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Thinking About Religions

Posted by MacZad
Feb 07 2013

If your religious faith is very strong don't read this post; it will only make you mad. However, if you have ever questioned your faith read on; you may end up reevaluating your beliefs.

If one is religious:

  • As a US citizen one is most likely to be a Christian. Why?
  • If one resides in India one would most likely be a Hindu. Why?
  • Iranian residents would most likely be Muslim. Why?

Each question has the same answer: One is most likely to practice a particular religion only because: (1) it was the strongest in the geographical area where they were born, and (2) parents, the world over, instill their religious beliefs in their children. Thus, unless one has studied the other religions and made a conscious choice, the religion practiced depends mainly on place of birth; that's irrational.

Think about that irrationality; in most other areas of life we try hard to overcome ignorance and emotion and let knowledge and fact guide our decisions. Only the foolhardy would choose a college, change jobs or buy a home without exercising due diligence. Oh, but it's vastly different with religion, there's no due diligence; it's based solely on faith.

Faith: Complete confidence in someone or something that is open to question or suspicion.

Is our religion (faith) better than any of the others? Why would it be? What facts do we have that lets us make a rational decision? Are Christians (or Hindus or Muslims) smarter than those of the other faiths so they know the truth and the others do not. With intelligence widely distributed that is unlikely. Does the Bible help? Is it more accurate and truthful than the Quran or the several Hindu holy books? How do we know it is? All of the religions (many now extinct) have their roots in ancient times where superstition outweighed truth and knowledge; so the religious literature that survives from those times isn't of much help in rationally choosing one religion over another. A real god could easily commandeer all the modern means of communication, make his/her presence known, validate or update those ancient documents and demand our allegiance. None has. It's only the dogma of those ancient documents that support faith. Now, centuries later, knowledge is overpowering superstition as discovery by discovery science invalidates much of the religious dogma.

Science: Systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.

As science is systematically explaining the world/universe, and even life itself, in non religious terms making a choice of a religion to follow based on knowledge, truth and fact is quite impossible. So faith, and only faith, ruleth supreme in the support of all religions. Now, (You knew that I was coming to this, didn't you?) with only faith supporting the (irrational) choice of a particular religion and with science steadily invalidating the religious dogma why would one choose any of them? It's possible to lead a good moral life without believing in any, of the many gods; this Humanist document contains some good guidance for doing so.

Still one of the faithful? Consider that it took billions of years of evolution for humans to emerge - the only creatures capable of envisioning gods. It makes absolutely no sense for an all-powerful god to use such a slow tortuous way to gather flocks of worshipers!

Image courtesy of @Mel_in_Canada on Twitter

With religious zealots flying airliners into skyscrapers, women being subjugated in the name of gods, strongly-religious politicians writing irrational laws and religious factions throughout the world fighting over which faction shall prevail it's clear that the universal abandonment of religions would result in a better world. Not that I expect that to happen anytime soon, but this post is my contribution to moving things in that direction.

Categories: Defending Religious Freedom, Seeking Truth - Debunking Dogma

Contraception and Religion

Posted by MacZad
Dec 10 2012

What is it about contraception that raises the hackles of the religious? The Catholic Church and many Fundamentalist Christian sects are strenuously opposed to it, but, as discussed below, their objections seem quite illogical.

Quote from an earlier post:

Rick Santorum (Speaking with CaffeinatedThoughts.com, Oct. 18, 2011) "One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country.... Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that's okay, contraception is okay. It's not okay. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."

What he is saying is that contraception is "against nature" which are the words that I have seen others use. I'll agree that this is correct, but it is illogical to pick just this one thing that is "against nature" and subject it to prohibition while passing on many other things in the same category.

A few things that are also unnatural: We are the only creatures that wear clothing, flying, caesarean section birth, plastics and much of modern medical treatment.

Why is just contraception condemned? Perhaps it's just that the illogicality of the prohibition isn't apparent to them or that there are scriptural restrictions, but it also could be that some religions quietly wage a "War on Pleasure." Despite promoting the "Life is Good" stickers seen on many cars, deep down, many religions don't want us to find things too nice here on earth lest we abandon the quest for a heavenly reward. Consistent with a "War on Pleasure" dancing and music are also sometimes condemned.

I must thank my good friend S. P. who pointed out that I was missing a very important reason: To continue the faith religions need lots of births so they have a generous supply of children to indoctrinate. This goal makes their condemnation of contraception quite logical to them. (Updated 2/7/13) However, fortunately for the world's rapidly growing population, people massively and increasingly ignore the religious dogma and use birth control if it is available to them.

When the history of the triumph of contraception is written religions will, once again, be shown to be intransigent inhibitors of progress.

Categories: Seeking Truth - Debunking Dogma

Seven Quotes Appropriate to Our Current Situation

Posted by MacZad
Dec 05 2012

I intended to write something about the current Fiscal Cliff struggle, but quickly realized that smarter men than I have been saying things relative to it for centuries. If only the GOP would read and heed.

"Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men." ~ John Adams

"Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~ Thomas Jefferson

"If there are men in this country big enough to own the government of the United States, they are going to own it." ~ Woodrow Wilson

"There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." ~ Warren Buffet

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises; the moral justification for selfishness." ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." ~ Frederic Bastiat, (1801-1850) French economist, statesman, and author

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both." ~ Frederick Douglass - American abolitionist, newspaper publisher, orator, author, statesman, and reformer

Categories: Opposing Plutocracy and Corporatocracy, Seeking Better Governance, Seeking Truth - Debunking Dogma

A Different Take On The "Fiscal Cliff"

Posted by MacZad
Nov 24 2012

The "Fiscal Cliff" is a current hot topic with CNBC even moving from news reporting to mounting a "Rise Above"advocacy campaign spreading fear about what will happen if the problem isn't resolved by 1/1/2013. Other media are equally concerned about the need for action prior to falling off the "cliff," and most of the suggested solutions call for "shared sacrifice" - some kind of a balance between spending cuts aimed mainly at social programs and tax increases.

Well, I think that the media is spewing a lot of propaganda favorable to the very wealthy. First, the "cliff" really isn't one. Nothing drastic is going to happen on January 1 if no agreement is reached; there will be adequate time to make changes after that. Second, and far more important, the real causes of the crisis are being obscured and the solutions being considered aren't equitable.

What is going on here is a rear-guard action by those trying to maintain their favorable tax and policy treatment at the expense of the less fortunate. My Rise of Inequality Since 1980 posting clearly shows the almost unbelievable increase in income and wealth share enjoyed by those at the top mainly because of the favorable tax and policy treatment that their K Street lobbyists have secured for them. Over the years this has drastically reduced federal tax revenue making it a very significant factor contributing to the "Fiscal Cliff."

Now, to maintain as much of their advantage as possible, those at the top are proposing "shared sacrifice" where they grudgingly agree to a small tax increase (means a 95 ft. Yacht instead of a 100 ft. one) and poor Joe Schmo, who has worked much of his life shifting pallets around in a warehouse, is asked to give up some of his SS retirement - or some other sacrifice. Unfortunately, the conservative media (Fox News, et al) have done much demonizing of folks at the bottom like poor Joe erroneously casting them, rather than the tax avoiders at the top, as the main reason for the federal government's poor fiscal shape.

I'm sorry but making sacrifice by Joe a first step in a solution just doesn't wash with me. I know that this is naive, but the first order of business needs to be drastic changes in the tax code to get those at the top paying much more in taxes (means only a 75 ft. Yacht instead of a 100 ft. one) so as to begin to reverse the inequality that has arisen since 1980. That inequality is very unhealthy for our society as Joseph Stiglitz shows in his perceptive book "The Price of Inequality." Joe Schmo isn't a "taker;" he has worked hard all his life to earn those benefits. He should only be asked to sacrifice if the tax receipts from drastic increases in the top tax rates, making the use of offshore tax havens more difficult and perhaps the removal of the cap on SS contributions fail to produce adequate revenue.

The wealthy and their many apologists will say that such drastic increases in the top tax rates will kill motivation, innovation, investment and growth, but that's just more Plutocratic propaganda as the links below show.

Except at a very basic level motivation and innovation are not driven by $$. Big monetary rewards are only incidental to successful innovation not its cause.

The Congressional Research Service reports that a 65 year study shows that better growth has come when the top tax rates were the highest and that cutting top tax rates doesn't spur growth. (GOP legislators tried to suppress this report.)

How about all that investment by the wealthy that creates jobs? Paul Buchheit's #1 pretty well debunks that; there are some other interesting statistics on Paul's page as well. Further, the slow growth in the economy and jobs today is not due to a lack of investment $ to fund business expansion it's due to a lack of demand for products because not enough folks have the spare $ to spend. See: Who creates jobs? Surprise- we do.

The common viewpoint is that business and economic growth do better under GOP administrations and GOP policies, but this Forbes article shows the reverse to be true.

So all of the Plutocrat's arguments favoring the GOP's support for low taxes on the rich are nothing but false dogma. The acceptance of these ideas as truths is very detrimental to the country for our legislators can't make intelligent decisions based on falsehoods. Much pressure needs to be applied to our GOP legislators for it will be very difficult to get them to abandon this long-held dogma and help craft a solution to the "Fiscal Cliff" which does not place undue burdens on Joe Schmo and his ilk and which begin to reverse 30 years of inequality.

Some good supplemental information in these links:

YouTube Straight talk from Independent Senator Bernie Sanders Terrific! (Updated 11/25/2012)

Chart - Simplifies the Fiscal Cliff Resolution Choices (Updated 11/29/2012)

5 Ways Most Americans Are Blind to How Their Country Is Stacked for the Wealthy

It's Simple: Cutting the Deficit Will Kill Jobs and Hurt Growth; Taxing the Rich Won't

The U.S. Does Not Have a Spending Problem, We Have a Distribution Problem

The Giant Lie Trotted Out by Fiscal Conservatives Trying to Shred Social Security

Why the rich guys want to raise the retirement age.

YouTube animation of the Deficits & the Debt

Categories: Opposing Plutocracy and Corporatocracy, Seeking Better Governance, Seeking Truth - Debunking Dogma

Pity The Poor GOP Strategist

Posted by MacZad
Nov 07 2012

Things didn't go well for the GOP nationally on Nov. 6th, and the Republican strategists must be pulling their hair out trying to figure out what to do.

Several important trends are against them: Coming rapidly are the increasing diversity of the country and the rising importance of young liberal voters as "angry (old) white guys" die off. Coming more slowly are the declining importance of religion in the lives of many Americans and the increasing urbanization of the country.

Like Barry Goldwater predicted, I believe that the party's biggest problem is that 40+% of its members are evangelical Christians. They have a strangle-hold on the party. However, without them in the base there is no party so those in power work a neat con to keep them. They are ideologically ridged, and nothing short of the 2nd coming of Christ will deter them from their mission of remaking the country into a Christian Nation. Their delegates to the Republican national convention used their strength to put a such a strong anti-abortion plank into the party platform that more-sensible party leaders tried to distance GOP candidates from it. However the disclaiming didn't work for not only is the plank radical the candidates are also. Evangelicals vote in very large numbers in GOP primary elections and select candidates who are far to the right of mainstream America. In contests with Democrats in the main elections the extreme mindset of these candidates often comes out, and the Democrat wins. This cost the GOP several Senate seats in 2012. However, from a liberal standpoint it's unfortunate that these radical mindsets are not exposed more often.

The party must do things to attract a more diverse base of voters, but the extreme right-wing positions dictated by the evangelical zealots makes that very difficult. Attracting younger voters is also a must, but that's also difficult. For example the GOP fights gay marriage at every turn while the young readily accept it. There are big ideological differences here, but any strategy that liberalizes GOP positions to attract these new voters alienates the evangelicals. Much lost hair for the GOP strategists.

Research is showing religion decreasing in importance for many Americans except for evangelical Christians. The increasing recognition of the reality of evolution calls the idea of gods into question and religious doubt leads many to a more liberal view. The rural areas (the traditional GOP strongholds) are losing population as better opportunities for employment in metropolitan areas draws people in. Cities, with their cosmopolitan atmosphere and cultural diversity, are the cradles of civilization, and, just as travel does, city living opens minds to other viewpoints - most often liberal ones. Unfortunately for the GOP there's almost nothing that they can do to counter these two trends.

All this makes it seem bleak for the GOP, but that's only partly true for the party is very patient in working toward its goals. Realizing many of its policies are unpopular the GOP works incrementally at achieving them and has made many little gains over the past 30 years or so. Despite some substantial liberal advancements the midpoint of American political thinking has shifted to the right in many areas. So much of what once was considered moderate is now viewed as liberal and what was once considered extreme right wing is now acceptable. Unfortunately, it's not just Republicans who embrace these new norms but, many Democrats do as well because the magnitude of the attitude shift is hidden by its slowness. More on this in a later posting.

Categories: Defending Religious Freedom, Embracing Diversity and Tolerance, Seeking Truth - Debunking Dogma

The Rejection of Knowledge

Posted by MacZad
Aug 29 2012

In the spectrum of knowledge ranging from complete understanding to total ignorance:

  • There is truth - facts proven by the scientific method,
  • There are vast unknowns where science has not yet triumphed
  • And there is dogma where perhaps the truth is still unknown but often where the truth is known but is being rejected.

Unfortunately, a large percentage of the population seems to have a disdain for scientists and scientific knowledge, and they reject facts in favor of dogma. In the political realm they elect dogmatic politicians who write laws based on their nonscientific and flawed understanding of the world. My favorite Mark Twain quote is right on the mark:

"The trouble with the world is not that people know too little; it's that they know so many things that just aren't so."

How can we be positive about our country's future when so many of our leaders legislate and administer based on disproven dogma rather than on proven facts. So we get,"Garbage in garbage out," results.

It is mainly, but not exclusively, Republican politicians that employ faulty logic on so many issues. On the democratic side a notable dogma is the liberal rejection of genetically engineered crops even though all that has happened is that modern science has accelerated the selective breeding process that has been used for thousands of years.

During the Bush junior administration the suppression, manipulation and ignoring of science was so bad that Chris Mooney wrote a book about it: The Republican War on Science. It's a stinging indictment.

Man, they can't get to our politicians fast enough for me.

To weed out politicians with dogmatic beliefs we, and the media, need to be asking candidates questions like: How old do you believe the earth to be? Any answer other than an unqualified "billions of years" indicates a candidate with such a warped sense of reality that he/she is unfit to govern and is undeserving of our votes.

Categories: Seeking Better Governance, Seeking Truth - Debunking Dogma

A Christian Nation?

Posted by MacZad
Aug 16 2012

The Christian fundamentalists keep saying that the country was founded as a "Christian Nation," that we have strayed from being one, and must again become one. Actually, the reverse is true; all but ignored initially, god and religion have enjoyed increased official recognition over the years.

That the Nation was founded by men of the Christian faith is beyond doubt, but a look at the nation's founding documents clearly shows that they carefully excluded any mention of god and minimized even the mention of religion. The applicable quotes:

  • There is no mention of religion or god in the original Constitution adopted in 1787 other than Article VI which says,"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
  • The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ratified in 1791 provided only that, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

The Constitution's Article VI allows an even atheist to become President, but they elsewhere provided that he/she must be native born. Those are very strange priorities for a "Christian Nation."

However, despite the founding documents god and religion have been creeping into the laws of our land for many years. Here's some highpoints of the history:

  • The first affirmation of God by the federal government was when IN GOD WE TRUST first appeared on the 1864 two-cent coin.
  • The Coinage Act of February 12, 1873 stated that the Secretary of the Treasury, "may cause the motto IN GOD WE TRUST to be inscribed on such coins as shall admit of such motto."
  • Congress by the Act of May 18, 1908, ordered IN GOD WE TRUST mandatory on all coins upon which it had previously appeared, and it has appeared on all coins since 1916.
  • In 1931 Congress proclaimed The Star Spangled Banner the U.S. National Anthem. Its seldom sung fourth verse includes the words, "In God is our trust."
  • In 1954 Congress inserted the phrase “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance at the behest of the Roman Catholic Church’s Knights of Columbus. Francis Bellamy the 1892 composer of the Pledge was a strong believer in and advocate of complete separation of church and state, and the change certainly went against his beliefs as it decreased the Pledge's emphasis on patriotism by inserting a religious element.
  • In 1956 a Joint Resolution of the 84th Congress, made IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the United States , and it was first used on paper money in 1957.
  • 1983 was declared as The Year of the Bible by Joint Congressional Resolution.
  • In 1988, a Joint Resolution of Congress declared that the first Thursday in May of each year as a National Day of Prayer.
  • More recently we have President George W. Bush's "Faith Based Initiatives."

In Summary: What we have is a federal government that functioned for the better part of its first century acknowledging only that religions existed, but which since has been increasing affirming a god (by probably unconstitutional legislation) in opposition to the intent of the nation's founders. So, despite the Christian fundamentalists' assertations, it's now closer to being a "Christian Nation" than it was when it was founded.

An earlier post shows the dangers of the fundamentalists' push to further integrate their god into the laws on the land.

Categories: Defending Religious Freedom, Seeking Truth - Debunking Dogma

Do You Get Your "News" From Fox News?

Posted by MacZad
Jul 21 2012

Billionaire Rupert Murdoch is splitting his News Corp., the parent of Fox News channel, into two companies. The publishing company will include the newspapers: the Wall Street Journal, the Times of London, the New York Post and the Australian. Curiously the Fox News channel will not be pared with the print newspapers but instead will be part of the entertainment company. While one may be entertained by the Fox News channel, using it as a source of political and social news results in one getting some very slanted views. Here's the Fox News reporting on two things relating to the federal budget:

On the April 8 edition of Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor O'Reilly portrays federal funds for NPR and Planned Parenthood as un-affordable given the nation's debt. Some perspective: According to the Associated Press, NPR received about $5 million in federal funds in fiscal year 2010 and the Planned Parenthood annual report states that it received $487 Million In Government Funding in 2010. ----- Watch the short O'Reilly Factor clip

Now in contrast: When Fox News channel Happening Now anchor Jon Scott interviewed Wall Street Journal columnist Simon Constable on July 9, Scott dismissed the president's tax proposal because the money it raises would run the government for a mere "eight and a half days" just "a drop in the bucket." Some perspective: According to The New York Times, economists estimate that letting the Bush tax cuts expire for people above $250,000 as Obama proposes would generate $85 billion yearly. ----- Watch the short Happening Now clip

So, according to Fox News $492 million for two social/health programs is unfordable, but a $85 billion per year tax break for the wealthy is only "a drop in the bucket" in the federal budget picture. I'm concerned about reducing the nation's debt, but it needs to be done intelligently not just on the backs of working Americans. The Fox News "protect the wealthy" bias shown by these clips is blatant. They constitute only one example of many that could be cited to showcase the skill of Fox News in presenting the "news" to favor the Plutocrats. It's not the "big lie" but it leans toward it by skilfully using distortion, exaggeration, diversion and repetition. Repeated diversion of the viewer from issues which would negatively impact the wealthy to issues like "welfare abuse" seem to be particularly effective. However, there's hope; more of the public is catching on to these tactics, and Fox News viewership is falling.

BTW: At the end of the second clip Constable mentions getting back to the higher growth rates of the 1990s. Those were the Clinton years which didn't need those vaunted Bush era tax cuts to achieve better growth and which ended with a budget surplus.

Thanks to Media Matters for the clips from their excellent article - the inspiration for this post.

Here's more thanks to AlterNet: Greetings from Crazyland! 10 Instances of Fox Nation's Departure from Reality (Updated 11/28/2012)

The image below was just too good to pass up. (Updated 11/20/2012)

Image Credit: http://www.realamericanliberal.blogspot.com/

Categories: Illuminating Dark Places, Opposing Plutocracy and Corporatocracy, Seeking Better Governance, Seeking Truth - Debunking Dogma

Thoughts About Money and Motivation

Posted by MacZad
Jun 13 2012

The need to richly reward the plutocrats is standard propaganda for them and their apologists, and the conventional wisdom is that people are more highly motivated and do better work if they are rewarded with more money.

Well it turns out that it's true - and it isn't. Many studies have been done on money as a motivator and they show that it's a good motivator for tasks that are essentially mechanical ones - like getting roofers to install more shingles per hour. However, if the tasks are ones that require even a little higher-level thinking the answer is more complex. If brainpower is important to the task more money produces better results up to the point where ones' basic needs are essentially satisfied. However, surprise, beyond that point using money as an incentive produces poorer results, and other incentives become better motivators.

Perhaps that's why "The London Whale," a trader in J. P. Morgan Chase's London office, recently lost 2 billion dollars (Update 7/16/12 - It's now up to 7 billion) for the firm - a little too much dollar incentive dangling before him? Could this possibly mean that companies (and society) would do better if their executives were paid less?

Here's the great 11  minute RSA animation on this subject that was the inspiration for this post.

It shows that Autonomy - Leave me alone and I'll do it better, Mastery - I want to improve my skill at this task, and Purpose - I want my work to make a real contribution are the best motivators where brainpower is involved. The illustration about open-source software toward the end is great.

However, despite the studies it seems to me that in many corporate executive suites and particularly on Wall Street there are too many sociopathic individuals and too often their Purpose is: I want my work to make an immediate contribution to my bank account irrespective of the impact on others. If, as the studies show, more money does not produce the best results in these brainpower-intensive environments perhaps this is one of the reasons why we have so many frauds, panics, crashes, etc.

Sociopaths in business should be a good topic for a future post.

Categories: Miscellaneous, Seeking Truth - Debunking Dogma

Debt Reduction Isn't Paul Ryan's Goal

Posted by MacZad
Jun 04 2012

"Those who don't like government aren't very good at it." I once read this but don't know its author.

The need for a somewhat smaller, more efficient a less debt ridden federal government is clear to me. However the question here is: Do we want an emaciated federal government?

The current deficit reduction push by GOP Congressman Paul Ryan is a hypocritical effort that has different real objectives. They are the objectives of Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform: "Our goal is to shrink government to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub."

Hypocritical Ryan - such a late comer to fiscal discipline. During the Bush administration Ryan had no qualms about the spending on a grand scale that led to Obama inheriting a country in something of a fiscal mess.    

Here from the Washington Monthly - Political Animal Blog is a quote that elaborates on Ryan's real objectives better than I can:

"The important thing to grasp here is that for all the talk about Paul Ryan being the “adult in the room” who understands the “tough choices” needed to confront the “debt crisis,” everything we know about him suggests that fiscal probity is at best a third-order motive for his proposals to decimate the social safety net. More important to him is that the spending cuts he supports are necessary to finance still more regressive tax cuts, and furthermore, are positive social measures in and of themselves. Like the pirate Ragnar Danneskjold, a character in Ryan’s favorite book Atlas Shrugged, who sinks aid ships as a moral gesture aimed at the “looting” of the successful, Ryan would object to safety net programs even if the federal budget was in surplus:
“It is not enough to say that President Obama’s taxes are too big or the health-care plan doesn’t work for this or that policy reason,” Ryan said in 2009. “It is the morality of what is occurring right now, and how it offends the morality of individuals working toward their own free will to produce, to achieve, to succeed, that is under attack, and it is that what I think Ayn Rand would be commenting on.” Ryan’s philosophical opposition to a government that forces the “makers” to subsidize the “takers”—terms he still employs—is foundational; the policy details are secondary."

So Ryan is a disciple of Ayn Rand's rugged individualism and free-market unbridled capitalism, as were Milton Friedman, Alan Greenspan, et al - an economic philosophy which gave us the recent financial crisis. The crisis has given Greenspan second thoughts, but not Ryan whose only qualm about Rand is that he has recently discovered that she was an atheist so he is now trying to distance himself from her, but clearly not from her philosophy. BTW: Rand herself, late in life, participated in Social Security and Medicare those government safety-net programs that she so hated.

The bottom line for me is that I value many federal government activities (we could be much less interventionalist in world affairs), and I must speak out against those who want an emaciated government that would gut environmental regulations, sell the national parks, enact more regressive taxes etc., and thus give us even more of a plutocracy than we now have. We can't vote against Norquist, but we can vote against Ryan and other Ayn Rand disciples.

Categories: Opposing Plutocracy and Corporatocracy, Seeking Better Governance, Seeking Truth - Debunking Dogma


Posted by MacZad
May 31 2012

About MacZad’s Musings

Guiding quotes:

  • "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Lord Acton
  • "Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation." Oscar Wilde
  • "Nothing dies so hard, or rallies so often, as intolerance" Henry Ward Breecher
  • “Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.” C. E. Stowe
  • "The trouble with the world is not that people know too little; it's that they know so many things that just aren't so." Mark Twain
  • “Dark places need strong lighting.” MacZad (Not that I’m on par with the guys above, but I just couldn't find the right quote for the thought.)

Welcome to my blog:

The rise of the plutocrats which has been greatly aided by the increasing power of the religious zealots, plus the Supreme Court's recent Citizens United decision allowing unlimited corporate money to flow into politics, have compelled me to start this blog. My voice is small, but the situation demands that many small voices be heard.

I hope to be posting occasionally, expanding on the thoughts expressed in the quotes above and, sometimes, ranging a bit wider. I will be expressing my thoughts (and biases) but also often directing the reader to more authoritative sources.

Our country has been negatively altered over the past several decades, and the negative drift continues, often stealthfully, and resistance is badly needed. I expect that some of the views that I champion will be disparaged by many - perhaps even by some friends. However, please view my posts as you do newspaper editorials, and don't "cancel your subscription" because there are some posts that you don't agree with.

What to expect here:

  • Support for efforts to give the voters (rather than the corporations and the very wealthy) the strongest voice in government policy making
  • A voice for tolerance and diversity
  • A vigorous defense of religious freedom at all levels of US governance
  • The illuminating of some of the dark places
  • Efforts to debunk dogmas, some quite dangerous
  • Comments on the goofy ideas of both the far left and the far right
  • And, now and then, some humor and a few extras of one sort or another

Personal info:

MacZad is the nom de plume of Tom McKee. I’m a retired electrical engineer living in suburban Raleigh, NC. I have been happily married to the same great lady for 50+ years, and we have one son and 3 grandchildren. I am not affiliated with any political party or religion. I'm not a journalist and there will be errors (not factual, I hope) in my postings. Please overlook or excuse these.

My beliefs and biases:

  • I’m a great believer in moderation, in what’s possible versus what’s ideal, in keeping an open mind, in facts vs. dogma and in common sense.
  • I believe in living life to the fullest, enjoying the good, bearing the bad and in trying to leave at least a part of the world a little better than I found it.
  • I lean toward the socially liberal and the fiscally conservative. We need government but one that is smaller, less powerful and much more strongly attuned to the mass of its workers and their families - the real strength of America.
  • Our capitalistic system, with its many opportunities, is the best; but has been, and is being, gamed to benefit a few - a real loss for the country. Poor governance during the last 30-40 years has put us in the high-debt "banana-republic" category – a very-rich few and masses of "serfs."
  • “Government knows best” is false, but sufficient common-sense regulation of capitalism is required for a healthy society.
  • A strong believer in the power of science and engineering to continually improve mankind’s condition I also recognize that there are areas of science where conclusions are questionable as the knowledge is still formative.
  • A society embracing tolerance and diversity allows every citizen to achieve his/her maximum potential to the substantial benefit of all citizens.
  • More of us should be speaking out against the religious zealots who by their attempts to impose a state religion (i.e. “A Christian Nation”) are methodically chipping away at our religious and other freedoms.
  • I believe that one can live a good moral life without believing in any, of the many, gods.
  • Change is inevitable, and our minds must be open to new ideas appropriate for the times. I've changed some beliefs recently - this list isn't "set in stone."

Contact: This blogging software does not have any provision for Comments and that's OK because I don't have time to respond to them. However, if you feel that you must contact me, I can be reached at: archivist-1[at]imradioha[dot]org . Please make it into a valid address.

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Categories: Defending Religious Freedom, Embracing Diversity and Tolerance, Illuminating Dark Places, Opposing Plutocracy and Corporatocracy, Seeking Better Governance, Seeking Truth - Debunking Dogma