We remember the Holocaust without waving Nazi flags

The society that culminated in the Confederate States of Amerika was founded on white people enslaving black people. Over hundreds of years a system grew entrenched around the fundamental right of one person to own another, lesser person. When the rest of the nation could no longer tolerate the intolerable, the CSA waged war in order to preserve the system that enslaved human beings. It comes as no surprise that a society that has murdered and cruelly tortured fellow humans for centuries would be willing to wage war.

Slave owners deserve no memorials. People whose livelihood and comforts were provided for by slaves deserve no celebration. Yes, we should remember the Old South, but as a terrible deviation from human decency.

People who defend the symbols of the CSA as history are at best misguided. The Civil War was not about states’ rights, other than the right to enslave, torture, rape, and murder an entire group of human beings.

We do not need to forget the Civil War. We do not need to blame the descendants of that monstrous society for the unforgiveable sins of their fathers. However, raising the confederate battle flag is the equivalent of tattooing Heil Hitler on your forehead. It marks you as an anti-social idiot, a right you still have.

Run, Bernie, Run!

Sanders appeals to me quite a bit. I think Clinton has a better chance of winning nationally, but I’m glad Bernie is raising hell. peace, mjh

The non-Clinton alternative for Democrats by Eugene Robinson

I’m not of the school that believes competition for competition’s sake is always a good thing. But Sanders has an appeal for younger, more liberal, more idealistic Democrats that Clinton presently lacks. If she competes for these voters — and learns to connect with them — she will have a much better chance of winning the White House. …

One thing Sanders has going for himself is palpable authenticity. He is the antithesis of slick. To say there’s nothing focus-grouped about the man is to understate; one doubts he knows what a focus group is. “Rumpled” is the word most often used to describe him, but that’s not quite right; it’s not as if his suits are unpressed or his shirttails untucked. He’s just all substance and no style — which, to say the least, makes him stand out among politicians….

Sanders’s main appeal, however, is that he speaks unabashedly for the party’s activist left. He is witheringly critical of Wall Street, wants to break up the big banks, proposes single-payer health care and promises to raise taxes. He voted against the 2003 invasion of Iraq; Clinton, then a senator, voted for it but now says that she made a mistake.

Oklahoma Supreme Court orders removal of Ten Commandments monument

As an atheist, I’m heartened by this ruling, though I know the zealots will be enraged.

Oklahoma Supreme Court orders removal of Ten Commandments monument

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a Ten Commandments monument placed on State Capitol grounds must be removed because the Oklahoma Constitution bans the use of state property for the benefit of a religion.

The 6-foot-tall (1.8-meter) stone monument, paid for with private money and supported by lawmakers in the socially conservative state, was installed in 2012, prompting complaints that it violated the U.S. Constitution’s provisions against government establishment of religion, as well as local laws.

In a 7-2 decision, the court said the placement of the monument violated a section in the state’s constitution, which says no public money or property can be used either directly or indirectly for the “benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion.”

Forget god

God doesn’t exist — he never did. We created all the gods in our image to embody the ideals we aspire to and the unfathomable misdeeds of which we’re capable. God is a fable, at times a cruel hoax, a story we all need to outgrow, just like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, the demigods of childhood.

But god is good, you say. No, you may be good. Your family, neighbors, friends are good — without god. But religion does good, you say. No doubt, but religion, like every human institution, does both good and bad — it’s our nature and the nature of all our creations and tools. Some of the bad we do in the name of god is genuinely horrible beyond the pale. We need to get beyond religion by forgetting god.

The most devout believers I know are Jewish. They have a code of behavior thousands of years old and they have discussed, debated, argued every word of it freely. What has it gotten them? The Dark Ages. The Holocaust. Palestine. Odds are some of their smiling neighbors whisper, “They’re Jews.” Praise the lord.

Few Christians are more full of love than African-Americans. Talk about the Stockholm Syndrome and mirroring the behavior of your abuser. Some American blacks take great comfort from god and faith. When did he start comforting them? Before their own holocaust, their ancestors had gods. You may shrug those off as heathenism — it’s all the same to me. Their religious neighbors sold them into slavery, before being enslaved themselves. Slaves endured centuries of unspeakable cruelty at the hands of good Christians. Deny the “good,” if you will. When did god stop listening to the prayers of the enslaver and start listening to the prayers of the enslaved? (Ask the Jews. They must have a day for that.)

What about Islam? Leave aside the tiny number who would kill me for blasphemy. (Whereas, the Jews will crack a joke about me, while the Christians say they’re praying for me.) Muslims also have strict codes selectively applied. What has Allah done for them? Made a few nauseatingly rich, so rich their table scraps comfort thousands of others, but not so rich that they choose to deal with the poverty and ignorance of the radicals. (Note how poverty and ignorance always go hand-in-hand with every religion. There will always be poor.)

But the Buddhists! They’re cool, right? Sure, they have lots of rules and demigods, plus all the pomp and circumstance of every religion. (Gotta give the folks a show as a key part of the sleight-of-hand.) Following Buddha may have helped them wait-out communism. That’s something.

And the new kids on the block? The Mormons? They carry on while the non-believers laugh and shake their heads. Where was their god when non-Mormons slaughtered them and drove them into the desert? No, the Scientologist, the most blatantly unapologetic con game. The latest hoax is the most obvious because it’s new. Given time, any nonsense finds followers. All believers are faithful to their own fantasy.

Just as we must recognize god as fiction — metaphor, at best — so we must stop chasing the delusion of heaven, the carrot in the deadfall. You have one life. It will end. NOTHING of your consciousness will live on. You may have kids who look, sound, and act like you. You may create art or devastation people talk about for generations. That’s not YOU. YOU will die. Childish stories will not change that. Believing, hoping, praying something better is coming will not change your fate or mine. Your hope is exploited by the charlatans and propheteers (sic). Grow up, be good, get on with life, be kind, take care of yourself and others. Accept the bad you can’t change and take responsibility for the bad you can change. You don’t need a god or heaven or soul for any of those good things — they are in our nature.

Sun Stand Still

Tick … tock, the pendulum swings so slowly. Lub … dub, another beat of Gaia’s heart.

longest day

From today on, the sun rises a little later each morning. Paradoxically, the sun sets a little later each night for the next week before it begins to set earlier.

Ban traps everywhere

What kind of person supports trapping? How can Congress consider EXPANDING this barbaric act instead of outlawing it?

Bill seeks to make trapping a legal hunt | Albuquerque Journal News By Nicole Paquette, Vice President Of Wildlife Protection / Humane Society Of The United States PUBLISHED: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 12:05 am

One of the children recounted what happened next:

“[The younger child] got a closer look at him and started screaming, ‘it’s a trap.’ And there was a snare trap that was tied around his neck that had suffocated them. My other St. Bernard, 10 feet away, we look at him and he’s caught in another trap. And so we both rush over there to try to break the wire free that was tied around his neck, but he was fighting us and was trying to fight to get loose, and the wire just got too tight; and we both, there was nothing we could do … . Later that night, we found Brooklyn, the dog who originally went missing, and we found her in a trap as well.”

Sadly Brooklyn, Jax and Barkley’s story is far from unique. Every year, trappers kill at least six million target animals and millions more non-target animals, including family pets, and threatened and endangered species. By including trapping in its definition of hunting, the Sportsmen’s Act would dramatically expand this cruel practice. Whether it’s a steel-jawed leghold trap, a Conibear trap or a cable snare, these traps are simply inhumane.

Bill seeks to make trapping a legal hunt | Albuquerque Journal News