11-04-19 12:21  •  Consider Buddhism

Selah: Religion is outdated and oppressive and we, as humans, should be able to have faith in the inherent good of each other rather than a mystical being.

Consider Buddhism. Its principles stand today as ever and it doesn't have a mystical being. It requires no faith.

11-01-19 11:30  •  Never Cheating

Celia: I don't understand women who say they know FOR SURE that their husband would never cheat. How can you know? I mean I trust my husband, but if something started looking fishy I would try to get to the bottom of it, not just say, well, he'd never do that.

If my husband wanted to have sex with another woman, he would tell me about it first. Then we could discuss what that means for us, and I could decide if she was good enough for him. Nothing but the best for my man.

Celia: Wait, what? I don't understand.

If my husband wanted to sleep with another woman he would not have to "cheat," or sneak around and lie about it. He could be honest with me and tell me that is what he wanted to do. We would determine together if that was workable or not. If we decide it's not, we would then figure out together how to deal with it.

There would be no reason for deception and betrayal. We can handle anything that arises honestly.

Celia: Please, tell me how you'd be able to acertain if some OTHER woman was "good enough" for YOUR husband.

If I thought, "She is really an amazing person...I can see why."

Celia: Wow. I wish I had your sense of compassion.

Rhonda: "Compassion"? That's not the adjective I'd use. Forgive me for saying, Raver, but men don't work like that. Prepare to have your marriage last about five minutes!

My husband and I have been together for over twenty years and have three children together.

Rhonda: And you are really okay with it, every time he wants to sleep with another woman you just let him!?

So far it has not come up once. This is still the plan if it ever does.

Celia: Well it does seems compassionate to me...to accept and acknowledge human nature.

Thank you, I am honored that you understand.

Celia: Not that it would work in my marriage, lol! And I say "I wish" I had it, because it seems like a much calmer place to be than where I would be - panicked and consumed with pain and anger.

Anyone can learn to do it.

10-30-19 9:30  •  Whence the Jobs

Reeba: So Harley Davidson took its tax cut, closed its factory and rewarded its shareholders. They told Kansas City workers they had to close the plant and lay everyone off. Then they announced a $700 million stock buy-back.

It's a pattern since the tax cuts passed - companies profit, shareholders benefit, workers are screwed.

BlowJo: So to recap, average Americans who invest in companies are rewarded!

Yet to be shown how that's bad.

That money was supposed to "save" those "jobs."

Reeba: Yep! Instead it just made the shareholders a bit richer. Thanks, Trump.

BlowJo: You should thank Trump. He has revitalized American manufacturing. Good jobs will follow soon.

No jobs are coming. Even if they still needed a factory, I can't imagine hiring a person to build a motorcycle when a robot could do it better, longer, faster, cheaper. It's just busywork at that point.

Prepare to be lucky if you can get busywork from now on. Until we set ourselves free from this pretend bullshit.

10-09-19 10:09  •  What's it to You?

Sally: If you don't mind, I was just wondering why, if you are not religious, you would want to talk about religion. What's it to you?

I am interested in truth. I am interested ways of verifying and communicating truth. I am also interested in systems, culture and consciousness. And, I enjoy a challenge that requires a rigorous response. Debating religion is a crossroads for all these interests.

08-04-19 11:20  •  I Read the Mueller Report

This summer, it was like an additional class; I slowly worked my way through the entire Mueller Report. Based on what I read in Part One, I would agree that there was no prior conspiracy with the Russians to commit election fraud, but it was not for lack of trying, at least once the Trump campaign got the idea. Many important people in the campaign tried to trade election favors with Russian officials. Only the naive ignorance of Trump Jr. kept him from going further along this path. My assessment is that they welcomed collusion but could not effectively set it up in time. In other words, they tried to collude, but were too stupid.

In Part Two, Mueller details about eleven separate instances where Trump tried to obstruct justice. Some instances, like Trump's effort to influence Jr.'s disclosures to the press about his meeting in Trump Tower, do not seem to rise to criminal levels of obstruction. Many others, like President Trump's efforts to shut down the Special Counsel's investigation, definitely do.

I understand that Nancy Pelosi believes there is no politcal will for impeachment and it might damage the Democrats' chances in an upcoming election where they have wind at their back, opposing the weirdest and most flawed canditate ever. But I don't think her political calculation is correct. The report demonstrates that a sitting President broke the law while in office. If we value the law as a system for holding power in check we need to actually do it. Otherwise no President will care about impreachment. And if they don't care about checks on their power, they will ignore them, and do whatever they want. That can't go in a good direction.

08-02-19 11:20  •  Christianity Twisted

Yvette: I don't see what your problem is with Christianity. Jesus Christ had Universal Love for all.

That is, you can sometimes hear negative things about Christianity. But, that is only because people have twisted it.

Yeah, it's hard to imagine how people could take an idea like "Everyone who believes differently deserves an eternity of torment the lake of fire" and twist it into something negative.

Yvette: As I have told you before, not all Christians believe that.

It is the central tenet of Christianity. If Christains don't believe it they should change their religion.

Zeera: Excuse me, Christians believe what? Care to share your source on that?

Salvation through Christ is the central tenet of Christianity.

Zeera: I just don't believe you can use the blanket idea that all Christians believe in eternal torment for the unsaved because it's not applicable to all Christians.

I never said all Christains believe it. However, even exempting the eternal torment, it's still the central tenet of Christianity that only believers receive salvation. Non-believers are considered wrong.

Maybe not all Christians believe that now, but they certainly have historically and that bad idea has led directly to a lot of bad shit. The fact that some people now are waking up to how wrong that is, is a great testament to reason and wisdom but it doesn't let Christianity off the hook for having a cruel and exclusionary central tenet.

If Christians want to dump the medieval baggage they are certainly free to. The UUs did. If people don't want to be held to the old cruel and exclusionary tenets they should change them, or choose a religion that reflects how they really feel.

Zeera: I don't know if that's what Christianity says. I'm not a bible authority.

Well it's on the brochure.

Yvette: Is that a Chick tract? I hate those.

Many do. But Chick did not make this up.

This is what Salvation through Christ means. If Christians do not really believe it, perhaps they should all follow the path of the Unitarian Universalists, and officially declare Universal Salvation. It would certianly be more in keeping with the idea of Christ's Universal Love.

08-01-19 1:45  •  Medicare for All

Erica: I like my private insurance and I like America as a privately-insured country. I like capitalism, not socialism! I don't want Socialized Medicine. That is what Bernie Sanders really means when he says "Medicare for All."

I have been studying economic systems and social systems for many years. I have been trying to determine the most practical system with the most equity and health, both for the individual and for the group. I have used the mathematical reasoning of John Nash, who won the Nobel prize for figuring this out, as a guide for what to look for in a working system.

I have studied communism, planned economies, and resource-based economies, as well as a number of completely hypothetical plans, and I have come to see that what we call "capitalism," self-direction through markets, is by far the most natural system, and therefore the easiest to sustain. Self-seeking is unbeatable as a means to generate commerce.

Similarly, in my studies of social systems used by nations, I have seen that the most successful models are those that are considered "Socialism" - particularly national health care systems like the one in Canada, or national education systems like the one Sweden has. These kinds of systems result in better health and better education for the citizens than private models.

But how can this be? How can capitalism AND socialism both work, when everyone knows they are opposites?

The answer is, they aren't opposites, because they are not managing the same thing. Capitalism is a system for managing how you work your economy. Socialism is a system for managing how you run your society. While similar and intertwined, they are not identical.

The best system would be to have a Capitalist economy AND a Socialist government, both. They are not mutually exclusive. Many countries have a balance of this, including ours.

In fact, upon studying the matter, I do not see any way that either could possibly exist without the other. They belong together.

Canada has a capitalist economy and socialized healthcare. Many European countries have a similar balance and they are also showing better health and education levels for their people. Even here in the U.S. we have many "socialist" programs and this is sure a better place than it would be without them.

The bottom line is that "socialism" is no threat to capitalism. They work in concert.

Take a look at the countries who have more socialized systems. They also have capitalist economies. Most important, the people there like it, and it works. If they can do it we certainly can.

Erica: Except I don't see how socialized medicine has been particularly fruitful in any nation.

What do you mean by fruitful? Profitable?

Canadians have better health at lower cost. If the goal of the healthcare system is health, that sounds fruitful to me.

Erica: I don't want the government trying to do my healthcare.

Right now the insurance company is "doing" your healthcare, for profit. Medicare for All is like a single, not-for-profit insurance company which simply handles the payments. That is what is meant by single-payer.

Erica: Canada, yeah right. Would you settle for loooonger wait times?

I don't see how single payer would change anything at my doctor's office. What does my doctor care who pays him?

But I would definitely settle for better health for myself and my family, and my fellow citizens, that doesn't drive us into bankruptcy. If, and that is if, it meant a slightly longer wait time, the better health for everyone would be worth it.

"Wait time" is the big whine, but our waits in the U.S. are pretty long already. If that is the only difference it doesn't seem like a deal-breaker.

Erica: In Canada they are artificially holding down health care costs which will eventually have a negative effect.

What does this mean? How do you know their low costs are being artificially held down? Perhaps our high costs are being artificially inflated. I'd like to see some data on this.

Erica: I am not so concerned about profit as I am about sustainability and so far I haven't seen a real sustainable system.

As far as I know, Canada has had their system for a couple generations. They are not planning to abandon it in favor of private insurance. How do you figure it's not sustainable?


The debate about single-payer healthcare is interesting and important, but want to emphasize the larger point, which is that capitalism and socialism work together to improve human life in a way that neither could alone.

Capitalism produces incredible weath, but not for everyone. And it seriously disenfranchises everyone who does not have money. Socialism - public systems like Social Security and Medicare - protect those who are not able to participate in capitalism, like the elderly and the disabled. Capitalism produces a vibrant economic base which can be taxed to pay for public service. Socialized systems like public schools produce an educated workforce that the capitalists can use as a labor and customer base. Capitalism provides many kinds of goods and services at workable prices. Socialism allows access to important services that are not easily monetized, like health care.

Capitalism without socialism is winner-take-all and leaves the losers to starve. Socialism without capitalism has no way to pay for itself. They belong together.

Keep in mind, this is what we already have right now. Just a few tweaks here and there, like providing full public education and Medicare for all, would make our system work even better, without leaving anyone out in the cold to be ignorant, ill and starving.

According to Nobel-prize winning mathemetician John Nash, a system functions optimally when the individuals work both for themselves and for the group. And, it's human nature. Humans have always utilized a balance between competition and cooperation. Capitalism is the competition part and socialism is the cooperation part. Utilizing both, we get all the bases covered.

Erica: But wouldn't you say that we already have a mixture of the two?

I believe that is what I said.

However it is obvious to anyone who examines our current situation that we are tilted too far in the direction of the capitalists. Our health in this country is suffering compared with that of other nations. Decades of unregulated high finance have created so much inequality that the stock market soars while the average American can't afford an emergency. It's a system in crisis. Individual-όber-alles is not working.

Erica: I don't want the government in any MORE control than they already are.

You are as much the government as anyone else.

Erica: This government is utterly corrupt!

We can change it. There have been times and places when it worked better than now. We know what works. We can make it be like that.

Erica: What do you mean?

This is, or is supposed to be, a government for the people, of the people, by the people. If it's not we need to change it so it is. It's our system and it will be what we allow it to be.

Read more in the Archives.