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Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Sometimes, I struggle with what to write about.  I look at the campaign going on and wonder how people can swallow many things being said by our candidates.  Then, I remembered about all of those conspiracy theories that are rampant in our society.  I came to the conclusion that today’s campaign is more about selling snake oil or using conspiracy theories to get votes than actually coming up with policies.

So, today I decided I would make an attempt to wrap them all together.  As everyone knows, there are hundreds of conspiracy theories around.  But, the one I find most interesting is the ones about ET.

There are theories about how the government is hiding ETs in some underground military base, or how ET is helping the U.S. discover new technologies, or even how ancient man was too stupid to build the pyramids and that ET actually built them for us.

To show what I mean, let’s look at the last one and see how it works.  The Ancient Alien theory is somewhat intriguing.  The basis for this theory is that we believe that our ancestors were basically stupid people.  They were unable to comprehend mathematics or science or figure out how to create new tools.  According to the Ancient Alien, also called Ancient Astronaut theory, ET had to come to earth and help our ancestors raise themselves from their stupidity.

The reason for this “help” isn’t quite clear.  Did ET help us because they wanted to see mankind grow into something much better?  Did they help us because they wanted to be treated as gods?  Which is one of the biggest theories from the Ancient Alien people.  See, we only invented gods because our ancestors couldn’t understand that they were really seeing humanoids coming to us from space.  As a result our ancestors created a whole litany of deists to explain what they were witnessing.

If it weren’t for those ETs, we would never have been able to build the pyramids.  The Easter Island statues would never have been built.  We would have no religion in the world.  It is all because ET came to our rescue that everything we have today exists.

One theory even claims that aliens came to earth and they caused the extinction of the dinosaurs so mammals could evolve.  According to the theory, ET killed all of the dinosaurs with their space ships.

Yes, I find all of this as nonsense.  I find the Ancient Alien theory simply snake oil that people are selling to make a buck.  More power to them.  I came to my conclusion after listening to these people talk about their theories as being fact.  Nothing sells better than making a fantasy sound like it has been proven.

It really doesn’t matter what you are trying to sell.  The real goal is to make it sound as if it is all real, proven fact.  Even though there isn’t any evidence nor any fact to build your theory on.  This is true today in other areas as well.  I have written before that I believe that people have gotten lazy when deciding their vote.  I don’t believe that people do enough research to find the true facts on issues.

This isn’t really anything new.  It has been going on for years.  However, with the mass media outlets we have today, along with the internet, it is much easier for snake oil panderers to ply their trade.  This goes across the spectrum of issues.

Televangelists have been bilking the public for billions of dollars with their TV shows offering “divine guidance” to the public.  I believe you know you are dealing with a snake oil salesman when they constantly ask for “your donations so we can keep up the good work.”

We have the idiots at Infowars stirring up problems with their conspiracy theory that Operation Jade Helm is really a rehearsal for a government takeover of “conservative” states.  There are the 9/11 theorists that believe our government was the real power behind the terrorist attacks.

Of course there are, as mentioned above, the UFO theories.  Then there is the Bigfoot theories.  Everyone seems to love a good conspiracy theory.

Politicians use conspiracy theory tactics all of the time, too.  The “makers” and the “takers” are part of conspiracy theories.  So are the “teachers unions are to blame for everything wrong with our public schools.”  There are so many conspiracy theories floating around it is hard to keep track.

I don’t even have a problem with conspiracy theories per se.  However, when politicians use these conspiracy theories to support their platforms, then they have gone beyond politics and into snake oil salesmen.

Look, every theory isn’t necessarily all that far-fetched.  Is there life on other planets in the universe?  I would say probably.  Is there intelligent life on other planets?  I would say probably.  But, the idea of them actually visiting us I find difficult to believe.

The sheer distances they would have to travel makes it very unlikely.  Especially knowing what we do about physics.  I realize we don’t know everything, but until some new breakthrough comes along that proves you can break the universal speed limit of the speed of light, I will hold to my beliefs.

That is true for most things in life.  We each have our own beliefs.  Whether it is about ET, Bigfoot, religion, or any other topic, we will believe what we want.  Only proof and real statistics can show us we are wrong.  That is if we are willing to admit the proof is real.

But, when it comes to governing our country, we must be willing to listen to both sides of the argument and then decide what we believe.  Governing is more about the good of everyone versus the good of me.  It is about understanding that every person has their own beliefs.  It is about finding a common ground for the betterment of everyone.  That is possible if we keep open minds and be willing to compromise.

Which is why it is so very important that people stop listening to politicians 20 second sound bites as their proof.  Without paying attention to what people who wish to lead our country say, and following it up with your own research, the snake oil salesmen will win.  When the snake oil salesmen win, we all lose.

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The right-wing just won’t let go of the Planned Parenthood issue.  There are people, like the Canadian Senator who say we should shut down the government if we don’t “defund” Planned Parenthood.  The videos that have been released seem terrible.  However, I have seen nothing in the videos that shows that Planned Parenthood did anything illegal.

That brings us back to our Canadian Senator who says that if he is President he plans to “prosecute” Planned Parenthood for donating fetal tissue for medical research.  So, our Canadian friend wants to prosecute an organization for doing something legal.  Remember, this is the same Senator who claims that our current President is making up the law as he wishes.  Yet, he openly plans to do exactly the thing he accuses President Obama of doing.

The issue of using fetal tissue for medical research does present “moral” issues.  Even people who conduct this research struggle with the whole concept.  But, they continue their research because the end results can, and already have been tremendous.

Fetal tissue is used because it contains “stem-cells” that help open the doors to how our body works, and possible cures.  Even the Canadian understands the necessity of medical research.  In mid-July, Cruz held a Senate Hearing with a panel of medical experts to discuss ways to better use government resources when it comes to researching cancer, AIDS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and a bevy of other incurable diseases.  During the hearing he said:

 “We pay billions or trillions on the back-end, dealing with the consequences of horrific diseases rather than investing and creating the incentives on the front end to cure these diseases once and for all.,”

Today, in order to make his point about Planned Parenthood, Cruz is running an ad that appears to be black-and-white videos of young polio patients in wheelchairs and leg braces. The narrator is saying:

“For a century, Americans have helped heal and care for millions in need.”

That line is very true.  But what the narrator doesn’t tell you is the fact that the researchers who developed a cure for polio used fetal tissue in their research.  They even won a Nobel Prize for medicine for their work.  Since then, we have seen very real possibilities of cures for diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease and spinal injury cures.  Stem-cell based treatments for Lou Gehrig’s disease show great promise.  All because researchers use fetal tissue for their research.

The point here is that if we remove fetal tissue from scientists tool-box, they will be extremely hampered.  This is not to say the practice isn’t a gut wrenching decision.  A lot of this tissue comes from abortions.  Many people hate the very idea of abortions.

On the other hand, abortion is legal in this country.  It is also legal to donate fetal tissue for medical research.  Yes, you are not allowed to “profit” from those donations, but so far, nothing in the videos proves that Planned Parenthood is profiting from their donations of fetal tissue.

All of this means that conservatives, in their desire to defund every agency that provides abortions along with other medical care, calls the practice of donating fetal tissue as “harvesting baby’s organs.”  That phrase makes for great headlines, but it doesn’t make the practice of donating fetal tissue illegal.

It is also true that no federal money may be used by any agency in the performance of abortions.  That is the law of the land.  Meaning, none of the abortions that are performed at Planned Parenthood is paid for by federal tax money.  Additionally, the tissues being donated are being done so with the full consent of the person having the abortion.

So, what all of this grandstanding by Cruz and the rest of the conservative world comes down to is politics.  On one hand they want the “magical cures” that medical research provides.  On the other hand they want to remove a tool that has given us many cures in the past.

I am not going to try to argue the moral issues of using or not using fetal tissue here.  Each person needs to make up their own minds on that dilemma.  Nor, am I going to try to persuade you to change your mind on this issue.  Again, what you believe is up to you.

It has been said that for every good thing there is a bad thing.  Many believe this research is coming from a bad thing.  Others believe it is not.  It is for those who are conducting the research and those who wish to donate the tissue to come to terms on which side they stand.

If you are so-called “pro-life” you hate the idea.  If you are so-called “pro-choice” you probably love the idea.  And that is how it should be.  We must each make up our own mind on this.  And the party of “small government” who wants “government out of our lives” should stay out of our lives themselves.

This isn’t just about what is legal and illegal.  It is about personal moral choices that we all must make.  When I say moral, I don’t just mean religious morality.  Non-religious people have morals just like everyone else.  Since their beliefs are based on reason and not some religious text many believe that makes them more “moral” than those with “religious morality.”

Sorry, but just because someone disagrees with you, doesn’t make them wrong and you right.  It is their right to think differently and act according to their decisions so long as their actions are legal.  Isn’t that what the Constitution is all about?

In any case, threatening to prosecute someone who is doing nothing illegal is one of the most un-Constitutional things you can ever suggest much less carry out.  Maybe our Canadian Senator should reread his law books before opening his mouth again.

Or, maybe he is trying to usurp the Constitution and form a Theocracy instead.  That is even more un-Constitutional and un-American as making up your own laws.  In either case, he is proving just how much he really hates our Constitution!

 

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The latest rampage from the conservative side is over Planned Parenthood.  Of course, this is nothing new, but it has really taken off with bogus videos claiming that Planned Parenthood is selling fetus tissue to get “rich.”  These videos have been heavily edited, and made secretly without the interviewees’ knowledge.  That all by itself is probably illegal in several states.

The problem is that conservatives are using what everyone knows to be bogus videos as ammunition to defund Planned Parenthood.  Currently, Planned Parenthood gets about $500 million dollars from the Federal Government.  That is just under one-third of its annual budget.

Here are some facts that conservatives are not telling you.  First, Planned Parenthood receives absolutely no money for abortion services.  There is a Federal Law banning the use of Federal Dollars for abortions.  So, Planned Parenthood, like everyone else who gets federal funding cannot use that money for abortions.

Secondly, there is nothing illegal about recovering the costs associated with donating tissue.  Planned Parenthood does not make a profit from recouping their costs.  And, they do not donate any tissue from an aborted fetus without the mother’s consent.  That consent is given before the operation.

Third, fetus tissue is used to help research into vaccines, birth defects, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease and a bunch of other medical conditions.  It is not illegal to use fetus tissue for this research.  Plus, the end results of this research could have profound effects on the overall health of the nation.

Now look, if I really believed that Planned Parenthood was selling “body parts” for a profit, I would be the first to scream bloody murder.  Civilized people just don’t do that kind of thing.  But, since I have seen “unedited” versions of the infamous videos, I know for certain that is not happening.  Plus, investigations into the matter have also shown this not to be true.

But, there is another side of the story that conservatives never want to talk about.  If Congress defunds Planned Parenthood, the costs for Medicaid and other social safety nets will dramatically increase.  Since Planned Parenthood is the only place that many poor women can go for birth control, there will be an increase in unwanted pregnancies.

Now it is impossible to tell how many more unwanted pregnancies will actually occur, but you can bet that it will happen.  That means one of two things is going to be the result.  Either the number of abortions will increase, or the number of single mothers will increase.  In either case, costs will skyrocket.

Why will costs skyrocket:  Because the American taxpayer picks up 68 percent of costs of all unintended pregnancies in this country, mostly through Medicaid. And while contraceptives are relatively cheap, it costs more to give birth in the United States than anywhere else on Earth (in 2012, it averaged $9,775 for a vaginal delivery and $15,041 for a C-Section). That explains why, according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, the government saves seven dollars for every dollar it spends on family planning.

Additionally, since many women with unintended pregnancies are single mothers, they will need additional help through WIC, SNAP and other social safety nets to feed their unwanted children.  Something conservatives also hate.

Of course, conservatives will harp on their plan to prevent pregnancy through “abstinence only” plans.  The problem with that “plan” is that is doesn’t work.  Did you know that Red States consistently have higher rates of teen pregnancy rates than Blue States?

Red States are the ones that don’t want proper sex education taught in their schools.  As a result, teens are still having sex, but they are having unprotected sex resulting in more pregnancies.  Abstinence only programs are a failure.  Teens who receive proper sex education are less likely to have an unintended pregnancy.

Finally, Planned Parenthood not only offers assistance in planning for a family.  It offers pre and post natal care to many poorer women.  Without that assistance, these women will have nowhere to go.  As a result, there will be higher health care costs for both the mother and the child.  Again, funded by Medicaid in most cases.

Planned Parenthood is also the only option for many women when it comes to breast cancer screening and a host of other medical care they cannot afford to get elsewhere.  Defunding Planned Parenthood will take that away from millions of women all across the country.

But, conservatives are not interested in all of this.  They are only interested in stopping abortions.  They don’t care what happens to a child once it is born, they only want to force a woman to give birth.  Maybe that is why according to the Guttmacher Institute, “the US unintended pregnancy rate is significantly higher than the rate in many other developed countries.”

Also, let’s be clear.  Unintended pregnancy is not necessarily an abortion issue.  It is more of a contraception and education issue.  By denying women access to affordable contraception, and denying teens education in the use and practice of contraception, unintended pregnancies will continue to happen.  Once the pregnancy happens, the woman is faced with two choices.  One is to have the child, and the other is to have an abortion.

Extremely poor women will have the child and be forced on more social safety net services.  Less poor will probably choose to have the abortion.  Meaning the abortion rate will increase and not decrease.  By the way, if you think outlawing abortion will stop it, think again.  Abortions were widely available in this country when it was outlawed.  The problem was it was performed by non-medical people.  The result was many deaths and permanent injuries to the woman.

A total of 18 Republicans have already said they are willing to shut down the government if they don’t get Planned Parenthood defunded.  It is obvious to me that they have not engaged their brains before going off on their rampage.  Then again, I guess you first have to have a brain in order to engage it.

When it comes to women’s health, birth control, and family planning, the conservatives in this country are seriously contributing to the problem.  They are doing nothing to help the problem because they refuse to engage their brains.  If Planned Parenthood is defunded, these problems will only get worse.

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The White House is expected to issue its final rule on reducing pollution emissions from power plants.  It is expected that power plants will be required to cut up to a third of its emissions under this rule.  The plan is going to be based on a state-by-state basis.  Meaning some states will have tougher mandates than others.

It is also expected that each state will get an additional two years to implement their new measures and standards.  So, instead of seeing full compliance by 2020 we are looking more at full compliance by 2022.  Of course the oil and coal industry are having fits over the upcoming new rules.

Then there is the Republican Candidates who absolutely hate the EPA and deny that the climate is changing.  At the Koch Brothers “bow and kiss the Koch ring” ceremony being held in California, the Canadian Senator actually claimed that climate change “ain’t happening.”  According to this whiz kid, nothing is changing in our climate.

He doesn’t mention that the warmest 14 years in recorded history has taken place since 2000.  Nor does he mention the fact that 2014 was the warmest year on record and that 2015 is on track to top 2014.  He claims that scientists and the government are “cooking the books” to show climate change that just isn’t happening.  He says satellite pictures prove that.  I don’t know which satellite pictures he is looking at, but I see a dramatic reduction in Arctic and Antarctic ice shelves in the ones I have seen.

This is the standard fare for Republicans.  Marco Rubio not long ago said he wants to shut down the EPA completely.  He claims that he is not in favor of poisoning our air and water, but he is willing to shut down the one agency that is mandated by law to protect our air and water.

Neither of these wonderful candidates even mention that childhood asthma and other illnesses affecting breathing are also at their highest in decades.  More people are suffering from breathing illness than ever before.  The reason we are seeing a dramatic increase in these illnesses is the very air we breathe.

I have argued before that this issue should be turned into a financial argument.  If we can change the emissions by switching to renewable energy, we will all win.  Cruz claims he wants to have a “logical” debate on the issue.  So, let me try once again.

The second largest expenditure for businesses in America is energy!  It follows closely behind manpower costs.  Since we are dependent upon fossil fuels for our energy production, those costs fluctuate dramatically.  When the price of oil goes down, energy costs go down.  When the price of oil goes up, so do energy costs.

On the other hand, once it is built, the annual cost of producing renewable energy like solar power and wind power are miniscule.  As a matter of fact, it is almost non-existent.  So, once the capital costs needed to build such power supplies are recouped, the power rates should be dramatically reduced across the board.

This goes for residential use as well.  I don’t know about anyone else, but my electric bill has been going up recently.  One of the reasons this year is because we have had a warmer than usual summer.  Meaning my a/c has been running more.  But, my costs started going up even before summer even started.

The unfortunate side to this is that the costs of setting up your own solar power at your house is still very expensive.  And, Republicans in many states have reduced the amount of tax credits you can take for purchasing and installing solar power at your house.  So, most people cannot afford to make the switch on their own.

By eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels, we will ultimately reduce our energy costs.  We will stop polluting our air and water, and we will save the planet.  All the while saving ourselves money and possibly jobs.  If energy costs go down, there is less incentive to move factories overseas because the reduced energy costs will off-set the manpower costs.

Additionally, if we eliminate pollution from our air and our water, our health will get better.  Since our health will get better, we will be spending less money on treating diseases that should not exist.  More savings for the average person’s pocketbooks and the government’s expenditures for things like Medicare and Medicaid.  How is that for helping to reduce the budget deficit.

Finally, there is the impact of acid rain.  Acid rain is caused by air pollution.  Acid rain is a major problem all across the country.  Acid rain is killing fish in our lakes.  It is damaging our cars.  It is killing our vegetation.  If we can eliminate air pollution, acid rain will dramatically decrease.  We will have more fish to catch and eat.  We won’t be spending thousands of dollars to repair damage to the finish on our cars.  And our plant life will make a comeback.  Thus creating more oxygen for everyone.

No one has to be a scientist to know the climate is changing.  Just watch your energy bills and look at past and present weather.  I remember extremely cold winters growing up in Chicago.  Those extremely cold winters have been declining over the years.  They haven’t stopped, just grew less frequent.  I have seen the amount of severe weather incidents go up over the years.  These are indications that the climate is changing whether you like it or not.

There is a big difference between weather and climate.  Weather affects us today.  Climate affects the weather in the future.  The warmer the planet gets, the more dramatic the weather will become.  The more dramatic the weather becomes, the more it affects us and costs us billions of dollars in disaster relief.

The last thing in the argument is that if we switch to renewable energy sources, the fossil fuel industries will not dry up and go away.  There will always be a need for oil, gas, and coal.  There are a lot of products that are made from these fossil fuels that will not simply disappear.

On the other hand, we will truly have independence from foreign governments for our energy.  We will truly have independence to forge our new factories because our energy costs will be so low we can start a new industrial revolution.  Just think of all the jobs that could be created.

There you have it Mr. Cruz.  That is my argument to switch to renewable energy.  However, since major conservative donors almost exclusively belong to the fossil fuel industry and chemical industry, I don’t expect you are really interested in having this discussion.  They won’t let you have that conversation because the end result will have a direct impact on their profits.  When fossil fuel industry profits fall, their contributions also fall.

Whenever I hear people like you talk about the climate change hoax, I understand that your denial isn’t about the needs and desires of the American People.  Your denial is all about protecting profits for those who make billions off high costs for gas, electricity, oil, coal, etc.  The wants and desires of the American People don’t really matter to you.  They don’t contribute enough to your campaign funds.

I eagerly await your reply to my argument.  What is your argument to keep delaying the switch to renewable energy and sticking with fossil fuels?  And, please try to speak like an adult and avoid your usual 20 second sound bites.

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In a couple of weeks the Republicans will hold their first debate of the 2016 Presidential Race.  Yeah, I know, it is probably too early for such things, but after all, it is only about six months away from Iowa and New Hampshire.  So, with a total of 16 candidates, and probably more before the whole thing gets really going, they probably think it is time to weed out some of the less likely successful candidates.

The problem I am having with the current crop, isn’t that they are running.  It is what is coming out of their mouths.  A lot of people in the media, especially on the left, are calling a number of the current crop of Republicans “wackos” or “cuckoo-birds” or “clowns.”  Sorry, I won’t buy into that description.  It is far worse than that.

The problem I see is that these people are actually describing their vision of what America should look like.  They are actually, for once, being honest about their hatred for everything a democracy is supposed to be.  They are showing us, with their own words, that if there was ever a crop of candidates running for President that really hate America, they are it.

There is the vulgar, bloviated Trump calling immigrants “rapists” and disparaging former POWs.  We have the ALEC mouth-piece Walker telling America that unions should all be banned and we should be happy with whatever the company says we should be paid or how many hours we should work.  We have the Canadian Senator Cruz hating anything that has to do with governing or compromise for the common good.  We have the theocratic hypocrite Huckabee saying a deal with Iran “will lead the Israeli’s to the gas chamber.”

Then we have the more “moderate” Republicans like Bush, the brother of one of the worst President’s in our history talking about taking away abortion rights and reproductive rights from women and eliminating Medicare.   Then we have that outreach candidate Rubio who claims that “no one wants bad air or water” yet is calling for the elimination of the very agency responsible to protect our air and water, the EPA.  His reason?  It is hurting his rich donors who rely on polluting our air and water to make their millions.

The list goes on and on.  Everyone of these “candidates” seems to find something about democracy that totally disgusts them.  They constantly tell the American people, they are only trying to listen to the American People.  Yet, they continuously vote against the very laws that the vast majority of Americans want passed.  When I say “vast majority” I am referring to poll numbers at 70% or more.  How is that listening to the American People?  Simple, you are NOT  the American People, unless you belong to the top 1% of the income earners.

In several states, photo ID cards are required to vote in person.  Yet, these same states have very lax laws pertaining to absentee voters.  It is far easier to cast an improper vote by absentee ballot than at the polls.  Yet, they claim they are just protecting the ballot box.  Of course the only people who will have trouble getting their photo ID will be young people, poor people, and old people.  All people who Republicans don’t want to vote at all.

Women’s rights have been under attack since the country was founded.  Women have always been classified as “second-class citizens.”  They weren’t even allowed to vote until 1920.  Republicans want to control how they live their lives, how many children they must have, and what decisions they can make for themselves.  According to Republican candidates, women are not capable of putting together a “rational” thought.

If women are allowed to participate in the job market, Republicans say they must accept less money for doing the same job as their male counterparts who are doing the exact same work.  Why?  Because they are women, pure and simple.  They don’t have the same economic needs as men do.  Besides, women should be kept at home, barefoot and pregnant.  They should be totally dependent upon men for their lives.

Republican candidates are all up in arms about the Iran Nuclear Deal.  As mentioned, Huckabee claims it will lead to the next holocaust for the Jews.  The funny thing about all of this is that the largest area of anti-Semitism in this country is in the south.  You know, places like the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas.  More synagogues and Jewish Cemeteries are defaced in the south than in any other part of the country.

I have always found it funny that the Republicans claim to be the biggest supporters of Israel when the vast majority of their constituency are mostly anti-Semitic.  Since groups like the KKK and Aryan Nation and others have their headquarters in these states, it doesn’t take a lot of thought to know this is true.

Republicans, led by their propaganda machine Fox News, has shown continuously that they don’t like the idea of talking about people of color being killed by Police.  They always turn the tables and say that if that person of color just followed the police officer’s orders, they “might” still be alive.  I like that “might” they always seem to throw in there.  When things like “Black Lives Matter” come up as slogans to stop police violence, they try to turn the tables and come up with things like “All Lives Matter.”

They then cry when someone calls out that it isn’t white people being systematically murdered by police officers.  They refuse to reasonably discuss the possibility that maybe, just maybe, these police officers are in the wrong and not the victims.  But that would mean having to actually acknowledge that this country still has a race problem.  Something they refuse to even consider.

Their latest gambit is their cry for “religious liberty.”  According to them, if your religion says it is okay to discriminate against someone else, then it is legal to discriminate against them.  If your religion says it is wrong to have an abortion, you must stop everyone else from getting an abortion.  If your religion says it is wrong to use contraceptives, then no one should be allowed to use them.  If you are a Muslim, you should be put on a “watch-list” since you are obviously a terrorist.  And to help things out here, you are not supposed to be allowed to immigrate here.

That is their definition of “religious liberty.”  To them, “religious liberty” means that they are free to believe what they want.  You on the other hand must believe what they do.  If you don’t, you get no civil rights.  If you don’t believe what they do, you are second-class citizens.  If you are a minority, you must “do as you are told” and not think for yourself.

The Christianity I was taught says we are supposed to “help” the poor.  The Republican idea of “helping” the poor is to eliminate the social safety net.  Medicaid?  Who needs medical insurance if you are poor?  Medicare?  No, get a voucher and spend thousands of dollars you don’t have to keep your insurance.  Social Security?  Why are so many people living so long?  If they outlive their “expire-by-date” let them just fade away.

According to them, Christianity is really all about helping the rich get richer.  It is all about making sure the poor louts stay poor.  It is about letting the sick and elderly just die away to save money.  It is all about cutting public education funding.  Poor kids are supposed to stay poor, so why bother to educate them.  Women should know their place.  They are nothing but homemakers and baby-factories.  Like children, women should be seen and not heard.  Their only purpose in life is to “serve” their man and spread their legs whenever they are told.

That is what these 16 Republican Candidates are offering our country.  That is what they believe America should be.  They want America to be a white society, run by rich white men, and bereft of everyone else.  That is their utopia.  That is their definition of the American Dream.  If you are a worker, you don’t have the right to the American Dream.  Just shut up and accept what pennies they throw at you for your labor.

Jobs?  Health Insurance?  Livable Wage?  Union Representation?  Women’s Rights?  Civil Rights?  Those are all “socialist” or worse yet “communist” ideas.  They have no place in America.  They have no place in our society.  They are all evil ideas put forth by “Satan.”  But, don’t take my word for it.  Just listen to the trash coming out of their mouths.

My first impulse is not to watch the first debate on August 6.  But, it is also like watching a train-wreck.  You hate what you are seeing, but can’t take your eyes off of it.  The problem is that if any one of these dangerous people actually make it to the White House, that train-wreck will be America.  That is the real danger facing us.

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The other day we discussed the GOP phrase of “leave science to the scientists” or at least their desire to tell the Pope that instead of themselves.  Now our nation’s Crazy Uncle Louie (Gohmert) thinks that the Pope is wrong in his encyclical about climate change.  He even went so far as to compare himself with Galileo.

See Crazy Uncle Louie said the Pope did not include a full objective opinion about climate change.  Apparently, Crazy Uncle Louis thinks that the Pope, who has a degree in chemistry by the way, should have included stupid arguments that Crazy Uncle Louie likes to spout.  Since the Pope did not include these wacko comments, it is obviously not a fair and balanced opinion.

Crazy Uncle Louie even went on to say:

The trouble is that [the pope] has been persuaded that climate change is something that is dramatically affecting the planet right now, he’s bought in to all this. We have had popes that made enormous mistakes that were influenced by the world around them.

But it got even crazier.  It was at this point that Crazy Uncle Louie compared himself with Galileo:

Since when does science not allow opposing viewpoints? Well, they didn’t allow Galileo to make an opposing viewpoint, there were a lot of accurate opposing viewpoints that were not allowed at the time that were later allowed to come in.

We already know that Crazy Uncle Louie is not a scientist.  We can also tell by his last comment that Crazy Uncle Louie is not an historian either.  For one thing, scientists of the time of Galileo did not argue against Galileo.  Galileo was a scientist.  It was the Church and the Spanish Inquisition that placed Galileo under arrest not scientists.  The charges against Galileo were not about science, but rather going against church teachings.

So, unless Crazy Uncle Louie thinks that the Pope will order his arrest for going against Church Teachings, I don’t think the comparison between him and Galileo is very apt.  But, Crazy Uncle Louie doesn’t need to be accurate.  He just needs to be loud.

Secondly, Galileo used the scientific method to prove heliocentrism. Crazy Uncle Louie probably can’t spell heliocentrism, much less define the scientific method.  I really believe that if you took a test lab beaker up to Crazy Uncle Louie, he would have to ask what it was or argue that he doesn’t need to take a drug test because he is a Congressman and they aren’t required to be given random drug tests.

This is all coming from a man who is terrified that God is going to be sending a storm of terrorist attacks against our country simply because same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states.  As a matter of fact, the same-sex marriage ruling is going to be front and center from now on.

Every time there is a natural disaster in this country, it won’t be because of climate change, it will be because God is punishing us for allowing same-sex marriage.  A very convenient excuse and argument for people like Crazy Uncle Louis.

Naturally, we will be hearing from others like the Canadian Senator Cruz, the unthinking Rick Santorum and others on the Republican climate denial band wagon supporting and defending Crazy Uncle Louie.  The unfortunate side to all of this is that Crazy Uncle Louie would be great comic relief, except for one thing.  He is expected to vote on issues like this that will affect the country and the globe for generations.  That is way too scary to be comic relief.

Since he obviously has his finger on the pulse of his wacko constituent, I do not foresee Crazy Uncle Louie going away anytime soon.  I don’t know, maybe the Pope should place him under house arrest like Galileo.  At least we would know where he was at all times.

 

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For years now the Republican Party has denied that climate change is real.  They have called it a left-wing hoax.  They have said that the “jury is still out” on climate change.  They have argued that making changes to our energy sources would hamper the economy.  They have said that “scientists” have it out for capitalism.

Over 97% of scientists in the world have said that climate change is real.  They all agree that man is having a major effect on our climate and that the change occurring is more man-made than anything else.  Humbug say Republicans.  There is no “real” evidence that man is impacting the climate, even though scientists say we are.

Then suddenly Pope Francis put out an Encyclical that basically says that climate change is real.  That man is responsible for that change.  That man must do more to protect the planet.  He even put a religious spin on it saying it is our moral obligation to care for the planet “God has given us.”

All of the so-called Christian candidates on the Republican side went bonkers.  People like Jeb Bush and Rick Santorum, both Catholics, said the Pope should stay out of the issue.  They said, “the Pope should leave science to the scientists.”

Now that, some may say, is advice that they should follow themselves.  Yet, they still deny that climate change is real.  Even after our own Department of Defense has said that climate change is a major threat to our national security, these people still refuse to believe in climate change.  They still are waging their war on science because it does not fit with their political and economic game plan.

Every year the earth is warmer than the year before.  We see weather patterns changing.  We see drought around the world, even in states that have more than their share of climate change deniers.  Ted Cruz says NASA should not spend any money on climate research.  He says it should stick with exploring space.  He is the chair of a committee that funds NASA.

You may think that this is hypocrisy.  That is not necessarily the point.  Rather than looking at this as some form of hypocrisy, you need to remember what the real issue is.  The real issue is that their major donors are the very people and corporations that rely on fossil fuels for their income.  If we were to turn away from fossil fuels, that would mean capital expenditures for places like electric companies, and a real slash to the profits of the fossil fuel energy companies.

That is the real issue.  It is very important for the climate deniers to continue to deny reality in the name of profits for their donors.  It is very important for climate deniers to keep their office so they can continue to feel important.  Some call this protecting profits for the few.  I call it simple greed.  Greed is very anti-Christian.  But then, that is what their form of Capitalism is really about.

Yes, it is time for Republicans to “leave science to the scientists.”  But don’t hold your breath.  As long as science threatens their purse strings, they will never accept reality.  Yet, as we have seen with the Pope, they will be quick to tell him to leave science to the scientists.  That way, they can keep science political and not part of their delusional reality.

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