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The People of Y3K - editorial by Steve Branch
as seen in Boston Globe
One thousand years from now, will human
beings have grown beyond the frivolous and misleading
entrapments of dogma and paraphenonmenon? Will
people still propagate myth and fantasy to avoid
the unpleasant realities of life? Today, despite
technological advancement, it seems rational thought
and reason are options some choose not to take.
The Quantum Hum - by Steve Branch3/11/08 Are
we alone in the universe? This fanciful yet hopeful proposition suggests that before we
can communicate with our interstellar neighbors, we must learn to communicate with
The State Of The Union - by Steve Branch
properly educated to the overwhelming evidence-based view of the world recognize religious
supernaturalism and superstition for what it is: a delusional pink sock of wishful
renders its adherents insensitive to our common humanity, scientific methodology and
rational thought. Homemade Turkey Soup - by Steve Branch
A lighter look at life in general
One vs. the Other - by Steve Branch
10/8/09 This spam email was originally received only as the text seen in red. In the spirit of playful discourse, I submit the following, contrarian reflections in italicized blue.
Lancing The Boil
Of Deceit- editorial by Steve Branch 5/15/04 Besides the
transparent fabrications and distortions permeating our airwaves, we need to
be aware of the subtle, more insidious facades being used by the mischievous and
unprincipled representatives of the right wing.
Coming Out Of The Closet -
editorial by Steve Branch
As a child grows older, hes often
compelled to question the religious beliefs and ideology
of his family and even worldly consensus. Its imperative to take a close look at
and decide for yourself. You may find how important intellectual freedom is, and
well worth facing the contentious repercussions of non-conformity.
Love it or Leave
it? - by Steve Branch10/20/07 This editorial was inspired by an email-blast which attempted to dramatize
an already slippery Australian immigration policy to accommodate the typical Christian
arrogance and intolerance.
Globalism and George Bush -
editorial by Steve Branch 11/08/01
I wonder if the Republicans blinding patriotism would
subdue their hatred for Bill Clinton if he were
President right now. I doubt it. Well, now that your own George Bush is running
get bent out of shape if I dont kiss his ass.
Discourse Between the Left & Right3/15/02 Click Here to read critique of my
editorial Globalism and George Bush .
My (Steve Branch) response (in red) is included within the rebuttal. Although there appears
to be some question as to where "logic" resides, I believe the content
speaks for itself. About The Artist - bioeditorial
in BranchArt section by Steve Branch
For an artist, the discovery and process of creating a vision
provide passion and excitement.
It is during this period, the journey, that I am embraced by life. Although the
be rewarding, it is but a mere trophy encouraging me once again to
move among those who
would inspire the world to become the hammer on the anvil that molds beauty
itself to flow
in the river of artistic creation.
I lived one thousand years ago in a country called
the United States of America. America was rich
natural resources and was home to some
of the best educational facilities on the planet.
the last few decades of the 1900s, testing
revealed a marked decline in scholastic scores
country. This trend became known as "the
dumbing down of America." Surveys of the
suggested up to 95% of Americans were scientifically
illiterate (The Demon-Haunted World, 1996).
Its no wonder the claims and practices
of the supernatural, paranormal and occult still
In 1000 AD many Christians believed this date
would mark the Second Coming of Christ. Fear and
panic ensued with the supposed coming Armageddon.
Whether they believed their own prophesies
or not, religious zealots, psychics, astrologers,
fortunetellers, spiritualists, palm readers and
were in their heyday preying on the fears
of the gullible. Well, the day came and went uneventfully.
Incredibly, as the second millennium approaches,
this phenomenon is happening all over again.
Actually, its been happening all
along, but with the approach of Y2K, a crescendo
intensity prevails. In my day, the promoters
of doom and gloom also used computers to platform
Armageddon. Some predicted a worldwide
technological shutdown, complete with endless
scenarios of disaster, primarily based
on the supposed inability of computers to handle
numerical turnover between 12/31/99 and
01/01/00. Most people didn't realize the new
millennium actually started on 2001.
Im writing this letter two weeks before
the new year and am certain of this: There will
Armageddon; there will be no supernatural
occurrences. Computer crashes will not lead to
famine and catastrophe. Computers will
continue to frustrate people for the same reasons
did before midnight on the 31st. Once again, the
purveyors of doom will have to recalibrate
Man created calendars and numbers to mark the
passage of time. Apparently, when big round
numbers come up (or unique arrangements
e.g. 9/9/99), many enjoy the excitement of believing
something magical, mystical, or calamitous
will happen. This folly, in itself, could be the
that causes any problems. The ultimate
irony is that the attention and credence the media
irresponsible, alarmist behavior may actually
attract real terrorists, ensuring high visibility
whatever cause they wish to promote.
Soothsayers can be amusing at times and they certainly
have their right to freedom of expression.
Whats disheartening is how so many
people not only believe these promoters of parascience,
also spend billions of dollars supporting
them (Skeptical Inquirer, 1998). Meanwhile, medical
scientific research is starving for financial
backing. Even more disturbing is paraphenomenon
religious myth masquerading as science.
Science is knowledge ascertained by observation
experiment, critically tested, systemized,
and brought under general principles. Science
because it is the nature of science to
scrutinize information and objectively modify,
information becomes available. Education
and rational, levelheaded thinking are our best
to live in a world with the highest possible
I'm sure some of the first Millenarians, as they
came to be called (The Alphabet Versus The
Goddess, 1998), wondered what it would be like
by the second millennium. I'd wager some of the
more enlightened hoped by the year 2000 our species
would grow beyond paranormal excess, along
with slavery, prejudice and misogyny. In
turn, I wonder about you in the third millennium.
your technology surpasses my imagination.
But are there still those waiting for the Second
of Christ? Perhaps by now you have those
waiting for the Second Coming of Elvis (charismatic,
spiritual artist of the 19th century who
died an early, tragic death many of his followers
he has already come back).
One of our astronaut's reflective observations
from space was the absence of borderlines surrounding
the different countries and nations of
Earth (Pale Blue Dot, 1994). This reminded many
of us that we
truly are one people. Replacing our political,
ethnic, and religious bigotry with mutual respect
be the first step towards the deprovincialization
of our planet. One theoretical, long-term goal
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA) was to terraform Mars by 2500. If this
became reality, we may be a multiplanet
civilization by now. Im sure this remarkable
accomplishment would be one of many if
my descendents overcome the challenges that
threaten the longevity of both
a technological civilization and a fragile
This message comes from a period when we were
still quite primitive, but at the same time,
intelligent enough to be taking our first
steps to the stars. The excitement the future
me wish I could live forever.
I'm sure our race experienced desperate trials
and great glories on the
journey through the third thousand years.
We wish you the best as you travel into the 4th
Know that the wonder, hope, and love of
your ancestors go with you.
Fermi paradox is the apparent contradiction between the high estimates of the probability
existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence for, or contact with,
civilizations. There are many theories and principles addressing this puzzle. The
most well known
being Drake's Equation, which conceived a means to mathematically estimate the number of
that might harbor beings with technology sufficient to communicate across the vast gulfs
interstellar space. Some skeptics maintain the equation is unrealistic due to anthropic
natural expression for universal scale favoritism toward humans. Ecclesiastics speak of
and the violation of divine law. If we are not alone in the universe, it has been
suggested that alien
civilizations well in advance of humanity may have means of investigation and
are not yet conceivable to human beings. Other theories propose that certain ethical,
technological standards may have to be recognized before advanced civilizations choose, or
able to communicate.
The modern world of physics is founded on general relativity and quantum mechanics.
two tested and demonstrably sound theories are resistant to being incorporated into one
model. Superstring theory not only postulates that all matter consists of tiny vibrating
strings, but that
general relativity and quantum mechanics can be united through higher spatial dimensions.
of Einsteins curved space-time, Heisenbergs uncertainty principle and
fluctuations are bizarre in their own right, but higher dimensional space? Theoretically,
one-dimensional line can only be traversed forward and backward; a two-dimensional plane -
backward, left and right; our three-dimensional cube - forward, backward, left,
right, up and down. If
this pattern of incremental expansion and versatility continues into higher dimensions,
and we learn
to engage them, we will need a new set of directions to navigate both space and time.(Take
of the United States and measure the distance between New York City and Los Angeles. It's
approximately 2800 miles. Fold the map so these two cities are touching each
other. Now, the
distance between the NYC and LA is zero. Einstein's plasticity of space does not
actual "folding of space". Similar to the folding of a map in our three
dimensions, the folding of space
in higher dimensions may render distance irrelevant.)
theory advances the notion of a universal connectedness between all things, including the
electromagnetic constellation of our own consciousness. It seems the theory maintains that
thoughts are physically discernible at subatomic levels, offering epistemic significance
conventional cognitive neuroscience. Heres the leap: If the mental activity of
measurable, might it be possible to measure global sentience? And suppose we discover
employable modality that naturally moves faster than the speed of light. What could
this mean for
Let's imagine that once a civilization has acquired the energies required to
thoroughly probe the micro
world of quantum reality, they become receptive to frequencies beyond our spectrum of
electromagnetism and three-dimensional enclosure. The quantum cartography of curved
and higher dimensional geometry may ultimately reveal a vibration or temporal anomaly
actually allows instantaneous association with the most distant regions of our
universe, demoting the
theory that intelligent civilizations are too far apart in space and time to make contact.
Imagine discovering a quantum flux representing the net harmony of the
living biology of a planet;
an omni-dimensional pulse that qualifies the pacific unity of extra-terrestrial
oscillating cadence characterizing the holistic sentience of a living world. If the
survives beyond its adolescent divisiveness, perhaps well be recognized and welcomed
intergalactic solidarity of advanced, peaceful worlds. Will we ever come to hear the
Just like a bell, all our love rings from within and beyond our world.
Just beyond impossible, something strange and wonderful,
universal love and peace, waiting for humanity.
And if we reach a certain frequency, we will be welcome.
Gentle hearts and open minds, treasure beyond space and time,
one small effort to be kind, vibrates every human life.
feel its important to clarify that the Quantum Hum is nothing more than a product of
inspired through the wondrous implications of modern physics. I am not smart enough to
these theories, let alone develop them. While it is significant that free inquiry and
frequently mark real advances in science, it is the hard work of skilled and dedicated
has brought us to our present cosmological paradigm. Human beings have always speculated
our place in the universe and what the future could bring. The problem arises when na´ve
fraudulent opportunists masquerade their unproven ideas as scientific fact. This explains
religion, superstition, astrology and a myriad of pseudoscientific claims. Particular to
many proponents of unproven concepts such as therapeutic touch, quantum healing and energy
medicine shamefully hijack the accommodating holistic and indeterminate agencies of
science to legitimize their claims. There is an ethical difference between proposing
possible and promoting hypotheses as fact.
Physicists speak of a unified wholeness that will become apparent upon the
final discovery of a grand
unified theory; a unification of all fundamental forces of nature perhaps represented by
simple equation of terminological calculus. Interestingly, a unified wholeness is also
the final goal of
the spiritual aspirations of millions of human beings around the world. Unattended by
and void of any supernatural architecture, maybe there is a foundational mutuality here:
connection being that higher consciousness and its consequence of empathy,
intelligence, may be prerequisite for both truly peaceful civilizations and advanced
progress. This, I admit, conveniently suggests a form of universal justice: an
evolutionary and cosmic
reasonableness that would preclude hostile and uncultured civilizations from developing,
recognizing, higher physics.
with relativistic time and motion, the dynamics of quantum reality occur at
measurements undetectable and seemingly irrelevant in our every day lives. But the
scientific utility of relativity theory and quantum mechanics is real and
continues to elevate the
promise of our future by enhancing the human intellectual landscape. And
although the inherent
randomness of the subatomic realm, the plasticity of time and space, and the unimaginable
roominess of higher spatial dimensions surely undermine our intuitive perception of
theory paradoxically appears to be clarifying and unifying all the systematic dichotomies
through modern physics. Accordingly, our Descartian, dualistic sense of autonomy is an illusion. We are
not separate from
what we observe. Our conscious observations play a vital role in the nature of
physical reality. There
is an elemental reciprocity occurring right now between you, your surroundings, and
You, me, everything we know and do not know may be interconnected through an infinity of
vibrating strings, which collectively and ultimately could reveal itself in the form of
symphony a symphony that may come to be recognized just beyond impossible, through
NOT INTENDED TO BE FACTUAL STATEMENT? written by Stephen Branch (4/22/11)
During the budget debate, Senate Minority Whip
Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said that abortion is 90% of
what Planned Parenthood does. In reality, just
3% of the organization's work is related to terminating
pregnancies, while well over 90% of what Planned
Parenthood does relates to preventative health
care services. Seeking an explanation, CNN called
his office and was told "his remark was not
intended to be a factual statement". So what
exactly was it meant to be?
This is how it works: If the facts don’t
support your opinions and you’re incapable
or feel it unnecessary to participate in any intelligent
discourse, you distort the truth with anything
from insidious, subtle implications to deliberate,
vicious, hateful lies. Simply repeat these
lies over and over and over again and people will
come to believe it. Honesty doesn’t
matter. The only thing that matters is who wins
elections and what legislation succeeds or fails.
They sling the mud against the wall to see if
it will stick. Too often, it does.
Those who fact-check and would dispute these lies
are not given equal time by a sensationalistic
media that benefit materialistically by maintaining
emotional hyperbole. Journalistic integrity is
too boring and burdensome for the millions of
people who have become the excitable mutants of
There’s another utilitarian ploy I call
the “Just Kiddin Ruse”. Rush Limbaugh
is one of the best at using it. If someone actually
corners him and proves he has been dishonest or
hateful or racist etc., he’ll laugh and
say something like: “What’s the matter!
Can’t you take a joke?!?....or C’mon,
I was just kiddin….lighten up!!!!
And at the same time he insinuates that the questioner
is silly for being too serious. It’s all
part of the circular, slick and shifty, cognitive
mediocrity that delusional and ethically compromised
human beings seem so proficient at.
I think the latter tack of right-wing radio “entertainers”,
pseudo-journalists and neo-Republicans is more
characteristically disgraceful than the Jon Kyl
situation. But philosophically, "his
remark was not intended to be a factual statement",
openly and brazenly says it is acceptable to lie.
The incubating chrysalis of rhetorical slime has
finally blossomed into the full blown glorification
and justifiable utilization of deceit. It
would seem many conservatives have embraced the
moral relativism they accuse liberals of. But
it’s far worse than that.
There’s a self-righteous arrogance here
born of a sense of exceptionalism and moral superiority:
a pathetic and sadly effective modality emboldened
by misinformation, religious sanctimony and foolish
pride: a sense of entitlement that employs a brute
Machiavellianism whereby the ends justify the
means. A means that insists that poverty is a
crime, climate change is a myth, Obama is the
Anti-Christ, liberals hate freedom, Health Care
is pointless, gays are evil, America is a Christian
nation, and, of course, Fox News is fair and balanced.
The ends are an Ayn Randian caste system where
the poor and minorities are considered inferior
and useless except for the tax money they disproportionately
provide. The ends are an opposite-world where
empathy, education, humanitarianism and environmentalism
are considered more harmful than helpful. The
ends are a nationalistic, team-jacket mentality
that has made greed shameless, corruption justifiable,
ignorance fashionable, inquiry dangerous, mythology
divine, bigotry patriotic, war glorious and peace
Shame on them and shame on anyone who
disfigures the honorable pliability of truth with
an amorphous, opportunistic and deviant standard
that systematically and, to them, justifiably
delivers the goods: no matter what the cost to
our civility, our dignity, our humanity.
State of the Union written
by Stephen Branch 12/02/09 I
remember a movie I saw many years ago which presented two pre-human hominids trying to
survive in the world and how they dealt with each other's presence. They both
intelligent and physically adept. But one was more tolerant, thoughtful and
peaceful. The other was
more suspicious, contentious and warlike. The latter, more belligerent pre-humans
off the more pacific humanoids. These survivors came to evolve into homo-sapiens.
Whatever the specificity of our genesis, this movie always intrigued me. Today, we are
capable of great compassion and civility. But our nearly seamless history of war and
against one another appears to validate our stronger inclinations toward intolerance and
Today we spend billions of dollars developing the most effective ways of killing each
weapons of choice? The best bullets, bombs and bluster money can buy. The ideological modi
operandi? Religion and nationalism.
I imagine those two pre-human hominids as 21st century counterparts of American, political
partisanship. Republican, fundamentalist Christians promote, in no uncertain terms, the
of liberal Democrats and the establishment of an American theocracy.We're
dysfunctional, chauvinistic fascination with "God, Guns and Country": a
mentality supported by the blinding patriotism of nationalism, the xenophobic fear of
the arrogant sense of partisan, racial and religious exceptionalism.
As with Islamic fundamentalism, we're dealing with the intellectually lethargic,
complacent stupor of
those who glorify ignorance by demanding unquestioning obedience to the ancient
mythologies of "divine revelation". The convenient hypocrisy of an "all
loving God of peace" who sanctifies murder in
his name is surely a twisted logic capable of man alone. Any real God of such
conviction is certainly
not one I would honor. Those properly educated to the overwhelming evidence-based view of
world recognize religious supernaturalism and superstition for what it is: a delusional
pink sock of
wishful thinking which renders its adherents insensitive to our common humanity,
methodology and rational thought.
The group cohesion provided by our early folk religions was understandably systemic with
evolutionary prerequisites for survival. But, eventually, early humans developed
and many started becoming conscious of the philosophical dichotomy between dogma and
With the advent of the Age of Reason and scientific methodology, we finally began to
absurdity of the theopolitical authoritarianism that supported it. Our new clarity of
that all the dogmatic muscle in the world is no match for empirical knowledge. Unless, of
you muscle out the knowledge:
Our ecclesiastic history abounds with "divinely" sanctioned prohibitions on
reading, writing and
intellectualism. Less detectable forms of obscurantism occur today through systematic
misinformation and debasement of scholarship and inquiry. Why? Knowledge undermines
Consequently, the three Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam all promote a
intellectual absolutism that relegates non-compliance as sinful and heretical. The
rigidity of this
bronze-age consciousness still persists today and undermines our more universal principles
human civility and reason. Any national doctrine or religious scripture which demands
obedience should be recognized as outdated and divisive to our modern transnational
Accordingly, when people are asked if they are religious, they should not be afraid to say
should be proud to say no.
In context with the movie I saw so long ago, I wonder if the more compassionate and
literate among us will ultimately be pummeled into irrelevance by the arrogant,
of ideological bullies. Unlike the more moderate and provincial consequence of our
hostilities, the nuclear, chemical and biological weaponry now available to divinely
fanatics poses a threat to the entire planet.
Somewhere between the monopoly of absolutism and the indeterminacy of postmodernism (where
everything is possible and almost nothing is certain) lies a more applicable reality
better suited to
ensure our peaceful coexistence and longevity: A reality that values religious
devalues its divisive dogma: A reality that recognizes the logic of scientific
methodology and secular
ethics: A reality where the divisive tangle of modern tribalism finally yields to
the utilitarian economy
of pluralism and democracy.
Today, we have the intellectual muscle of modernity: education, mass communication and a
sense of our place in the universe.Though the
glory of battle, group superiority and religious
privilege are tough acts to follow, they are little more than the circumstantial and
indulgences of antiquity. Its understandable why so many desperately hold on when
the naked randomness of our existential reality.While
we must empathize, we must understand
that the impulsive and furious sword of our
can cut a deep and fatal blow. We can and
must fight back.Not with bullets, bombs and
bluster, but with reason, diplomacy and the justice
born of the consequence of our actions.
Homemade Turkey Soup Author:
Steve Branch 2/10/06 Im
just waking up. My first realization is that Ive had one of those beautiful, deep,
Im still delightfully paralyzed with this restfulness; even to the point where it is
to open my eyes.
The course of the night has left my seemingly amorphous body sunken into this old bed like
a thick bluish fog settles into the crevice of a mountain valley. This dreamy peacefulness
state of being beckons me back to the mysterious world of unconscious repose. I recognize
sounds and images seeping through from my subconscious. These are the entrails of dreams.
Ten thousand years ago our ancestors believed these to be communication from the cultural
god or leaders of their time. Even today, there are far too many whose wakeful state
differs little from their sleeping state. Thus, we have the prevalence of ideology over
But wait! There is an enchanting aroma squirreling its way up from the kitchen far below.
It is the homemade turkey soup, which has been simmering for hours already. Its
remarkable how our sense
of smell can evoke scenes and emotions from our past; like the cherry-blend pipe tobacco
my grandfather used to smoke. The slightest scent of a freshly cut hayfield, salty ocean
air, blooming purple lilacs or this yummy soup du jour, all bring back specific and
endearing childhood memories.
So far, I really like the way this day is starting out. Im cozily cocooned inside my
home. I hear the muffled sounds of a New England winter storm outside. The brittle arctic
wind has sealed our abode with tattoos of frost upon all the windows. Confident in this
domiciles structural integrity, Im still humbled as the stronger gusts of wind
remind me of its true infirmity. Our brutal reality is that our
next breath could be our last. Although this immediacy is highly unlikely, it is our very
biological fragility that makes life so precious.
I squirm deliciously beneath the toasty sheets of my bed. I cannot help but savor these
with a deliberate and higher consciousness: the way you will become conscious the moment
you notice yourself reading these words. For these are the moments that can rival the most
passionate embrace, the softest cerulean sky, the grace of the great gray owl or the
whitest Christmas. Yes, these temporal oases are the inconspicuous, existential jewels
that give reverence to the exquisite delicacies of everyday experience: moments too often
overlooked through the disengagement of
those who tend to rush through life.
The indigenous isolation this storm has afforded me takes no offense at the distant
scraping and rumbling of the snowplow. These sounds assure me there are still people out
there taking care of
the world. These are the modern, comforting sounds distantly synonymous with the more
primal, evolutionary and conciliatory crackles of a burning fire, warding off the wilds of
Here at the homestead, the roof has been patched. The cold-cellar is replete with
summers garden harvest. The woodbin is full-up with split, seasoned oak. The
birdfeeders are generously quartered with sunflower seeds, fruit, bread and suet. Its funny how the burdensome chores
of youth can become so satisfying; even pleasurable.Eventually, we seem to figure out that our precariousness here on Earth stands most
securely upon our peaceful and productive endeavors.
As if things were not already pleasant enough, my cat
just jumped up and has irresistibly snuggled into
the cradle of
my armpit area. I can actually feel the sing-song vibration of his purring inside my
more sweetly, inside my heart.
I think Ill just stay here in bed a bit longer. I know the anticipation of
having that homemade turkey soup is, at least, half the delight of having the soup itself.
Beekeeper - observations
from a frustrated god - Author: Stephen Branch
9/15/07 - revised 7/3/15
is God. Well, sort of. I'm one of the beings who
cast the bio-genetic blueprint for your universe
13.7 billion years ago. I'm not the God you perceive
as divine or supernatural; no magic or miracles
here. I suppose if I came in contact with someone
as advanced as I am to you, I might also call
him God, at least to humor him. My species used
to be as you; biological, mortal, and for the
most part, mentally deranged. So, let this be
a lesson as to the implications of your future
propriety. I'm supposed to stay out of your business.
And I usually do. I had already written you all
off as doomed to extinction. But my partner was
so impressed with your recent pro-gay activities,
he convinced me to step in.
So, what the heck has been going on here?! Your
last few thousand years have been filled with
war, scorn, bigotry, corruption, misogyny, slavery,
genocide, environmental abuse and other endless
accounts of unspeakable cruelty. There can be
some accounting for adolescent recalcitrance,
but you have deviated far beyond what would be
considered normal development. Were it not for
the efforts of the secular among you, there would
be no future worth contemplating.
this universe, only intelligent life forms with
a proclivity for mutual cooperation warrant the
probability for further evolution. For most of
you, your actions are not reflective of all the
sanctimonious lip service you give to morality
and ethics. Yeah, you clean up nice but you're
still behaving like your apelike ancestors. Wake
up! Raise your consciousness. Recognize how your
lower impulses dominate your behavior and diminish
the quality of your lives. For crying out loud,
you've made sex dirty, greed shameless, corruption
justifiable, ignorance fashionable, inquiry dangerous,
war glorious and peace cowardly! You're a bunch
of reckless hypocrites and you're really pissing
why are you still listening to all these clergymen
who dress up like kings and act like they know
what they're talking about? Heaven and Hell are
fairy tales for young children - and inappropriate
ones at that. You adults still believe this stuff!
If your incentive for being good is heavenly reward
or eternal torture, you're missing the whole point.
Being good is an end unto itself. It's more often
the much-maligned atheist who actually practices
true charity. And, by the way, I cannot hear or
answer your prayers. Get off your knees and do
the human sees himself as one organism among the
billions of humans on Earth. I see your world
as one organism among the billions of world organisms
throughout the universe. This matrix continues
to a macrocosm where entire universes are seen
as one organism. Here, in my corner, I am not
concerned with individuals or separate groups
among you. I attend to the merit of united, world
communities. I am the beekeeper interested in
the honey, not the bees. If the bees are divided,
they will swarm hopelessly out of control. Accordingly,
human divisiveness has rendered your global colony
confused, unproductive and hostile to itself.
You cannot produce good honey; and that
would be the honey of cooperation, knowledge and
peace, not the ignorant, burping codswallop you've
been spewing forth for the last few millennia.
Well, here's some parting advice: First of all,
stop thinking you are better than anyone else.
I've seen this false sense of exceptionalism destroy
many civilizations. The genetic, historic and
cultural differences between human subdivisions
should be sources of curiosity and respect, not
suspicion and prejudice. Whether half way around
the world or right next-door, when you belittle
your neighbor, you belittle yourself - when you
belittle yourself, you belittle the human race.
If your species ever get the chance to compare
yourself with your "extraterrestrial"
neighbors, a pivotal awareness regarding both
humility and solidarity will dawn.
your religious resources such as the "Bible"
and the "Koran" were written by your
remarkably ignorant, prescientific ancestors whose
ideas are so far removed from your present reality
as to border on insanity. Attributing ridiculous
ideas to the divine is one of the oldest tricks
around. Regardless of your consolatory beliefs,
the darkness that surrounds you will never truly
be illuminated by mythological conjectures, vain
hopes and false illusions. The ultimate folly
is that the religious ideologies most of you think
will save the world, could be the very ones that
will destroy you. The subsequent epitaph on the
tombstone of Humankind, were there anyone around
to read it, would surely be a source of inconsolable
regret and shame. The rational ones among you
best stop worrying about hurting peoples' feelings
and set the record straight! .
your genocidal tendencies coupled with nuclear
technology, and your environmental abuses are
the greatest, immediate dangers you face. Most
of you are either in denial, indifferent or unaware
of their calamitous potential. Come to understand
the psychology of your urge for war over diplomacy.
Come to understand why you are so easily blinded
to the suffering and misery of the faceless victims
your modern weaponry brings. Come to understand
that overpopulation ensures the continuation of
both war and environmental destruction. Why is
there so little insight and consensus on these
issues? Your politicians are beholden to the church,
the military and big business; your own cultural
"Trinity" of which each cannot exist
without the other.
your self-inflicted abuses are within your control
- other hazards are not. It may seem rather inconvenient,
but the long-term survival of your species actually
means leaving the Earth. Naturally occurring volcanic,
climatic, biologic, geomagnetic and solar anomalies
may be more than you can handle. Astronomical
impact with an enormous asteroid, planetoid or
comet can and will happen. You need to start thinking
about these perils now. Prepare to colonize
your solar system. With the ultimate
death of your sun, even your solar system won't
be safe. True species longevity requires spreading
into your galaxy and beyond.
scientific education is your most valuable tool.
You can't solve real problems with unreal solutions.
Understand what is and is not science. Superstition,
astrology, magic, miracles and other alleged supernatural
phenomena cannot adhere to the basic requirements
of scientific methodology.
To remedy their credibility problem, your advocates
of pseudoscience invalidate the very means
of validation! Now there's a magic
trick if I ever saw one.
ecclesiastic history abounds with "divinely"
sanctioned prohibitions on reading, writing and
intellectualism. Less detectable forms of obscurantism
occur today through systematic censorship, misinformation
and debasement of scholarship and inquiry. Within
the fog of illogic and ignorance, you may find
your preferential truth. But within the clear
light of reason, you'll find your existential
reality. It may not always be pretty, but a proper
education and rational, levelheaded thinking are
your best hope at living in a world with the highest
your past indiscretions, there is still hope.
Evolution has provided your species with the potential
to go far. Make it through your troubled adolescence,
and you'll have your chance at the glorious longevity
only the most enlightened civilizations experience.
kind. Be humble. Be smart.
consider yourselves lucky to receive my advice.
I don't usually do this. So stop fucking
The Making of “Latter-Day Atheist”– by Stephen Branch
For anyone confused, repulsed or frightened by the title of this CD, or by what may be revealed within, I challenge you to give it a listen and decide for yourself if the content does not reveal our culture’s stereotypical and parochial view of atheism. Although only a handful of these songs directly address secularist ideas, all the songs of love, hope and humanitarianism are still congruent with my position as an atheist.
Considering the world-wide bigotry against non-believers, I do not enjoy the inevitable alienation of friends, family and, of course, potential listeners. But if my endeavor enlightens just one person to the possibility of a human solidarity that is rejuvenated and glorified by its diversity, not divided by it; to the realization that, with or without religion, all people are capable of love, empathy, and decency; and to the arrogance of exceptionalism and mediocrity of supernaturalism, superstition and magic: then I will gladly forgo the artist’s lofty dream of cosmopolitan respectability and material gain; which a less controversial artistic endeavor would be more likely to facilitate.
Still, apart from the controversial implications of this endeavor, and as a musician, I would hope one would simply enjoy the music: the cohesion of melody, vocal and instrumental characterizations. But ultimately, it is this artist’s hope to reveal the absurdity of religious dogma typically expressed in the following Bible verse:
PSALMS 14:1 the fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” The transparent pettiness of this notion would shame any “God” I could imagine. Clearly, these are the oppressive, vindictive thoughts of misguided, bronze-age men.
Responsible, objective studies consistently show that belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society, but may actually contribute to social problems. They show higher rates of STDs, crime, teen pregnancy, divorce and abortion among religious democracies, as opposed to secular democracies. They contradict a commonly held belief that religion is necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of a healthy society. They show the states with the lowest levels of religiosity (blue states) have the lowest measures of societal dysfunction. And most definitively show that more intelligent people tend not to believe in religion.
Galileo, responsible for the birth of modern science, was convicted of heresy, publicly humiliated, and forced to spend the rest of his days censored and under house arrest. In 1600, the brilliant mathematician and astronomer Giordano Bruno challenged the Catholic Church dogma of geo-centrism. For this, he was hung upside-down and naked, and then burned alive. The Inquisition, the Dark Ages, the witch burnings are all examples of what happened when the Church determined what is moral and righteous. Arthur C. Clarke said it best: “The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion.” Our ecclesiastic history abounds with “divinely” sanctioned prohibitions on reading, writing and intellectualism. Less detectable forms of obscurantism occur today through systematic censorship, misinformation and debasement of scholarship and inquiry. Within the fog of illogic and ignorance, you may find your preferential truth. But within the clear light of reason, you’ll find your existential reality. It may not always be pretty, but education and rational, levelheaded thinking are our best hope at living in a world with the highest possible standards. (paragraph excerpted from "The Beekeeper")
This CD is dedicated to all the courageous, liberated thinkers of past and present who have suffered the violence, censorship, hatred and misunderstanding born of an ignorance and intolerance sanctified by God. A God, for all we really know, does not even exist.
One vs. the
- This spam email was originally received, only, as the text seen in red. In the
spirit of playful discourse, I submit the following,
contrarian reflections in italicized
One vs. the other If a
conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one.
If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative doesn't like guns, it's
because he prefers lynching.
If a liberal doesn't like guns, he's considered cowardly and un-American.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat.
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, it's
because he hates plants.
If a liberal is a vegetarian, it's because he loves animals.
If a conservative sees a foreign threat, he thinks about how to
defeat his enemy.
A liberal wonders how to surrender gracefully and still look good.
If a conservative sees a foreign threat, he
rallies for war and scoffs at diplomacy.
A liberal encourages diplomacy and will go to war only as a last resort.
If a conservative is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a liberal is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.
If a conservative is homosexual, he stays in
the closet and quietly masturbates to
If a liberal is homosexual, he partakes in the natural, genetically innate, sexual
common in all mammals.
If a black man or Hispanic is conservative, they see themselves
Their liberal counterparts see themselves as victims in need of government protection.
If a black man or Hispanic is conservative, they are apparently unaware of the historical, conservative agency
of bigotry and intolerance.
If a black man or Hispanic is liberal, it's because they are aware of the historical,
agency of bigotry and intolerance. If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better
A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks
about how to blame liberals.
A liberal wonders how he can help out the conservatives that are down and out.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches
Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If conservatives don't like a talk show
host, they demonize, beat or kill him.
If a liberal doesn't like a talk show host, he listens, in hope of understanding their
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's
a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative is a believer, he still doesn't go to church. Anyone who doesn't believe in God is immoral and evil.
A liberal non-believer wants to maintain our constitutional premise of
separation between church and state.
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about
shopping for it, or
may choose a job that provides it.
A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.
If a conservative decides he needs health
care, he may be one of the fortunate few who can afford to buy it independently, or may be fortunate enough to find a job which provides it.
A liberal demands that a family should not have to lose their home and
life savings ifa
loved one becomesseriously ill or injured.
conservative slips and falls in a store, he gets up, laughs and is embarrassed.
If a liberal slips and falls, he grabs his neck, moans like he's in labor and then sues.
a conservative slips and falls in a store, he gets up, laughs and is embarrassed. Some
feign injury and sue.
If a liberal slips and falls in a store, he gets up, laughs and is embarrassed. Some
injury and sue.
conservative reads this, he'll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh.
A liberal will delete it because he's "offended".
If a conservative reads
this, he'll forward it so his friends can be further indoctrinated
into the culture of
ignorance, exaggeration and divisiveness. (And have a good laugh)
A liberal will delete it along with all the other senseless spam he receives.
I do not take a single
newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the
happier for it.
talk-show host and pseudo-pundit Glenn Beck recently called President Obama
a racist, further elaborating: Barack Obama has a deep-seated hatred of white
people. Here, we
have the ol switcheroo game, whereby people accuse their enemies of the very unsavory
themselves possess. In psychology, this is called projection*, an ego defense
mechanism by which
something that is true of the person and would cause anxiety if it were recognized, is
and is seen in someone else instead.
The sad reality is that too many white people still have a deep-seated hatred for black
Ignorance and foolish pride. An ignorance emboldened by our own historical intolerance and
religious sanctimony: a foolish pride born of the pathological need to feel superior to
Here in the 21st century, the folly of this divisiveness is transparent to the
by the thoughtful, tolerated by the fearful, and championed by the dysfunctional.
Our younger people understand generational dogma, provincialism, and racial exceptionalism
what they are. The scoundrels of self-righteous intolerance will always slither about. But
day passes, the visibility they now enjoy drifts deeper into the lunacy of our past.
I pledge allegiance
to the way
of Peace Love and Understanding
With the realization
fate is in our own hands
in harmony with nature
with education and fairness for all
Immoral and Unpatriotic Author:
Steve Branch 6/20/06 Ann Coulter seems to believe
all liberals are Godless, immoral and unpatriotic.
In her new book, she
also says the 9-11 widows (harpies and broads,
as she likes to call them) enjoyed their husbands
death. This is the vacuous and hateful way she
has chosen to deal with anyone who dare criticize
Bush. Meanwhile, Coulter sanctimoniously insists that everything she does
is grounded in
often, when the desperate cannot reasonably justify
reality, they create their own.
And too often, they fraudulently brandish patriotism
and Godliness as credentials. This farcical
behavior is a pattern demonstrated throughout
history against those who promote truth, peace
Conservative and liberals become most antagonistic
when viewed in their extreme forms. Coulters
et al basic ploy is to describe the worst possible
examples of liberalism, then attribute those stereotypes
to ALL liberals. Most liberals and most conservatives
have more in common than not. Emphasis should
be on unity rather than disunity. Recognize the
headline-grabbing, frivolities of the partisan
worm for what they are: the primal grunt of intellectual
neophytes and greedy sycophants.
These ultra-conservative, self-righteous, phony
pundits lack the depth and worldliness needed
for objective observation and productive debate.
Republican sponsored media continues to enable
petty, partisan diatribe to seduce the naive among
us. Its no wonder dignity and compassion
morphed into impropriety and acrimony.
This administrations disastrous record leaves
little room for justification. It seems these
may figure; why let the facts stand in the way
of a perfectly good opinion. The problem is that
hatred they feel and generate is too often the
result of either gullible or selective belief
fabricated injustices directed toward their adversaries.
What an unproductive and malevolent waste of
energy. Why cant they simply aspire to the
wisdom of facts, fairness and reason? Is it too
Or does the truth present problems for their ideology?
The conservative talk radio venue is flush with
damning vitriol and insidious manipulation of
Rush Limbaugh sees war hero John Kerry as both
a coward and unpatriotic. Limbaugh, a
draft-dodger (and drug addict), is actually describing
himself, but doesnt know it. As with Coulter
and all the others participating in the politics
of hatred, people often despise and project onto
what they cannot accept within themselves. This
is a most vulgar hypocrisy and sad paradox
displayed more often by dysfunctional people.
The ultimate irony is that these flag-waving
Bible-thumpers are actually the ones who are behaving
Godless, immoral and unpatriotic.
What can we do? Author:
Steve Branch 1/1/07
Hang George Bush?No. Im not convinced
the death penalty is appropriate even for someone
responsible for hundreds of thousands of needless deaths. Send him to Guantanimo? No.
Torture would make us no better than he. Probe into his personal life without a court
order? No. Despite the policies he has enabled, this is unconstitutional.
As he has done with his critics, shall we accuse him of promoting terrorism? No. Hes
to understand that this is exactly what he has been doing. Appeal to his sense of reason?
unlike Islamic fundamentalism, Bushs brand of Christian sanctimony and subsequent
inhibit open-mindedness and an ability to think rationally. Remove Bush from office? No.
even more dangerous than GW.
Short of replacing this administration immediately, we must do the best we can until the
election. Then we must elect those willing to replace political and religious dogma with
empirical reality. We need politicians who value the future on a timescale larger than
Until then, Congress must impeach or censure Bush to show the world that Americans do not
behind this arrogant cadre of semi-conscious religious ideologues.
George Bush recently stuck his middle finger up to
the press, clearly showing his contempt for the media and the American people.
This cocky, irreverent behavior is too often seen as amusing, macho
and even patriotic. But I would wager most Americans feel ashamed.
Most of us want a President who will always show dignity and patience, whatever the
degree of adversity.
To me, profane words and gestures are no big deal.
There is an expressive and functional place for every word and gesture our species
develop. But coming from within the sanctimonious, moral periphery of a "Christian, Family Values
President", Bush's hypocrisy should be recognized
as both inexcusable and philosophically tragic.
Dick Cheney had some advice
during the U.S. Senates annual photo session for Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, who
had been relentless in his criticism of the no-bid contracts awarded to the vice
presidents alma mater, Halliburton. He told him to "go fuck yourself".
Bush was also
caught on tape saying "There's Adam Clymer, major league asshole from the
New York Times."
As role models for our children, as well
as all Americans, how can our national leaders be so flippant?
In light of our seemingly new, behavioral standards, I now suppose it is
culturally acceptable for me to say that George Bush and Dick Cheney are two of
the biggest fucking assholes in the world today.
My sarcastic indulgence aside:
The sad, naive and arrogant, legislative repercussions of those such as these
in power, too often result in ideological and parochial guidelines
which foster disunion, ignorance and, ultimately, the end of our American
presence as a respectable world power.
Last time it was Andy
Rooney. This time Jay Leno has been falsely credited
with more rightwing, ideological blather. I wonder
how it is that people come to believe this stuff.
Is this level of gullibility
an accident of birth or a deliberate unwillingness
to question both source and content of propaganda?
Maybe its the intellectual disfigurement
that comes from the dismal combination of both.
Whatever the case, the genesis of this ploy is
a sign of desperation to justify the failed conservative
policies of the Bush administration.
When anonymous, ideological rhetoric is fraudulently
attributed to well known personalities, it must
be recognized for what it is: a deceitful and
cowardly attempt to elevate dogma by crediting
it to a popular and/or trusted source. Please
check your sources. For review of this email-blast's
content, history and authenticity, see - http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/hitnail.asp
The rather amusing irony here is that even
the author obviously doesn't believe the
message has sufficient merit to stand on its own.
What the author does seem to know is that millions
of Americans are capable of nothing more than
skimming the surface of reality and holding
fast to the opinions that most suit their self-serving,
ideological needs. But its not as simple
as left or right, love or fight, and black or
white. Its more about the illusive, existential
shades of gray: the same challenging and
subtle dichotomies the forbearers of our nation
so diligently deliberated over and so admirably
concluded upon with their secular doctrines of
fairness and open-mindedness. Throw out the team
jackets of tribal indulgence. Tackle the opponents
of reason and knowledge. Recognize the triviality
of our divisiveness and the splendor
of our mutuality.
Every single human being is a victim of circumstance.
Through no fault of our own, we all come into
this world without a choice of the body we are
born into or the uncompromising genetic imprint
that molds our being. Whatever the variables between
nature and nurture, we all want happiness and
health for our loved ones and ourselves. We all
bleed, cry, and die. We all laugh, hope and dream.
And yet we all seem to think we are somehow separate
and special. While this delusion seemingly rescues
us from our anonymity, it is this very anonymity
where you will find the greatest peace. A peace
that comes from recognizing our commonality. A
peace that transcends all the senseless animosity.
A peace that allows you to empathize with those
you once felt disdain for. A peace that brings
you to a place of calm humanitarianism and proper
The more reasonable among us realize that moderation
and compromise strengthen democracy. Conservatives
and liberals alike, have much more in
common than not. We need to understand how
the extreme conservatives and extreme liberals
are too often understood to represent all of their
kind. Most conservatives do not want a theocracy.
Most liberals do not want a socialistic state.
All republicans are not hawks. All democrats are
not doves. The rich are not evil and the poor
are not criminals. McCain is not crazy, Hillary
is not a whore, and Obama is not a Muslim. (By
what's wrong with being Muslim?)
Resource reliable and trustworthy journalists. Limbaugh,
Beck, Coulter, Hannity, Savage, OReilly
et al, are not objective, media representatives.
These people are nothing more than right wing
ideologues that, either naively or deliberately,
distort and misrepresent the facts. They undermine
decent convictions by exciting the lower impulses
of prejudice and passion. They revel in their
divisiveness and arrogance, failing to understand
the gravity of their insensibility. They cannot
see the picture from outside the frame. Nonetheless, they sure are
smart enough to know this very same vociferation
improves their ratings.
You may scorn NPR, but listen with an
open mind and tell me they are not the more objective
radio news source available within the continental
US. Read more than one newspaper. Listen to the
BBC. FOX News? I would question any news agency
that has to remind its listeners dozens of times
a day that it is fair and balanced.
They also quip: We report You decide.
Well, Ive decided. Fox News
is neither fair nor balanced. Also specific
to this spams critique is Newsweek magazine.
Newsweek features some of the most respected and
objective journalists accessible. The most reliable
information available to us is what this spam
encourages us not to acknowledge. Here again we
have the silly and ubiquitous implication that
it is un-American to question God and country.
I would wager most Americans consider the willful
ignorance of censorship and book burning to be
far more contrary to American ideals. There certainly are many things right with America. There
are also many things wrong with America.
Blind patriotism and sanctimony will not make
our problems go away. Contrary to what this spam
suggests, do not ignore the media and donot burn news magazines.
Take your blinders off and take
a good look at the world around you. Agree or
disagree as you will, but make your decisions,
properly informed decisions. Our future depends on
reasonable, empathetic and well-informed people
willing to plan beyond the scope of their own
This is the American Experiment and its
not over yet. If there is a just God, he favors
no one race, creed or nation. God is not going
to save America. Americans are going to save America.
Christian acquaintance of mine believes in white
supremacy. He hates homosexuals and believes
women arent smart enough to be U.S. President.After attempting to
discuss our differences, he
huffed out the door spewing hatred and insulting
A witness to this revealing exchange later observed
that I, as an atheist, consistently spoke of peace,
compassion and understanding while my Christian
friends relentless theme was one of hate,
The measure of this paradox would be laughable
if it weren't so sad. The absurdity of it all
seem beyond comprehension but for the actual corroborating
depravity within the Bible itself. Although considerable,
theological merit is dwarfed by its divisiveness,
supernatural foolishness. Free from religious
dogma, the secular communitydoes
not need rewards in
heaven or fear of hell to be moral, loving human
altruism is based on
the empathy and
logic innate to our humanity. No gods or perks
Remember, by modern standards,
the Bible (and Koran) was written by primitive,
ridiculous men. Delusions ofvirgin birth, resurrection, immortality
and divinity all predate the Jesus story. Christianity evolved as an "amalgam
of salvation myths" in circulation duringthe early centuries
the Roman Empire. The major themes behind Christianity
were not new ideas,
just borrowed ones.
education, intellectual honesty and courage, one
is more able to see the world through the
clear light of reason. To quote Nobel
laureate Steven Weinberg; It's high time
we wake up from this
long nightmare of religious belief.
In a way, its amazing that many Democrats and Republicans think the other is
delusional. Which sides opinions come closer to the truth? Is there a way to measure
of partisan consensus?
Ultimately, you have to look at the sources of information and the objectivity of those
Nearly everyone thinks theyre smart and knows whats best for themselves and
others. But how
can everyone be right? Let's take a look at some of the social and topical demographics:
For example: it is clear that more Democrats listen to NPR and the BBC. These are news
organizations recognized worldwide as objective and reliable sources of information. It is
that more Republicans listen to right wing sponsored Clear Channel affiliates, Fox News
charlatan news-posers such as Rush Limbaugh, Bill OReilly and Sean Hannity: all of
are partisan and clearly advocate their own right-wing ideology.
In both the 2000 and 2004 elections, the majority of Republican votes came from areas
of our farmers, country folk and blue-collar workers live. The majority of Democratic
from metropolitan areas with the largest percentage of academia.
In light of the fact that at least 4 million of the Christian right wing rallied for Bush
in this election,
caterwauling the amorphous and self-righteousmoral
values theme, it would be wise to remember
that statistics repeatedly show thatthe
higher one's intelligence or education level, the less one is likely
to be religious.
G. Bell)Regarding the declining
division between church and state, it
would also be wise to consider what Freud said: "The more the fruits of knowledge
accessible to men, the more widespread is the decline of religious belief.
These observations, while based in fact, are certainly not black and white. But it is
still logical to
conclude that Bush supporters, on average, are less educated and/or more subject to
dogma and partisan news sources.
Perhaps mediocrity is part of American destiny. It seems the inevitable repercussions of
Dumbing Down of America are bearing its foul fruit in the likes of George Bush and
but misguided supporters. The subsequent entrails of patriotic jingoism, religious dogma
and anti-intellectualism have a stranglehold on our fundamental, constitutional premise of
integrity and fair play.
Americas destiny is now truly in the hands of the"bewildered
herd╣"; "those great masses
whose uncertainty of intellect begs for direction and manipulation from the
"wise" big brothers of
government.▓" Its been said that Rome fell
because only the intelligent people practiced birth control.
Take a close look at the Republican/Christian Right views and cutbacks regarding, civil
control, education and science based issues: all and the like being flushed right back
into the dark sludge of the more primitive, parochial times of human development.
History continually recycles justice with injustice. History demonstrates how lust for
trumps compassion time and time again, and that flag-waving nationalism inevitably results
international conflict. History has shown, as we see today in America, that a vacuous
prefers consoling lies to difficult realities. History shows that too often people must
travel to the
deepest parts of the valley before they can clearly see the mountaintop.
But history also shows that insight, courage and perseverance, even within small numbers,
make dramatic changes for the betterment of our world. Beware the hypocrites who
play the moral values card, in lieu of reasonably debate. Beware
the blind patriots who figure their perfectly good opinions neednt be altered by the
often, these are the people who
will be intimidating those who fight for civility and fairness. It is our duty as American
and as a human beings, to expose injustice anywhere, even when that injustice originates
in OUR oval office.
Worldwide, the results of elections too often reflect a consensus manipulated by
self-serving, dangerous, ignorant people. A progressive, conscientious education and a
media are our best hope to ensure the highest quality of life for
our progeny and ourselves.
Millions of people here and around the world have recognized the
folly of this war from day one.
Now that the truth is finally becoming mainstream, we will not indulge in reprimand or
While we have been amazed and disheartened at how gullible and parochial many
Americans can be,
we understand how some are easily misled. After all, under appropriate
circumstances, we can
believe our President. But now, it is clear our administration has lied and has
manipulated the media.
No hard feelings about calling us traitors or dangerous to America. No hard feelings
censure of civil rights. Let us move forward together to remove this bureaucratic
abomination. Let us
unite to make sure this never happens again. Let us get on with electing politicians
who will not only
respect the rights and welfare of all Americans, but also cooperate with world
leaders to ensure a
safe and healthy planet for all of humanity. Let us get on with Democracy.
Mark my words. Time will eventually yield the extent of this administrations
reckless and criminal
behavior. Despite the continuing denial
and distortion, we hope Americans will recognize
the truth and vote accordingly come November.
PAYING WITH OUR MONEY, OUR DIGNITY
AND OUR LIVES Author: Stephen Branch
written June 19, 2003 The
Bush administration wants the world to be patient while they search for WMD.
Where was their patience when the UN Weapons Inspectors were searching?
I think the Bushies are biding time in hopes that this problem will either simply go away
buried beneath the distraction of another war, if they can just get one going
soon enough. Whats
going on here is very serious and If youre not outraged, you havent been
The Republican majority in the House of Representatives has annulled an open investigation
Bush administrations lies regarding WMD and Al Qaeda connections in Iraq. Hundreds
Americans soldiers are dead and still dying. Thousands of mostly innocent Iraqis are dead
wounded. Billions upon billions of US taxpayers dollars have and are being spent for
and deceitfully drummed-up war that has left America with far more enemies than it had
The Bush cabal should be thrown out and tried for war crimes. The scariest part is that
they may actually get away with it. Either way, the American people will pay with their
money, their dignity
and their lives. Back To Top
Has anyone noticed that the Republicans aren't talking about the
recent impeachment of the
President? Being election time, you'd think they'd be shouting it from rooftops.
There's a reason for this silence. Deep down, the Republicans know that they went too far
impeached Bill Clinton. They know that they did something very wrong. Peculiarly quiet,
they are not
unlike the cat that ate the canary.
Think about the train of events leading up to the impeachment. Clinton's first term went
economy thrived. His poll numbers soared. By the time Newt's speakership crumbled,
were getting desperate. They were in fact flailing for a lifeline. With nothing good to
themselves, they looked, with increased intensity, for something bad to say about Clinton.
even recruited Ken Starr, federal prosecutor with unlimited time and funds. Still, after
looking for dirt, they found absolutely nothing. ....(Update: The results of Ken Starr's
witch-hunt; that Bill and Hillary were acquitted of any wrongdoing, was not made public
untill after the 2000 election.)
So what did these right-wingers stoop further down into the sewer to do? They took
into 'evidence' an
illegally obtained tape recording that suggested Clinton might be having an extramarital
affair. At first,
trying to protect himself and his family, Clinton denied it. He later confessed.
Hungry for the kill, the Republicans pounced. They impeached the President of the United
without even allowing a vote for the less harsh measure of censure. Had they gone insane?
I think it
would be more accurate to say that they were temporarily crazed with hatred and
huffed and puffed and twirled together hypocritical rationales about job performance and
moral fortitude.They complained about the embarrassment of it all when they were the ones
who made sure that this private matter became public. What they did to President Clinton,
his family, and this country was an atrocity.
I'm still stunned. I mean, impeach a president for lying about selling arms to Iran for
impeach a president for lying about a 'no new
taxes' pledge. But don't impeach a president for
having an extramarital affair!
Nope, you won't hear Republicans talking about the impeachment of President Clinton.
notice them sneak around the issue, saying things like, "Let's return dignity to the
or, "Let's give our children leaders they can look up to," or, "I'll be
someone you can trust."
Watch for the feathers in their teeth.
Besides the transparent fabrications and distortions permeating our airwaves, we need to
be aware of the subtle, more insidious facades being used by the mischievous and
unprincipled representatives of the right wing.
With the maneuverability of one-way conversation, right wing talk show hosts frequently
unload outrageous distortions and vicious insinuations. (e.g., liberals hate America, the
left back the
terrorists, Kerry is unpatriotic) They know theyre safe from any immediate rebuttal,
if any at all.
In the interim, their loyal listeners lap this stuff right up. But somewhere down the
road, if someone calls in to argue, the host often responds with something like: Oh
that? I was just kidding or
Cant you take a joke! or Lighten up!!Slithering away from accountability, he
redirects the focus back to the contester, who may now appear too serious or lacking any
of humor. If further pressured to justify the smear, the host may answer in the form of a
personal attack, such as being called un-American for questioning the President. If all
else fails, the caller is
cut off. It appears any rational discussion would expose the contrivers deceit and
regarding the pertinent matters at hand.
Similarly dysfunctional, we have the ol switcheroo game, whereby people accuse
of the very unsavory traits they themselves possess. In psychology, this is called projection;
ego defense mechanism by which something that is true of the person and would cause
if it were recognized, is repressed and is seen in someone else instead. For example,
its not uncommon to hear an emotional, angry and mean-spirited right-winger
screaming about how
emotional, angry and mean-spirited democrats and liberals are. (Its also not
uncommon to hear
Bush accuse other nations of threatening peace, ignoring international protocol and
abusing civil rights.) Whether unconsciously calculated or deliberately impudent, the ploy
to seesaw ones
own faults upon another is the ultimate hypocrisy.
On a recent Rush Limbaugh radio show he said, God is on the side of Bush and the
Republicans pause okok hahaha .that may be a bit on
the edge but thats the way
the Democrats play .
This slick and slimy duplicity comes from a man who, with playful arrogance, divulges his
wisdom with, as he says, half my brain tied behind my back, just to
make things fair
and with talent on loan from God.Rush can seem amusing within the pathetic confines of
his diatribe, but beyond the smoke and mirrors, it becomes clear his vitriolic vendetta
liberals and democrats is being waged without honesty and fairplay. Perhaps it is time
Mr. Limbaugh untie that half brain he obviously is not using.
Projection and other forms of behavioral disorders are, of course, common in all
But, I believe more objective people will notice a higher degree of illogicamong those
right wing ideology. The explanation for this is really quite simple: History has shown
an integral part of a healthy society. And by its very definition, conservatism opposes
change and advocates adherence to tradition. Granted, certain ethical standards are
universal, but the people
of our ever-changing world rightfully deserve modification to old and tired ideas. Ideas
been consistently proven unproductive, narrow-minded and even dangerous are still
considered sacrosanct. (e.g., nationalism, tribalism, theism, misogyny)
Although we now have our very own inflexible, sanctimonious, bellicose and ultra-right
wing administration, the enlightened among our species continue to invalidate the
traditions of war,
bigotry and religion. As conservative proponents stubbornly hold on to their customary and
comforting beliefs, its also likely theyre feeling an understandable sense of
might explain their desperate flurry of adamant nonsense.
Heres Mike Savage: Homosexuals should get AIDS and die.
I wonder if Savage is one of the many compassionate conservatives who believe
AIDS is Gods punishment for gay sex.
Matt Drudge on his justification of hypocrisy: There's no law
against being a hypocrite a few
times in your life and this industry is built on hypocrisy. Apparently Drudge
okay to lie if someone else does.
The problem is when the seed of a lie has been planted, the willing blindly accept the lie
with it. And most of us know that if a lie is repeated often enough, people start
believing it to be
the truth. This sequence can build a phantom grid of falsity that, eventually, will
crumble: but not
before it has destroyed innocent people and great ideas. The masters of guile know their
distortions neednt stand the test of time. Their ruthless coercion neednt be
based in truth, only in what wins elections. These people are liars, plain and simple. And
it seems theyve been coached and encouraged by the biggest liars of all: George W.
Bush and his syndicate of obliging and sorry
Ann Coulter: "My
only regret with Timothy McVeigh (the Oklahoma City bomber) is he did
not go to the New York Times building."And, amazingly,
she has said: "Principle is nothing
to liberals. Winning is everything."Coulter has also
made numerous derogatory references to
the atheist left.
as political pundits and often under a pompous pretense of piety, these
commentators morph their opinions to seem noble, righteous and even beyond
argument. They paradoxically try to dignify their own indignity by playing the God card.
This arrogant brand of journalistic foul play transcends the already biased reporting seen
in major newspapers and major television networks,
now largely owned and manipulated by powerful conservative corporations. With the
of an eye and an ideological group hug, the once fair and ethical art of objective
been opportunistically upstaged. One of the most un-American repercussions has been
censorship. (e.g., Bill Mayer, Phil Donahue, Howard Stern) To quote author Ted Rall:
A few liberals try to
censor conservatives, but most opponents of the First Amendment reside on the right.
So beware those who insult you for questioning their opinions. Be wary of people who
invoke God and Country. Watch for those who see the political polarization in our country
as a war between good and evil. Be prepared for those who disguise their slander as jokes
and project their weaknesses onto others. Watch for both the slippery lies and the
defamatory insinuations that are so vague as to defy accountability. Be alert for their
trick of birthing a lie and conveniently disclaiming it afterwards, knowing the falsity
has already taken its first seductive steps into social consciousness. Recognize the
ideological entrails of those who allow the lure of power and money to trump truth and
ethics. These antics, along with their many variations, bear the mark of cowardice,
ignorance and a contrived flatulence completely void of principle and decency.
Historically speaking, this behavior is nothing new. Whats new is an illicit
and a collusive media that has dramatically blurred the lines between bamboozlement and
respectability. So it seems we now have an operative model of chicanery, which is
enthusiastically embraced by those incapable of conversing rationally and intellectually.
Similar to how most feel about the Dark Ages, our descendents will be both amused and
by the people of our era who undermined intellectualism, fairplay, reason and logic.
An Open Letter to George Bush Author: Stephen Branch
written April 17, 2002 Ive
recently heard your childish admonishment again: If youre not with us,
youre against us. What are
you trying to say? It seems you are implying that we are the enemy if we dont
blindly rally behind you. Are
we such bad people to question political policy? Isnt this the right and privilege
of the American people?
Those who question political policy are merely demonstrating the patriotism of
deliberation and dissent
(Kuttner). This freedom is precisely what gives Democracy its edge. Those who suppress
intimidate contrarians, and sanitize public opinion are the true enemies of American
Your statement reeks of the same reckless, redneck rhetoric that has accompanied past
campaigns (e.g., America: Love it or Leave it, THE PRESIDENT: Right or Wrong).
I resent the
implications and will remind you that you and your generals opinions and policies
are not beyond
reproach. Your carelessness dealing with social security, the environment, civil rights,
stem-cell research and separation between church and state clearly show this. If true
prevails, it will be a well-informed American people that decide what were for and
what were against.
Dont be deluded in thinking your high approval ratings are about George Bush. These
ratings are more
about people who oppose terrorism. Remember you did not receive a mandate in 2000. In my
you were not even democratically elected. You were appointed by a partial supreme court,
unconstitutionally discontinued the vote-count in Florida.
Even before the smoke had cleared from Afghanistan, you were looking for a new dog to
waffling on policy concerning Israel and Palestine is transparent in that youve made
it clear your main
interest is in waging war on terrorism, not winning Mideast peace. Well, weve bombed
the hell out
Afghanistan. Weve killed many terrorists and even more innocent civilians. But we
have not defeated
terrorism. So lets go bomb the hell out of Iraq. Well kill many terrorists and
even more innocent civilians.
But we will not have defeated terrorism. What the heck .lets bomb the hell out
of Iran and North Korea
too. Well kill many terrorists and even more innocent civilians. But we will not
have defeated terrorism.
Recognize the pattern? Where do you stop? All were really doing is making more
people hate America
by enraging the local and affiliate population, strengthening terrorist resolve and
generations (Zakaria). Chaos and destruction do more to promote terrorism than
defeat it. There is no
military solution to this problem. You will never find them all. Wanna know a little
secret?We may destroy
some terrorist factions for the moment, but in the long run to fight terrorism you
dont try to decrease the
number of bad people, you try to increase the number of good people. We must educate the
people of the
world. We must share our wealth through humanitarian, ecological and economic endeavors.
and educated people are less apt to fall victim to fundamentalist dogma. And if we are
benevolent benefactors as opposed to warmongers, I assure you well have fewer
Your recent advocation of nuclear weapons has left a certain saber-waving element of
salivating for more blood. But then, these are the same people ordering gun-turrets for
their SUVs in 2003.
In light of all the bravado and jingoistic affectation, I sadly conclude it would just be
too emasculating for
you and your ilk to sincerely pursue more peaceful means. (Its no wonder Colin
Powell has been
ostracized from your immediate circle.) Just remember we have the technology to be more
killing people. True collateral damage is one thing, but to indiscriminately kill innocent
men, women and
children make you and America no better than any terrorist. (Although the U.S Government
image of a squeaky-clean bombing campaign, there were over 4000 civilian deaths in
over 100,000 civilian deaths in Desert Storm.)If
we must use military force (after exhausting all arbitration),
take out the despotic government or isolated terrorist infestation through limited
conventional means or
justifiable covert action. There is no need for nuclear weapons or any other weapons of
The innocent masses always seem to pay for the crimes or war-lust of the few.
As if nukes werent bad enough, development through quantum physics may eventually
weapons capable of atomizing the entire Earth in seconds (e.g., photon technology).I believe Drakes
Equation is correct in predicting that the majority of species in our universe do not
survive the stage we
are going through right now, but it also states that it depends on the NATURE of the race
beings. Although I feel the wide majority of human beings merely want to live a
comfortable, peaceful life,
we are still basically a hostile species and the masses are pathetically vulnerable to
dogma and spin. Will
the human race make it through this era? I believe its possible, but we need leaders who
about our planet, all of its people, and both our immediate and distant future. We need
recognize how religion and nationalism promote and maintain the contentious
prevalent throughout our history. We need leaders who realize that pluralism is not a
choice. Its a necessity.
Your temporal tap-dance on the world stage gyrates to the rhythm of arrogance, ignorance,
religious belief and machismo. The decent people of the world deserve better. So get out
of your bubble
and get a clue. You want America to be truly great? Your present course may give you one
small step for
the American unilateralist faction, but an insightful and compassionate world leader could
give us one
giant leap for mankind.
Coming Out Of The Closet
Author: Stephen Branch
written November 1, 2001
I was ten years old when I told my mother I didnt believe in God. A week or two
later, in the
audience of my Grandfather, I was forced to deal with the consequences of such a bold
During these grand-paternal visits, my brother and I were informally obligated to sit in a
double, antique-type chair and expected to be still and quiet.While
I didnt always listen to the
adult conversation, I remember my grandfathers speech quite clearly.Slow and deliberate, he
spoke like the judge he had once been. His voice, as well as his dignified and stern
demanded respect and even fear. Quite suddenly, with dramatic vocal timbre and sounding
Charlton Heston playing Moses in a movie depicting one of the bible myths, he proclaimed:
STEPHEN, I UNDERSTAND YOU DONT BELIEVE IN GOD.
I found myself sitting on Einsteins* proverbial red-hot
cinder. The seconds before my response
seemed timeless, my mind chaotically and desperately squirming to find an appropriate
One clear thought was the horrifying realization my mother had told him what Id said
earlier. Finally, I sheepishly squeaked, Well, Im not really sure. I
dont remember anymore being
said about the issue. I suspect my parents and grandfather either respected my questioning
and/or figured a few more years of Sunday school and standard religious indoctrination
me of my evil ways.
For many years after, I took more of an agnostic stance but, for the most part, kept quiet
Discussions on religion and politics often became stressful and confrontational.
Eventually, I realized
I was compromising my convictions in the following way: I held that for those who chose to
God, it was fine, right or wrong, as long as it made them happy. I theorized nothing
Now, Ive changed. Now I believe it does matter. The future of our species matters.
our accomplishments and potential, we are capable of great and wonderful scientific
Weve come so far. We deserve to go further. History clearly shows the handicap
placed on our cultural development, our scientific progress and our civility. A subsequent
trigger-happy and over-populated civilization inhabiting a fragile biosphere poses
alternatives for our longevity. Here in America, our forefathers intended to create a
based on secularism and pluralism. Sometimes it seems were more a theocracy based on
intolerance, xenophobia and isolationism. The solid black line that should be separating
state is actually many shades of gray. If we can only clear the hurdles encouraging our
ways, perhaps someday well make the transition from a divisive world to a global
from global community to interplanetary species .from interplanetary species to
citizens of an
intergalactic, multi-species solidarity. Lofty goals yes, but goals I believe possible.
I am no longer complacent with my former philosophical altruism. The tendency of the
is to credit their deity for the mysteries of life, often even after being scientifically
consequent intellectual lethargy is not only a cop-out, its unproductive and
dangerous to our world.
Submission to dogma is like letting your body host an incompatible symbiont.
Clear vision is blurred,
rational thought is compromised, the host organism becomes disoriented, misguided and
While waving the flag of righteousness and freedom, there have been too many theocracies
actions demonstrate quite the opposite. With nearly 6 billion people, the human chain is
strong as its weakest link and some of those links are still adrift in an ocean of
misogyny and greed.
I realize there are great thinkers and many profound contributions from our religious
sisters. There are insightful philosophers, philanthropists and educated persons belonging
many ecclesiastic persuasions around our planet. But many miss a major premise: Our future
our own hands, not Gods. Human beings need to accept 100% responsibility for their
world, and their progeny. No more, Its in Gods hands or God
works in mysterious ways. We
must come to understand and accept the reality of our biological circumstance. With
perseverance, human intelligence will continue solving the mysteries before us. Its
thought and science. Its about compassion not for just your own tribe, but for every
human being on Earth*.
Lets use all our humanity wisely. Whenever possible, lets liberate our
from their limitations. A theists mind is a terrible thing to waste.
It all really comes down to our mortality. The measures some take to avoid this issue have
resulted in some of the greatest perversions of logic in our history. Life is so precious,
it can be
unbearable to face the finality of our demise. Knowing we must die and forever lose our
loved ones is
clearly the most horrific aspect of our existence. Its no wonder so many desperately
cling to their religious beliefs╣. I wish it was true, but theres simply no
evidence to support the theistic fabrication
The aversion to publicly doubting God was ingrained early in life. Many attempts at
were discouraged or even punished│. As a child, conformity and
acceptance can be irresistible, but
can be debilitating when they become prerequisite, cultural guidelines for your entire
life. Even today,
as it was many years ago with my grandfather, sometimes its hard to proclaim my
especially to ones I love who believe differently.
A couple years ago, I received a
complimentary issue of Skeptical Inquirer. I had no idea the
movement was so grand. I didnt know that for 30 plus years now, your bold and
have been helping change the world to a better place, hardly to mention the enlightened
courageous thinkers who enriched our more distant past. But better late then never. What
shows is that your efforts continue to educate and inform the people. The knowledge,
writing skills of the founders and the many scientists and philosophers who contribute to
important cause have inspired me to unabashedly come out of the closet.
Now, however humble, I proudly and enthusiastically state my case.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
ENDNOTES * When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second.
When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems
like an hour. Thats relativity. Albert Einstein
╣ For those who pray and donate to get into heaven, why not use these
mental and monetary resources to support
science, which I believe will someday enable biological immortality. It may be too
late for us, but Im sure our first
ascendant benefactors will greatly appreciate the sooner we get started.
▓ No matter what some may tell you, no one really knows what happens
when you die. I believe complete finality is more
than likely, though I must admit, a part of me will always wonder. Ive
entertained scenarios from metamorphic rebirth to
multi-dimensional development. If there actually is some kind of posthumous
continuation, its probably of a nature totally
inconceivable to our earthly perception. Either way, Im quite sure I
wont be bowing to some anthropomorphized gray
beard up in the clouds.
│ This comment is not directed at my parents but more the societal
pressures of the times. My parents have ultimately
done more to enhance my self-growth and individualism. Not so much from their
theological posture, but more due to the
intelligent, colorful and thoughtful people that they are. (or was; my father died
if Iraq does not have weapons of mass destruction, the Bush administration will insist
They need an excuse to bomb Iraq, factual or not. Their desire for war and impatience with
weapon search transcend reasonability. If
the worlds superpower cannot show temperance in such
matters, what kind of example are we presenting to the rest of the world? When arbitration
back seat to preemptive military invasion, can we really call ourselves a peace-loving
because our military is presently unchallengeable, our government seems to think it can
ignore, manipulate or discredit international protocol. Would the United States tolerate
that followed its own example? Terrorists must be punished There simply can be no
quarter given. But our reprimand must not be directed at an entire race, religion or
nation. It must be specifically directed at the sole proprietors of the crime. The concept
of acceptable collateral damage is vastly over-rated. We bombed the hell out
of Afghanistan but failed to meet the objectives; to destroy Al-Quida and capture or kill
Osama bin Laden. Thousands of civilians met a horrific death. And yet the ridiculous and
shameful spin from the US administration is that the war in Afghanistan was a
Many militants encourage action even when the target or purpose is not clear. After all,
theyve been trained to kill and supplied with weapons worth billions of tax dollars
and can hardly wait to try out
their new toys. The bravado, blind hatred and machismo those at war encourage, has always
led to needless slaughter. One example inAfghanistan:
Seven 2000lb bombs were dropped on a wedding celebration in July of 2001. One hundred
forty civilians were killed or injured consisting of mostly women and children. An entire
family of twenty-five were all killed. (There was no US apology) The death toll from
Desert Storm and ongoing sanctions: 500,000 (mostly innocent civilians)
When asked why we should go to war with Iraq, Bush
supporter and talk-show personality Don Imus said, Saddam Hussein is a creep and
besides, it would be fun. War may be entertaining for some who watch the sanitized
returns on TV, all the while knowing their side cannot possibly lose. But
any properly evolved human being knows that war is not fun. There is a certain
flippant war lust in many Americans that reveals an innate cruelty and an insensitivity to
horrors of war.
Three civil servants who have never experienced military combat are George
Bush, Dick Cheney
and Donald Rumsfeld, the principle advocates of the preemptive military invasion of Iraq.
their hayseed and hawkish chagrin, Saddam Hussein has agreed to the joint terms of weapon
inspections. Domestic and international pressure has forced our administration to at least
superficially cooperate with the UN. But their guns remain drawn with acontinuing
the cowboy kill.
To promote their wars and imperialistic agenda, Bush and
company continue to deceive the
populous with the inevitable, unsubstantiated propaganda and demonization of their quarry.
This administrations unilateralistic arrogance is now supported by manipulated and
This ploy has worked time and time again throughout history, while the peace advocates are
castigated and dismissed as unpatriotic and dangerous. Mark Twain said, History
doesnt repeat itself, but it rhymes. Well, Ive heard this rhyme before
and, Im ashamed and embarrassed for
myself and all Americans.
We build sophisticated and incredibly powerful weapons and just cant seem to resist
taking them around the block a few times. Our technology has become greater than our
of dollars that could be used to help each other are spent to protect us from each other.
Humanity is at,
what George Will called, the intersection of advanced physics and moral primitivism.
its possible that countless, promising civilizations throughout our universe have
either failed or succeeded in clearing this hurtle. The United States has the most
advanced and powerful arsenal
on Earth, along with an administration that is too morally and intellectually primitive to
use them responsibly. Perhaps, in the future, a space-faring species will encounter the
lifeless remains of
our planet. They will know exactly what happened.
it or Leave it? Author: Steve Branch Australian Treasurer Peter Costello
acknowledges Australia as a secular state. But considering their sectarian implications,
Costello, along with Prime Minister John Howard and Education
Minister Brendan Nelson
obviously need to review what it means to be a secular state:
A secular state is a state or country that is officially
neutral in matters of religion, neither supporting
nor opposing any particular religious beliefs or practices, and has no state religion or
equivalent. A secular state also treats all its citizens equally regardless of religion,
and does not give preferential treatment for a citizen from a particular religion over
other religions. Theoretically, a secular state is defined as protecting freedom
of religion as pursued in state secularism.
It is also described to be a state that prevents religion from interfering with state
affairs, and prevents religion from controlling government or exercising political power.
Laws protect each individual including religious minorities from discrimination on the
basis of religion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_state
Anyone becoming a citizen of a secular state is understandably required to live by the
LAWS oftheir new government. But they are
NOT required to live by any particular religion and its dogmatic value system. Secular law
is based on freedom
OF and FROM religion. Secular law is based on democratic tenets of equality and fairness.
Separation of church and state was judiciously conceived
to ensure religion be kept a private matter. So immigrants cannot impose their religious
ideology on their host nation. Nor can the host nation force their religious ideology on
their immigrants. If (any) god offends a citizen, he cannot be told to leave the
country. Unless, of course, you're living in a theocracy.
Barring total isolationism, multiculturalism is inevitable. And, it
has historically proven to be culturally, politically and economically beneficial. While
there are very real problems with immigration, the issue here is one with fundamental
human rights. Immigrant extremists and radical clerics who pose a threat must indeed be
dealt with firmly. But lets not stereotypically impose the undesirability of a few on all
members of a religion or race. This irrational fear and contempt for outsiders is
synonymous with the xenophobia of the Religious Right in America.
Among others, there are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Mormons, Hindus, Humanists,
Scientologists, agnostics and atheists in America. The religious diversity is even greater
in Australia. Just because a majority of citizens believe in a particular dogma,
doesnt make it right, special or required.The
false sense of religious and nationalistic superiority
is common throughout the world. But it is more of an anomaly in developed, properly
educated democracies. America and Australia are two unfortunate examples of secular
nations exhibiting theocratic tendencies. Regarding
the folly of
American Christian origins:"The
Christian right is trying to rewrite the history of the United States as part of its
campaign to force its religion on others. They try to depict the founding fathers as pious
Christians who wanted the United States to be a Christian nation, with laws that favored
Christians and Christianity. This is patently untrue. The early presidents and patriots
were generally Deists or Unitarians, believing in some form of impersonal Providence but
rejecting the divinity of Jesus and the absurdities of the Old and New testaments.http://dim.com/~randl/founders.htm
(It was only recently (1950s) that under God was added to our pledge
and money. Our Founding Fathers would be rolling in their graves.) You
cant have it both ways. An ideological parallel would be (recent) politicians who
say they believe in both evolution and Christianity. They obviously understand
neither. Its not surprising that most Christians have not read the Bible, the
Constitution or Darwin et al. Religious
arrogance and patriotic hysteria are symptomatic of the misinformed. Theoretically,
if Australia is truly a secular state, Australian proponents of this email are the
ones whom should be leaving Australia. Its significant to understand that human altruism is innate to our species
and not a blessing from imaginary beings. The intellectually engaged among
us understand the
moral views originating in religious traditions are fraudulently sanctified. Arthur C. Clark says it best: The greatest tragedy in mankind's
entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion.
Hitchens: "We still
inhabit the prehistory of our race, and have not caught up with the immense discoveries
about our own nature and the nature of the universe. The unspooling of the skein of the
genome has effectively abolished racism and creationism, and the amazing findings of
Hubble and Hawking have allowed us to guess at the origins of the cosmos. But how much
more addictive is the familiar old garbage about tribe and nation and faith."
During wartime the President's popularity ratings usually soar as has recently been seen
Bush. I understand the need for a show of unity in times such as these but it
doesn't mean I have to
like or respect GW. Let's not forget, by discontinuing the vote count in Florida, he
President by the politically partial members of the Supreme Court. All the while
knowing Al Gore had
clearly won the popular vote.
Our current President is an alcoholic, convicted drunk driver and draft dodger. He
"won't talk" about
his former drug use and was at best a mediocre student in college. (Will someone
PLEASE tell him
how to pronounce "nuclear"! Jeez! What an embarrassment.) As our
country's leader he frequently
references his personal god and worse, tempers many of his policies and
his religious beliefs. (e.g. embryonic cell research, religion-based government
funding, the termination
of family-planning funds abroad) This is inappropriate and unconstitutional.
Separation of church and
state is a centerpiece of our secular society. Many are either unaware or
reluctant to accept that
secularism is a prerequisite for democracy.
As a world leader, his refusal to support the Kyoto treaty, clearly demonstrates his
short-sighted, isolationist stance and ill-regard for our planet and it's
inhabitants. To many around the
world, we are seen as we often are: greedy, militaristic, arrogant and
self-righteous. No wonder so
many people hate us.
As his father did to encourage support for war, Junior demonizes the enemy. How
transparent this is. I don't need to believe Osama Bin Laden and his ilk are evil
terrorists are extremely dangerous people who use their religion to justify their
hatred, cruelty and
horror. Their invisibility and insidious strategies confront us with an
unprecedented enemy. Barring
civilian casualties, I support almost any action required to take them down.
Unfortunately, terrorism will always be with us. There are ways, however, to insure the
of such acts. The United States can do this by promoting and practicing globalism as
nationalism. George Bush Sr. had the right idea with "a kinder, gentler
nation", but they were just
words. He never did anything constructive in that direction. I suspect George Jr.
won't either. He
seems incapable of any long-term vision or insight. I'm just going to keep my
and wait for 2004.
believe anyone can predict the future but Ill make a prediction anyway. There will
no terrorist attacks in America connected to the current orange rated terror
alert. It doesnt
seem to matter there is no proven alliance between Osama and Saddam. The Bush
administration knows that a frightened populace is more apt to support their hostile
agenda. And right now, more
than ever, Bush needs more support for war in Iraq. These alerts are desperate
and manipulative measures fabricated or exaggerated to keep us scared and submissive and
to compensate for their own obvious lack of reasonable justification for war. Despite the
hawkish claim that bombing Iraq
will make us safe from Saddam Hussein, the true terror alerts and attacks on America will
the moment Bush starts this war.
Thoughts from an American
Atheist Written 12/06/02 by Stephen Branch I
am a secular humanist. Secular humanists do not rely upon gods or other supernatural
to solve their problems or provide guidance for their conduct. They rely instead upon the
of reason, the lessons of history, and personal experience to form an ethical/moral
foundation and to
create meaning in life. ╣ Secular humanists are also atheist. However, atheism is
only a position on
the existence of God, not a mandate for nihilism or posture of depravity. I, for example,
compassion and love for all life and sincere concern for our planet and our future. From
seen, many atheists have a love and reverence for nature and humanity that would surpass
most pious. The confines of one religions particular edicts too often limit
knowledge, objectivity and respect for all forms of life.
All the great religious traditions have similar themes and
similar tribal deities. (e.g. Allah, Muhammed,
Jesus, etc.) They all stress love, peace and charity. But in most
cases their merits are dwarfed by their oppression
supports homophobia, misogyny and pedophilia. And lets not forget the Dark Ages, the
the Inquisition, witch burning and the concept of original sin.
Religion is responsible for the suffering
and murder of hundreds of millions of human beings throughout our history. They
are responsible for savage
wars and great cruelty. Even when a wars main purpose is fuel, land or food,
often used to provide a source of inspiration and motivation.
masses have always been easily seduced and controlled by religion. Thats why leaders
find its utility so irresistible. Patriotism and
religion are often the last refuge of the scoundrel▓.
Theocratic leaders often encourage people to cradle bigotry and hatred in the name of
their God. Generally
speaking, religion does not bring people together; it divides us and inhibits the
of our world. Our collective religio-political guardianship has rendered the human
family dysfunctional. Our different cultures arouse suspicion and hatred instead of
curiosity and respect.
Our political and religious leaders are too often arrogant, sectarian and parochial.
Nationalism and its
xenophobic backwash undermine international cohesion and camaraderie.Billions
could be used to help each other are spent to protect us from each other.Our
Everyone thinks they are right about their religion when the naked and paradoxical reality
they are all wrong. Religion wrongly lays claim to the natural goodness and decency of
You are led to believe one cannot be a good person without subservience to their god. You
promised some form of eternal life or eternal damnation depending on how faithfully you
respective doctrines: a system of punishment and reward remarkablysimilar
with the more cyclical
concept of Santa Claus. It takes courage to accept our mortality and common sense to
that our altruism is inherent, not some holy blessing or mythological gift. Its
difficult to see the
picture when youre inside the frame. The clearest view is more often seen from a
Realistically speaking, no one truly knows what happens when you die. If
there actually is some
kind of posthumous continuation, its probably of a nature totally inconceivable to
perception. Either way, Im quite sure I wont be bowing to some
anthropomorphized gray beard
up in the clouds.
In the future we may well achieve biological immortality. But for now, all we
have is an average of 60 to 80 years and that, for all we truly know, is it. All the more
live this life to the fullest and do all we can to ensure a wholesome world for those in
Muslim martyrs believe
they will earn a special place in paradise, which includes unlimited sex
with 72 virgins│. In India, the Hindu school of Brahmanism justifies maiming, amputation
murder of disobedient or flirtatious wives. All around the world, theism upholds primitive
and discredits science. Many
Christians claim that empirically based Darwinian Evolution is
groundless while Intelligent
Design masquerades as science.
Christian leaders Jerry Falwell
and Pat Robertson, et al., believe they and their followers are superior to others.They
that Jesus Christ is the only way to God, and that unless people come to God through
is an academic stranglehold upon those who believe their god
has all theanswers
and an insolent vulgarity in those who believe they are better than others.
Humanity is finally starting to outgrow religion, thanks to the advances in science and
the majority of humans are still players and we are all victims of its hypocrisy,
bigotry, bellicosity and dogmatic folly.In
America, many are angry that their freedoms and
opinions are being hosed down by an administration whose ideology is more often reflective
of religious fundamentalism. The greatest democracy in history still
hasnt figured out how
to separate church and state. Our descendants will be both amused and saddened by the
behavior of the people of our era who still believed in fairy-tales and myth.
constitution guarantees freedom of
religion as well as freedom from
are the most alienated minority in America. Why
are we still living with this intolerance? It is
primarily due to the lack of, or resistance to, education. In 1987 George H.W. Bush said:"No,
don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered
patriots."Its astounding when a
president of the United States does not even understand the
premises of our Democracy.And the apple
doesnt fall far from the tree. From undermining
stem-cell research to cutting family-planning funding here and around the world, his inept
continues the same narrow-minded manipulation of policy based on his own religious
This is dangerous and unconstitutional and just one of the many reasons George Jr. should
also have the right to practice
the patriotism of deliberation and dissent.Freedom
speech in the United States, however, is not always all its drummed up to be. For
would hesitate to voice my opinions down at the local VFW or any other hawkish circles for
of physical bodily harm or make my address accessible for fear of hostilities toward my
and personal property. Its curious that many of the people who say theyll give
for American freedom are the ones most unable to tolerate an American citizen
practicing those very freedoms.
We have freedom of assembly and the right to protest but there is a virtual media
the hundreds of anti-war demonstrations of late. Absurdly named First Amendment
fenced-off areas designated for protesters at political events, are kept so far away from
intended target that their presence becomes almost invisible. While trumpeting the virtues
American freedom, the rich and the powerful shamelessly control and create media to best
serve their own agenda.
In this country, diversity and pluralism must at least be tolerated. They should be
The collective resource of our multi-dimensional society gives us our strength.
responsible representation affords a precious fairness to the majority of the people. Our
constitutional freedoms are precisely what give Democracy its edge, as long as the tenets
are truly understood and conscientiously practiced. Those who suppress dissent,intimidate
contrarians, and manipulate the prerequisites of freedom, are the trueenemies
of American ideals.
on the original quote by Samuel Johnson: Patriotism is the last refuge of
ancient edicts were misinterpreted, however. One will NOT have unlimited
sex with 72 virgins, but all
will have unlimited sex with one 72 year old virgin.
A book review of Modern
Japanese Literature, a compilation by Donald Keene
Sometimes Less is More By Rick Branch 4/23/85
After reading and studying the stories in Modern Japanese Literature, I
realized there was
In "Botchan",╣ there is no idealizing. Botchan is no model human being,
certainly not one we can
look up to. A troublemaker as a child, he alienated his parents as well as his only
stumbles through life without any particular purpose and it seems only by chance
that he furthers
his education and becomes a teacher. The one person who cared for Botchan, Kigo, had
to live with and take care of him someday, but the hopes of such a happy ending are
Botchan moves far away.
Not the storybook scenario we're used to, is it? Don't we prefer to read about how great
life can be
instead of how it usually is? Don't we want to forget that the world is full of
"Botchans", full of average
people leading unexciting and relatively insignificant lives? Don't we especially
want to deny that
each of us belongs to this group of people?
In "Time" (Yokomitsu Riichi, p.339), there is no moralizing. This story depicts
a troupe of performers
fleeing from a landlord to whom they are in debt. Promiscuous and distrustful of one
men and women are not particularly endearing. I found myself feeling little sympathy
encountered great hardship in their search for a haven. I kept waiting for some sort
some moral statement proving that bad behavior does not go unpunished. It didn't
The author of this piece was obviously more concerned with describing the experience of
than giving his opinion of it. He writes like an objective reporter, never trying to
sway or influence.
Indeed, aren't we the ones, with our Western/Christian mindset, who often complicate
our insistence that there is always a right and wrong way of doing things.
"Earth and Soldiers" (Hino Ashihei, p. 357) is a tale of a man named Uhei and
his love for his horse,
Kichizo. That's all there is to it. There's no deep meaning, no symbolism, no
philosophy. Because of
war, Uhei and his horse are separated, but we never find out if they are reunited.
Instead, the story
takes off in a different direction, telling of one Corporal Tashibana and his brush
What kind of story is this? Where's the cohesion? Where's the "rhyme and
reason"? "Earth and
Soldiers" not only lacks meaning, it actually gives a sense of meaninglessness!
But wait a minute.
When you think about it, isn't this story a truer, more honest depiction of what
goes on in this world?
Isn't life really quite unpredictable and confusing? Someone once said it all rather
Oh how we in the West would like to believe that the world is a safe and rational place.
been trying to convince ourselves of this for millennia! We've formulated all kinds
of explanations, but
they have been based on mere speculation, not fact. More often than not, these
creations of ours
have been only smokescreens that cover up the realities of life and put us out of
harmony with the
natural order of things.
It strikes me that the Japanese are more realistic that we are. Their literature
reveals the existence
of an outlook on life that accepts human limitation and inadequacy; an outlook that
the meaningless and capricious aspects of existence; an outlook that stares life and
squarely in the face. It seems to me that those who can accept life the way it is
are those who are
more able to understand and appreciate it. We may miss wishful-thinking, preaching,
philosophizing as we read through Modern Japanese Literature, but it might do us
well to consider
that, sometimes, less is more.
╣Natsume Soseki, "Botchan", in Modern Japanese Literature, Donald
(New York, Grove Press, Inc., 1956), p. 124.
All subsequent references are parenthetically cited.
Bush and the Media Author: Stephen Branch
written June 16, 2003 Why
do people question the intellect and patriotism of those who criticize the Bush
administration?Why are dissenters demonized
and decent, patriotic Americans pilloried for wanting peace,
diplomacy and social justice?
The reason is George W. Bush et al. If youre not with us, youre against
us. This infantile and
divisive statement by GW is connotative of his administrations adversarial attitude
and has fostered
a hostile intolerance towards people here and around the world who may dare disagree or
The growing, right-wing corporate media has taken the ball and redefined journalism. This
is a brand
of biased and partial journalism that is dangerous for our democracy and has destroyed the
credibility of US media here and around the world.
American media patrons are not receiving balanced and objective information. Foxs
was more a pro-war pep-rally. Radios ayatollahs of the airwaves Rush
Limbaugh and Mike Savages news-poser programs are hostile and insidiously deceitful.
Viewers and listeners na´ve to the spin,
are in danger of becoming more like George Bush: either sincerely stupid or foolishly
infatuated with their ideology.
Those who intimidate dissenters and sanitize the news are actually the ones who are
unpatriotic and dangerous to our country. Those who question a critics intellect are
too often the ones who need to
be accurately informed.When media is
manipulated and our civil rights are abused all in the name
of patriotism and self-righteousness, we become more like the corrupt, totalitarian
Americans model as evil.A
healthy democracy represents the balanced agenda of a
well-informed people, ensuring a wholesome mandate after elections.
For more responsible radio journalism I would recommend the BBC or the least manipulated
of our domestic options, NPR. Some of our newspapers and news-magazines offer objective
reporting and an acceptable balance of editorials. The Internet clearly provides a bounty of free
thought and censor-free information. Why? Because the government cant control
Celebrate Your Life/Self-release-CD
On this side project by brothers Rick and Steve Branch of
Goffstown, NH, what we have are 14 songs
recorded on a Tascam Portastudio for the purpose of sending to music publishers.
Still, on Celebrate
You Life the Branch Brothers deliver a certain savvy that can only come from
veteran musicians who
have been working steadily for the past 25 years, both nationally and
Adult oriented, the songs are well structured, tight, and delivered with enthusiasm.
While most of the
songs feature strong rhythms that can no doubt pack a suburban dance club, the
slower, I Wish You
Loved Me Too, is a standout due to the vocal arrangements and top-notch guitar
of Brian May. Meanwhile, I Can't Fit, is up-tempo and poppy and The
Ride Along The Way is a
blast that could no doubt be developed into a great dance tune in the vein of I'm
So Excited as
recorded by the Pointer Sisters or Footloose (Hell, I'd like to record this
one myself!). Another
song that deserves mention is, The Time Has Come, for its easy feel and
Preference-wise there may be hits and misses on this 14 songer, but not once is
there an instance
where these guys are anything less than professional, crafty songwriters. -By B.
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