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Monday links

  • Somebody over at has begun disappearing David Codrea’s columns on phony premises. Ironic considering David’s earlier censorship by the new JPFO. Really bad considering David gets paid by the page view for his Examiner work.
  • Here, have a cigar. But only if you’re rich enough to qualify for the “crony exemption.”
  • The corruption of DA’s offices. It just gets deeper and dirtier. (H/T S)
  • So Ross Ulbricht thought he was better than the laws of this country. But then (as Neil Smith likes to point out) we’re all better than the the law. Sounds as if the judge sentenced Ulbricht more for his philosophy than his crime.
  • MamaLiberty muses on hate vs discrimination.
  • Be nice to your lunch lady.
  • Toward a theology of atheism? No thank you. Away from strangling reason in theology! Away from enabling herds of holier-than-thou atheist cultists, if you please! Such would be insufferable even if the theological practice didn’t involve group sings of “Walking on Sunshine.” (Many commentors on the piece have it right.)


  1. Pat
    Pat June 1, 2015 4:11 am

    So an atheist is half a fish?! Who knew. (And why would UNC invite a Duke alumnus on its campus, anyway?)

    The war on cigars starts just when Cuba and America have hit détente. Sounds like poor timing to me.

  2. Pat
    Pat June 1, 2015 5:09 am

    “It would seem important for every person who seeks individual liberty to examine their definitions of hate and discrimination. It’s hard to have a conversation if terms being used have no mutually understood definitions.”

    A lot of sense here. Those definitions often present a problem. It might be better if each word had only one definition. I sometimes wonder if mis-interpretation, or altering/adding to the definition of a word is deliberate in order to cause misunderstanding.

    However I think that intentional confusion is more often caused by those who are anti-liberty than by those who seek liberty. The antis have more to gain by confusion, especially when directed toward controlling the masses/sheep/whatever-you want-to-call-it.

  3. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty June 1, 2015 5:41 am

    Exactly, Pat. For example, the “gun control” folks probably don’t have any problem understanding the terms involved, but they are spending a great deal of effort and money trying to muddy the definitions in the minds of ordinary people who may not have given it much thought, and may never do so… but they vote. The gun grabbers keep saying they want a “discussion” about all this, but systematically ignore or sabotage anything that might correct the carefully obscured definitions with hard fact.

    Both “sides” must be willing to understand the definitions used by the other, and be willing to accept proven facts. Without that, we have real “hate” going on, I think.

    As for the theology of atheism, that’s an interesting oxymoron. Understanding how the brain works is a fascinating thing to study, but it has little to do with deciding how we should treat each other. The author of this piece doesn’t seem to understand the basic premise of non-aggression or “live and let live,” but rather that science or something else must drive how we treat others – with what appears to me to be an assumption that some people need to be in charge of that. And, of course, that’s no different than any other theology.

  4. Joel
    Joel June 1, 2015 6:05 am

    Am I a bad person if I find evangelistic atheists far more annoying than the most evangelistic religionist I ever met?

    And I was married to a Jehovah’s Witness, so don’t think I don’t have good grounds for an opinion.

    The problem with those atheists who like to spread it around is that they seem so angry about it. They use pedantic ridicule and humiliation, they go on about ‘imaginary friends’ and call religionists stupid to their faces. The most annoying JW I ever shut my door on only wanted to have a discussion – that would ideally lead, I concede, to my signing up to a cult for life. Strident atheists want to have an argument. Why are they so bothered by somebody else’s belief? The established church hasn’t ruled as the First Estate for a very long time, and is unlikely to return. So why so much bile?

    Also, how did they become so certain about something that can’t be proven? Because that sounds like a – dare I? – religion.

  5. david
    david June 1, 2015 7:00 am

    I have to wonder of someone at the Examiner offices isn’t either sporting a boner for Mr. Codrea, or trying to protect Denny Hastert. Probably the latter. But my point is that apparently Kurt Hoffman’s columns are still being printed there, and they are gun rights oriented as well.

    The Orange County DA story is pretty scary. The law, going out of it’s way to avoid living within ‘the law’? Judge Dredd gone bad -way bad. I think it would be great if all 60k pages of evidence were published to the web somewhere – before the state’s AG can mix up enough white-wash to make this go away. Just think of all the guys they’d have to release or retry with only the evidence they had legally – what a boon for justice that would be.

    The Lunch Lady is an excellent reason to always be aware of folks around you, and be considerate of them as well. There have been oh so many times in my life when help was offered from folks whom I had thought had nothing to offer, but had aspects of their lives I had no clue about – and only because I was taught as a child that nobody was ‘beneath’ me and all deserved at least some level of civility and respect. I got jobs, I got financial aid for my education, I got ‘connections’ at work, all kinds of things – just because I am decently civil to everyone. Yeah, I have friends in low places….

  6. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau June 1, 2015 7:54 am

    David, you probably put your finger on the Examiner issue: “speak no ill of Republicans”. Oh well, time for Codrea to move on, I suppose.

    The story about the DA’s office does not surprise me in the least. As far as I am concerned, DAs are the scum of the earth.

    I’m not an official believer in any religion, but I refrain from calling myself an atheist because, well, I’m not religious.

  7. Claire
    Claire June 1, 2015 8:00 am

    “I refrain from calling myself an atheist because, well, I’m not religious.”


    Any atheist who “knows” there is no god is just as religious as any believer who “knows” there is a god.

    I realize there’s been a push lately to expand the non-theist tent by redefining agnostics as atheists, but I’m not buying that. The mindset between someone who “knows” and someone who says the evidence isn’t conclusive couldn’t be more different.

  8. LarryA
    LarryA June 1, 2015 8:24 am

    When I click on the lunch lady story it wants me to provide a password for my account. ?

    If the anti-tobacco zealots were really in it to “save” us from health problems they’d be giving away vape technology free. The fact that they’re including vaping in their ban tells me they just want to control people’s lives, like any tyrant.

    As nonbelievers tangle with traditional Christians over same-sex marriage and navigate conflicts between conservative Muslims and liberal democracy, they will need a confident humanist moral philosophy.

    And as soon as they establish that “confidant humanist moral philosophy” they’ll start pushing it the same way Christians and Muslims push theirs. Potato, potahto.

    Moral philosophy is really an “undeveloped branch of science” whose laws apply in Peoria just as they do in the Punjab.

    Bulls**t, bulls**t, bulls**t. This is the “scientists should run the world” nonsense that’s been disastrous every time it’s been tried.

  9. Pat
    Pat June 1, 2015 9:19 am

    “Any atheist who “knows” there is no god is just as religious as any believer who “knows” there is a god.”

    I disagree with that somewhat. Atheism, too, has been defined two ways.

    1) Those who don’t “believe” in God (or gods) by whatever method they came to that conclusion; and 2) those who see no proof of God (or gods) as stated in the religious doctrines. Neither need be “religious” (in the fanatical/faith sense that you imply) in order to hold their disbelief in God.

    Those who seek answers in science are simply not “looking for god”, so to speak — and therefore are perfectly willing to allow science (or their own ability) to uncover the answers rather than attribute the answer to some unknown/unknowable.

    If living comfortably with his own conclusions seems like “knowledge”, isn’t that what independent thinking is all about?

  10. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal June 1, 2015 9:20 am

    I’m an atheist in the same way I don’t believe in “good cops” or a “flat Earth”. As soon as someone can show me evidence which stands up to scrutiny I’ll become an agnostic and entertain the possibility. So far, no dice.

    I guess you could also call me a non-theist, or an “I just don’t care because it’s irrelevant to reality-ist”.

    I don’t ever bring up the issue in conversation first, but only after someone repeatedly rubs my nose in their beliefs, and tries to get the filth all over me, to the point that I either have to speak up or be seen to approve of their nonsense. And that happens a lot more than I’d like.

    On to David Codrea’s problems with I used to write for them. They kept tweaking their “algorithm” so that they paid less and less for each page view. When I mentioned this to them, they said their algorithm was secret and they couldn’t explain how it worked, but they had changed nothing. But as my page views kept going up, the money I got went down. So, it doesn’t surprise me when they do bad things to their writers. I like David, although I am really uncomfortable with his Borderism. You can’t really cherry pick Liberty and expect the parts you like to survive.

  11. Laird
    Laird June 1, 2015 10:24 am

    I agree with Kent. I call myself an atheist not because “the evidence is inconclusive” but because all the “evidence” extant runs in precisely the opposite direction. I’m not “agnostic” about the existence of the Tooth Fairy, either. Show me some real evidence and I’ll be more than happy to consider it and, if appropriate, change my mind. But I have zero interest in proselytizing for my view. I avoid the subject as much as possible, simply because religious debates are even less satisfying than masturbation.

    In any event, there is a substantial difference between a “first mover” which created the universe (a la Spinoza) and the anthropomorphic sky fairy postulated by most mainstream religions. The former is a mildly interesting hypothesis but not particularly relevant to human affairs (indeed, is not different in any practical sense from the scientifically acceptable “big bang” theory). As to the latter, well, as Laplace famously said, “I have no need of that hypothesis.”

    Ross Ulbricht. It seems abundantly clear that the judge sentenced him because of his philosophy, not for his supposed crimes. I expect this to be overturned on appeal and remanded for a new trial. The judge let in a remarkable amount of hearsay testimony concerning supposed “contract killing” attempts which were not even included in the charges against him, which was both irrelevant and inflammatory. And there is a great deal of suspicion about the means by which the government located and arrested him. I’m pretty much convinced that his constitutional rights were violated in that process, but the judge wouldn’t permit any investigation into the particulars of his arrest. All in all, highly suspicious. I can’t find any obvious connection between his prosecutors and the Orange County group, but they’re all cut from the same cloth.

  12. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau June 1, 2015 12:14 pm

    “I don’t ever bring up the issue in conversation first, but only after someone repeatedly rubs my nose in their beliefs, and tries to get the filth all over me, to the point that I either have to speak up or be seen to approve of their nonsense.”

    See, that’s where we part company, Kent. I actually am interested to a certain amount by religious beliefs, and have conversations with people about them. I suppose one could say I am playing anthropologist. I certainly don’t think of their ideas as “filth” even if I think they are wrong or fanciful. Strangely, people respond nicely to this interest.

    The most spiritual I have felt in this life, was when I was out hunting deer; I could see the connection all the way back to the Pleistocene era. Predator and prey… even more exciting when a bear might take your kill from you. Sometimes I think God and Nature are the same thing. Maybe that makes me a pagan of some sort. I even hugged a tree once, during a wind storm, pretty cool. But I don’t overdo it, heh.

  13. Matt, another
    Matt, another June 1, 2015 3:33 pm

    One has to be careful about hugging trees in today’s atmosphere of anti-everything. You could run afoul of a neo-druidist that would scream about harrassing trees, possible human-tree misconduct etc. Awful stuff to contemplate. Even if hugging the trees would improve their self esteem, I wouldn’t recommend it. Fraught with danger.

  14. jed
    jed June 1, 2015 3:53 pm

    I hadn’t any idea that The Examiner was that salacious.

    Long ago, I was a cigar smoker. I doubt I will be again. But damn those bliss-ninny idiots.

    I think we’ve run across the Cool Tools website here in the past, but The Freeholder has a nice post about it, and it seems worth mentioning again, for those who might’ve missed it.

  15. Ron Johnson
    Ron Johnson June 1, 2015 6:36 pm

    Kent, Laird, I’m with you. I grew up drenched in Catholicism, but in my teens I started asking the really really hard question: how do you know? Nobody, not priest, not family, had any answer except “Faith,” and that just didn’t do it for me. So I became a man without a God, or an a-theist.

    When challenged by a believer, I reply that God may very well exist…I just don’t see any evidence. Until I do, I would be a hypocrite to declare belief I do not have. God, if there is one, gave me reason and he wouldn’t be too pleased with me if I didn’t use it to the best of my ability.

    The idea of an atheist theology sits crosswise with me. I don’t want to believe something, I want to understand it. This atheist church wants to talk about social outreach, and doing good, but it doesn’t want to do the hard work of sorting out exactly what ‘good’ is. In that sense, those people really are practicing a godless religion. No thanks.

  16. Laird
    Laird June 2, 2015 8:50 am

    “The idea of an atheist theology sits crosswise with me.” Me, too. Well said, Ron.

  17. Plug Nickel Outfit
    Plug Nickel Outfit June 3, 2015 12:44 am

    @Matt, another:
    You could run afoul of a neo-druidist that would scream about harrassing trees…

    I had a run-in with one of them once – had it in his head that he was a ‘campground host’. I’d just carefully collected a 1/2 dozen teeny-little Manzanita branches over a couple acre area full of Manzanita – but entirely devoid of campgrounds. (had a paying project I was using it for…) I looked back and forth at him and my bypass loppers and finally told him to get stuffed and to call the cops if he felt the urge. That was around 15 years ago – prob’ly wind up in the pokey or the re-ed camp nowadays for that!

    I’ve paid some attention to the Silk Road and Ulbricht business. I’ve read in a recent article that the person he communicated with online about the contract killings was a fed representing themselves as a dealer and general miscreant in order to locate/capture this Dread Pirate character. This same fed agent apparently got so wrapped up in the role that he subsequently engaged in some criminal behaviour himself. The article did suggest that DPR commissioned further violence from that same fed after faked ‘proof’ of the first killing was provided him. Perhaps he’d read Unintended Consequences?

    Sorry I can’t provide a link for the lengthy 2 part article that I cite. It’s been online for a month or less – read it myself a couple weeks ago. Might have been a Wired feature or from that Greenwald/Snowden site – First Look or such…

    Didn’t read the cigar link – don’t want to get annoyed late in the evening. Speaking of tobacco though – my annoyance level on the matter dropped substantially about a year and a half ago when I ran across It’s a lot more DIY that most people will tolerate – but I’ve been RYO for about 30 years so the transition is easier. Whole leaf tobacco to my doorstep when I want it – what I want in terms of varieties – and as yet no one’s made it illegal. (YMMV)

    Sorry to be such an evangelist – Claire and all – I don’t have any interest in the company other than being a customer and wanting them to stay in business. (but to keep enough of a low profile that the Tobacco Nazis don’t get wind of them!)

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