Poverty and inequality are more structural than circumstantial

Again, running like crazy with no time to write, but here’s a quick summary of what I’m reading.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the unique brand of inequality and poverty we’re experiencing – especially our middle income stagnation – is structural. More progressive income taxes might shave this phenomenon around the edges, but the core issue is the remarkable acceleration of technology.

The benefits of these developments are massive, but they are inherently very concentrated. Taxes alone won’t change that. This is a structural challenge that threatens the viability of capitalism.

Capitalism has always been reducing our overall workload, creating social disruption in exchange for radically higher wealth. In the early 20th century we dealt with this by creating a regulatory and welfare infrastructure that allowed capitalism to survive. As this process gains pace, pressure is building toward a similar update. The institutional structures built to manage industrial capitalism are not working anymore.

Technology and Inequality – MIT Technology Review

The educational value of being born rich – Washington Post

Why poor kids don’t stay in college – Washington Post

Poor kids who do everything right don’t do better than rich kids who do everything wrong– Washington Post

 

 

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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277 comments on “Poverty and inequality are more structural than circumstantial
    • fiftyohm says:

      So this is a really interesting piece, if you take the time to dig down. There is much in here. What do you think is the primary take-away? ( I think there are many.)

  1. texan5142 says:

    Anybody else seen this, Wow! just Wow! Some people.

    • Turtles Run says:

      Who wants to lay bets he is a tea derper as well?

    • GG says:

      I wish I had sound but my audio is not working right now. What is the situation and why are the security people not reacting before this all escalates? You have some airport personnel behind the desk not even seeming to react and what is the guy with the cowboy hat doing? Does he know the guy and is he egging him on or what?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        GG, we have sound but still having trouble understanding the entire situation. Hey, you missed out on a lot of colorful language. 🙂

  2. flypusher says:

    FYI Homer, it looks like someone has one-upped Greg Abbott in the stupid legal arguments against same sex marriage dept:

    http://m.cjonline.com/news/2014-10-23/couple-seeks-defend-states-same-sex-marriage-ban#gsc.tab=0

    Never underestimate the derp.

  3. kabuzz61 says:

    Off topic but Michelle Obama is sure making alot of gaffes. I am thinking she is not as bright as I first thought.

  4. tuttabellamia says:

    Regarding technology and inequality . . . simplistic thoughts that come to mind: If you can’t beat them, join them.

    Join them, as in . . . We should provide education and training to bring people up to speed and make them able to compete for the fewer jobs available.

    Or beat them at their own game, as in . . . become less dependent on technology if at all possible, thus starving the beast.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      I wish. I think the horse is way out of the barn at this point. We have a couple generations that not only use technology continuously but also expect it to improve.

      I do remember a time when a phone booth was my mobile phone. A pad was my calender/scheduluer and my phone weighted a ton and had a rotary dialer. TV was B&W and very heavy and bulky, radio’s in cars had to be tuned in, etc. But I also thought I was in high tech then. Go figure.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Agreed, but we were able to function pretty well. I still think it’s possible for each of us as individuals to reduce our dependence on technology, if we choose to. I don’t like anything or anyone to have any type of hold on me. I like to be able to just walk away. There’s always an alternative, and it’s not always as bad as they make it out to be.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I resent the smugness of the Google and other Silicon Valley types taking it for granted that they have us in the palm of their hands. They do have the right and freedom to act on their ambitions and push the envelope, but we also have the freedom to say no.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Tutt — True enough. But how well could you participate in the modern world without having any sort of telephone available, both for sending and receiving messages?

        You can’t entirely reject modern technology without reverting to a pre-modern existence, like the Amish. They’re continuing a lifestyle from after the Agricultural Revolution but (largely) before the Industrial Revolution. That’s a “stable” place to exist without having to accommodate changes. But I find it hard to believe that any professional could participate in today’s market economy while limiting herself to technologies of the 1950s, or 1890s, or 1840s.

        If you don’t want to at least minimally keep up with industrial society, you’d best be prepared to become a farmer, or a hermit-retiree whose existence is subsidized by others. And low-tech subsistence farming requires a set of skills, attitudes, and expectations which are increasingly rare among modern populations.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Owl, I wasn’t thinking of going back that far, just maybe to the pre-internet era, just before technological advances began to grow exponentially.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        And when potential clients ask, “Oh, what’s your website?” or “Where should I email you?” what do you say?

        When other professionals steal your customers, because *they* are accessible at all times by either email or voice, and you aren’t, what will you do?

        I’m being a bit over-severe here, for sure; one could eke out a living, perhaps, among the similarly minded, but it’s a very real problem.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        During analog days I was tethered in my own way, always on call, always available, chained to my home phone, or always calling in from wherever I happened to be, and my boss always found a way to hunt me down wherever I was, so it is possible in a pre-internet environment, but yes, at great price, so I guess technology has provided me with freedom from all that, sort of. I’m still tethered, but in a different way.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Tutt, I agree on the on-call thing. When ATT came out with call forwarding, wow, I could go over someones house and forward my phone without a problem. Then I received a pager, and I really didn’t like that at all. I felt monitored and I thought I lost a little bit of my freedom.

        NOW! Instant contact both ways and I hate it. No one has patience anymore. I also think it interfers with people’s initiative as they can just pass on a call. I am definitely in your camp. I am semi retired and I will shortly be fully retired. Then, I am off the grid.

        Fun fact! I never purchased a cell phone. My employers always provided although they would have preferred they just give me a stipend, but I tell them I have no need for a cell phone so I am not buying one.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Kabuzz, what do you mean with “as they can just pass on a call?”

        Do you mean transfer a call, or “pass” and not take it?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I like being of the generation exposed to both analog and digital. I’ve used everything from typewriters to computers, from rotary dial phones to smartphones, from vinyl records to digital music, etc.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Technology frees us while it restrains us. I remember when I was a kid and my dad was on call. He couldn’t leave the house. He had a really long phone cord and he would always have the phone next to him.

        Now I have a job where I am on call for two weeks and off for two weeks. I have a job issued iPhone and laptop and I generally have the laptop in the truck when I am on call. If there is a problem I pull into a parking lot, break out the laptop, plug in the aircard and remote into the system and deal with the problem, then we are off and running again.

        The down side is that we are always connected, and I always have the iPhone with me just in case something major happens and all hands are called in, on call or not. And people expect us to always be able to answer when they call unless we let them know we will be out of touch for a period of time. If they don’t answer or respond, the worry can grow fast.

        On the plus side, we are always connected in case of emergencies. Mom and dad were coming back from Oklahoma when their truck got hit by lightning (last time dad ever used a CB radio) and fried all the electronics, stranding them on the side of the road in the middle of nowhereville. They called AAA and got a tow truck dispatched. So it is good and yet bad at the same time.

        Tutt is really cool when it comes to technology. She loves to go to antique stores, has several antique typewriters, phones, turntables and TVs. She enjoys making old work with new, like an old Califone turntable with Bose speakers. I am starting to have some fun with that myself. I bought my late dad’s truck from my mom that came with an AM/FM cassette player, cassette player not working. I went online and found a stock AM/FM radio with a CD player, but retrofitted with a cable to connect an MP3 player. We can plug in the iPhones and play MP3s, even stream music or radio stations. Not bad for a truck that was built before 56k modems were all the rage.

      • CaptSternn says:

        And yes, the truck I bought from my mom is the one that got hit by lightning. It is still a little quirky at times.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Long live Radio Shack!

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      Oh, and Tutt, I’m all for your dream of education and training. Look what Germany just did with college tuition. Would that job retraining classes were similar, and laid-off steelworkers could sample a reasonable variety of trades to find one that matched their preferences and goals.

      Sure, in the socialized hyper-technical future which Chris has occasionally contemplated, you might have laid-off workers who spent the rest of their lives taking classes and never becoming gainfully employed. But what a neighborhood handy-woman/man such a person would make!

      • tuttabellamia says:

        It would be great if the low-income people among us could aspire to be the movers and shakers in the tech world instead of being only the users of tech, the pawns of Google, the walking zombies — creators and thinkers instead of mere users.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        As tech fortunes continue to be made by *ideas* — the latest app or widget, rather than the actual underlying hardware — it becomes more important to democratize the ability of everyone to *apply* those ideas.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Owl, I think in order to be a creator and thinker, it’s necessary to disconnect to a certain extent from the very technology that you would be working to improve or contribute to as a creator and thinker. A walking zombie, constantly lost in a world of mind numbing social media, can’t accomplish much.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Technology has become the opiate of the masses.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Smartphones are the new boob tubes.

  5. Owl of Bellaire says:

    Far below, Tuttabella complains, “Our culture has become youth-oriented and dismissive of our senior population”; that “in the book THE AGE OF AMERICAN UNREASON, Susan Jacoby describes our transformation from a serious, adult culture to a frivolous, youth-oriented culture in which the perspective of older people is scorned.”

    But is that a deliberate social movement, or simply the result of living in the ever-accelerating, ongoing Industrial Revolution?

    When we were hunter-gatherers, or pastoralists, or farmers, and life didn’t change that much from century to century, then elders were indeed revered figures; the knowledge they’d picked up through decades of education and survival was invaluable to younger, less experienced folks.

    But when an elder’s experiences pertain to a horse-mill rather than a steam engine, or to vacuum tubes rather than integrated circuits, or to COBOL rather than Python, then that knowledge is valuable more to curiosity than actual, effective endeavor. That’s not to say that it’s useless: *social* knowledge remains valuable, at least in so far as society and its mores tend to change at a somewhat slower rate than its technology.

    So if you really want elders to regain their legendary positions from “the good old days” for good reason rather than for hidebound tradition, you’re either calling for a retreat from the Industrial Revolution or a hell-bent advance toward the Singularity (if such exists).

    The problem gets exacerbated by “Baumol’s Cost Disease” and other such wicked effects on pay and labor, and their steady drag on salaries.

    In days past, women generally worked at home, and were expected to add to their already significant load of household duties the care of elderly relatives. Meanwhile, the husband’s income was generally enough to support the entire extended family. That’s still the case in some positions today, but fewer and fewer.

    Because, as machines began to outstrip human beings, that load of housework became easier as irons, ovens, washing machines, coffee makers, and the like proliferated. Of course, the costs for such, coupled with the general decline of pay for the relatively unskilled tasks to which the majority of the population were fitted (before machines overtook them, too) forced women out into the workforce in increasing numbers in order to support those families. If elderly mom and pop couldn’t hack it in the house alone, they had to go somewhere else.

    Of course, elderly mom and pop often didn’t WANT to stay in the house; the lucky ones who’d gotten in on the ground floor of the technology-driven economic expansion had a goodly store of accumulated wealth, and wanted to celebrate retirement in style while they could. So the schism came from both sides: the young had to work and the old wanted to play. Of course, plenty of scammers also emerged to try to fleece those elders of their wealth, particularly when they didn’t necessarily know a vacuum tube from an IC.

    Now, as for me, I’d love to see schools built alongside retirement centers: the young and the old have a lot to teach each other. But that would require a concentrated effort to make our society, and our economy, and our government, undertake such goals.

    Universal health care, and a guaranteed basic income, might go a long way toward undoing some of the cumulative effects from industrial capitalism that I’ve described. Of course, the very ones who keen the loss of that Golden Age are also the ones least likely to accept such measures as necessary solutions.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Food for thought for my lunch hour.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      I’ve always liked the Spanish-language proverb: “Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo.”

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Owl wrote: I’d love to see schools built alongside retirement centers: the young and the old have a lot to teach each other.
      *******************************
      You have that scenario right by Lambert Hall — the senior citizen home across from Hamilton Middle School.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Owl, the new technology, which allowed me to telecommute / work from home, is what allowed me to care for my mom at home and not have to put her in a nursing home.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        True; and that’s the sort of recent technology which might bring about a reversal of the pattern. Though few jobs as of yet really allow that sort of flexibility.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Owl wrote: So if you really want elders to regain their legendary positions from “the good old days” for good reason rather than for hidebound tradition . . .
      ****************************
      You imply that people are worthy of being honored and exalted only if they are useful. I think that even if they can no longer contribute what they used to, they are worthy of honor because it was thanks to their efforts that we have what we have now.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        I suppose I did imply it, though it wasn’t really my intention.

        I was merely suggesting that a social movement is more likely to take root if it offers utility in addition to tradition. Thankfulness is an extremely important value, but not one which serves as a universal motivator.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Owl, I don’t think our current social movements favoring the young are based so much on utility, tradition, or gratitude as on what is COOL, HIP, and FASHIONABLE. I think that comes from the prevalence of certain types of superficial, glossy media, especially visual media, beginning in the 20th century. It’s all about appearances and fantasy.

      • flypusher says:

        Tutta, I think you have a valid point about superficiality in a youth-centered culture. But with those old elder -respecting cultures, usually the elders would be contributing something, like insights based on their greater span of experience. A primitive low-tech culture wouldn’t have the means to support too many who didn’t contribute. You do get the concepts of supporting even non-productive elderly arising in cultures later on, such as usually after the start of agriculture and the capacity to produce more food.

        I’ve heard the story that among the Inuit elders too frail to hunt or otherwise produce were expected to go out into the wilderness to die of exposure. I haven’t researched that for veracity, but I could understand how that could come to pass in a place where existence is so precarious. We have a whole lot of luxuries in 21st Century America .

      • CaptSternn says:

        Fly, that is interesting. My parents would often tell me (jokingly) about the Amish tradition of the children (adults by then) building an extra room on the house for their parents so the parents could retire and the “children” would take over the farm or ranch and care for the parents.

        I put that suggestion to rest every time by telling them I would do just that … as soon as they signed everything over to me. 😀

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Fly, would you say superficiality and glitter are “useful?”

        Does it boil down to youth and beauty being desirable for reproductive purposes, even if it’s just fantasy, the “idea” of youth and beauty?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        We should also point out that old people are *common* now, thanks to advances in medical science. Thus, they are no longer a scarce and treasured resource.

        Also, old people used to be in good health until they died suddenly. Now we have lots of old people hanging on in poor health, thanks to that same medical science. That makes many old people less pleasant to be around (to put it superficially and bluntly), and more of a burden than a resource in some cases.

        Moreover, old people in good health and with spare resources of their own may, quite logically, fantasize about being young again. And that right there will distort the culture, too.

  6. johngalt says:

    An interesting piece on different sort of “beliefs” people have and whether the factual kind and religious kind are different.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2014/10/20/357519777/are-factual-and-religious-belief-the-same

    • Crogged says:

      “OMG, those crazies think there’s a virgin waiting for them in Heaven!”, said the man who thought his small sip of Sunday wine turned into the blood of God.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Said Andrew Sullivan, “confirmed” Catholic.

      • Crogged says:

        Which is probably why he is such in favor, now, of leaving well enough alone– the inhabitants of the Middle East to solve their religious ‘problem’ their way in their time and to not take the bait .

        It’s not a Catholic’s problem to resolve a religious conflict in Islam and we all believe in things which aren’t objectively true, but subjectively comforting.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        I thoroughly enjoyed Irshad Manji’s *The Trouble with Islam* which, among its amusing anecdotes and provocative observations, basically makes the case that Islam is more than due for a Reformation: that it had such a tradition of questioning and logical disputation in centuries past, but that such tools were ground down by fundamentalists and their allies who felt shocked and threatened by the ascendance of the West.

      • Crogged says:

        I was raised in a Christian sect which still has many who consider Baptists to be heretical liberals-CINO.

        A book in my childhood home described the ‘foundation’ of many Western Protestant churches and I looked our own up. It appears that in the late 19th century communion was given in one cup shared by the church, but then science and germs reared ugly, pagan, heads………

        http://www.churches-of-christ.net/tracts/job110u.htm

        “I once knew an Episcopalian lady in Newport, Rhode Island, who asked me to design and build a doghouse for her Great Dane. The lady claimed to understand God and His Ways of Working perfectly. She could not understand why anyone should be puzzled about what had been or about what was going to be.

        And yet, when I showed her a blueprint of the doghouse I proposed to build, she said to me, “I’m sorry, but I never could read one of those things.”

        “Give it to your husband or your minister to pass on to God,” I said, “and, when God finds a minute, I’m sure he’ll explain this doghouse of mine in a way that even you can understand.”

        She fired me. I shall never forget her. She believed that God liked people in sailboats much better than He liked people in motorboats. She could not bear to look at a worm. When she saw a worm, she screamed.

        She was a fool, and so am I, and so is anyone who thinks he can see what God is Doing, [writes Bokonon].”

      • texan5142 says:

        Who created the creator? The creation hypothesis put forth by Sternn and others says that nothing can come from nothing, there has to be a creator. So it stands to reason that something had to create the creator. What created your god?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Apparently, God gets to break all the rules. That’s how you know It exists.

        Except It *doesn’t* obviously break the rules around *you*. That’s why you have to have faith, which Sternn earlier defined as blithe ignorance combined with trust.

        God is, apparently, such a kind of shy gamester. Or gamesome shyster.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Cappy logic tested

      • Turtles Run says:

        and

      • CaptSternn says:

        Well, Turtles, I took the time to watch both of the videos you posted, and now I understand you are an atheist.

        So … why do you claim to be a Mormon? I thought Mormons were Christians that believe in God.

        This reminds me of the Jehovah’s Witness that I once worked with that believed the Second Coming had already happened, and only 144,000 Jews from the Twelve Tribes would be allowed into Heaven. Why was he a follower when he had no chance? He had no answer to that. So if you are the atheist you claim to be, why bother with any religion?

        Your first video just shows the ignorance and hatred of Christians that atheists believe.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      John Galt, this brings to mind what I posted the other day on the religion thread — that it’s possible to accept something as truth without actually believing it.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        That still seems like a complete oxymoron to me. If you don’t believe something, then you pretty much by definition don’t accept it as truth.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Maybe you accept that it’s accepted as truth by the general population, but you don’t quite believe it yourself, so maybe there’s something wrong with you for not believing what the rest of society accepts as truth.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        OR, you don’t actually believe it deep down, but you believe it on another level, a level on which you suspend your disbelief.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        There is factual belief and then faith. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” “Thomas, you believe because you see me, but blessed are those who believe in me who have not seen.” “My people parish from lack of faith.”

        When you were a child, you had perfect faith in your parents. You didn’t think twice that your needs would be met as far as food and clothing. This is the kind of faith Jesus referenced when he said “Bring the children unto me.”

        Modern society mixes up religion and faith as one. They are very much different.

      • texan5142 says:

        kubazz wrote;

        “When you were a child, you had perfect faith in your parents. You didn’t think twice that your needs would be met as far as food and clothing. This is the kind of faith Jesus referenced when he said “Bring the children unto me.””

        Agreed, but I could see, feel, hear, etc. my parents, it was not blind faith.

      • Crogged says:

        Bokonon, granfalllons-Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. Required reading for any who seek work in the fields of diplomacy, clergy, politics and our totally, brand new under the sun field of ‘technology and information”.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Kabuzz’s foot entered his mouth to produce, “My people parish from lack of faith.”

        Yeah, that describes a lot of Christian churches I’ve seen.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Tuttabella offers, “Maybe you accept that it’s accepted as truth by the general population, but you don’t quite believe it yourself, so maybe there’s something wrong with you for not believing what the rest of society accepts as truth.”

        But that still doesn’t produce the situation of accepting a truth and not believing in it. In fact, it produces a universal attitude of doubt, which is probably more intellectually healthy.

        You don’t believe in the supposed “truth”, so you doubt that.
        You don’t agree with the general population, so you doubt them.
        You’re not sure whether to trust yourself over the herd, so you doubt yourself.

        And that, of course, is the germ of the scientific paradigm: doubt everything.

        From science-fiction author David Brin: “For all its beauty, honesty, and effectiveness at improving the human condition, science demands a terrible price — that we accept what experiments tell us about the universe, whether we like it or not. It’s about consensus and teamwork and respectful critical argument, working with, and through, natural law. It requires that we utter, frequently, those hateful words — ‘I might be wrong.'”

      • flypusher says:

        “.. that we accept what experiments tell us about the universe, whether we like it or not. ”

        That is the sticking point for many, many people.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        The point Texan is you took it on faith that you would be fed and clothed You didn’t even give it a thought. That is faith.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        So, kabuzz, faith is the arrogant certainty that means never having to contemplate the thought that “I might be wrong”?

      • texan5142 says:

        Yes it is faith, faith that can be felt, smelled, touched. That kind of faith comes easy, having faith in something that is abstract is an animal of a different color.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Texan, when you were four, I am sure you didn’t think “I hope mommy and daddy feeds me tomorrow morning” or “I hope I will have clothes to wear tomorrow”. You didn’t know it, but you were practicing faith. When you sit in a chair, you don’t give it a thought. You don’t even think it may break, etc. You have faith.

      • texan5142 says:

        kabuzz61 says:
        October 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm
        When you sit in a chair, you don’t give it a thought. You don’t even think it may break, etc. You have faith.

        You are correct, when I sit in a chair I do not give it a thought or even think it might break. That is not faith, faith would be me sitting in an obviously defective chair that someone I trusted told me would support my weight, but that is more of a trust issue I suppose. I would have trust in the person who said it would be fine. It takes someone you trust to over ride common sense, not faith.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Kabuzz says it well, belssed are those that believe without seeing. Even those that hae seen will still have doubts, such as Thomas. But really, all have seen. The Creation is proof of the Creator. Texan, do you believe that the chair simply grew and evolved into a chair, or did somebody “create” it, build it? Do chairs just happen out of randomness, or is there a purpose behind the “creation” of the chair?

      • texan5142 says:

        A chair is made not created, you make a fire, you make a cake, you make an effort.

      • CaptSternn says:

        If the material had not been Made (Created), there would be nothing with which to “make” the chair. Even then, the chair had to be “created” in the mind of the maker.

      • johngalt says:

        Is Sternn attempting the lamest version of the uncaused cause argument (which starts out pretty lame to begin with)?

      • texan5142 says:

        The design of a chair came about by natural selection, man sitting on the ground notices monkey in the tree lounging on the branches in a sitting position. Man thinks, he looks comfy, sets about making something that he can lounge on/in on the ground and “Viola” a chair is born. Over time it is refined to the point one can get a chair that doubles as a toilet if one wants one. You can call it creation, I call it the mother of invention…. necessity the mother of invention.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Twain once said, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”. Perfect.

      • CaptSternn says:

        No, John, I am saying there is a Cause, a First Cause. Without a First Cause, there can be no other Causes. You and others are suggesting the Uncaused Cause.

        I thank you for “causing” some of us to think and exercise our bains today. Rather refreshing.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Texan, why didn’t the man just climb a tree and sit on a branch?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Cap – There is a vocabulary specifically associated with this discussion. You are suggesting an ” uncaused first cause”, exactly as JG said. Your “first cause” had better be “uncaused”, or it was in turn caused by something else. Capiche?

      • CaptSternn says:

        There is a First Cause, or an Uncaused Cause. Is there an Uncaused First Cause? Or is there an Eternal Being? God.

        You see a vehicle moving down then road. Was there a cause for the road, the vehicle, the force moving the vehicle, the person controlling the vehicle? Or is it all just random happenings with no causes? Does action cause reaction, or does reaction just happen on its own?

      • CaptSternn says:

        My favorite and very corny example …

        Phenomenology from Dark Star.

        It is a shame that Saturday night goofiness in movies no longer exists. I miss the Kung Fu movies that aired all day long on channels like 26 and 39. Guess I am getting old. Meh. I am still richer for having lived in that age and remembering it.

      • johngalt says:

        The argument goes that everything has a cause, so nothing could come into existence without a cause. Except the thing that came into existence without a cause. So we have an assumption that violates the proof. We call this assumption God and we have just proved what we a priori believe. It was transparently nonsense when Aristotle proposed it, got even worse when Aquinas started naming his assumption, and it has gone steadily downhill from there.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Ok Joh, so reaction happens without action in your world. The chair just randomly came to exist. If you park a Volkswaon and a chair in a garage, you will end up with a BMW.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        For Sternn, of course, the First Cause will always be the Confederacy.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Bird, you should stick to the name-calling. At least in that realm you show some sign of intellect. Outside of that, not so much.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Cap – Your intellectual arrogance is truly astounding at times. You don’t know Aquinas from an aquarium, yet you have the hubris to pretend to simplify arguments of the ages. It’s as if you believe no one before you has considered these questions, and the complexity behind them. You just know it without effort or study.

        May I fly your Gulfstream? I can, you know. Please? You don’t have one? Why not? In a true meritocracy you’d have one!

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Fifty, you are making an assumption and demonstrating your hypocrisy at the same time. Captain many times explains in detail any comment he adds and you and others attack on it, he writes simpler comments with brevity and he is attacked on it. How about this? He makes a point that is valid, you can’t answer the point so you attack the man. That is your MO lately.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The uncaused cause would be that the universe is eternal, no beginning, no end. It has always been and will always be. But that goes against science, which says the universe is about 14 billion years old, so there was a beginning. To prove the uncaused cause you would have to reject science, or prove that the science is wrong.

        Fifty, did you have anything to add, or are you just sinking to the level of the bird?

      • CaptSternn says:

        Actually, Fifty, I take that back. The bird called me a “zyzzyva”, among other things. That is a type of worm, and in the “Trial of Captain Sternn” he is called a worm. So the bird takes name calling to new levels of sophistication that I think few are capable of achieving.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Cap – You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. But you do it with such authority.

        Science has nothing to say about ‘god’. The universe and its origins are not part of the discussion. If some ‘god’ caused the Big Bang, then that entity is not, or was not part of the universe as we define it. If one believes in *causality*, then something ’caused’ that entity to exist. Causality is a universal principle, accepted by all philosophers and theologians throughout history. The dodge JG referred to is that some argue , to avoid vainly, infinite regress, that ‘god’ himself was uncaused. The ‘ uncaused first cause’.

        Big fleas have little fleas
        Upon their backs to bite them
        Those little fleas have lessor fleas
        So on, ad infinitum.

      • johngalt says:

        “He makes a point that is valid…”

        Well, there’s your first mistake.

        Listen, neither Sternn nor I can say with any authority what existed prior to the Big Bang or what set it off. The difference is that I am willing to admit that whereas Sternn (and so many others) have invented a mythology to explain this. There is no more credence to this myth than the Greeks thinking Apollo drove the sun across the heavens in a chariot, but it seems to comfort many people. Why that is mystifies me, but I have accepted that it is so.

      • texan5142 says:

        Who created the creator? The creation hypothesis put forth by Sternn and others says that nothing can come from nothing, there has to be a creator. So it stands to reason that something had to create the creator. What created your god?

      • CaptSternn says:

        Yes, Fifty, God existed before the universe we know, still exists both outside and inside our known universe. God is a being that human beings cannot wrap our minds around.

        What exists outside our universe anyway? I mean seriously, scientists say our universe is expanding. Expanding out into what?

        Texan, I will ask God that when I see Him, among many other questions. Hopefully that will still be many years from now.

      • fiftyohm says:

        So Cap – if this god of yours is so wonderful, how come you don’t want to meet him as soon as possible? ( This is a serious question…)

      • CaptSternn says:

        Because life on this world is a blessing. As my dad always said. I kno my destination, and I have my ticket, but I want to take the last train out and enjoy this place as much as possible.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Fifty, I have to wonder about you at this point. Many killers say they are just sending people to Heaven early, mass murderes are doing their victims a favor. Many that are pro-choice use that argument as well, sending the unborn on to Heaven to be with God. Terrorists think they are going to Heaven and sending others to face God. That is what Turtles and now you are suggesting, though Turtles is now exposed himself as an atheist. I worry about people like you.

      • CaptSternn says:

        You know something, I am adopted, and I say I am happy to be alive and wit a good family. I have met people online that are adopted and said they wished they had been killed. I ask why they are still alive. Never got an answer.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Ah – Cap – I am an atheist, don’t believe in heaven or hell, never thought about ‘sending anyone’ anywhere, least of all killing anyone, and I don’t believe a fetus goes anywhere, either. What on god’s green earth are you talking about?

        I asked you a simple question – to which you responded with a simple answer, for a change. Then, you just seemed to lose it. Good grief.

    • Crogged says:

      “Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.”

    • fiftyohm says:

      JG – That’s essentially what I was speaking of yesterday regarding the bicameral mind of the religious. Factual ‘beliefs’ are segregated from ‘religious beliefs’. Factual beliefs guide the sane person’s behavior in the real (rational) world. When religious beliefs begin to meld with, (leak into), the factual, you get Fundamentalism and all that goes with that.

    • Interesting read, John. Thanks for sharing.

    • CaptSternn says:

      Typical that somebody would refer to God as fiction. We try to understand the Creation and how things work, but we are only studying the Creation and how it works. Again, the Creation is proof of the Creation and of the Creator.

      One little quibble on the article, the Y2K problem. It was very, very real. Millions of manhours were spent on dealing with the old programming to avoid the problem ahead of time, and it was mostly successful, which is why all the dooms day predictions didn’t come true. Well, it is the reason there weren’t a whole lot of problems. Many of the dooms day predictions were exagerated for headlines and soundbites, but there were real issues. (Interesting fact, it didn’t all get resolved properly for the long term.)

      So, was it an imagined, fictional issue, or a factual issue? I guess a lot of people think it was fictional, but had the hours to avoid the problems not been spent, it would have been a very factual issue.

      How does that apply? Well, I guess it means that some people didn’t “come by their ignorance the hard way.” Hat tip to the quote Crogged posted.

      • CaptSternn says:

        To put it another, maybe better, way, many people took it on faith that nothing major would happen. And when nothing major happened, they took it on faith that there was never really any problem to begin with.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        So that’s a definition of faith as fecklessly uninformed belief.

        Is that really what you’re shooting for?

    • Crogged says:

      “According to the Winston-Salem Journal of North Carolina, State Board of Elections (SBOE) officials recently uncovered 145 names on their voter rolls that belonged to illegal immigrants who were recently granted “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) status by Obama. These would be people who have no legal right whatsoever to vote in our elections, but who are now registered to vote.”

      OMG, these people showed up at the polls and only by showing their drivers license did we catch them!

      or.

      North Carolina SBOE officials do their jobs and check voter rolls for eligibility-some people who registered aren’t eligible.

      Don’t you ever get tired of the smell of your burning hair?

    • Turtles Run says:

      Buzzy – This story has about as much credibility as you. Which is basically zero.

      Part of the story states:

      “Just this week, an Arizona ballot monitor caught a man wearing a Citizens for a Better Arizona T-shirt stuffing hundreds of early ballots in a ballot box, while guerrilla filmmaker James O’Keefe revealed undercover footage of liberal activists in Colorado urging him to fill out unused ballots, a violation of the law.”

      In the first it is legal for in the state of Arizona for people to assign someone to deliver their absentee ballots. Of course the GOP Chair in that county knows this but that did not stop him from making false allegations.

      As for O’Keefe, maybe in RWNJ world where being told such actions are illegal and to not do it is the same thing as “urging him to fill out unused ballots” in this reality telling him not to do such actions means just that.

      Oh, as for the person in Arizona that was delivering ballots, the cowardly actions by the GOP Chair have resulted in threats against the young man.

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/10/a-hispanic-man-delivers-absentee-ballots-and-now-conservatives-want-him-dead/

      Maybe articles like the one you posted work on the unthinking sheep like yourself, but do not think the rest of us are that foolish.

    • texan5142 says:

      kabuzz,
      So lets hear your excuse for posting blatant comlete udder bull shit.

    • johngalt says:

      Kabuzz, I want to ask a serious question here. What do you think about when you read articles like this? Do you simple accept everything without any critical thinking? Does it agree with your preconceived notions so you are conditioned to accept it?
      “According to Maricopa County Republican Party Chairman A.J. LaFaro, a liberal activist wearing a “Citizens for a Better Arizona” T-shirt walked in while poll workers were on an extended lunch and started shoving piles of ballots into the ballot box.”

      First, the video shows no such thing. It shows a guy sorting some papers. There is no ballot box in the image. But according to someone with a vested and highly partisan interest in election outcomes, it was clear evidence of fraud.

      “Illinois state representative candidate Jim Moynihan voting early for himself and other Republicans only to notice vote-after-vote being switched to Democratic candidates by the machine. ”

      No chance he was setting up a narrative to explain the wide loss he’s expected to suffer next month, is there?

      Do you have any index of suspicion when people say such blatantly self-serving things?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Suspicion requires thought, JG.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I blame today’s media environment. News is dressed up to look official and true.

        Not like the old days, when you knew not to accept tabloids such as the National Enquirer as truth. Sensationalism was obvious back then. Today it’s disguised.

      • texan5142 says:

        That is no excuse for due diligence Tutt, it is just lazy not to check the validity of such stories before one post such stories, especially if one leads with a snide remark.

        kabuzz61 says:
        October 23, 2014 at 8:45 am
        OT but could be fun to hear the excuses.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Texas, you’re right to a certain extent, but I still think today’s internet and media environment has turned people’s minds to mush. It’s easy to get caught up in something and get carried away by the current. Sometimes you just just have to stop, take a step back, take a breather, and take back control of your thoughts.

        It’s like a worm that infests the brain.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        It’s easy to be fooled in today’s saturated, 24/7, media environment.

      • Crogged says:

        I’m with Tutt on this, you can fool all of the people some of the time and the pay is good.

      • texan5142 says:

        Agreed!

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Personally, I still don’t take anything I read on the internet completely seriously.

        Even the websites of traditional newspapers are dumbed down.

        I only “believe” what I read in the print editions of newspapers.

        I am “old school.”

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Tutt offers the excuse, “Texas, you’re right to a certain extent, but I still think today’s internet and media environment has turned people’s minds to mush.”

        So whose fault is the mushiness?

        I mean, conservatives are supposed to be all about self-responsibility, so one would expect an honest kabuzz (if such a thing exists) to admit that he’d let his guard down, started blindly accepting things that sounded true enough to be convenient, and had thus opened his mind to mushiness.

        Of course, it’s more likely we’ll hear the much easier, self-exculpating whine that he was deceived, taken in, hood-winked, led astray, and it’s all to those OTHER PEOPLE’s blame.

        As so often, hypocrisy is a Republican value.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Good for you, Tutt. Now teach your boyfriend to do better, too.

      • Crogged says:

        I believe in truth and truth is when I see it much too late.

      • johngalt says:

        I think Tutt is right. Those of us of a certain age are conditioned that “news” has at least been fact-checked or passed through some kind of common sense filter. There may be biases in these articles, but they are for the most part subtle. Today there are so many sites that are dressed up as “news” but contain nothing of the professional journalism that marked real news media in the pre-internet era. These dupe those who lack a credibility filter of their own and, as Barnum noted so many years ago, there is no shortage of these people.

      • Turtles Run says:

        JG – These types of sensationalized stories have always existed in print or other media. I can understand if a person falls for it every once in a while especially if the article is cleverly disguised, but all the time. That is willingly allowing yourself to believe stories because it supports a worldview that does not exactly line up with reality.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I do think it’s good to get other perspectives, something we didn’t have before, as long as you realize they’re potentially biased.

        I’ve learned a lot from reading the comments sections on the websites of traditional newspapers, and my favorite section is the op/ed page.

        Straight facts are good but boring. I like hearing others expound on the facts.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Straight facts are good — but what we all want is a NARRATIVE that combines and explains those facts.

        Problems happen when we want a SIMPLE, fairy-tale-style narrative (“The Takers are overwhelming the Makers” and such) rather than the more complex ones which can handle actual reality.

      • Crogged says:

        We live in a grand age where constant objective information continually reinforces our false subjective beliefs. Evolution is changing us, the world behind our eyes is as real as our five senses, what is going to happen?

      • kabuzz61 says:

        I there have been plenty of stories posted by all that are very biased one way or the other.

        To answer your question JG, I don’t believe most of what I read from either side. Someone said it is like two sides of the same coin. In the area of deceit, both operate evenly. When a politician or pundant talked, my immediate reflex is to find out myself, if I want. Don’t have time with all the BS coming out of the parties.

        The main thing I wanted was the fun, like I said in the comment. I knew the reply’s before they came. That is how predictable we have become.

        Do you believe in everything Rawstory, NPR, etc.? My personal take is we have all been had. I have to hold my nose to vote because someone is a little closer to my views then the other. I suspect it is that way for some of you.

      • Crogged says:

        Two sides is a false representation of the true dilemma, there are one or many.

        I’ve been reading too much Vonnegut…….

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        kabuzz burbles, “The main thing I wanted was the fun, like I said in the comment.”

        So, basically, you’re admitting you’re a troll.

        Fuck you.

      • Crogged says:

        Ewwww, not me or you first, Owl…….

      • texan5142 says:

        I am calling bull shit kabuzz, you posted it full belief that it was true and now you won’t accept responsibility.

        kabuzz wrote,

        “The main thing I wanted was the fun, like I said in the comment. I knew the reply’s before they came. That is how predictable we have become.”

        Riiiiiight, so you posted something you knew was false just so we would point out that you are wrong because it is fun for you to be wrong and you enjoy being proved wrong? Man you have got a twisted since of humor. Are you a masochist? Do you get off of being wrong and proven wrong?

      • texan5142 says:

        What Owl said!

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Sorry I have to do this, but Texan is on the sauce again. I commented: OT but could be fun…”

        But Texan calls BS, that I didn’t do it for fun. How….Texan of him.

      • Crogged says:

        Buzz, you have oft claimed here that you know what we in the echo echo chamber chamber are going to say. Let’s make this Jeopardy, pose the answer and let us come up with the question. We promise not to use ‘What else can you blame on Obama, Dems, liberals or Taco Bell?” for every single item.

      • texan5142 says:

        I know you posted it for fun kabuzz, you little fuzzy fur ball of obtuse thinking. You get off on the narcissism of that fun……Hello!…….it gave you a woody, and at you age, I will bet it was fun. Bring back any memories of days gone by you old fart?

        I won’t be on the sauce until about 6 pm , then it will be a glass of wine on the back deck and cooking on the grill.

      • johngalt says:

        “To answer your question JG, I don’t believe most of what I read from either side. ”

        The content of most of what you post causes me to question that claim.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        No JG, I assure you. My distrust for politicians and the lies constantly coming out of their mouths is real. I know why most here fall for the lies, but you should know this.

  7. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Personally, I think we SHOULD have a discussion about the relative value of different religions.

    Not in a good-better-best way, but more in the way of appropriateness for the world we live in, which is multi-cultural and many hued, and depends upon all of us to keep the planet in working order.

    After all, religious fundamentalists keep creating chaos. The least we can do is talk about religion’s mania as honestly as possible.

    Religions don’t last forever. Maybe we can help some of them along the path to minimal influence.

    A history professor once told me that at the time that Christianity — a mother-son religion — began, Romans celebrated dozens of mother-son religions. Where are they now?

    • fiftyohm says:

      It was a trueism during my childhood that religion and politics did not make for polite dinner table conversation. Well sports fans, this ain’t the dinner table. It’s also not boring pablum. Everything *is not relative*. Let’s have the discussion without worrying about whom we might offend. (It won’t be me, I assure you!)

      Without religion and politics, we’d have little to talk about, would we?

    • kabuzz61 says:

      First you should decide what religions are acceptable to you. Then lay out your approved way to practice said religions. Then go to Iran and become an Ayatolla.

      • texan5142 says:

        Agreed kabuzz! Except I would change the last sentence to, Then go to Texas and become a republican.

    • Anse says:

      If you have to be religious, be Buddhist. it’s the only religion that makes any sense at all.

    • objv says:

      Bobo, check out this list from The Daily Beast. You’ll note that the dictators who killed the most people were communist or fascist. They did not kill because of religious extremism.

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/galleries/2011/10/21/the-20th-century-s-deadliest-dictators-photos.html#slide_9

      • objv says:

        Some may argue that Hitler was Christian. I strongly disagree.

        From: http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2012/04/18/3480312.htm

        “Which brings us to the third perspective – was Hitler a Christian? Emphatically not, if we consider Christianity in its traditional or orthodox form: Jesus as the son of God, dying for the redemption of the sins of all humankind. It is a nonsense to state that Hitler (or any of the Nazis) adhered to Christianity of this form.”

        What motivated Hitler? Cardinal George Pell and Richard Dawkins debated the issue:

        “Pell argued that Nazism and Stalinism were the “two great atheist movements of the last century.” Dawkins responded that while Stalin was an atheist, Hitler was not. However, they both agreed that Hitler represented the “personification of social Darwinism” (Pell) or that certain of what he tried to achieve arose “out of Darwinian natural selection” (Dawkins).”

        What can we conclude? It is obvious that Christianity does not play a large part in the mass killings that have taken place in the last century. You would have to go back farther in time. The 100 million plus lives that were lost were motivated by ideology that was non-religious in nature.One could argue that the killings were influenced by lack of belief in God and the resulting devaluation of life.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Of course, the Twentieth Century may be remarkable for its mass killings in that it also delivered the means for accomplishing those killings, whether through the sophisticated organization enabled by Hollerith tabulating machines, or the more sophisticated communications methods that allowed more wide-spread coordinated action (see Radio-Television Libre des Mille Collines in Rwanda) or the more sophisticated lethality of new chemicals and weapons systems.

        In the same way as we sometimes compare financial figures by adjusting to a constant historical value of the dollar or a comparable large-scale figure like GNP, I wonder what would happen if we looked at killings related to, say, general world population.

        For example, the Thirty Years’ War killed between 3 and 11.5 million people. The world in 1600 had a population of 550 million. So that’s between half a percent and two percent of the total.

        Hitler’s Holocaust killed between 4 and 17 million people, in a world of 2.3 billion. So that’s between two-tenths and three-quarters of a percent.

        Technology matters, influencing how many can be killed and also how many there are to BE killed. Ignoring the changing scope of violence, and failing to account for it, is bound to produce some inaccurate conceptions.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Obj, I think you’re really stretching here.

        Each religion has tenets that are believed, perhaps MUST be believed.

        So tell me how that’s different than Hitler’s reign of justification or tenets for killing certain types of people. There’s a reason we have the phrase ‘religious fervor.’

      • objv says:

        Owl, Mao Zedong killed between 45 to 75 million people. Stalin killed 40 to 62 million. Assuming that these two leaders killed 112 million people between the two of them and that the world’s population was around 2.8 billion, you would find that just these two communists were responsible for the deaths of 4% of the total population on earth. Even if taken separately, each communist dictator could have been been responsible for the death of 2% – with Mao’s up to 2.6% at the upper end of his range.

        A worldview like communism which espouses the complete lack of religion does not mitigate the capability of mankind to carry out truly horrendous acts.

      • objv says:

        Bobo, Hitler was not killing Jews due to any religious belief. His fervor was not religious in nature. His goal was to rid the world of non-Aryans. His beliefs were built upon the Darwinian notion of the survival of the fittest. He rejected Christianity and considered the Bible “too Jewish.”

        While I have no excuse for some of the atrocities committed in the name of Christianity, at its core, Christianity is a religion of love and acceptance of all people.

        John 3:16 (NIV) states:

        “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

        This verse is considered the theme of the New Testament by most Protestants. Note that “whoever” is taken to mean any person of any race.

        So, yes, even though people have mangled the tenets of Christianity to support warped beliefs,a person seeking God can find hope, peace and acceptance by going back to the foundational teachings of Jesus.

      • CaptSternn says:

        OV, here are verses that stick with me, when Jesus was speaking to a Gentile that asked for a miracle … Matthew 15: 21-28

        Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.

        A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

        Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

        He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

        The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

        He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

        “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

        Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The whole concept of a Christian comes from the gentiles, the “dogs”, that accept Jesus as the Messiah. What is a Jew that accepts Jesus the Christ as the Messiah? A Jew that accepts Jesus the Christ as the Messiah. Still a Jew, one of the chosen.

        Liberal atheists that reject God will still claim that Jesus was some hippie free love communist/socialist. But it only shows that they have not read nor understand.

        “If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Mao was a bad deal, no question, and I’ll agree with your figures.

        But 40 to 62 million for Stalin? He was a lousy piece of work, too, but here I’ll quibble. If you put together executions, the Gulag, forced relocations, and famine victims, you might get 15 to 20 million.

        Perhaps you’re blaming WWII on Stalin? He’s culpable, sure, but that seems a bit much.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Obj, I think Hitler’s followers followed him and his tenets with religious fervor. His own ‘religious’ beliefs seems unimportant.

    • Crogged says:

      I am Bokonon. Live by the foma that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Ahem. Setting aside the great religious philosopher KV aside for now [crogged!], I’d have to say that Buddhism is one of the most nondestructive religions that comes to mind. Of course it relies on some immaculately silly concepts, too.

  8. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Oh! Canada:

    Religious extremism may be the structure we have to deal with first.

    • fiftyohm says:

      We were in Parliament, at the War Memorial, and the Rideau Center one week ago today.

      The religion of peace strikes again.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Isn’t blaming Islam for the actions of its fundamentalists rather like blaming Christianity for the actions of abortion-clinic bombers or African war-crimes perpetrators?

        The snide “religion of peace” jab is grotesquely unfair and, really, unworthy of you, fifty.

      • texan5142 says:

        What Owl said.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Owl – It is my opinion that religion – any religion – carries with it the risk of radicalization. I consider the abortion clinic bombers in no way different from this current crop of vermin.

        So while the comment may well be ‘unfair’ to peaceful Muslims, it is anything but unfair to a belief system that glorifies death, misogyny, and brutality.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        No match whatsoever between the religion of peace (which it supposed to be) and Christianity. How many deaths in the modern era were because of abortion clinics compared to how many deaths due to Allah giving rewards of 120 virgins? The math isn’t hard at all. So Rosie O…er…Birdy, how do you equate the two???

      • fiftyohm says:

        Buzz – Neither the numbers or the ‘modern era’ are relevant.

      • Anse says:

        I think violent radicalization is not a function of religion, but simply an aspect of human nature. If we didn’t have religion to use as a justification to kill, we’d come up with some other excuse.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Anse – I understand your point of view, but:

        First, one requires ‘something to be radical about. Religion and religious fervor provides that.

        Second, religion is not the product of reason. The religious must compartmentalize mysticism from the rational mind. This is a stress point. If mysticism ‘leaks through’ to the rational side – the side of reason – all hell can break loose.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Wrong fifty. Hitler was very much not religious. Neither was Pol Pot, etc.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Ottawa’s government buildings are beautiful.

      • Anse says:

        First of all, Kabuzz, Hitler *was* a religion. Dictators simply turn themselves into gods to be worshiped. There are no atheist autocracies. They’re all dogmatic.

        Secondly, regarding religion: I don’t think it is irrational to be religious; or, it’s not irrational to crave an aesthetic–“spiritual”, if I may dare use the word–experience. Even if that experience is completely natural, and easily explained as a series of biological processes. We need art, and religion is art, in my view.

        That said, religion is inevitably tied to dogma, and dogma must be upheld. To that end, yes, religion foments extreme irrationality. On the other hand, I happen to agree that what we’re seeing in the Middle East is as explainable in economic and political terms as it is in religious ones. Religion is just the vocabulary for articulating what are very old human tendencies, coming down to a simple lust for power, and a desire to fight one’s perceived oppressors. I’m quite sure you could exchange Islam for whatever religions preceded it in the M-E and you’d have essentially the same situation over there. It would solve nothing. I don’t think converting them to Christianity would solve anything, either.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Buzz – Anse said it better nthan I might have.

        Bobo – They are spectacular. After years of living here and decades before that of being a visitor, I was blown away.

        Anse – I agree, in general.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Anse said nothing that is reasonable. In his definition Liberalism is a religion as is conservatism and atheism. Book clubs are a religion. Come on Anse. Do better.

      • flypusher says:

        Anise was spot on buzzy. The cult of personality is very common in dictatorships.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Did the majority of German’s love Hitler or fear him?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Do you “love your god”, or “fear him”?

        Hint: Fear of God is the idea of living in respect, awe, and submission to a deity.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Love your God with your whole heart and mind. One of two greatest commandments.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        kabuzz mealy-mouthed, “Love your God with your whole heart and mind.”

        But loving God with your whole heart and mind leaves no room for loving, say, your children or your spouse.

        Unless your heart and mind are really a time-share?

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Birdy, pearls before swine comes to mind with an ignorant comment like that.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Well, kabuzz, you’ve pretty clearly established yourself as a pig-fucker; maybe that’s why you fling around such gaudy but cheap pearls. Around here, we have better standards than you can apparently manage.

    • dowripple says:

      I’m glad you brought that up, and I think it ties into the inequality discussion.

      “Religious extremism may be the structure we have to deal with first.”

      I don’t believe religious extremism is the root cause. I think of it more like an effect of globalization, a stress reaction to cultures being pulled forward (and sometimes apart). In this day of equality, what’s a misogynistic fundamentalist state (or people) to do?

      Now I’m not the brightest on this blog, and in fact most of you would have to drive a railroad spike in your brain for me to beat you in chess*, but I don’t see any easy solutions to religious terrorism.
      – It’s too late to stop
      – we cannot use “religion” to discriminate (or at least while pretending to offer “freedom of”)
      – oil is thicker than money (in other words, we have to deal with it)

      What I think we should do;
      – Completely remove religion as an impetus for any of our laws (no anti-SSM laws, no anti-Sharia laws, etc)
      – Instead of “punishments” (via embargos or taxes) for social injustices, offer milestone “rewards” for equality metrics (or maybe a combination of both)
      – somehow address our ignorance of other cultures/religions** (we may already be doing this)
      – abandon the notion that an entire group of people can be “evil” (which obfuscates root cause discovery)

      In the interest of not looking (more) stupid, I’ll stop there. Feel free to rip apart. 🙂

      *Borrowed from Big Bang Theory
      **From the formula: ignorance => irrational fear => discrimination/prejudice

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Then we will all sing Kumbya. Just joking.

        One problem you will face no matter where you live or what culture you practice is upheaval if you try to remove religion/faith. Ask Mayor Parker.

        I rational solution is to find a way to incorporate both secular and faith without either feeling like they are second class citizens.

        But I do believe that extremism is not the fault of any one or thing. Hate is hate is hate. Some people just hate and believe in it. I forget what Jew said “We have to get the Palestinians to love life more then they hate us.” Hitler tapped into that same hate. Hate at times brings unity, that is where the ME is at this time.

      • Anse says:

        What in the heck has Mayor Parker done to “remove religion”? Goodness. One thing that would really help in these discussions is the removal of the Christian Persecution Complex.

      • BigWilly says:

        Both sides win, I lose. The scrum between the Mayor and some of the COH Pastors means that people who are unsympathetic towards each other will see their biases confirmed.

        It’s like Alex De Large and the Rorschach Test in A Clockwork Orange; No matter the shape of the blob he sees rape, pillage, and plunder.

        So you say Mooslim and I see.

        Hassan chop!

      • dowripple says:

        I should have been more clear Buzz, I meant remove religion as the reason for a law, not “removing” religion or faith.

        The only way to incorporate all religions (and non-religious), without anyone feeling like a 2nd class citizen, is to go to the lowest commond denominator. Which would be “secular” law, in my simple mind.

      • dowripple says:

        Wow, sorry for my poor spelling. “Common”

      • GG says:

        I’ve always thought that religious extremism is a mental illness.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        GG, i would say any form of extreme behavior, especially that which leads to violence, is an example of mental illness. The religion part is just incidental.

    • Crogged says:

      Screw all this, just leave them alone there in the sands of their desert and time. You can’t ‘fix’ extremism, culture panic and stupid and if the momentum of the radical fundamentalist culture is sufficient to develop specific technological means of carrying their religious war across the Mediterranean and the Atlantic we will have time to unleash our own hounds.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Bobo, so you are saying religious extremism contributes to poverty and inequality? Or religious extremists tend to be poor? Or the poor take refuge in religious extremism? I don’t get it.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        One thing I’m saying is that we’re more likely to try to ‘correct’ terrorism than we are to ‘correct’ the structural designs that create inequality. Those who benefit from inequality are blind to those at other end of the stick. They wield much power.

        Dowripple’s suggestions are interesting in the same way Bhutan’s attempt to measure gross national happiness is interesting. Very interesting.

        Less religion, more thoughtful compassion.

        I do feel we’re going to see more and more unrest throughout the world for decades to come as communication technologies allow everyone to see how other parts of the world live.

        It would be to our benefit to spend as much time developing a philosophy about it as we do developing a military policy.

        I’ve always loved visiting Hong Kong. Now the streets are filled with demonstrators. I worry about them.

    • johnofgaunt75 says:

      The shooter was apparently a Canadian born citizen who converted to Islam and was radicalized, possibly in prison (I read that he served time for drug offenses). This is not a story of “keep them out” or “shut the borders.” This is locals who are radicalized in prison. They same thing happens here whether the prisoner joins Islamic extremists, Aryan Nation or MS-13.

      Finally, I would note that the solider killed, Nathan Cirillo, seems to have been guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers which is located at the National War Memorial in Confederation Square. Poignant.

  9. Crogged says:

    A man’s economic SURVIVAL is now subject too and not even guaranteed by the man purchasing the advanced educational training necessary for such survival. Lacking these tools he depends on coupons from the successful for purchasing lunch meat only, and don’t spend your coupon on cheese or beer you ne’er do well.

    If you get sick-then pray, good man, the Lord blessed me and He is Love.

    How can there be a claim we have a government based on the premise that all ‘men’ are created equal with unalienable rights including life, liberty and pursuit of happiness? What is our government doing to help ALL of us keep these unalienable rights?

    Yes, we do have a ‘structural’ problem, we don’t really believe people are worth a shit anymore unless Donald Trump tells us they are.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Crogged I think people lost respect and the ability to care for people when it was decided that life is a choice not a right. We devalued humans.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        So, kabuzz, you’re claiming that the U.S. lost the ability to care for people after 1973?

        Perhaps you’d like to offer some evidence?

        But of course not: random whittering is your forte, not actual logic.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Along the same lines … Our culture has become youth-oriented and dismissive of our senior population.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Buzzy – So 1973 is you point of reference of when people started to devalue humans?

        So you believe slavery, Jim Crow aparthied, lack of legal rights for women and children, the extermination of the native American population, and the marginalization and dehumanization of other minority groups throughout our history were not actions that devalued human life

        Great outlook there.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Tutt – I agree. There was a time that people in this nation believed that the elderly should be protected in their old age from poverty and lack of health care. As a nation we started Medicare and Social Security to protect these people and now we have those that would remove the social safety net that guards the weakest in our society.

        Its quite disgusting

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Talking about all humans. Abortion effects all humans. As a society we as a country embraced death over life. Tutt brings up a good point. A lot of our youth is lost. We disrespect our elderly. And I have seen since 1972 the lowering of this country’s morals and the divisiveness rising to higher levels.

      • johngalt says:

        Grumpy old man alert! Grumpy old man alert! Kabuzz thinks things aren’t the same as the “good old days”.

        Ancient Greeks, whom we consider our philosophical forebears in many senses, used to stake feeble babies out on a hillside to die, so they didn’t weaken the population. We disrespect our elderly so much that we ensure they have health care and a decent standard of living in their dotage, a practice whose beginning is closer to 1973 than 1973 is to today. The only thing that happened in 1973 was allowing women to control when they procreate.

      • CaptSternn says:

        “… the weakest in our society..”

        That would be the unborn.

      • CaptSternn says:

        No, John, what happened in 1973 was giving women the “right” to kill their offspring for convenience, to stri the basic human rights from a certain group of people and turn them into nothing more than property. That was supposed to have been done away with some 150 years ago.Once a woman becomes pregnant she and the man have already reproduced, or procreated, as you want to call it.

      • flypusher says:

        You and that stupid property analogy again. It doesn’t fit because no one is trying to buy or sell fetuses. To use that concept correctly, it ought to be applied to the uterus, because that’s one of the main issues this fight is about- who has the ownership of that?

      • CaptSternn says:

        “It doesn’t fit because no one is trying to buy or sell fetuses.”

        http://www.eggdonor.com/blog/2013/05/20/madetoorder-embryos-sell/

        Property has no rights, Fly. Human beings do. And yes, the unborn are human beings, though you would claim otherwise, just as many did wtowards blacks back in the day.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I was referring to stashing our elderly family members in nursing homes, out of sight, instead of giving them the honor once accorded to the oldest among us. The safety net is great, but not when we use it as a place to dump our seniors.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Also, in the book THE AGE OF AMERICAN UNREASON, Susan Jacoby describes our transformation from a serious, adult culture to a frivolous, youth-oriented culture in which the perspective of older people is scorned.

      • flypusher says:

        Very bad analogy Sternn. Those eggs are not lodged in a uterus against the will of the person with the uterus. A women who has an abortion isn’t buying or selling a fetus.

        So who owns the uterus?

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Tutt, I agree with you. Johngalt is a liberal and he helps the elderly by proxy. Don’t want to get the hands dirty don’t ya know.

      • flypusher says:

        “I was referring to stashing our elderly family members in nursing homes, out of sight, …”

        Here’s the flip side to that, Tutta- with people living longer, you’ve got elders with medical conditions that your average person can’t deal with very effectively. From what you’ve posted in the past, I know you know what I’m talking about. People who cared for ailing elders at home in the past probably wouldn’t have had to do so for really long periods of time, because the elders wouldn’t live as long.

        I saw my mom wrestle with these decisions regarding her mom. No matter what you do you 2nd guess yourself.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Who owns the person in the uterus, Fly? That is the question. You want the “right” tyo kill people you or others find inconvenient, to treat them as property. I say there is no such “right” any more than there was ever a right to treat any innocent human beings as property or to lynch innocent human beings.

      • flypusher says:

        No one is making any ownership claims on the fetus in that situation. The claim to the uterus is there. Who has the rights to it and what it is used for? But I don’t expect you to make any honest effort to answer that, because that’s not what you do.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Who owns the person in the uterus, Fly? Of course, I don’t expect you to make any honest effort to answer that, because that’s not what you do

      • Turtles Run says:

        Cappy – if you really believed that the unborn are “human beings” then you would be at abortion clinics saving these human beings. Or you would storm fertility clinics saving those poor unborn “human beings”. The fact that you do not do such a thing is either because you do not care about these “human beings” being murdered or deep down you know you are full of shaite.

        Because I am pretty confident that most of use here that do support abortion rights would save any child that was to be murdered. Please spare us the breaking the law excuse because I assure you I do not care if I got a death sentence if I could save the life of a child.

        Maybe it is you that really considers them property, which explains your ridiculous argument.

      • CaptSternn says:

        So, according to Turtles, only terrorists have any real beliefs. Hey, Turtles, if you so strongly believed in the “right” to kill innocent people for convenience, you would be storming the state capital and killing republicans that pass laws leading to the closing of clinics. You say you are willing to go to prison, but you do not act. I guess you really don’t believe that after all, you do understand that we are talking about killing innocent people for convenience. Time for you to put up or shut up, Turtles.

        Though there was a time when people did commit acts of terrorism, murder, raope and looting. Not only did the majority in the federal government turn a blind eye, they encouraged it. That, along with taxation without representation, caused the nation to split.

        But anyway, I do not have the terroristic tendancies or thoughts that you seem to have. I will work within the law, vote for politicians that will do whatever they can to shut down those clinics legally. Maybe you should be watched much more closely, I wonder if you are going to storm Hobby Lobby with bombs and guns because they don’t want to pay for abortions.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I apologize to anyone who’s had to struggle with how to care for an elderly or sick family member, who’s made the difficult, personal decision to place them in a nursing home.

        My point was about the marginalization of our elderly population in general.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Sternn, are you even capable of realizing just how full you are of crap?

        Does the shit fountaining out of your ears ever give you pause to wonder why it’s being generated in such geyser-like quantities from your cerebrating organs?

        Wouldn’t the fetid clumps of dung steadily falling from your mouth onto the keyboard tend to indicate the quality of your pseudo-logical sophistry?

        Luckily for Tutt, such offal is entirely imaginary. But it’s no less offensive, and no less dangerous to your and others’ public health.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Owl, it may be imaginary, but the more often you describe it like that, the more “real” it becomes, just from repetition. Scary movies aren’t real, but they scare you just the same.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The bird has been on a roll for the past couple of days. Of course it was not me that suggested only terrorists have real beliefs nor that anybody that believed something would resort to terrorism, that would be Turtles. And bird, I agree with your description of what Turtles said, though you tried to apply it to me instead of Turtles.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Plop, plop go the kakogenic mouth and ears of comic-boy.

    • Crogged says:

      I abhor the shortcomings of all of us sensitive types to grok the special intrinsic psychological needs of all of the categories we can derive from our American human species, but I’m talking about every one of us specific people needing damn jobs/money/free time/health care/real education in order to join with us enlightened one in our pointless noodling about embryos, culture and attitudes here. Yup, minimum income and if you want, just mark one percent of it for ‘potential human inhabitants in the form of embryo’ and feel better.

    • flypusher says:

      There is no ownership if no one claiming ownership. Pretty damn simple- even you should grasp that. But you don’t want to answer my question.

    • Turtles Run says:

      Cappy – I did not realize saving a child’s life was a terrorist activity. So I guess if you saw a child that was to be hit by a truck you would do nothing to stop it. Is that the regard for the lives of human beings you hold. I assure you I would save a child’s life even if I was labeled a terrorist for it but actually value the lives of human beings. No bombs or violence is needed. Just take those unborn frozen embryos and rescue them from their lives in ice.

      You are the one making claims that these are human beings being murdered for convenience, apparently it is you that is all talk. But that is the right winger way. Cowards to the end.

      • CaptSternn says:

        That would also be a crime, Turtles. So now you include criminals in with terrorists, they are the only groups that hold their beliefs to be true. And no, you do not value all human lives, you see some as lesser beings, just like some people saw blacks in the past, or even in the present. Slavery was not abolished through violence, it was abolished through law.

        FYI, I don’t use the term “murder” in these cases. Murder is a legal term. I do think it should be classified as murder, but that will only happen working through the legal system, not terrorism or criminal activity. Thought you were smarter than that. Well, you probably are, you just make some really ignorant and dumb arguments bnecause you have no actual point or facts to stand on, so you reduce it all to nothing more than emotion.

  10. Anse says:

    I don’t know how you fix the wealth gap without redistributing income. But the first problem is that we have too many people who do not even recognize poverty or a wealth divide as a problem at all. And should things get progressively worse, and they suddenly find themselves at an economic disadvantage, will they have the sense to see the “structural” nature of the problem, as Chris calls it, or will they simply direct their frustration on one of the usual Others? (Those being illegals, poor people, gay people, whatever symbolizes for them the great moral decline they consistently imagine.)

    • kabuzz61 says:

      The birdy will want you to show evidence of ‘too many people’. How many? Where are you getting that?

      • Anse says:

        Well, we can count you as one of many who assume poverty is a moral problem. Which is just a way of saying one is superior to somebody else.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Actually I don’t know where you get this shit. Are you reading some far out blog. I made my way out of poverty and morality had nothing to do with it. Work ethic and determination. So spare me your ignorant comments buddy.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Kabuzz rants, “I made my way out of poverty and morality had nothing to do with it. Work ethic and determination.”

        Oh, kabuzz, you are such a detumescent member. Where did all your brains go, if you ever had them?

        Insisting that you have a better work ethic and determination than others, which allowed you to escape poverty but which has failed to give others the same escape, IS a moral judgment.

        The ignorance is all yours.

    • dowripple says:

      If history has taught us anything, it will be the “others” that are blamed.

  11. johnofgaunt75 says:

    I think you will increasingly see most post-industrial economies begin to move to more of a Scandinavian model while at the same time you will increasingly see smaller, more homogeneous states.

    Survey after survey shows that people are happiest in Scandinavian countries. Yes, they may pay much more in taxes but many of the stresses and strains that affect the average person are gone or reduced. This affects the happiness of people and their health (especially their mental health). I think their economies have shown that one can have a strong social welfare system to help reduce the strain of the modern, post-industrial life while at the same time having a strong economy.

    That all being said, one thing that is Scandinavian countries generally have in common is that they are small and generally pretty homogeneous. Unlike large, demographically and regionally diverse countries, they have almost a small-town feeling to them. This increases the support for their social welfare system. Thus, it wouldn’t surprise me to see many large, post industrialized countries begin to fragment into smaller, more homogeneous states over the next hundred or so years. These states will of course be linked internationally via the internet, communication, travel and economic trade. People in modern, post-industrial countries have shown that they enjoy having a diverse and international selection of consumables. But they will increasingly become governed more locally.

    I could of course be wrong but that’s my layman’s crack at what will happen over the next 100-150 years.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Mr. 75, so by homogenous, do you mean White? This is probably the case in the Scandinavian countries.

      Do you think White homogeny is a prerequisite for the happy, low-stress societies you predict for the future?

      Does diversity always have to result in a stressful society?

      What are your predictions for small, local, Black, homogenous societies?

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        I think using the term “white” or even “non-white” doesn’t really make sense in Scandinavian countries that don’t have the history of racial tension and segregation we have in the US. Some Swedes, for example, would differentiate between Swedish people and Finnish people (based on language, culture and history) but if you put a picture up of your average Swede and your average Finn, they would both look most certainly “white” and most Americans probably couldn’t even tell the difference.

        That being said, I think ethnic or perhaps cultural homogeneity does make a difference in terms of support for social welfare programs. But basing it on race (as an American would do) simply doesn’t apply outside of a place like the US and perhaps Brazil?

        For example, there are a fair amount of immigrants to Scandinavia from Africa, Southern Europe (many who would look very “non-white” to most Americans) and, more recently from the Middle East. Generally there has been a high amount of integration of these immigrants. More recently though, there have been increasing problems with integrating Muslim immigrants and there has been tension. But, at least up to this point at least, this hasn’t really affected the support for the welfare system there (all main parties support it). Perhaps in time it will. Not sure.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        John, their immigration policy is very rigid and strict. How could such a ‘caring’ country be like that?

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        I have no problem with a well regulated immigration policy. Where have I said that we shouldn’t have a secure border AND a well regulated immigration system that meets our economic needs and is realistic?

        They also donate a hell of a lot more money in foreign aide than we do and let in a lot more asylum applicants (proportionately).

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Wrong john75 on both counts. You are for illegal immigration (not enforcing it is the same thing) and the Sweden and Denmark to name two have a very long process to seek asylum.

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        Oh…thanks for telling me what I think buzz! Shit. I didn’t even realize what my own personal feelings were until you told me!

        Lay off the cat nip.

    • Crogged says:

      Part of the beauty of the accident of the US is the autonomy of our states. Many US states are ‘homogenous’, but allowing for an individual state to craft particular policy to meet generalized national goal is a feature, not a bug.

  12. kabuzz61 says:

    Got it backwards Birdy, the TEA Party fears nothing, it is use that fears the TEA Party as you bring it up often. Paranoia strikes deep. You got it bad.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Yes Buzz…everyone fears you guys. You are big and powerful and making everyone quake in their shoes.

      It is not that you all have really horrible ideas about governing a country. It is that you are so powerful that it will stop our plans to ruin the country.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Yes, HT, many fear the tea party movement. That includes Lifer, which is why so many try to spread lies about us and some even work to infiltrate rallies and demonstrations with things like racist signs. But they get called out and that gets posted on places like youtube. Ain’t the internet grand?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Ja, Herr Sternn! Die fault ist alle on der part of die OTHER pipple! Schpreading lies, und infiltrating meetinks. Dose *evil* OTHERS! No blame must accrue to DE TRUE CAUSE!

    • texan5142 says:

      Derp! Yep, I fear the tea party fools and how they are trying to destroy democracy. That is why they must be stopped.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Just admitting that you think any party is powerful enough to destroy this country demonstrates your paranoia.

      • texan5142 says:

        Actually it is the christian fundamentalist that will destroy the country.

      • Turtles Run says:

        I support such an action. Let all the neanderthals have their country, heck they can get the Wasilla Brawler to be President. After, a couple of months without their government checks they will come crawling back.

      • flypusher says:

        Yowzah!! What’s the Onion going to do if real life keeps out-crazy-ing their articles?

        2 remarks, 1st off I’m glad that these RWNJs want to exclude TX, because I’m certain I wouldn’t get fair compensation for my property upon getting the @&$# out away from them. 2nd, I just got to love how he bemoans people forgetting the Golden Rule, yet he’d treat gay people (and probably non-whites) in ways I’ll bet HE doesn’t want to experience.

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I really wish we had island creating technology. Then these NJs could have their own little whacko-ville without any rational people losing property.

        (are we SURE this isn’t from the Onion?)

      • dowripple says:

        Haha Fly, those islands would devolve into “Lord of the Flies” faster than any of us could imagine. 1 religion would quickly become 20, people would flee to the US seeking refuge for their new religion, and then we’d have new wingnuts to contend with.

        Refugee: “I don’t know what the big deal is, back on Nugent Island, we were able to marry 10 year olds…”

      • flypusher says:

        Lol! “Nugent Island”, that’s so………

        Perfect!

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      The Tea Party fears nothing? Yeah, right: pull the other one.

      Higher taxes. Budget deficits. Cuts in government programs they like and/or benefit from. Environmental regulation. The phase-out of incandescent light-bulbs. Low-flow toilets. Ebola, and most other things African in origin. Illegal immigrants. Terrorists. Terrorists masquerading as illegal immigrants. Muslims, whether or not they are terrorists OR illegal immigrants. Gay people and their weddings.

      And I could probably go on.

  13. Owl of Bellaire says:

    Perhaps Marx was right (in this ONE particular, though not necessarily in others), and capitalism as an economic stage is purely temporary, to be eventually replaced by something else.

    Or, I suppose, the Tea Party’s fervent brew of fear, paranoia, and stupidity could drive us back to the pre-industrial era, and we could start over again.

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