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What Keeps Communism Going? | Jordan Peterson


Professor Jordan Peterson explains what exactly is driving the communist mindset, and why do we still see branches of the movement sprout in different places of the world.

Why I Don’t Teach My Children to be Obedient


Who would want to train children to be obedient, when we can bring them up to be discerning, critical thinkers with a highly developed capacity for big-picture thinking, for empathy for self and others and to value integrity and what feels right above the directions of authority figures?

It’s difficult for most adults to challenge authority figures if they weren’t allowed to challenge their own parent.

Children who are trained to be obedient are often too busy either trying to stay in the good books or feel too misunderstood and defensive to think things through clearly, including how their actions affect other people. Their motivation is to evade punishments rather than do what feels right. Authoritarian parenting conditions children to believe that they should do what they’re told whether they like it or not, whether it feels good or bad, and to not “talk back”.
It’s difficult for most adults to challenge authority figures if they weren’t allowed to challenge their own parent. Obedience training can lead to a susceptibility to being unduly influenced by peers or authority figures as children, adolescents and later as adults.
To have the courage to express our concerns and opinions in the face of authority or peer pressure, we need to be able to stay strong and overall at peace in ourselves. Most of us want this for our children, especially as they reach the teenage years!

To act from integrity and do what feels right despite pressure to conform to the norm or to authority, we need to be balanced and centered enough to make decisions based on considering the needs and feelings of others while also considering our own feelings and needs.


Shocking Research
In recent decades, there have been many interesting social studies exploring human behavior and what influences a person’s tendency to act ethically or responsibly or not. A famous groundbreaking study by Stanley Milgram, a Yale University psychologist in 1961 paved the way for many more, which have uncovered very similar results. When Milford asked university students to guess how many people would willingly comply if a person in a position of authority told them to deliver a 400-volt electrical shock to another person, they predicted that no more than 3% of participants would deliver the maximum shocks. In reality, 65% delivered the maximum shocks.
36 out of 40 people continued to do what they were instructed.

During the experiment, each subject was asked to press a button that they believed delivered increasingly high voltage electric shocks to the “student” on the other side of the wall if they gave the wrong answer to the “teacher’s” questions. Many of the subjects, while believing that the “student” was actually receiving shocks and hearing their protests and cries for mercy, including complaints of a heart condition, became increasingly agitated and even angry at the experimenter. Yet 36 out of 40 people, in turn, continued to do what they were instructed to do all the way to the end. Even when the “student” became silent when apparently receiving shock from a switch labeled “danger: severe shock” the subject continued based on the instruction that silence is to be read as a wrong answer.
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Here are the Best Air-Purifying Houseplants According To NASA


Back in 1989, NASA researchers were working to determine the best ways to purify the air using standard plants found on earth. Unlike the information you’ve gotten from terrible sci-fi films, being stuck in a cabin for weeks or years on end leads to some pretty unsanitary conditions.

As astronaut Chris Hadfield explains“It’s like seven people in a camper van with a porta-potty for two weeks, where you can never get out.”

Besides issues with toilets, even the vapors from “cooked” food stick around for awhile. As astronaut Clayton Anderson expounded upon in an article for Gizmodo: “Eating a fish dish often produced the most pungent odor, especially the US version of seafood gumbo. It might take a couple of hours to “purge” that smell from the airflow of the ISS. On shuttle missions, many commanders outlawed the eating of seafood gumbo due to its distinctive—and disliked—smell.”

As a response to these disgusting aspects of space travel – and there are many more – NASA produced the Clean Air study. Unlike million dollar government research programs studying How Monkey’s Gamble or How Mountain Lions run on Treadmills, you can actually benefit from this study.

The graphic below from Love the Garden gives you a great look at which houseplants filter the air the best.

Exclusive: The Attorney Who Paid Cash for Trump’s Sexual Assault Accusations


A well-known women’s rights lawyer sought to arrange compensation from donors and tabloid media outlets for women who made or considered making sexual misconduct allegations against Donald Trump during the final months of the 2016 presidential race, according to documents and interviews.

(THE HILL) California lawyer Lisa Bloom’s efforts included offering to sell alleged victims’ stories to TV outlets in return for a commission for herself, arranging a donor to pay off one Trump accuser’s mortgage and attempting to secure a six-figure payment for another woman who ultimately declined to come forward after being offered as much as $750,000, the clients told The Hill.
The women’s accounts were chronicled in contemporaneous contractual documents, emails and text messages reviewed by The Hill, including an exchange of texts between one woman and Bloom that suggested political action committees supporting Hillary Clinton were contacted during the effort.
Bloom, who has assisted dozens of women in prominent harassment cases and also defended film executive Harvey Weinstein earlier this year, represented four women considering making accusations against Trump last year. Two went public, and two declined.
In a statement to The Hill, Bloom acknowledged she engaged in discussions to secure donations for women who made or considered making accusations against Trump before last year’s election.
“Donors reached out to my firm directly to help some of the women I represented,” said Bloom, whose clients have also included accusers of Bill Cosby and Bill O’Reilly.

Bloom said her goal in securing money was not to pressure the women to come forward, but rather to help them relocate or arrange security if they felt unsafe during the waning days of a vitriolic election. She declined to identify any of the donors.
And while she noted she represented sexual harassment victims for free or at reduced rates, she also acknowledged a standard part of her contracts required women to pay her commissions as high as 33 percent if she sold their stories to media outlets.
“Our standard pro bono agreement for legal services provides that if a media entity offers to compensate a client for sharing his or her story we receive a percentage of those fees. This rarely happens. But, on occasion, a case generates media interest and sometimes (not always) a client may receive an appearance fee,” she said.
“As a private law firm we have significant payroll, rent, taxes, insurance and other expenses every week, so an arrangement where we might receive some compensation to defray our costs seems reasonable to us and is agreed to by our clients,” Bloom added.
Bloom told The Hill she had no contact with Clinton or her campaign, but declined to address any contacts with super PACs that supported the Democratic presidential nominee.
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The End of “Net Neutrality” is Not the “End of Internet Freedom”


With “Net Neutrality” legislation being discarded today, the internet is blowing up with article after article stating that this is the end of internet freedom. But is it really?

First and foremost it should be understood that the Obama administrations Net Neutrality regulations, the Open Internet Order, did not do what people are fearing the repeal has turned back – all content has not been treated the same by ISP’s before and it never has.  What they did was erect an awkward permission-and-control regime within the FCC that only affected a small portion of internet technology companies. 

“Net Neutrality” is a beautiful catchphrase but just that. Much like the term “Patriot Act” was used to drum up the support of nationalistic citizens for regulations that were in opposition to their very freedom, Net Neutrality has everyday people fighting for internet regulations which will prevent an even better & freer online experience.

Regulating internet under Title II framework originally created in the 1930’s – so-called net neutrality laws which were implemented just 2 years ago – have slowed down the rate of innovation by forcing companies to spend more on useless compliance issues rather than infrastructure and scaring off investors.

From the beginning of the commercial internet, ISPs have been investing in infrastructure to compete year over year with no stoppage, that was until 2 years ago when stiff already outdated regulations were implemented – leading to a 6 percent decline in broadband investment, and even higher costs for newer nimbler companies from entering the marketplace.

Casting broadband providers as enemies of the State looks great politically – everyone hates their cable, phone, electricity, and water companies – but it also makes for lousy economics. Investors want a return on investment – spook them with overbearing regulations, and they’ll leave. It should be pretty telling that the first investigations into companies “breaking Net Neutrality rules” were ISP companies offering free data.

Technically, under current Net Neutrality laws, if T-Mobile chooses to not count Netflix, Spotify, Youtube and a host of other services against your monthly data allowance, that’s not allowed. That’s right, free offerings are illegal in these cases. Not sure about you, but I don’t see how that benefits anyone. Furthermore, the assumption that government regulation will benefit in preventing the cost of internet to go up has been disproven by…every single time the government regulates anything.

This is the same government that spent an amount equal to Facebook’s first six years of operating costs to build a website for healthcare that doesn’t work, the exact same government which cannot keep the country’s bridges from falling down, the same government that has increased school funding by 200% without a single improvement in grades in the last thirty years – even adjusted for inflation- and the same organization that spends 320 times what private industry spends to send a rocket into space. As Digital Marketor Josh Steimle put it in Forbes:

“Think of an industry that has major problems. Public schools? Health care? How about higher education, student loans, housing, banking, physical infrastructure, immigration, the space program, the military, the police, or the post office? What do all these industries and/or organizations have in common? They are all heavily regulated or controlled by the government. On the other hand, we see that where deregulation has occurred, innovation has bloomed, such as with telephony services. Do you think we’d all be walking around with smartphones today if the government still ran the phone system?”The major issue is that Net Neutrality laws are pre-emptive in nature by definition. Why’s that a bad idea? Because we have no idea what is in store for the future of the internet.”

If you regulate pre-emptively you necessarily prevent competition leading to better products. This is why tech giant content curators like Facebook and Google are for it – they’ve become part of the status quo and want it to remain that way. To act like these two megacorporations care about “internet freedom” and that’s why their pro-net neutrality is ridiculous. Both have been shown to censor creators which are antithetical to the political values held by these companies, by demonetizing their videos as well as increasing the barriers to viewing videos.  The same people saying that the end of the internet is coming said that the time Warner-AOL merger in 2000 was the death of instant messaging because they were the only ones “controlling it at the time.”

Even the way internet use by net neutrality proponents is being used presently is outdated. The majority of internet use is not at home, tied to wifi. Rather, it’s carried over between multiple hotspots and mobile networks throughout the day, and as time goes by, that’s going to continue.

This makes it difficult for specific ISP companies to get a stranglehold of your information or a restriction of the information you’re searching for. There’s already a limit on that information through the HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) system.

Net Neutrality is prescriptive and thus likely to serve the interests of existing companies in maintaining a status quo that’s good for them. In terms of enforcement of anti-competitive practices, going back to a system regulated in a case by case basis by the FTC, rather than the FCC, will allow for a more nimble and sane system that doesn’t prevent innovation. Today, with the repeal of Obama’s policy, the system has changed for the better.

Why the “Organic Food” You’re Paying For is Anything But


Editors note: This isn’t just another article trying to “debunk organic foods”. This is an examination of the corruption involved in the food industry as a whole, and why it should be a central concern of anyone who cares about clean food. 
Strap in, because you’re about to relearn everything you knew about the organic food industry.

Costa Rican farmer Jose “Pepe” Castro Otarola is certified to grow organic pineapples under the U.S. Department of Agriculture seal. Castro says that managers of a fruit processing company exaggerated quantities they bought from him to make their U.S.-bound shipments appear organic, an accusation the processor denies.

Pital, Costa Rica—Plenty of people knew that the numbers didn’t add up in pineapple fields here that stretch like green carpets beneath brooding volcanoes.
They knew it in Washington, D.C., where the head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program saw Costa Rica was shipping more organic pineapples than it was certified to grow.
They knew it in Pital, hub of the world’s biggest pineapple exporter.
Costa Rica’s surplus indicated that someone was mislabeling fruit produced less expensively with chemicals forbidden for organic products—thereby cheating U.S. consumers, who pay high premiums when trusting the USDA organic seal.
A Costa Rican government investigator assembled 1,500 pages of evidence. He found that PrimusLabs, a USDA-accredited certifier, improperly approved Costa Rica’s Del Valle Verde Corp. as a grower of organic pineapples.

In Pital, neighboring organic farmers felt vindicated. They believed they had further examples of how the pineapple company had gamed the USDA. U.S. importers, hurt by competition they considered unfair, expected strong action by regulators.
But they got nothing of the kind. Instead, a NerdWallet investigation found, the USDA punted — kicking a gaping hole in the credibility of its organics seal.
The USDA closed the case last summer without addressing the extensive Costa Rican investigation.
Not only did the USDA allow farming company Valle Verde to choose and pay Primus for organic certification—a conflict of interest enabled by federal rules—but the agency trusted the accused certifier to declare the grower innocent.
“It’s a horrible story,” said Alexis Baden-Mayer, political director of the Organic Consumers Association. “This information was handed to the National Organic Program on a silver platter, and they still don’t take the enforcement actions that are permitted under the law.”
If the USDA won’t act when presented with stark evidence of fraud, critics ask, how can consumers rely on the agency to police any of the annual $43 billion in U.S. organically certified food?
The answer is that the system can’t be trusted, NerdWallet found.

USDA Appoints Certification Gatekeepers
The National Organic Program, a USDA division with a $9 million budget, sets standards for labeling and accredits the agency’s 80 certifiers worldwide. Many certifiers have solid records. Growers, processors and handlers they approve sell legitimately organic food under the USDA seal.
But the system is ripe for abuse.
The USDA allows growers and processors to choose their own certifiers from its accredited list. The certifiers then get paid by those producers, even getting percentage of sales, a financial incentive that creates a conflict of interest.

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Marijuana Minors: What Life is Really Like for Young Medical Cannabis Users


Medical marijuana is legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia, but there are still use cases that are very controversial, like medical marijuana for children. Some claim it’s a wonder drug for epilepsy, severe autism, and even to quell the harsh side effects of chemotherapy, while others decry pumping marijuana into still-growing bodies.

We went to the small town of Pendleton, Oregon, where medical marijuana is legal, to visit Mykayla Comstock, an eight-year-old leukemia patient who takes massive amounts of weed to treat her illness. Her family, and many people we met along the way, believe not only in the palliative aspects of the drug, but also in marijuana’s curative effect—that pot can literally shrink tumors.
Video Below the Ad

What are your thoughts on this controversial practice?

How to Identify Wild Poisonous Plants – The Essential Guide


How to Identify Poisonous Plants--Poison Oak

My brothers once volunteered at a local state park and cleared out overgrown greenery, only to discover later that they’d been thigh-high in poison ivy. Oh, nature, you’re sneaky.

But poisonous plants can be more than just uncomfortable—they can be dangerous. Here are a few tips on how to identify poisonous plants when you’re out in the wild or, and I’m going to shock you here, in your own yard.

First, a reminder. Plants can be poisonous in two ways: when touched or when ingested. This post will address identifying plants that are dangerous to touch. For a great guide to foraging safe plants (and to avoiding eating deadly ones), see Survival 101: Foraging for Edible Plants.


The best way to identify poisonous plants is to become familiar with pictures of varieties growing in your area (like poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, poison hemlock, stinging nettle, etc.) This is because poisonous plants come in so many forms that any individual rule of thumb won’t be sufficient. For instance,  poison ivy grows on vines, poison oak and poison sumac grow in shrub form, and poison hemlock looks like giant parsley!


How to Identify Poisonous Plants
poison sumac leaf

Inflorescence of a herb of Hemlock or Poison Hemlock (Conium mac
poison hemlock


The traditional rule “leaves in three, let it be!” only applies to poison ivy and poison oak; poison sumac has clusters of 7-13 leaves. To complicate matters, there a lot of other plants that also have leaves grouped into three, e.g., box elder saplings, making it harder to distinguish specific plants.

According to the University of Maryland Medical center, Stinging Nettle leaves are heart shaped, finely toothed, and tapered at the ends. Stinging nettle plants are very hairy—the entire plant is covered with hairs on the underside of the leaves and stems. Although you can eat Stinging Nettle, it’s advised to collect them with gloves because if you touch any of the hairs, a stinging chemical is released.

How to Identify Poisonous Plants

Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle is also known for its brightly colored, yellow or pink flowers, which the poison ivy, oak, and sumac are not. Although, check out this lovely picture of poison ivy flowers. Who Knew?

ivy flowers

Photo Courtesy of Flickr.com 


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I’m Gay and I Don’t Want To Force You to Bake a Damn Cake


Being a gay libertarian is like being a black conservative: you are a pariah among your peers. It couldn’t be clearer in the Charlie Craig and David Mullins V. Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which the Supreme Court will hear soon.

Back in 2012, the plaintiffs went to the defendant’s bakery to have a cake for their wedding, which owner Jack Philipps refused, citing religious reasons. Craig and Mullins complained before the Colorado Civil Rights Division, which agreed with the couple in 2014. They even ordered that the bakery completes “extensive sensitivity training”. After Philipps failed to have the Colorado Supreme Court hear his plea, he appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which agreed to take on the case.

So-called civil rights groups like the American Civil Rights Union stand with the plaintiffs, saying that “when businesses are open to the public, they’re supposed to be open to everyone.” Gay webzines like the Gaylygrind automatically call the defendant and his supporters “anti-LGBT hate groups.” Even Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson wants him to “bake the cake.”

A Business Is a Private Property

Well, folks, I am gay myself – I am even married – and I stand by Philipps’ right to discriminate against whoever he wants.

That, of course, makes me a traitor, a turkey voting for Thanksgiving – and if I were African American, it would also make me an Uncle Tom.

But why? Because many liberals stand by the ACLU’s faulty reasoning that businesses open to the public must serve everyone – it’s not “personal” property anymore. Faulty because it implies that, once you start selling a product or service, you automatically lose your right to freely and voluntarily interact with other people. It’s opened to the public, so it suddenly becomes public “property” and the business owner loses any say in who he or she does business with.

Following that logic, a Muslim baker would be forced to make a cake with Mohammed’s face on it – an unspeakable moral crime in Islam – Hooters would have to hire anyone as a server and gay bathhouses would have to welcome female patrons.Once the government decides what business must do, it can decide what all businesses must do.

As silly as the preceding examples sound, this is exactly what a SCOTUS decision in favor of the plaintiffs would entail. Once the government decides what one business must do, it can decide what all businesses must do. Don’t forget that parts of the US had been under this regimen for nearly 100 years after the end of the Civil War.

Indeed, the infamous Jim Crow laws not only maintained an apartheid-like state for African Americans, but they also dictated how private businesses needed to interact with these people. Had private bus companies been able to let all their customers sit wherever they want, Rosa Park would not have become an icon of civil disobedience since she would not have violated any arbitrary laws stating that she must go to the back of the bus. Instead, she would have ridden the bus that let her sit where she pleases.

Elf on the Shelf Needs to Get Benched


Santa has had his fair share of helpers over the years—the Austrian Krapmus, the Dutch Zwarte Piet (Black Peter) and the German Knecht Ruprecht, just to name a few. But recently Santa has acquired a new helper—and he’s gaining popularity every day: The Elf on the Shelf. You likely know someone who has one; you may even have one yourself. Most see it as fun and harmless and innocent, but I would like to argue it is not. It’s something that should be avoided at all costs.

For those who don’t know what The Elf on the Shelf is, it is simply a small elf doll that you can place on a shelf (which you can buy for $29.95). But the name is not as self-explanatory as it first might seem; there’s much more. He comes with his own website, iPhone apps, and even his own TV Christmas special. But the controversial part is what you tell the kids about The Elf on the Shelf: “The elf is actually alive and moves around when you’re not looking. He’s watching you and you never know where he will turn up next. And if he sees you doing something wrong he reports directly back to Santa.” As his ad on Amazon stays:“Every year at Christmas, Santa sends his elves to watch you. And they go back and tell him who’s been bad and who’s been good. The Elf on the Shelf is watching you, what you say and what you do. The Elf on the Shelf is watching you, each and every Christmas.”Kids are not allowed to touch him and you are supposed to move him around every night to a different place in the house so the kids think he’s alive. This way, anytime the children misbehave, all you have to do is remind them that The Elf on the Shelf is watching.Fun right? A little Christmas joy along with an easy way to keep the children behaving for about a month. What could possibly be wrong with this seemingly harmless practice? I say plenty.I have argued against the Santa Claus lie – the practice of tricking your children into believing that Santa Claus is literally real – elsewhere (in 2009, 2010 and in my book The Myths that Stole Christmas). My argument is threefold. It’s a lie (that does not encourage imagination), it threatens your parental trustworthiness, and it encourages credulity. But The Elf on the Shelf is basically a steroid shot for the Santa Lie—a physical reminder of the Santa lie in your house for a whole month. So it should not be surprising that my objections to the practices surrounding The Elf on the Shelf are similar.

First, it most certainly is a lie. Of course, not all lies are morally wrong. Lies done for noble or monumental purposes are morally excusable, sometimes even morally praiseworthy. But the fun you have tricking your children into believing something false is not a noble cause; don’t fool yourself – you’re not saving any lives.Second, your children rely on you to give them accurate information about the way the world is, and you should want them to trust and believe what you say. But finding out that you have been lying to them – and even been playing an elaborate joke on them (for example by moving the elf yourself but telling them it moves on its own) – has the possibility of significantly eroding their ability to trust you. What else might you be lying about, or tricking them into believing? (Think it’s not a big deal? In some stories I have collected, children come to doubt God’s existence after learning the truth about Santa; “If mom and dad are lying about Santa, they’re probably lying about God too.” This is actually fairly good reasoning. Have you ever thought about how many characteristics the two characters share?)

Third, it promotes credulity – a gullibility and propensity to believe things that are false. Just like with Santa Claus, to get your children to believe The Elf on the Shelf is alive, you have to encourage them to turn off their critical thinking skills – don’t question, don’t doubt, just believe. This is not the kind of thing we want to encourage in our children; in fact, credulity is a major contributing factor to the decline of American civilization. As Hank Stuever put it in Tensel: A Search for America’s Christmas Present:

“If a child has concluded…that it’s impossible for a man in a flying sleigh to make it all the way around the world in one night, delivering elf made replicas of all the stuff you see in Target and Best Buy, then that’s a child I would be happy to steer toward a voting booth when she’s 18.  That’s an American in search of facts. If, however, she goes on pretending to believe well into her teens (I encountered more than one such teenager in Frisco) because it makes her parents (and God) feel sweet and happy, then I become worried. That becomes an American willing to spend $100,000 on her “special day” wedding or who will believe without hard evidence that other countries harbor weapons of mass destruction when they don’t.”