Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Highest HIV rate in Mississippi, making Mississippi still the worst State in the Union

As Governer of the State of Texas from 1994 - 2000, a time when Texas AIDS cases soured to fourth in the nation, George W. Bush never mentioned AIDS in a single public address. He appointed a Public Health Commissioner who opposed condoms because "that's not what god wanted." Christian politics operates like this..."AIDS is bad, but not quite as bad as using a condom." How hypocritical religion hijacks morality. How hateful to punish people until they subscribe to Christian doctrine. That sounds like some emotional slash religious slash shaming blackmail to me. 

The Christian rhetoric, particularly in the South, sounds something like this. "If you are gay - then stop it because you are wrong. If you are gay and don't use a condom - you deserve HIV." A moral person would say, "Your life matters. If you are gay and have sex, use a condom to protect yourself." Immoral people don't care about preserving life, while moral people do. Immoral people do not care to preserve the lives of homosexuals, while moral do. Common sense really.....

Southerners, particularly Christians are living in a horrible situation. HIV rates are the highest in the nation. They get zero support from their "churches" (hypocritical institutions that hijacked morality) and they get no support from their States with legislators pandering to churches. 


If you don't believe me, watch this documentary. 


Thursday, January 26, 2017

A message to the Mexican President




Apologies to to everyone who doesn't understand Spanish This is my post regarding "The 150 billion dollar Wall" Trump thinks Mexicans should pay for. I proposes some policies the Mexican government should consider changing with the United States. This blog needs a  prelude - yes I am a dreamer and I know not every idea is feasible. Yet, when faced with serious problems, we should be always be thinking of new ways to overcome obstacles, feel our growing pains and let that pain do it's job. 

Ideas are intellectual capital, far more valuable than possessions. If one idea doesn't work, then we quickly pick ourselves up, brush of the dust and start thinking of more ideas. The point is that we must always keep trying. 

First, there are some facts about Mexican/US tourism one should first know. 



FROM JANUARY – OCTOBER 2015
25.8 million international tourists visited Mexico, increasing 9.7% from last year.
American passengers by air were confirmed as the main market. A total 6,855,624 visited the country in from January to October 2015, an increase of 16.1% from the same period in 2014. The economic benefit generated to Mexico by international visitors rose to $14.151 billion USD from January to October this year, which represents a growth of 8.2% over the same period in 2014.

FROM JANUARY TO JUNE 2015
In the first six months of 2015, 7,886.19 thousands of tourists entered the country by air, which represents a growth rate of 10%. 1130 thousands of tourists entered by land, which represents a 11.4% growth rate, compared with the same period of time in last year. I have no reason to think this is going to change. Americans love going to Mexico, having spent a few years of my life there, I understand why. Mexican's are afraid that some economic/policy changes will hurt their tourism. 

The Patriot Act


Of all Trump's proposals, one of the most absurd regards anti-terrorism laws outlined in The Patriot Act. The USA Patriot Act/ Anti-terrorist funding operations refers to financing terrorism and money laundering to terrorist organizations. I suppose according to Mr. Trump, a few "bad hombres" smuggling drugs (drugs Americans WANT to consume) now
rises to level of "terrorism". 

Each year, immigrants send money to Mexico averaging $1900 dollars - money needed to reduce poverty among their family members. The two-page memo first obtained by the Washington Post explains that Trump would threaten to cut off the flow of money into Mexico by changing a rule under the Patriot Anti-Terrorism Act. He says he will prevent working Mexicans to send money home to their needy families unless Mexico forks out $5-10 billion dollars to pay for the wall.

This is where Trump lacks common sense. When people are sending money to their loved ones - they will find a way to do it. International Money Orders can be purchased in any grocery store, and mailed directly to Bancomer, Banamex, or Santander Serfin. Money can be put on debit cards and mailed to family members!. Not every financial transfer is done through banks. 

Trump cannot force a sovereign country to pay anything without an act of war, so instead, he becomes the lowest common denominator, punishing the poorest people in order to manipulate the Mexican government. 

This includes Mexican Americans, or even myself, an American woman born and reared in Seattle Washington. All American's will not be able to send money to Mexico. It is absolutely wrong to say only certain people can't send money to Mexico while other's can't. It is only fair then, that Trump says no person can ever send money to their families in their home country. Do you really think that would work? It's a fantasy and will never work.  Nor will Trump be able to pass travel restrictions to Mexico, and prevent American's from spending their money on hotels, taxis and restaurants. 


The Truth About Mexican Trade
Trade: In 1993, before NAFTA took effect (which it did in January 1994), Mexico bought $41 billion in goods and services from the U.S. and sold $39 Billion worth to the United States. Total: $80 billion. In the first year of NAFTA, the $80 billion increased to $99 billion, a 25 percent increase.
Ten years after NAFTA started, total trade between the U.S. and Mexico was $145 billion — an increase of 55 percent. In 2003, almost twenty years after NAFTA began, total trade with Mexico was $506 billion — half a trillion dollars — which is 632 percent more than 1994.
My proposal to President Enrique Peña Nieto

Take into consideration that not all my proposals will work. Some will, some won't at all, some just a little. This is only my thoughts on the situation. Unlike Trump, I do have the humility to admit some proposals (particularly number 1. might be scrapped immediately.)

1. Levy a boarder tax against Americans products manufactured in the United States at a rate of 20%, taxes paid only by the companies importing these goods, not Mexican's purchasing them. Essentially, American citizens will have to pay 20% Tarif on all goods they purchase from Mexico - such as Tabasco sauce served at every restaurant and nearly every kind of Tequila. 

According to Statista.com, 233.91 million Americans (note: American population is 320 million) purchase Mexican products in our grocery stores. Many fruits and vegetables that cannot grow in are climates must be imported. Many of these items, like banana's, pineapples, mango, and papaya grown in Central America pass through Mexico to the United States. American companies can pay a 20% tax, or spend even more money on the fuel it would cost to get these goods from south east Asia. 

2.  Mexico can also implement a tourism visa for all American's which is equal to that imposed by the United States. Mexican's are afraid they will lose American tourism if they start a Visa program. I don't think Mexico should worry about this. True Mexico does profit greatly from tourism, but American's will still want to travel to Mexico, not just for the beaches of Cancun but also for the wonderful Pyramids of the Aztecs, Mayans...not to mention Almec ruins. 

3. Mexico can also Terminate all eligibility for tax return to American citizens visiting Mexico by cruise or air. To be eligible for the tax refund, you must have spent at least 1200 pesos on Mexican goods.

4. All persons purchasing pesos in Mexico with American currency must pay 3 centados for every 1 peso they exchange in Mexico. 

5. Levy a small tax on American business doing business in Mexico, like fast food, Costco and so forth. Again - taxes on these American businesses should be relatively small to keep large American food imports to easily enter Mexico. The problem here, is that these taxes will be passed onto Mexican consumers, which I think the Mexican government should prevent. 

6. As Carlos de Slim said, this is a good opportunity for Mexico to experience necessary growing pains. One of those growing pains means growing out the collective memory of the Mexican Revolution, and reduce Union control over Mexican businesses. This will help Mexican businesses, and help people start their own businesses when they have less bureaucracy to deal with. I am saying this because after two years in Mexico, I know Mexican unions can be highly oppressive, counter productive, and corrupt.

Mexican people are set in their ways. Sometimes, getting really pissed off is a great catalyst for new ideas, growth and creative thinking. We need to get people set in their ways to start thinking more creatively when it comes to industry.  

7. Order all new infrastructure uses Mexican made steel, pipes and concrete. If the infrastructure is Mexican - all products in construction should also be Mexican. This encourages new business and more jobs for the Mexican worker. 
8. As Americans drive the Mexican drug wars, (Americans are the consumers of these drugs, ) American Visa/Tourist visa holders convicted of drug offenses should have to pay an additional $500 dollars for the privilege of entering Mexico.

9. Levy a small tax on Mexican agriculture products sent to the United States. Mexico has great agriculture, and in theory, does not need to rely on American food products. American's however, do rely on Mexico for off season items, especially those that grow only in Mexico.

10. Finally, growing pains also means looking towards to future of Mexico, and I am talking far in the future. Call me a dreamer, say I am living in a fantasy....maybe it's true. I hope Mexico becomes a dreamer, if you can't reach a star, then maybe you can reach the clouds. Trump is a global-warming denier. As such, the United States will not lead the world in green energy, at least in his administration. This is a golden opportunity for Mexico to become the world leader in green energy. As such, I propose Mexico invest in solar panels and wind turbines spanning the Great Wall of Trump. Just imagine it - eventually - it will happen that Mexico will start selling it's green energy to the United States. :-) Oh the irony is that to collect the energy, the American's will have to cut some holes in the wall of Trump. 

I haven't deluded myself into thinking all these policy changes will work, but maybe some will. I am a dreamer, yet my dreams are usually in between the clouds and solid ground. 

Things usually cost three times more than projections, any home builder knows that. Americans will pay nearly 150 billion in this money pit. 

Lets not forget all the animals that migrate these lands, including our own beloved monarch
Monarch Butterfly Migration to
Mexico for hybernation
butterfly that can't exist without being able to fly over that damn wall. Or, lemme guess, the Trumpsters have already made plans for the butterfly....or they just don't give a shit? Who knows with these people. 

Although I do not think Mexico will end up paying for Trumps money pit, if Mexico pays a little bit (which is probably what will happen), there are many ways to recuperate those loses by imposing small tariffs upon Americans. 

Making common good Mexican people pay for something a few "bad hombres" do is extremely immoral. TIt's illogical and just plain weird. It's clear to me, that morality and fairness are not Trumps attributes. 



Based on the number of people visiting Mexico from all over the world (a number increasing over the last few years) And the own economic growth I saw while living in Mexico, think these policies will not harm Mexican tourism in the slightest. Mexico will continue to get tourist dollars. The pyramids, Aztec ruins and all the culture in Mexico will still be a world wide attraction.

American's Spring Break In Mexico
I doubt this is going to change anytime soon


As Mexico knows, there is a negative immigration rate with the United States. More Mexicans willingly go home because the Mexican economy is stronger than the rest of Latin America. Most ethnic-anglo-centric Americans don't know this. But then, those types have no interest in learning about the world around them. The wall will for a period of time keep drugs out of the United States. But also, the wall will prevent smugglers from smuggling all those weapons into Mexico. The red-neck ethno - anglo centric American who knows nothing of the world has no idea that damn near all the guns used to murder thousands of Mexicans every year are manufactured, sold in The United States and smuggled into Mexico.

Mexico does not have a second amendment, they do not have gun stores, and only police/military are allowed weapons. (DUH) Those bad hombres use our second amendment rights to run their cartels. Does Trump seriously think there are not American arm's dealers supplying these cartels? 


All in all, I think Mexican focus should be about building a better, stronger Mexico by getting really pissed off, experience those growing pains, and work to make their country stronger and better. As Trump pissed off everyone in the world, including China (where all his goods are manufactured) this is a great opportunity for Mexico to vamp up it's trade with China and all the other countries Trump are alienating. 

Let yourself feel what you need to feel about this Pendejo Trump, and let those feelings drive the change that needs to be made in Mexico.  Use your own manufactured products, improve quality - if Germany produces great quality products Mexico can do it too. 



With Trump, you have to fight fire with fire. Trump can sense weakness like a dog can sense fear. These economic changes will feel small, to American tourists who can afford to go there in the first place. But as we know, each peso adds up - and the Americans will end up paying for their own damn wall. 


The Mexican president cancelled his meeting with Trump after many of his cabinet members urged him to do so.  Being dumped by the first head of State during the first weak of his presidency isn't a good sign. Trump prides himself on being a business negotiator, but how good can a negotiator be when they can't even get a person to show up for the negotiation? When Trump was dumped by the Mexican President, he didn't have a single word to say except to pretend the decision was "mutual". This is a "negotiation" humiliation. As Trump can't even admit he was the one dumped :-) Let me put it this way, if we threw an apple at Trumps ego, the apple would create it's own elliptical orbit. If we put Trump and Kanye West's ego in the same room - they would implode upon themselves creating a black hole.



IN FOUR YEARS
Pity the next president who will have to abandon Trumps money pit wall and clean up the inevitable trade wars. Trump doesn't sleep, tweets in the middle of the night, and seems to be mentally ill. Normally I am compassionate towards the mentally ill, but this man has the potential to cause some real damage to the world. His election was white-lash, angry people who don't want to take responsibility for their own livelihood. If you want to man up - do it yourself, don't rely on the government to do it for you. If I tell the Mexicans to rely upon only themselves to solve their own problems, being an American woman I am saying the same exact thing to Americans. Get off your lazy asses, start your own businesses, and stop making excuses for your own failures.

Although many people, including myself, want to be hopeful and want to wish him success, it's hard to get past this blatant stupidity that will only hurt our economy.

- Naomi 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

8 Misconceptions about Becoming a US Citizen

Approximately 12 million lawful permanent residents in the United States, and over 7 million are eligible for citizenship. Yet, less than 1 million generally apply for U.S. citizenship each year. According to Federal Data, citizenship applications drastically rose since Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. Search results from Google reviewed exclusively by TIME reveal that search interest in citizenship peaked on January 10 and has remained high since, indicating that immigrants are looking for more information about naturalization. 

Common Misconceptions of obtaining US Citizenship




1.    Citizenship is too expensive. Not true – the cost is only$680 Dollars.
2.    There are no benefits to becoming a US citizen. WRONG. Innocent people are convicted of crimes all the time, a Us citizenship will protect you from being deported. You will be able to travel with a US passport and help your family migrate to the United States. 
3.    Tests are too difficult. Not True Civics is the rights and duties of a citizen. There are 100 civics questions on the naturalization test, applications will be asked ten from this 100. You must answer correctly 6 out of 10 questions from the test in English.
4.    I have to live in the United States legally a very long time before becoming a citizen. Not Exactly True. You must be a permanent resident or green card holder for five years.  You must have held a green card for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization.  You must have lived in the same State for Three Years. You must learn American language and history, which includes read and write English fluently. You must have knowledge of how American government operates, included in your immigration civics test.
5.    Donald Trump cannot stop me from becoming a US citizen. Wrong. Normally, this would be the case. Article I, Section 8, clause 4 of the Con­stitution entrusts the federal legislative branch with the power to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” Here is how he can stop you......

a.    Alien and Sedition Acts: This act was signed into law by President John Adams in 1798 on the heels of the Quasi-French war. The act allowed the president to imprison or deport any alien considered “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States.”
b.    You mays say, 1798 was a long time ago, we don’t have to worry about that. Wrong. Presidential Proclamations 2525, 2526. And 2527. These three proclamations were signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Citing the Alien and Seditions Actions as precedent, these proclamations restricted the entry and naturalization of Japanese, Germans and Italians.
c.    What all this means, is that even if you follow all the rules – Donald Trump can stop you from becoming a Naturalized Citizen.

6.    I served in Iraq, the United States does not deport non-citizen veterans.” Wrong! US military service isn’t enough to prevent deportation. When veterans are deported, most of them deported are sent back to Mexico. As I said, innocent people can also be convicted, it happens all the time. 

7.    I have an H-IB VISA because I am a highly skilled worker, an engineer, physicist or medical doctor,” Congratulations, you are the kind of person we want, and need in the United States. Trump is trying to revoke temporary H-IB Visas, on the notion that we have plenty of Americans to take these jobs. According to the Department of Labor and Statistics, 2 million health care workers are foreign born. Twenty-five percent of all medical doctors are foreign born. Imagine losing 25% of our orthodontists, internal medicine physicians, emergency OBGYN, and oncologists. The problem is that many Americans are not going to going to medical or engineering school. To make matters worse, when our president encourages American's to get more education - he gets called a snob because apparently, being ignorant is something to be proud about. 





8.    Once I am a citizen, I am home free. Wrong!  USCIS is authorized to cancel any Certificate of Citizenship or Certificate of Naturalization in cases were Immigration considers the citizenship was obtained illegally or fraudulently. Simply put – do not pay someone to marry you, and think it won’t come back to bite. It can, you can lose your citizenship and will be deported. 



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Seattle's Night of the Living Homeless

I grew up loving my home city, Seattle Washington. In the early 90s, was always a treat going downtown to the Pike Place Market, Ye Ole Curiosity Shop or take the bus up to the University District. Nirvana and Pearl Jam echoed through every car stereo. Me and my friends could hang out, enjoy the city at any of our small coffee shops. Those were the days before Starbucks had completely taken over the world. But things changed since high school - drastically changed
homeless street fight


Now, anytime I go downtown some "nice" person starts up a conversation with me. "Hey, how are you doing. Weather is great today."

I respond, "yes, unusually nice weather today." 

What comes next....."Do you have a couple dollars to spare?" Ug! How I  hate this. Can't I just go somewhere without being bothered? Oh, wait....wanting something like that would make ME the bitch.

 Seattle's homeless act all friendly, start a conversation then start begging for money. Yeh, this is annoying, but not nearly as annoying as the homeless cat calls. Heaven forbid - I complain about homeless cat calling me...and I am being the bitch.

On one occasion, a mentally deranged homeless man tried to actually punch me. He had a crazy look in his eyes, lunged at me, I ducked, then he wandered off into the fog. I've also seen crazy homeless people screaming at random people waiting for the bus. 

Give the homeless a $20 bill, and they will ask for more. Then, more and more homeless with come when they realize people are generous. Seattle is a great city for the homeless because our City Council care's more about them than people like me, cat called by homeless men, or the victims of stolen bikes worth thousands of dollars, or the people who have to step over piles of shit on their way to work, or the people who need to use light rail elevators filled with flies and the stench of urine. Remember - if you complain about your bike being stolen, cat called, smelling urine in elevators - then YOU are "the bitch.

 December 2007, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a measure prohibiting malicious harassment of a homeless person as a hate crime. I am wondering - is it a hate crime when they cat call me on the street? Is it harassment when they constantly beg for money? Doesn't the Seattle City Council think that people just want to live a quite peaceful life in what was once the most beautiful city on the West Coast?

When my husband bikes to work everyday, he has to cycle past mountains upon mountains of make-shift street boxes, tents and hundreds of people in sleeping bags. Homelessness is a huge problem in our city. What pisses me off about this situation is that if we have the "audacity" to complain about it, we are just being heartless assholes. Now here is the interesting part - Did you know most of Seattle's homeless are not actually from Seattle? Hmmm, I wonder what is bringing them all here? Oh, that's right, a City Council that are a bunch of pansies, that's what's bringing them here. Uh oh.....did I just become.."the bitch" again? Well, yes, that last sentence was bitchy for which I do accept responsibility. But nonetheless, it was a true statement. 


dismantled bikes found in homeless camps
The homeless go around the city, steal bikes (some of them worth thousands of dollars) dismantle them, sell the parts or sell them on craigslist. Now remember - if you lose a 2000 bike and complain about the homeless who stole it - you are being a selfish dick. How dare you complain about losing THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. 

The problem is that many of these homeless people are on drugs or severely mentally ill. How did we get in this mess? 



Well, lets roll back the clock to November 1980. One month prior to the election, President Carter had signed the Mental Health Systems Act, which had proposed to continue the federal community mental health centers program, although with some additional state involvement. Consistent with the report of the Carter Commission, the act also included a provision for federal grants “for projects for the prevention of mental illness and the promotion of positive mental health,” an indication of how little learning had taken place among the Carter Commission members and professionals at NIMH. 

Shortly after assuming office in early 1977, Jimmy Carter created a presidential commission on mental health. His action suggested the existence of deep-rooted problems in a mental health system that was fragmented, lacked cohesion, and often failed to meet the needs of many groups, notably those individuals with severe and persistent mental illnesses. The creation of such a commission also had an important symbolic element, for it indicated the president's awareness and concern.


With President Reagan and the Republicans taking over, the Mental Health Systems Act was discarded before the ink had dried and the CMHC funds (Crisis Mental Health Counseling) were simply block granted to the states. The CMHC program had not only died but been buried as well. An autopsy could have listed the cause of death as naiveté complicated by grandiosity.
President Reagan understood mental illness as well as he understood AIDS, moreover, he didn't want to understand. Regan started shutting down mental hospitals from the gulf stream waters to the red wood forests. Carter's policies were dead and buried. California was the first state to witness not only an increase in homelessness associated with deinstitutionalization but also an increase in incarceration and episodes of violence. Mentally ill people end up in jail or on the streets - all because of Regan. Since then, nobody has cared enough to reopen mental institutions. All we seem to think about is "feed the homeless, be nice to the homeless and 'you're a bitch if you complain about the homeless'".
But who, specifically, played some of the more important roles in the formation of this ill-fated policy? What motivated these influential people and what lessons are to be learned?
A detailed picture has emerged from a series of interviews and a review of public records, research reports and institutional recommendations. The picture is one of cost-conscious policy makers, who were quick to buy optimistic projections that were, in some instances, buttressed by misinformation and by a willingness to suspend skepticism.
Every year more and more homeless people are migrating to Seattle. Why? Tell me why our city has to smell like urine? Why do our people have to deal with this every day they go to work? Why aren't the homeless in mental institutions and rehab centers? Our city has turned into a big pile of shit. But remember - you are a dick if you complain about the urine, begging, thief, screaming crazy people, fights and vomit. 
It is easy to complain about things, and not so easy to propose solutions to the problem. Here are the solutions. 
First: shut down all the downtown missions. I know this seems heartless, but shifting the population to appropriate facilities is the first step.
Second:  reopen mental institutions, permanent institutionalization for people with schizophrenia, severe PTSD, schizoid personality disorders, and severe mental retardation. These disorders are often combined with drug and alcohol abuse. These people cannot help themselves and need to be permanently institutionalized. Mental institutions need to be clean, safe places. DSHS should provide medications, and any weekly group therapy.
Third: Housing should only be for the working homeless, homeless families, and homeless elderly.

Forth: Drug using, alcoholic homeless should not be in the same housing as working homeless, families and elderly. They should have shelter - not housing. They need to be in their own facilities, and access to treatment services. 
Fifth: All homeless shelters should be a significant distance from downtown Seattle, including a public garden and small orchard. The building should be at least six floors full of assigned bunkbeds. Each floor has a set of showers, and toilet. Each floor has a small kitchen, TV room, laundry room and locker room. There should also be a strict personal hygiene policy, every guest should be required to be clean and shampooed every day. Seattle is losing tourism, and businesses are suffering. There are countless reasons to revitalize our area north of SoDo to Union Square.
Sixth: Unemployed, non-mentally ill homeless should be required to do volunteer work. Laundering, cleaning, cooking, gardening, and canning. A lot of money saved when unemployed homeless pitch in to help these shelters, psychiatric wards, and working homeless survive. If the unemployed homeless want a bed, shower, and kitchen then they must volunteer.

As much as I dislike the homeless pestering me, cat calling me, and stealing, I know that my proposals are in the best interest of the homeless and the City of Seattle. These are real solutions to a problem Seattle refuses to fix. Jimmy Carter knew the problem was complex, and we should approach these problem understanding those complexities as well.

Seventh: As unpopular as this final opinion is, feeding the homeless, and all public loitering should be heavily penalized. Any people loitering in downtown parks should be removed and taken to a shelter or jailed. Cleaning up downtown Seattle should also be our top priority.

That being said - will the city of Seattle think about my proposals? Will they do the right thing? Will they stop being a bunch of pansies? Probably not. The images you see below will get worse, and worse and worse. 
I would like to welcome you to Seattle Washington. 









Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Why do Muslims think Zakir Naik is a genious?

After listening to dozens of Zakir Naik's speeches, endured hours of argumentum ad nauseam, I had to wonder, "why aren't Muslims seeing the obvious fallacies?" His arguments are full to the brim with one logical fallacy after another, one appeal to emotion after another. The video below was posted by a Christian, as you all know I am an atheist, but the Christian guy in this video pretty much hit the nail on the head. This blog goes on to explain exactly how people buy into all Zakir's bullcrap.  Finally, the best answer I found came from The Foreign Policy Journal. The issues were different, but the conclusions fit like a glove. I realized instantly, this is why Muslim's cannot pick up on  Naik's bullshit. It was amazing. A true epiphany.



It happens, for example, when true believers listen to a speaker who reinforces their core beliefs. A Professor of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, a Professor of Magnetic Resonance Research, a Professor of Anthropology, and a Professor of Religion put religious and non-religious subjects in an MRI to look for differences in brain activity while they listened a voice recording of a highly rated preacher. If you guessed that Professor Schjoedt and his colleagues found that nothing special happened in the brains of non-believers, but something striking happened in the brains of believers, you guessed right.


The opposite of executive function is inside-the-box thinking. The most inside box is our relationship with our self—our self-image. Successful management of self is key to managing our other inside box—our social network. Both inside boxes require careful maintenance of core values. From children’s dependence on their parents to business peoples’ dependence on their connections, we survive by maintaining values that form our identity and are shared across our social networks. So we have evolved a capacity to circumvent clear thinking when maintaining beliefs that strengthen social bonds is more important for survival than thinking outside the box. 


Prefrontal cortical shut-down is the mechanism for Simon and Garfunkel’s observation that “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” Put more roughly, we get stupid for a reason. We dumb down to manage our self-image so that we can present an effective self to others. We fend off challenges, including rational challenges, so we can agree about contentious issues with people we depend upon. Indeed, the medial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices of believers shut down. Hemoglobin molecules coursing through those brain areas retained oxygen because surrounding neurons were not burning fuel, so they resonated at a different frequency. And there was a dose-response curve—the more devout the religious subjects rated themselves to be, the more complete the turn-off of brain regions that perform what psychologists call executive function—the ability to objectively evaluate information, make decisions based on that information, and act on those decisions. Put differently, the preacher’s words short circuited believers’ ability to think independently, to think outside the box.
Although the professors’ experiment compared religious to non-religious people, turning off executive function to protect beliefs that strengthen social bonds is not limited to religious beliefs per se. Because we evolved by natural selection, and because social networks are critical to human survival, protecting any convictions that keep us at peace with ourselves and in with our incrowd, including deeply shared political convictions, could generate the same mind-numbing effect. Put differently, because religious convictions are such powerful facilitators of group cohesion, they are low hanging fruit for detecting the underlying phenomenon with an MRI.
So we have evolved a capacity to circumvent clear thinking when maintaining beliefs that strengthen social bonds is more important for survival than thinking outside the box.
And we all need to give our executive function periodic time outs—to fly on autopilot while we sort out who we are. Most of us mix some level of reassurance about deeply held convictions with additional forms of solace. In days of yore, mugs of beer held high while proffering the religious and political exclamation “God save the Queen!” followed by reassuring shouts of “Hear! Hear!” served to calm the nerves of many medial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices. Beer still plays a big role, but today we also combine reassurance of core convictions with yoga, pilates, music, wine, rum punch, dank marijuana, and for more than a few, synthetic opiates. So Karl Marx was right about religion being “the opiate of the masses,” but Marx’s masses were not more weak-minded than the elite. Opium was prohibitively expensive, but religious and political reassurance were free.
Actually, religion and politics, the two things we’re not supposed to talk about in polite company, were and remain more than free. Most of us get them, whether we want them or not, through indoctrination from birth. So on a regular basis we use whatever it takes to put ourselves into a state of relative reverie. Those needed chill-outs are antithetical to evaluating information, making decisions, and acting off the grid—so we tend to get defensive about the particulars of our religious and political convictions (thus the polite company ban) because we are, in a real MRI-detectable sense, addicted to them.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Davis Aurini Shit storm

Several years ago, I wrote a couple blogs about this Canadian lunatic Nazi, Davis Aurini. It took a few years, but finally......finally the world see's the same thing I see. First, my blogs about Aurini
LINK

Ah, it feels so good





Sunday, January 18, 2015

Theists do not understand evolution