Politics, Religion, Secularism, Terrorism

Thinking Instead of Praying for Paris

November 13, 2015

Prayers for Paris are well intentioned, but let’s not forget that it was also partially too much prayer that inspired the deaths of over 100 innocent people today.

Maybe it’s time to admit that in this crisis, lots of prayer isn’t the solution to our problems – too much prayer *is* the problem.

Maybe it’s time to work together to do a little less praying and more thinking. Less recitation and more questioning.

Maybe it’s time to be less respectful of belief without evidence, and more respectful of the common heritage science irrefutably shows us to possess. Time to admit that our ancient ancestors, doing the best they could with the best they had, just got it wrong, and that we *can* do better. For religion, racism, sexism, communism, fascism, all at their core are baseless superstition that science and reason render impotent on a daily basis to the mind that is open to questioning everything critically.

Let’s pray a little less and think a little more about how we can retire these relics of our barbaric ancestors. Our progress as a species depends on it.

Politics, Uncategorized

Getting it done, Getting it wrong

October 19, 2015
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laughs as she arrives for an event at Chatham House in London, Friday, Oct. 11, 2013. Clinton is to be presented with the institute’s annual award in recognition of her contribution to the significant improvement of international relations, according to the institution. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Hillary Clinton claims to be “a Progressive that gets things done.” The second part of that statement is true. Hillary Clinton is very good at getting things done – they just more often happen to be conservative, Republican goals.

Clinton has hardly gotten anything done that required deft maneuvers of partisan politics *at all*, insofar as it means accomplishing *liberal* goals while working with *conservative* colleagues. Proof is how her signature liberal attempt – Hillarycare in the 90s – failed abysmally. On things she has “accomplished” – i.e. things she supported (along with her husband) that passed into law – most of them were squarely *republican* initiatives. Ending welfare. Deregulating the banks. Opposing gay marriage. The Iraq war. The 94 Crime Bill and the Drug War. The list of *Republican* goals that Hillary enabled and supported to pass goes on and on. The Progressive goals, hardly any in sight (SCHIP the only one that comes to mind).

As Secretary of State it’s hard to point to any signature achievement. Granted, much that happens in that office is reacting to things beyond your control. But her desire to hit the “reset” button with Russia was a failure, and her record with regards to the Arab spring is spotty at best (this doesn’t include Benghazi, her probe into this being a partisan farce). Kerry, meanwhile, has secured both the Iran Deal and the Cuba Deal – bigtime big player stuff in that office.

The Clintons were *very* good at passing laws that were the stuff of Republican dreams. This is why Progressives abandoned Hillary for Obama in 08 and (disastrously) supported Ralph Nader in 2000. Being attacked by the right doesn’t mean she’d be any more deft at navigating this Congress than she was in the past, unless it means bending to the conservative whim, which she *has* done in the past. The common criticism of Sanders now is that he could never get his plans through Congress, whereas supposedly Clinton could. The evidence suggests that Clinton could only as far as her initiatives are squarely Republican ones. Is that the kind of policymaking we should approve of in the standard-bearer of the Democratic party?

Oftentimes the real reasons people support candidates are 1) they know who they are, and 2) they project an *image* of confidence and a strong record. But we should probably take a closer look into whether that image is justified.

Politics, Religion, Secularism, Terrorism, Uncategorized

No Shelter, but Old Dogma: An Open Letter to Saudi Arabia on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

September 10, 2015

In response to Saudi Arabia offering *zero* refugees entrance into their kingdom while expressing a willingness to fund 200 mosques in Germany, I decided to write this open letter.

Dear Saudi Arabia – so let me get this straight.

1) For decades you have funded the *most radical*, *most literal* interpretation of Islam, known as Wahabiism – perhaps similar in its theocratic literalism to the Westboro Baptist Church, but much more deadly in the fact that it directly dictates the policy of an entire country.
2) This doctrine goes on to inspire Bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and most recently, Abu Bakr Al-Bagdadi and his little organization known as ISIS.
3) ISIS jumps into the chaos of the Syrian Civil War, begins taking sex slaves, murdering fellow muslims, setting the clock back over a thousand years for women and gays and religious minorities, and helping to cause one of the worst refugee crises of the modern era.
4) These refugees – in desperate need of food clothing and shelter – turn to the world for help to escape the crisis that *you* helped partially to create. The number of refugees you decide to take in – a big fat walloping *ZERO*. The reason? You fear – yes, this is not a joke – that “religious extremism” could enter your country.
5) These refugees find safe harbor in the evil, bigoted, imperalist, infidel West, most notably Germany, who *do*, however imperfectly, agree to help these refugees find food, clothing and shelter.
6) Rather than pledge safe harbor for these refugees – overwhelmingly Muslim like yourselves – you pledge *instead* to help them build – wait for it – more Mosques.

Wasn’t it the existence of *too much* religious doctrine that helped create ISIS, at least 50% of the cause of this crisis? What could *possibly* make you think that *more* religion is what these starving and homeless refugees need, when it is indeed at least 50% *because of* religion that they are now homeless and starving?

What more can one say? The futility of theocracy is laid bare for the entire world to see. Even as a war caused partially by doctrine sends millions into homelessness, the theocrats show themselves far more concerned with doctrine than with starving and homeless human beings.

Saudi Arabia appears to be suffering from what I call “Mother Theresa Syndrome”. Mother Theresa was known for her “homes for the dying.” This turned Mother Theresa into an international celebrity and caused millions of dollars to pour into her organization. Further investigation proved that these Homes for the Dying could have instead become Homes for the Living if her organization had decided to spend that money on the routine western medical procedures that could’ve cured many of the dying, thousands of people who simply were too poor to have access to such medicine. Why do that, however, when you can use them as an opportunity to promote your particular doctrine worldwide?

People have often asked how people in the West and in the Middle East can win this war on terror – I am more convinced everyday that the new battle lines are not in Iraq and Syria, but in the European refugee camps. We often say that our system is better and more humane – it’s time to prove it by treating these refugees with the care and dignity they deserve, things they simply do not receive anymore in their country of origin. How we treat these refugees is going to be the very thing that defeats groups like ISIS not just on the battlefield, but in the hearts and minds of Muslims worldwide. It’s time to show that they can have a much better life among the Infidels than the Theocrats, and that when we in liberal western Democracies say we respect *all* people, and believe that *all* people are entitled to freedom, prosperity and basic human rights – we mean it.

Politics, Religion, Secularism, Terrorism

Syria and the Superstition Exodus

September 3, 2015
A Syrian refugee holds a baby in a refug...A Syrian refugee holds a baby in a refugee camp set in the town of Harmanli, south-east of Sofia on November 12, 2013.  Bulgaria's asylum centres are severely overcrowded after the arrival of almost 10,000 refugees this year, half of them Syrian. The influx has fuelled anti-immigrant sentiment in a country already struggling with dire poverty.   AFP PHOTO / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOVNIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images

Watching the European refugee crisis unfold, we need to be reminded of what the real cause of the crisis is. It is the giant belching created by the hunger of and hunger for superstition – in the case of Bashar Al-Assad, the superstition of the God-like state and its leader, and in the case of ISIS, the superstition of ancient texts written by our primitive ancestors as being *completely* *literally* true, even in the face of undeniable evidence that this simply isn’t so.

How lucky we are to live in modern liberal democracies – in the case of America, one born out of the Masonic philosophy of the freedom of speech and a rudimentary tolerance of at least different Abrahamic faiths (it’s not clear to me the Masons of that era would have tolerated non-Abrahamic faiths, if I am in error on this please correct me).

I lived in Michigan for five years. Michigan contains the biggest proportion of immigrants from the Middle East. I had friends who were Iraqi, Syrian, Palestinian, Iranian, Lebanese and more, Christian, Chaldean, Syriac Orthodox, Muslim, Sunni and Shia. Truthfully, even here they don’t always like each other, as I found out over many surprising conversations. But never once in my five years there did I see a rocket launched, a window smashed, or a violent act occur, and I certainly have never heard of a different strain of violence occurring above the normal level of crime that still occurs in every community of people, regardless of race or nationality or faith.

When you put human beings in a different environment, their behavior changes, and even though these refugees no doubt hear constantly about how racist, bigoted, and colonialist we in the west have been, they are risking the lives of both themselves and their children to get here at all costs. In spite of our eternal and unforgivable bigotry, they are committing acts of bravery we cannot fathom because life among the bigots is so much more preferable to life among the theocrats of the State or the theocrats of the Book.

I don’t know what the answer is in this crisis, except that these people are in dire need of help. I just hope we work every day to help create a world where people choose to come to Europe or the West out of the luxury of free choice, not out of the desperation of persecution and violence