September, 2012 Newsletter of the Lake Superior Freethinkers
Facilitators: David Broman - 218-349-7455
Bill Guse - 834-4583, 343-4806
First Sunday - Radisson Hotel – 9:00 AM Social – 10:00 Brunch
George Erickson, editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Program: Barbara Stark and August Berkshire will speak on the Marriage Amendment.
Barbara Stark, (Charles Gessert’s wife), is a volunteer with the “Vote No” campaign who has much experience on the front lines, coaxing voters to pay attention to marriage equality.
August Berkshire, president of Minnesota Atheists, wrote Minnesota Atheists' policy paper on GLBT rights and co-authored their friend-of-the-court brief filed on behalf of three, same-sex couples suing the state for marriage equality. August, who pioneered atheist support for the GLBT community in 1984, was named an "Honored Ally" by OutFront Minnesota in 2004.
Book lovers will shout Eureka over three books coming to the Sept. meeting: The Body in Question (for anatomy lovers), The Secret History of American Empire: The Truth About Economic Hit Men… and The Archimedes Codex, which tells how the long lost Codex was found and how this palimpsest (new word there, eh?), was brought to light by science.
Here’s a link to a great take on religion! Click on it and save your soul!
SHAME ON BSA! What a gross disgrace!
What a stupid decision. One fifth of Americans now are atheistic, agnostic or non-believers, and that group is growing. What the hell are you doing banning that population? Gods, angels, devils and such are simply imagination and supernatural magic. Teaching fine boys to bow and feel they are original sinners is corrupt and vile. For scouting to accept any of the competing, mutually denying religions is ignorant on the face of it. God believers are out to kill, burn each other as they have always historically done. Ireland, Croatia, European wars, crusades, witch burning and all is so horrendous that scouting aught be free of and done with it.
Should scouting boys and leaders be dull, thoughtless people or would it be better to help them learn of science, evolution and the best understanding of reality that is available to date? Abandon your mormon patronage and be free of religious domination so that reason may prevail. What is to say except once again....... SHAME, DOUBLE SHAME, ON BSA!
When I earned this badge I was proud. Our troop, SF 88, had all sorts of boys. No body bothered us with what Superstition we had or had none, Nor whether we were straight, Gay, black, white or yellow or grey.
We learned lashing, tenting, knotting, truth telling as well. We hiked the California Coastal Mountains, Learned the trees, shrubs and birds And we backpacked the High Sierra, Yosemite, John Muir Trail and beyond.
Yet now I discover that my youth's delight Is captured by bigots and idiots as well. Seems the silly mor(m)ons now have their way. So I am now ashamed of my badges and of my eagle award too.
Atheists, gays, blacks or whatever, We are all in this world together. Scouts must become men And to think with reason not Moronic magic or invention.
You leaders have plainly sold us out. Unless you make me proud of my badges again I'll hold you responsible forever till then For all this corruption of boys and of men As well this fraud you've done.
William van Druten MD, Troop 88, San Francisco, CA (Now Duluth, MN)
THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH AND WOMEN
For the supposed crimes of heresy and witchcraft, hundreds of women endured such persecutions and tortures that the most stolid historians are said to have wept in recording them; and no one can read them to-day but with a bleeding heart. And, as the Christian Church grew stronger, woman's fate grew more helpless.
Even the Reformation and Protestantism brought no relief, the clergy being all along their most bitter persecutors, the inventors of the most infernal tortures. Hundreds and hundreds of fair young girls, innocent as the angels in heaven, hundreds and hundreds of old women, weary and trembling with the burdens of life, were hunted down by emissaries of the Church, dragged into the courts with the ablest judges and lawyers of England, Scotland and America on the bench, and tried for crimes that never existed but in the wild, fanatical imaginations of religious devotees. Women were accused of consorting with devils and perpetuating their diabolical propensities. Hundreds of these children of hypothetical origin were drowned, burned, and tortured in the presence of their mothers, to add to their death agonies.
These things were not done by pagans: they were done by the Church. Neither were they confined to the Dark Ages, but permitted by law in England far into the eighteenth century. The clergy everywhere sustained witchcraft as Bible doctrine, until the spirit of rationalism laughed the whole thing to scorn, and science gave mankind a more cheerful view of life.
* Notice *
Your incredibly modest, charming and good looking editor (me) picked up the wrong book to bring to our library last month, so instead of bringing The Body in Question (from the BBC series), I brought The Three Billion Dollar War, an excellent book by Joseph Stiglitz about G W B’s fraudulent war. My review of it follows:
The Three Trillion Dollar War
by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes a review by George Erickson www.tundracub.com
In The Three Trillion Dollar war, Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes pull just one punch, and that’s when they call the war in Iraq a "terrible mistake" instead of calling it a fraudulent invasion of a sovereign nation, which it was. That said, the focus of this excellent book is the cost of the war, and for 200 pages – plus 100 pages of sources – the authors lay it on the line:
The result: "By 2007, Iraq ranked 178th out of 180 countries in terms of corruption. When the full price of the war has been paid, trillions of dollars will have been added to our national debt."
With that money, the authors assert, we could have funded Social Security for the next half century, built 18 million housing units, repaired our crumbling bridges and highways, invested in renewable energy or give 43 million students university scholarships. Instead, our trumped up Iraq war created terrorists and caused 2 million Iraqis to flee their country.
Furthermore, Stiglitz notes, the Department of Defense hid Iraq war expenditures within its ordinary budget – a budget that “swallows over $500 billion per year (not including the Iraq war) but fails to account for where the money goes.” Those billions, plus others that disappeared without bidding or accounting, fed 100,000 contractors like Halliburton and KBR in a war waged in part by highly paid mercenaries.
When the war began, we had 14,000 veterans per year seeking health care from the VA, but by 2008 that number had topped 260,000 and now exceeds 300,000 – and many are receiving only marginal care. That’s $400 billion for disability payments and health care for the rest of their lives.
In closing, Stiglitz and Bilmes list seven reforms designed to help us avoid future error-riddled wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan - wars that have yet to fully draw to a close. I’ll mention just three:
"Wars should not be funded through "emergency" supplementals… the Department of Defense [which has failed every audit] should be required to present clean auditable financial statements to Congress… [and] Congress should review the heavy reliance on contractors in wartime."
It’s not fun reading, but were it up to me, I’d want every voter to reads books like The Three Trillion Dollar War before they head to the polls.
Quotes on Religion
"If the religions had evidence, faith would no longer be needed." Anonymous
"One of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding." ― Richard Dawkins
Excerpts from Ed Raymond on climate change and the Fundies.
Things go worse with a Koch - Did you see the NASA satellite pictures of Greenland taken on July 8? On that date about 40 percent of the ice sheet that covers almost all of Greenland was going through surface thawing. In just a few days NASA reported that 97 percent of the ice sheet surface had melted by July 12. Climate scientists are presently calling it "a freak event that concerned scientists had never witnessed before."
The Koch Brothers, Charles and David, have made their billions from oil and pipelines and they want to keep oil gurgling in their pipelines and money flowing into their huge pockets. Consequently they have spent millions funding anti-global warming "scientists."
Professor Richard Muller of the University of California got tens of millions from Charles Koch to prove that global warming was a hoax, but in July, Muller published the following in the New York Times: "Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land had risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and half degrees over the most recent years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases. Humans are almost entirely the cause."
Sorry about that, Charles. It is carbon dioxide that causes global warming, and it’s humans who put it in the atmosphere. Perhaps someday even that great scientist Rush Limbaugh will recognize quit putting his own methane and carbon dioxide in the air.
The Greenland Tipping Point Means Water Everywhere - Global warming scientists have estimated that if average temperatures go up 2.9 degrees F. from pre-industrial levels we won’t be able to stop the melting of the entire Greenland ice cap. We have already gone up 1.45 degrees F., and are soon approaching the tipping point where winter snows will not make up for summer melt. With the additional fresh water in the oceans it means goodby to Miami, Roanoke, the Maldives, New York City, California coastal cities, much of Bangladesh, Cedar Keys, New Orleans, probably much of the Arctic ice cap, and all those McMansions built on beach fronts around the world.
Southern Baptists and other evangelicals see no reason to worry about losing much of their lovely Gulf Coast because God is going to save them. He will either institute global cooling or answer their prayers with the Rapture, thus ridding the evil world of a religious minority as they go to the big nudist convention in the sky.
These believers rhapsodize about Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe who has prayed and knows that God won’t let climate change happen because it is a hoax created by environmental Democrats. I guess the Holocaust never happened either. Republican President George W. Bush, using his brain to capacity, named Inhofe the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment during his presidency. Does Oklahoma have oil or what?
At a March 2009 meeting of the House, Republican Representative John Shimkus said carbon dioxide was just plant food and played no role in global warming. Besides, Shimkus quoted the Bible, saying that God promised Noah He would not destroy the earth by flood. Shimkus added: “I believe that is the infallible word of God, and that is the way it is going to be for his creation.” Shimkus was later named by the Republican Speaker of the House to chair the House Committee on Environment and Economy which has a central role in global warming policy. Well, if things don’t work out, if the Rapture doesn’t save them, by that time the Republicans will have enough yachts to save a strong minority from high water.