Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Huge list supporting the Zeitgeist concept of Horus being precursor of Jesus

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Much of this is taken from this posting located here

The documentary Zeitgeist Part 1 Religion which is located here has seen many attempts to debunk it.  The basic logic of religion holds true that every society has its own view of why we are here…who put us here…the mysteries of death and why inexplicable things happen.  The fact is that science has debunked many of these questions and has unveiled the majority of the thought of ancient and present religions as merely fables.  Every major society having its own religion means that the present Western society has its own religion in the form of Christianity.  Christianity tried to answer such questions as they stood originally when The Bible was written but science has debunked many of the basics of The Bible.  The claims are simply not true.  The Bible is simply a book of fables.  To claim it as anything else is just silly.  To hold present society to anything other than sociological memes in The Bible of how one should act is just denying the reality as we know it today…snakes don’t talk, miracles simply don’t happen, people are not raised from the dead, there is no one monitoring your every move at every moment of the day and so many more things.

Zeitgeist has had its detractors but they have been thoroughly debunked as well.  Here is a list of debunking of their attempts to keep the impossible miraculous acts a part of the real world.

Chris White and his ZG Challenge Debunked
http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=3868

Keith “Truth” (TRASH) is a useful idiot
http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=2622 (see Keith get caught using a sock puppet account)

Jesus & Horus Parallels and KingDavid8.com Exposed
http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=3206

‘Zeitgeist Refuted’ by Elliot Nesch, Debunked
http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=3063

http://vimeo.com/18682868

What’s even worse than the above Christian apologists are the clueless atheist clowns who regurgitate similar pathetic arguments without realizing it. It’s an embarrassment to freethinkers and atheists:

Conspiracy science aka skeptic project:

Skeptic Project / Con-Sci on ZG1, DEBUNKED
http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=2609

I especially love this post showing the utter ignorance of Ed Winston (Captain Ferseus) and his ‘skeptic Project’ and his claims regarding “Ferseus
http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=19839#p19839/url).”

Skeptic Magazine Critique of Zeitgeist Part 1, Debunked
http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=2541

Dawkins tweets Jesus mythicism, Zeitgeist
http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=4429

Richard Carrier on Zeitgeist Part 1
http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=3381

Over 80 Rebuttals to Bart Ehrman’s Anti-Mythicist Book ‘Did Jesus Exist?’
http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=25719#p25719

JMichael “Besides, it is not only Acharya S who wrote about the mythical nature of religions.”

That’s true and those who’ve actually read her books already know that she documents the history of their work to examine it for verification and then, build upon it.

The History of Mythicism
http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com/mythicism.html

Evemerist vs. Mythicist Position
http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2160

Why I am A Mythicist
http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4344

The Mythicist Position
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63BNKhGAVRQ

Primary sources and scholar commentary on them support ZG1:

Sourcebook (transcript, sources & citations)
http://stellarhousepublishing.com/zeitgeistsourcebook.pdf

Primary Sources & Scholars cited in the ZG1 Sourcebook
http://www.truthbeknown.com/zeitgeistsources.html

Rebuttal to Dr. Chris Forbes
http://truthbeknown.com/chrisforbeszeitgeist.html

Why the #IceBucketChallenge for ALS is totally worthless

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

The ALS Association has very high reviews from CharityNavigator which looks for ripoff charities…of which ALS Association definitely is NOT. Wonderful they are getting donations.

HOWEVER……
The REASON for the ice bucket challenge is to make up for the dollars lost in funding when the Sequester went into effect. $1.6Billion was given in grants to disease research of this type….I SAID WAS as it was cut from the NIH budget by the Sequester. Directors of centers focusing on this research say the Sequester has set us back a generation in research…one research center had over $60Million cut…THAT WAS ONE CENTER. Tens of thousands of researchers are now…not working. ALS reports all of this media coverage has resulted in only $15Million being collected…nearly 10 times their normal amount…which means their donations are headed down steeply once America’s entertainment eye goes elsewhere. This is not seen as a longterm thing at all….this funding or this PR move. $15Millioncollected from rampant internet advertising and promotion…as opposed to $1.6Billion in prior normal funding.

SO…..
As opposed to funding these disease projects…the alternative is to pour ice on your head….and as a result raise less than 1/1000th of the amount they had previous….which was a bare bones budget to begin with. And to boot many of the supporters of this had family members die from ALS and a myriad of diseases. Now they do not have the one bit of solace that the scientific effort to stop this horrible disease might stop others from their horror…that solace is now not funded and derailed a generation of research. And after the loss of family members and loved ones….their alternative is to pour ice on their head and collect LESS than pennies on the dollar for their effort and loss. Your family member died from this disease….now to fund research to fund it for a penny….pour a bucket of ice water on your head instead of it just getting funded.

omg……………. America is truly THE HUNGER GAMES.
And “GUESS WHO” wanted much much deeper Sequester cuts???????? This cut made us closer to a balanced budget…great huh?

How about voting for lawmakers who didn’t want to cut funding in the first place so you don’t have to pour ice on your head? Nah….

 

 

 

 
Story is located here
Bill Gates, Lebron James, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker don’t ostensibly have much in common. But they’ve all recently poured buckets of ice on their head in support of ALS research. Yes, members of this motley crew — alongside hundreds of your Facebook friends — have posted viral videos of themselves shivering gleefully in order to raise money for a good cause. And while their videos have been unquestionably successful in terms of raising awareness (1.2 million videos uploaded) and funds ($13.3 million contributed) on behalf of an intractable disease, they have overlooked the most important message of all: vote.
According to Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, his agency has lost 25 percent of its purchasing power over the last decade due to draconian federal budget cuts coupled with inflation. Why does this affect ALS? Because according to the ALS Association, the NIH is the single largest source of ALS research funding in the world. But in 2014, the NIH has seen their funding slashed 5.1 percent, and their total budget is now $30.15 billion, down from $31.2 billion in 2010.
Let’s put this another way: A month-long viral social media campaign consisting of billionaires, media moguls, and celebrities alike has raised $13 million, while a seemingly trivial percent cut in NIH funding means billions of dollars.
“We are throwing away probably half of the innovative, talented research proposals that the nation’s finest biomedical community has produced,” Dr. Collins told the USA Today. “Particularly for young scientists, they are now beginning to wonder if they are in the wrong field. We have a serious risk of losing the most important resource that we have, which is this brain trust, the talent and the creative energies of this generation of scientists.”

So what should celebrities, billionaires, and your Facebook friends really start banding together around? Voting out politicians who cut funding for medical research…

You can start by registering to vote at OurTime.org.

 

House panel: No administration wrongdoing in Benghazi attack

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Story is located here

The House Intelligence Committee, led by Republicans, has concluded that there was no deliberate wrongdoing by the Obama administration in the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, said Rep. Mike Thompson of St. Helena, the second-ranking Democrat on the committee.

The panel voted Thursday to declassify the report, the result of two years of investigation by the committee. U.S. intelligence agencies will have to approve making the report public.

Thompson said the report “confirms that no one was deliberately misled, no military assets were withheld and no stand-down order (to U.S. forces) was given.”

That conflicts with accusations of administration wrongdoing voiced by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista (San Diego County), whose House Government Oversight and Reform Committee has held hearings on the Benghazi attack.

Stevens, who grew up in Piedmont, and the other Americans died when Libyans attacked the consulate on Sept. 11, 2012. Among the Intelligence Committee’s findings, according to Thompson:

– Intelligence agencies were “warned about an increased threat environment, but did not have specific tactical warning of an attack before it happened.”

– “A mixed group of individuals, including those associated with al Qaeda, (Moammar) Khadafy loyalists and other Libyan militias, participated in the attack.”

– “There was no ’stand-down order’ given to American personnel attempting to offer assistance that evening, no illegal activity or illegal arms transfers occurring by U.S. personnel in Benghazi, and no American was left behind.”

– The administration’s process for developing “talking points” was “flawed, but the talking points reflected the conflicting intelligence assessments in the days immediately following the crisis.”

Those talking points included assertions that those who attacked the compound were angered by an obscure anti-Muhammad video posted to YouTube in the U.S. There is disagreement to this day about whether that was the case.

Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Story is located here

A new study from Princeton spells bad news for American democracy—namely, that it no longer exists.

Asking “[w]ho really rules?” researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America’s political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.

Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.

TPM Interview: Scholar Behind Viral ‘Oligarchy’ Study Tells You What It Means

“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” they write, “while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

As one illustration, Gilens and Page compare the political preferences of Americans at the 50th income percentile to preferences of Americans at the 90th percentile as well as major lobbying or business groups. They find that the government—whether Republican or Democratic—more often follows the preferences of the latter group rather than the first.

The researches note that this is not a new development caused by, say, recent Supreme Court decisions allowing more money in politics, such as Citizens United or this month’s ruling on McCutcheon v. FEC. As the data stretching back to the 1980s suggests, this has been a long term trend, and is therefore harder for most people to perceive, let alone reverse.

“Ordinary citizens,” they write, “might often be observed to ‘win’ (that is, to get their preferred policy outcomes) even if they had no independent effect whatsoever on policy making, if elites (with whom they often agree) actually prevail.”

50,000,000 people in America are poor

Monday, August 18th, 2014

The U.S. Census Report finds that 50 million Americans are poor. Fifty million voters is a powerful block if they ever organized in an effort to pursue their common economic goals. So, it’s crucial that those in the wealthiest One Percent keep the poor fractured by distracting them with emotional issues like immigration, abortion and gun control so they never stop to wonder how they got so screwed over for so long.

Story is located here

10 Questions for Atheists

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Originally posted here

 

10 Questions For Atheists

On the internet there are many challenges posed by Christians to Atheists. Some are genuinely curious while others are unintelligent and offensive (take that stupid atheists!). Most are questions that Christians genuinely can’t see how Atheists can answer and are meant to open a debate or even attempt a conversion (some examples here, here, hereand here). So I decided to collect some of the better questions and answer them here. I have deliberatively omitted the worst questions (why are atheists evil? Is it because you worship the devil? If we came from monkeys why are there still monkeys?) In case you think I’m making that up there are some examples here and here. A downright offensive one here and a parody here . I have paraphrased the questions to make them as strong as possible. Interestingly, I have noticed that most questions are usually about evolution, implying their argument is with science not Atheism. I’m not going to repeat those questions here because evolution is a scientifically recognised fact beyond question and it only discredits Christians (most European ones have accepted evolution).  

 1.       How Did You Become an Atheist?

This is usually a question out of curiosity rather than a challenge or a debate. Like most people in Ireland, I was raised a Catholic (not that I had a choice in the matter). I was an altar boy and I even went through a religious phase when I was about 13 where I would say a decade of the rosary every night before bed. Gradually I began to see Mass as a waste of time. It was boring and never seemed to have any relevance to anything. Also the Catholic Church is one of the most disreputable institutions in Ireland. It caused enormous damage to the country, promoted narrow minded sectarian stagnation and committed horrendous abuse. I stopped going to Mass when I was 16.

It was until I was 20 that I became an Atheist. Essentially, I set myself a logical challenge based on the problem of evil, lack of revelation and the absence of proof. I then decided that the only logical explanation was that there was no God. (This is a very short version. I discuss my loss of faith in full in another post, How I Became An Atheist).

2.       What happens when we die?

Nothing. That’s the short answer. This shouldn’t be shocking or disturbing, after all everything must end. Even the best book or film has an ending. Nothing can last forever, that’s what makes life so special. If it was eternal it would become meaningless and dull. When we die, that’s the end, we don’t feel or think anything. That’s why we cry at funerals.

3.       What if you’re wrong? And there is a Heaven?

Well then I’ll feel pretty stupid. Then again what if a Catholic dies and finds themselves in Lutheran heaven? Or Muslim heaven? Or finds that any one of the thousands of other religions that have existed is actually the correct one?

Honestly I’d also be pissed off and have a few words to say to God or Saint Peter. Why all the secrecy? Why did he hide? If he wanted to believe why didn’t he put any effort in it? Why did he not provide any evidence? Are you telling me the creator of the universe couldn’t do any better than a 2,000 year old book that is full of contradictory nonsense as well as violence, brutality and injustice? Was the Catholic Church really the best spokesmen for him? Imagine if I was to find out that God could have stopped the Holocaust or famine but didn’t? (This is basically Pascals Wager which I discuss here)

4.       Without God, where do you get your morality from?

The same place everyone gets it from, their family, friends and society in general. No one actually gets their morality from the Bible. After all, the Bible says that homosexuals should be stoned to death. But not even the worse homophobe would argue that. Why not? If the Bible is the source of morality, then if the Bible says something it must be right. What about stoning adulters to death? Or executing a man because he collected sticks on the Sabbath? As an Atheist, I think all of these things are wrong and unjust, but if I took my morals from the Bible I must conclude that they were right and just. Clearly no one actually bases their morals on the Bible.

5.       If there is no God, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape? While good deeds are unrewarded?

This question suggests that the only reason you don’t murder and rape is because God is watching you, but if he turned his back you would do it. This implies you have little morals or conscience. I once heard that character is what you do when no one is looking. If the only reason you don’t steal is because you’re afraid of punishment, then you’re little better than an actual thief. Likewise if you only do good because you want to be rewarded then you are fake. Being a good person means doing the right thing not because you will be rewarded, but because it is the right thing.

6.       If there is no god, how does your life have any meaning?

Since when was God the only reason for living? What sort of miserable empty life do you have if God is the only meaning in your life? What about your family, friends, career, hobbies? If God is the only meaning for existence then shouldn’t we all become monks and spend our lives living in a cave and praying the God? (I can’t possibly imagine a worse life)

What’s my meaning in life? Be a good person, enjoy myself and help others. These may not be the most amazing reasons, but I can hardly be blamed for not knowing the meaning of life. One thing I am sure of, the reason for life lies in other people.

7.       Where did the universe come from?

This is one of the most common Christian arguments, but proves very little. All they are saying really is “I don’t know what created the universe, so I’m going to presume it’s God.” At least scientists are trying to find an answer by doing tests and experiments, whereas religious people base their argument on ignorance of facts and winning by default.

Even if God created the universe, this proves incredibly little. It doesn’t mean the God of your religion is real nor that he can hear your prayers. It doesn’t prove that there is an afterlife. It doesn’t even prove God’s existence, because he could have created the universe and then died. (I discuss this in full in God and the Creation of the Universe).

8.       What about miracles? What all the people who claim to have a connection with Jesus? What about those who claim to have seen saints or angels?

What about those who claim to have seen ghosts or aliens? We don’t take these people seriously so why should we take those who claim to have witnessed miracles. Why are so many magicians Atheists? Because they know how easy it is to trick people into thinking they saw things that didn’t happen. Tricks of the light and the power of suggestion can make people believe in magic. Likewise with miracles. Ever noticed that appearances of saints were very common up until the invention of the camera, whereupon they died out? Or that miracles always happen among uneducated religious people? Why do they always appear to the converted? How come Muhammad has never appeared before Catholics and Mary never shows herself to Protestants? Isn’t it awful convenient that Hindu Gods only appear before Hindus?

9.       What’s your view of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris?

Christians seem to think that these guys are the holy trinity of Atheism and that we all love them. Honestly, I think they get more attention than they deserve. Sure they’re good, but they’re not that great and I leave the hero worship to religions. I became an Atheist before I even read anything by these three (though I did watch a lot of Hitchens videos). When I did I wasn’t hugely impressed. Hitchens is my favourite and a great debater, but he’s more of scrapper, better at crushing an opponents argument than convincing them. Dawkins is very intelligent and the God Delusion is probably the best thought out of the three, but he can often come across as arrogant and condescending. I found Harris quite poor and The End Of Faith frankly dreadful. It lacked focus and was prone to obscure philosophical digressions and lumped all religious people together as though they were all the Taliban.

I leave the uncritical devotion to religion.

10.   If there is no God, then why does every society have a religion?

Religion served an original purpose. Thousands of years ago, scientific knowledge was non-existent. People longed for answers about the world and so they created religion. To every hard question religion was the answer. Where does thunder come from? Why do the crops grow sometimes of the year but not others? Why do people get sick? God(s), angels and demons became the answer. As science advances and finds the real reasons for this things, religion has declined.

Religion provides a second service, that of comfort. People grieve at funerals and religion provides comfort that the deceased aren’t suffering or in pain, but actually enjoying themselves. Likewise, there are many dangers in the world and religion provides the comfort in the belief that you and your loved ones will be protected from harm. Parents always pray that their children will be safe.

——————————————————————————————————————————-

So those are my 10 Atheist questions and my answers. What do you think of them? Too soft , too hard? Were they good challenges? What other questions have you been asked? What are your answers? If any Christians read this, what questions would you ask an Atheist? Seeing as I answered questions today, I think I’ll follow up with 10 Questions For Christians.

Update: A Christian website has reposted these questions but without any of the answers and claiming that Atheists cannot answer them (despite the fact that I have). There is a good Reddit discussion where dozens of Atheists give their answers to the questions.

Religions were created to justify the power of elites. Period. End of story.

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

 

Religions were created to justify the power of elites. Period. End of story.

The mythical “Jesus Christ” character, and, specifically, the “turn the other cheek” story, were not created as a parable, to teach tolerance

. They were created as propaganda, to convince people that it was morally reprehensible to use violence to defend yourself against the exploitation, oppression, and violence, imposed by powerful (wealthy) elites.

“Theoretical approaches that treat religiosity as an evolutionary byproduct of cognitive mechanisms to detect agency may help to explain the prevalence of superstitious thinking, but they say little about the social–motivational (or ideological) functions of religious beliefs or the specific contents of religious doctrines. To address these omissions, we develop the thesis that religion provides an ideological justification for the existing social order, so that prevailing institutions and arrangements are perceived as legitimate and just, and therefore worth obeying and preserving. We summarize empirical evidence revealing that (a) religiosity is associated with the same set of epistemic, existential, and relational needs that motivate system justification; (b) religiosity is associated with the endorsement of the belief in a just world, Protestant work ethic, fair market ideology, opposition to equality, right-wing authoritarianism, political conservatism, and other system-justifying belief systems; and (c) religious ideology appears to serve the palliative function of making people happier or more satisfied with the way things are. Although most major religious texts and movements contain progressive as well as conservative elements, belief in God is more often than not system-justifying in terms of its motivational antecedents, manifestations, and consequences.”

 

The Four Pillars of Reaganomics

Friday, December 20th, 2013

The “Four Pillars of Reaganomics” are 1) crush unions, 2) keep wages down, 3) outsource jobs, 4) deregulation.

Story is located here

The following is Arthur Laffer’s November 13 address to members of The Heritage Foundation’s President’s Club at the fall 2006 President’s Club meeting, held at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, DC.

You know, one thing I always loved, Ed, was when I followed Milton Friedman to the podium I could actually raise the microphones.

Seriously, it’s really a pleasure being here with all of you tonight. Ed, what you have done with Heritage, you and Phil, it just-it boggles the mind, the contribution you’ve made. It’s a real honor to be here with all of you. [Applause.]

I’m going to follow the advice of one of my mentors, a professor of mine-and I was the chairman of his advisory board when he was senator from the state of California-a man named Sam Hayakawa. Do all of you remember him? He was great, but he gave me one piece of advice which I am going to follow this evening, which he said, “Arthur, never speak beyond the capacity of the audience’s bladder. No matter how important your message, they just won’t hear it.” [Laughter.]

So I will keep these comments short this evening, but I do want you to know that I have been very fortunate all of my life. I’ve been truly blessed. I’ve been a fly on the wall of history. I’ve been just so many lucky places just by chance and serendipity and obviously a huge portion of that serendipity had to do with my relationship with the real president, Ronald Reagan.

My godfather was a man named Justin Dart. Some of you may remember Justin Dart. [Applause.] My younger son’s name is Justin, named after Justin Dart. I was executor of his estate and he was my godfather. I first really got time to spend with Ronald Reagan with Justin Dart personally one-on-one.

I’m going to start off with one story, one Reagan story, which was at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and I think it was 1979, maybe early 1980. There were about 10 of us at the table and it was just a policy discussion, and Dick Allen was there-do you all remember Dick Allen? [Applause.] Phenomenal person. He was Reagan’s first National Security Advisor. The Governor at the time said, “Dick, we’ve got a group here and we’re just going to have a conversation, but what I’d like you to do is start that conversation. Would you mind sort of telling all of us what the thrust of U.S. policy has been in the post-World War II era?” And Dick, as all of you may remember, had a real pension for humor. He said, “Mr. Governor,” he said, “I’d be glad to tell sort of a rendition of the history post World War II of the United States. Basically we did two things, Governor. We harassed our friends and we cajoled our enemies.” [Laughter.] And with that Ronald Reagan looked up and said, “My goodness, what was that, Dick?” And he said, “Sir, we’ve cajoled our enemies, and we’ve harassed our friends.” And he said, “My goodness, what have been the consequences of those policies?” And Dick Allen looked up with a smirk on his face and he said, “Sir, we have almost no friends left but we have lots of enemies.” And Reagan couldn’t hold the comment back and he said, and I’m going to quote it, and I think this is a direct quote, he said, “Well, Dick, I guess we’re just going to have to reverse those policies, now aren’t we? We’re going to have to scare the bajeebers out of our enemies with Star Wars and we’re going to have to make our friends stinking rich with supply-side economics.”

At that moment, I knew that we had won the Third World War, period. It was a huge, huge change. If you look at the thrust that we’re looking at tonight and the history, there were four basic areas of economics that Reagan pushed. All of you know these pushes, but I want to go through them because all four were the cornerstones of what we now know of Reaganomics.

Sound money. Sound money is the sine qua non of a prosperous society. Do any of you remember what the prime interest rate was when we came into office on January 20th, 1981? The prime interest rate was 21-and-a-half percent. Can any of you imagine what the U.S. would look like today with a 21-and-a-half percent? When you look at the long bond today, the long bond today is at four-and-a-half; that is the legacy of Ronald Reagan and Paul Volcker in seriatim.

We all know the taxes, what he did with taxes. When Reagan came into office, the highest federal marginal income tax rate was 70 percent on unearned income. By the way, some of you know it’s a lot more difficult to earn unearned income than it is earned income. [Laughter.] Reagan dropped the highest federal marginal income tax rates from 70 percent to 28 percent. He cut the corporate tax rates, he indexed the personal tax codes, changing forever the taxes. Do you realize-I mean, it’s just amazing that I’m going on 67 years old today and the taxes on the ownership of capital are the lowest they have been in my lifetime. [Applause.] And that is because of Ronald Reagan and the supply side move that he and others have done.

If you look at regulations, the third pillar of Reaganomics-supply side economics-what he did for regulations, not just taking that big stack of papers of the Federal Registers-do you remember that? Do you remember when he dropped it, the thump that went on the table? I mean, it was a phenomenally impressive thing, not only for him to have lifted it, but also for him to have reduced it. I don’t know which one was the greater challenge, but both were Herculean.

Today, because of Ronald Reagan, the minimum wage in the United States-the minimum wage relative to the average wage in the United States is the lowest it’s been in 50 years. It doesn’t get any better.

But let me tell you that today, because of Ronald Reagan, the minimum wage in the United States-the minimum wage relative to the average wage in the United States is the lowest it’s been in 50 years. It doesn’t get any better. As all of you know, the minimum wage is the black teenage unemployment act. It is the guaranteed way of holding the poor, the minorities and the disenfranchised out of the mainstream is if you price their original services too high. Ronald Reagan recognized the deleterious affects of that and really did not allow that minimum wage to rise.

Another one that he did on regulations: do any of you remember the air traffic controllers? [Applause.] Do you remember what he did? He fired them. And he wouldn’t let them work for government again. Since that time, union membership in the United States has gone from well above 30 percent to down around 12 to 14 percent. [Applause.] That is Ronald Reagan’s legacy. The third pillar was regulations.

The fourth pillar, which I really want to talk to you tonight because it’s a critical pillar of Reaganomics and supply side economics, and it is one of the issues that Ronald Reagan wanted to solve more than anything, and that has to do with the United States economy in the global economy. The United States is a nation located in the global economy and we get enormous, enormous benefits from dealing with foreigners.

Ronald Reagan wanted free trade more than anything. If you look at this issue today, in 1930, we passed-the United States passed with Herbert Hoover as President, and signed into law-something called the Smoot-Hawley Tariff. That tariff put tariff duties on imported products at the highest level they have virtually ever been. It was the precursor of the Great Depression. If you follow that legislation, it goes through the House Committees and the Senate Committees, you can see the stock market collapses. Those tariffs were the highest they’ve been. Since the Smoot-Hawley Tariff passed, in this country we have reduced tax rates on traded products and Ronald Reagan was a major reducer of those taxes on traded products. In fact, it was Ronald Reagan, as you all know, who sponsored NAFTA. We couldn’t get it passed, but we sponsored NAFTA. It took Bill Clinton to switch and go against his own party, against the unions, to push that through. But Ronald Reagan pushed for NAFTA and pushed for lowering tariffs. Today in the United States, customs duties per dollar of import are the lowest they have been in a thousand years because of Ronald Reagan-literally the lowest.

You know, if you saw a store that sold you high quality products at low cost, is your first thought, “How can I boycott that store?” [Laughter.] I don’t think so. You know, trade is an integral part of the U.S. prosperity and the U.S. position in the world economy is critical. You know, without China there is no Wal-Mart and without Wal-Mart there is no middle class and lower class prosperity in the United States. [Applause.]

In addition to free trade on products and free trade is essential for supply side economics and Reaganomics, in addition to trade on products, is outsourcing. There are some things we do better than Indians, and there are some things they do better than we do. We and they would be foolish in the extreme if we didn’t do those things for them that we do better than they do, and they do those things for us that they do better than we do. We win and they win. It’s a plus-plus for the world. [Applause.] And just remember, every dollar we spend on outsourcing is spent on U.S. goods or invested back in the U.S. market. That’s accounting.

The third one I want to touch on, because I remember Ronald Reagan being so strong on this issue, and it also has to do with the U.S. and the global economy, and I’m going to say it in my style tonight and I hope I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings when I do, but it’s immigration. Immigration is the life’s blood of the U.S. economy. [Applause.]

I have on my desk in my office, I have a book, a set of books that was brought by my great-grandfather from Prussia to the United States. It was his cherished possession. It was the collected works of Frederic Schiller done in old German script, leather-bound. As you probably all know, I’m an ancestor worshiper. His name was Joseph Carl Kreisch, my great-grandfather, and he brought it over and I have it on my desk as a remembrance of my ancestors who came before. But I also have it there for another reason. If you open up the front page, it said, “Published in Philadelphia, 1852.” [Laughter.]

Outsourcing is not new. Immigration is not new. Not only are these people the life’s blood of America, they are, but let me just say to you tonight, on economic terms, the illegal immigrants are also the life’s blood of this society. And I’m going to be hard core with you. They produce high quality labor at low cost and they cheat on their taxes. It doesn’t get any better.

I’m having fun with you tonight as well, but let me just tell you that the California economy without immigrants would be a very different-you can’t believe how much of what you buy and what you see and what you do is influenced by immigration in this wonderful, wonderful country of ours.

The last one I want to do on trade with you, and then I’ll stop, is the trade deficit. You hear these mongers of fear tell you about the trade deficit and how it’s ruining the world, it’s the United States consuming way beyond its means with a credit card philosophy and literally putting into bondage our children in the future by the huge debt we’re owing to foreigners. You all know this story, don’t you? You’ve heard it from Warren Buffet and you’ve heard it from Pete Peterson, you’ve heard it from Bill Gates, you’ve heard it from everyone there that the trade deficit is a huge problem. Let me assure you it is not.

The United States today is the only developed growth country in the world. We are the only one. Living on the legacy of Ronald Reagan and those who have followed him, the United States is the only growth country in the world that is also a developed nation.

The United States today is the only developed growth country in the world. We are the only one. Living on the legacy of Ronald Reagan and those who have followed him, the United States is the only growth country in the world that is also a developed nation. It’s just like a growth company. Do growth companies lend money or borrow money? They borrow money. Growth countries borrow money too. If you’re a global investor for your own family, I don’t care where you live, you want to have a large portion of your portfolio located in the United States.

How much do you want in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, or in Argentina where you can get 30 cents on the dollar, or in the Middle East? Or how would you like to have it in Putin’s Russia-you name it-or France, where they have a two percent wealth tax; that’s a real attractive one. When you look at the world, everyone in the world who cares about his or her family wants to have a major portion of their assets in the United States because we are the growth country and the freedom loving country.

How do foreigners generate the dollar cash flow to buy U.S. located assets? There are only two ways they can do it. They’ve got to sell more goods to us and buy less goods from us. The U.S. trade deficit is one in the same as the U.S. capital surplus, and I want to put it to you seriously. Think of it in capital terms. Which would you rather have, capital lined up on your borders, trying to get into your country or trying to get out of your country? We are the capital magnet of this planet and we are the savior for not only people, for not only freedom, but also for capital.

The trade deficit is the capital surplus and don’t ever think of having a capital surplus as being a bad thing for our country.

And if I can take you back-we have trade data that go back to the beginning of time. In fact, with Oliver Williamson’s data, we have the trade balance of the U.S. going back to 1640. Let me tell you that from 1640 until 1870, that’s how many years is it-is that 230 years-the U.S. ran a trade deficit, virtually each and every year for 230 years. We built our country on foreign capital and what did we do when we owed too much money to foreigners? We opened up immigration, we let them come here and then we didn’t owe it to foreigners anymore. [Applause.]

The four pillars of Reaganomics are the grand territories of macroeconomics. You’ve got money, critical. You’ve got fiscal policy in taxes and governing spending, critical. You’ve got regulatory policy or what we call income policies in macroeconomics. And the fourth one, you have trade policy. These were the pillars of Reaganomics, these were the dreams that our president had, the real president had, and let me just say tonight, Mr. President, we all miss you very, very much. Thank you.

This Is Why We Need Obamacare

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

Story is located here

Streeter had health insurance for decades, but beginning in 2008 his employer no longer offered it as an option. He says he tried to buy individual health insurance but, as a lifelong smoker in his late 40s, couldn’t find anything affordable — so he took a terrible chance and did without.

At the beginning of this year, Streeter began to notice blood in his bowel movements and discomfort in his rectum. Because he didn’t have health insurance, he put off going to the doctor and reassured himself it was just irritation from sitting too many hours.

“I thought it was driving a truck and being on your keister all day,” he told me. Finally, the pain became excruciating, and he went to a cut-rate clinic where a doctor, without examining him, suggested it might be hemorrhoids.

By September, Streeter couldn’t stand the pain any longer. He went to another doctor, who suggested a colonoscopy. The cheapest provider he could find was Dr. J. Scott Gibson, a softhearted gastroenterologist who told him that if he didn’t have insurance he would do it for $300 down and $300 more whenever he had the money.

Streeter made the 100-mile drive to Dr. Gibson’s office in McMinnville, Ore. — and received devastating news. Dr. Gibson had found advanced colon cancer.

“It was heartbreaking to see the pain on his face,” Dr. Gibson told me. “It got me very angry with people who insist that Obamacare is a train wreck, when the real train wreck is what people are experiencing every day because they can’t afford care.”

Dr. Gibson says that Streeter is the second patient he has had this year who put off getting medical attention because of lack of health insurance and now has advanced colon cancer.

So, to those Republicans protesting Obamacare: You’re right that there are appalling problems with the website, but they will be fixed. Likewise, you’re right that President Obama misled voters when he said that everyone could keep their insurance plan because that’s now manifestly not true (although they will be able to get new and better plans, sometimes for less money).

But how about showing empathy also for a far larger and more desperate group: The nearly 50 million Americans without insurance who play health care Russian roulette as a result. FamiliesUSA, a health care advocacy group that supports Obamacare, estimated last year that an American dies every 20 minutes for lack of insurance.

It has been a year since my college roommate, Scott Androes, died of prostate cancer, in part because he didn’t have insurance and thus didn’t see a doctor promptly. Scott fully acknowledged that he had made a terrible mistake in economizing on insurance, but, in a civilized country, is this a mistake that people should die from?

“Website problems are a nuisance,” Dr. Gibson said. “Life and death is when you need care and can’t afford to get it.”

The Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council this year ranked the United States health care system last or near last in several categories among 17 countries studied. The Commonwealth Fund put the United States dead last of seven industrialized countries in health care performance. And Bloomberg journalists ranked the United States health care system No. 46 in efficiency worldwide, behind Romania and Iran.

The reason is simple: While some Americans get superb care, tens of millions without insurance get marginal care. That’s one reason life expectancy is relatively low in America, and child mortality is twice as high as in some European countries. Now that’s a scandal.

Yet about half the states are refusing to expand Medicaid to cover more uninsured people — because they don’t trust Obamacare and want it to fail. The result will be more catastrophes like Streeter’s.

“I am tired of being the messenger of death,” said Dr. Gibson. “Sometimes it’s unavoidable. But when people come in who might have been saved if they could have afforded care early on, then to have to tell them that they have a potentially fatal illness — I’m very tired of that.”

Streeter met with a radiologist on Thursday and is bracing for an arduous and impoverishing battle with the cancer. There’s just one bright spot: He signed up for health care insurance under Obamacare, to take effect on Jan. 1.

For him, the tragedy isn’t that the Obamacare rollout has been full of glitches, but that it may have come too late to save his life.

Reagan Socialized medicine….we are trying how to pay for it.

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Story is located here

Today the US government shut down. Ostensibly by Tea Party Republicans to try and stop socialized medicine from becoming a reality. In fact, false equivalence reporting has lent an air of respectability to the effort (they might be fighting a losing battle, and the polls are low for congress and Republicans, but they’re fighting for their minority opinion).

By the way, false equivalency is when you’re a news organization and someone says ‘our party believes the world is round’ and you have someone on saying ‘the world is flat’ and the reporter says ‘opinions differ’ and offers you poll results about what people believe after the two talking heads hash out why the world may or may not be flat.

So here we are.

But the fact is, US medicine has been socialized since the year 1986.

1986.

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan passed a bill called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, or EMTALA.

See, up until 1986, hospitals and doctors could turn people away if they didn’t have the money. So could emergency rooms.

Let’s repeat that.

Up until 1986, in the USA, hospitals could turn a dying person away at the door if they didn’t have money, or refuse to treat.

As you can imagine, costs were kept down.

In 1986, Republicans passed EMTALA. What did EMTALA do? It socialized healthcare and made emergency rooms just like police, or firemen, or roads. It said people showing up on a door step of an ER dying *could not be refused* treatment.

Why did this happen. Because patients were being, literally dumped, by hospitals to prevent having to assume the expense of treating them:

Congress passed EMTALA to combat the practice of “patient dumping,” i.e., refusal to treat people because of inability to pay or insufficient insurance, or transferring or discharging emergency patients on the basis of high anticipated diagnosis and treatment costs. The law applies when an individual has a medical emergency “and a request is made on the individual’s behalf for examination or treatment for a medical condition.”

Here’s what that looked like on the ground:

Ron Anderson, M.D., president and CEO of Parkland Memorial Health and Hospital System in Dallas, was the medical director of the emergency department at Parkland in the early 1980s, and he knew all about dumping. “I would see patients transferred with knives still in their backs, or women giving birth at the door of the hospital, simply because they were uninsured.”

These, and many other shocking incidents, caught the attention of the CBS investigative show 60 Minutes, which, on March 17, 1985, broadcast an episode titled “The Billfold Biopsy,” about the dumping of unstabilized patients at Parkland.

So basically, Ronald Reagan set up hospital emergency rooms as socialized healthcare, and then…

…didn’t fund them.

It’s an unfunded mandate.

So it’s illegal to let patients die on your doorstep. A step forward in society (Reagan at the time said it allied with American’s Christian principles and his own). But the Republicans of the time never paid for it. They kicked that particular can down the road.

As a result, hospitals saw emergency room visits drastically increase. Insurance companies, because many of the uninsured used emergency rooms as care (to which they’re legally allowed, it’s how to collect the payment later that’s in issue), try to refuse to pay for the increase. Hospitals got clever at burying costs into healthy patient’s procedures, or anywhere else.

The system gets distorted.

So we already have socialized healthcare, it’s just that the hospitals, the government, and the insurance companies are all putting their fingers on their noses and saying ‘not it!’ due to that single fact: the 1986 bill was an unfunded mandate.

The thing is, one way or another, we do pay for it. Via taxes. Via higher costs of procedures. Via too much red tape caused by this giant game of ‘not it.’

Because of EMTALA.

Hillary Clinton tried to create a way to pay for it, so that all citizens chipped in. It looked too socialized. The Heritage Foundation suggested that all citizens just be forced to carry health insurance, and that if it cost too much for poor people the government chip in a little. Much like using the road (only, because the road is ‘being alive’ everyone has to have car/health insurance because you can’t get off the road, except for by dying), everyone has to have insurance. Massachusetts adopted this model, and it’s not perfect, but it’s way better than the current situation.

Obamacare imitates the Heritage and Massachusetts model. But it’s being fought by anti-Obama Tea Party folk because it’s socialism.

No son. Socialized medicine arrived in 1986.

What is being fought out is a case of ‘will we now be fiscally responsible about the socialized medicine that Ronald Reagan signed into law or will we continue using the expensive, unfunded mandate via emergency room payment system that has been a mess since 1986?’

The current House Republicans claim to be fighting socialized healthcare. If they were, I’d respect their ideological position. But none of them are filibustering or trying to repeal EMTALA. I haven’t seen a single attempt to repeal EMTALA by any of them.

So stopping the government, all the fits thrown this week, all this misery and the high, high cost of this shutdown to the economy, will come merely because Republicans refused to pay for a mandate their party created in 1986. (also, if you’re a Republican or Tea Party and not campaigning against EMTALA, I don’t take you seriously if you say you’re fighting socialized medicine, because you’re not, you’re just fighting to not have to pay for it).

Right now, ACA lets freelancers and people in between jobs get healthcare. It lets people outside of large corporations get healthcare. It lets small businessmen get healthcare.

It makes the practice of insurers dumping people with preexisting conditions illegal.

It makes it easy to find a healthcare package.

It has already been shown to be slowing down the rising cost of healthcare in studies.

And people want to try to stop it. Because it might help people not have to wait until they’re hurting in front of the emergency room to get the benefit of that 1986 law, it’ll let people start taking care of themselves ahead of time.

It’s been working in one state very well for a long time. It works well in other countries. We know how the ground game goes.

One group is doing everything they can to stop it, because this refinement of how the 1986 law is handled society-wide is coming from someone they didn’t vote for. That’s not a reason to hurt millions. It’s the biggest, saddest, childish thing I’ve seen.

Remember it come the next round of elections.

Remember well.

Here is Healthcare.Gov.

Teaparty members are just Socialists who dont believe anything but rather just say words they don’t mean

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Lawrence ODonnell nails it here.

Video is located here

90% Americans agree that Teaparty Ayn Rand concepts of wealth distribution are wrong

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

5000 people were surveyed and this is what they said.

Video is located here

Jesus never existed

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

More evidence for the obvious.

Story is located here.

New Rule: Conservatives Who Love to Brag About American Exceptionalism Must Come Here to California

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

New Rule: Conservatives who love to brag about American exceptionalism must come here to California, and see it in person. And then they should be afraid — very afraid. Because while the rest of the country is beset by stories of right-wing takeovers in places like North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin, California is going in the opposite direction and creating the kind of modern, liberal nation the country as a whole can only dream about. And not only can’t the rest of the country stop us — we’re going to drag you along with us.

Story is located here

Today’s Capitalists need Socialism to survive

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Imagine an opportunity where you can make a billion dollar bet on a coin flip using other people’s money. If your bet lands on Heads, you earn billions for your firm and you personally get to take home $130 million bonus (never have to work again). If heaven forbid, the coin lands on Tails, all you lose is your job. You don’t go to jail. Nothing else happens to you. Taxpayers bail out your firm.

Any idiot can get lucky for a year or two betting on coin flips (will gas prices go up or down, etc). But it’s f’d up when the profits are privatized and the losses are socialized.

How many people would do what this punk did? All you need is one lucky coin flip and you pay yourself a big enough bonus from that year’s proceeds that you never have to work again. If you lose the 50-50 bet, oh well. 50-50 odds for winning the lottery are pretty good.

This is exactly why financial markets need to be regulated, so as to protect the people who actually work for a living and don’t deserve to have their savings wiped out by these Wall St “rainmakers” and their risky bets.

Story is located here

Christian Communism – the Church Fathers on Poverty and Oppression

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Story is located here

 

And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. - Acts 2:42-47, KJV


And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. – Acts 4:31, 32, KJV
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CHRISTIAN COMMUNISM

Property is theft.

- St. Basil the Great

“When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice.”
- St. Gregory the Great

We who share one mind and soul obviously have no misgivings about community in property.

- Tertullian

All things belong to God, who is our Father and the father of all things. We are all of the same family; all of us are brothers. And among brothers it is best and most equal that all inherit equal portions.

- St. Gregory of Nyssa

Share everything with your brother. Do not say “it is private property.” If you share what is everlasting, you should be willing to share that much more the things that do not last.

- the Didache

Give a loaf of bread yourself; someone else can give a cup of wine, and another clothes. In this way one man’s property is relieved by your joint effort.

- St. Gregory of Nyssa

The rich take what belongs to everyone, and claim that they have the right to own it, to monopolize it.

- St. Basil the Great

AGAINST THE OPPRESSORS OF THE POOR

I am criticized often for my continual attacks on the rich. Yes: because the rich continually attack the poor.
– St. John Chrysostom

You a have thousand excuse for robbing your brother. “His house stands in my light,” you say; or “Only tramps go there.” You force them to move…
– St. John Chrysostom

It isn’t because the affluent are unable to provide food easily that men go hungry; it is because the affluent are cruel and inhuman…Every day the Church here feeds 3,000 people. Besides this, the Church daily helps provide food and clothes for prisoners, the hospitalized, pilgrims, cripples, churchmen, and others. If only ten people were willing to do this, there wouldn’t be a single poor man left in town.
– St. John Chrysostom

Those who oppress the poor must know that there sentence is heavier because of those they try to hurt. The more they press their power over these wretched lives, the more terrible their future condemnation and punishment will be.
– St. Isidore

Some think that the Old Testament is stricter than the New, but they judge wrongly; they are fooling themselves. The Old Law did not punish the desire to hold on to wealth; it punished theft. But now the rich man is not condemned for taking the property of others; rather, he is condemned for not giving his property away.
– St. Gregory the Great

You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. You have been appropriating things that are meant to be for the common use of everyone. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich.
- St. Ambrose

God has ordered all things to be produced so that there should be food in common for all, and that the earth should be the common possession of all. Nature, therefore, has produced a common right for all, but greed has made it a right for few.
- St. Ambrose

What keeps you from giving now? Isn’t the poor man there? Aren’t your own warehouses full? Isn’t the reward promised? The command is clear: the hungry man is dying now, the naked man is freezing now, the man in debt is beaten now- and you want him to wait until tomorrow? “I am not doing any harm,” you say. “I just want to keep what I own, that’s all.” Your own! … You are like someone who sits down in a theater and keeps every one else away, saying what is there for everyone’s use is his own. … If everyone took only what he needed and gave the rest to those in need, there would be no such thing a rich and poor. After all, didn’t you come into this life naked? And won’t you return to the earth naked?
– St. Basil the Great

Who is the greedy man? One for whom plenty does not suffice. Who defrauds others? One who keeps for himself what belongs to everyone. Aren’t you greedy, don’t you defraud, when you keep for yourself what was given to give away? When someone steals a man’s clothes, we call him a thief. Shouldn’t we give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not?
– St. Basil the Great

The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry person; the coat hanging unused in your closet belongs to the person who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the person with no shoes; the money which you put in the bank belongs to the poor. You do wrong to everyone you could help, but fail to help.
– St. Basil the Great

REBUKE THE OPPRESSOR (Isaiah 1:17, NKJV)
You may say “words are alright; but gold is better.” Talking to you is like talking to a lustful man about chastity: when one says something against him keeping a mistress, the mention of her name only goes to heat up his lust. How can I make you realize the misery of the poor? How can I make you understand that your wealth comes from their weeping?
- St. Basil the Great

The bread which the rich eat belongs to others more than them. They live on stolen goods. What they pay comes from what they have seized….You have gold dug up from mines, only to re-bury it. And how many lives are buried with it! And this wealth is kept for whom? For your heir, who waits idly to receive it….it is not the poor who are cursed, but the rich. Scripture says of the rich, not of the poor, that the man who increases the price of corn will be cursed….who is the wise man? The one who shows compassion on the poor, who sees the poor as natural members of his family.
- St. Ambrose

It is the poor who mine gold, though they are denied gold; they are forced to work for what they cannot keep.
- St. Ambrose

You have the power to save so many from death, but you do not care to do so- and the price of the ring on your hand could save the lives of a multitude!
- St. Ambrose

Wealth, which lead the men the wrong way so often, is seen less for its own qualities than for the human misery it stands for. The large rooms of which you are so proud are in fact your shame. They are big enough to hold crowds- and also big enough to shut out the voice of the poor. True, even if the voice were heard it would be ignored….the poor man cries before your house, and you pay no attention. There is your brother naked and crying! And you stand confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.
- St. Ambrose

THE CHURCH IS THE CHURCH OF THE POOR
The Lord ate from a common bowl, and asked his disciples to sit on the grass. He washed their feet with a towel wrapped around his waist- He, who is the Lord of the universe! He drank water from a jar of earthenware, with the Samaritan woman. Christ made use his aim, not extravagance.
- St. Clement

When the Son of Man comes in majesty, when he sits on the throne of glory, when all people are gathered and he divides the good from the bad, what praise will he give those on his right hand? He will praise them only for works of kindness and charity; he will hold them as done for himself. For the One who made our nature his own did not hold himself back in any way from the most simple human thing. And what curse will there be for those on his left hand? Only that they neglected love; that they were inhumanly harsh and denied mercy to the oppressed. It is though there were no other virtues with the first group, and as though there were no other sins than those of the other.
- Pope St. Leo the Great

Let us abandon luxury, we will not regret it.
- Tertullian

The price of the Kingdom is the food you give to those who need it.
- Pope St. Leo the Great

Feeding the hungry is a greater work than raising the dead.
- St. John Chrysostom

We are not to throw away things that can benefit our neighbor. Goods are called good because they can be used for good. They are instruments of good in the hands of those who use them properly.
- St. Clement

Houses of hospitality must be built for the poor in every city of every diocese.
- The Council of Nicea

Every family should have a room where Christ is welcome in the person of the hungry and thirsty stranger.
- St. John Chrysostom

The Bible is full of Communistic sharing and Socialistic giving which results in helping people.

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Inspired by Lance Goldsberry’s page on his blog, I am also compiling a list of quotes on property, wealth, and economics from the biblical church and church tradition. My goal is not to make people be communists, communalists, communitarians, or whatever other word you would like to use for it, but to get people thinking. A lot of people associate economic individualism and greed with Christianity, and I want to show how different it should be.

Also, a number of these quotes will come from my previous blog post, The Bible On Poverty and Oppression, and from the out of print book Quotations From Chairman Jesus by Fr. David Kirk, who was a Catholic Worker and civil rights activist, but some of these also come from books and articles that I have come across here and there.

Apostolic Communism and Care For the Poor

While Jesus was alive, he and his disciples practiced communal ownership of money, and it was Judas who was the caretaker of their communal pot, or as the NRSV puts it, common purse (John 12:6, 13:29). Later, the apostles continued Jesus’ communal practice after his death.

“All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.” – Acts 2:44-45

“Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common.” – Acts 4:32

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Many other parts of the New Testament, while they may not reflect a specifically communist outlook, do show a strong emphasis on caring for the poor and the rejection of money and property.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:3-12

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” – Matthew 16:24-25

“Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”” – Matthew 19:21

“Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.” — Matthew 21:12–17, see also  Mark 11:15–19,  Luke 19:45–48, and John 2:13–16

“Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’” – Matthew 25:31-46

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” — Luke 1:46-55

“In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.”” – Luke 3:11

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free” — Luke 4:18

“Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man.” — Luke 6:20-22

“And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them.” — Luke 7:22

“Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” — Luke 12:33

“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.” — Luke 14:13

“When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”” — Luke 18:22

“love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.” – Romans 12:10-13

“We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints—and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us,” – 2 Corinthians 8:1-5

“For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something. . .

“I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance.” – 2 Corinthians 8:9-10, 13-14

“They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do.” — Galatians 2:10

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28

“In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!” – Colossians 3:11

“As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.” – 1 Timothy 6:17-19

“Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”” — Hebrews 13:1-5

“For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?” – James 2:2-7

“Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you.” – James 5:1-6

“How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” — 1 John 3:17-18

Christian Communism Throughout History

“We who share one mind and soul obviously have no misgivings about community in property.” — Tertullian

“All things belong to God, who is our Father and the Father of all things. We are all of the same family; all of us are brothers. And among brothers it is best and most equal that all inherit equal portions.” — St. Gregory of Nyssa

“Share everything with your brother. Do not say, “It is private property.” If you share what is everlasting, you should be that much more willing to share things which do not last.” — The Didache

“Give a loaf of bread yourself; someone else can give a cup of wine, and another can give clothes. In this way one man’s property is relieved by your joint effort.” — St. Gregory of Nyssa

“The rich take what belongs to everyone, and claim they have the right to own it, to monopolize it. — St. Basil the Great

“I am criticized often for my continual attacks upon the rich. Yes: because the rich continually attack the poor.” — St. John Chrysostom

“Tell me then, how is it that you are rich? From whom did you receive it, and from whom did he transmit it to you? From his father and his grandfather. But can you, ascending through many generations, show the acquisition just? It cannot be. The root and origin of it must have been injustice. Why? Because God in the beginning did not make one person rich and another poor. He left the earth free to all alike. Why then if it is common, have you so many acres of land, while your neighbor has not a portion of it?” – St. John Chrysostom

“You have a thousand excuses for robbing your brother. ‘His house stands in my light,’ you say; or, ‘Only tramps go there.” You force them to move.” — St. John Chrysostom

“It is not because the affluent are unable to provide food easily that men go hungry; it is because the affluent are cruel and inhuman. . . Every day the church here feeds 3000 people. Besides this, the church daily helps provide food and clothes for prisoners, the hospitalized, pilgrims, cripples, churchmen, and others. If only ten people were willing to do this, there would not be a single poor man left in town.” — St. John Chrysostom

“Those who oppress the poor must know that their sentence is heavier because of those they try to hurt. The more they press their power over these wretched lives, the more terrible their future condemnation and punishment will be.” — St. Isidore

“Some think that the Old Testament is stricter than the New, but they judge wrongly; they are fooling themselves. The old law did not punish the desire to hold on to wealth; it punished theft. But now the rich man is not condemned for taking the property of others; rather, he is condemned for not giving his own property away.” — St. Gregory the Great

“What keeps you from giving now? Is not the poor man there? Are not your own warehouses full? Is not reward promised? The command is clear: the hungry man is dying now, the naked man is freezing now, the man in debt is beaten now — and you want to wait until tomorrow? ‘I am now doing any harm,’ you say. “I just want to keep what I own, that is all.’ Your own! . . . You are like someone who sits down in a theater and keeps everyone else away, saying that what is there for everyone’s use is his own. . . if everyone took only what he needed and gave the rest to those in need, there would be no such thing as rich or poor. After all, did not you come into life naked; and will not you return naked to the earth?” — St. Basil the Great

“The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of the person who is naked. The shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot. The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor. The acts of charity you do not perform are the injustices you commit.” – St. Basil the Great

“Give a loaf of bread yourself, someone else can give a cup of wine, and another can give clothes. In this way one man’s poverty is relieved by your joint effort.” – St. Gregory of Nyssa

“Who is the greedy man? One for whom plenty does not suffice. Who defrauds others? One who keeps for himself what belongs to everyone. Are not you greedy, do not you defraud, when you keep for yourself what was given for giving away? When someone steals a man’s clothes we call him a thief. Should not we give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not?” — St. Basil the Great

“The bread which the rich eat belongs to others more than to them. They live on stolen goods. What they pay comes from what they have seized. . . You have gold dug up from the mines, only to re-bury it. And how many lives are buried with it! And this wealth is kept for whom? For your heir, who waits idly to receive it . . . It is not the poor who are cursed, but the rich. Scripture says of the rich, not of the poor, that the man who increases the price of corn will be cursed . . . Who is the wise man? The one who shows compassion to the poor, who sees the poor as natural members of his family.” — St. Ambrose of Milan

“It is the poor who mine gold, though they are denied gold; they are forced to work for what they cannot keep.” — St. Ambrose of Milan

“Wealth, which leads men the wrong way so often, is seen less for its own qualities than for the human misery it stands for. The large rooms of which you are so proud are in fact your shame. They are big enough to hold crowds — and also big enough to shut out the voice of the poor. True, even if the voice were heard it would be ignored. . . The poor man cries before your house, and you pay no attention. There is your brother, naked and crying! And you stand confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.” — St. Ambrose of Milan

“You have the power to save so many from death, but you do not care to do so — and the price of the ring on your hand could save the lives of a multitude!” — St. Ambrose of Milan

“Property is theft.” — St. Basil the Great

“The Lord ate from a common bowl, and asked the disciples to sit on the grass. He washed their feet, with a towel wrapped around his waist — He, who is the Lord of the universe! He drank water from a jug of earthenware, with the Samaritan woman. Christ made use his aim, not extravagance.” — St. Clement of Alexandria

“The price of the kingdom is the food you give to those who need it.” — St. Leo the Great

“Feeding the hungry is a greater work than raising the dead.” — St. John Chrysostom

“Every family should have a room where Christ is welcomed in the person of the hungry and thirsty stranger.” — St. John Chrysostom

“Property, the more common it is, the more holy it is.” — St. Gertrude

“When Adam delved and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman? From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men. For if God would have had any bondmen from the beginning, he would have appointed who should be bond, and who free. And therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may (if ye will) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty.” — Rev. John Ball

“Yes, they do not bear their sword in vain, they rob and oppress the poor working people.” – Peter Chelcicky

“The estate of the ruling class which conducts defensive warfare, kills, burns, and hangs; the estate of the common and higher priests who pray; and the estate of the common peasants who must slave and feed the two upper-class insatiable Baals.

Behold the first Baal, fat and proliferated: the temporal lords.  Behold the second Baal, also fat and proliferated: the spiritual lords.  Both Baals suck the labor of the earth, the blood, and the sweat of the third class that, drenched with sweat, fills the fleshpots of the two Baals.” — Peter Chelcicky

“the poor man hath title to the rich man’s goods; so that the rich man ought to let the poor man have part of his riches to help and to comfort him withal.” – Hugh Latimer

“England is not a free people, till the poor that have no land, have a free allowance to dig and labor the commons.” — Gerrard Winstanley

“The earth was not made purposely for you, to be Lords of it, and we to be your Slaves, Servants, and Beggers; but it was made to be a common Livelihood to all, without respect of persons: And that your buying and selling of Land, and the Fruits of it, one to another, is The cursed thing, and was brought in by War.” — Gerrard Winstanley

“Wage labour, though it appears to be an inevitable step in the evolution of society, is as little fitted to represent finally or adequately the connection of man with man in the production of wealth as in earlier times slavery or serfdom.” – Bishop B.F. Westcott

“The early church was communist in the broadest sense: Christians did not believe in exclusive ownership of property. They owned all things in common; the poor received what they needed from the common holdings.” – Fr. David Kirk

Story is located here

Conspiracy Theories are eating the Republican Party alive

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
Conspiracy Theory-  Definition is here
 
 
I hope you can watch this video as Jon Stewart tears into FOX News and Conspiracy Theories.  Video is located here
 
And Rachel Maddow does the same but different.  Video is located here
 
Huge list of Benghazi stuff which is quickly turning into the Conspiracy Theory dujour.  Video is located here
 
Guess who debunked several of the big Conspiracy Theories about Benghazi?  A GOP STAR WITNESS FROM TODAY.  Video is located here
 
Was there a Benghazi coverup?  The leader of the investigation says not just NO….but emphatically says NO!  Video is located here
 
Former Presidential Candidate John McCain is in on the Conspiracy Theories too and this is the untruth he has peddled.  Story is located here
 
For more than a FULL YEAR Fast and Furious was the big Conspiracy Theory of the moment.  Story is located here
 
Republicans and Democrats respond to facts in a different way.  Story is located here
 
A very short list of only the craziest Republican Conspiracy Theories.  Story is located here
 
Just a few more Republican Conspiracy Theories.  Story is located here
 
This is who the Conspiracy Theories are selling to.  Story is located here
 
It is insanity.
It is to the bone.
It is the mainstream core of who Republicans are today because what Glenn Beck says is what mainstream Republicans and their elected officials repeat as fact.
We need it to stop because we need them to help America as opposed to hurt America which is what the above does.
 

The Sequester is going to hurt friends of mine and it will hurt YOU too.

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013
 

 Below is a letter a friend of mine wrote concerning his being laid off as a result of The Sequester.  There are countless important jobs that people in the public sector do ranging from police to fire to the FAA and one important job area is definitely the National Weather Service.  Basically the interior 1/3 of the nation is susceptible to tornados or violent weather in a moment’s notice.  The Eastern 1/3 of the nation is liable to see weather ranging from hurricanes to serious storms while the Western 1/3 of the nation is liable to see severe heat.  The whole nation is at the mercy of weather systems.  Because of The Sequester we are being forced to lay off the people that keep a vigilant eye on what is going on above us. 

The money that these community’s economies will miss out on is in the billions as these people will most likely cut back on every type of consumer goods resulting in more layoffs in their town.  The services that these workers provide will be missed as their remaining workers shoulder the rest of the tasks and as a result the remaining workers are more likely to make simple mistakes resulting in big problems for people across the nation. 
Here is my friend Dave explaining very clearly and concisely the seriousness he takes his job and the result that we Americans will see because of his National Weather Service co-workers being laid off.  The Sequester is going to hurt Dave and it will hurt you as well.
—–
Greetings,

My name is Dave M, and I am the National Weather Service Employees Organization (NWSEO) member at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Pueblo, CO. The employees I represent, along with myself, will be among the 12,000 employees of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who will be furloughed this summer due to sequestration.

Your local weather forecast office cannot afford any staffing shortages this summer. Summertime in Colorado can have very active thunderstorm weather producing severe hazardous weather including, damaging wind gusts, large hail, tornadoes, and heavy rain. Heavy rain is particularly a dangerous hazard in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and produces flash flooding. Wildfire burn scars, especially the Waldo Canyon Wildfire west of Colorado Spring, will produce flash flooding with just minor amounts of rainfall in a short period of time. Another particularly dangerous hazard is wildfi

res in Colorado.
You may not know this, but routine staffing at your National Weather Service Office is “fair weather staffing”, which means only two forecasters are on duty at any given time. When high impact dangerous weather is forecast, we call in up to 6 additional forecasters to complete the mission. National Weather Service Forecasters routinely work extra hours and/or give up their off hours to work high impact hazardous weather events. However, employees who are in furlough status cannot, by law, be called into work on a day designated for furlough. Therefore, if the furlough day just happens to occur when severe thunderstorms, wildfires, flash flooding, etc is in the forecast, your National Weather Service will be unable to provide the same superior warning services that you, the public, deserve. On-duty National Weather Service forecasters will try their hardest to meet the country’s weather needs, but the furloughs will make that a difficult task.

All National Weather Service offices across the United States will be affected by this furlough.

Just to be clear, I am not doing this because I am losing pay due to the furlough. Rather, I am concerned for the safety of the people that live and work in my area of responsibility. These unnecessary furloughs and budget cuts will reduce our ability to maintain a high level of warning services, ultimately putting you and your loved ones in danger.

Help me protect you, by calling your Senators and Congressional Representative and telling them to end the National Weather Service sequestration.

How to contact your Senator:
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

How to contact your Congressional Representative:
http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Thank you, and please share this with everyone you know.

Dave M.

 

Almost 1/3 of Americans see ARMED rebellion coming soon

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Three in 10 registered American voters believe an armed rebellion might be necessary in the next few years, according to the results of a staggering poll released Wednesday by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind.

The survey, aimed at measuring public attitudes toward gun issues, found that 29 percent of Americans agree with the statement, “In the next few years, an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect our liberties.” An additional five percent were unsure.

Eighteen percent of Democrats said an armed revolt “might be necessary,” as compared to 27 percent of independents and 44 percent of Republicans. Support levels were similar among males and females but higher among less educated voters.

Story is located here

Nut Pastor Terry Jones to burn Korans again on anniversary of 9/11

Monday, April 29th, 2013
Last time this happened with that stupid video there were protests worldwide in Islamic nation and plenty of bad results from it.  Here we go again. 
This guy is radicalized.  Where was he radicalized?  Who radicalized him and for what purpose? 
He was radicalized here in the USA.  He is doing this on purpose.  He is cause for the effect it will have. He is yelling FIRE in a crowded theater which is illegal. 
Not all Christians are nuts like him….just like not all Muslims are nuts like them.
I guess we shall see.
Story is located here

No nation, in the history of the world, has ever cut it’s way to prosperity.

Monday, April 29th, 2013

The motivation behind the world-wide economic con of austerity has been discovered. And, the source is none other than Pete Peterson – the debt-obsessed billionaire who stands to make billions off the privatization of our social safety net. Just days ago we told you how a 28-year-old grad student debunked the Reinhart-Rogoff study used to push austerity throughout the world. Well, now we know why Republican “fuzzy math” was used in the first place. Pete Peterson’s organizations bankrolled that study.

Kenneth Rogoff, one of the study’s leading authors, is a member of the Advisory Board at the Peterson Institute, which published the pro-austerity study. And, Carmen Reinhart is a regular participant of Peterson Institute functions, along with the likes of Paul Ryan and Alan Simpson. While the now-debunked study’s math might have been written off as a mere error by the authors, the link to Peterson indicates that ideology, rather than incompetence, is the cause.

The austerity-induced human suffering and economic destruction should have been evidence enough for democrats to stop believing in budget-cut myths. But, the link to Peterson proves that “high debt causes slow growth” theory is nothing more than right-wing manufactured hysteria. Peterson and the corporatist machine have created this problem, and the so-called solution, to perpetuate the myth that government spending – not historically low tax revenue – is the real problem. And they have even gotten democrats to believe it.

It’s time for President Obama and Democratic leaders to see the writing on the wall and take a formal stand against austerity. No nation, in the history of the world, has ever cut it’s way to prosperity, and no fabricated economic study can change that.

Story is located here

The entire Republican economic plan has been debunked

Thursday, April 25th, 2013
Yes….one of the documents that Republicans hang their entire world on has been outed EASILY as a complete fraud.
 
How do you do this?  You actually work the numbers as the document says. 
 
Here is Colbert showing the high level wrongness.  Video is here
 
Why would the Republicans do this?  What is the BACKSTORY?  They want your Social Security!  Story is here
So where has this been used?  Simpson Bowles and their deficit plan using austerity and budget cuts.  The DEFICIT HAWKS use this and they are wrong….TOTALLY…as their own document proves.  Story is here
George Carlin- AND NOW THEY’RE COMING FOR YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY.  Video is here
It is a big club and you ain’t in it!
 

50 Reasons You Despised George W. Bush’s Presidency: A Reminder on the Day of His Presidential Library Dedication

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Let’s look at 50 reasons, some large and some small, why W. inspired so much anger.

1. He stole the presidency in 2000. People may forget that Republicans in Florida purged more than 50,000 African-American voters before Election Day, and then went to the Supreme Court where the GOP-appointed majority stopped a recount that would have awarded the presidency to Vice-President Al Gore if all votes were counted. National news organizations verified that outcome long after Bush had been sworn in.

2. Bush’s lies started in that race. Bush ran for office claiming he was a “uniter, not a divider.” Even though he received fewer popular votes than Gore, he quickly claimed he had the mandate from the American public to push his right-wing agenda.  

3. He covered up his past. He was a party boy, the scion of a powerful political family who got away with being a deserter during the Vietnam War. He was reportedly AWOL for over a year from his assigned unit, the Texas Air National Guard, which other military outfits called the “Champagne Division.”

4. He loved the death penalty. As Texas governor from 1995-2000, he signed the most execution orders of any governor in U.S. history—152 people, including the mentally ill and women who were domestic abuse victims. He spared one man’s life, a serial killer.

5. He was a corporate shill from Day 1. Bush locked up the GOP nomination by raising more campaign money from corporate boardrooms than anyone at that time. He lunched with CEOs who would jet into Austin to “educate” him about their political wish lists.

6. He gutted global political progress.He pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol which set requirements for 38 nations to lower greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change, saying that abiding by the agreement would “harm our economy and hurt our workers.”

7. He embraced global isolationism. He withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, over Russia’s protest, taking the U.S. in a direction not seen since World War I. 

8. He ignored warnings about Osama bin Laden. He ignored the Aug. 6, 2001 White House intelligence briefing titled, “Bin Laden determined to strike in the U.S.” Meanwhile, his chief anti-terrorism advisor, Richard Clarke, and first Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill, testified in Congress that he was intent on invading Iraq within days of becoming president.

9. Ramped up war on drugs, not terrorists. The Bush administration had twice as many FBI agents assigned to the war on drugs than fighting terrorism before 9/11, and kept thousands in that role after the terror attacks. 

10. “My Pet Goat.” He kept reading a picture book to grade-schoolers for seven minutes after his top aides told him that the World Trade Centers had been attacked in 9/11. Then Air Force One flew away from Washington, D.C., vanishing for hours after the attack.

11. Squandered global goodwill after 9/11. Bush thumbed his nose at world sympathy for the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, by declaring a global war on terrorism and declaring “you are either with us or against us.”

12. Bush turned to Iraq not Afghanistan. The Bush administration soon started beating war drums for an attack on Iraq, where there was no proven Al Qaeda link, instead of Afghanistan, where the 9/11 bombers had trained and Osama bin Laden was based. His 2002 State of the Union speech declared that Iraq was part of an “Axis of Evil.”

13. Attacked United Nation weapons inspectors. The march to war in Iraq started with White House attacks on the credibility of U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq, whose claims that Saddam Hussein did not have nuclear weapons proved to be true.

14. He flat-out lied about Iraq’s weapons. In a major speech in October 2002, he said that Saddam Hussein had the capacity to send unmanned aircraft to the U.S. with bombs that could range from chemical weapons to nuclear devices. “We cannot wait for the final proof—the smoking gun—that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud,” he said.

15. He ignored the U.N. and launched a war. The Bush administration tried to get the U.N. Security Council to authorize an attack on Iraq, which it refused to do. Bush then decided to lead a “preemptive” attack regardless of international consequences. He did not wait for any congressional authorization to launch a war.

16. Abandoned international Criminal Court. Before invading Iraq, Bush told the U.N. that the U.S. was withdrawing from ratifying the International Criminal Court Treaty to protect American troops from persecution and to allow it to pursue preemptive war.

17. Colin Powell’s false evidence at U.N. The highly decorated soldier turned Secretary of State presented false evidence at the U.N. as the American mainstream media began its jingoistic drumbeat to launch a war of choice on Saddam Hussein and Iraq.

18. He launched a war on CIA whistleblowers. When a former ambassador, Joseph C. Wilson, wrote a New York Times op-ed saying there was no nuclear threat from Iraq, the White House retaliated by leaking the name and destroying the career of his wife, Valerie Plame, one of the CIA’s top national security experts.

19. Bush pardoned the Plame affair leaker. Before leaving office, Bush pardoned the vice president’s top staffer, Scooter Libby, for leaking Plame’s name to the press.   

20. Bush launched the second Iraq War. In April 2003, the U.S. military invaded Iraq for the second time in two decades, leading to hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and more than a million refugees as a years of sectarian violence took hold on Iraq. Nearly 6,700 U.S. soldiers have died in the Iraq and Afghan wars.

21. Baghdad looted except for oil ministry. The Pentagon failure to plan for a military occupation and transition to civilian rule was seen as Baghdad was looted while troops guarded the oil ministry, suggesting this war was fought for oil riches, not terrorism.  

22. The war did not make the U.S. safer. In 2006, a National Intelligence Estimate (a consensus report of the heads of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies) asserted that the Iraq war had increased Islamic radicalism and had worsened the terror threat.

23. U.S. troops were given unsafe gear. From inadequate vests from protection against snipers to Humvees that could not protect soldiers from roadside bombs, the military did not sufficiently equip its soldiers in Iraq, leading to an epidemic of brain injuries. 

24. Meanwhile, the war propaganda continued. From landing on an aircraft carrier in a flight suit to declare “mission accomplished” to surprising troops in Baghdad with a Thanksgiving turkey that was a table decoration used as a prop, Bush defended his war of choice by using soldiers as PR props.

25. He never attended soldiers’ funerals. For years after the war started, Bush never attended a funeral even though as of June 2005, 144 soldiers (of the 1,700 killed thus far) were laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetary, about two miles from the White House.

26. Meanwhile, war profiteering surged.The list of top Bush administration officials whose former corporate employers made billions in Pentagon contracts starts with Vice-President Dick Cheney and Halliburton, which made $39.5 billion, and included his daughter, Liz Cheney, who ran a $300 million Middle East partnership program.

27. Bush ignored international ban on torture. Suspected terrorists were captured and tortured by the U.S. military in Baghdad’s Abu Gharib prison, in the highest profile example of how the Bush White House ignored international agreements, such as the Geneva Convention, that banned torture, and created a secret system of detention that was unmasked when photos made their way to the American media outlets.

28. Created the blackhole at Gitmo and renditions. The Bush White House created the offshore military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as well as secret detention sites in eastern Europe to evade domestic and military justice systems. Many of the men still jailed in Cuba were turned over to the U.S. military by bounty hunters.  

29. Bush violated U.S. Constitution as well.The Bush White House ignored basic civil liberties, most notably by launching a massive domestic spying program where millions of Americans’ online activities were monitored with the help of big telecom companies. The government had no search warrant or court authority for its electronic dragnet.

30. Iraq war created federal debt crisis.The total costs of the Iraq and Afghan wars will reach between $4 trillion and $6 trillion, when the long-term medical costs are added in for wounded veterans, a March 2013 report by a Harvard researcher has estimated. Earlier reports said the wars cost $2 billion a week.

31. He cut veterans’ healthcare funding. At the height of the Iraq war, the White House cut funding for veterans’ healthcare by several billion dollars, slashed more than one billion from military housing and opposed extending healthcare to National Guard families, even as they were repeatedly tapped for extended and repeat overseas deployments.

32. Then Bush decided to cut income taxes. In 2001 and 2003, a series of bills lowered income tax rates, cutting federal revenues as the cost of the foreign wars escalated. The tax cuts disproportionately benefited the wealthy, with roughly one-quarter going to the top one percent of incomes compared to 8.9% going to the middle 20 percent. The cuts were supposed to expire in 2013, but most are still on the books.

33. Assault on reproductive rights.From the earliest days of his first term, the Bush White House led a prolonged assault on reproductive rights. He cut funds for U.N. family planning programs, barred military bases from offering abortions, put right-wing evangelicals in regulatory positions where they rejected new birth control drugs, and issued regulations making fetuses—but not women—eligible for federal healthcare.

34. Cut Pell Grant loans for poor students. His administration froze Pell Grants for years and tightened eligibility for loans, affecting 1.5 million low-income students. He also eliminated other federal job training programs that targeted young people.

35. Turned corporations loose on environment. Bush’s environmental record was truly appalling, starting with abandoning a campaign pledge to tax carbon emissions and then withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases. The Sierra Club lists 300 actions his staff took to undermine federal laws, from cutting enforcement budgets to putting industry lobbyists in charge of agencies to keeping energy policies secret.

36.. Said evolution was a theory—like intelligent design.One of his most inflammatory comments was saying that public schools should teach that evolution is a theory with as much validity as the religious belief in intelligent design, or God’s active hand in creating life. 

37. Misguided school reform effort. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” initiative made preparation for standardized tests and resulting test scores the top priority in schools, to the dismay of legions of educators who felt that there was more to learning than taking tests. 

38. Appointed flank of right-wing judges. Bush’s two Supreme Court picks—Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito—have reliably sided with pro-business interests and social conservatives. He also elevated U.S. District Court Judge Charles Pickering to an appeals court, despite his known segregationist views.

39. Gutted the DOJ’s voting rights section. Bush’s Justice Department appointees led a multi-year effort to prosecute so-called voter fraud, including firing seven U.S. attorneys who did not pursue overtly political cases because of lack of evidence.

40. Meanwhile average household incomes fell. When Bush took office in 2000, median household incomes were $52,500. In 2008, they were $50,303, a drop of 4.2 percent, making Bush the only recent two-term president to preside over such a drop.

41. And millions more fell below the poverty line. When Bill Clinton left office, 31.6 million Americans were living in poverty. When Bush left office, there were 39.8 million, according to the U.S. Census, an increase of 26.1 percent. The Census said two-thirds of that growth occurred before the economic downturn of 2008.

42. Poverty among children also exploded. The Census also found that 11.6 million children lived below the poverty line when Clinton left office. Under Bush, that number grew by 21 percent to 14.1 million.

43. Millions more lacked access to healthcare. Following these poverty trends, the number of Americans without health insurance was 38.4 million when Clinton left office. When Bush left, that figure had grown by nearly 8 million to 46.3 million, the Census found. Those with employer-provided benefits fell every year he was in office.

44. Bush let black New Orleans drown. Hurricane Katrina exposed Bush’s attitude toward the poor. He didn’t visit the city after the storm destroyed the poorest sections. He praised his Federal Emergency Management Agency director for doing a “heck of a job” as the federal government did little to help thousands in the storm’s aftermath and rebuilding.

45. Yet pandered to religious right. Months before Katrina hit, Bush flew back to the White House to sign a bill to try to stop the comatose Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube from being removed, saying the sanctity of life was at stake.

46. Set record for fewest press conferences. During his first term that was defined by the 9/11 attacks, he had the fewest press conferences of any modern president and had never met with the New York Times editorial board.

47. But took the most vacation time. Reporters analyzing Bush’s record found that he took off 1,020 days in two four-year terms—more than one out of every three days. No other modern president comes close. Bush also set the record for the longest vacation among modern presidents—five weeks, the Washington Post noted.   

48. Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld. Not since Richard Nixon’s White House and the era of the Watergate burglary and expansion of the Vietnam War have there been as many power-hungry and arrogant operators holding the levers of power. Cheney ran the White House; Rove the political operation for corporations and the religious right; and Rumsfeld oversaw the wars.

49. He’s escaped accountability for his actions. From Iraq war General Tommy Franks’ declaration that “we don’t do body counts” to numerous efforts to impeach Bush and top administration officials—primarily over launching the war in Iraq—he has never been held to account in any official domestic or international tribunal.

50. He may have stolen the 2004 election as well. The closest Bush came to a public referendum on his presidency was the 2004 election, which came down to the swing state of Ohio. There the GOP’s voter suppression tactics rivaled Florida in 2000 and many unresolved questions remain about whether the former GOP Secretary of State altered the Election Night totals from rural Bible Belt counties.

Any bright spots? Conservatives will lambaste lists like this for finding nothing good about a president like W. So, yes, he created the largest ocean preserve offshore from Hawaii in his second term. And in his final year in office, his initiative to fight AIDS across Africa has been credited with saving many thousands of lives. But on balance, George W. Bush was more than eight years of missed opportunities for America and the world. He was a disaster, leaving much of America and the world in much worse shape than when he took the oath of office in 2001. His reputation should not be resurrected or restored or seen as anything other than what it was.    

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Get Ready for Higher Prices and Less Energy Security: Our Natural Gas Reserves Are Being Plundered For Export

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Domestically, natural gas remains cheap, hovering around $3.50 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf). But in Europe and Asia, respectively, prices are three to nearly five times that amount.

The current glut of natural gas in the U.S. has kept prices low for both consumers’ electricity bills and for energy-intensive areas of the economy, such as the revitalized domestic manufacturing sector, which uses natural gas for feedstock. But over the last couple of years, gas companies have been losing money because supply has outpaced demand and returns on natural gas at its domestic price became too low to warrant the cost of production.

Exporting LNG to the highest bidder overseas would greatly benefit the profits of gas companies and also some companies involved in its export. But many experts agree, and multiple studies reveal, that it would have the dual effect of raising prices domestically to levels that would both hurt consumers and all other energy-intensive sectors of the economy.

“If we are forced to pay $12 to $16 per Mcf, well, then our economy’s going bust,” Patzek said.

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Yet Another Study Shows Low IQ And Right-Wing Ideology Go Hand-In-Hand

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
I think it is harder to say that new ideas and new people are accepted (which is the broadbrush definition of Liberalism)….however when this is done society almost always moves forward.  The denial of these things (which is the broadbrush definition of Conservatism) is easier to do… however society pays for it in the end because truly CHANGE is the only constant in our lives.  The greatest time period of Conservatism could very well be the Dark Ages when the greatest time of Liberalism is the greatest the world has seen and that is now.  Fear Uncertainty and Doubt must be overcome and worked through….and the ability to do that often requires quite an introspective look…denial of past beliefs and a forward vision involving realizing the past was wrong and the future must involve a different tack….which people of lesser intelligence would naturally find harder to do.  Conservatism is “Stay the Course”.  Liberalism is “Change”.  So yes Conservative ideologies and lesser intelligence would be a parallel to some degree.  Another way to look at it is – “black and white” topics and views are easier while “shades of gray and nuance” in issues is much harder to grasp.
 
 
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 Okay now, liberals, don’t get all smug and conservatives, don’t get defensive. The studies hit a hot-button trifecta – examining intelligence, racism and ideology – and our ability to remain objective may be strained. But… it is what it is so let’s dive right in.

The first studies of the correlation between intelligence and racism were done in the U.K. and involved children born in 1958 and another group born in 1970. The children’s intelligence was tested at age 10-11 and at age 30-33, their levels of social conservatism were measured. Verbal and nonverbal intelligence at the early ages was gauged using words, symbols and shapes. The later tests used four methods of testing cognitive abilities. The average IQ for comparison was set at 100.

 

The adults were given statements with which to agree or disagree dealing with social issues such as women working outside the home and what children should be taught in school. They also answered questions as to whether or not they’d work with people of other races. Once the data was crunched, those children who tested low on the IQ tests grew up to be adults who were racist. It also showed that the people with lower cognitive abilities had less social contact with people of other races.

Gordon Hodson of Brock University in St. Catherine’s, Ontario, Canada and his colleague Michael A. Busseri, examined these and other studies. Their findings were published as Bright Minds and Dark Attitudes: Lower Cognitive Ability Predicts Greater Prejudice Through Right-Wing Ideology and Low Intergroup Contact.

“This finding is consistent with recent research demonstrating that inter-group contact is mentally challenging and cognitively draining, and consistent with findings that contact reduces prejudice.”

The point here is that one’s cognitive ability determines how easily one can grasp complexities and that right-wing extremist ideologies (and racism) cater to this handicap. Of course, extremist left-wing ideologies can fall into this trap as well, but few of them are as harmful as right-wing ones. For example, a right-wing view that all foreigners are scary and wish us harm becomes everyone is kind and wishes us well through one left-wing prism. One of these things is not like the other, though.

“Socially conservative ideologies tend to offer structure and order,” Hodson said, explaining why these beliefs might draw those with low intelligence. “Unfortunately, many of these features can also contribute to prejudice.”

Further, these findings may relate to homophobia as well. In another U.S. study, Hodson and Busseri compared 254 people who had the same level of education but possessed different levels of abstract reasoning. They found that people whose abstract reasoning abilities were poor tended to be homophobic. Just like in the U.K. study, these people had also had less contact with gays and were more accepting of authoritarianism.

Dr. Brian Nosek, a University of Virginia psychologist, says that the findings are correlational, hence they can’t conclusively prove that low IQs lead to prejudice. The studies would have to compare identical people, which is not possible. But it does point to the idea that people who lack the cognitive ability to process complexity tend to adhere to strict ideologies:

“Reality is complicated and messy. Ideologies get rid of the messiness and impose a simpler solution. So, it may not be surprising that people with less cognitive capacity will be attracted to simplifying ideologies.” (source)

This is not to say that all conservatives are dumb or that all liberals are smart. That’s far too simplistic a conclusion to draw. But the predominance of extremist right-wing ideology amongst those with a low-IQ is too common to ignore.

Another interesting study has shown a correlation between American symbols or cues – such as the flag or the word, “patriot” – and increased aggression in judging other people. These cues also increased the subject’s tendency to fall back onto war imagery and language. This occurred regardless of political affiliation or other factors. So when Fox News (or any other network) precedes a story with one of these cues, it tends to increase their viewer’s aggression towards who or whatever the subject of the report may be. Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

What can we conclude from these studies? Strictly speaking, they have their flaws but, overall, I believe that they have been able to draw a connection between low IQ in the form of reasoning and abstract thought and racism and authoritarian ideologies. From here, perhaps we should try to teach children how better to reason and extrapolate as well as to empathize with others. Hopefully, those who have a vested interest in keeping people stupid won’t be able to block these efforts. And if they do, then parents, it’s up to you. Teach your children well.

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Full text: bin Laden’s ‘letter to America’

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

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In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

“Permission to fight (against disbelievers) is given to those (believers) who are fought against, because they have been wronged and surely, Allah is Able to give them (believers) victory” [Quran 22:39]

“Those who believe, fight in the Cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of Taghut (anything worshipped other than Allah e.g. Satan). So fight you against the friends of Satan; ever feeble is indeed the plot of Satan.”[Quran 4:76]

Some American writers have published articles under the title ‘On what basis are we fighting?’ These articles have generated a number of responses, some of which adhered to the truth and were based on Islamic Law, and others which have not. Here we wanted to outline the truth – as an explanation and warning – hoping for Allah’s reward, seeking success and support from Him.

While seeking Allah’s help, we form our reply based on two questions directed at the Americans:

(Q1) Why are we fighting and opposing you?
Q2)What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?

As for the first question: Why are we fighting and opposing you? The answer is very simple:

(1) Because you attacked us and continue to attack us.

a) You attacked us in Palestine:

(i) Palestine, which has sunk under military occupation for more than 80 years. The British handed over Palestine, with your help and your support, to the Jews, who have occupied it for more than 50 years; years overflowing with oppression, tyranny, crimes, killing, expulsion, destruction and devastation. The creation and continuation of Israel is one of the greatest crimes, and you are the leaders of its criminals. And of course there is no need to explain and prove the degree of American support for Israel. The creation of Israel is a crime which must be erased. Each and every person whose hands have become polluted in the contribution towards this crime must pay its*price, and pay for it heavily.

(ii) It brings us both laughter and tears to see that you have not yet tired of repeating your fabricated lies that the Jews have a historical right to Palestine, as it was promised to them in the Torah. Anyone who disputes with them on this alleged fact is accused of anti-semitism. This is one of the most fallacious, widely-circulated fabrications in history. The people of Palestine are pure Arabs and original Semites. It is the Muslims who are the inheritors of Moses (peace be upon him) and the inheritors of the real Torah that has not been changed. Muslims believe in all of the Prophets, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all. If the followers of Moses have been promised a right to Palestine in the Torah, then the Muslims are the most worthy nation of this.

When the Muslims conquered Palestine and drove out the Romans, Palestine and Jerusalem returned to Islaam, the religion of all the Prophets peace be upon them. Therefore, the call to a historical right to Palestine cannot be raised against the Islamic Ummah that believes in all the Prophets of Allah (peace and blessings be upon them) – and we make no distinction between them.

(iii) The blood pouring out of Palestine must be equally revenged. You must know that the Palestinians do not cry alone; their women are not widowed alone; their sons are not orphaned alone.

(b) You attacked us in Somalia; you supported the Russian atrocities against us in Chechnya, the Indian oppression against us in Kashmir, and the Jewish aggression against us in Lebanon.

(c) Under your supervision, consent and orders, the governments of our countries which act as your agents, attack us on a daily basis;

(i) These governments prevent our people from establishing the Islamic Shariah, using violence and lies to do so.

(ii) These governments give us a taste of humiliation, and places us in a large prison of fear and subdual.

(iii) These governments steal our Ummah’s wealth and sell them to you at a paltry price.

(iv) These governments have surrendered to the Jews, and handed them most of Palestine, acknowledging the existence of their state over the dismembered limbs of their own people.

(v) The removal of these governments is an obligation upon us, and a necessary step to free the Ummah, to make the Shariah the supreme law and to regain Palestine. And our fight against these governments is not separate from out fight against you.

(d) You steal our wealth and oil at paltry prices because of you international influence and military threats. This theft is indeed the biggest theft ever witnessed by mankind in the history of the world.

(e) Your forces occupy our countries; you spread your military bases throughout them; you corrupt our lands, and you besiege our sanctities, to protect the security of the Jews and to ensure the continuity of your pillage of our treasures.

(f) You have starved the Muslims of Iraq, where children die every day. It is a wonder that more than 1.5 million Iraqi children have died as a result of your sanctions, and you did not show concern. Yet when 3000 of your people died, the entire world rises and has not yet sat down.

(g) You have supported the Jews in their idea that Jerusalem is their eternal capital, and agreed to move your embassy there. With your help and under your protection, the Israelis are planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque. Under the protection of your weapons, Sharon entered the Al-Aqsa mosque, to pollute it as a preparation to capture and destroy it.

(2) These tragedies and calamities are only a few examples of your oppression and aggression against us. It is commanded by our religion and intellect that the oppressed have a right to return the aggression. Do not await anything from us but Jihad, resistance and revenge. Is it in any way rational to expect that after America has attacked us for more than half a century, that we will then leave her to live in security and peace?!!

(3) You may then dispute that all the above does not justify aggression against civilians, for crimes they did not commit and offenses in which they did not partake:

(a) This argument contradicts your continuous repetition that America is the land of freedom, and its leaders in this world. Therefore, the American people are the ones who choose their government by way of their own free will; a choice which stems from their agreement to its policies. Thus the American people have chosen, consented to, and affirmed their support for the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, the occupation and usurpation of their land, and its continuous killing, torture, punishment and expulsion of the Palestinians. The American people have the ability and choice to refuse the policies of their Government and even to change it if they want.

(b) The American people are the ones who pay the taxes which fund the planes that bomb us in Afghanistan, the tanks that strike and destroy our homes in Palestine, the armies which occupy our lands in the Arabian Gulf, and the fleets which ensure the blockade of Iraq. These tax dollars are given to Israel for it to continue to attack us and penetrate our lands. So the American people are the ones who fund the attacks against us, and they are the ones who oversee the expenditure of these monies in the way they wish, through their elected candidates.

(c) Also the American army is part of the American people. It is this very same people who are shamelessly helping the Jews fight against us.

(d) The American people are the ones who employ both their men and their women in the American Forces which attack us.

(e) This is why the American people cannot be not innocent of all the crimes committed by the Americans and Jews against us.

(f) Allah, the Almighty, legislated the permission and the option to take revenge. Thus, if we are attacked, then we have the right to attack back. Whoever has destroyed our villages and towns, then we have the right to destroy their villages and towns. Whoever has stolen our wealth, then we have the right to destroy their economy. And whoever has killed our civilians, then we have the right to kill theirs.

The American Government and press still refuses to answer the question:

Why did they attack us in New York and Washington?

If Sharon is a man of peace in the eyes of Bush, then we are also men of peace!!! America does not understand the language of manners and principles, so we are addressing it using the language it understands.

(Q2) As for the second question that we want to answer: What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?

(1) The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam.

(a) The religion of the Unification of God; of freedom from associating partners with Him, and rejection of this; of complete love of Him, the Exalted; of complete submission to His Laws; and of the discarding of all the opinions, orders, theories and religions which contradict with the religion He sent down to His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Islam is the religion of all the prophets, and makes no distinction between them – peace be upon them all.

It is to this religion that we call you; the seal of all the previous religions. It is the religion of Unification of God, sincerity, the best of manners, righteousness, mercy, honour, purity, and piety. It is the religion of showing kindness to others, establishing justice between them, granting them their rights, and defending the oppressed and the persecuted. It is the religion of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil with the hand, tongue and heart. It is the religion of Jihad in the way of Allah so that Allah’s Word and religion reign Supreme. And it is the religion of unity and agreement on the obedience to Allah, and total equality between all people, without regarding their colour, sex, or language.

(b) It is the religion whose book – the Quran – will remained preserved and unchanged, after the other Divine books and messages have been changed. The Quran is the miracle until the Day of Judgment. Allah has challenged anyone to bring a book like the Quran or even ten verses like it.

(2) The second thing we call you to, is to stop your oppression, lies, immorality and debauchery that has spread among you.

(a) We call you to be a people of manners, principles, honour, and purity; to reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling’s, and trading with interest.

We call you to all of this that you may be freed from that which you have become caught up in; that you may be freed from the deceptive lies that you are a great nation, that your leaders spread amongst you to conceal from you the despicable state to which you have reached.

(b) It is saddening to tell you that you are the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind:

(i) You are the nation who, rather than ruling by the Shariah of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, choose to invent your own laws as you will and desire. You separate religion from your policies, contradicting the pure nature which affirms Absolute Authority to the Lord and your Creator. You flee from the embarrassing question posed to you: How is it possible for Allah the Almighty to create His creation, grant them power over all the creatures and land, grant them all the amenities of life, and then deny them that which they are most in need of: knowledge of the laws which govern their lives?

(ii) You are the nation that permits Usury, which has been forbidden by all the religions. Yet you build your economy and investments on Usury. As a result of this, in all its different forms and guises, the Jews have taken control of your economy, through which they have then taken control of your media, and now control all aspects of your life making you their servants and achieving their aims at your expense; precisely what Benjamin Franklin warned you against.

(iii) You are a nation that permits the production, trading and usage of intoxicants. You also permit drugs, and only forbid the trade of them, even though your nation is the largest consumer of them.

(iv) You are a nation that permits acts of immorality, and you consider them to be pillars of personal freedom. You have continued to sink down this abyss from level to level until incest has spread amongst you, in the face of which neither your sense of honour nor your laws object.

Who can forget your President Clinton’s immoral acts committed in the official Oval office? After that you did not even bring him to account, other than that he ‘made a mistake’, after which everything passed with no punishment. Is there a worse kind of event for which your name will go down in history and remembered by nations?

(v) You are a nation that permits gambling in its all forms. The companies practice this as well, resulting in the investments becoming active and the criminals becoming rich.

(vi) You are a nation that exploits women like consumer products or advertising tools calling upon customers to purchase them. You use women to serve passengers, visitors, and strangers to increase your profit margins. You then rant that you support the liberation of women.

(vii) You are a nation that practices the trade of sex in all its forms, directly and indirectly. Giant corporations and establishments are established on this, under the name of art, entertainment, tourism and freedom, and other deceptive names you attribute to it.

(viii) And because of all this, you have been described in history as a nation that spreads diseases that were unknown to man in the past. Go ahead and boast to the nations of man, that you brought them AIDS as a Satanic American Invention.

(xi) You have destroyed nature with your industrial waste and gases more than any other nation in history. Despite this, you refuse to sign the Kyoto agreement so that you can secure the profit of your greedy companies and*industries.

(x) Your law is the law of the rich and wealthy people, who hold sway in their political parties, and fund their election campaigns with their gifts. Behind them stand the Jews, who control your policies, media and economy.

(xi) That which you are singled out for in the history of mankind, is that you have used your force to destroy mankind more than any other nation in history; not to defend principles and values, but to hasten to secure your interests and profits. You who dropped a nuclear bomb on Japan, even though Japan was ready to negotiate an end to the war. How many acts of oppression, tyranny and injustice have you carried out, O callers to freedom?

(xii) Let us not forget one of your major characteristics: your duality in both manners and values; your hypocrisy in manners and principles. All*manners, principles and values have two scales: one for you and one for the others.

(a)The freedom and democracy that you call to is for yourselves and for white race only; as for the rest of the world, you impose upon them your monstrous, destructive policies and Governments, which you call the ‘American friends’. Yet you prevent them from establishing democracies. When the Islamic party in Algeria wanted to practice democracy and they won the election, you unleashed your agents in the Algerian army onto them, and to attack them with tanks and guns, to imprison them and torture them – a new lesson from the ‘American book of democracy’!!!

(b)Your policy on prohibiting and forcibly removing weapons of mass destruction to ensure world peace: it only applies to those countries which you do not permit to possess such weapons. As for the countries you consent to, such as Israel, then they are allowed to keep and use such weapons to defend their security. Anyone else who you suspect might be manufacturing or keeping these kinds of weapons, you call them criminals and you take military action against them.

(c)You are the last ones to respect the resolutions and policies of International Law, yet you claim to want to selectively punish anyone else who does the same. Israel has for more than 50 years been pushing UN resolutions and rules against the wall with the full support of America.

(d)As for the war criminals which you censure and form criminal courts for – you shamelessly ask that your own are granted immunity!! However, history will not forget the war crimes that you committed against the Muslims and the rest of the world; those you have killed in Japan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Lebanon and Iraq will remain a shame that you will never be able to escape. It will suffice to remind you of your latest war crimes in Afghanistan, in which densely populated innocent civilian villages were destroyed, bombs were dropped on mosques causing the roof of the mosque to come crashing down on the heads of the Muslims praying inside. You are the ones who broke the agreement with the Mujahideen when they left Qunduz, bombing them in Jangi fort, and killing more than 1,000 of your prisoners through suffocation and thirst. Allah alone knows how many people have died by torture at the hands of you and your agents. Your planes remain in the Afghan skies, looking for anyone remotely suspicious.

(e)You have claimed to be the vanguards of Human Rights, and your Ministry of Foreign affairs issues annual reports containing statistics of those countries that violate any Human Rights. However, all these things vanished when the Mujahideen hit you, and you then implemented the methods of the same documented governments that you used to curse. In America, you captured thousands the Muslims and Arabs, took them into custody with neither reason, court trial, nor even disclosing their names. You issued newer, harsher laws.

What happens in Guatanamo is a historical embarrassment to America and its values, and it screams into your faces – you hypocrites, “What is the value of your signature on any agreement or treaty?”

(3) What we call you to thirdly is to take an honest stance with yourselves – and I doubt you will do so – to discover that you are a nation without principles or manners, and that the values and principles to you are something which you merely demand from others, not that which you yourself must adhere to.

(4) We also advise you to stop supporting Israel, and to end your support of the Indians in Kashmir, the Russians against the Chechens and to also cease supporting the Manila Government against the Muslims in Southern Philippines.

(5) We also advise you to pack your luggage and get out of our lands. We desire for your goodness, guidance, and righteousness, so do not force us to send you back as cargo in coffins.

(6) Sixthly, we call upon you to end your support of the corrupt leaders in our countries. Do not interfere in our politics and method of education. Leave us alone, or else expect us in New York and Washington.

(7) We also call you to deal with us and interact with us on the basis of mutual interests and benefits, rather than the policies of sub dual, theft and occupation, and not to continue your policy of supporting the Jews because this will result in more disasters for you.

If you fail to respond to all these conditions, then prepare for fight with the Islamic Nation. The Nation of Monotheism, that puts complete trust on Allah and fears none other than Him. The Nation which is addressed by its Quran with the words: “Do you fear them? Allah has more right that you should fear Him if you are believers. Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of believing people. And remove the anger of their (believers’) hearts. Allah accepts the repentance of whom He wills. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” [Quran9:13-1]

The Nation of honour and respect:

“But honour, power and glory belong to Allah, and to His Messenger (Muhammad- peace be upon him) and to the believers.” [Quran 63:8]

“So do not become weak (against your enemy), nor be sad, and you will be*superior ( in victory )if you are indeed (true) believers” [Quran 3:139]

The Nation of Martyrdom; the Nation that desires death more than you desire life:

“Think not of those who are killed in the way of Allah as dead. Nay, they are alive with their Lord, and they are being provided for. They rejoice in what Allah has bestowed upon them from His bounty and rejoice for the sake of those who have not yet joined them, but are left behind (not yet martyred) that on them no fear shall come, nor shall they grieve. They rejoice in a grace and a bounty from Allah, and that Allah will not waste the reward of the believers.” [Quran 3:169-171]

The Nation of victory and success that Allah has promised:

“It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), to make it victorious over all other religions even though the Polytheists hate it.” [Quran 61:9]

“Allah has decreed that ‘Verily it is I and My Messengers who shall be victorious.’ Verily Allah is All-Powerful, All-Mighty.” [Quran 58:21]

The Islamic Nation that was able to dismiss and destroy the previous evil Empires like yourself; the Nation that rejects your attacks, wishes to remove your evils, and is prepared to fight you. You are well aware that the Islamic Nation, from the very core of its soul, despises your haughtiness and arrogance.

If the Americans refuse to listen to our advice and the goodness, guidance and righteousness that we call them to, then be aware that you will lose this Crusade Bush began, just like the other previous Crusades in which you were humiliated by the hands of the Mujahideen, fleeing to your home in great silence and disgrace. If the Americans do not respond, then their fate will be that of the Soviets who fled from Afghanistan to deal with their military defeat, political breakup, ideological downfall, and economic bankruptcy.

This is our message to the Americans, as an answer to theirs. Do they now know why we fight them and over which form of ignorance, by the permission of Allah, we shall be victorious?

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Stewart Slams ‘Broken Bad’ Senate for Failure to Pass Gun Regulation

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Jon Stewart took our “broken bad” Senate and their failure to pass even some watered down gun regulation to task during the opening segment of The Daily Show this Thursday night. Stewart also took a page out of Chris Hayes’ book, going after them for being willing to move heaven and earth to combat terrorism, while pretending there’s no point in even passing any laws if criminals are just going to break them when it comes to guns.

After showing a portion of Hayes show comparing the number of terror vs gun fatalities in the United States, here’s how Stewart wrapped things up.

STEWART: Well, thank God for Chris Hayes, because I’m not good at math. I’m so stupid. I still think 54 votes is more than 46, because I’m a f**king idiot. But I’m pretty sure that a million is more than 3400, and yet, to battle the evil of terror, we started two wars, tortured people, reorganized almost the entire federal government, disallowed the air trafficking of shampoo and conditioner and okay’d the robot sky killing of American citizens, if warranted by… someone.

Because one American life lost to terror is one too many, which I agree with. But it seems to me we’ll move heaven and earth to do whatever it takes to prevent weapons from falling into the hands of foreigners who might kill our citizens, because apparently we think killing our citizens, is our job.

John Oliver continued the theme in the following segment, where he made a complete mockery of the Virginia Citizens Defense League’s President, Philip Van Cleave, who was attempting to make many of the same arguments as those Senators, despite the fact that, as Oliver pointed out to him, Australia has proven that gun regulation can prevent mass shootings and gun deaths.

Video is located here

Rick Perry is a wild Socialist

Thursday, April 18th, 2013
When it comes to Socialism for YOU Rick Perry is against it.
 
But when it is for HIM….well….you better get cracking with writing those checks!!!!!  PRONTO!!!!
If asked about Rick Perry being a Socialist I am sure his supporters say he is not a Socialist at all. Rick Perry is a strong Socialist in action…despite saying Socialism is bad. Perry and elected officials like him decrying Socialism are either liars who say one thing and do another …idiots who truly do not know what they are saying…or they play their supporters for idiots who don’t know much at all. Which is it? Socialism doesn’t work in Texas unless it is for explosions, fires, helping the poor, massive water projects, highways and Defense Department spending and 10000 other things. Unbelievable.
 
They are saying NO to everything Obama wants but they demand he ay YES to everything they want.
 
So who is the fool….him or his supporters…or both….or WE that have to support him despite his being against that support?
 
Story is located  here.

The richest 300 people have as much wealth…..

Monday, April 15th, 2013

as the bottom 3 BILLION. 

Video is located here

Guns don’t offer protection – whatever the National Rifle Association says

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Academics such as John Lott and Gary Kleck have long claimed that more firearms reduce crime. But is this really the case? Stripped of machismo bluster, this is at heart a testable claim that merely requires sturdy epidemiological analysis. And this was precisely what Prof Charles Branas and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania examined in their 2009 paper investigating the link between gun possession and gun assault. They compared 677 cases in which people were injured in a shooting incident with 684 people living in the same area that had not suffered a gun injury. The researchers matched these “controls” for age, race and gender. They found that those with firearms were about 4.5 times more likely to be shot than those who did not carry, utterly belying this oft repeated mantra.

Story is located here

30 Years of Reaganomics: What do we Have to Show?

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Thom Hartmann explains in this video located here

The ‘greatest retirement crisis’ in history looms large

Monday, March 25th, 2013

We are on the precipice of the greatest retirement crisis in the history of the world. In the decades to come, we will witness millions of elderly Americans, the Baby Boomers and others, slipping into poverty. Too frail to work, too poor to retire will become the “new normal” for many elderly Americans.

That dire prediction, which I wrote two years ago, is already coming true. Our national demographics, coupled with indisputable glaringly insufficient retirement savings and human physiology, suggest that a catastrophic outcome for at least a significant percentage of our elderly population is inevitable. With the average 401(k) balance for 65 year olds estimated at $25,000 by independent experts—$100,000 if you believe the retirement planning industry—the decades many elders will spend in forced or elected “retirement” will be grim.

Story is located here

The dark side of Dubai

Monday, March 25th, 2013

How a nation that has too much money uses their power to lie to foreigners that are trapped into being slaves.  This is apparently ok with residents of Dubai who claim to be tolerant of many different types of people and apparently that includes slave owners.

Her husband, Daniel, bought two properties. “We were drunk on Dubai,” she says. But for the first time in his life, he was beginning to mismanage their finances. “We’re not talking huge sums, but he was getting confused. It was so unlike Daniel, I was surprised. We got into a little bit of debt.” After a year, she found out why: Daniel was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

One doctor told him he had a year to live; another said it was benign and he’d be okay. But the debts were growing. “Before I came here, I didn’t know anything about Dubai law. I assumed if all these big companies come here, it must be pretty like Canada’s or any other liberal democracy’s,” she says. Nobody told her there is no concept of bankruptcy. If you get into debt and you can’t pay, you go to prison.

“When we realised that, I sat Daniel down and told him: listen, we need to get out of here. He knew he was guaranteed a pay-off when he resigned, so we said – right, let’s take the pay-off, clear the debt, and go.” So Daniel resigned – but he was given a lower pay-off than his contract suggested. The debt remained. As soon as you quit your job in Dubai, your employer has to inform your bank. If you have any outstanding debts that aren’t covered by your savings, then all your accounts are frozen, and you are forbidden to leave the country.

“Suddenly our cards stopped working. We had nothing. We were thrown out of our apartment.” Karen can’t speak about what happened next for a long time; she is shaking.

Daniel was arrested and taken away on the day of their eviction. It was six days before she could talk to him. “He told me he was put in a cell with another debtor, a Sri Lankan guy who was only 27, who said he couldn’t face the shame to his family. Daniel woke up and the boy had swallowed razor-blades. He banged for help, but nobody came, and the boy died in front of him.”

Karen managed to beg from her friends for a few weeks, “but it was so humiliating. I’ve never lived like this. I worked in the fashion industry. I had my own shops. I’ve never…” She peters out.

Daniel was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment at a trial he couldn’t understand. It was in Arabic, and there was no translation. “Now I’m here illegally, too,” Karen says I’ve got no money, nothing. I have to last nine months until he’s out, somehow.” Looking away, almost paralysed with embarrassment, she asks if I could buy her a meal.

She is not alone. All over the city, there are maxed-out expats sleeping secretly in the sand-dunes or the airport or in their cars.

“The thing you have to understand about Dubai is – nothing is what it seems,” Karen says at last. “Nothing. This isn’t a city, it’s a con-job. They lure you in telling you it’s one thing – a modern kind of place – but beneath the surface it’s a medieval dictatorship.”

Story is located here

Debunking Almost Every Republican Lie Against President Obama

Monday, March 25th, 2013

I’ve read thousands upon thousands of comments by Republicans in the 14 months since I founded my page Right Off A Cliff.  Usually what they say doesn’t bother me, because often it’s just ridiculous.  The thing that does drive me nuts is that about 95% of what they say is completely inaccurate.

Let me shred some of their Fox News fed rhetoric:

Obama has been the biggest spending President in history!  FALSE.  Year to year spending increases have been less than 1%.  They’re also at their lowest rate of year to year increases since Eisenhower.

Obama has spent more than all other Presidents in history!  FALSE. On January 20, 2009 our national debt was $10.6 trillion, today it’s $16.7 trillion—for a $6.1 trillion increase.  For the mathematically challenged, $6.1 trillion is less than $10.6 trillion.  This also doesn’t factor in the money spent in 2009, which gets tagged to President Obama, was actually passed by Bush.

*This also doesn’t take into account much of the cost of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars had not been put on our books by the Bush administration.

Obama is a Muslim!  FALSE. You’re an idiot and I’m not even going to explain why.

Obama isn’t an American!  FALSE.  See above.

Story is located here

Thom Hartmann with a crash course in Economics

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Video is located here

David Cross explains Teabaggers

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

David Cross explains quite well the Teabagger.

Video is located here

Hugo chavez has died. Here are several articles on the topic

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Greg Palast takes a look at some of the positive things Chavez did.  Story is located here

Republican admits GUNS ARE PHALLIC SYMBOL

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Ever since the horrific Newtown incident, there have been many conversations about guns and gun control, the 2nd Amendment, and how best to prevent a similar tragedy. And oftentimes, the discussions get pretty darned heated. There are some gun owners out there who are VERY passionate about guns. A little too passionate, at times… as if there is something deeper going on there… some of the folks seem to think that taking their gun away is the equivalent of, well… stealing their wife or girlfriend.

Or, it’s the equivalent of taking their manhood away. LITERALLY taking it away, as in being castrated.

In perhaps one of the most unintentionally honest statements ever made, especially by a politician, Illinois state Representative Jim Sacia (R) compared individuals having their guns taken away to being castrated.

Sacia was attempting to form an analogy when he made the egregious statement. He represents a rural part of Illinois, so he was griping about Chicago politicians and citizens who are trying to pass a bill that would eliminate assault weapons, which he asserted would be unfair to the rest of Illinois.

“Here is the problem in Illinois,” he said on the House floor. “I love you folks in Chicago. You’re the ones that have the problem, you have a runaway gun problem. Don’t blame the rest of us. This isn’t about Democrats, it’s not about Republicans. It’s because Chicago wants a warm fuzzy. ‘Let’s pass a bill that will eliminate assault rifles.’ Last year there were more people killed with hammers than with assault rifles.” He continued,

Here’s an analogy folks, I ask you to think of this. You folks in Chicago want me to get castrated because your families are having too many kids. It spells out exactly what is happening here. You want us to get rid of guns.

When another lawmaker accused Sacia of being out of order, the Illinois Republican insisted it was an analogy, explaining:

“If you’re having too many kids, you want me to get castrated. That was an analogy to show how silly this is.”

Apparently, Sacia made the same logical error that many other gun lovers make – that “banning assault rifles” means “ban ALL guns!”

At any rate, we’re glad that someone in the public spotlight has finally admitted that guns and manhood are linked together.

See the video in all of its hilarity below.

Story is located here

Why is the recovery so anemic? Obama needs to take on 2 Republican lies

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

The White House must directly rebut the two big lies that fuel the Republican assault – and that have fueled it since the showdown over the debt ceiling in the summer of 2011.

The first big lie is austerity economics – the claim that the budget deficit is the nation’s biggest economic problem now, responsible for the anemic recovery.

Wrong. The problem is too few jobs, lousy wages, and slow growth. Cutting the budget deficit anytime soon makes the problem worse because it reduces overall demand. As a result, the economy will slow or fall into recession – which enlarges the deficit in proportion. You want proof? Look at what austerity economics has done to Europe.

The second big lie is trickle-down economics – the claim that we get more jobs and growth if corporations and the rich have more money because they’re the job creators, and job growth would be hurt if their taxes were hiked.

Wrong. The real job creators are the broad middle class and everyone who aspires to join it. Their purchases keep economy going.

As inequality continues to widen, and income and wealth become ever more concentrated at the top, the rest don’t have the purchasing power they need to boost the economy. That’s the underlying reason why the recovery continues to be so anemic.

Story is located here

What if buying a gun had the restrictions that abortions have been handed lately

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
From the Stephanie Miller Facebook page-
 
From Listener Judi (Had lots of requests to post this):

Gun owners keep saying you can’t compare driving & insuring a car to gun ownership and I agree.

Gun ownership is a constitutionally protected right, but so is my right to an abortion! In state after state my constitutional right to an abortion is being severely restricted. So why can’t we impose those same restrictions on gun owners in sta

tes that choose to do so?

1. There will be only one place in the state where you can buy a gun.

2. Once you arrive at the state’s one gun store, you will be required to walk past a gauntlet of anti-gun protesters.

3. Once inside, you will fill out all the paperwork which includes every detail of your personal information and then wait 72 hours “to think about your decision” before actually being allowed to purchase the gun.

3. You will be shown a graphic video of people of all ages who have been injured or killed by gunshot wounds while having a state licensed agent explain to you the dangers of guns along with the statistics for gun injury and deaths.

4. You will submit to a mental health “sonogram”, otherwise known as an evaluation.

5. Finally, when you return in 72 hours, you will again walk past the gauntlet of anti-gun protesters when you arrive to pick up your gun and again when you leave with your gun.

6. you will submit to rules 1-5, EVERY TIME you want to purchase a gun.

From the Stephanie Miller radio show.

Geraldo Rivera could be the least insane nut at FOX News…could be

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Fox News Channel hosts Eric Bolling and Geraldo Rivera went at it on Friday morning on Fox & Friends over what appropriate action the federal government should take to limit future incidence of gun violence. The two battled over the impact gun ownership has on crime, the appropriateness of allowing semi-automatic weapons in private hands, and how logical it was for supporter of the Second Amendment justify gun ownership on the grounds that they are protecting themselves from a future tyrannical government.

Rivera said he thought there would be some reform after the Newtown massacre, but he thinks it is unlikely that assault-style weapon would be banned — although, he would support such a ban.

Bolling took issue with the term “assault-style,” saying that he had to distinguish between semi and fully automatic. Rivera made the point that semi-automatic weapons were just as deadly as machine guns and that he was not making that distinction.

Rivera said he “would debate” whether there is a personal right in the constitution to ban semi-automatic weapons.

“You realize what you’re saying,” Bolling said.

“You don’t hunt with an AR-15,” Rivera replied.

Alisyn Camerota referenced a graphic which showed the violent crime rate decreasing inversely with gun ownership over the last twenty years. Rivera agreed, saying that the solutions he is advocating for are merely an attempt to keep guns “out of the hands of nut jobs.”

Bolling and Rivera exploded again when Rivera said that he found it ironic that individuals who claim to be patriots are so deeply suspicious of their government that they feel the need to arm themselves against it.

Rivera went on to say that there is no study suggesting that gun ownership results in a safer society. Bolling again referenced the graphic from earlier, saying the correlation between decreasing crime and gun ownership is clear.

“Do you agree that crazy people shouldn’t have access to guns,” Rivera asked pointedly.

“Absolutely,” Bolling replied. “Arming people with — sane people — with handguns and rifles, makes the community a lot more safe.”

Video is located here

Why the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people

Monday, February 11th, 2013

ith Barack Obama sworn in for a second term—the first president in either party since Ronald Reagan to be elected twice with popular majorities—the GOP is in jeopardy, the gravest since 1964, of ceasing to be a national party. The civil rights pageantry of the inauguration—Abraham Lincoln’s Bible and Martin Luther King’s, Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s swearing in of Joe Biden, Beyoncé’s slinky glamor, the verses read by the gay Cuban poet Richard Blanco—seemed not just an assertion of Democratic solidarity, but also a reminder of the GOP’s ever-narrowing identity and of how long it has been in the making.

“Who needs Manhattan when we can get the electoral votes of eleven Southern states?” Kevin Phillips, the prophet of “the emerging Republican majority,” asked in 1968, when he was piecing together Richard Nixon’s electoral map. The eleven states, he meant, of the Old Confederacy. “Put those together with the Farm Belt and the Rocky Mountains, and we don’t need the big cities. We don’t even want them. Sure, Hubert [Humphrey] will carry Riverside Drive in November. La-de-dah. What will he do in Oklahoma?”

Forty-five years later, the GOP safely has Oklahoma, and Dixie, too. But Phillips’s Sunbelt strategy was built for a different time, and a different America. Many have noted Mitt Romney’s failure to collect a single vote in 91 precincts in New York City and 59 precincts in Philadelphia. More telling is his defeat in eleven more of the nation’s 15 largest cities. Not just Chicago and Columbus, but also Indianapolis, San Diego, Houston, even Dallas—this last a reason the GOP fears that, within a generation Texas will become a swing state. Remove Texas from the vast, lightly populated Republican expanse west of the Mississippi, and the remaining 13 states yield fewer electoral votes than the West Coast triad of California, Oregon, and Washington. If those trends continue, the GOP could find itself unable to count on a single state that has as many as 20 electoral votes.

It won’t do to blame it all on Romney. No doubt he was a weak candidate, but he was the best the party could muster, as the GOP’s leaders insisted till the end, many of them convinced he would win, possibly in a landslide. Neither can Romney be blamed for the party’s whiter-shade-of-pale legislative Rotary Club: the four Republicans among the record 20 women in the Senate, the absence of Republicans among the 42 African Americans in the House (and the GOP’s absence as well among the six new members who are openly gay or lesbian). These are remarkable totals in a two-party system, and they reflect not only a failure of strategy or “outreach,” but also a history of long-standing indifference, at times outright hostility, to the nation’s diverse constituencies—blacks, women, Latinos, Asians, gays.

But that history, with its repeated instances of racialist political strategy dating back many decades, only partially accounts for the party’s electoral woes. The true problem, as yet unaddressed by any Republican standard-bearer, originates in the ideology of modern conservatism. When the intellectual authors of the modern right created its doctrines in the 1950s, they drew on nineteenth-century political thought, borrowing explicitly from the great apologists for slavery, above all, the intellectually fierce South Carolinian John C. Calhoun. This is not to say conservatives today share Calhoun’s ideas about race. It is to say instead that the Calhoun revival, based on his complex theories of constitutional democracy, became the justification for conservative politicians to resist, ignore, or even overturn the will of the electoral majority.

Story is located here

Ronald Reagan supported gun restrictions

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

“I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen for sporting, for hunting and so forth, or for home defense. But I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home.”

~Ronald Reagan, at his birthday celebration in 1989.

Story is located here

Guns don’t kill people…kinda.

Friday, February 8th, 2013

They’re right…guns don’t kill people. In fact, bullets actually don’t kill people either.

Hell, even when you combine the two, they can’t kill anyone..unless someone uses them.

The same can be said for grenades, tomahawk missiles, nuclear weapons, battleships, torpedoes, rocket launchers. Guess we should all have easy access to these as well, right?

Because the stance from these all or nothing gun advocates is essentially… the tool isn’t the problem, people are the problem. Why “punish” people who obey the law because of a few that don’t.

Well, unless you people have the magic secret that has finally solved the issue of violence within the human species, especially towards one another, then it’s probably more sensible to focus on limiting the access to tools which increase the likelihood of violence, rather than making it easier for those who wish to use them maliciously to actually gain access.

Now, if you want to say our Second Amendment gives us right to own any “arms” we want, well then you have to believe our First Amendment should have no limitations as well. You would then have to support the right for anyone to scream “bomb” in an airport or on an airplane. After all, it’s freedom of speech, right? Clearly stated in our First Amendment.

Or maybe we just need to use common sense with some of these issues, rather than using arguments that make good bumper stickers.

 
Story is located here

Separate but Equal is a FRAUD

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

England approved Gay Marriage. 

Video is located here

Power of prayer flunks an unusual test

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that having people pray for heart bypass surgery patients had no effect on their recovery. In fact, patients who knew they were being prayed for had a slightly higher rate of complications.

  1. Researchers emphasized that their work can’t address whether God exists or answers prayers made on another’s behalf. The study can only look for an effect from prayers offered as part of the research, they said.

They also said they had no explanation for the higher complication rate in patients who knew they were being prayed for, in comparison to patients who only knew it was possible prayers were being said for them.

Critics said the question of God’s reaction to prayers simply can’t be explored by scientific study.

The work, which followed about 1,800 patients at six medical centers, was financed by the Templeton Foundation, which supports research into science and religion. It will appear in the American Heart Journal.

Story is located here

Here is Some Legitimate Science on Pregnancy and Rape

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Unfortunately, it is rather normal to be a survivor of sexual assault if you are female. One out of six women in the United States have been the victim of rape or attempted rape, and that is using a rather tight definition that does not include many kinds of assault victims can experience. 64,080 women were raped in the US between 2004-2005. Sixty four thousand and eighty. That’s tens of thousands, not just thousands. In one sample of college-aged men, one in sixteen men admitted to raping women they either knew were too intoxicated to give consent, or they used physical force. Among these men who readily admitted to rape but had never been arrested or convicted, they committed an average of six rapes each and proudly described their sexual exploits to the interviewer (Lisak and Miller 2002).

How frequently do raped women get pregnant? It would seem from Akin’s comment that this is a very rare occurrence. However, current evidence suggests it is the same as the pregnancy rate for a single act of intercourse. Ergo, pregnancy from rape occurs as frequently as pregnancy from consensual sex.

A lot of people are citing the Holmes et al (1996) paper that found a 5% pregnancy rate among rape survivors from 12 to 45 years of age. This is a great study that performed several telephone interviews with 4008 participants over three years to determine rates of rape (413 individuals experienced 616 completed rapes, a lifetime incidence of over 13% in this sample) and rates of pregnancy from rape (20 were reported from 19 individuals, or 5%).

In a separate study, Wilcox et al (2001) draw from their amazing prospective dataset from the 1980s where they asked women who were trying to conceive to collect urine every day. They were able to detect hormones, and thus pregnancies and fetal losses, because of these daily urine collections. Work on this dataset from Wilcox, Baird, and others represents the gold standard for our understanding of early pregnancy, fetal loss, and the timing of implantation in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. In this paper, the authors are able to show what the possible pregnancy rates are for a given day in the menstrual cycle, taking into account the normal variation many women experience in the length of their cycle and timing of ovulation:

Story is located here

A Westboro Baptist Church member….a FAMILY member leaves the flock for failure of logic by the cult.

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

 “My doubts started with a conversation I had with David Abitbol,” she says. Megan met David, an Israeli web developer who’s part of the team behind the blog Jewlicious, on Twitter. “I would ask him questions about Judaism, and he would ask me questions about church doctrine. One day, he asked a specific question about one of our signs—‘Death Penalty for Fags’—and I was arguing for the church’s position, that it was a Levitical punishment and as completely appropriate now as it was then. He said, ‘But Jesus said’—and I thought it was funny he was quoting Jesus—‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’ And then he connected it to another member of the church who had done something that, according to the Old Testament, was also punishable by death. I realized that if the death penalty was instituted for anysin, you completely cut off the opportunity to repent. And that’s what Jesus was talking about.”

To some, this story might seem simple—even overly so. But we all have moments of epiphany, when things that are plate-glass clear to others but opaque to us suddenly become apparent. This was, for Megan, one of those moments, and this window led to another and another and another. Over the subsequent weeks and months, “I tried to put it aside. I decided I wasn’t going to hold that sign, ‘Death Penalty for Fags.’” (She had, for the most part, preferred the gentler, much less offensive “Mourn for Your Sins” or “God Hates Your Idols” anyway.)

What “seemed like a small thing at the time,” she says, snowballed. She started to question another Westboro sign, “Fags can’t repent.” “It seemed misleading and dishonest. Anybody can repent if God gives them repentance, according to the church. But this one thing—it gives the impression that homosexuality is an unforgivable sin,” she says. “It didn’t make sense. It seemed a wrong message for us to be sending. It’s like saying, ‘You’re doomed! Bye!’ and gives no hope for salvation.”

She kept trying to conquer the doubts. Westboro teaches that one cannot trust his or her feelings. They’re unreliable. Human nature “is inherently sinful and inherently completelysinful,” Megan explains. “All that’s trustworthy is the Bible. And if you have a feeling or a thought that’s against the church’s interpretations of the Bible, then it’s a feeling or a thought against God himself.”

This, of course, assumes that the church’s teachings and God’s feelings are one and the same. And this, of course, assumes that the church’s interpretation of the Bible is infallible, that this much-debated document handed down over the centuries has, in 2013, been processed and understood correctly only by a small band of believers in Topeka. “Now?” Megan says. “That sounds crazy to me.”

In December, she went to a public library in Lawrence, Kansas. She was looking through books on philosophy and religion, and it struck her that people had devoted their entire lives to studying these questions of how to live and what is right and wrong. “The idea that only WBC had the right answer seemed crazy,” she says. “It just seemed impossible.”

Story is located here

Native American Shuts Down Anti-Illegal Immigrant Protest: ‘Y’all Are All Illegal!!!’

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Pushing a toddler in a stroller, a rightfully irritated self-identified Native American began yelling at the group, saying:

“Y’all f*cking illegal. You’re all illegal. You’re all illegal!

“We didn’t invite none of you here!

“We’re the only native Americans here.

“That’s right. We’re the only native Americans here. Y’all are all illegal. We didn’t invite none of you! We didn’t invite none of you here. Get on, get on, get on with your bogus arguments.”

Visibly shaken, an unfortunate protestor quickly found himself in the cross hairs of the unexpected lesson when the Native American turned his attention toward his diminutive flag and now-increasingly inappropriate sign:

We should have put that sign up when you son of the b*tches came!”

“That [the flag] represents blood, that represents blood spilled by Native Americans protecting this land from the invaders. Yeah, that’s right, you don’t want to hear the G*d damn truth! Get on, b*tch! All the Native Americans you killed, you plant your houses here. That’s the truth.”

Video is located here