All religions are fundamentally terrible. They’re all predicated on a lie about the basic nature of reality, and humanity would be better off without all of them. Yes, we hear the biggest complaints about Christianity and Islam, but let’s not forget that every religion is terrible.

Case in point, Hindu. Here we have a story about a young man who fall in love with a woman from a higher caste, ran off with her, and as a result his sisters were sentenced to be raped. Because religion.

Lest you cry that, no, this sort of nonsense isn’t part of the Hindu faith, let me point out that the caste system in India is entirely based on religion and has no connection to the real world.

All of the people in this story, from the young man and his wife, to his sisters, to the village council, are all prisoners of a really shitty religious belief that says that your position in life is mandated by the gods, and there you shall stay. IF you’re lucky, you’ll be reincarnated in a higher, better position.

What a stupid concept. What a stupid religion. What a fucking horrible group of people who would do and allow this sort of crime to come up.

Religion absolutely does poison everything.

Another Fire Fail

So it looks as though faulty arson science resulted in yet another likely innocent person spending almost three decades behind bars. At least in this case, unlike in the Willingham case, the person in question wasn’t murdered by a state more obsessed with revenge than justice.

I’m to the point now where I think the government should have to go back to every arson conviction that was issued prior to 2000 and review them; possibly with new trials for all. Yes, this would be expensive, but so what? We know that much of the evidence used to convict people of arson prior to about 2000 or so was extremely faulty and not worthy of being called “science-based” in any way. It is therefore worth it to go back and look at every case.

There’s really no down side here. If the new science upholds convictions then great; we know we got it right despite the faulty science that existed before. But if even only a handful of convictions turn out to be wrong, well, at least we’ve done what we can to fix the situation and can hopefully make it up to the victims.

How to Be Ignored

Here’s a simple lesson in how to be ignored.

So this lady lost her audience (a group of liberal socialist-leaning Democrats), about eight seconds into the video. She never regained them. They ignored her message. Why did this happen?

First off, she hijacked the mic at an event where someone else was going to be speaking. That’s fairly rude, and a guarantee that people will focus more on your methods than your message.

Second, she started out her position in an area that’s pretty much going to be a no-go forever. Yes, the land that everything in the Americas stands on was stolen from the Indians. You know what else? The land the British occupy was stolen from whomever was there before the Celts by the Celts, stolen from the Celts by the Romans, stolen from the Romans by the Angles and Saxons, stolen from them by the Danes, and stolen from them by the Normans. The Italian peninsula was stolen from the Etruscans by the Romans, and then stolen from them by the Huns, and from them by…well, so many different groups…

The point here is that all land is stolen from someone else at some point in time. There is no fix for this. We should stop doing it, and largely have, but there’s no way all white people in the USA are suddenly going to decamp for Europe and return the land to the Indians. It won’t happen. Bringing it up in a situation like this is pointless.

Next, telling your largely white, very liberal audience how racist their city is, and how terrible gentrification is (I’ve never understood why), isn’t really going to win you any points from them. Sure, you can talk about systemic racism and generational poverty, but pointing at the only people who are a: likely to be sympathetic to your cause, and b: are in a position to do something about it, and telling them that they’re the problem…yeah, that’s just not going to fly.

Lastly…ugh. All she does as she stands up there is give ammunition to our enemies. The Fox News crowd likely ate this up, and many moderates and liberals, myself included, were rolling their eyes so hard you could have hooked a generator to them and used them to power the west coast. She comes off as a shrill, liberal stereotype, and that doesn’t benefit anyone.

What should she have done to get her message across? Moderate it quite a bit, and then get permission from the organizers of the event to let her talk. She still might have been ignored, but having a small number of people focus on your message, while the rest ignore you, is far, far preferable to having basically everyone ignore you and focus on your methods.

A Terrorist Attack You Didn’t Hear About

There was a terrorist attack in Israel the other day. You didn’t likely hear about it for two reasons: first off, because it was in Israel, and we kind of regard these things as “normal” there, unless it’s a really large attack. Second, the terrorist wasn’t a Muslim; he was a Jew.

Now to be quite honest, I won’t say that this was terrorism, though I can’t figure out why not. You have a man motivated by religious belief to stab six innocent people because of their homosexuality (real or perceived). If this happened in the USA against, say, a group of Christians and was done by a Muslim, well, do you think the media would call it anything other than terrorism?

This gets to something I said two years ago. “Terrorism” is basically a useless word that can mean whatever the media and government decides it means at any given point. It is, therefore, in society’s best interest to stop using it as soon as possible and simply stick with other words, like “criminal”.

Понимание Путина

“Vladimir Putin 14 February 2008-7” by Kremlin.ru. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vladimir_Putin_14_February_2008-7.jpg#/media/File:Vladimir_Putin_14_February_2008-7.jpg

I want you to try (yet another) of my little thought experiments. It goes like this:

Suppose that China began forming military alliances with various nations in South America, and eventually signed a defense treaty creating the Sino-American Defense Organization, or SADO (admittedly a terrible name). Let’s say that at the same time the various nations of South America formed the Pan-American Union. They adopted a similar set of laws and a single currency, and did so with China smiling benevolently on the whole affair.

If this happened, we might start to get understandably nervous, much as we did when the Soviets were fooling around down there during the Cold War. Of course it’s no longer the Cold War, so no problem, right? We’d eventually adapt and come to accept what’s happening down there, though we probably wouldn’t like it.

Then suppose that the Sino-American Defense Organization began moving north. First Panama joins up, now putting what we’d view as Chinese proxies in charge of the Canal. Then they move up more, with Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and other nations joining up. As they do, they also begin trickling their way into the Pan-American Union. Now we have a whole set of nation states that are apparently in league with China. But they’re still not touching us, so that’s ok, right?

Well, then suppose that Mexico starts making noises about joining, and as they’re doing that, there’s an uprising in Mexico City. This uprising claims to be about replacing a terrible government that isn’t responsive to the people, and puts in place one that’s much more responsive to China. Ooops, I meant to say, “the people”, though for all we know, that’s as in “The People’s Republic of Mexico”.

Now we’d really lose our minds. Here we’d have a potentially hostile country directly on our southern border that’s being influenced by another country that’s our ideological enemy, and that’s regularly competing with us in the global marketplace. Forget nervous; we’d be scared out of our minds.

Replace China with America, SADO with NATO, the Pan-American Union with the European Union, and Mexico with Ukraine and you begin to understand what Russians in general, and Putin in particular, might be thinking, and why they might be lashing out.

“But!” you might protest. “America and the European Union aren’t like that! We’re friendly, benevolent countries that only want freedom and peace!”

A reasonable point, but this is where the China analogy somewhat falls apart, because China hasn’t launched an illegal, unprovoked war against another country in a fair amount of time. We, on the other hand, have, and did so with much help from the EU.

So try to put yourself in Putin’s shoes. Try to actually think like him. While he is yet another in a long line of Russian dictators, he’s neither insane nor evil. He’s reacting to what he genuinely believes is a threat to his country. Thus Russian actions in Georgia, thus their actions in Ukraine.

I’m not saying this is in any way justifiable. Russia is jumping at shadows, and Putin is a dictator. Russia needs to calm down and Putin needs to step down. Democracy can and should come to Russia, and by that I mean real, solid democracy; not the mocking of it that currently exists with rigged elections and dissenters being punished.

But until that happens, we need to try and understand why Putin thinks the way he does, and we need to deal with him that way. The Cold War is pretty much over, and we need to avoid restarting it, and understanding Putin and treating him and his position with respect, is the only way to do that.

Oh, and for the record: him invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea had nothing to do with any “weakness” on the part of Obama. If it did, you have to ask yourself why he also invaded Georgia during George W’s time in office.

Are GMO’s Safe?

Once again, the answer is, in general, yes.

That’s a good article, and I highly recommend reading it. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the following food crops are genetically modified from their wild cousins:

Logan berries
Green peppers
Red peppers

And…you know what? Every single domesticated food crop we eat is genetically distinct from its wild cousin. We began modifying DNA the moment we invented agriculture, which was about 10,000 years ago, give or take a few centuries. This applies to animals as well as plants, and if you doubt me, try to make a pet of a wolf rather than a beagle.

We really need to grow the fuck up. Simply because something has had its DNA tinkered with in a lab does not make it any worse (or better), than something that had its DNA tinkered with slowly over the course of decades/centuries.

We have nine billion people to feed. We can all make snarky little comments about how there should be fewer people, but unless you’re willing to eat a bullet, you can shut the fuck up, and just eat some GMO food instead. It really can save humanity.

Well, We Got This to Look Forward To

And I’m…reasonably optimistic. I was horrified by much of what happened during season 8 (ahem), but there’s some possibility here. And that girl at the end? If she’s anyone we’ve seen before, she’ll be either Jenny or Susan. If. Which is a very powerful word!


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