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On December 1, 1988 a group of woman went to an old wall located in ancient Jerusalem.  They wanted to pray wearing certain clothes with certain books.  This was  daring.  People are killed for such things.  The woman return each month, braving stares, insults, lawsuits, threats, or actual violence from the Jewish superstitious.  Their goal?  They want the same rights to the same beliefs held by the Jewish men with one important change:  they want woman to also hold these important rights.

"As Women of the Wall, our central mission is to achieve the social and legal recognition of our right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray, and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall."

Grandpa Church is a bit eccentric.  More below the orange carbuncle.

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When the Catholic Church’s Inquisition came to Spain in the 15th Century, they gave people of the Muslim or Jewish religions a simple choice: Give up their Muslim or Jewish religion or die; convert to Roman Catholicism or leave Spain.  There was some stealing and torture and other horrible things but, well, Muslims had ruled the land for around 500 years, sometimes with Jewish help, and people were scared they might return.  

One Jew, his family having lived in Spain keeping the Jewish faith for almost 2000 years--longer even than the Catholic Church or Islam existed, let alone been in Spain –discussed matters with his wife and they decided not to leave their home.  The family would become Catholic.  

Every day for months the man studied with a Catholic Priest.  He learned the prayers, the traditions.  On Friday, the Catholics ate no meat, to honor the death of the God they named Jesus Christ.   On Sundays, the man and his family prayed in Church and took sacrament, the bread which they were told had magically transubstantiated into the body of Christ.  The choir sang beautiful songs in a Church with high ceilings; the Priests wore gorgeous robes of fine silk; they worshiped the Cross and its crucified Christ, which had unmistakable gravity.  And by the third month, the Priest was pleased to see that the man, of his own volition, even made donations.  

At the end of each lesson, the man would kneel fealty to the Priest .  The Priest would put his hand on the man’s head and chant, “You once were a Jew, Now you are a Catholic!  Once you were a Jew, now you are a Catholic!”  

The Priest, Catholic though he might be, was a good man and the former Jew liked him.  “Once I was a Jew, now I am a Catholic,” the man would happily reply, his head bowed.  

He was a good learner, earnest, and prayed for the day he could say the phrases in Latin and truly understand the Catholic mass.

Several months passed.  One Friday the Priest decided to check on the man to see if he and his family were really Catholic.  The Priest went to the man’s house fearing the worst.  But the man came quickly to the door, opened it, and greeted the Priest with a big hug.  

“Father, Father, I am so glad you came!  I love being a Catholic!  So does my wife! You must stay for dinner!”

“You love being a Catholic,” the Priest chuckled.

 “Yes,” the man said proudly, “I love the robes and the songs and the devotion of the Congregation, the love overwhelms us!  It will be even better once I learn Latin!  And Christ!  I have taken him to my heart as my lord and savior!”

“Good,” the Priest said, “that is well, my son.”

“And, well, maybe I should not tell you this.  My wife says we should have joined long ago.  You see, the Catholic Church donations are less than what our Rabbi used to demand.”

The Priest was still in the man’s hug and did not know what to say.  The man’s little boy, just turned four, wandered in. “Can Father Catholic stay for dinner,” the little boy asked.

“Stay for dinner please, Father” said the man urged.  “My wife is cooking our favorite dish, Chicken!”

And the Priest suddenly realized he smelled chicken cooking.  

“It’s Friday,” the Priest exploded, “You stupid Jew!  You heathen!  We Catholics eat fish on Friday! Fish! To honor Christ!”

“Catholic, Father,” the man said smiling, taking the Priest’s arm to lead him to dinner.  “I am Catholic not a Jew.  There is no problem.  I remember my lessons.

"Friday is fish day. So I put my hand on the chicken’s head and told it “Once you were a chicken, now you are a fish! Once you were a chicken, now you are a fish!”

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    Ghosts, spirits and specters.  Do they exist?

     In 1674, the philosopher Spinosa, a fierce foe of superstition and its misuse in human societies, received a letter from Hugo Boxel, a friend who had studied and believed in ghosts.  The correspondence, some of it at least, was saved and later published.

     "Thus," Boxel wrote, "I think there are spirits of all sorts, but, perhaps, none of the female sex."

      "I wonder that those who have seen naked ghosts did not cast their eyes on those parts of the person which would remove all doubt," Spinosa replied. "Perhaps the witnesses were timid or ignorant of the pertinent malefemale distinction."

     Spinosa hated disputes and controversy.  However, he could deftly wield a logical cleaver and did so with Mr. Boxel.

     In Letter 56, Spinosa provides a counter-argument to the claim belief in superstition is equivalent to belief scientific theory.  

     The dispute between the ideals of reason and superstition, as Spinosa points out, is an old one.  It dates back to at least to the time of the ancient pre-Christian Jews and Greeks; similar disputes arose in ancient Athens in the days of Pericles.   Those who believe in a anthropomorphic God who divinely meddles in human affairs also tend to believe in various intermediary deities.  Apparently, even an omniscient, omnipotent, all present, omnitemporal God works through agents.

      I have edited the letters, deleting most of the sonorous compliments and discussions on the nature of God.


Boxel v Spinosa: Who won the argument?

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Thu Oct 09, 2014 at 04:55 PM PDT

LA Kossacks--Saturday 10/12/14

by MugWumpBlues

Hey everybody--

Follow up to a kosmail to the group which I'm not sure anyone noticed.

We had five people who had time to volunteer.  One for Brownley; 4 for Solario.

I will be volunteering for Solario Saturday 9 am.

Brownley first.  Brownley's staff contacted me and would love some help.  


Newbury Park Canvass                        10 am-1 pm and 1-5pm                   
810 Lawrence Drive, Ste. 120, Newbury Park, 91320

Thousand Oaks Canvass                        11-6pm                        Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf @ 1772 E. Avenida de los Arboles,                            Thousand Oaks, 91362
        Camarillo or Moorpark Canvass (site launches)            11-4 pm                        410 East Los Posas, Camarillo, 93010    or                                        Von’s (Starbucks inside)  4142 Tierra Rejada Rd., Moorpark, 93021       
West Lake Village Canvass                    12-3 and 3-6 pm                Barnes & Noble, 160 S. Westlake Blvd.

Kosmail me for more Brownley information.  

For Solario, his campaign has walks at 9 am or 1 pm this Saturday 10/12?  Please let me know. ( I vote morning as its not hot yet.)  Of course, we can do either but seems to me its more fun in a group.  

Since I did not hear back from people, I'm going at 9.

Solario's Campaign Office is located at 1325 W. Warner Avenue in Santa Ana (northwest corner of Bristol and Warner - a few doors down from Dominos Pizza).



Wed Oct 01, 2014 at 09:12 PM PDT

Calling LA Kossacks 10-2-14

by MugWumpBlues

LA Kossacks-  Someone more informed than I suggested two California races which appear close, one on the North of the LA border and one straddling the South LAOC border.  

North, we have Julia Brownley running for Congress in CA-26 (Ventura and Santa Barbara County.  

South we have  Jose Solorio running for the 34th CA Senate District (Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Long Beach, Anaheim, Westminster, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach and Los Alamitos.)

Both have various events planned for the next two weeks and can use assistance with canvassing and phone banks.  

Maybe we can go as a group one day to help one or the other candidate?  I'll put a poll below.  My suggestion is we get a day and try to go and help as a group.  Any other ideas, please place them in the comments.  

Of course, helping another race is also encouraged!


Which candidate should LA Kossacks assist?

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     New Englander Mary Baker Eddy founded the still flourishing religion Christian Science.  Her 1875 book Science and Health argues that human sickness is an illusion, correctable by prayer alone. Christian Scientists reject modern  medicine, which is based, of course, on modern science.

    So why did Baker Eddy choose the name Christian Science?

      In 1670, Baruch de Espinosa's Tractus Theologico Political (the First Tractus) was published in Holland, pressed in five languages, and distributed widely.  Spinosa took five years to write it.  

      In 1688, two years before Spinosa published, a Dutch court convicted Dr. Adrian Keorbagh of blasphemy.  Keorbagh wrote a book questioning religious views.  The Court fined relatively wealthy Keorbagh into financial ruin, sentenced him to ten years hard labor, at the end of which he would be exiled from Holland. The prison conditions were quite harsh; Keorbagh died in 1689.  This was in relatively religion tolerant Holland, mind, and apparently it was the Dutch Reform Church which brought the charges.  Keorbagh was one of Spinosa's close friends. Despite very real danger, Spinosa and his friends persevered and published the First Tractus.

      First Tractus was roundly condemned by most academics affiliated with religious groups.  Throughout Europe, Numerous Churches and countries quickly declared First Tractus, along with Spinosa's Short Treatise and Ethics, illegal.  Each work is  prominent on the Catholic Church's Index of Forbidden Books, as I discussed in an earlier diary.

     Spinosa is mostly forgotten outside of Holland. The Catholic Church and other theologians claim Spinosa is discredited and that his works, being so awful, were mostly ignored.  Also today, stretching back over two hundred years, there is a huge body of work termed "Natural Law."  The Natural Law enthusiasts basically claim absolute rules of human morality. Sometimes they admit these so-called Natural Laws are, in their view, divinely inspired.  "We can't keep poking our finger in God's eye," one televangelist recently warned.  

     How influential were Spinosa's insights on human nature and how it works when humans group?  


      “…the natural right of every man does not cease in a civil state, For man, alike in the natural and civil state, acts according to his own nature, and consults his own interest.  … [I]f the fear of a majority of citizens changes in indignation, then the state dissolves…”

       1670-- Baruch de Espinosa,  Tractus Theologico Political Ch. 3 page 3; Chapter 4 page 6  published 1670, Holland.

“The obligations of the law of Nature cease not in society.  The people generally ill treated …will be ready upon any occasion to ease themselves of a burden which sits heavy upon them [and rebellion will follow]…"  

      Locke, Two Treatises on Government  Published 1689 England-Sections 135, 224  (Locke lived in Holland from 1682 to 1687)   

  “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them… they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

       1776 Preamble Declaration of Independence

      Spinosa proposed that God, being infinite, was all of reality, all of what he called nature.  Although it is true Spinosa and his books are mostly forgotten, every work which discusses "Natural Law"--and there are many thousands, mostly written by those raised Catholic--are all, know it or not, whether mentioning Spinosa or not, whether having read, heard or even thought of Spinosa or not, all works referencing "Natural Law" as basis for man's "morality" with these laws being commandments from the almighty God, all are written in response to Spinosa and his insights.

       They named it "Natural Law" for the same reason Mary Baker Eddy named it  "Christian Science."    

       Spinosa had another pertinent insight:  He was reasoning almost solely with his head; most, however, think mostly with their hearts.  His logical arguments cannot be expected to reach them.  

       Although often slandered as an Atheist, one of Spinosa's main reasons for writing First Tractus was to prove that he was not an Atheist.  In fact, Spinosa considered Jesus Christ the greatest philosopher in history.  It was the dangers of abuse by theocratic authority, buttressed by phony claims of miracles or divine providence, aligning with the State to which Spinosa objected.

      Spinosa's insights likely did not just lead itself to the reasoning used in the Declaration of Independence.  There seems strong evidence they influenced the Constitution itself.

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   Celts. How did they live? Compare them to today's America. James Madison wrote of the dangers of the nobility/church alliance.  Madison felt such arrangements often ended with those groups exploiting the rest of a human society.  Following this logic, the Constitution expressly forbids establishment of a state religion and forbids a nobility.  Everyone equal, as much as can be.

      The Roman Catholic Church, on the other hand, rejects this arrangement.  As the force proclaimed duly appointed communicator with a supernatural God--an arrangement it holds to be "undeniable"--the official Roman Catholic Church claims it alone may determine proper morality for all human beings.  While Madison and the US Constitution were not banned, the Catholic Church did ban the intellectual roots from which those documents grew, banning  various authors who made similar arguments regarding human societal patterns, men such as Spinoza, Locke, Hume, and Montesquieu.  

      Most of the Founding Fathers held Protestant beliefs.  To justify the American Revolution in the Declaration of Independence, in the pamphlet Common Sense and in our social contract the Constitution, the Founding Fathers directly cited the Catholic banned works of Locke and Montesquieu.  

        In the period from 1670 till today admitting to Spinocism--an almost complete denial of the Judeo christian superstitions--would ruin careers, bring curses from little old ladies, and ofttimes got people killed.

      As a preliminary question:  Is it correct that groups of men tend to coalesce into three groups, commoners,  religion, and nobility?

       Second, Do the latter two groups get preferential treatment?  

      Third, is the Catholic Church position that such arrangements should be supported as best for mankind, have they been Divinely held appropriate?

        Fourth, are we as Americans to be held to the dictates of a group of Italian dominated men?

        And, if a Church-Nobility alliance, a daunting power structure, often occurs in Human affairs to the detriment of the commoners, why cannot the Constitution preclude or limit such arrangements?

        The first question is whether the groupings, by virtue of how groups of individuals interact, occur.

        The Bible has several examples.  By 1600, it was clear that France, Italy, Germany, Holland, England, all those societies were examples of the superstition-rich person alliance.  For them, great.  For the commoners, people suffered.

         As to the second question, should the noble/religious leaders get special treatment?  Common Sense seemed to destroy that argument.  Perhaps we'll leave the question--do they deserve it as a matter of law--for other essays.

      Around 50 B.C., Julius Caesar wrote Commentaries on the Gallic War.  Below our fold is a slightly revised version of one translation.

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Portrait of John Adams
    In 1776, John Adams visited a Roman Catholic Church and wrote to his wife Abigail about his experience.  It was not a miracle that the Protestant rebellion succeeded.   It was a miracle it even started.
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On April 27, 2001, Mark Wilson and William Beach, two workers for the Koch affiliated Heritage Foundation, published “The Economic Impact of President Bush's Tax Relief Plan.”  

According to Wilson and Beach, economic growth would provide increased revenues so the plan's tax cuts would pay for themselves.  They wrote the plan to cut taxes would:

“Effectively pay off the federal debt. The Bush plan would decrease federal debt to the lowest possible level at which it could be redeemed--$818 billion in FY 2011 (see Chart 4). From FY 2001 to FY 2011, federal debt as a percentage of GDP would decline from 30.5 percent to just 4.7 percent under the plan.”  [Chart and cite omitted]  See
Instead, the damn liberals and their hoity-toity economists, like a broken clock, proved correct. Again. Federal debt ballooned, increasing to 1.1 trillion per year by the time GW Bush left office, increasing each year from around 30 percent to over 62 percent by 2010.  Pretend you are a Republican.  This is:

American Heritage claimed the Bush Tax cuts would reduce the US deficit to near zero. Instead, the deficit ballooned. This is:

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Sen. Brandon Smith, R Hazard County Kentucky:

"As you (Energy & Environment Cabinet official) sit there in your chair with your data, we sit up here in ours with our data and our constituents and stuff behind us. I don't want to get into the debate about climate change, but I will simply point out that I think in academia we all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here. Nobody will dispute that. Yet there are no coal mines on Mars. There are no factories on Mars that I'm aware of."

Pretend you are Republican.  This is:


Pretend you are a Republican. R-Brandon Smith's statement is:

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    The Catholic Church purported to revoke its Index of Forbidden Books in 1966. The most dangerous book?  Some say Spinosa’s (often spelled Spinoza) Tractatus Theologico-Politicus.  This translates from Latin as Theological-Political Treatise and is commonly known as Spinosa’s First Tractus.  
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    The 2014 World Cup has been filled with exciting games, beautiful football, wonderful spirit and human drama.  An entire nation, 200 million Brazilians, were in shock, disbelief and tears as their national team lost 1-7 to Germany, a poignant drubbing. The World Cup was a continuous party:  Brazil has been a wonderful host nation.

       The American team survived the group of death then lost to Belgium, drawing worldwide accolades for heart and determined football.

    On Sunday July 13th Germany meets Argentina for the World Cup championship.  The 2014 World Cup set U.S. television viewer records.  U.S. versus Portugal drew more than 25 million US viewers; Mexico versus Netherlands drew 10.4 million viewers.  

         Not everyone is happy.  Ann Coulter saw this as a sign of “moral decay.”  This week, she explained those who disagree with her are twits and fruits throwing hissy fits.  After certain recent court rulings, one hopes none who enjoyed the World Cup work for her.

    Pretend you are a Republican.  This is:


Pretend you are Republican: The 2014 World Cup was quite popular abroad and in the US. The US team lost. Ann Coltour hates soccer and is scared of fruity twits. This is:

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