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Lessons from the Past: When the Peasants Struck Back

Being a peasant myself, and sometimes feeling the urge to revolt, I am interested in how peasant uprisings have fared in the past. The events of 1524-1525 described here are not a peasant uprising-this was a Peasant WAR. It is extremely interesting that the history/spin of the Peasant War depends entirely on the source. The … Continue reading

Wait, didn’t usury used to be a SIN?

Whenever the blood-sucking credit industry is briefly exposed, like when an article says  that PayDay loans charge 400% annual interest, outraged citizens say things like: “That should be outlawed!” “That’s worse than the freaking Mafia!” “Wait, didn’t the church used to say usury was a sin?” The answer is: “Yes, to all of the above.” … Continue reading

Capitalism vs Socialism: The BooYay School of Economics

Capitalism, yay! Socialism, boo! That’s the level of thinking in America, where most citizens can’t define socialism, but somehow they know they hate it. Capitalism: the corner hardware store where Mr. Jenkins buys hammers, nails and other hard things at a certain price and sells them at a higher price to pay his store expenses and … Continue reading

Hey Hammurabi, what was it like to be king 4,000 years ago?

You can learn a lot about a civilization by reading their law codes. At least you can learn a lot about really old civilizations which wrote their codes on stone. This limited how long the code could be; it couldn’t, for example, be a health care bill of 2,000 pages. Hammurabi, who we know was … Continue reading

Wait-what is a Kurd? KURDS 101

We Americans aren’t very good at understanding ethnic groups, in spite of being basically a stew of ethnic groups ourselves. If they came here, we might notice them, but otherwise “Pashtun” or ‘Kurd” is well, pretty foreign to us. But the Kurds have been in the news a lot lately, so this is Kurds 101. … Continue reading

Dying the Death of a 1,000 cuts from Occam’s Razor

Well dang, if you can’t trust the scientists and historians, who can you trust? You can trust your own brain if you just listen to it. It asks, “Why did that happen?” “How is that possible?” “Wait a minute-this OTHER scientists says something completely different-what’s going on?” Why can’t we just apply Occam’s Razor: “Among … Continue reading

Israeli Settlers are Insanely Racist

Way back when I was a Christian Zionist, I watched a Louis Theroux documentary on Israeli settlers and thought, “These people are dangerously insane.” So I concluded that there probably were very few Israelis who thought the same as the settlers-i.e. that the Palestinians were the biblical Amalekites whom the Hebrews were commanded by God … Continue reading

Ending Wars: What’s the hangup? Just get out…

An article this morning in a Kurdish paper (which often has tidbits unreported by our domestic presstitutes) says that Australian special forces on their way to Iraq are stuck in the UAE. Why? Because Aussie PM Tony Abbot wants a guarantee that these troops will be above the law when they enter Iraq, and Iraq says … Continue reading

Don’t Ask Questions: When Curiosity is a Crime

While curiosity may have killed the cat, it has no doubt saved the arse of humanity on many occasions. Wondering, imagining and being curious are part of what it means to be a human being. What if you were curious about a thing, but it was against the law to ask any questions? Then you … Continue reading

The Criminal Minds Among Us

At the end of a short course I taught at a prison, I did the usual debriefing. “What was good about this course? How could it be improved?” One inmate surprised me by saying that the best thing about the course was that the members of the small class had become friends. “I don’t understand,” … Continue reading