Americans Need To Get It Out Of Our Heads: We DO NOT Do Everything Right

My gut is, this very American attitude — “How WE Do It Is How It Should Be Done” — flows from, the MALE of the American species. It’s definitely got a “I alone can fix it” pong to it.

You know how men are kind of “famous” for refusing to ever ask for directions when lost? Yeah — same chromosomal character flaw. We don’t HAVE to know how to do something, we assume we can figure it out. Then, when we stare at the wreckage our ignorance produced, we can blame the manufacturer or inadequate customer service for the mess. Men — dirty little secret here that I just KNOW I’m gonna pay for — are a lot like Ikea product instructions. You’re never going to “read them” through first; instead you’ll plunge in and get two-thirds of the way through before you realize you put the key piece on BACKWARDS at the very beginning and now the whole goddamned thing has to be taken apart so you can start over.

That’s men. That’s us. No kidding.

Men were mostly responsible not so much for founding the country as taking credit for it and making up all the rules. Women’s role in the founding has gone — shocking, right? — under-reported. I guess, in the men’s minds, someone had to “put the kettle on”. Being men, in whose same minds they were always right, they applied that fallacy to the document (and the country) they created.

If we — White Christian Men — say a thing is so, it MUST be so. Now go and Manifest Destiny already.

White Christian Men decided that slavery was okay. They thought it passed muster that black people were 3/5 of a white person. These things are embedded in our character. They’re part of our swagger (along with the things for which we’re justifiably celebrated as a culture). It’s a package deal. Like everything. Good is a fellow traveler with bad.

But, in our case, that “bad” has caught up with us. I blame the high bullshit content of our swagger.

America does not do healthcare right. We don’t do public education right. We don’t do secondary education — college, university, trade school — right. We don’t do taxes right. We don’t do humanitarianism right any more (we’re hellbent on the exact opposite). On healthcare — we’re the only country that ties healthcare to employment. There’s a REASON we’re the only country stupid enough to do that.

During WWII, employers weren’t allowed to give raises to employees (the money was redirected toward the war effort). To keep good employees from leaving — and to entice new hires — companies offered up healthcare instead. Lots of companies did that. Then the war ended. But that job benefit didn’t. The companies found it hard and expensive to keep providing healthcare. Insurance companies took over the workload — and sank their hooks in deep. They put themselves at the core of American healthcare.

The first question you get asked when you seek medical attention in America isn’t “How can we help you?”, it’s “And how are you going to PAY for this?”

Money, sadly, sits at the heart of what ails America. Greed has undermined the Greatest Experiment in Human Self Government Ever. Let’s be honest, if greed’s involved, the fix is always in. Nothing “trumps” greed. Ever.

America’s greatness flows from its largesse — which, in turn, flows from its diversity. Nothing but cold, Christian calculus (as opposed to Jesus-like, Do-Unto-Others thinking) flows from the White People who believe THEY and they alone are the keepers of the American Flame. They’re the remnant of the Boys Club that — thinking it was always right — sat down to make up the rules some of us still follow that others (Republicans all) blatantly piss on.

I guess “doing it right” is a matter of perspective. If you’re the majority of Americans — we feel in our gut that children dying on our southern border is us DOING IT WRONG. If you’re a republican however… if you’re Donald Trump — you’re a guy waving his dick around, thinking how awesome you are — and how “right” everything is in the world.

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No, SCOTUS — A Cross Is Not (And Can NEVER Be) “Secular” In Any Way – BECAUSE Of Its History

The Supreme Court just came down 7-2, allowing a 40-foot World War I memorial in the shape of a Christian cross to remain standing in Maryland. The American Humanist Association had sued Maryland; they wanted the state to replace the cross (erected in 1925 as a memorial to 49 local residents who died) with something more “with something more appropriate and universal.” The SCOTUS however says the cross, while “undeniably a religious symbol” is also now “secular enough” to stay.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/supreme-court-christian-peace-cross-ruling_n_5cfeb071e4b02ee3477b60cc

How to put this politely… BULLSHIT!

It’s hard, apparently, for Christians to conceive of the idea that the symbol for their faith means more than just “their faith”. It means two thousand years of persecution — if you’re Jewish. It means pogroms and massacres and inquisitions and holocausts. A cross always stands in the background of each of those scenes. The people doing the pogroming & massacring were almost always motivated to their violence — at least in part — by that cross and the people who controlled that cross’ message. That cross is the banner anti-Semites have almost always followed into battle.

I grew up in a mostly Jewish suburb of Baltimore during the 1960’s & 1970’s — a kind of gilded ghetto. Jews have been living in ghettos — gilded or otherwise — since the term was coined in Venice, Italy around 1516 to describe the part of the city where Jews were allowed to live. The ghetto.

Jews didn’t force Jews to live in ghettos, Christians did — because Jews insisted on remaining a separate group. More to the point, they insisted on remaining the “original” group from which Christians emerged. They insisted on staying true to themselves regardless of the nonsense Paul and the early Church Fathers INVENTED to distinguish the emerging Christian faith from its Jewish origins. Though Paul didn’t invent the idea that Jesus was “a messiah” (at the time LOTS of people claimed to be messiahs or were declared messiahs by their followers — it was an apocalyptic time in Jerusalem), Paul adeptly used it to create the Christian Mythology that Jews killed Jesus (never mind all the mythology’s myriad logic problems).

Whenever Christians went hunting for Jews to punish — for having killed Jesus — they did it under the banner of a cross.

I’m sorry, SCOTUS, but almost TWO THOUSAND YEARS of being beaten with a cross cannot be undone by CHRISTIANS claiming their core religious symbol isn’t religious “in this instance”. That’s like saying a noose — left dangling at a black person’s desk at work or left outside a black family’s home — isn’t necessarily racist.

Trust me — it’s racist.

Living Inside A False Narrative Is Stupid… So Why Do We Persist In Doing It?

A woman who doesn’t know the man she loves is cheating on her lives inside a false narrative — that her relationship is on solid ground.

A man unaware that a tumor is metastasizing inside of him is living a false narrative that he’s healthy and not doomed.

As they slept in their beds at 6:45, the morning of December 7, 1941, the citizens of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii were living inside a false narrative that our country was at peace with Japan and that war couldn’t possibly impact their lives. You don’t have to know the bullet is coming to get killed by it.

Christianity tries to sell a false narrative that the man who first uttered “Do Unto Others” lived a miraculous life — having a deity for a father and a virgin for a mother. Anyone who believes this actually happened and lives their life as if it did — they’re living inside a false narrative. You don’t have to believe the false narrative, by the way, to follow Jesus. Jesus never invented a false narrative (Paul did that), he just preached “Do Unto Others”.

We live inside the false narrative that Donald Trump “won” his election back in 2016 (even though he’s projected his own illegitimacy from the get-go because the secret that Russia won the election for him was too hard for him to keep).

We know for a fact that election 2016 wasn’t normal. We knew the night of the election — as reliably blue states began going inexplicably to Trump — that this election smelled. It wasn’t just losing that stunk. It was losing to such an obvious cheat.

Nothing we’ve learned since the election has disproven that conjecture. Take Russia out of the equation and Donald Trump doesn’t come close. And Russia dominated every bit of that equation. Russia received proprietary voter data from Paul Manafort; they weaponized it, turning it back on us as individualized Facebook ads that landed in the targeted voter’s Facebook feed. If these ads caused ONE voter to stay home — that’s one too many in my opinion. We know for a fact it was more than one.

Those voters were given a false narrative — about Hillary Clinton or the Democrats. It worked. Hillary won by more than 3 million popular votes — a victory by any real standard — the Electoral College being a throwback to slavery that, by design, overvalues rural voters while radically undervaluing urban voters. But we keep telling herself “she lost”. It’s insane to equate gaming the Electoral College with giving American voters what they voted for. The majority of us (not even including suppressed votes) voted for the exact opposite of what Donald Trump and the republican party have done.

But then, that was the point. Maintaining the false narrative that Trump won — that’s also the point. As is maintaining the false narrative the Mueller Report in any way exonerated him from either conspiracy with the Russians or egregious attempts to not only obstruct justice but circumvent it too.

Every time a journalist ascribes Trump’s victory in 2016 to anything other than Russia– they’re pitching a false narrative.

They’re pitching bullshit.

There’s A Huge Honkin’ Difference Between Being “Spiritual” & Being “Religious”

Even a stone cold atheist can feel profound awe as he or she stares up at the stars. Atheists especially understand the scale — tiny human on a rock at the far edges of a galaxy in the middle of a billion galaxies feeling both his insignificance in the greater scheme of things while also being keenly aware that he “is” and therefore can “experience” this feeling of cosmic scale. That awe is spirituality. It’s abstract. It’s a riddle. It’s a quest.

But not everyone wants to go on a quest. They just want to live their lives and leave the heavy thinking to others: Just tell me what to believe and I’ll believe it. THAT is religion. It’s NOT about a journey or a search or an exploration. It’s about following rules. It’s about crowd control.

I grew up in a Conservative Jewish, deeply Humanist culture. That’s the middle ground between rule-following orthodoxy and total rule-rejecting reformed Judaism. In my house we rejected most of the rules. We didn’t keep kosher. Didn’t do any of that whatsoever. We went to shul on an occasional basis (for sure on the High Holidays). Though the ten commandments are a cornerstone of the faith, they’re not complicated. As rules go, they’re straightforward. Don’t do this, don’t do that. One thing we didn’t do — as a religion or culture — the institution (the synagogue) was not set up as your over-seer. Unlike the Catholic church, a synagogue never demanded that you confess every last bit of your dirt to it — so it could hold that dirt over your head in perpetuity.

THAT is how religion works.

Jesus was pretty clear in his message: Do unto others… suffer the little children unto me… the meek shall inherit the earth. He didn’t preach about how he wanted his church hierarchy to be structured because Jesus wasn’t about building churches. He was about teaching spirituality.

I mention this because Jesus is kinda the Poster Child for what happens when a spiritual message gets religion. Doing unto others requires a spiritual connection with the rest of humanity. Confession requires that you feel guilty mostly for just being human.

Isn’t that the whole point of “original sin”?

The Church’s genius — dark genius though it was — was to convince all those billions of people that being human wasn’t good enough. That instead of a spiritual journey, its followers needed to be locked in a box — like a veal being fattened up for slaughter without ever having seen the sun. The greatest threat overhanging any church member is expulsion from the group. Excommunication.

No one, it seems, gets excommunicated for diddling little boys. Question the church’s authority though and you’re gone.

A religious person looks up at the stars and wonders where their imaginary friend lives — and is that imaginary friend spying on them? A spiritual person sees a life-long journey of discovery, all to answer one question: how do I fit into that? How can I make my brief time as a sentient being more meaningful? How can I fill every moment with meaning? How can I…?

Spirituality is the freedom to explore. Religion is its diametric opposite.

Maya Angelou Had It SOOOOOO Right – When People Tell You Who They Are…

If you want me to be your friend — but, the fact is, you hate Jews on sight — I’m not seeing a future for our relationship regardless of how much you tell me MY being Jewish isn’t an issue for you. That’s not the point, right? You’re an anti-Semite. It’s who you are.

I feel the same way about Religionistas. If you tell me up front (and thanks for being honest) that the whole basis for your belief system — the foundational core of why you do what you do — is based on a fiction (in other words, you’ve bought into the story instead of its point) — then I’m not inclined to take ANYTHING you say seriously. Why would I?

If you honestly believe — and insist on its veracity — that a sky creature had reproductive sexual relations with a female “virgin” who then bore a man-god who, at the last second gets repurposed with dying for all of humanity’s sins (if that wasn’t his purpose from the start then what’s the issue with him dying — since that was his whole mission in the first place?) but rises from the dead to “prove” that by “following him” you, too, can live forever… see where I’m going? That’s a whole lot of preposterous to accept as real.

It’s Magical Thinking. Magical Thinking is great when you’re five and you’re trying to decide what soda to have with your hamburger. It doesn’t work as well when you’re an adult and you’re sending women to prison because you don’t understand even the basics of biology — because you prefer Magical Thinking to science.

When you turn around then and tell us that you don’t believe in climate change — we get the context.

The same applies to Trump supporters. Yeah, yeah — bamboozlement. Lots and lots of bamboozlement — Russian propaganda and Trumpian pomposity — gobbled up and shit back at us by our own News Media. But lots of people got it. Lots of people saw this from the outset for what it was — a treasonous coup d’etat.

Donald Trump has never been shy about telling us who he is. The onus is on us for refusing to listen to him. All those people who thought Trump would “pivot”? Magical Thinking. All those people who still think Trump is a great potus? The very worst kind of Magical Thinking — Authoritarian Magical Thinking.

Anyone still saying they’d vote for Trump? They’re telling us something. Anyone not disgusted to their neutrons & electrons by Trump? They’re telling us something, too.

Let’s do ourselves a kindness — and believe them.

It Sucks Being Hated. It Sucks More When The Reason You’re Hated Is Entirely Based On Fiction

It sucks when the thing at the end of “I hate you because…” is bullshit.

I’m a yid. A kike. A sheeny.

I grew up part of a hated community. As a kid, you ask the obvious question — “But WHY do they hate me (never mind us)?” The answer you get back isn’t satisfying — or logical. Underneath the “because you’re a Jew” — to the reasons WHY they hate your Jewness — one finds fiction.

More to the point, one finds BULLSHIT. And Magical Thinking.

Antisemitism is not alone in its bullshittiness. Lots of white people think black people are less intelligent because of their skin color. The scientific basis for this thinking is exactly zero. It ain’t reality talking, it’s ignorant, racist bullshit. Of course.

Antisemitism is slightly different because it’s not based on an obvious tribal difference. It’s based on a story.

I bet if Jesus — a Jew every day of his life — were to be resurrected, he’d be horrified in a thousand different ways. He’d be especially horrified that HE was the reason his own tribe has been threatened ever since. Jesus preached a message so simple, even a dumb atheist can see its value and go along with it: “Do Unto Others”. It doesn’t require an ounce of ooga-booga. Jesus (I’m going with The Jesus Seminar’s findings here) never advocated for a church (he was too busy advocating against the temple ffs!) or talked about being any sort of messianic playah who was part of a complex, prophesy-following make-believe. That was Paul, actually, and the early “Church Fathers” — the boys club that put the early church together.

I recommend this book by the award-winning novelist, biographer and journalist A. N. Wilson — Paul: The Mind Of Thttps://www.amazon.com/Paul-Mind-Apostle-N-Wilson/dp/0393317609he Apostle.

The Early Church was a literal construct. The New Testament did not suddenly plop down in the middle of Rome. It was put together in order to send out a message — a story. There are loads of interesting texts that didn’t make the cut (I highly recommend The Other Bible — which includes these texts). You have to ask “Why?”

Spoiler alert — because the Early Church made up its foundational mythology out of pretty much whole cloth. They invented a “Jesus” — borrowing just enough of the original to give it flavor — then manufacturing the rest from the ground up. That included the way this fictitious version of the Jesus Character died — at the end of a process started by Jews.

In the storytelling biz, that story doesn’t sell cause it smells. If you put it in a script — changing the names, of course, to protect the innocent — it would get killed by everyone who read it because it makes no sense. Even villains have to have logic. Especially villains.

The church manufactured a fiction that worked well for them. And because it worked well, they repeated it — and repeated it ad nauseum until a literal lie became, to those without the perspective or knowledge of history, a “truth”. And that false “truth” became the basis for a massive amount of unwarranted hatred.

If the Holocaust (as studies now say) caused actual genetic mutations — the emotional reactions to the experience literally altered its’ victims DNA — it’s likely strong emotional reactions caused earlier DNA alterations to those on the other side of that equation — the perps. How else to explain the seeming hard-wiring of this hatred? Maybe I’m just being paranoid about Jew hatred being universal.

How else to explain the persistent Magical Thinking that Jews use Christian babies to make matzoh or plot — together — to take over the world through the banks and media. Jews, as a rule, tend to be pretty independent in their thinking (it’s a cultural thing for lots of us). Getting a bunch of us to be that together in our thinking so we could pull such a thing off — hasn’t actually met any Jews. That’s Magical Thinking.

Magical Thinking based on rubbish — as all Magical Thinking is.

So, here’s the punchline to the joke. It sucks to be hated because of a fiction. But — are ya ready for it? Racial hatred, tribal hatred, pretty much most hatred — it’s all is based on fiction.

We need to fix our attention on the scumbags who regularly exploit that fact. I won’t point fingers here — I’d need more fingers. We all know who those scumbags are. They’re the ones who bray bullshit — because they know how well bullshit sells — and what bullshit will do as it spreads.

An Atheist’s Easter Sermon: Why REALITY Matters More Than Ooga-Booga

Christmas is a pagan holiday redirected.  For all its “holiness”, all its fanciful storytelling about Wise Men from the East and stars that shine above spots on a planet light years away from them, Christmas still celebrates something; it’s a happy holiday.  Easter, on the other hand, is about Christianity’s core message: “Jesus died (but then rose from the dead – as YOU can, in essence, IF you agree to accept the story we’re pitching you as ‘gospel’ truth.”

Jesus being born and having a life is all well and good.  He can preach all he likes.  But it’s dying that gives the Jesus character purpose.  If Jesus never dies the way he dies (if, say, the NT celebrated his living a long life, dying in his bed surrounded by loved ones), there’s no Christianity.  It doesn’t happen.  But it wasn’t Jesus who told his own story.  Most of what we call “The New Testament” was written by Paul.  13 of the canonical texts are ascribed to Paul though only 8 can really be ascribed to him.

In 1985, the bible scholar Robert Funk created a group of 150 similar scholars.  The Jesus Seminar wanted to coax a historical Jesus from the NT texts.  They discerned a Jew whose core message (they found a dozen-and-a-half sayings that Jesus could have said — that weren’t clearly PUT IN HIS MOUTH BY OTHERS (like, say, PAUL).  What they also saw clearly — “According to the Seminar, Jesus was a mortal man born of two human parents, who did not perform nature miracles nor die as a substitute for sinners nor rise bodily from the dead.  Sightings of a risen Jesus represented the visionary experiences of some of his disciples rather than physical encounters.”

The historian A N Wilson wrote a biography of Paul that I highly recommend — if only to create the proper context in which to understand Christianity’s creation.  The bottom line is simply this: Jesus did not “invent” Christianity.  Paul did.

Paul took the notion of Jesus as a messiah — threw out Jesus’ core “Do Unto Others” message and focused his proselytizing instead on making Jesus The Messiah the basis for a whole new religion that he sold to non-Jews for whom Jewish tradition was meaningless.  But, to prove, HIS invention’s “truthfulness” (maybe “truthiness” is more warranted), Paul based his mythology on Jewish mythology.  Paul needed Jesus being prophesied as part of his branding.  To make the “prophecy” part of Jesus’ story stand up, Paul had invent a story for Jesus because Jesus’ actual story just didn’t fit.

Paul didn’t worry himself with his story’s lack of authenticity.  He wasn’t selling real.  He was selling magic.

But part of Paul’s mythology involved making Jesus’ death important — more important than his life, really.  Jesus needs to rise from the dead to garner the star power needed to front Paul’s new religion.  To rise from the dead, Jesus needs to die spectacularly — even more spectacularly than mere crucifixion. And, because Paul was now committed to selling his story to non-Jews, it mattered nothing to him if Jews became the villain in the STORY he was inventing.

The early church fathers who bought & then themselves began selling Paul’s story loved having a villain.

As a member of the “villain” tribe — I have issues with this.

Jesus preached a simple message.  Even a humble atheist can easily (and happily) “Do Unto Others”.  Most do, actually because, humans are social creatures.  We recognize that behaving one way versus the other makes your life better.  There’s no reason to muck that message up.  It doesn’t cry out for explanation.

It requires no magic.

It stands — resolutely — without any need for Ooga-Booga to justify it.

So here’s the deal.  Believe whatever you like, Christians — it’s your “god-given right”.  But what you do with that faith — how you manifest its teachings out here beyond the walls of your church — it matters.  When your pervert “Do Unto Others” into “Kill The Jews” — you’re doing it wrong.