Jill Stein: (Not) The (anti-science) protest vote you’re looking for.

ignorance-asimov

Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President, has already said there are “real questions” about whether vaccines cause autism in children. Now a video has surfaced where Stein says that wi-fi in schools might be harming kids. Stein is really turning out to be the anti-science candidate in this election. And it’s a competitive field, since Trump denies climate change!…. “We should not be subjecting kids’ brains especially to that. And we don’t follow that issue in this country, but in Europe where they do, they have good precautions around wireless—maybe not good enough, because it’s very hard to study this stuff. We make guinea pigs out of whole populations and then we discover how many die. And this is like the paradigm for how public health works in this country and it’s outrageous, you know.”

“My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” In an era ruled by false equivalence, few sentences better define this chapter in our collective. Democracy isn’t giving equal weight to fancy and fact. That’s a recipe for idiocracy…which may well be where this path is leading.

It’s bad enough that Jill Stein, the Green Party’s sacrificial lamb Presidential candidate is pandering to the anti-vaccine portion of the electorate. Despite a century of scientific study and mountains of data, otherwise reasonable, rational people are concluding that vaccines cause autism. Are vaccines perfect? Of course not; what in life is? Why do so many believe, at least when it comes to vaccines, that the perfect must be the enemy of the good?

Over the past century, countless lives have been saved because of vaccination programs. Childhood diseases like measle, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, and others have been for all intents and purposes eradicated.

At least they had been until anti-vaxxers latched onto Dr. Andrew Wakefield‘s fabricated study and adopted Jenny McCarthy as the patron saint of the “vaccines cause autism” meme? One study employing fabricated data has been held up as CONCLUSIVE, UNDENIABLE PROOF that vaccines cause autism, negating more than a century of scientific data to the contrary.

Because EVERYONE knows that science isn’t the final word…right? And why should scientific “fact” be held to be superior to personal belief?

My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.

Now Stein is preaching that Wi-Fi signals may be bad for children. Not that’s anything wrong with limiting a child’s screen time, of course- for a whole host of reasons. NONE of those reasons include the (not) scientifically-proven fact that Wf-Fi signals are bad for children.

It never ceases to amaze me that in a day and age when so much solid, empirical, scientifically sound and vetted data is available, so many choose ignorance, fear, and reaction.

There’s no- none, zero, zip, nada- data available indicating Wi-Fi signals are or even may be deleterious to a child’s health and well-being.

Why believe science when you KNOW in your heart that scientists are just running interference for Big Pharma? Why believe science when you KNOW your ignorance (not that you’d recognize it as such) is every bit as good as scientific “truth?”

After all…my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.

It might be an effective way to stop Trump supporters: Refuse to sleep with them

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I’ve been trying to brainstorm specific ways…for each of us to help fight this certain and specific brand of evil now facing our country and I finally think I’ve come up with a halfway decent idea: let’s agree we won’t sleep with anyone who is a Trump supporter. Not now, not for the next three months ― hell, I’m willing to say never again if you are. [T]he idea isn’t exactly original ― the Greek playwright Aristophanes had it a few thousand years ago ― but it’s a damn good one. People do crazy things for sex ― and they often do even crazier things when they’re rebuffed ― and maybe, just maybe, we can make America great again by saying no to that little “twink for Trump” (yes, sadly, that’s a real thing) who’s sweating us. You might think I’m kidding but I’m not. Who we choose to fuck ― or not fuck ― is a dynamic form of cultural currency and just as other decisions we make in the bedroom can have implications and consequences outside of the bedroom, saying no to anyone who supports this beastly man and his dangerous campaign could have a real effect on the outcome of this election.

Throughout history, women arguably have disproportionately suffered the consequences of war. The loss of husbands and sons have, beyond the purely emotional impact, greatly diminished the ability of women to provide for their families. This subject was addressed by Aristophanes in Lysistrata, a play first performed in Athens in 411 BC. A comic account of one woman’s attempt to end the Peloponnesian War, Lysistrata persuades the women of Greece to withhold sex from their lovers and husbands as a means of forcing them to negotiate peace. Ultimately, the plot becomes about how the women’s struggle to end war and create peace inflames the battle between the sexes.

LYSISTRATA
There are a lot of things about us women
That sadden me, considering how men
See us as rascals.

CALONICE
As indeed we are!

This strategy didn’t die with the end of Lysistrata’s campaign. Sex strikes have become a form of nonviolent resistance employed by women over time to achieve a number of goals. In the late 20th and 21st century, sex strikes have been used in, among other places, Colombia, Kenya, Liberia, South Sudan, The Philippines, Togo, and Naples, Italy.

The thought of Donald Trump sitting behind the big desk in the White House isn’t exactly a turn-on, so perhaps it’s time for women to trot out the biggest gun in their arsenal. If they stopped schtupping Trump supporters (primarily men, but women shouldn’t be excluded), I suspect it wouldn’t be long before cries for mercy would be heard from coast to coast.

How many of us wouldn’t eventually be in dire straits if our partners suddenly decided that they weren’t going to have sex with us until we did ______? You don’t think things wouldn’t change in a helluva hurry?

Think about it, ladies; you could be doing a greater service for your country than you might think.

Sometimes it really is about making the world a better place…one frustrated, horny guy at a time.

I strongly urge the Clinton campaign to consider promoting a sex strike as a legitimate campaign strategy. Work to convince women not to boink Trump supporters until after Election Day, and only then after you’ve confirmed they voted for Hillary Clinton. I’d hazard a guess that support for Donald Trump would plummet precipitously…and immediately.

Trump/Pence 2016: One is a loudmouth and a bigot, the other a homophobic culture warrior

Bible Written by Sexist Homophobic Men

[Mike] Pence, the Republican nominee for vice president, is an anti-science, anti-women, anti-LGBT, radical religious extremist. Pence is a rabid homophobe who wants to deny civil rights to LGBT people, and wants taxpayer money to pay for gay conversion therapy, the despicable attempt to force a child or young adult to reverse their sexual orientation or gender identity, often to satisfy the religious superstition and bigotry of ignorant parents. As reported by PolitiFact, during his first successful run for Congress in 2000, Pence advocated for government funding of gay conversion therapy on his campaign website, under a section called Strengthening the American Family: Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.

In focusing upon the human flotsam that is Donald Trump, it’s been easy to forget that his choice for Vice President isn’t exactly chock-full of warmth, fuzziness, and Christian charity. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is a card-carrying member of the American Taliban. He’s made a career of openly pandering to those who believe their God should be our government and that the separation of Church and State is an artificial and immoral Liberal construct.

He also signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which Conservatives intended to be used to protect their “religious freedom.” That this “freedom” encompassed the right to discriminate against the LGBT community and anyone else that offended their tender sensibilities gave Indiana the well-earned reputation as “the state that hates.”

A veteran culture warrior, Pence has risen to power by appealing to Conservative White Christians, many of who are convinced they’re persecuted for their beliefs. What they refuse to recognize is that discrimination and bigotry aren’t Christian values, and that not being allowed to discriminate against a minority class they despise isn’t “persecution.”

Donald Trump secured the GOP nomination in part by pandering shamelessly to, and stoking the hatreds and passions of, Conservative White Christians. Pence is one of them, a politician renowned for blurring the line between Church and State.

Pence has advocated for what’s known as “reparative therapy,” what many consider to be child abuse. Currently banned in five states (including my home state of Oregon), reparative therapy has fallen increasingly into disrepute as the methods employed (and their potential consequences) have been exposed.

So-called “conversion therapy,” sometimes known as “reparative therapy,” is a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Such practices have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades, but due to continuing discrimination and societal bias against LGBTQ people, some practitioners continue to conduct conversion therapy. Minors are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.

This is but one aspect of Mike Pence’s dangerous tendency to conflate his God and our government. Electing Donald Trump would be horrific for this country’s future. Mike Pence as Vice President would compound the tragedy, as it would give hope to those ready, willing, and eager to dismantle the separation of Church and State.

Evidently the American Taliban hasn’t learned from the example of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other countries that the admixture of religion and politics is a recipe for disaster.

Remember, when you’re doing it to others it’s religious freedom. When others do it to you it’s the worst sort of tyranny and persecution imaginable.

Tragedy and grief neither know nor respect the things which separate us one from another

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Patton Oswalt has opened up once again about dealing with grief following the sudden death of his wife, Michelle McNamara. In a Facebook post…the actor and comedian spoke candidly about his struggles with loss, writing, “Thanks, grief. Thanks for making depression look like the buzzing little bully it always was.”…. Oswalt also writes about the silver lining that seems to come with grief, noting that after all the pain and exhaustion, “You will have been shown new levels of humanity and grace and intelligence by your family and friends.” Aside from thanking his family, Oswalt expresses gratitude for the letters and messages he’s gotten from strangers via social media and the mail, the type of letters, he says, “you’ll keep and re-read ‘cause you can’t believe how helpful they are.”

Too often, we see celebrities doing what they do and neglect to recognize and understand that, behind whatever they’re public persona may be, they’re people like us. They have dreams and aspirations, insecurities and fears, and they endure love and loss. Not very often do we get a glimpse of the very human side of those whose public face is their brand. Patton Oswalt is one of the very few celebrities willing and able to pull back the veil and reveal his very human side.

Like many of us, Oswalt had a wife and family. He led a fairly normal existence…if life in Hollywood could ever be anything close to “normal.” The death of his wife, Michelle McNamara, was every bit as tragic to him as it would be to anyone else who loved their spouse. Like any human being, that shared history and love is part of what makes life special and sweet. No one ever expects to lose that, especially not suddenly and without warning. Most of us, were we to lose a spouse or loved one, would be devastated, bereft, and forced to deal with a profound, crushing grief that could never have been anticipated.

Oswalt has, despite his success, managed to maintain the demeanor of a regular guy, someone you could have a beer or six with. Perhaps that’s part of what made the outpouring of public sympathy possible; we could relate to him. That he’s recognized how fortunate he is for the love and support he’s received is to his credit, and his gracious response speaks to someone who recognizes that his loss is something he need not suffer alone.

McNamara died in her sleep on April 21st. She was all of 46 years old. Oswalt was no doubt looking forward to having many more good years with her- raising their children, sharing their successes and setbacks, and living the life they’d chosen together.

I can’t imagine how I would react in a similar situation…and I hope I’ll never have reason to find out. Life is funny sometimes- and not always in a humorous way. Plans are made and dreams dreamt…but sometimes things don’t play out as anticipated.

What then?