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Well, the 2016 campaign, at least on the Republican side, is officially on.  Many of the people who think they would make an excellent President went to Iowa last weekend for Rep. Steve King and Citizens United “Freedom Summit.”  This is the Tea Party’s dog-and-pony show for the most Conservative Candidates.  But the party was very limited in scope since Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Bobby Jindal, et al were not present.  As a matter of fact, King called the non-attendees “second stringers.”

One thing that all of the candidates railed against was Common Core.  Yes, they all went on about the “exceptionalism” of America, but they all seem to think that education is not part of that “exceptionalism.”  They are wrong.  Among the candidates were people like Scott Walker who is trying to kill unions in Wisconsin, especially the teacher’s unions.  Then there was Chris Christie who gutted $1 Billion from New Jersey’s education budget and laid-off thousands of teachers.

I believe there is an extreme weakness in the American Education Process.  It is what the right calls “local control” of our schools.  There was a time when I can see that “local control” of the schools was important.  But, as times have changed, local control of schools has actually hurt education more than it has helped.  In fact it my opinion that “local control” is killing education in America.

When America was young, people did not travel around much.  It was an agrarian society.  People went to school for fundamentals, but were expected to work the fields after they graduated.  As we moved into the twentieth century and urban centers more evolved, manufacturing became another place where people were expected to work.  As a result, global economics and even intra-state commerce were never considered in educating children.

Back in the 50s and 60s when I attended school, most people who graduated either went into the fields, factories, fishing boats, or other such occupations.  Yet, most children in those days could point to a map and tell you where Portugal was on it.  We all learned about reading, writing, and arithmetic, but we also learned about science, geography and history.  Everyone received an education that would make them eligible for college if that was their choice.

Many high schools also offered career oriented classes like shop.  If you were disinclined to attend college, you could learn a trade that would pay you a living wage.  Whether people want to believe it or not, there were national standards that had to be mastered.

With today’s global economy, it is not proper to let local communities determine the curricula for the schools anymore.  There are still areas in the country where people who graduate from school are still expected to work the fields, factory, or fishing boats, etc.  They have no concern about the global economy their children will be expected to live and survive in.

“American Exceptionalism” as the right likes to talk about is based on the ability of our citizens to be more productive and, basically, smarter than our competition.  Innovation, research, invention are all items necessary to continue to outpace the competition in the world.  With “local control” of our elementary and high school education, we are losing those competitive advantages.

The primary purpose of education is to prepare our children for the real world.  We must educate them in things like literature, science, math, history, and even geography.  Without these skills, they are at a disadvantage in the real world.  Besides, without these skills, they will never be able to critically think.  Critical thinking is what fosters innovation, research and invention.

It is time we stop the stupidity of “local control” of our education.  It is time that real standards be set so every student, wherever they live, get the same education as everyone else.  Common Core is not a federal government standard.  It is something that was put together by states.  Many states have adopted Common Core.  Many are fighting it tooth and nail.

The real reason this fight is going on is because of the “local control” aspect.  Local communities still believe they know what is best for their children.  But, they use education as a political football instead of something that is necessary.  They use “local control” to change science classes so things like evolution are not taught, but creationism is.  They go further to not teach climate change is real and that it is man-made even though all of the evidence proves them wrong.

But, if you live in an area that relies on coal mining, that is not something that you want your children to learn.  After they graduate, most are expected to work in the mines.  So, you have to teach that there is nothing wrong with coal.  Economically, it is a sound point since the whole economy of the region relies on the mines.  Educationally, it hampers those who decide to go on to college where they will be competing against students who were not hampered in science classes because of ideology.

Of course the biggest argument against Common Core is that the “feds” are running education.  That is always a fear for anyone who really doesn’t like the idea of a federal government.  But, as I mentioned above, Common Core is NOT run by the federal government, nor was it created by the federal government.

The paranoia the right-wing has created in this country is killing the very thing they like to crow about, “American Exceptionalism.”  You don’t have to look far to see I am right.  America used to lead the world in educating our children.  It has slipped to about 26th in the world.  If we don’t stop the attack on education by the right, we can see that standing slip even further.

Teachers are not the problem.  Teacher unions are not the problem.  Children are not the problem.  The real problem is “local control” of elementary and high school education.  Look at reality.  How many people on your local school board that determines the curriculum for your child’s education even have a college degree?  I believe that you will be amazed how many school board members never went to college.

Whether we keep Common Core, which I believe we should, or go with another version that is even more strict about standards, something must be done to remove “local control” from our education system.  If not, the only thing that will be “exceptional” about America is that we will be an industrialized nation with a third world education of our children.

Unfortunately, the attack on our education system by the right makes me think that is their true definition of “American Exeptionalism.”  As usual with their agenda, our country and our children are the true losers.

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Yesterday the Senate began their ridiculous debate on the Keystone XL Pipeline.  We heard lie after lie about why this pipeline is so necessary for the U.S.  One Senator said that it would ensure North American Energy Independence.  Another said the usual stupid things about job creation.  None of the Republican Senators said anything about using “Eminent Domain” for private company gain.  Which this pipeline is doing.  I thought that using “Eminent Domain” for private company gain was something that Republicans hated.

As we know, if allowed to go ahead, the pipeline will create about 45,000 temporary jobs to construct it.  After one to two years, those jobs will end and there will be whopping 35 permanent jobs remaining.  Now that is what I call job creation.  On top of all of that, this oil will have no impact on the price of gasoline at the pump.  That is because after it is refined, it is going to be shipped overseas, mostly to China.  How is that “ensuring North American energy independence?”

Being lost in all of this is something that could produce up to 297,000 permanent jobs for American Workers.  It is called “Clean Energy” and it has already created 80,000 American jobs in 2013 alone.  Besides that, these jobs cannot be outsourced to India or China.  But there is a problem.  If we just look at wind power, we can see the political football game that Republicans are playing.

In order to build the wind power system, there is something called Federal Protection Tax Credit (PTC) that allows wind generating companies to take a 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour tax credit to help get the project off the ground.  That is peanuts compared to the billions that oil companies get in tax credits and other subsidies.  Yet, the Republicans won’t make the PTC a permanent tax credit.  They keep letting it expire and then add it back in.  When the PTC is allowed to be given, like in 2013, 80,000 jobs were created.  On the other hand, when it is allowed to lapse, like in 2014, only about 5,000 new jobs were created.

If the PTC were a permanent tax credit for the wind power companies giving them certainity, we would see many more wind generating plants go online, and hundreds of thousands of jobs created.  Of course, that would cut into the oil companies profits.  By having more “clean energy” available to consumers, the need for oil, gas, and coal in the electricity business would be lowered.  Republicans cannot let their big donors like the Koch Brothers lose any profits to clean energy.  As a result, they continue to play political football with the PTC.

As a matter of fact, Koch-affiliated groups like the American Energy Alliance, last November wrote a letter to congressional Republicans urging them to allow the wind PTC to expire.  In their letter they wrote:

“Rejecting efforts to extend the PTC is a meaningful way for this Congress to oppose the president’s climate plan. A vote for extending the PTC is a vote for the president and the majority leader’s agenda.”

So, you can see it is not about creating jobs, but protecting oil company’s profits and subsidies!

In 2009 Congress was talking about a plan that would require utilities to generate a certain percentage of their power from renewables.  Since then, 28 states and the District of Columbia has successfully implemented this plan.  At the time of the talk, a group called the Union of Concerned Scientists said it estimated that a mandate calling for just 25 percent renewables by 2025 could create 297,000 new jobs in manufacturing, construction, operations, maintenance, agriculture, forestry and other industries.  Even so, Republicans in Congress aren’t too interested in making that mandate a law.

Therefore, one can only surmise that the Republican talk about creating jobs is just that, talk.  Renewable, clean energy will create hundreds of thousands of permanent, U.S. jobs in just a few short years.  Yet, all the Republicans in Congress are looking to do is create 35 permanent jobs on the Keystone XL Pipeline.  Why not take action on the PTC instead?  Why not create a new electric grid that relies on clean energy?  Because Big Oil Companies and the Koch Brothers are against it.

Finally, if Republicans are really interested in “North American energy independence” clean energy is the best way to go.  We would be able to create an American Industry, well-paying American Jobs, and true American Energy Independence.  Look, I don’t really care if you believe in climate change or not.  I don’t care if you believe in reducing carbon emissions.  What I do care about is creating jobs that American Workers can earn a livable wage at and cannot be outsourced, and real American Energy Independence.  Clean energy is one way to make all of that happen.  So, why are Republicans blocking it?

The Republicans have been talking for six very long, tiresome years about creating jobs.  But they have voted down every single jobs bill that has come up.  They continue to play political football with the PTC so the wind power industry cannot grow as fast as we need it, and then claim that the Keystone XL pipeline is “good for America.”

As I said, all we hear from Republicans about creating jobs is lie, after lie, after lie, after lie…..

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Mitch McConnell has announced that the very first thing he wants to do in the new congress is to pass the Keystone XL pipeline.  He is claiming that over 40,000 new jobs will be created by this action.  After the first year or so, the total number of new jobs that are permanent has been totaled at about 35.  Once construction ends, all of the rest of these jobs will be lost.

The Keystone XL pipeline has been under scrutiny for years now.  Most of Americans do not want the pipeline built.  So in keeping with their lie to only do what the American People want, Republicans want it built.  There are a number of people across the Midwest who stand firmly against the pipeline.  There are Nebraska farmers who do not want the pipeline on their property.  The Native Americans don’t want it anywhere near their reservations.  Environmentalists don’t want it built because of two factors.  First, it threatens the largest fresh water aquifer in the country, and the second is that the oil that will be piped through it is the dirtiest possible oil around.

I do not intend to argue about the effects such oil will have on the climate change that is currently underway around the world.  That argument will have no effect on Republicans anyway since they refuse to even talk about it reasonably.  But, there are other questions that should be brought up about the pipeline.

Republicans say that it will “help ensure America’s energy independence” even though the oil is already targeted to be shipped overseas.  Not one drop of this oil will find its way into our infrastructure.  Since oil refineries are already at capacity, if we add this oil to the refinement process, we must ask if that will actually reduce the amount of gas that will be available here at home.  Are we simply going to replace domestic refinement in lieu of shipping gas overseas?  No one has answered that question.

There are some things that really need to be looked at before rushing this pipeline through.  First of all, according to the farmers in Nebraska who are fighting this pipeline tooth-and-nail, the so-called “agreement” they are being forced to sign places almost all of the liability for an oil spill on them!  They claim that TransCanada is placing all of the liability on them if something goes wrong.

For example, a farmer is driving his combine across his fields and crosses the pipeline.  While doing so, a sinkhole opens up over the pipeline which can happen due to loose soil around the pipeline.  As a result the harvester crashes down on the pipe and causes a leak.  According to the “agreement” the farmer is responsible because the “agreement” says the farmer was negligent and caused the spill not TransCanada.  As you can guess, the farmer will be out of business almost immediately since he won’t be able to afford the cleanup.

Another thing to consider.  Republicans are always talking about “property rights” in their speeches.  They claim that the government shouldn’t be allowed to “take away” a person’s property.  Yet, they are willing to allow a foreign company to take away people’s property using eminent domain laws.  Would someone please explain to me how they justify letting a foreign company use eminent domain laws to seize property from individual citizens when they argue the government shouldn’t have the same authority?

What about the argument of the Native Americans?  Remember, the reservations were set up and established by Treaty! In order for these treaties to be changed, the government must enter negotiations with the Native Tribes to get their agreement on the changes.  Yet, no negotiations have taken place with any of the Native Tribes.  The Native Americans are fighting the pipeline over water.  If there is a leak, the water on the reservations will be contaminated.  It will take years, if ever, to clean up the mess.  Yet, the law and order party, the Republicans, are not interested in negotiating with the Native Tribes.

Water is a major reason Nebraska farmers are fighting the pipeline as well.  All pipelines leak!  That is a simple fact!  This pipeline is supposed to run over the largest underground aquifer in the U.S.  This aquifer is under about seven states.  Communities use the aquifer for drinking water.  Farmers use it for irrigating their crops.  If oil from the pipeline leeches into the aquifer, it will pollute it for the foreseeable future.  There is no way, as least that I can find, to clean up an underground aquifer.  That means drinking water for millions of people will be useless, and the price of food will rise drastically because farmers won’t be able to use the water for irrigation.

Finally, it is expensive to refine oil from “tar sands” which is where this oil is coming from and makes it so dirty.  With oil prices falling, how can it be economically viable to refine this oil?  It may have been viable when prices were over $100 per barrel, but at current prices, how can it be viable now?

As I mentioned earlier, American refineries are running at capacity right now.  There hasn’t been a new refinery built in the U.S. in over 40 years!  Since the oil that will come from this pipeline is already earmarked for exportation, how can the refineries justify taking “domestic refinement” away and use it for exports?  Are they trying to raise the price of gasoline in America?

The only people who really want the Keystone XL Pipeline to be built are plutocrats.  Naturally, TransCanada wants it built so they can get it refined.  American Oil Companies want it built so they can make more money exporting it to China.  Maybe, even causing an artificial shortage of gasoline in the U.S. to artificially raise prices at home.  And, the Republicans want it built simply because the President has shown a resistance to it, and the American People don’t want it either.

Anyway you look at it, the plutocrats win again, and the American People lose, again!

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Ever since President Obama was elected back in 2008, the right-wing of the Republican Party has been trying everything it can to “delegitimize” his administration.  This attempt has taken many forms.  With the rise of the Tea Party, one tactic that has gained favor is ignoring federal laws that do not sit well with the right.  Meaning, if a state is controlled by the right-wing, they can simply ignore laws in their state that the Federal Government has passed.

We remember sheriffs saying they would not enforce new gun regulations.  Some states even passed laws that would have sheriffs arrest Federal Agents enforcing Federal Law that they state says they don’t recognize.  All of this in the name of liberty and states rights.  Of course it was all nonsense and Texas in the proving ground for this hypocrisy.

In the last election in November, voters in Denton, Texas voted to ban fracking in their community.  The state that calls itself the oil capital now has a community that has banned fracking.  That must be a real black-eye for Texas and their right-wing state legislature.

But since Texas is the loudest proponent of ignoring Federal Law when it suits their purpose, the Denton law must be upheld, right?  Wrong!  Texas isn’t going to take this lying down.  Texas Railroad Commission chairwoman Christi Craddick, who is responsible for oil and gas regulation said:  “It’s my job to give permits, not Denton’s … We’re going to continue permitting up there because that’s my job.”

Then we have Jerry Patterson, commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, who wrote a letter saying, “While we applaud the city’s efforts to promote the welfare of its citizens, we must make sure it is done in a manner consistent with existing state laws … the Legislature has made regulation of underground mineral estates and the methods for producing them a matter of State agency regulation.”

In the vote, the anti-fracking law passed by 59-41 percent.  That is what most people call a landslide.  But, the Republican Party, you know the party that says the state is the perennial foe of everything right-wing people believe in, claims that the people in Denton have no right to such a declaration because the state is the only entity with a say-so in the matter.

The odd thing is that the State of Texas has been in perpetual conflict with the Federal Government saying the Feds don’t have the right to tell a state what to do.  These conflicts have been over voting laws, healthcare and, particularly, environmental regulations.  In 2013, former Texas attorney general and current Gov.-elect Greg Abbott boasted that he sued the Obama administration 25 times for perceived overreaches.

In Texas as well as many other states, they argue that their ban on same-sex marriages is legal because it was passed by a ballot initiative.  Since the people voted for the ban, it is legal and the Federal Government should keep its nose out of the state’s business.  When courts overturned these bans, the states called it government overreach.   Now these same anti-Big Government Republicans are using the State’s Big Government to stomp over the voters of Denton, Texas.

This vote was not something out of the blue either.  There are 272 active wells in the city and another 212 just outside the city limits, so Denton residents ought to know as much as anyone about fracking.  As a result, they voted to ban fracking in their community.

But see, according to the State of Texas, these citizens were “duped”.  David Porter, another leading member of the Texas Railroad Commission suggests, “Denton voters fell prey to scare tactics and mischaracterizations of the truth in passing the hydraulic fracturing ban.”   Mr. Porter sounds more like a PR man for the oil industry rather than a public servant.

This misinformation must have been pretty good.  You see, the main opponents of the ban, energy giants Chevron, Chesapeake Energy and XTO Energy (a subsidiary of Exxon), outspent the pro-ban group, Frack Free Denton, by almost 10-to-1 and still lost.  Either the message from Frack Free Denton was really good, or the people didn’t believe the oil companies.  I am guessing they just didn’t believe the oil companies.

As you know, fracking is the process of shooting a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the earth to jostle natural gas loose from shale formations.  This process has proven to be the cause of numerous environmental problems including air and water pollution.

The bevy of chemicals used in fracking and their health effects are just beginning to be documented.  On top of that, many states have laws that says the chemicals used in fracking is “propriety information” and therefore can be kept secret from the public.  Additionally, places where there has been heavy fracking are experiencing earthquake outbreaks that never occurred before.  Finally, property values around fracking sites have plummeted.  So the people in Denton, Texas has said enough is enough.

Commissioner Craddick defended frackers, saying, “Most of them are active in their communities where they’re doing business and trying to give some dollars back.”   That is so weak of an argument it is almost laughable.  Even Craddick admits that Denton residents don’t own the minerals underneath their homes and town, so we know they aren’t getting any money directly from their extraction.

Adam Briggle, a University of North Texas assistant professor specializing in bioethics and a leader in Frack Free Denton, says that economic benefits from fracking has very little effect on Denton.  As a matter of fact, he says:  “Royalties paid to the City of Denton account for less than 1 percent of the city budget. Taxes from wells amount to only about 0.5 percent of all city property tax revenues. The biggest beneficiaries from fracking in Denton are out-of-town companies and absentee mineral owners.”

As you can see, the cry from conservatives against “big government” isn’t a fight against big government at all.  It is really a cry against democracy.  Here is a town in a state that cries all of the time against “big government” being swatted down by “big government”.  Why?  Because they had the audacity to vote that their town is more important than out-of-town companies making money by polluting its environment.

Next time your conservative friends talk about the loss of “freedom” and “liberty”, ask them about the people in Denton who tried to express their “freedom” and “liberty” and was stomped on by the State of Texas.  I am sure they will give the same lame excuses as Craddick has given.  To conservatives it isn’t about “freedom” or “liberty”, it is all about how much money their benefactors make on the backs of the “little” people.  That is their true definition of “freedom and liberty.”

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In a recent poll, it was reported that 57 percent of the American People believe in Climate Change and that man has a hand in causing it.  That same poll indicated that the majority of the American People wants Congress to do something about cleaning up our carbon emissions.

Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority Leader McConnell have said time and again that the Republicans only want to listen to the American People.  Congress has listened to the American People.  Not that they intend to act on the people’s wishes if they are in disagreement with the Republican agenda.

On Tuesday, while the Keystone XL Pipeline was going down to defeat in the Senate, Boehner and his Republican cronies were passing a law that would hamper the EPA in doing its mandated job of helping to clean up the environment and protecting public health.  The first law which was passed on Tuesday was framed by Republicans as a play for transparency.

H.R. 1422, which passed 229-191, would shake up the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board, placing restrictions on those real troublesome scientists and creating room for experts with overt financial ties to the industries affected by EPA regulations.

Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, argued that the board’s current structure is problematic because it  “excludes industry experts, but not officials for environmental advocacy groups.” The inclusion of industry experts, he said, would right this injustice.  Sounds reasonable, but…..

The part the Republicans like best is that the bill forbids scientific experts from participating in “advisory activities” that either directly or indirectly involve their own work.  In other words, experts would be forbidden from sharing their expertise in their own research – which was peer-reviewed.  The Republicans call that a conflict of interest.  But, the inclusion of industry “experts” is not a conflict of interest even though the industry experts are trying to block the EPA from instituting any regulations.

“In other words,” wrote Union of Concerned Scientists director Andrew A. Rosenberg in an editorial for RollCall, “academic scientists who know the most about a subject can’t weigh in, but experts paid by corporations who want to block regulations can.”  The White House has vowed to veto this bill if it ever reaches the President’s desk saying it would “negatively affect the appointment of experts and would weaken the scientific independence and integrity of the SAB.”

This is just the beginning.  There is another bill called “The Secret Science Reform Act” which would prohibit the EPA from proposing, finalizing or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible.”  As the Huffington Post reports:

While the bill’s language would not require the EPA to wait until its research was verified by an outside source to make recommendations, opponents say the bill’s requirements are murky.

“The bill attacks the mainstays of scientific investigation,” wrote Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) in an email to The Huffington Post. “It would strip away the EPA’s authority to make any rules due to the stringency of the data disclosure requirements.

“The peer review process is the foundation of science inquiry in our society, and is a trusted evaluation of scientific evidence around the world,” he added. “This legislation attempts to dictate how the scientific method is employed,” he added. “The Secret Science Reform Act is an attempt by climate change deniers to stop the EPA from doing its job.”

The irony in all of this is that “industry studies” don’t seem to need the same “transparency” as government-funded studies.  Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) asked why we think it’s okay to question the industry’s motives, but are more willing to trust government-funded studies, insisting that research with industry ties is a good thing.

Eileen Silbergeld, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, testified that the committee was going after the wrong people. “We need more information, and specifically we need more information disclosure from industry,” Silbergeld added. “I call on them to tear down every wall that hides critically important information that is generated and held by industry.”  There is nothing in this bill that would require industry to “tear down that wall” in industry studies.

Opponents argue that the trio of bills in the House are an attempt by  Republicans to effectively block the EPA from adopting any new rules to protect public health. Or as Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, in an editorial for the Hill said these bills represent “the culmination of one of the most anti-science and anti-health campaigns I’ve witnessed in my 22 years as a member of Congress.”

So, as you can see, the Republicans have listened to the American People.  But, what the American People have failed to realize thus far, is when Boehner and McConnell talk about the American People, they really mean their corporate donors.  Not the American People.  They simply believe that the American People are just too stupid to have a real voice.

When they talk about “small government” what they are really saying is that the American People are small and insignificant so our opinions don’t count!

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The House has passed legislation authorizing the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline.  The Senate is to take up the bill tomorrow.  There is every indication that it will also pass the Senate.  Some Democrats seem to think that if the bill passes, Mary Landau will save her Senate seat.  I don’t share their thought on that.  She is just too far behind to win the election.

The Republicans are trying to use the argument that the Keystone XL Pipeline will create 42,000 jobs.  They are banking on that number to sway the American people into supporting their push for it.  However, as usual, they are not telling you everything.

Here is a little background.  The Keystone XL pipeline is to transport Tar Sands Oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.  There it will be refined by American Oil Companies and then shipped overseas, mostly to China.  Tar Sands Oil is the dirtiest form of oil there is.  The carbon emissions from such oil is almost two to three times that of normal oil.

Additionally, since this oil is to be shipped overseas, there will be no savings at the pump for Americans when they go to fill up their tanks.  Plus, with the price oil dropping sharply recently, it has become almost too expensive to even refine this oil.  There are additional steps necessary to refine Tar Sands Oil than regular oil.

Finally, the route of the Keystone XL pipeline goes over the largest fresh water aquifer in the United States.  This aquifer is under several states in the Midwest.  Even though the proponents say the pipeline will use the most sophisticated oil leak detection systems, they will not say that the pipeline won’t leak.  As a matter of fact, the rest of their pipeline has had several leaks over the years.

The problem with this pipeline leaking is that it is possible for the oil to seep into the aquifer.  That would pollute drinking water for millions of people in the heartland of our country.  It will also pollute the water used to help grow our crops in times of low rainfall.  That means your food would be contaminated as well.

Then there are the people whose land the pipeline will cross who oppose the it.  They don’t want their land used to build this pipeline.  The agreements they are being forced to sign puts a lot of the responsibility for anything going wrong on them.  If they don’t sign the agreement, eminent domain will be used to take the land anyway.  That means our government is going to take private land away from people for the benefit of a foreign country.  How can the Republicans, who espouse to protect property owners, even remotely justify that?

If the pipeline leaks and it seeps into the aquifer, there is no current method of cleaning up the aquifer.  That means the water will be contaminated for generations if not forever.  The Republicans think the risk of polluting the largest aquifer in the U.S. is worth it because of the number of jobs they claim the project will produce.

Unfortunately for them, their numbers are definitely skewed.  Look, I don’t know how many temporary construction jobs will be created to build the pipeline.  By temporary I mean one to two years.  Their number of 42,000 may be right.  But, based on the information from the Canadian Oil company who wants this pipeline, the maximum number of permanent jobs to be created in the U.S is 30.  Before anyone starts yelling about those “new” jobs at the refineries, there won’t be any.  The U.S. oil refineries are already at maximum capacity.  No new jobs will be created at them with this pipeline.

I don’t think that number justifies the risks involved with the pipeline.  Especially when you consider that this oil will have no impact on our ability to save money by transporting it across our land.  As I said, it is all intended to be sent overseas.  Therefore, it will do nothing to reduce our gas prices or our heating oil prices.

In effect, what will really happen, is that we will be saddled with all of the risk and a Canadian oil company will gain all of the financial benefits.  I don’t have anything against Canadians.  But I don’t believe we should be their gutter for their dirty oil without getting any major benefits from it.

The Keystone XL pipeline has plenty of risks.  But, it really doesn’t give us any benefits.  Even capitalists who really look at the benefits to risk equation will clearly see that the risks outweigh the benefits.  That makes this project a bad deal.

If the Republicans really want to help the job market with real long-lasting jobs, they should pass the Transportation and Infrastructure Bill.  That bill will create millions of good paying jobs that will last at least 20 years.  And, we get all of the benefits from such a bill.  Our roads, rail system, dams, electrical grid, and much more will be upgraded and become safer for years to come.

Of course, Republicans don’t want to do that because it was introduced by President Obama.  Screw the millions of Americans who need the jobs such a bill would produce.  The Canadian Pipeline with no benefits, very few permanent jobs and all the risks to us is far more important to them than you are.  I wonder why?

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I spent the last few days just kind of relaxing and escaping in fantasy.  Friday was a total blowout since my wife had some dental work done.  Everything is fine, but we spent a lot of time at dentist offices getting her fixed up.  Getting old can be a bitch sometimes.  This may sound weird, but I usually take my comedy escapes watching shows on TV like “Ancient Aliens” and “Finding Bigfoot”.

I don’t find them comical because of their beliefs in their topics.  I find them comical because they talk like they are quoting facts instead of ideas or theories.  According to the Ancient Aliens people, ancient man was just too dumb to build things like the pyramids, sphinx, or those grand temples.  They had to have help from ET.  Without the technical help from ET, none of the ancient wonders would have been built.  This isn’t their opinion, they actually want you to believe that it is fact.  They even trot out people who claim that “modern building technology can’t be as precise as these buildings” so it had to be built by superior intellectual ETs.

According to them, it is ancient man’s “misinterpretation” of space ships and ET that explains man’s belief in gods.  One episode even explained that the dinosaurs were killed of by ET in order to make human existence possible.  It seems that ET brought their fighters in to just blast the dinosaurs off the face of the planet so we could evolve.

In Finding Bigfoot, they go into communities to make sure that everyone who claims that they have seen Bigfoot are proven right.  Of course in the entire run of the show, they have never uncovered proof of Bigfoot’s existence, like a body or DNA, yet they talk like they are experts in Bigfoot’s behavior.  One aspect that always makes me laugh is that the vast majority of the sightings have taken place during the daytime.  Yet, they are certain that Bigfoot is a nocturnal hunter and they conduct their searches at night.  Apparently, Bigfoot loves to eat deer, beaver, goats, sheep, geese, etc.

During my viewing time watching Finding Bigfoot, I was struck by something.  The experts seemed to smoothly change their explanations of Bigfoot’s behavior depending on which story they were listening to.  That, unfortunately, reminded me of conservative news shows and talk shows.  These Bigfoot researchers were as adept at changing facts as Fox News is at changing facts of the news item to suit their purpose.  That got me thinking.

Prior to the mid-term elections, Fox News and conservative talk radio were full of ISIS and Ebola threat stories.  Both of these were talked about as the “end of the world was coming” because of them.  The object was to scare the hell out of anyone who watches Fox News to get them to vote Republican.  Funny thing, since the election both of these terrible apocalyptic events haven’t been mentioned very much if at all.  Today’s Fox News website doesn’t have a single Ebola or ISIS threat story.

That is the biggest problem with conservative news outlets and the Republican Party.  They are not interested in telling the American People what their policies are.  They already know that the majority of the people oppose their policies.  So, in order to keep winning elections, they have fallen back on “scare them to death” propaganda.  Since it is our basic nature to become afraid, they use that psychology to scare enough people to vote against their interests.

Their co-plotter in all of this is the Conservative Christian Cult.  Let’s face facts.  The Conservative Christian Cult is anything but Christian.  This is not a knock against Christians.  This is calling out the Cult for what it is.  Basically, the Conservative Christian Cult is a totalitarian dictatorship that bullies its followers with fear.  They tell their followers that if they “stray from the path”, their path, that they are doomed to hell.  They tell people that if you are not wealthy, it is because you do not deserve to be wealthy.  You either don’t have the right desire to become wealthy, or you have been guilty of something that means God won’t give you riches.

I realize that is a simplification of their teaching, but that basically is the gist.  That is why you hear things like it is “God’s will” whenever something happens, good or bad.  The Cult makes it seem like every rich person is rich because God favors them.  Therefore, the rest of us should stop whining about income inequality and glorify God’s will.  So what if your employer doesn’t pay you enough to make ends meet.  That is right of the rich person to dictate what you are worth.  God gave them that right.

I earlier stated that the Cult is anything but Christian.  You can tell that just by listening to their rhetoric about how the poor is lazy.  How homosexuals are a scourge of evil.  How scientists are vehemently anti-Christian.  All of which are total fabrications beget from power-hungry thugs who are no more interested in spreading the Christian beliefs than a Celtic Pagan is.  All they are interested in is reaping the big donations and living the good life while their followers live near the poverty line.  That is why they mostly quote the Old Testament instead of the New Testament.  Don’t really preach about what Jesus taught.  After all, he was more of a socialist than a capitalist.

The problem is that so-called progressives don’t seem to want to engage against these fanatical power grubbing thugs.  They don’t seem to understand that you must fight these quacks by calling them out.  Progressives are just as religious as anyone else.  But, they seem to be afraid to fight back using religious beliefs against Cult’s false religious teachings.  It should not be a risk to show that the Cults religious teachings are not Christian.  Simply evoking the same empathy that Jesus taught would be helpful.  But, for some reason, progressives won’t go into that battle.

While Republicans are scaring the hell out of people with fantasy instead of facts, progressives are not poking holes in their arguments.  While the Cult is scaring their followers with eternal damnation, progressives are not pointing out that their policies are more Christian than the Cult’s.  In order to win the battle, you must at least be willing to engage in it.

Conservatism is by definition backwards looking.  The late Conservative William F. Buckley once said that a “true conservative stands in front of the march of time and yells, STOP!”  If you talk to most Americans, you will discover that is not the philosophy they want the country to follow.  They want the country to move forward with the march of time.

Man is a natural creature.  We have basic instincts.  One of the biggest instinct is survival.  That comes from our instinct of fear.  Republicans, their media outlets, and the Cult have mastered the art of playing to our fear.  They try to make us afraid of everything.  Those “others” who are trying to take your job away.  Those “others” who are trying to kill you.  Those “others” who are trying to spread infectious diseases.  Those “others” who are trying to destroy your marriage by marrying the person they love regardless of sex.  And, progressives let them get away with it.

So, as I sat watching my comedy relief shows over the weekend, I realized that the biggest difference between the experts on these shows and the conservative media, is that these experts actually believe what they are selling.  Compared to the conservative media which changes stories when they can stir up more fear.  Both play to man’s natural instincts.  Unfortunately, too many people don’t see the comic relief in conservative media as they may in Ancient Aliens.  I guess that is because Ancient Aliens and Finding Bigfoot don’t try to scare people and that, at least to me, makes them more factual.

 

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