Saturday, December 19, 2009

The War on Christmas...

Once again this year, although to a lesser degree than we have seen in recent years it seems, we have heard right wing Christians decrying the "war on Christmas" and how "they" are trying to take Christ out of Christmas. Makes you wonder who "they" are.

It can't be the big retail chains like Target or Walmart or K-mart. In each of these stores this year I have seen nativity scenes for sale, Christmas cards featuring images of the 3 Wisemen or the baby Jesus. I have also been told to have a "Merry Christmas" by employees at each of these stores. Here in Nashville and the surrounding cities I have visited I have seen city sponsored Christmas decorations, have heard Salvation Army workers ringing their bells, and witnessed just about every other sign of Christmas you could think of. Where is this war on Christmas?

I think if you want to find a war on Christmas you must first look in many of our Churches. You see "The war on Christmas" has been created as a way for Churches to claim they are victims and through this victimization promote their political and fundraising goals, sounds like an attack on Christmas to me.

You see saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" is not an attack on Christmas, it is in fact an acknowledgement of the changes our nation has gone through over the past couple of centuries. Changes instituted by our founders who recognized that this was a nation of immigrants and that our greatest strength would come from the influx of new ideas these immigrants would bring with them. Saying "Happy Holidays" just means that you acknowledge that we are not all Christians (many Christians, including all of the early Christians, don't celebrate Christmas anyway) and that we don't all celebrate the birth of Christ, it does however say that we want you to participate in the joy and sharing and caring of this season no matter what you choose to celebrate. "Happy Holidays" is one of the most evangelical statements that can be uttered at this time of year, but all of the "War on Christmas" people who are conducting their own little war against Christmas have turned this phrase into an attack on the beliefs they claim to hold.

If the "War on Christmas" makes you long for the good old days before Christmas was under attack and people didn't try and take Christ out of Christmas by calling it "Xmas" then you are going to have to go back a really long time. Take a look at this Christmas Card from 1910 that uses the term "Xmas" instead of Christmas. Examples of using the word "Xmas" in the English language date back to at least the 1700's and examples using "X" or "Xp" as a representation for Christ go back much, much further. The argument that "Xmas" is a way of taking Christ out of Christmas is simply a false argument, it is a lie, and lying about Christ and Christmas seems to be the best way I can think of to take Christ out of anything.

Let's face it, the biggest attack on Christmas is something the people shouting about this never mention. It is the replacement of Christianity with capitalism in such a way that it isn't obvious it is happening. You want to keep Christ in Christmas? Then stop buying gifts and give of yourself. Give to everyone, especially those you think of as your enemies or as undeserving. And don't give expecting anything in return, and I mean anything, no thank you, no God bless you, nothing, give just to be giving. After all, that's the eexample that Christ set for us all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We suck as a country

America is not the greatest country in the world. America isn't even in the top ten, we used to be, but now we pretty much suck.

Am I saying this as some sort of un-patriotic America hater? No, I am saying this as a real patriot, not someone suffering under the illusion of blind nationalism but someone who can look at our country with both of my eyes wide open and see what we are. We used to have much to be proud of, mainly our people, now I am afraid we don't even have that and without our people to take pride in we don't have much left, and so that's why I am willing to say, without any hesitation, that America sucks.

This is not a partisan or ideological statement. President Obama is a terrible president, plain and simple. I hope he gets a strong challenge in the next Democratic primary so that he has no chance of getting re-elected. Our country can't afford a second Obama term if it is anything like the first one has been so far. I also can't find a single Republican politician who I think deserves the oxygen they are using, so don't think this is about Democrat vs. Republican, both parties are killing our country.

This is also not about some strange populist beliefs that revolve around the falsehoods of the free-market or hypocritical statements about getting government out of our lives. No, the people screaming at the tea bagger protests, the birthers, the brain dead supporters of Sarah Palin are a big part of the problem and I in no way support what they are doing.

This is about greed and laziness. I have only anecdotal evidence to go on, but this has to be the greediest country in the world. We only care about ourselves, and I don't mean ourselves = our country, no ourselves means each of us as individuals. We all want health care reform if it means we, as individuals, can get cheaper, better, health care. But if it means paying even a tiny bit more in taxes, if it means spending 1 more minute waiting to see a doctor (and from everything I have seen it is actually easier to get in to see a doctor in France, England, and Canada than it is here, but you people are willing to believe the baseless claims you hear from the people who are ripping you off for health care now without ever researching them), or God forbid if some of our tax money might mean health care for those gays, or those immigrants, or those poor people, What! I might have to go to the same building for health care as poor people?!?!? Well screw that. The health, no, the lives of children, the elderly, the poor, the middle class, our next door neighbors, none of that matters if it inconveniences us at all. Yes, America sucks.

But it isn't just greed, it is the fact that we aren't the hard working, enterprising people we like to see ourselves as, no we are a bunch of lazy slobs who aren't willing to do anything more than we absolutely have to. Sure, we work hard at work because we have no choice. But will we do anything outside of work to help make our nation better? No, not a chance. In the late 60's/ early 70's people were out in the streets every day working for civil rights, women's rights, fighting to stop an unjust war. Well people we are currently involved in 2 unjust, unpopular wars and where are the huge protests? We have people dying every day in this country from lack of health care and where are the huge crowds marching on Washington (sure, there have been some smaller protests fighting for the insurance companies and organized by the insurance companies, and composed, to a large extent, or insurance company employees, but other than that pretty much nothing. We have massive unemployment and yet our government is giving money to banks and Wall Street firms so they can keep paying out huge bonuses to people who in no way deserve them and yet the most energetic thing we can do is send an angry email or call a talk radio show.

All of you, me included, are why this country sucks, and I think we deserve what we are getting, I think it is funny how many people claim that we live in a Christian nation when an officially atheist nation like Cuba takes care of its people in a way more in line with Christ's teachings.
So what do we do now? Give up? I think the argument can be made that we already have. Can we bring our country back? Greed, laziness, and the corporations that have taken over our government are mighty powerful enemies to fight. Can you start thinking for yourself? Are you willing to put in the work and take the risks needed to make America great again? Are you willing to stop supporting corporations like Wal-Mart that have forced other companies to move their manufacturing overseas by paying .10 more per roll for toilet paper?

I don't think you are, I don't know that I am. I have been to more funerals than I want to this year and now I feel we should be holding one for our nation. I wonder who will do the eulogy?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Are we blind?

Today I was made aware of the blog of a preacher at a local mega-church and I was slightly saddened to read some of the things this preacher had written.

In his most recent post he asks for money to help a group of 300 children in Haiti. This is an admirable goal and I see nothing wrong with wanting to help these kids. What I do find a bit disturbing is that I saw nothing in his blog asking for money to help the 2200 kids who are homeless right here in the Nashville area. How come he is so anxious to help children so far away and yet right here in front of us are thousands of children who need help. Not only can we help the kids we can provide a community of support and caring for their parents, we can make sure that their lives are better not just today but in the future as well. We have this chance to make a huge difference in the lives of people that share our cities and neighborhoods and yet we would rather send our money half way around the world to help individuals we will never meet.

Maybe all of this can be explained by another posting in this blog. A few days earlier this same preacher posted a list of 10 things he is thankful for on Thanksgiving. Number 9 is "The privileges and freedoms of living in the USA!" Yes, the USA, where we have the privilege of paying for health insurance that can be taken away from us at any time and for any reason. We have the freedom to go bankrupt and lose our homes because we can't afford to pay our medical bills, we get the privilege of dying at an earlier age on average than people living in any other industrialized nation, we have the freedom to have the worst infant mortality rate of any industrialized nation. We have the freedom and privilege to live in a nation where the incomes of a few wealthy individuals are considered more important by our government than the lives of thousands of US citizens who will die each year simply because they don't have the money to afford the health care that could save their lives.

Yes, we live in a great country where we treasure family values and yet it is the British who give their new mother 6 months paid leave when they have their baby and the option to take an additional 6 months unpaid leave. In France new mothers get a year of paid leave. In both countries high quality, low cost, day care is available to all mothers, in most European countries families are valued enough that they get to spend time together because they have at least 4 weeks of paid vacation each year. In most European nations they treasure family values enough to make sure that parents don't have to worry for years about how they will pay for their child's college education. In these countries they do more than just listen to their preachers and politicians pay lip service to family values, in these countries they actually help their families.

Why doesn't this preacher ask for funds to help pay for healthcare for those who need it in his own church? Why does this preacher not try to help the homeless in his own community? Why does this preacher not put his efforts into making sure the poor that can be found within a 20 minute drive from his church are fed, clothed, housed, and cared for until the can start supporting themselves and helping to take care of others? Why? Because kids in Haiti are easier, they are less problematic long term, and possibly because he, like so many others in our country, has chose to ignore the very real problems that we have here in the US, maybe he ignores these problems because he knows that he, again like so many of us, is part of the cause of these problems and he hates the guilt he feels when he allows himself to think about it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thoughts about a homecoming story.

Listening to the radio on my way home from work tonight I heard a reporter tell the stories of a few military families as they waited for their loved ones to return home from Iraq. They talked about their excitement and joy at getting to see their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, boyfriends and girlfriends again for the first time in many months. They talked about the pride they feel knowing that their loved one is sacrificing so much for their country. They talked about the sacrifices they themselves make, waiting at home, anticipating that next letter or call or email. Making sure that they take advantage of every chance to tell their sailor or marine how much they love them and how proud they are of them.

A few minutes into the story the magic moment arrived. In the background you could hear the sound of buses pulling up and a growing wave of cheers, shouts, and cries of joy. The reporter related in great detail the scene of uniformed men and women rushing from the buses and being swept up in a wall of hugs and tears and  kisses. I could easily visualize the scene the reporter talked about and could feel how powerful and joyful of a moment this had to be for everyone involved.

Well almost everyone. The reporter then turned to a family who could only stand and watch as the other families greeted their returning heroes. The father in the family explained that it had been their plan all along to be there that day, to greet his son as he stepped off the bus, to give him the kind of hug that only seems to be possible after a long separation. Sadly this wouldn't be possible as their son had been killed in Iraq, still, they wanted to share a little bit of the joy the other families were feeling. It made my heart hurt a little less for them knowing that the other families were doing everything they could to help them through this, that they were willing to take a break from their celebrations to help this family who could only celebrate their memories, to acknowledge that they were all part of a bigger family, a military family, and that like any good family they would be there for each other to lean on.

I was still sad for one other group though, this group was never mentioned in the story, and it is possible that that particular day they weren't even there. I know that this forgotten group of American heroes is often present on days like this though and it saddens me greatly.

Imagine stepping off the bus having just returned from a long deployment, risking your life every day for the country you love. Imagine looking out into that sea of people waiting for the return of you and your fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen or marines. Imagine looking out into that crowd and not seeing the person that you love the most. Worse, imagine stepping off that bus and seeing the person that you love so much but not being able to run to him or her and throw your arms around them and kiss them with the passion you feel for them deep in your heart, a passion intensified by the months you have spent apart. Imagine the distance that separated you all those months seemed even greater because you had to temper all of your letters, your emails, your phone calls so as to keep your love for each other a secret. Imagine all of this. Imagine the loneliness, imagine the empty feeling you would have knowing that you have to wait to get that welcome home kiss, that "thank God you are back" embrace, and the reason that you have to wait is because of the government of the very country you have been risking your life for.

Thanksgiving is upon us and I think we owe it to the fine men and women who serve our country and who also just happen to be gay or lesbian to be able to get that kiss, that embrace upon seeing the person they love for the first time in months. They deserve to be able to serve their country as who they are, Americans. Americans who just happen to love someone of the same gender. We should let them be as thankful for living in this great country as we are, and that means never making them question why they are giving up so much to fight for a nation that is forcing them to live a lie.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

My Brother Paul...

My brother Paul was born blind, he attended Tennessee School for the Blind where, at the age of 15, he collapsed and had a seizure, something that had never happened before. We took him to the doctor where the cause of the siezure was determined to be renal failure. Paul had to be put on dialysis several times a week for several hours at a time. This is of course very expensive. Luckily our Father had a great job that came with great insurance. We were quite lucky.

Paul was able to get a kidney transplant and it changed his life. No more dialysis, and much more freedom. Of course it mean that he had to take huge amounts of medication to prevent his body from rejecting the new kidney, and this medication and the transplant proceedure itself were extraordinarily expensive, but we were lucky. We had great insurance.

A few years later Paul's body rejected the kidney and he had to go back on dialysis, he was also put back on the transplant list and just in time, dialisys can be very hard on a body, a new kidney was found and he received his second transplant. Again we thanked God for being so fortunate as to have great medical insurance.

Paul started college, he had dreamed of working in the radio business for a long time and so he went after a degree in communications. While he was in college his legs started giving out on him. Medication he took to keep from rejecting his first kidney had eaten away all of the bones in his knees and Paul was forced to go into a wheelchair. Imagine being blind and in a wheelchair for a second. Imagine having to traverse a college campus being blind and in a wheelchair. Would this stop you? It didn't stop Paul, he worked hard, overcame his physical difficulties with the help of friends and got his Bachelors degree in communications.

Things took a turn for the worse when Paul's helath started to decline. We found out that he had contracted Hepatitis C from a blood transfusion and it was dstroying his liver, complications from this also caused him to lose his second kidney transplant. Things looked pretty bleak. Paul and my parents had to spend several months in Dallas, TX for Paul to get a liver/kidney transplant as no hospital in Nashville would do them at the time. The cost was unimaginable, for many people it would be out of the range of possibility, but since Paul was blind and he was still considered a dependant child by law he was able to keep our father's insurance, we knew how lucky we were and we were grateful.

Paul did well with the liver/kidney transplant, his health was better than could be expected, everything might seem to be going his way, but it wasn't. You see, as I said before, Paul had always dreamed of working in radio, he had shown that he could manage any number of positions while working at his college radio station. He had a degree in mass communications. He was driven, talented, smart, and had a bit of experience. Finding a job should have been a breeze, but it wasn't. You see it isn't that no one would hire Paul because of his health problems or blindness, no Paul couldn't even try to get a job because finding emplyment would have meant the loss of his insurance.

Paul was equipped with everything he needed to make his life long dream come true. But Paul found himself being trapped in a world where he couldn't work, where he had to live with my parents even though he was in his 40's. They lived in a suburb of Nashville with no public transportation and so he had to rely on them to take him to the doctor, to take him out to eat, to take him out to the store, all simple excursions but ones that meant the world to Paul as it was the only way he could experience the world outside of my parent's home. He had many friends but they were scattered around the country keeping in contact with each other via the internet. He couldn't go out for a cup of coffee with his buddies, he couldn't drive out to see a friend if they were sick, he had to rely on others for almost everything, and this was a man who had made it through college living on campus and got his degree while overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. But he had great insurance and we counted ourselve lucky, or as lucky as we could be.

The current healthcare debate has focused on the government's ability to provide decent service for its citizens. Some say the private sector can always outperform the government, well my family has seen just how well the private sector can work when it comes to health care. My brother received the best health care available in our country. My brother was not denied care for anything. My brother is an example of private health insurance at its best. Its best isn't good enough. You see private health care has kept my brother alive, but it also took his chance at making a living, at having a life, away from him. If this is the best the private sector can do, and I believe it is, then it is time to look for another solution.

My brother, Paul Oeser, died yesterday morning at the age of 46. His life may not have played out as he, or any of us hoped, his chances of living the life he dreamed of may have been taken away by health insurance company rules and beurocracy, but his life wasn't in vain. He touched more people than he could have possibly have imagined, he made the world a better place, and he loved to call his senators and representatives and remind them of who they were working for and what they should be doing. I am writing this because I know Paul would want me to since he no longer can. He would want you to read it and think seriously about what the health insurance industry in this country has done to people in order to keep their  profit margins high. He would want you to know that this debate is not about profits, it is about people. It isn't about socialism, it is about survival. It isn't about right or left, it is about the right to live a decent life. Paul would want you all to think about this and I do as well.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Who do conservatives trust?

I have had several conservative friends tell me that a public health insurance option is a terrible thing because the government can't do anything right and so we can't trust the government with our health care. If they actually believe this then how come they don't act like it?

If a conservative who doesn't trust the government has his house broken into, who does he/she call? The police? Cause that would involve them putting their trust in the government.

If a conservative walks into a restaurant and sees a high health department inspection score on the wall do they walk out of the restaurant because they can't trust the score since it was issued by the government?

Do conservatives walk everywhere they go? I mean how could they place the cars they worked hard to pay for on roads that were designed by and are maintained by the government? Surely a conservative wouldn't be crazy enough to use a public transportation system either, after all even the name contains a code word for inefficient big government, "public"

When a conservative gets sick do they only use herbal remedies since to take prescription or over the counter drugs would mean trusting the government's studies that help keep unsafe drugs off the market?

Say a conservative is currently looking to buy a home. How much time will they spend cursing the government for the low interest rates they can get on their mortgage? I mean the government sets interest rates in this country.

When our nation is threatened why do we all, conservatives included, all stand up and cheer our men and women in the military, how can you trust a government run entity like the US military?

How come so many conservatives support building new nuclear power plants when they will then have to rely on the government to inspect these plants to make sure they are running safely?

Instead of visiting a national park while on vacation would conservatives rather go to "The Grand Canyon Powered By Windows Vista" or "General Motors Smoky Mountains" or "McGeyserland"? I mean how could we trust the government with our national parks?

How many conservatives tell their parents or grandparents to refuse Medicare or to only go to one of the very few doctors who refuse Medicare since a government run health-care system like Medicare can't be trusted? How many older conservatives refuse Medicare themselves?

How come so many conservatives want me to be denied health care because they claim that government can't do anything right when they themselves don't seem to believe this?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Is this where we are heading?

Saw this on CNN and it made me wonder, is this just a rouge crazy preacher or does he just have the guts to stick his neck out there and say what a lot of other crazies are thinking?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Religious confusion

So tonight I am watching  Countdown hosted by Keith Olbermann and he has sex columnist Dan Savage on to discuss the apparent disconnect between much of the religious right's stance on health care reform and the values espoused by Christ. I have to admit that I thought it was a bit odd to have a liberal, atheist, sex columnist, on to talk about this subject, especially since it was obvious from the beginning that all we could hope to get from this interview is 3 minutes of time filler as the two of them agreed with each other on every topic they discussed. But Mr. Savage did hit on one topic that interests me, the way Christians and Christianity are viewed in America today.

Quite often we hear right wing religious leaders go on and on about the victimization of Christians in American society today. Apparently every penis shown for a brief moment in a movie is an attack on Christianity. The Supreme Court's decision to ban school sanctioned or officiated prayer wasn't about protecting religions by making sure that none of them became quazi-official in a school, no, it was an attempt to force all public school students into becoming Godless atheists. Teaching a well documented theory on the origin of species isn't science but is an attack on the Bible and government regulation of businesses is the work of Satan. You would think that Pat Robertson had been tossed onto the field during halftime at a Redskin's game and lost an arm to a lion while the atheists cheered at some point in his life.

On the other side there seems to be a never ending chorus of voices singing out about how Christians are forcing their beliefs on the country. Christians, in the opinion of the anti-Christians (they would probably be more likely to refer to themselves as anti-organized religion), are all hate filled, ignorant, hypocritical, crazies who should be put on trial for the crimes of their ancestors during the Salem Witch Trials and the Crusades.

OK, so I am overstating things a bit, but not by much. It seems as though our country has been divided into these two sides and that they are both incapable of doing anything but shouting at each other. This poses a problem for me, you see I am gay, very, very liberal politically, a supporter of separation of church and state, pro-choice, and a Christian. I am a walking oxymoron by today's standards, but I am also far from alone.

I was raised going to church every Sunday but at some point I either turned my back on religion or religion turned its back on me. Probably some of both, but notice that I said religion, I never gave up on God, and I know God never gave up on me. You see I found evidence of God and the love of Christ all around me and I also found that many of the "church people" I encountered took a rather dim view of what I found and where I found it.

Karl Marx taught me a considerable amount about being a Christian and trying to live as Christ would want me to. A quote commonly used by Marx and often attributed to him although it actually seems to come from French socialist Louis Blanc, is "From each according to his ability to each according to his need." I have the feeling that Blanc might have been reading from the New Testament book of Acts when he coined this phrase;

Acts 4:32-35

32. 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.

33. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
34. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
35. And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

Christianity isn't a conservative movement, it is a radical movement started by someone who had no interest in protecting the status quo.  Over time though, Christianity became the status quo and thus became intertwined with other societal norms until they became one in the same to most people. This is how the religious right came into being. The text from Acts I quoted above should be printed on cards and handed out to health care reform protesters who are calling the plan for a public health care option "socialism" because they obviously don't know what socialism is. The early Christian church knew exactly what socialism is about because they lived it every day. Here in the South, I don't know how common this is in other parts of the country, it is very common to see companies advertise themselves at a "Christian business" and yet Christ over turned the tables of the money changers in the temple, apparently none too pleased with those trying to make money off of God. He also said:

Matthew 19:23-24
23Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
So how is it that the pro-business Republican party could wind up being aligned with a religion that promotes the virtues of socialism and celebrates the least amongst us? Simple. The religious right likes to claim that the United States is a Christian nation. While it is true that the majority of people in the U.S. see themselves as Christians the fact is that Christianity in America has become a hybrid religion combining aspects of Christianity with aspects of another, newer religion, Capitalism.

It may seem strange to refer to Capitalism as a religion, but on close examination the comparison is obvious. The "Bible" of Capitalism is a book titled 
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations which is typically shortened to The Wealth of Nations, written by 18th Scottish philosopher Adam Smith. In The Wealth of Nations Smith lays out the tenets of Capitalism. He describes it as a system ruled by an omnipresent, omniscient, "Invisible Hand" that guides the marketplace and is incapable of being wrong. This "invisible Hand" has such a strong control over the market that its control also carries over into the rest of our lives as everything we do, in some way or another, is an economic action and therefore we as individuals are in effect controlled by the Invisible Hand. The only real threat to the power of this mystical force is restrictions that might be placed on those under its control which would limit the Hand's ability to carry out its master plan of bringing the masses out of the depths of feudalism. Therefore the "satan" that stands in opposition to the "salvation" offered by Capitalism is, in effect, the government and its urge to regulate the market. We accept all of this because we have never been offered another possibility, in other words we accept Capitalism, no matter how many times we see it fail, as a matter of faith.

In the United States these two great world religions have been merged. Christ tells us to care for the needy, churches today give us "Prosperity Theology". The early Christian church existed as small, secretive groups, today we have mega-churches with giant projection screens, television studios, and fitness centers. In America there is no longer a separation of church and capital and this union has given birth to the modern Republican party where taxes and government regulation are seen as un-Godly and the Christ that died for everyone has morphed into a God that only helps those who help themselves.

This juxtaposition of Christ and cash has also given us the modern American liberal rejection of Christianity. Many liberals today have accepted the right's vision of God as the true vision of God and have therefore rejected God entirely. They see Christianity as supporting hatred and intolerance without going to the source so they can see how untrue this is. They let their own prejudices prevent them from looking past the thin veneer that has been applied to Christianity and seeing the reality of Christ's teachings in which it is doubtful they could find anything to disagree with. 

This is where we find ourselves today. Two opposing groups fighting over a religion that neither seems to have a very good understanding of. Many in both camps now seem to see their primary purpose as being the opposition of the other side and not working on getting the things done that our society so desperately needs. It also leaves people like myself in a bad position. I don't see either side in this debate as really understanding what the debate is or how they even got into it. So I will just try to continuing living my life as God leads me to and hoping that one day we will all be able to see each other with greater clarity and understanding.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Facts don't matter

If I told you that Jews kidnap Christian children every year before Passover so they can kill them and mix their blood with their matzah would you believe me?

Sadly it seems that a lot of people would. You see the very falsehood mentioned above was widely believed by people in Germany when the Nazis spread this viscious lie as part of a propaganda campaign designed to turn the average person, or enough average persons, against the Jews. How could such a rediculous lie be accepted as fact by so many people? A combination of laziness, fear, and an unwillingness to accept responsibility for one's own actions. Upon hearing lies such as this many of the German people were too lazy to investigate the veracity of such claims, and even if they did doubt the claims it didn't matter, the desire to have someone else to blame for their problems besided themselves was too much to resist. A scapegoat had been identified and no one was going to miss the chance to make the most of it.

Of course we would never fall for such outrageous lies, Americans would never believe claims that had no evidence behind them and that were so obviously crazy as to be laughable. Claims like the House health care reform bill will create death panels that will decide when senior citizens have become too much of a drain and should have the plug pulled on them. Claims that Democrate controlled health care reform will use voter registration information to identify which political party a person belongs to and then deny health care to Republicans. Of course we would never believe claims that people who live in countries like The United Kingdom all unanimously hate their health care systems and that we should base a rejection of a "government take-over" of health care on their dissatisfaction.

All of these lies are over the top crazy and are not backed up by any facts and yet it looks like millions of Americans believe them. Why would they do this? Once again we see laaziness rear its ugly head. Anyone with an internet connection could spend 15 seconds with Google and find that all of these claims are without merit. But we don't, we believe whatever talking head on TV or whatever voice coming out of the radio we hear first and never think about doing a little bit of research for ourselves. On top of being lazy we are also concerned that maybe, just maybe the United States is no longer the greatest country on Earth. Of course this has nothing to do with anything we have done or haven't done and so we must find someone to blame for it. We have chosen our own government to lay the blame on, the government that we elected, if we even took the time to vote. The government is incapable of doing anything right, which would make you think the "death panels" wouldn't be considered a threat, and the government is out to get us and so we must try our best to make sure they can nevr get anything done.

Our hatred of the government is so deep that any conversation about an issue like health care reform will morph into how exceptionally inept the government is (so why do we keep reelecting the same people over and over again?) and other government programs will be offered up as evidence. For example in a recent discussion I was having about health care reform someone brought up what a failure the "Cash for Clunkers" program had been and stated that every car traded in cost us $20,000.00. Well this interested me since almost 700,000 cars were traded in and at $20k each we would have spent a lot more than the 3 billion dollars that had been allocated for the program. I asked where they had found this $20k number and they offered up an article from The article was based on the initial billion dollars allocated for the program and states that on average 200,000 cars worth less than $4,500.00 are traded in on new cars every three months. The billion dollars allocated would only cover 250,000 cars and therefore we would spend a billion dollars to get a net increase of only 50,000 cars traded in and therefore we would be spending $20,000.00 per car.

Interestingly the article leaves out some important information. First of all over what time period was the 200,000 car per three month average based on? Was it over the last 12 months when car sales have been dramatically down or was it from 2 years ago when sales figures were vastly higher? The article also seems to assume that the 200,000 cars on average traded in would be the same 200,000 of 250,000 cars traded in durring the program not allowing for the fact that 300,000 or 400,000 or 500,000 cars might actually be traded in. It seems that the writers of this article were most concerned with arriving at a frightening number that would make the program look bad instead of doing good, balanced, research.

Of course we know now that in the first week of the program we reached the 250,000 car mark, not in three month, no, one week. We also now know that instead of 250,000 cars being traded in almost 700,000 cars were traded in and not in three months, no, in 29 days. Anyone looking at this article could see this, but to the person that brought it up facts didn't matter, promoting hatered of the government did.

Will anyone be surprised, with all of the shouting and guns showing up at the recent town hall meetings, if we see acts of violence against our elected officials or government employees? Of course not, we have accepted the propaganda promoted by the health industry and then voiced over and over again by elected officials and everyday people. We will be surprised when the government finally steps aside and is no longer needed as the figurehead for big business it has become over the past few decades? Somehow I doubt it, and even if we are shocked it will be to late.

Of course some will say that it is too much of a stretch to compare our current situation to Nazi Germany. It is estimated that 18,000 people die in the United States every year because they don't have access to health care. This means that since 1993, the last time we attempted to get meaningful health care reform, 288,000 Americans have been killed because they are poor or have been denied health insurance because of pre-existing conditions. No, it isn't 6,000,000 but no one with an ounce of humanity in them could think that it isn't a vastly larger number than it should be.

First post

Ok, so I don't know if anyone will ever read this, which may be good or bad, but I am going to use this space to talk about things that interest and concern me. You probably won't agree with a lot of what I say, I know this because I am a walking contradiction, so feel free to comment and let me know how much of an idiot or genius you think I am. 
You will see ads in my blog, yes, if I can make a buck off of this I won't turn it down. I don't control what ads show up so if you don't like them don't tell me, I am just here to collect the checks. Anyway this post was mainly just to see how the lay out looks, I'll leave all of you to go back to your regularly scheduled lives.