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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The TransCanada XL Pipeline: America ~ You're being lied to!

Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer:

Until this pipeline is constructed, the US will continue to import millions of barrels of conflict oil from the Middle East and Venezuela and other foreign countries who do not share democratic values Canadians and Americans are privileged to have, This project is too important to the US economy, the Canadian economy and the national interest of the United States for it not to proceed.”

Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada’s president for energy and oil pipelines to Congress last December:

Keystone will bring many benefits to the United States, but I believe the most important role that Keystone will play is to bring energy security to the United States during what has been recently some very unsettling times overseas,”

When asked by Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts if he could get assurances, “…so that this country realizes all of the energy security benefits your company and others have promised?” Pourbaix replied, “No, I can't do that,”

First and foremost, let’s point out that the Republican Party and its partners U.S. Oil and Canadian Oil are attempting to meld Canada (the country to our north) and Canadian Oil Companies into one entity, in an attempt to deceptively convince the American voter that any fight against greedy Canadian and U.S. Oil companies is a fight against Canada-our “greatest ally to the north.”

Mitt Romney:

"How in the world can you have a president who doesn't understand the importance of getting energy from our next-door neighbor?"

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah):

"This is ridiculous. With price of gas soaring, the President blasts anyone who criticizes his lack of an energy strategy, but then he's lobbying to stop a common-sense amendment allowing Keystone XL pipeline to move forward. The President should stop lobbying against it and get behind this critical job-creating pipeline. People in Utah are a lot smarter than that - they know that more American energy provides much needed jobs, will help lower the price at the pump, and stops a dangerous dependency on foreign oil."

Let’s examine the most glaring deception in those and other Republican statements. The GOP insists the pipeline will:

A. Reduce the U.S.’s dependency on foreign oil. That means that the oil from Canada will be used in the United States in order to reduce our oil imports.
B. U.S. manufacturing jobs would be dramatically increased in the building of, and producing of the materials to construct the pipeline.

Both lies.

Proof: Sen. Ron Wyden, (D-Oregon) introduced a measure that would insure that the heavy tar sands oil and natural gas pumped through the pipeline had to by law stay in the U.S. and that no foreign materials could be used to build it meaning only American iron and steel could be used, and that only American companies and American workers would be involved in its construction and maintanance, thus guaranteeing those promised American jobs… It was soundly defeated by Republicans by a 34-64 vote? If Hatch’s statement were true; why the objections and defeat of such a reasonable guarantee?

Of course the assumption is that the price of Canadian crude would stay at current levels or go lower… wrong.

From a report submitted to TransCanada by Purvin and Gertz Inc.
"Existing markets for Canadian heavy crude, principally, are currently oversupplied, resulting in price discounting for Canadian heavy crude oil," and goes on to report, “Access to the via the Keystone XL Pipeline is expected to strengthen Canadian crude oil pricing in by removing this oversupply. This is expected to increase the price of heavy crude to the equivalent cost of imported crude,” and then goes on to say, "Not only will this directly benefit these shippers, it will also provide a benefit to all heavy crude producers by increasing the price they receive for their crude, as well as providing significant pipeline capacity to an alternative market."

Remember that phrase “alternative market.”

In effect that would raise the price of Canadian crude to the equivalent of Middle East/OPEC crude. After all, when the 830.000 barrels a day of that crude passes through the XL pipeline, the price of it will be based on the world market, not the over-supplied local Midwest and Canadian western market.

Where is the midwestern oversupply coming from? 546,000 barrels a day are being pumped in North Dakota alone! The only states pumping more are Alaska and Texas, with ND surpassing even California. That crude will eventually be heading to the gulf coast and most likely be exported… via the XL pipeline. At the current rate of increase North Dakota could surpass even Alaskan production.

In a HIS CERA report it was reported that:

"If a minority of the barrels were sold at the Gulf Coast at a Gulf Coast price, that would have the effect of raising the price not only in the Midwest and Ontario but in Western Canada,"

TransCanada officials not only don’t dispute this, but also admitted the same during hearings before the U.S. Congress last May and December. It should be noted that many of the refineries in the gulf are in what most American taxpayers don’t know are “foreign trade zones” where the oil can and will be exported internationally without paying a dime in U.S. taxes. With the Republican-driven defeat of the stipulation that the crude stays in the U.S., that “alternative market” would be China and India along with cornering European and Asian countries.

Retired Brig. Gen. Steven Anderson:

"So seven shippers or seven producers are, in your view, pursuing this strategy in order to increase the Ontario prices. [The pipeline] will not reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil." It would "…set back our renewable energy efforts for at least two decades,"

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.):

"At a moment when tensions are rising in the Middle East, millions of Americans are struggling to find work and millions more are struggling with the rising cost of gas, Democrat opposition to this legislation shows how deeply out of touch they are with the concerns of middle-class Americans,"

What about concerns of midwestern U.S. citizens? Aside from the temporary and then years-in-the-future jobs created to build the pipeline, what about the jobs in midwestern refineries that will be lost when the pipeline bypasses them and sends that heavy tar sands crude directly to the Gulf of Mexico? What will happen to gas prices at the pump in the American midwest when gasoline is no longer coming from those very same local refineries and instead must be shipped back north from the gulf?

A good question for your local Republican supporter is if the necessary and completely without objection bill was so sure to be passed with no deceptions, why attach it to an unrelated and crucial $109 billion transportation bill, instead of letting it stand on its own?

House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican"

"By personally lobbying against the Keystone pipeline, it means the president of the United States is lobbying for sending North American energy to China and lobbying against American jobs,"

What he’s not saying is that TransCanada is trying to strong arm the project through the U.S. Congress by threatening to export that crude to China themselves by other means if the project isn’t approved, and politics and President Obama have nothing to do with that decision.

Speaking of strong-arming, and deceptive practices the company still needs 2150 property right of ways in five states. It’s a well-covered secret that the proposal for the pipeline route hasn’t even been completed and verified. This is because many American landowners are resisting pressure from the company to grant easements through their land, even though they already may have one or more pipelines currently on it. Why? TransCanada had adopted a strategy of making low offers for the easements and telling the owners that if they don’t take them, they’ll have to hire cost-prohibitive lawyers to prevent being forced to accept them anyway.

Roberta Colkin city council member – Gallatin, Tex:

"Most of the landowners already have pipelines on their land, so they aren't against pipelines, but they're upset about being bullied by TransCanada."

David Daniel, Winnsboro, Texas:

"TransCanada said this is our final offer; otherwise we'll take you to court."

while voicing his concerns about being pressured into taking only $14,000 for the pipeline right of way across 20 acres of his property, especially a pipeline that could potentially leak affecting his ground water. Concerns rose recently because of the 2010 pipeline spill of over 800,000 gallons of tar sands crude into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River from the Enbridge pipeline.

Of particular concern is an attempt to traverse and/or get around environmental concerns involving avoiding the Ogallala Aquifer-an important water source for eight states and also the Nebraska Sandhills region, where TransCanada has already spent $500,000 in 2011 alone and another $1.3 million in lobbying Washington senators and representatives.

A prime example of politicians being influenced by the big oil companies was when South Dakota suspiciously began routing trucks through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on the excuse that it’d save Canadian Oil companies money in shipping costs, it raised more than a few eyebrows and drivers were questioned.
Chase Iron Eyes:

"One of the drivers responded that they did not know they were crossing Indian land, only that they were following company directives regarding their assigned routes and that their Canadian Corporation had received this particular route information as a result of a partnership with the State of South Dakota, whose elected officials have always supported the Keystone XL pipeline."

Why? If vehicles had used other state routes through South Dakota, they would have been fined or charged fees of up to $50,000 each at Interstate Highway weigh stations.

Philip K. Verleger, president of PKVerleger LLC, a Colorado consulting firm specializing in research on oil market economics:

The firms involved have asked the US State Department to approve this project, even as they’ve told Canadian government officials how the pipeline can be used to add at least $4 billion to the US fuel bill, US farmers who spent $12.4 billion on fuel in 2009 could see those costs rise to $15 billion or higher if the pipeline goes through. At least $500 million of the added cost “would come from the Canadian market manipulation, The Keystone XL pipeline will move production from Canadian oil sands to a deepwater port from where it can be exported.”

One of the alternative routes entailed shipping the heavy tar sands crude through Maine, but a more friendlier route would need to be directly through Republican controlled Midwestern “red states” even though the increased gas prices would effect the very farmers that support them, blinded by politics instead of common sense. After all GOP-leaning farmers would be easier to convince than the blue states along the eastern coast.

Newt Gingrich:

Obama’s refusal to cooperate, "…weakens America's national security and kills thousands of well-paying American jobs."

Considering the daunting number of years needed to complete the project and even find an eventual route for it, an instant fix of the American economy and job creation are very unlikely and the Repubicans know it, despite their deceptive claim of a “quick fix” if the American people would only believe them at the election booth. In fact the only thing instant will be a huge additional profit to Canadian and U.S. oil companies the very moment that crude begins flowing. Only a few thousand local jobs will be involved in the construction, and will end when it is completed. The jobs increase will come in Canada manning pumping stations etc, but what few midwestern refineries that remain open after their supply has been bypassed to the Gulf, are already staffed.

Over the past five years, exports from the US Gulf Coast have soared as refiners sitting in tax-free zones near Port Arthur, Texas, have shifted production away from gasoline and toward higher-margin diesel. Since 2007, overall US exports of diesel and other products have jumped 134 percent, the US Energy Information Administration reports. Of US exports, two-thirds is shipped abroad from Gulf Coast refineries – now more than 2 million barrels a day and up from just a quarter of today's level a decade ago.

That trend was captured in testimony Sept. 17, 2009, before Canada’s National Energy Board. Seven Canadian companies were willing to pay higher pipeline tariff costs for using the Keystone XL pipeline, the testimony showed, <b>in order to bypass Midwest refineries</b> by sending 500,000 barrels per day, the lion’s share of the pipeline’s capacity, to Gulf refineries.

Even if jobs are created, which will only last until the pipeline is completed, they’ll benefit only the middle red states where republican interests lie. Where the country is hurting the most will see no benefits, and higher gas prices at the pumps as local refineries are shut down due to the oil being shipped to Texas and the gulf coast refineries. By the time the pipeline is built and the truths in this article come to fruition, it will be too late to do anything about it and the Oil Company sponsored members of the House and Senate know it.

“Until this pipeline is constructed, the US will continue to import millions of barrels of conflict oil from the Middle East and Venezuela and other foreign countries who do not share democratic values Canadians and Americans are privileged to have,” Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer. “This project,” he continued, “is too important to the US economy, the Canadian economy and the national interest of the United States for it not to proceed.”

Still believe him?

Don’t let multi-billion dollar Canadian and U.S. oil companies fool you into equating TransCanada with Canada itself. It is these very oil companies that are draining cash from both of our countries working families lean budgets with their already obsene profits and now they want more... and they want the American Tax Payer to not only foot the bill, pay their higher prices at the pump, but to thank them for it too.

Republican presidential candidates are quick to criticize President Obama for high gas prices. What they don’t tell you is that pump prices rise mostly from speculators on Wall Street buying gasoline up, taking it off the market, creating a supply/demand shortage, then selling it a huge profit on the crisis that they themselves created in the first place.


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This article was first pubilshed at BlogCritics.org WARNING: Reproduction of the FIRST PARAGRAPH of this article is permitted as long as a link to it is provided. Reproduction of this article past the first paragraph is forbidden without the author's permission ©-2012 by Jet Gardner/Blogcritics.org

Friday, September 30, 2011

Debit Card Fees Are Coming To a Bank Near You!

DEBIT CARD FEES 

According to the Declaration of Independence, “…all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Wall Street bankers depend on this because if you’re used to something, you’ll probably suffer with it rather than expend the effort to change it.

I had a WTF moment last night during a broadcast of NBC’s nightly news broadcast when dependable Brian reported that beginning Thursday, Bank of America would begin charging customers a monthly $5 fee just for using their debit cards… In fact before I realized I’d done it, I jumped up and yelled “WHAT???” at the top of my lungs (scaring the hell out of my cat sleeping peacefully beside me.)

The only thing that immediately came to mind was to wonder if Bank of America had recently hired suicidal financial advisors away from Netflix. Upon further research (in fear that my own bank was next,) I discovered that Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase are plotting to do the same. This is definitely going to cause a customer backlash akin to the one that resulted in the Durbin amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act that limits the fees that banks can charge stores etc. for debit card purchases. In fact, this is probably the result of that amendment. Banks are famous for having a reserve of lawyers that go over federal regulations in advance to find ways around them before they’re even signed into law, so we naïve Americans should’ve seen this coming (refer back to the first paragraph of this article.)

After all Wall Street execs can’t survive without their 7-figure bonus checks every year.

For a decade or so now, the banks have plotted to do away with paper money, turning America into a plastic society. As a result, most Americans pay with debit cards for everything from a quick hamburger on the fly at the neighborhood McDonald’s to movie tickets with the family at the local theater. The banks loved this concept because they used to be able to get away with charging insane overdraft fees on each and every transaction if you momentarily lost track of your balance, and at the end of the month those last 12 morning coffees at Burger King on your way to work ran $35 each because you were overdrawn by a mere 16 cents… and they joyfully got away with it because at the time Wall Street owned and operated the GOP-led congress that made it all legal!

Like a good heroin dealer, they get you addicted to it by making it free and then when you can’t live without it they start charging you a bundle for it. This is the same trick that credit cards used on us lower middle classers. I had a great credit card with a wonderful interest rate on my purchases and I’d loyally used it for years faithfully ignoring fantasy-laced balance-transfer offers. One day I got a letter in the mail saying a predatory bank had bought my account and now all those little perks like free rental car insurance, no annual fees, and that low-low finance rate was now “a limited time only” deal and I’d now be paying 21.9% on my purchases. Oh but not to worry they gleefully assured – if I didn’t like it, it was really easy to fix… all I’d have to do is pay off that $4000 balance in a lump sum that I ran up before they bought the company, and go somewhere else.

I realized that the banks had learned the same lesson when I recently also had a perk-filled free checking account that earned a decent interest rate… then another bank bought them. Within months, that free safe deposit box was gone, those “points” that I was earning suddenly vanished, and then I was forced to close my savings account and transfer it to my checking account to satisfy a minimum balance requirement… of course this meant earning a much lower checking interest rate. Then I was informed that if I didn’t keep at least $500 in my new checking account I wouldn’t earn any interest at all, plus I’d be charged a minimum balance fee if it fell below $100 at any time! Meanwhile my money was merrily being loaned out to other victims like myself at high rates that guaranteed my bank a very healthy profit margin.

So far I’ve been lucky, but with all of the on-line banks competing for my deposits and transactions, my current bank should be forewarned that I’m gone if they start charging me just to use my debit card. The reason being that I’ll have to start withdrawing my paychecks the moment they’re direct deposited and paying cash, resulting in minimum balance fees and no interest at all… which is what they want in the first place. And there’s not a damned thing I can do about it, because I need a checking account to pay bills electronically… unless I want to pay a couple of dollars each for money orders to mail in payments.

And I’ll probably sit here and take it, because they know I’ll figure it’s too much of a hassle to change banks, and if I did the new bank would probably do the same thing anyway so why not keep my money where it is?

… Again back to the first paragraph …which is where we’re all stuck. (sigh)

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This article was first pubilshed at BlogCritics.org WARNING: Reproduction of the FIRST PARAGRAPH of this article is permitted as long as a link to it is provided. Reproduction of this article past the first paragraph is forbidden without the author's permission ©-2011 by Jet Gardner/Blogcritics.org

Friday, May 14, 2010

The $25 Bill. A Good Idea Whose Time Has Come

U.S. CURRENCY/EDITORIAL

I used to run a business and as a joke my office wall featured a little plaque that read, “If it makes sense-it’s against company policy!” About a month ago I was sorting out my pocket change and stopped to frown at the pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters for a moment. Then I glanced at a pile of currency comprised of ones, fives, tens and twenties. It was then that I wondered why the United States produces a twenty-five cent coin but only a twenty-dollar bill.

Wouldn’t it make more sense for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to produce a twenty-five dollar bill? Using this method it would only take four “twenty-fives” to make one hundred-dollars instead of five twenties. For every four twenty-five dollar notes produced by the B.E.P. the country would save the expenditure of making one twenty; effectively saving the nation 20% in the production costs involved. The “twenty” is one of the most utilized forms of currency today, however the note has a shelf life due to wear and tear of only around two years at best. Most people don’t know that the Federal Reserve destroys 7,000 tons of no longer usable currency a year. With that kind of turnover, finding an excuse not to print one out of every five only makes sense to me.

On that note, (sorry for the pun) I would like to propose to the powers that be my own idea of what the “twenty-five” might look like.

There couldn’t possibly be that much controversy (especially among Native Americans remembering the "Trail of Tears") regarding retiring Andrew Jackson from U.S. paper currency; could there? Though I’ve done some extensive research on the subject, I’ve yet to determine what exactly motivated someone to propose his portrait to replace Grover Cleveland’s in 1928 in the first place. After all, this is the same Andrew Jackson who in his farewell speech to the nation stressed his opinions against paper money and in fact made it one of the goals of his administration to put the National Bank/the Bank of the United States/Federal Bank out of business.

Rather than go through congressional hearings and politicos’ ranting all over the radio waves for the next decade over who to replace him with, in the name of expediency and for the sake of argument, I chose to put someone who is already approved and appears on the fifty-cent coin; namely President John F. Kennedy. This would cause a stir in some quarters, but the man did after all have his life taken from him during his service to his country, was a war hero, saved the nation from nuclear annihilation during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and did more than any other to get America into space and onto the moon. In my view that is reason enough.

The note is patterned after the soon to be distributed $100 bill, incorporating some of its new features and adding some of my own. There are the obvious security measures of an ultra-violet strip embedded in the paper (in this case it glows purple,) the red, white and blue fibers within the surface, the large sight-impaired color shifting denomination in the lower right corner of the bill along with the portrait watermark. In addition to those, I substituted the inkwell with a statue of liberty that changes color when the bill is tilted from copper to green, and I moved the 3D hologram strip from the center to the far left border.

The new pale blue 3D hologram stripe contains a white “TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS” that moves side-to-side and up and down to indicate at even a casual glance if the bill is genuine or not. The MDCCLXXVI (1776) to the left of Kennedy’s portrait appears and vanishes, and the S at the end of the “TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS” in the upper right border changes back and forth to a $. Since each denomination has its own color scheme I incorporated a yellow hue in the middle of the bill that is hard for a home scanner to detect and that a printer would read as white.

My own personal touch was to add a “dollar sign” in front of the denomination in the upper right corner, if only because the noble symbol has been absent from our currency for some time now. In the future I’d like to see the “paper” replaced with something more durable like the polymer notes produced in Australia since 1988 that are harder to duplicate and last longer.

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WARNING: Reproduction of the FIRST PARAGRAPH of this article is permitted as long as a link to it is provided. Reproduction of this article past the first paragraph is forbidden without the author's permission ©-2010 by Jet Gardner/Blogcritics.org


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Friday, April 23, 2010

Translating What The Tea Party Movement & Right-Wing Politicians Say (2nd Edition)

EDITORIAL-POLITICS+RELIGION=CHAOS

It was Bill Maher that said that the Tea Party is bound and determined to take our country back... then he said he'd rather have it taken forward instead.

The "angry" Tea Party movement has recently gained a lot of undeserved strength, ironically because the alleged “liberal” media has paid so much attention to it. In my opinion, the “Tea Baggers” and Sarah Palin aren’t really a separate autonomous movement, but actually GOP rejects that have been “disavowed” by the Republican Party for being an embarrassment to them. The official party uses them to express unpopular views and to take stands that are in line with most GOP supporters, but the tea baggers can loudly and frequently express them separately so that the Republican Party can assert that they don’t really “represent” the party’s “official” opinions, all the while hiding in the safety of knowing that the movement in general will support all GOP candidates and issues.

Provided here is a "conversion tool" of sorts, to help understand terms employed by the GOP's Religious/Political Right/Tea Party wing in their unjustfiably over-publicized editorials, church sermons and political speeches. These are the words and catch-phrases that are used by over-angry people that believe in their hearts that they have the god-given right to judge people and to declare anyone this or that. So what do they mean when they talk out of both sides of their mouths?

Here are a few translations.

Do you still beat your wife?:
A tea bagger will often slip an assumption into a statement to sneak it under the enthusiastic press’ radar for wide distribution. A sentence that starts with “Obama, who loves to devalue the U.S. dollar…” followed by something that makes little or no sense is a common tool. You are so flabbergasted at the ridiculous assertion that followed that you let them imply that President Obama loves to devalue the dollar as a given, rather than argue with it. Tell a lie often enough and it becomes an assumed truth; which is one of the GOP’s main tools… which leads to:

WE DON’T WANT HIGHER TAXES!:
A phrase which if screamed and plastered across enough picket signs leads the uneducated to believe strongly that their taxes have gotten higher under the Obama administration. In actual fact for 95% of Americans, their taxes have gotten lower during the current administration. The GOP wealthy are actually trying to convince the general public that middle income families are paying as much (or in danger of paying as much) as they are in an attempt to get their own taxes lowered. And why do the rich pay at higher tax rates? Well, actually they don’t. The ever higher rates are actually an attempt to get the GOP wealthy to pay their fair share after their tax accountants have reduced their IRS payments down to next to nothing through deductions and loopholes.

What tea-baggers don’t want middle America to consider is that without taxes, our roads, schools, bridges, libraries and essential public services would vanish for lack of funding. Another fact is that as federal taxes go down, usually state and local taxes go up, figuring that we can afford to pay them more, now that we’re paying the fed less. Since the average wage earner only sees less in their paychecks, they blame the U.S. government.

So let’s take a look at those well known catch phrases used by Palin and the political right and let a “liberal” translate them to you in terms that make sense.

Almost half of Americans pay no income taxes at all!:
This little catch phrase-while true-allows Republicans to lead the common American to believe that the liberal poor don’t pay their fair share. The key phrase is “Income taxes”. Most middle-income families with four or more children actually pay little or no income taxes after deductions. They do however pay federal and inflated state and local taxes, along with Social Security etc. This is a method of getting us to feel sorry for the GOP wealthy who are supposedly paying more than their fair share but actually aren’t.

Un-American, unfair and/or detrimental to the struggling middle-class:
Anything that the Tea Party movement angrily disagrees with, is described using these phrases…whether it’s true or not. These descriptions have the convenience of the speaker not having to prove the declaration after it’s uttered.

Normal:
Anyone who is white, heterosexual, married (or engaged to be), attends and tithes a minimum of ten percent to a Christian (preferably Baptist) church at least once a week, and is a registered Republican voter. The opposite terms "abnormal", "repugnant", "evil", and of course "offensive" are usually used nearby as a companion in the same paragraph or comment with this word. Blacks and Hispanics can sometimes be “normal”, but only if they completely adhere to strict guidelines, and stay in the background as much as possible. Be warned that the Republican Party/Tea Baggers will include you in their ranks in order to lure you into the voting booth, but the very moment the polls close on Election Day, you’ll be stuck outside their door without an entry password or their secret handshake.

Law abiding:
This hijacked term has been twisted to mean "those who adhere only to "God's law", in an attempt to misguide the uneducated into believing there's a difference between "god's law" and "civil" laws. For instance, several states and/or municipalities have "Consenting Adult" laws, which state that any two adults of legal consent age, regardless of sex, may engage in sexual activities in the privacy of their own home. To the Religious/Political Right, this is not one of God's laws, and therefore if you recognize the concept of "Consenting Adult" you are not a "law abiding" citizen. The same goes for a lawful legal abortion, etc. etc. ad nauseam. The Republican Party will not recognize an abortion as a legal right guaranteed to all Americans because they disagree with it. After all the GOP has no use for the Supreme Court unless it’s to do things like electing George Bush, preserve your right to own machineguns or control what children read or learn in public schools. Back in the seventies the court was packed with reactionary liberal judges who legislated from the bench; so their opinions legally binding or otherwise don’t count.

States rights/Big Government:
This implies that the government is so big that it won’t allow individual states to govern themselves. It’s a term yelled from the rooftops when the government won’t allow a state to do something, or forces them to do anything they don’t agree with. If the government didn’t have this power, southern blacks would never have gained the right to vote, attend whites-only schools and colleges, eat at a “whites only” restaurant, interacially marry, or gain equal employment. Big government is only needed by the Tea Party/GOP to protect gun rights and overrule state legislation protecting legal abortion or granting gay rights.

Running up the American debt for our children:
Something the former Republican president and congress had no qualms about doing after Bush conned the country into thinking that Saddam Hussein had something to do with planning 9/11 and was about to use “weapons of mass destruction” on our helpless children. Those trillions of tax-payer dollars were justified regardless of the national debt or not. Nor does it matter that a Republican administration initiated the billions in bank bailouts that the GOP is trying to pin on Obama and counting on the short memories of voters.

2nd amendment rights are threatened!:
The NRA doesn’t want to let slip their control over the Republican Party, so they convince normal Americans that the federal government is about to take their rights to own hunting rifles away from them. To quote Robin Williams,
“The NRA says that you have the right to use armor-piercing bullets if you're a hunter… WHY? How many deer wear bullet-proof vests?”

Someone please inform me of any time during his administration when President Obama has suggested taking the right of gun ownership away from everyday people?

Patriot:
Only those who strictly worship the Flag, the Bible, and any denomination of the Baptist Church as a holy trinity, which is quickly replacing "Baseball, mom, and apple pie". You must worship all three equally or be branded unpatriotic, traitorous, liberal, unchristian and/or a deviant.

Example of their hypocrisy: the "Patriot Act" has nothing to do with being patriotic in the literal sense of the word.

In God We Trust:
What this phrase means is their god to the exclusion of anyone else’s god. If you actually pressed a religious/political fanatic into explaining the phrase, you’d be appalled to discover that most “god fearing” people believe that unless you belong to their specific fundamentalist sect, you won’t make it to heaven, nor if it was up to them will the U.S. Government guarantee your right to worship (or not worship) as you please… or haven’t you noticed there are no officially recognized U.S. religious holidays that aren’t celebrated by Southern Baptists; nor are there likely to be.

Unborn child:
A phrase that makes as much sense and is just as misleading as calling a used car “pre-owned.”

Evil:
This term should be obvious, but isn't. The word "evil" was hijacked by the Religious/Political Right, and the Tea Party movement loves to use this term to describe anything that they don't agree with. For example there is President Ronald Reagan’s beloved use of “The Evil Empire" to describe the former Soviet Union (not the one associated with Darth Vader). An associated adjective would be G.W.’s constant use of the term "evildoers". By his own definition President Bush was doing "evil" by haphazardly tapping innocent citizens phones because they "might" be terrorists, and/or holding foreign prisoners captive without legal representation, and in some cases psychologically or physically torturing them for the purpose of getting information from them. However the term “evil” only applies if you’re anything but a Republican Christian.

Liberal:
This used to be a proud term, meaning all-inclusive, all-encompassing and all-accepting. It used to be that you'd brag proudly of attending a Liberal College or studying Liberal Arts. However when used by the Religious/Political Right it means, (forgive me for being blunt here) "Fag lover", "God-hater", "Baby Killer" and "Against the Flag."

Secular:
This term has taken on a meaning of its own, and usually when used by the Religious/Political Right is opposite of its intended "worldly" definition. A new religion as been defined as Secular Humanism, a very slippery term which can mean anything they conveniently want to oppose.

Offensive: see "Evil".

Beware I'm about to use most of the Liberal Thesaurus on these next two terms!

God:
God is actually someone you unconditionally love, and who loves and accepts everyone; in other words he’s a liberal. (Hmmmm I wasn't struck by lightning while typing that sentence!) God speaks through you and to you and not through self-appointed, self-anointed men who pick and choose which Bible verses are significant and which aren't in order to argue in favor of slavery, prohibition of alcohol, or the suppression and segregation of one population over another.

God fearing:
This term is probably the most self-serving, judgmental, hypocritical, morally ambiguous, intellectually bankrupt, long-winded and Biblically challenged phrase of them all. Religious zealots use this term to make ordinary people "fear" god, and in so doing you will fear them by association. To fear God, is to fear your reverend/priest/minister/rabbi, through whom God supposedly speaks to you.

Racially balanced:
As in the oft-quoted, "The Republican Party is very racially balanced." This phrase is used during hurriedly arranged photo ops after someone of prominence has made the insinuation to the mainstream media that the Tea Party movement is composed of mostly loud-mouthed white people.

Someone is bound to utter this phrase just as you notice that all of the women, Blacks and Hispanics in the group have suddenly been pushed up into the front row smiling proudly for an unexpected camera, not realizing that behind them the next solid three rows are the white guys hiding their smirks because they know that they're really the ones in charge.

Judeo-Christian Values:
Note Judeo always comes first. This phrase is used often and loudly when the vocal right-wing Christian section is emphasizing that they have generously included Jews in their outrage about abortion, gay rights, or tax breaks for major corporations. Usually the next day the more extreme fundamentalists of the group give a sermon to their followers stressing that while they love their Jewish brothers (well, maybe just enough to get the election swung in their favor), they must still realize that in order for Jews to get into “their” heaven, they still must first accept Jesus Christ as their savior.

Sort of how they feel about their southern private Golf Clubs.

Your facts are only theories:
A phrase used most often when they know Democrats are speaking the truth, but they haven't found time to "Google, Bing or Yahoo" something opposing from a right-wing slanted website to refute it yet.

Knee-jerk reaction:
This translates to "They've intelligently reacted to something important before we did, causing us embarrassment, so we'll dismiss it as nothing in order to distract the public." The press in the past has had knee-jerk reactions to rising gas prices at the pump, but don't worry... soon it'll be "old news".

Some of my best friends are gay:
They live about three miles from me. My sister's hairdresser's maid introduced me to a plumber who lives next door to one, but I can't remember his name. He says they're nice people.

Impeding Our Free speech:
This translates to "Not permitting right-wing political or religious propaganda (most famously the 10 commandments) to be prominently displayed in and/or on public buildings".
See also:

Violating the spirit of the First Amendment:
This translates to their right of refusing to allow “liberals” to employ the "Free speech amendment" for such things as homosexual pornography, cuss words on “The Sopranos” reruns or showing nude scenes from “True Blood” on HBO. Hypocritically this phrase does not include publishing books criticizing George Bush or Ronald Reagan, nor the broadcasting of slanted opinions disguised as “facts” from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, Sarah "angry" Palin or Glen Beck.

Our children’s education is threatened by Obama!:
Never mind that federal school money was diverted to support private parochial schools, or that right-wing laws were passed to force teachers to have students believe religious texts over science books. Never mind that the Tea Party’s stand on lower taxes is causing whithering teacher salaries or larger, harder to manage class rooms… it’s all Obama’s fault.

I am praying for you! :
Personally I'm disgusted every time a politician utters this phrase. We were asked to pray for the lives of two space shuttle crew’s safe return, we were asked to pray for several sets of coal miners to be found alive, and Bush asked America to pray constantly for the victims of the World Trade Center to be rescued alive along with the lives of the victims of the Pentagon. All the GOP is doing is kissing the collective asses of the Political/Religious Right… nothing more-nothing less. Except giving false hope to grieving families.

Homosexual:
This term is used frequently to stress the "sex" in homosexual, because the only real difference between a homosexual and a heterosexual is who they sleep with at night. The idea behind using the word "homosexual" is to emphasize the myth that gays are nothing more than sexual beings, to the exclusion of all else, as if this is the only thing they think about night and day. This increases the "icky" factor, causing normal god fearing people to shield their children and themselves from such beasts because homosexuals, like AIDS, rapidly spreads like a disease infecting innocents on contact. Usually in the same sentence or article you'll find such terms as "predator", "recruits or recruiter", "pedophile" or "degenerate" to bolster the claim that gays are only dangerous sexual beings. The term "gay" is avoided at all cost. Fear of this word is what brings right-wing voters out in droves, usually in loaded church busses helping the elderly get to a voting booth in exchange for looking over one of their "voting guides".

Note: in discussions concerning granting gay rights or gay marriage, a Tea Bagger will invariable make the ridiculous assertion that, “If we let them do that, the next thing you know they’ll want to be able to marry animals.”

Special Rights:
This term describes a set of basic human essentials that the Religious/Political/Tea Bagger Right reserves only and wholly for itself. By using the term "special" it convinces regular folks that gays want rights that "normal God fearing" Christians don't or can't have or that the faggots want to take away from them; rights that they covet exclusively for themselves! In actuality the "special" rights that the "Religious/Political Right" don’t want you to know that those heathen gays want are the following simple items:

1. The ability to visit a lover/partner of 10 years in an intensive care ward as a "next of kin", without being barred from the hospital and/or by the opposing family. (Fortunately that heathen liberal Obama forced this one upon the American public against their will.)

2. The unopposed ability of one partner/lover to inherit the property they've shared and nurtured for a lifetime from the other.

3. The ability to have both lover/partners listed as "parents" or "guardians" of the biological or adopted children they've lovingly raised and nurtured together.

4. The right to jointly own property, and to jointly file income as a couple

Pedophile:
A pedophile is a homosexual that is attracted to, and tends to kidnap, eat, and/or molest innocent little children of either sex (go figure) and is morally unsavable. A heterosexual with the same tendencies is a "misguided soul" who merely needs some loving prayer and religious help, in order to redeem himself in the eyes of the lord.

In conclusion:
I miss the good old days when a church or a temple united and pulled a community together, instead of dividing it. A thief, an adulterer or even a prostitute didn't have the sanctuary doors judgmentally and verbally locked against them. They were welcomed with open arms in fellowship. In doing so, they and the congregation learned through love and gentle acceptance to change their ways.

The power of hate is a potent weapon, and in the wrong hands can and does push love and acceptance aside.

I'm sad that those days are gone, probably forever, and I'm hoping that someday a surgeon will find a way to separate the Religious Right from the Political Right, who've been joined at the hip with the Tea Party movement for far too long.

People such as angry Sarah Palin, Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan, the late Jerry Falwell, Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh want nothing more than to acquire personal power through the use of the name God and christian "patriotism" to allow them to think and form your opinions for you. They gain this power through unwarrented publicity for the outrageous things they intentionally say. They use God, not to spread the meaning and teachings of the Gospels, but to line their pockets, and gain prestige. Robertson and Graham and their like are nothing more than "thieves at the steps of the temple,” pulling in tens of millions a year in untaxed income for private jets, limos, mansions and to buy massive amounts of slanted commercials in local elections through third parties to amass even more power. They are men who have become so secure in their own sacredness in the scheme of things that they probably believe that God doesn't allow the sun to shine until they wake up in the morning.

I thank god daily that I consider myself a Christian... Just not "their" brand of Christian and remind you that this is only my personal opinion; presented as such and not as undeniable facts as others do.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

The New $100 Bill is Unveiled!

NEW CURRENCY

On Wednesday April 21, 2010. the United States Treasury department unveiled with pride the new $100 bill that is due to be widely circulated in February of 2011. The reknowned note is known worldwide as the “Superdollar,” and is the most frequently used and counterfeited currency note in the world. U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner expressed his personal confidence at the official unveiling, that this will be the hardest bill ever to duplicate.

Along with the usual expected features such as the watermark presidential portrait, the internal security thread strip showing the denomination, and the color shifting “100” in the lower right corner, the newly and nearly completely redesigned one hundred dollar bill will also include a large ink well with a color shifting Liberty Bell that transitions from a copper tone to dark green when it is tilted, and an all new – and very obvious and prominent 3-D blue security stripe down the middle that will instantly confirm at a glance it’s genuineness to even a casual observer. The strip features a series of bells and digits that dance and are extremely difficult to duplicate.

The bill is also changing hues and will feature more blue/gray shading than green especially on the back endangering its nickname as a “greenback.”

For an interesting and/or shocking video of the new bill click here.

Shocking?

At the end of the presentation you’ll note several official looking men on a podium uncovering an enlarged image of the bill and talking about the new U.S. Treasury note and you might not be able to understand them until you notice the subtitles describing the features of the new bill… because they’re speaking in Russian! It seems the bill was unveiled in Russia as well with or without the American Treasury department’s blessing.

At a news conference Mr. Geithner stated, “As with previous US currency redesigns, this note incorporates the best technology available to ensure we're staying ahead of counterfeiters,"

Let's hope...

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tinkering Texans Tamper With Texts To Teach Slanted Right-Wing Agenda To U.S. Kids

EDITORIAL

In an article I wrote two years ago, I expressed my concerns about worldwide religious and political fanatics trying to rewrite history and science books in order to model them after their own narrow agendas. Much of my expressed unease was scoffed at. Apparently those fears however are now coming to fruition in Texas as I speak.

Being one of the largest purchasers of kindergarten through 12th grade textbooks in the country, the Texas State Board of Education with its nearly five million students has a large influence on what is published in not only its own state, but nationwide as well. Where that becomes a problem for the rest of us, is when a lame-duck session of the BOE has now succeeded in twisting History, Science and Social Studies primers in order to conform to their right-wing notions, knowing full well that they’re about to be booted out of office and that the soon-to-be-published texts will be used for at least ten years down the road.

In a move toward the GOP’s political center, Dr. Don McLeroy, a dentist and leader of the board's far-right conservative faction, was voted out of office during Texas’ Republican primaries. Seeing the end of his considerable influence drawing to a close soon, he seems determined to turn socio-political studies in his state into a training ground for Southern Christian thinking with posible overtones of racism.

Maybe he and his seven ultra-conservative associates can explain the following questions:

Obviously Texans don’t know nearly a century and a half after the event, that the South lost the Civil War. Why else would a demand be introduced that defeated Confederate General Stonewall Jackson’s leadership skills be taught alongside and in contrast to President Abraham Lincoln’s?

Why would his committee push for an amendment to remove all mention of such men as Ross Perot and Ralph Nader, and then demand that in their place such people as Phyllis Schlafly, and influences such as The Contract with America, the Moral Majority, the right-wing Heritage Foundation and the National Rifle Association be taught in their place? Others at the meeting also insisted that even though their very first “convention” was held just recently, that the Tea Party’s influence on American History be included in the new schoolbooks?

In a move that seemed to try to eliminate or minimize any mention ot the civil rights movement’s influence on U.S. History, they proposed removing any references to the contributions of race in our national identity. On the second day of meetings it was proposed and rejected that the names of two Hispanic and one Black Medal of Honor winner be included in a World History book. Member Barbara Cargill tried to minimize their influence by declaring them historically insignificant. When several other members bristled at the notion, she used the typical “some of my best friends are negroes” argument by relating how a dear black friend of hers in Memphis suffered from the effects of segregation, but that now things were much better for her. African American member Mavis Knight of Dallas was quoted as saying, “I really regret that no member of this board who is not African American has not lived 64 years in this country as I have and with my education and experience to know how African-Americans are still treated today," Knight said. "Yes, we have come a long way, but we have not arrived."

Why would his committee turn away requests to include Hispanic heroes such as Juan Abamillo, Andres Nava and Jose Navarro (a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence) who were some of the Tejanos who gallantly fought and died at the Alamo along side comrades such as Davey Crockett? Why are they considering proposals that lessons about American Indians be cut or diminished?

McLeroy’s allies are also pushing for the teaching of biblical “science” and emphasizing the weakness of Evolution as an “unproven” theory. One of the reasons that America's rankings in worldwide scientific knowledge and research has slipped so low is that in the last 10 years teachers nationwide have been told to instruct their students to believe their bibles rather than, or beside of scientific facts.

We must teach our children that our founding fathers were all devout Christians and that their faith formed our great nation as assigned by God.
In the same vein, McLeroy’s minions are pushing to teach children that the forefathers of the United States were just as determined as he apparently is to forge our nation into a Christian society, ignoring quotes from such founding fathers as:

Thomas Paine said, "Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifiying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity.”

Thomas Jefferson infamously said, "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State."

George Washington: Near the end of George Washington’s term on November, 4, 1796, the Treaty of Tripoli was written under his supervision. In Article 11 we read: "As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries." In 1797 the Senate ratified the treaty with no public objections, despite it being published for all to read, and Washington’s successor John Adams signed it without reservation.

Of Washington’s thousands of collected letters the name of Jesus Christ is not mentioned even once. In fact, when it was proposed that reference to Christ be inserted into the preamble of the Constitution, the vast majority of the founding fathers voted against it because that would infer that our forefathers meant to exclude protections of “…the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination."

I do, however completely agree with one thing McLeroy said, "Our country is divided on how we see things and these things really come into sharp focus, especially with history and how you present it to your children." ...I just don't agree with his "version" of it.

Perhaps it would be best (in my humble opinion) to suggest strongly that, like the Bible, there be different and separate “versions” printed of the Texas texts… the Texas Version and the American Version. Hopefully someone will come to their senses on the new school board and stop to revise and undo the changes before that becomes necessary.


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Saturday, September 19, 2009

CNN To Fox News-“YOU LIE!”-Demands Apology

CNN’s Rick Sanchez became livid on his program Friday about a color ad that Fox News had placed in the September 17, 2009 edition of The Washington Post.

The ad contained a photo, which he said is suspiciously similar to a tower shot used by CNN of the Tea Party March on Washington D.C. The offending ad accused all of the major networks by name, including CNN, of intentionally not covering the event, and implying that only Fox covers “all” the news and no one else does. The event was referred to as a right-wing tea party and was heavily promoted and covered at Fox News.

Sanchez said Fox was “…using a lie to try and divide people into camps. And, you know, Americans are starting to get tired of this.”

Sanchez went on to use several methods to prove just how well the event was covered by CNN, showing a clip of the Fox News Bill O’Reilly program “The O’Reilly Factor” in which Bill says on camera, “…CNN, as we mentioned, covered the anti-Obama protests, of course…”

As further proof he ran several clips of CNN correspondents reporting on the event. CNN’s Paul Steinhauser reported on the route the protesters were taking and the approximate time the event would take place on the west front of the Capital building. CNN correspondent Kate Bolduan reported on traffic conditions for the rally, helpfully mentioning that many were still stuck on Pennsylvania Avenue and that crowds were still coming from Freedom Plaza. CNN’s Lisa Desjardins interviewed protesters in the crowd indicating that they all very strongly supported Congressman Joe Wilson’s outburst at President Obama.

Saving the best for last Sanchez played coast-to-coast clips of CNN correspondent Jim Spellman who had traveled with the “Tea Party Express” to some 30 rallies reporting on them in several news casts as they traveled east to Washington D.C. Spellman reported of the growing numbers within the protesters who loudly support, “…outlandish conspiracy theories about death camps about this takeover, people comparing President Obama to Hitler. And it really is a sizable thread. It's not just a couple of people on the edges.”

One protester was so proud of his stand that when he realized he was on camera, he actually turned his sign around so that it couldn't be read by viewers!

As Sanchez’s anger grew at the out-and-out lie that CNN didn’t cover the event he said this of the photo in their ad, “All right, let me show you this. You see the thing on the left now? That's our tower cam shot of the event that we used repeatedly throughout those shows. Funny how you can say that we didn't cover an event by using that picture, that picture that looks an awful lot like our tower cam shot, doesn't it? And you used it in your ad saying we didn't cover the story.”

Sanchez summed up his presentation by saying that the difference in the two competing network’s coverage of the event was that CNN “covered” it while Fox News went out of their way to “promote” it in order to divide the country along political lines and defied Fox to study the different meanings of those two words. He went on to reiterate that CNN covered the event with four correspondents, two satellite trucks, multiple live interviews with attendees, and on-camera lawmakers giving their views.

CNN put in a call to Fox News asking for a comment on Sanchez’s report, and informing them of Rick's on-camera demand of an apology for the false and misleading ad.

Apparently they’re still waiting for someone to return that call.

Sanchez ended his segment by saying,
“Let me address the FOX News Network now perhaps the most current way that I can, by quoting somebody who recently used a very pithy phrase, two words. It's all I need: You lie."


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Friday, May 1, 2009

Heartless U. S. Rep. Calls Matthew Shepard Murder A “Hoax”

This article has moved to Jet's Gay Pride Page-please follow the link in the table of contens to the left to find it... Thanks!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

How Soon Before the GOP Realizes They Lost the Election?

Editorial:
As recent legislative events will attest to, the Republicans in Congress aren't opposing President Barack Obama because there's a good reason for it, nor to protect or help our nation’s economy in any way. In my opinion, they're just nit picking, verbally distracting, and trying to delay majority legislation because they’ve discovered that they still can.

It’s not obvious to the general public yet, but with only a few conservative Democrats defecting to the other side, it's become clear to the Republican minority that important legislation can’t possibly make it through both houses of Congress with a filibuster-proof margin, so they delay and publicly criticize, knowing the media will eat it up, which (they hope) should distract everyone from the obvious fact that the GOP tried it their way for eight years and wound us up in the situation we're in now.

Of even more interest is Rep. John A. Boehner (Ohio)'s complaint that the bill was passing without anyone reading it.

Uh, John, the bill is basically the same as it was three weeks ago-save a few alterations to sooth a few hesitant Republicans like you. If you or your staff haven't read it by now, you never will-not that you ever intended to. A better question would be how many bulky Republican bills have you hypocritically not read through?

With Republicans in both houses screaming bloody murder at the top of their lungs over the billions we have to spend to clean up President George W. Bush’s disastrous financial mess, maybe they are hoping we won’t remember how much we’ve spent in dollars and lives on a useless and unwarranted war in Iraq. A war mind you, that our children’s children will still be paying for decades from now, just like they claim the bailout will do.

One of the reasons that the general public gave both houses of Congress such bad approval ratings after the Democrats just barely (emphasis on the word “barely”) won the majority of both houses in 2004 was because the electorate didn’t understand the consequences of that slim victory. The U.S. voter didn’t realize or even care enough to learn that without a Bush-veto-proof majority nothing could get done without begging the GOP for cooperation. Cooperation that they weren’t about to give if it meant admitting that the Democrats might have some better ideas on how to get things done, than they did during their own failed tenure... so they blamed the Democratic majority for apparent inaction that wasn't in their power to side-step.

With President Obama achieving the unprecedented legislative passage of a bill of historic proportions only two and a half weeks into his presidency, maybe it’s swiftly becoming a good and timely idea to remind those GOP and conservative Democratic congressmen and senators that either they shut up and get with the majority voter’s decisions, or lose their seats in the coming mid-term elections. Like it or not, the Republican minority is taking a big gamble opposing President Obama, if the economy begins to bounce back in two years, they’re all going to look like fools.

…and deservedly so.



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© 2009 by Jet in Columbus

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Editorial: The U. S. in Crisis-Either Join Together or Fall Apart

This editorial contains strong language-and for a damned good reason...


Look what we've done to ourselves!!! YOU-YES-YOU LOOK AT US AND WHAT WE'RE DOING!!!


LOOK WHAT WE DID TO THE FIRST PRESIDENT BUSH!
We all rallyed behind him during the first gulf war, Hell-half of us wanted to erect a statue to the man in front of the capital (myself included) but half of us wanted badly to see him fail in revenge for how the ultra right-wing "christian conservatives" kidnapped the republican party and held it for ransom!!!

It was during this period that I switched from a liberal Republican to a conservative democrat.

We never gave President Bush I a chance in 1988. But stop and look at the work he's done since leaving office for world disaster relief etc, and wonder what he could've done as president-had we only given him a chance!


LOOK WHAT WE DID TO BILL CLINTON
The moment he took office the right-wing tried to find any way they could to bring him down whether he deserved it or not.
Bitch and CLAIM all you want, but in the end it comes down to you refusing to cooperate and rally around him to make this country great, much less get behind a man who like it or not brought down our deficit and presided over one of the most peaceful and prosperous times in American History!!! Remember we're not talking budget deficit-we're talking SURPLUS!

AND FOR WHAT???

Despite dragging him into impeachment, the only trumped up charge you could make stick was lying to his wife and the American people about getting a fucking blow job-a god damned BLOW JOB-something any husband would lie about in the same circumstances.

You can beat your partisan chests till your blue in the face and CLAIM he was guilty of anything you want, BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT TO BELIEVE, but in the end a REPUBLICAN congress did not have enough on him to bring him down (despite "Whitewater" and he remained in office... despite what "facts" you sore losers will regurgitate up


LOOK WHAT WE DID TO GEORGE W. BUSH.
Hell after 9/11 we were all ready to put the man on Mt. Rushmore!!! I was so pumped up with patriotic lust, I flew a giant flag from my penthouse balcony for months afterward.

But when the chips started to go south, rather than rally around the man-OUR president-OUR country, we all got together and nearly shoved him over a political cliff-and for what?

Partisan bickering and posturing.

George Bush may go down in history as one of the most ineffective, reviled and embarrassing presidents of the United States, because half the country prayed for him to fail the moment he took office in revenge for what the Republicans did to Bill Clinton!

And look at us now.
JUST LOOK AT US! Is it any wonder the United States has lost nearly all respect we've ever had worldwide?


Have any of you pompous asses ever met, much less gotten to know Barack Obama? No-well I haven't either, and yet you have the arrogance and nerve to judge the man, based on only your own sources of information (selected to confirm anything you want to say about the man), which may or may not (emphasis on not) be reliable.

Considering the enormous job the man is facing, you'd think you'd at least give him the benefit of the doubt; but no.

You WANT him to fail-EVEN IF IT MEANS WATCHING OUR COUNTRY GO BANKRUPT; would it really be worth it to see Obama fail?... because you know that's the only way your opposition parties will win the next elections.

Hell, I'm ashamed to say that there are parts of our country that want to see him assassinated because they don't want some nigger in the whitehouse... now that's something to fill you with national pride isn't it? Bus loads of kids in Idaho chanting "Kill Obama!"

It's time for us to pull ourselves up by our goddamned jockstraps and turn this country around-not later-now!!!!

Worry about the damned elections in four years, not January 21st 2009 and help Obama pull this country back together before it's too late.


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© 2008 by Jet in Columbus

Friday, September 12, 2008

Is The News Media Guilty of Intentionally Manipulating Recent Elections?

I’m going to ask you to do something very difficult and put your opinions of the candidates away for a moment and look at this election from another angle. I think I've got it figured out now, it's not pretty, and I hope I’m wrong.

When the network and cable news see either one or the other candidate gaining a sizable lead, they seem to concentrate on the underdog until his poll numbers are as close to equal with his opponent's.

It’s obvious (to me anyway) that news organizations need viewer numbers; ad revenue, it's the name of the game. After all, who's going to watch every developing news flash if McCain or Obama were so far ahead, that the election was a foregone conclusion? I’m beginning to suspect that the heads of those news and print media organizations go out of their way to do everything possible in the tone of their reporting to make sure the candidates are as "separated at birth" as they possibly can get them. That means right up to the day of the election the TV and print media absolutely need as much suspense as they can create. It sells magazines and newspapers, and awards top ratings that add up to big ad revenue bucks.

Last year Senator Hillary Clinton had what for all intents and purposes was a lock on the Democratic nomination. She even had more votes than Obama, so by how much and how did she lose the nomination? Was it only my perception that the news media suddenly hung on every word out of Sen. Obama’s mouth to the point of practically ignoring her… and McCain for that matter?

Last year, it looked like Rudy Giuliani had a lock on the Republican nomination, but what happened-the press concentrated on every fault or scandal in his history, to give the other candidates-mainly McCain-a chance to catch up to him... by the way McCain was nearly dead in the water a year ago, but suddenly he’s the “comeback kid.”

If I’m right, it might explain why suddenly this country has a lot of razor-sharp margins in the Senate, the House and the last two presidential races, (to the point that the Supreme Court had to decide the 2000 presidential election,) and why the current one is so close when it didn’t used be perceived that way.

Obama needed Clinton in the Vice President slot to energize his chances of winning. McCain need Giuliani for the same reason, but look who they picked for running mates instead? I'm an undecided democrat. I really don't like Obama for the reasons I’ve stated in an another article, and I can't stand Governor Sarah “Church Lady” Palin-I cringe every time I think of her probably becoming president two years after the election and I wonder if she was separated from birth from Karen Walker of “Will and Grace”.

Of one thing I'm absolutely sure... and I hate it.

I'll be voting against someone, instead of for someone this year... damnit


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© 2008 by Jet in Columbus

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Ultimate Theory of God, Opinion, Astronomy, Eternity, Faith and Scientific Facts?

Up front, though it may appear to be, this is not a commentary against the small local community churches that serve to strengthen our nation’s moral ability, and to teach the difference between right and wrong. Those who use God’s name to justify murder, hatred and bigotry are another matter.

This article is designed to make you think, to ponder, and even to laugh out loud occasionally, despite its serious subject… After all nothing loses your readers faster than a dull harangue that goes on and on and on, without a few chuckles thrown in for punctuation… right? For those of you who actually reach the end of this piece with your sanity intact, I’ll remind you I did use the word “theory” in the title and that said title does after all end in a question mark, and I will explain why in the last paragraph.
And so…

I consider it an axiom that if you can’t trust the source of your information, then it follows that you can’t trust the opinions, conclusions or facts that the absorption of it produces… or so I’ve been told. After all, aren’t facts really nothing more than widely accepted opinions?

But what happens when your main information source becomes as outdated as an old forgotten computer running DOS that’s never even heard of Windows®? It is so old, that the poor thing needs five minutes just to boot up! Like our old computer, even if the ancient scribes of the Bible knew and understood how the universe actually works, they’d sadly lack the vocabulary to describe it, and their readers would probably dismiss their explanations as evil heresy. It is human nature to fear what you don’t understand, and many kill what they fear, so the authors of the Holy Bible tended to keep their teachings simple, regardless of the complex lessons they were trying to relay.

In recent times I’ve found my personal faith shaken. Like an argument that’s been built on unstable ground, I can’t repair it by nit picking the little things that are wrong, or wedging a brick beneath a sinking foundation to temporarily keep its floor level.

In our day and age, the battle to move forward in knowledge, while staying morally rooted in the past is like the sturdy flying buttresses on opposite sides of an ancient church. The holy sanctuary would most assuredly fall down if either of them stopped leaning against it, but like a stubborn old man, it refuses to acknowledge that it even needs them. Worse yet, as new churches are built around it, shock sets in when it realizes that the new ones don’t even need the buttresses that he relies on.

Rather than the old church exposing its faults in order to have them repaired and strengthened, it instead hides them in favor of distractions, causing continued and unchecked deterioration. “See my beautiful classic stained glass, and my golden objects and-and my fancy leather-bound books of worship?” Like the Wizard of Oz, the grand cathedral needs its followers to pay attention to the frightening yet beckoning statues, billowing smoke and terrifying lightning in order to keep its parishioners from noticing “that man behind the curtain” working its special effects.

Today, in one hand we in America hold the latest science book, and in the other the Christian Bible. Both are equally believable and equally important, but in many ways they are in direct opposition to each other simply because of the way they are both interpreted as unimpeachable and factual texts. In an age of constant discovery, the average science volume, regardless of subject is usually discarded as outdated within five to eight years.

(While I’m dubious as to how intact,) in contrast, the Christian Bible in an assortment of forms, along with other religious texts has survived the various ages of constant scientific discovery for nearly twenty centuries.

It has always bothered me that biblical faith and proven science can’t seem to co-exist in peace without doing harmful battle to one and other. It makes many think that the established church, all the while preaching love and acceptance, would rather sing “Onward Christian Soldiers,” than to stretch out a hand to its neighbors. Granted, there are rare pockets of coexistence like the American Amish/Pennsylvania Dutch living side by side with modern culture. Two completely different ways of life that not only tolerate each other, but also respect each other’s values. Remarkably the horse and buggy coexists with the automobile in peace and mutual respect.

But is it really a well-crafted illusion that the Bible has actually survived as well as Science?

While Science is constantly evolving, (sorry for the necessary use of the “E” word,) the church has not. As the Christian faith realized that attendance figures were faltering in mid-20th century, the only effective solution was not to assimilate itself into modern society, but to legislate outdated religious dogma in order to force it upon the increasingly reluctant population in the form of laws. People must be compelled to attend church, so no commercial business will be conducted on Sunday, no alcohol will be sold on the Sabbath either, and as its political power grew, as did its wealth, established religion demanded and got laws that gave it immunity from taxation.

Is there anyone left still wondering why there are no federally mandated Jewish or Islamic national holidays in the United States?

The Christian church has even flaunted its power by demanding that we post on our money "In God We Trust.” But how do we decide which opposing denomination’s God does that motto represent? The axiom has currently been there for so long that people are convinced that our founding fathers by design dictated that it should be there hundreds of years ago when our country was founded, rather than it being a recent addition demanded by those same religious zealots' forefathers in the 1950s. It actually showed up sporadically on our coins in the 1860s and was legislated onto our paper money in 1957 and began appearing on it in 1961 ...only a little over forty years ago.

For a while their scenario worked, but with the arrival of the volatile 1960s, slowly resistance began cracking their powerful façade. Like the earlier fighters against the “religious right’s” successful constitutional amendment regarding prohibition of all alcoholic beverages, businesses began defying dogma and staying open on Sundays. Our new dollar coin contains the motto, but it has now been pushed aside and into obscurity at the outer edge of the coin instead of prominently on its face.

So let us look at the effects of strict biblical teachings, as opposed to the piddling and easily disputed minor details.

1. Intolerance and judgment in the name of God
Even in these modern times, whenever religious fundamentalism (regardless of the denomination) enters an era of intolerance, innocent people die. People become judged and are killed for senseless crimes in the name of God. You need look no further than the Crusades for instance where people were publicly, viciously and slowly tortured if they refused to renounce their religion in favor of Christianity. This resulted in tens of thousands of Muslims, Jews and other non-Christians to be horribly put to death… in the name of God.

Other examples are the Salem Witch hunts, Ireland in the days when you could die because you were Protestant or Catholic, depending on what neighborhood you were trying to traverse, and of course today’s middle-east where identical looking people (to the uneducated) offhandedly and without a second thought regularly kill each other and themselves simply because of their faith. Of course there’s also the Nazi wholesale slaughter of millions of people who were merely declared Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals regardless of whether they actually were or not.

I don't have a problem with my own or other’s chosen faith regarding the existence of God. I do have problems with the hundreds of versions of him/her/it (?) that various opposing groups have created while insisting loudly that theirs — and only theirs — is the correct one. Whole communities are lured into beautiful multi-million dollar stadium-sized sanctuaries with the all-accepting promise of God’s love for everyone, and the rapture felt when you accept Jesus Christ as your only savior.

It’s only after you’ve committed yourself body and wallet, that you realize the extent of the “bait and switch” con that’s been perpetrated on you. Your preacher’s speeches begin to sound more like financial advice than theological sermons. Too late, you’ve realized that peer group pressure will make you pity and belittle people that you once considered friends, for no other reason than at the instruction of the “Phelps,” “Jerry Falwells” and the “Pat Robertsons” of our time.

2. Every word in the Bible is true, accurate and infallible.The divine texts are the first best source of “facts.” “The lord giveth and the lord taketh away,” is a generally accepted “quoted for truth” statement because it’s written in the Holy Scriptures. In our troubled times of need or of great loss, that comforting phrase is quoted constantly and repeatedly as indisputable fact.

But…

In the actual biblical story of Job, the Lord indeed did “giveth.” However, God got a bad "rap" in the deal, because it was the devil that “taketh” away relentlessly and repeatedly to test Job's faith. Granted, Job indeed spoke the famous and grossly over-quoted line, but he was absolutely and undeniably wrong, which conflicts with what we were taught all through our life… that the Bible word-for-word is “gospel.”

So whom do you believe — Job and the people who tell you that every word written in the Bible is fundamentally an absolute unerring fact, or your own eyes after reading the quote in context? This is a perfect example of how someone can conveniently pick and choose which words in the Bible mean what he/she wants them to mean, regardless of context. The danger is once that is done, other Christians blindly follow along en mass as witnessed by the phrase being used almost continuously through the years by them thereafter.

It all comes down to which source of information you rely on, or more importantly on the attitudes of those who taught you your “facts”.

What has someone selectively left out of the most Holy of texts?Imagine the following experiment:
Put twenty people in a room. Of the assembled, five speak English, five speak Spanish, five speak German, and five speak French. Only three of these people can cross-translate fluently between the languages. Tell a very brief story to one and have him pass it on at random only once to one other person at a time until the tale comes back to you. You will not get the same thing you started with -- that I can guarantee. Now imagine that story - along with hundreds of others - being verbally passed on through at least three centuries before someone actually put them to print on scrolls for posterity.

Then after another thousand years, yet another group sat down representing an English king, and decided arbitrarily which chapters they agreed with, and which didn't fit into their idea of what their final Bible would say... which is exactly what happened to the telling of Jesus' missing teen years and other conflicting dogma not included in the final “edit.” Yet our very civilization is built upon that exact same set of shaky and outdated folk tales, relying on it never to fail or confuse us through numerous different yet similar interpretations, ergo: “Well Matthew said it went like this, but Mark told it better, but I believe Luke’s version, even though John’s is more believable, despite my suspicions that he co-wrote it with Paul, George and Ringo.”

3. How long after the events involved, was the Bible actually written? Are the Bible’s teachings relevant to today’s times and circumstances?
The scriptures are actually a collection of compelling, glorious and educational stories about events that were relayed piecemeal and verbally from one generation to the next for approximately three to six hundred years. They were eventually written down in their various languages on hand-printed and deteriorating scrolls. Modern theology scholars point out that the hundreds of years are moot, because God guided their hands and minds while writing them down for posterity.

Odd that God didn’t think of how quickly those scrolls would deteriorate into nearly useless scraps and have them carved on something similar to Moses stone tablets. Then again if Moses was any example, they’d get lost or destroyed almost immediately after they were produced… and a single bible would weigh tons, so it’s just as well. Nor had our sacred creator counted on one thousand three hundred years passing by, give or take a few, at which time the aforementioned King James’ Christians got their hands and blue editing pencils on them.

To this very day, it sometimes frightens me that modern-day religious scholars present and teach Intelligent Design “facts” from the Bible on a daily basis to young private school children, using a text originally written nearly two thousand years ago when it was an established and undeniable “fact” that the earth as a whole was absolutely… flat.

Relevant? I could go on and on about modern methods of herding and sacrificing sheep, handy hints on how to keep your third wife of six from turning to salt, and the all important sailing and wine tips, but they’ve been covered by more intelligent people than I.

4. Keeping those all-important dates correct.
It has repeatedly been ordained that the date of our Holy Savior’s birth and his later rising from the dead to create the Christian faith, must be respectfully celebrated with great care. Those aforementioned same parochial teachers two paragraphs back, quote chapter and verse from a text that doesn't even name its own holy savior’s birthday, even though we’re all required to celebrate it faithfully every year on a date that someone arbitrarily and for all intents and purposes guessed at, some unknown centuries after it actually happened.

We are also chronicling our calendar since his birth year using a centuries old “calculated estimation...” probably using the same fuzzy math that causes Easter (the hallowed date of Jesus' rising) to fall on a different calendar date every year.

Consider this: At the time that the honored King James Version was translated and compiled to book form, a mere four hundred years or so ago in 1611, the all-knowing and most holy church considered it a “fact” that the sun and all of the stars and planets rotated around the Earth in a sort of Tychonic system. The almighty and even more all-knowing holy father in Rome was so convinced of this, that just four years after King James released his “version,” poor Galileo (1564-1642) with all of his ingenuity and intellect was nearly condemned and entombed in 1616 for heresy by the learned and sacred Pope for merely suggesting that the Earth wasn’t God’s intended center of the universe – a "fact" backed up by a religion that only after more than three hundred and fifty years of careful consideration, has finally and just recently admitted that it was wrong about the long-dead astronomer.

5. Science vs. God and Those Pesky Unanswerable QuestionsSome questions equally defy both Intelligent Design as well as scientific measurements. Like it or not, some things just have to be taken on faith. I’ve never seen the Indian Ocean; I’ve never seen the Swiss Alps; I’ve never even seen the North Pole, despite news that Santa Clause is panicking because it’s melting. I agree and acknowledge that they all are real. They’re there if only because someone I trusted told me that they exist. On the other hand things are inserted into movies and photos all the time that aren’t really there, behind actors that may or not be there either. The sun is 93 million miles from Earth, an established fact that I believe, though I didn’t take a tape measure and stretch it to the sun. Now if they told me the sun was 5,280,000,000 pop bottles laid end to end from the earth, I might be able to actually grasp the measurement… well maybe not.

Distance vs. Infinity
What is beyond the farthest distance that we can intellectually imagine? Once we’ve tentatively established this illusive point in the universe, the paradox becomes that we can still travel quadrillions of miles to the tenth power farther beyond that very point. Like it or not, wherever we pause on our journey to look around, there has to be something beyond. What was God’s purpose in creating an infinite and detectable number of distant and completely unpopulated suns, planets, and galaxies - indeed universes - that he then never gave us the ability to eventually visit or understand?

Forgive me a moment; I’m still astonished that my spell-checker actually confirmed my spelling of the term “quadrillions,” and that I actually got it right on the first try!
Now where was I? Oh yes…

Most people consider distance in only one or three directions, forward, cumulatively or upward. However any distance we can wrap our intellect around can then be halved… and then halved again… and again. How hard is it to understand something that is one billionth of the size of an atom? Theoretically speaking; what would a hypothetical intelligent being standing on that particle think of the universe that he could perceive? He would be as completely unaware of our existence/universe as we are of his. Indeed, he’d believe as fact (as we do) that such a thing couldn’t possibly exist.

But just how many cumulative facts can you willingly believe on faith alone?
Get a pen and put a dot at the top edge of a standard sheet of 8½ by 11-inch paper, and then another at the bottom edge. As long as the parchment stays intact, the distance between the two dots can never be more than eleven inches. In addition, some will argue that it can never be less than that, calling the declaration a “God’s truth,” or the proverbial and overused “quoted for truth.” In front of their questioning eyes, simply bend or fold the paper in half so that the dots are touching, placing the distance betwixt them now at zero. A cute trick, but while theoretical astrophysicists maintain that it can supposedly be done within vast millions of light years’ worth of distance using the ever-handy and popular black hole, can it realistically be done?

Speed is a combination of two infinites.
The speed of something is the distance that an object travels compared to a set amount of time. However the speed of sound varies depending on the medium that it’s traveling through. Can time vary depending on what it exists in? It is said that a massive star's gravity can bend light but can it actually (as learned professors and “Star Trek fans insist) bend time?

Infinity vs. Time vs. God
Only a fool would claim to have a clue as to what eternity/infinity really is. If you accept the truest definition of the term, you find yourself with two just-barely understandable, distinct and conflicting “facts,” depending on which source of information you rely on:

A. Time extends ten, indeed a hundred, or even a thousand or more times farther back than the currently immeasurable period in which God exist(s)ed; therefore as long as the creator has existed, he comparatively has not existed infinitely longer… right?
B. God is eternal; he will always exist; he has always existed.

Which opinion do we believe? What existed before time? What existed before God? Something would've had to have... wouldn't it?

At the beginning of this exceedingly long piece, I stated that without trust in our source of information, it’s impossible to have facts. Without facts we have chaos. It is considered a fact that man can never travel faster than the speed of light, (again unless you’re a Star Trek fan.) It was the same kind of thinking that once led people in the mid-19th century to assert confidently that a man could never travel on a train over the speed of 35 miles per hour because all of the breathable air would be sucked out of the rail car.

It is this kind of closed-minded thinking that has brought the United States to a state of chaos – financially, politically, and spiritually.

Through all of this confusion, the worst and most tragic paradox of all has risen. It has become man’s standard operating procedure in these times by way of religious teachings to point out our differences as a weakness rather than strength. This seems to condemn us for all eternity to be at odds with each other.

How does opinion become fact? Easy – when someone agrees with it. Well, actually when a lot of someones agree with it. As history has shown repeatedly, it doesn't matter if the particular opinion is actually true or not, just that it's accepted as “fact.”

A parting but small Religion/Astronomy anomaly/tidbit for you to ponder: (just to see if you’ve really been paying attention.)
When it was formed, our little yellow dwarf sun didn’t (and still doesn’t) theoretically have the immense gravitational mass needed to have produced heavy elements like uranium, gold, and lead, etc. The only workable theory is that our present star is made up of the leftover remnants of a much larger star that existed on the spot we now occupy. When this previous star went supernova a few billion years ago, it first imploded in on itself and then violently exploded. In the mega-gravity of that collapse, the immense pressure fused hydrogen atoms together by force to form our inherited heavy elements. They were then flung outward in the violent aftermath to eventually coalesce into our current sun and its planets. (I’d mention how many planets, but that number keeps changing from decade to decade.)

Makes you wonder why God didn’t just do another flood instead of blowing the whole thing up and starting all over again “Sodom and Gomorrah”-style, doesn’t it?
So… We have Opinions that become Facts. If the facts fall victim to those who refuse to believe them, they are self-righteously declared “Theories,” because no one wants to claim them as their opinions any more.

That's what is so much fun about opinions; you don't have to back them up with facts or links to dubious websites that just happen to agree with you. If you don't agree with me, I'll just shrug and say go look up your own "facts" – they'll be just as believable as mine… theoretically speaking anyway…

But of course (and you HAD to have seen this coming a light-year away) that’s only my opinion…
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