Saturday, August 11, 2007

Today I Tout Totes

Today, I got a paid blogging assignment about promotional tote bags,
you know, the sort of thing you might want to print your url on, fill with bribes and send to Randi Rhodes or Rush LIimbaugh.

This site, while awkward in some ways, is one heck of a resource.
It amounts to a gigantic online promotional materials convention, and yes, these people have pens, clipboards, mugs, boxes of chocolates and usb drives too. But this link leads to bags. Shopping bags. Lunch bags. Tote Bags. If you can stuff stuff into it, it's here. from plastic, to paper to canvas totes with leather handles.

If your name or photo can be printed on a bag it's probably here, with vendor ratings and feedback. Very useful for businesses, large and small, and I was rather surprised to find that minimums are often in the tens, not in the thousands. THAT is why I'm blogging about this.

As you know, I use both Cafepress and to create objects that feature my artwork and clever graphics. Well, this has opened up a whole new realm for me; with a small investment I could be selling these things on eBay, or even using them as site promotions.

There are more than a few products there that I'd like to see available to me at Cafepress, and if you have a large family Christmas list, this could be a really cool place to visit.

It's obvious resource for business, of course. But places like this have much wider applications.

I mean a tote-bag filled with Christmas goodies is a pretty cool gift - personal and yet useful. If you are thinking about making fruit-cakes this year, it's just about the right time to get started, so they will be properly rum-pickled by the holidays.

Oh, and if you poke around, you will find why the grocer asks that question: "Paper or plastic."

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The price of expediency is again greater than the price of honor

A Reporter at Large: The Black Sites: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker Annotated

Sadly, absolutely nothing in this article reveals anything revolutionary or even surprising about the black art of torture. There is nothing here that could not have been presumed, based on what is known about human nature and our psychological limits. That is most especially true of the inevitable mental devastation of those charged with using this evil art upon others.

Oh, and one other thing, also long known by anyone who's made even the briefest study of it. Torture may produce information you need to know - but it will be buried in confessions of everything the subject thinks you want to hear.
The estimate - by one PRO-torture source cited elsewhere in the essay - is that 90 percent of the information obtained by torture is useless, meaning that it's not even seriously competitive with conventional techniques of investigation. This result comes at the price of human sanity, souls, and ultimately precludes the possibility of justice. Perhaps, in the final judgment, it will be found that was the object all along.

“Waterboarding works,” the former officer said. “Drowning is a baseline fear. So is falling. People dream about it. It’s human nature. Suffocation is a very scary thing. When you’re waterboarded, you’re inverted, so it exacerbates the fear. It’s not painful, but it scares the shit out of you.” (The former officer was waterboarded himself in a training course.) Mohammed, he claimed, “didn’t resist. He sang right away. He cracked real quick.” He said, “A lot of them want to talk. Their egos are unimaginable. K.S.M. was just a little doughboy. He couldn’t stand toe to toe and fight it out.”

The former officer said that the C.I.A. kept a doctor standing by during interrogations. He insisted that the method was safe and effective, but said that it could cause lasting psychic damage to the interrogators. During interrogations, the former agency official said, officers worked in teams, watching each other behind two-way mirrors. Even with this group support, the friend said, Mohammed’s interrogator “has horrible nightmares.” He went on, “When you cross over that line of darkness, it’s hard to come back. You lose your soul. You can do your best to justify it, but it’s well outside the norm. You can’t go to that dark a place without it changing you.” He said of his friend, “He’s a good guy. It really haunts him. You are inflicting something really evil and horrible on somebody.”

Among the few C.I.A. officials who knew the details of the detention and interrogation program, there was a tense debate about where to draw the line in terms of treatment. John Brennan, Tenet’s former chief of staff, said, “It all comes down to individual moral barometers.”

Indeed it does. Mine is pegged on "Evil"

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Enough talk of sexual ethics - it's time for a lab course with visual aids!


God, some days I LOVE my PayPerPost assignments....

Do you have a serious need for
dance club wear at great prices? How about some amazingly sexy jewelery? A to-die-for miniskirt with a spectacular belt? Oh, do you have matching shoes? Swimwear designed for not actually swimming?

Would you have a use for a little something that could technically be almost legal to wear in public (at least in some areas of Europe) and designed to be completely unfair to your chosen prey?

You need to drop by, where if you can't find the right bait, you must be fishing in the toilet.

Click the permalink for some persuasive evidence.

Hey, this was not what you might call a difficult assignment, though there was a challenge I had not expected... tearing myself away.

And no, not just for the reasons conspicuously shown here.

They have stuff for me. I found my favorite biker-style boots, in my size! There are seriously cute shoes to be found here among the FM pumps and thigh high boots in hard to find sizes and timeless styles.

So this url has every reason to be in your bookmarks. No matter who you are, or who the other men and women in your life are - you have plausible deniability. Hell, I'm forwarding it to my wife. She's having a hell of a time finding stay up thigh-high hose for work. And this is going to be one killer app for the Christmas holidays!

Good heavens, they even have chain-mail that would be perfect for your ren faire costume!

Ok, maybe you might need a few little accessories to go with it.

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Is your idea of "childhood" in the best interest of your child?

Lucia Reed was only seven when she started her period

Girls entering puberty by the age of six - but are drugs the answer? | the Daily Mail Annotated

Doctors are increasingly worried about the number of girls - and boys - being referred to specialists because of this phenomenon of 'precocious' puberty.

The normal age at which puberty starts in both boys and girls has dropped by about two years since the 19th century, to 14 for boys and 12 for girls. This is largely due to improved nutrition - onset of puberty is believed to be triggered by physical size. Another theory is that the epidemic of obesity is to blame.

But modern social conditions may also be a contributory factor. Research suggests that children from broken homes experience earlier puberty. The stress of family breakdown apparently alters the balance of growth hormones and other chemicals in the body, speeding up a child's physical development.

Absent fathers may be another cause. American researchers have found that biological fathers send out chemical signals that inhibit their daughters' sexual maturity. Girls whose fathers had left home started their periods earlier.

Early puberty has even been linked to watching too much television. A few years ago, Italian scientists found that children who watched three hours a day produced less of the sleep hormone melatonin - low levels of the hormone play an important role in the timing of puberty.

But perhaps more worrying is the theory that it's exposure to environmental chemicals which is causing the drop in the age of puberty. These chemicals mimic the effect of hormones, disrupting the normal timing of sexual maturing.

Whatever the cause, this is another example of reality colliding with our treasured ideas of The Way Things Should Be, and as usual, before admitting defeat - indeed, before even admitting a real conflict exists - every alternative is tried. But when people are actually suggesting that children should be given powerful chemotherapy drugs to suppress puberty and "prolong childhood's innocence," I have to be blunt; that is totally depraved.

This wave of early puberty is troubling and very challenging to parents who are unready to think of their daughters and sons as unavoidably sexual beings. Heck, far too many parents are unable to confront this reality at sixteen, seventeen or even 25. But from an ethical and common sense point of view, such willful stupidity is both irrational and abusive. At some point we have to stop being squeamish and ashamed of perfectly ordinary body functions that, if properly explained, are no more problematic than any others.

I've blogged extensively about sexual ethics, sexual morality, sexuality and of course, one of the most contentious patches of ground in the Culture Wars, Sex Ed.

The reason I do this is simple. Morals are supposed to keep people from doing harm to one another, and to keep them from making obvious and predictable mistakes. Well, I've been aware from before my own puberty that current western shame and guilt-based sexual morality achieved neither goal with any predictablity. Indeed, it seemed to me that the actual function of both Prodestant Shame and Catholic Guilt was, paradoxicly, to encourage sexual sins in order for people to feel ashamed enough or guilty enough to attend otherwise spiritually pointless churches.

Yeah, I was an opinionated little kid. And at 49, that particular opinion has gone from a suspicion to a well-polished working premise. More importantly, as a person on the autistic spectrum, I simply do not perceive the very many unspoken emotional and social cues that allow most people to stay out of trouble most of the time without any actual, solid moral or ethical code.

Not true for me. I need things spelled out for me, and I need to understand why I should do this and avoid that. Well, when you require those explanations - or go looking for them after having very bad experiences with parents who have no better idea than you, and resent having it pointed out, you will find that the actual reasons are often obsolete, based on offensive premises, such as the inability of men to control their "urges" or the ownership of females as chattel property. Being raised as an Episcopalian, I assumed that sexual morality would be clearly explained in the Bible.

Oh, so not true! The more you study about Biblical sexual ethics, the less there is that is relevant to our culture. Most of it turns out to be discussing something else entirely. The "Sin of Sodom" is, quite provably, the sin of refusing proper hospitality to strangers. That was clear to me from the King James at 14. It took a while to find scholars that agreed with my reading, but now it's considered entirely orthodox, at least within moderate and Liberal churches.

However, the problem with finding that your morals and ethics are based on nothing but the prejudices and taboos of your forebears, of no more moral force other than what bigots and fools will do if they catch you is not all that useful. Because amoral behavior WILL lead you into situations you will very much regret, whether or not there IS any moral code that covers the situation. Because of my own mental differences, I need a robust and sensible system of ethics that can be applied to any situation I'm likely to find myself in, no matter how challenging, exceptional or bizarre.

And boy howdy, THIS is exactly such a situation!

Here we have girls and boys becoming sexual FAR before our cultural customs allow for, and no amount of finger-wagging will keep all of them from playing with such urgently swollen toys. It's important to remember that most of our cultural norms about first sexual activity and the age of marriage came when puberty and fertility could be expected to happen a year or so AFTER marriage!

That worked rather well. Unfortunately, this has not been true for centuries, due to all sorts of changes that are at best poorly understood. But the fact that we do not understand why this is happening does not excuse us from dealing sensitively, ethically and humanely with the ever-changing ethical challenges faced by our children in the absence of any useful or relevant guidance.

Our schools are filling up with 9 - to - 11 year olds who are physically capable of making babies but with no informational or social context that views that as anything other than A Fate Worse Than Death That You Must Not Ever Speak About.

This sort of "moral inhibition" does not prevent "sin" - on the contrary, it tends to make the worst possible outcomes more likely, and to artificially inflate those consequences beyond the natural, consequential harm. In other words, western sexual morality is the direct cause of significant, sometimes fatal harm to real people.

I can find no excuse for that and am quite willing to state authoritatively that, all of Paul and Augustine to the contrary, there can be no such excuse. Direct, predicable harm as a result of circumstances that may or may not be truly avoidable is obviously far more of an immediate concern than any theoretical, faith-based consequence imposed by some petulant Sky God.

Any system of morality that requires you to choose between obeying your faith and keeping yourself, your child or indeed, anyone else out of harm's way is, in my studied Autistic and Anglican opinion, a faith you are ethically obligated to reject. And of course, when it requires you sacrifice the children of other people on the altar of ideology and political ambition - well, my ethics tell me that you have willfully become too dangerously insane to tolerate within the boundaries of civilization. As for your faith - well, as a thinking person with deep roots in Christan thought and scripture - my thought would be that, willingly or ignorantly, your faith is placed on that OTHER guy.

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ana voog, lilli voog and a Mission from God(ess)

Ana Voog, writing about herself, and her new baby Lili.
it is interesting to me how what i share with the world tends to either bring out the incredible darkness in others, or the side of light.

here are two completely opposite responses i received today in regards to lili, her condition, and me being the mother of is interesting to me how what i share with the world tends to either bring out the incredible darkness in others, or the side of light.

I won't quote either - suffice it to say that those who approve seem to me to be better people than those who view Lili as a punishment for her "sins" of "displaying her private parts." The facinating thing about ana, of course, is that she doesn't have any parts she considers private - or really, any moment in her life, any point of process in her art (which is both varied, significant and collectable) or the slightest hint of shame about being either naked or poor.

Ana's appeal is not based on the violation of taboos or convention - you can find tons of people on yahoo who get all wet and messy violating socal taboos in many ways, It's not that she's libertine, or transgressive, or even particularly focused on the niche of "Alt Porn."

Hell, would probably be a lot more popular if she focused on doing porn. But as far as this non-subscriber can tell, she does not. As a fellow starving artist, I've never shelled out for a membership, and while I subscribe to her newsletter, I've been far too busy with politics to open the images. I can't quite bear to delete them, though. It could be anything - from deconstructions of pornographic images into laugh out loud parody to her latest knitting project to her covering herself in paint and body-printing a wall, not to paint the wall so much as to capture the act of painting it.

She is a performance artist, and is dedicated to it full time, even when asleep. Anyone involved with her is live on cam too, and she hides nothing from anyone - not even family.

Some obviously consider it depraved. I call it art - and it's ballsier art than I can even contemplate. There is no place in my realm for the inclusion of failure in my art. But failure is part of the whole artistic process and is of course included. She simply does not CARE if what she tries works.

I cannot imagine a better person to raise a child. Why? Well, I AM going to quote one viciously negative remark, after all.

"So, this narcissistic exhibitionist, by the power vested in her, brought bad Karma on you for expressing an opinion??? Such self-import!!

I think the G*dess was very wise. A "normal" child would have a miserable life of humiliation and embarrassment that her mother made a living by constantly photographing her private parts for the world. My guess is that when the attention and novelty wears off, the grandparents will be raising the wee one. Sickness; it's what's for breakfast."

It's just stunning how correct this person is while missing the point of her own words entirely. I rather doubt that the grandparents will be raising the child, but it's nice that lilli has them. Lilli and Goddess chose well, I think, for ana will never be ashamed of lilli, nor will she be expected to be anything other than who she is. And naked or not, ana is a wonderful example of being exactly who you are, with neither shame, bitterness nor concern for the opinions of those who do not know any better.

And of course, the best thing is that ana has time to be a mom, because she IS in front of the camera all the time, and that camera is at home.

I imagine that ana is an exhibitionist, in a sexual sense. To a degree, at least. But she, unlike most people who have sexual kinks and fetishes, has taken it as a fact about herself, stared into the abyss of her own nature and then asked herself, "well, NOW what?"

Having accepted who she is - she proceeds to explore it with both vision clear ethical boundries, and both respect and concern for others. It has not taken over her life - like such "sins" did for the infamous Ted Haggard - but rather allowed them to be part of her whole.

Another thing about ana that distinguishes her from other "camgirls." She does not pander to sexual fantasies, she involves her viewers in her life - and to an amazing extent, they have become a vast, amorphous extended family. Hm. I suppose I count that way too, a distant cousin at several removes who doesn't drop by often enough. But then, ana by her nature demands a reciprocal sharing that is a challenge and an inspiration to me. I try to be as open and free as her, but it's somewhat against the current of my nature.

This is quite aside from my shrewd assessment of the commercial interest in my hairy pot belly.

No, her peculiar combination of artistic presentation and the astonishing innocence that makes using her breasts as canvas as interesting to her - and her audience - as knitting a hat can be terrifying. She explodes the bounds of context, in which there is a place for performance artists, and fabric artists and webcam girls showing us their pink bits at 9.95 a minute.

She may or may not arouse you on any given day. She may inspire the hell out of you, perhaps even literally. And we could all use less hell and a great deal more inspiration.

"Take a bite - it'll make a pagan of you."

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Global and Personal - Business via the web has no natural boundaries. Web design Services is, I guess from the domain, somewhere in Romania, but they write excellent English, and this PayPerPost advertisement on their behalf also serves as an illustration for an important theme for this blog which I tend to overlook in the flood of outrage and politics.

Their base quotes are quite impressive, as is their portfolio, which is packed with small and medium regional businesses and even some national brands. Clearly they can build sites that are both robust and attractive, and their terms and conditions are clearly stated and seem quite reasonable.

This is a Business-to-Business (or business-to-person) offer; a transaction that is purely between people, without intervention by governments, or the government-lite of middlemen, brokers or agencies. Don't like NAFTA, the World Bank or red tape? Well, thanks to the World-Wide Web becoming truly world-wide, you don't need all the expenses and trappings of a government-approved "trade arrangement," at least, not in the area of intellectual property.

This leads to another observation. If your business is driven via the web using Just In Time fulfillment or drop-shipping via any of a number of services, such as UPS, DHL or FedEx - YOU don't need to reside anywhere in particular so long as you can get access that's fast enough for your purposes. That means, among other things, that you can grow your business by living somewhere - like, say, eastern Europe, where living expenses and salaries are low. This doesn't even need to affect where your company "is," though it's US manifestation could be as small as a post-office box with a business license taped inside it. So, heck - you could spend six months a year living somewhere else entirely, and six months wherever you need to be to maintain residency, since your "office" is a cell phone and a laptop.

This is just one example of exciting changes benefiting small to medium businesses and entrepreneurs all out of proportion to behemoths that are still struggling to adapt to business climate change. Web design Services is one of many companies worldwide that is realizing that between the web and an amazingly efficient worldwide transportation network, it no longer matters where you are in the world; what matters is how elegantly you present yourself and how efficiently you deliver on your promises.

Another important market factor is emerging too; the global community may be large and seem unmanageable, but paradoxically, that makes personal recommendations and sterling ethics even more important than it was when your practical choices were limited by the costs of communicating over long distances.

And, thanks to various commerce fulfillment services, transaction risks have been greatly reduced. There are still risks, but they are risks that individual entrepreneurs can now afford to seriously consider.

Giant, faceless corporations that are in many ways no different than sovereign nations who's economies they sometimes dwarf will never view you or your small business as much more than one of many hundreds of thousands of database entries. That's fine if you want exactly the same product or service as everyone else, but if you want innovation, a unique creative approach, you really need to think outside of the Corporate box. Real people you have a real relationship with have a personal motivation to go the extra mile, egos to fulfill and other clients to impress with what they did for you. Fortunately, the web allows you to find such people, wherever they might be, with only a few keystrokes.

But what focuses your attention? If I want innovation, one thing that allures me is the means by which people try to grab my eyeballs, what steps they took to get me to read their pitch. A means such as this post speaks of a company willing to try something new.

So, you need a website done right by someone hungry enough for your business and innovative enough to risk an advertising campaign in an entirely new medium, you should add Web design Services to your list. Check them out. Ask a few tough questions. They impressed me enough to risk putting my name on this post; now it's up to them to impress you.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Welcome to the Turd Reich.

Let's start with a really graphic truth.

As I commented on Clipmarks, where I found it, I'm not an athiest by any means, but I do make a point of not believing in the "god" followed by the folks this adorable young lady is referring to.

All of this started with a revealing look into what "abstinance only" Sex Ed is really supposed to accomplish, via quite an extended chain of associations...

Hell's Handmaiden > Nicest Girl and Destroyer of Planets > Winter's Haven > Classically Liberal > TPM Cafe: an excerpt from an Excerpt from "Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism"

For all who believe. Reclaiming America for Christ is a place where the Christian nationalist movement drops its democratic pretenses and indulges its theocratic dreams. So at the 2003 conference, when the abstinence educator Pam Stenzel spoke, she knew she didn’t have to justify her objection to sex education with prosaic arguments about health and public policy. She could be frank about the real reason society must not condone premarital sex—because it is, as she shouted during one particularly impassioned moment, 'stinking, filthy, dirty, rotten sin!"

A pretty, zaftig brunette from Minnesota with a degree in psychology from Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, Stenzel makes a living telling kids not to have sex. Rather, she makes a living trying to scare kids out of having sex—as she says in her video No Screwin' Around, if you have sex outside of marriage “to a partner who has only been with you . . . then you will pay.”A big part of her mission is puncturing students’ beliefs that condoms can protect them. She says she addresses half a million kids each year, and millions more have received her message via video.

Thanks to George W. Bush, abstinence education has become a thriving industry, and Stenzel has been at its forefront. Bush appointed her to a twelve-person task force at the Department of Health and Human Services to help implement abstinence education guidelines. She’s been a guest at the White House and a speaker at the United Nations. Her nonprofit company, Enlightenment Communications, which puts on abstinence talks and seminars in public schools, typically grossed several hundred thousand dollars a year during the first Bush term.

At Reclaiming America for Christ, Stenzel told her audience about a conversation she’d had with a skeptical businessman on an airplane. The man had asked about abstinence education’s success rate—a question she regarded as risible. “What he’s asking," she said, “is does it work. You know what? Doesn’t matter. Cause guess what. My job is not to keep teenagers from having sex. The public schools’ job should not be to keep teens from having sex.” Then her voice rose and turned angry as she shouted, “Our job should be to tell kids the truth!”

“People of God,” she cried, “can I beg you, to commit yourself to truth, not what works! To truth! I don’t care if it works, because at the end of the day I’m not answering to you, I'm answering to God!”

Later in the same talk, she explained further why what “works” isn’t what’s important—and gave some insight into what she means by “truth.” “Let me tell you something, people of God, that is radical, and I can only say it here,” she said. “AIDS is not the enemy. HPV and a hysterectomy at twenty is not the enemy. An unplanned pregnancy is not the enemy. My child believing that they can shake their fist in the face of a holy God and sin without consequence, and my child spending eternity separated from God, is the enemy. I will not teach my child that they can sin safely.”

The crowd applauded.

Of course, Stenzel isn’t just teaching her child.

There's more...
Now, this sort of candor about the frankly theocratic, Dominionist agenda of the Evangelical Right Wing is difficult to find outside of the provinces of converts and those who prey upon them, and it's rare for it to pop up in such a mainstream source, so this may all be quite new to you.

I've been watching these people for decades now - or more to the point, watching over the shoulders of the watchers, so if you actually require more convincing, you should start with Theocracy Watch. I mean, it's not that you can't find the truth of it, they are quite frank about their intentions when they think the other side isn't paying attention.

However, this is a particularly juicy bit of revelation, because the interlinked issues of sex ed and abortion are visceral illustrations of a worldview that, frankly, demonizes human nature.

Consider the contrast between the emphasis on making pregnancy as inevitable as possible with militant opposition to consider any social fail-safes for mistakes, accidents, poor decisions or the unpredictable circumstances of life, isseus that are of concern to any person of genuine Evangelical Christian faith, or indeed, anyone who takes the words of Jesus to be important and morally instructive.

I'm sorry if that seems arrogant, but those who discount the positive importance of the words of Christ while treating 19th century Dispensationalist twaddle as if it were Scripture are, aside from being grouchy, mean-spirited, spiteful, intolerant, fearful and judgmental prudes with an unhealthy interest in the bodily functions and private affairs of others, have also stretched the definition of "Christian" to the point where Christ Himself would not recognize it.

In my own opinion of course. But then, it's always been a feature of established Christan churches to ignore almost all of what Christ had to say, or to re-interpret it in favor of the interests of wealthy and powerful patrons - and this is why I belong to no church at all. I have found none that do not insult my faith.

Nor have I ever felt that anyone has the right to question me - or even inquire into - what precisely my faith is, or whether I'm "right with God." I refuse to even be pinned down as to whether I believe in a literal God, much less a literal Christ.

Hell, HE refused to make a clear statement as to his own divinity; I take that as a clear statement of intentional ambiguity. But I digress, other than to observe that anyone who takes the Bible as a clear set of instructions on what you - not them, but YOU - should do or not do, regardless of your faith or the lack of it may be - is both a busybody and damnably lacking in the most essential ethic of all.

"That which is hateful to you, do not do to others." "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." "An it harm none, do as you will." Three religions, three different ways of putting the same idea - mind your own relationship with the divine and let others mind theirs. And further, let your actions speak in accordance with your words.

One of the more famous Christian parables is the Parable of the Fig Tree, which states, essentially, that you know the worth of the tree by the fruit that it bears; that the tree that bears sweet fruit is tended and cared for while the tree that bears bitter fruit is cut down and cast in the fire. Like most, if not all parables attributed to Christ, it's a self-evident observation of everyday reality in first-century Palestine; only the very rich could afford the non-productive luxury of a purely ornamental fruit tree - when productive trees were every bit as beautiful.

Now, here at Graphictruth, I'm not particularly respectful of nor interested in religious morality, but I am passionately concerned with issues of ethics, which I pithily refer to as the science and discipline of "not fucking up."

The single MOST predictable source of "fucking up," of "mistake generation," or of "sin" if you will, is an inordinate concern with the affairs of and actions of other beings, coupled with a willful blindess as to the consequences of one's own intrusive actions. A "sin" is a mistake, a transgression against another, a harm or disharmony, willful or mistaken. A sin is a trespass - as anyone who has attended both Lutheran and Catholic services will know.

Well, there can be no greater trespass than to presume for another what actions are, for them, sins, WITHOUT REFERENCE to any harm that may be done to others.

To state that sex IS a sin, without any linkage to causation of harm is in fact "the bearing of false witness." Sexual activity - and the urge to do it - often puts us in absurd and dangerous positions, and quite often leads to "unfortunate blessings, absence the prudent usage of birth control. But to define pregnancy as an inherent consequence of sin and to enforce that attitude as a social truth by draconian legislation and social shame is to do harm against the innocent product of what would otherwise be not so much a sin as a surprise.

The harm that is done is the deliberate result of prudes and pecksniffs ensuring that there ARE harmful consequences, when it is their plain duty as human beings first and Christians second is to ensure that no harm, or as little harm as possible comes to any member of their community, and most absolutely to spare no trouble or expense in meeting the needs of the innocent and needy.

But when we study their words and their actions, we find that the only members of the human community that they consider worth consideration are those who are "saved." That stance alone - well, it's fairly orthodox, if somewhat despicable, and condemned by implication in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, but with most Christians, that's expressed as inaction, rather than as actions against the interests of other.

Dispensationalists and dominionist theocrats have taken this a step further, if not in doctrine then in explicit teachings by their most respected writers and leaders. The "saved" are those who share their dominionist theology and who therefore actively suppport the effort to impose - by whatever means - a theocratic rule on earth.

Those who are NOT saved deserve no help, no shelter, no succor, no consideration; they do not deserve even life itself, save for the length of time needed to bring a life into the world that can be potentially saved in order to oppress the unsaved.

Later in the same talk, she explained further why what “works” isn’t what’s important—and gave some insight into what she means by “truth.” “Let me tell you something, people of God, that is radical, and I can only say it here,” she said. “AIDS is not the enemy. HPV and a hysterectomy at twenty is not the enemy. An unplanned pregnancy is not the enemy. My child believing that they can shake their fist in the face of a holy God and sin without consequence, and my child spending eternity separated from God, is the enemy. I will not teach my child that they can sin safely.”
If it's something that cannot be said aloud in the marketplace, if it is something that can only be spoken of in private, to the self-appointed "elect," the likelihood is that it is a "truth" that depends on a shared, unquestioned, untestable, unprovable assumption. That, or it's an outright lie of Xenuvian magnitude.

Here's the lie.
"I will not teach my child that they can sin safely.” She is not making millions of dollars teaching her own children, or even the children of fellow believers. She's making those millions uttering calculatedly dangerous falsehoods to children in public schools, based on the assumption that a little premarital fornication is "shaking their fists in the face of holy God."

Schools exist to teach data and facts, ideally as free from ideological and religious bias as possible. Why? Because we, also, wish our children to avoid "sin," not from fear, but from good information that leads to making rational, informed choices. If they must take risks - and for some, it does seem they must, let them at least become the best risk calculators possible.

And this woman wishes to subvert this whole process, knowing, for we have her own words to tell us the truth of her knowledge, that due to her lies, there will be pregnancies, there will be abortions, there will be STD infections and there will be deaths that could have been avoided with a condom, because it's better that a few sheep who stray should perish, lest the flock as a whole be led astray!

Waaait a minute! That's not what the parable of the Lost Sheep says! But if your concern is to herd the maximum number into the slaughterhouse against every natural urge and instinct, yes, you have to convince them that the only thing more terrifying than the scent of blood and fear is an unreasoning fear of everything else.

These verses from the King James could not be more clear:

15 ¶ Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Mt. 3.10 · Lk. 3.9
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Mt. 12.33

Boy, it takes a lot of thumping and theology to obscure the meaning of this. False prophets (prophets being those entrusted with explaining scripture) will be known by their fruits; by the consequences of their actions, the harm they do to others and to the faith of innocents.

By their fruits, you will know them. By their actions, they stand condemned before you. But fortunately, you do not need to "cut them down and throw them in the fire" in any but the social sense. "Shake the dust from your feet."

Read their works, discern their intents - and then vote for the OTHER fellow. Mock them. Question them loudly in public, and snicker at the prevarications and evasions that they substitute for answers. Do as I have done here, and shine lights into their dark places to show what scuttles and chitters within.

If your school board continues to embrace such nonsense as abstinance-only sex-ed or, god forbid, requires equal time for some creationist folly, you need a new school board. That means that some of "you" need to run for that office.

Meanwhile, make a point of doing what you would normally do in life or in business in any case. If you know someone is a liar, a cheat, a fraud or a thief, you avoid them. You don't take them into the bosom of your families and you certainly do not knowingly employ them. We are speaking of a mental disease that is as socially dangerous as methamphetimine, crack, heroin and alcohol together, if for no other reason that it brings about the ruin of families and entire towns, while remaining undetectable in urine. When thier choices affect you, you bring them before your neighbors for justice - just as you would with any other criminal.

Am I advocating "religious discrimination?" Only in the sense that we all must learn to discriminate between good apples and bad. You give 'em a thump, have a good sniff, and then, and only then do you take a bite. If it's late in the season, you might go as far as to cut it open just to be sure.

You see, we are told not to discriminate against people of faith for what they believe - that's wrong. But nothing in the Constitution or the Bible says that you should suspend judgment about what people actually do when their actions affect you and put you at risk. It really does not matter whether their actions are due to some faith-based delusion or a more honest greed for power - their mental state is not your concern unless they ask you for insight or access to appropriate medication. We can only righteously and reasonably act on what people actually have done and will probably do based on what they have done before.

Judging people on the good or evil of the outcomes of their actions and the worth of their stated, real-world goals is not "religous discrimination." It's critical review, and it IS judgment - but then, they claim the right to judge you based on your actions and choices without any reference to outcome. Having so judged, let them be judged also.

These are people who's essential theology depends on dominating public policy by stealth or force. In some far reaches, some will go so far as to say that there must be atomic war in the middle east so that their vision of pie in the sky will come sooner rather than later. These are people that pray faithfully for Armageddon and work toward that end, every day.

Now, take a look at the Middle East and the meddling there. Does it seem to you that averting the risk of wholesale atomic warfare there is a current domestic policy priority? Does it seem there is any respect for, much less consideration of the rights and value of the millions who must inevitably perish as a result of this hateful delusion?

If you believe in the Bible, or any other time tested and reputable ethical system, somewhere in it you will find reference to a universal truth, one that is so predictable that there may well one day be literal equasions describing it.

It amounts to this: when you harm others, that harm will rebound, and likewise, when you do good to others, that good will rebound. Most actions tend to be mixed somewhat, so life is a mixture of both good and evil consequences - and indeed, many times which it is depends entirely on how you choose to look at it.

Those who choose to see only evil in the choices of other and to actively reject any good that comes from the actions of "such people" as my good friend, ana voog, as being "satanic deceptions" are willfully lying to themselves and others. Having blinded themselves to much good, and devoting the whole of their attention to seeing particular sorts of actions, for good or ill, as being evil by definition, they have renderd themselves blind themselves to the evil they do in the name of good and the overwhelming, insupportable, reeking pile of karmic crap they have accumulated.

Those great and insightful Prophets, Cheech and Chong, had something to say about that.

"You can't polish a turd."

And that is exactly what the their vision for our future is; A Turd Reich.

Shiny things! I LOVE shiny things!

I was cruising PayPerPost for a paid blogging opportunity when the words "metal cabinets" caught my eye.

I clicked through only to be confronted with a site filled with shiny things, keeping me happily busy for far longer than the payment for this post strictly justifies. But I really didn't care...

I'm storage challenged, just by definition, so I'm always interested in things to contain my various piles.

But when I saw these shiny objects..... oooh shiny..... Pardon me, where was I? Oh, yes, I didn't think "garage." Don't have one, and I'm not a "car guy." No, what I thought of was "Outdoor Kitchen." Below is what my mind's eye adds to the cabinet, you see.
Publish PostI' am not much into manly garages, but I am into very manly kitchens that can be hosed down with a pressure washer. And heck, if you are into the industrial look, these would work indoors too. Key locks make 'em childproof and neighbor resistant. Hey, wouldn't this cabinet be a totally kick-ass bar?

You can choose steel or aluminum - they offer both - in a wide selection of configurations, So maybe you might want to drop by - even if you aren't a "car guy" either.


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