above profit, can be more readily found in the Bible than the apathy and desire for violence seen on the modern right. If the left hates anything it's the ideologies of the right. It's those narratives that the left is opposed to. Not Christian ones.

For further proof of this I'll point to the politics of the most vocal atheists. All of them sit squarely on the right on every issue except social conservatism. And it has been my experience the most vocal atheists, the ones screaming for an end to religion, are in virtually every case politically on the right.

Which makes me wonder if all of these Christian lambs realize the same party and ideology they are supporting is the exact same one being supported by people like Sam Harris or David Silverman of American atheists. If the Republican way is so divine and holy how is it anti theists, who out right despise God, like it so much?

And how is it Christians don't have an issue with Republican sweetheart Ayn Rand? Some of these Republican saints you're so eager to support also have a relationship with the works of an atheist philosopher who clearly stated her work was the antithesis of Christianity. The exact opposite. A fact so true the Church of Satan uses it as the basis for its religion.

But what's really fascinating about the entire thing is how is shows the relationship between politics and religion in action. As the politicians make decisions where to take the country they shout it out to their followers, who then express it through their religion so they can feel they were the agents deciding to agree. 
 
Are Republicans standing up forcefully enough for religious freedom? Ann Coulter told Bill O'Reilly she doesn't think so. 
Bill O'Reilly argued in his Talking Points Memo Thursday night that the war on Christianity is getting worse. While Christians are slaughtered by ISIS in the Middle East, O'Reilly highlighted the repeated "verbal attacks" against Christians here at home.
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My father was a medic in the forgotten war. He ran into mine fields to rescue soldiers. He couldn't watch modern war movies. He said, it's too real, I don't want to relive that. War is terrible. He never understood the dramatization or romanticism of war for propaganda.
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The article really fails to persuade me. I have no love for Baron Black, but he does make good arguments. A few points:

1. The old atheists were so much better than the new ones—wittier, better writers, more cogent, and less militant. This argument can be made only by those who have never really read Russell, Mencken, Ingersoll, and Mill; the claim is based on pure ignorance.

That's a pretty absurd claim if you know much of anything about Black. He's most certainly read all those writers and I would agree with him that they are much more nuanced in their arguments than anything Hitchens has ever written. Hitchens is entertaining to be sure, but he isn't on par with the names above. Not even close. 

I'll make this point clear with on of my favorite videos from Russell where he summarizes his ideals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8h-xEuLfm8

There is quite a gulf between that message and the one we hear from new atheists.

2. Without religion we wouldn’t have a good source of morality.  Seriously? Is Black ignorant of the long tradition of secular ethics beginning with the ancient Greeks? Or does he think that that morality is dubious if it doesn’t come from God? If that’s the case, does he know about Plato’s Euthyphro argument—to my mind one of the great triumphs of philosophy? Black says this:

. . . without some notion of a divine intelligence and its influence on the culture of the world through the various religions (though the principal religions are not interchangeably benign or influential) there would be no serious ethical conceptions. Communities untouched by religious influences have been unalloyed barbarism, whatever the ethical shortcomings of some of those who carried the evangelizing mission among them. Without God, “good” and “evil” are just pallid formulations of like and dislike. As Professor Lennox reminded me, Dostoyevsky, scarcely a naive and superstitiously credulous adherent to ecclesiastical flimflam, said “without God, everything is permissible.”

Plato's argument couldn't have been made without some notion of a divine intelligence. It is quite literally built on the notion of divine intelligence. While it might do a good job of raising hard questions about it, even dismissing it, the fact remains the idea of God is needed to even make the argument in the first place.

Furthermore, from a historical and sociological perspective, Greek philosophy was the religion of the Greeks for a period of their history. Platonism itself can be defined as a form of theism. So Black's point about having no serious ethical conceptions without religion does hold strong here.

That’s palpably wrong. Atheists are no more immoral than religionists, and we don’t engage in killing other people in the name of our nonbelief, nor do we try to force ridiculous strictures about sex, diet, and genital-cutting on everyone else.  The more atheistic countries like those in Scandinavia and other parts of northern Europe are, if anything, more “moral” (and less socially dysfunctional) than highly religious nations like America, Saudi Arabia, and much of sub-Saharan Africa.

Black isn't saying explicitly that atheists are immoral. A better retort here, instead of pointing out all the bad things religions have done, would be to point out that a society can grow past needing to think of God in a literal sense, and function quite effectively in a secular manner. Just like how the Scandinavian countries grew out of theocracies.

3. Atheism is a “faith.”

You have to acknowledge here that Black is using the definition of atheism as a belief there is no God. I know, in the atheist community atheism is a lack of belief, but that isn't as standard a definition as atheists pretend it to be. Really believing there isn't a God is something that requires faith because even though that's the most probable situation, it isn't something that can be supported with evidence. 

But so what? We all have beliefs in things we can't say have solid evidence. What should matter is how good the evidence we do have is.

4. Science isn’t leading to progress, just to more mysteries.

Agreed. Poor argument.

5. The idea of a multiverse is “diaphanous piffle.”:

Nor can the atheists ever grapple plausibly with the limits of anything, or with the infinite. They rail against “creation” — but something was created somehow at some point to get us all started. They claim evolution debunks Christianity  (though all educated Christians, including Darwin, acknowledge evolution) — but evolution began somewhere. When taxed with the extent of the universe and what is beyond it, most atheists now immerse themselves in diaphanous piffle about a multiverse — but the possible existence of other universes has nothing to do with whether God exists.

Black has a point. Things like evolution and the multiverse are very weak arguments against God. They might do a good job of showing us religious myths and stories are untrue, but that can be done in any number of ways. A good many Christians have given up thinking these stories to be literally true themselves a very long time ago. The only places you see this today are in pockets of the world with low levels of education.

6.  Religion is the repository of right and wrong, and that, rather than the truth of scripture, is its value.

Religious practice can certainly be targeted as a pursuit of the hopeful, the faith-based and the uncertain. But they badly overreach when they attack the intellectual underpinnings of Judeo-Christianity, from the ancient Judaic scholars and the Apostles to Augustine to Aquinas to Newman; deny the existence of any spiritual phenomena at all; debunk the good works and cultural creativity and conservation of the major religion; and deny that the general religious message of trying conscientiously to distinguish right from wrong as a matter of duty and social desirability is the supreme criterion of civilization. The theists defend their basic position fairly easily and only get into heavy weather when they over-invest in the literal truth of all the scriptures — though the evidence for veracity of the New Testament is stronger than the skeptics admit, including of Christ’s citations of God himself: “And God said …” [Black’s ellipses]

Scripture does have value in so much that it contains the philosophical history of our culture if we like it or not. In exactly the same way the works of the Greeks contain the philosophical history of our culture and of Christianity. If more people could understand that value and take it for what it is, instead of taking it literally, we'd all be better off.  
 
Jerry Coyne tackles Conrad Black's recent "atheist bashing" in the National Post.

Several incensed Canadian atheists sent me a link to a truly execrable piece by Conrad Black in the National Post, “The shabby, shallow world of the militant atheist.” I didn’t really know who Conrad Black was, but many Canadians seem to, for all the readers mentioned his criminal past. Born in Montreal, Black rose to control a chain of newspapers, acquiring titles and huge wealth along the way, but was then extradited to the U.S. to stand charges of fraud and obstruction of justice. He served three years in Federal prison, was deported back to Canada (and can’t re-enter the U.S. for 30 years), but still retains his enormous wealth and his title: “Baron Black of Crossharbour, of Crossharbour in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.”
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It's always interesting to read about the fantasy of the past. How the unseen or unheard were so much more eloquent in their protest of the establishment. What I hear is, it was so much better when, insert group here, was less vocal and knew their place and never rocked the boat. 

You can say whoever before never raised their voice. People today seem to have less patience for injustice than in the past.  If you're part of the majority and benefit from that status. It's very easy to tell others who can  and are oppressed to just wait their turn. 

You could say today's atheist shouldn't be so vocal and asinine  with their arguments. But I'd say the religious of the past seemed to be less concerned  with what others were doing and more focused on their actions instead. The religious of the past didn't seem to feel the need to have "their" god put into every facet of every one else's lives, due to reality breaking their faith.
We all may want to believe in Santa. But most of us realized around 9 or 10 that Santa isn't real. Sometimes you have to face the fact that we cling to the myths perpetuated by all the generations before us, because we were taught to.  Saying Santa is not real is like saying mom and dad are wrong. It's hard sometimes. It's also true sometimes. 

 
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I've been watching TOS recently so this is even funnier.
 
TMW rocks.


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"  February 27, 2015
Tom Tomorrow:
Star Trek vs. the Internet
This cartoon won a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators yesterday, which is both a huge honor and now somewhat bittersweet. Rest in peace, Mr. Nimoy.  "
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+Daniel Carelli I did notice Kirk seems to be falling for a new woman almost every episode. And there is a bit of sexism from a modern perspective.

But like +Barry Stephen Nieuport​ added there really were some heavy issues being dealt with. Even by our modern standards they remain problems we need to resolve. It really did give a vision of the future that seems attainable. 
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I am an all around geek, raising two little geeklings, and loving all that life has given me. I love reading, writing, and thinking about everything from tech to religion.

Doing NaNoWriMo again this year. Hopefully Google+ will give me the push to finish this year! 
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