In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.

Terry Pratchett, “Men At Arms”

This is one of the best breakdowns I’ve ever seen of how expensive it is to be poor. (via slephoto)

this is true on so many levels

I always think about the money my parents have spent fixing up our house or various used cars over the years

(via theuppitynegras)

Omg the sheer amounts of money I’ve had to pour into the cheap piece of shit car I have. So absolutely true.

(via genderbitch)

There’s a reason my cat is named Terry Pratchett

(via girljanitor)

vinegarwilliams:

cognitivedissonance:

eyesdriftskyward:

jasonelijah:

A great quote from Thomas Paine about why we should all give back to society.

Of all the ‘Founding Fathers’, Thomas Paine is my favorite. A revolutionary of brilliance and conviction, an advocate of reason and freethinking, and against institutionalized religion; I cannot think of any other Founder that is more relevant today. If you haven’t read him yet, begin with ‘Common Sense’ 

Yes, please read the primary source, folks. That would make my year. Truth.

Thomas Paine was a true international hero and an inspiration to many of the more brilliant people I have encountered.  I recommend that everyone pay close attention to his words.

vinegarwilliams:

cognitivedissonance:

eyesdriftskyward:

jasonelijah:

A great quote from Thomas Paine about why we should all give back to society.

Of all the ‘Founding Fathers’, Thomas Paine is my favorite. A revolutionary of brilliance and conviction, an advocate of reason and freethinking, and against institutionalized religion; I cannot think of any other Founder that is more relevant today. If you haven’t read him yet, begin with ‘Common Sense’ 

Yes, please read the primary source, folks. That would make my year. Truth.

Thomas Paine was a true international hero and an inspiration to many of the more brilliant people I have encountered.  I recommend that everyone pay close attention to his words.

Abe Lincoln

goodreasonnews:

kramerllama:

Leaving work today I drove across the Schuylkill River on my way home, and on the bridge, there was a billboard that made me smile, and restored my hope in humanity slightly.  On the billboard was a quote (credited to Lincoln, but was never said by him), that stated “You can’t help the poor by destroying the rich”.  And this billboard is in a city that has one of the highest poverty rates in the country.

So a proven lie gives you hope? How Conservative! I guess that’s the whole slight of hand behind Reaganomics, lol!

Do me a favor and let me know just which right-wing Christian nutbag lobbying organization attached their name to that shit, OK? Thanks!

Is that to imply that a 2-5% tax increase would “destroy the rich”? Because that’s all that is really being talked about.

Nick Hanauer - TED Talks - The Inequality Speech (who are the real 'job creators')

"Anyone who’s ever run a business knows that hiring more people is a course of last resort for capitalists. It’s what we do if, and only if, rising customer demand requires it. And in this sense, calling yourselves job creators isn’t just inaccurate, it’s disingenuous."

You may remember a little while back, TED declined to publish a talk given by Billionaire Nick Hanauer who set the record straight on job creation :


If taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down. This idea is an article of faith for Republicans and seldom challenged by Democrats, and has indeed shaped much of the economic landscape. But sometimes the ideas that we are certain are true, are dead wrong.

Consider that, for thousands of years humans believed that the earth was the center of the universe. It’s not, and an astronomer who still believed that it was, would do some pretty terrible astronomy.

Likewise, a policy maker who believes that the rich are “job creators”, and therefore should not be taxed, would do equally terrible policy.

I have started, or helped start, dozens of companies and initially hired lots of people. But if there was no one around who could afford to buy what we had to sell, all those companies and all those jobs would have evaporated.

That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. Jobs are a consequence of a circle of life-like feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion this virtuous cycle of increasing demand and hiring. In this sense, an ordinary consumer is more of a job creator than a capitalist like me…

(Full video and transcript)

(Source: LYBIO.net)

ryking:

laliberty:

Obama recently claimed: “Nearly a decade of tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires led to little more than sluggish growth [and] a shrinking middle class. Your paychecks flatlined. Wages and incomes did not go up. Even when the economy was growing, it wasn’t growing for you.”
Reality illustrates otherwise:  ”In the seven years from 2001-2007 (inclusive), not only did the middle class get at least its fair share of overall income growth, the income gap between the rich and the middle class actually got smaller.”
The Myth of Middle-Class Stagnation

Once again, reality proves the right-wing American Enterprise Institute and LA Liberty wrong:

CNN Money, “How the middle class became the underclass,” Slate, “The United States of Inequality,” New York Times, “A Decade With No Income Gains,” Huffington Post, “Inflation-Adjusted Income For Median Male Worker Drops To 1968 Levels,” OECD, “Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising” (“The gap between rich and poor in OECD countries has reached its highest level for over over 30 years”), Associated Press, “Census shows 1 in 2 people are poor or low-income.”

I never tire of shooting zombie lies in the head. Now if only the liars would die with the lies, the world would be a better place. — Ryking

So all this time it’s been the middle class that’s gotten all of the gains? And e rich have been the ones falling behind? Holy shit, if that doesn’t make your bullshit detector go off…

ryking:

laliberty:

Obama recently claimed: “Nearly a decade of tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires led to little more than sluggish growth [and] a shrinking middle class. Your paychecks flatlined. Wages and incomes did not go up. Even when the economy was growing, it wasn’t growing for you.”

Reality illustrates otherwise:  ”In the seven years from 2001-2007 (inclusive), not only did the middle class get at least its fair share of overall income growth, the income gap between the rich and the middle class actually got smaller.”

The Myth of Middle-Class Stagnation

Once again, reality proves the right-wing American Enterprise Institute and LA Liberty wrong:

CNN Money, “How the middle class became the underclass,” Slate, “The United States of Inequality,” New York Times, “A Decade With No Income Gains,” Huffington Post, “Inflation-Adjusted Income For Median Male Worker Drops To 1968 Levels,” OECD, “Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising” (“The gap between rich and poor in OECD countries has reached its highest level for over over 30 years”), Associated Press, “Census shows 1 in 2 people are poor or low-income.”

I never tire of shooting zombie lies in the head. Now if only the liars would die with the lies, the world would be a better place. — Ryking

So all this time it’s been the middle class that’s gotten all of the gains? And e rich have been the ones falling behind? Holy shit, if that doesn’t make your bullshit detector go off…

How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich

abaldwin360:

The inside story of how the Republicans abandoned the poor and the middle class to pursue their relentless agenda of tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent

By TIM DICKINSON | 
rollingstone.com

The nation is still recovering from a crushing recession that sent unemployment hovering above nine percent for two straight years. The president, mindful of soaring deficits, is pushing bold action to shore up the nation’s balance sheet. Cloaking himself in the language of class warfare, he calls on a hostile Congress to end wasteful tax breaks for the rich. “We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share,” he thunders to a crowd in Georgia. Such tax loopholes, he adds, “sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary – and that’s crazy.”

[FULL STORY]

If you think through the logic of this, you’ll see that so long as power remains privately concentrated, everybody, everybody, has to be committed to one overriding goal: and that’s to make sure that the rich folk are happy—because unless they are, nobody else is going to get anything. So if you’re a homeless person sleeping in the streets of Manhattan, let’s say, your first concern must be that the guys in the mansions are happy—because if they’re happy, they’ll invest, and the economy will work, and things will function, and then maybe something will trickle down to you somewhere along the line. But if they’re not happy, everything’s going to grind to a halt, and you’re not even going to get anything trickling down. So if you’re a homeless person in the streets, your first concern is the happiness of the wealthy guys in the mansions and the fancy restaurants. Basically that’s a metaphor for the whole society.

Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power (via theworldofsleepers)

So be Patriotic. Go out there and get rich. Get so obnoxiously rich that when that tax bill comes , your first thought will be to choke on how big a check you have to write. Your 2nd thought will be “what a great problem to have”, and your 3rd should be a recognition that in paying your taxes you are helping to support millions of Americans that are not as fortunate as you.

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. (via sirmitchell)

Funny how Fox news suggests that the biggest capitalist in the county might be a socialist because he tells the truth on tax issues. And by “funny” I mean outrageous.

Funny how Fox news suggests that the biggest capitalist in the county might be a socialist because he tells the truth on tax issues. And by “funny” I mean outrageous.

How Rich is Too Rich? By Sam Harris

And there is no reason to think that we have reached the upper bound of wealth inequality, as not every breakthrough in technology creates new jobs. The ultimate labor saving device might be just that—the ultimate labor saving device. Imagine the future Google of robotics or nanotechnology: Its CEO could make Steve Jobs look like a sharecropper, and its products could put tens of millions of people out of work. What would it mean for one person to hold the most valuable patents compatible with the laws of physics and to amass more wealth than everyone else on the Forbes 400 list combined?

How many Republicans who have vowed not to raise taxes on billionaires would want to live in a country with a trillionaire and 30 percent unemployment? If the answer is “none”—and it really must be—then everyone is in favor of “wealth redistribution.” They just haven’t been forced to admit it.