Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A question for Christians...

Here is a question for all my Christian friends.

If there were no heaven and no hell, if when you die there is nothing, you just die, and I'm not saying this is the way it is,but hypothetically if when you die you simply cease to exist, would you still be a Christian?

Everything else remains the same, the only thing that changes is what happens to us when we die, if death meant death would you still live your life the way Christ tells us to? There would be no reward in the afterlife but no punishment either, would you allow yourself a few sins you don't now and would you continue to love and forgive the way you do now?

What drives you as a Christian? Is it God's love or a future reward or fear of a punishment? If you would like to answer this question please comment on this page, I would be interested in reading your answers.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

This isn't getting covered by the news media, got any idea as to why?

People have been protesting on Wall Street in New York City for days. Protesting to draw attention to the simple fact that the US government is no longer by the people and for the people it is by the corporations and for the corporations. Businesses now run our government and we don't have the right to vote out the people who run these companies. They don't care about anything but maximizing profits and they sure don't care about the people of the US. We should all be getting upset that our votes are being invalidated by corporate money but for the most part we have decided to just sit by and let big corporations decide what is best for us when what they really care about is what is best for their bottom line.

The Tea Party movement was created and funded by big corporations, but that isn't the full story. Even the Democratic party seems to have fallen almost completely under the influence of the money the fat cats toss around. Now we have people in NYC standing up for us and very few are taking notice. They are out on the streets 24 hours a day and we aren't taking notice. They have been maced without provocation and we are not taking notice. I hope they can can give us all the kick in the pants we need to start standing up to our elected officials so they can understand that all the money in the world won't get them reelected if we don't vote for them. I would recommend that if the folks in Washington DC and in our state governments don't start working for the people of this country that we not vote for them. We hired them and we can and should fire them if they insist on working for just the banks and the corporations instead of for the people who put them into office.

So go look at the Occupy Wall Street site and see if it doesn't make you angry. If it doesn't then you probably deserve the government we currently have.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Looks like we have a pretty interesting crop of candidates seeking the Republican party's nomination in next year's presidential race, even more interesting are the crowds that keep coming out to see the candidates debate.

In the second debate we heard members of the so called "pro-life" Republican party cheer when the hundreds of people were mentioned that have been executed in Texas since Rick Perry became governor and later on in the evening when Ron Paul was asked if someone should be allowed to die simply because they couldn't afford health insurance members of the audience shouted their support for letting the poor die.

So the "party of life" seems to be made up of individuals who are big fans of killing and death and while they don't want to sacrifice anything themselves by doing something crazy like paying their fair share of taxes at least they support the military, right? Well maybe not. Last night's debate questions came from average, everyday, people who posted their questions on youtube. One of the questions came from a member of our military who is currently stationed in Iraq. Did the crowd cheer this man on to show their support for a member of the US military? No, they booed him because he is gay.

This man risks his life to serve our country, has been forced by his government to lie about who he is until the last few days, gets booed for being gay, and when he asks if the Republican candidates will try and remove some of the gains that gay and lesbian members have made in the military Rick Santorum (google his last name) says that the man should be forced back into the closet and the crowd erupted in cheers.

Members of the Republican party have said that they want to take our country back, take it back? Take it back to what? Jim Crow laws? The Dust Bowl era? The Salem Witch Trials? Or do they want to take us all the way back to the Roman gladiatorial spectacles? It seems like they are turning into, not a "party of life", but a party of death and bigotry and hate. I know they are strong words, but they seem pretty weak when you compare them to cheering for a poor person to be left to die.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Troy Davis

Today, September 21st, 2011, Troy Davis was executed in Georgia for killing an off duty police officer. There was no physical evidence to connect him to the crime. Seven out of the nine witnesses who testified against him have recanted their testimony saying they felt pressured by the police at the time to implicate Troy Davis. Another person confessed to the crime that Davis was accused of. Still the State of Georgia executed Davis.

Many say they support the death penalty because of religious reasons, "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" is a statement found in the Bible after all. They seem to forget that it is found more than once in the Bible.

Matthew 5:38-39

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’
39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

If you are a Christian then you should follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, and Christ rejected the idea of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth". If Christ rejected it then why are so many Christians clinging to it? Christianity does not support the death penalty, plain and simple, we have the word's of Jesus himself to go by on this one. We should never allow another person to be killed in the name of "justice" because there is nothing just about murder no matter who is doing the killing.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Undocumented workers and racism

Today I was deleted from the friends lists of an aunt and uncle of mine. This is not a post to complain about petty facebook or family politics. No, this is a post to lay out some facts about racist attitudes that are all too common in the US today.

My aunt posted a comment about undocumented workers and how we should close off our borders because they are taking jobs away from Americans, not paying taxes, and receiving benefits paid for by tax payer money. Lets take a look at these claims.

First of all there are approximately 14 million "officially" unemployed people in the US but this doesn't include those who have been unemployed for so long that they have stopped receiving unemployment benefits or those who are dramatically under employed, working part time jobs at very low wages while they are looking for full time employment. If we add those numbers in we reach a figure closer to 31 million. There are 11.2 million illegal immigrants, from all nations, in the United States. So, if we assume that everyone of those illegal immigrants has a job, which would be a false assumption, and we deported all of them tomorrow we would still have a huge unemployment problem. Furthermore many illegal aliens that do find employment in the US wind up working as migrant farm workers. These are jobs that have been filled by immigrants for years and years, why? Because Americans don't want these jobs. But lets assume that all of the undocumented migrant workers left tomorrow and US citizens decided to fill those positions. US citizens would probably demand higher wages for the same work so we can count on food prices going up. If we stop buying the food that would have been picked by the undocumented workers because of the price increases then the production of that food will simply move to another country where labor is cheaper. This of course will cause some US farms to close and this of course will cost jobs in the US. So, we have an unemployment problem in this country that isn't going to be fixed by shutting down our borders and if we did it could cause further economic issues because of a lack of cheap labor. Throw that myth out the window.

Illegal aliens are often accused of not paying taxes and I'm not sure how people think this happens. Have you ever bought something at a store and been asked to prove that you are a legal resident of the US and told that if you aren't you don't have to pay sales tax? Do you think undocumented workers get special pay checks that don't have taxes taken out of them? In fact a recent study showed that illegal immigrants paid over $11 billion in taxes in the US last year. So while illegals pay billions and we get angry at them major corporations pay nothing and no one wants to kick them out of the country.

As far as receiving benefits go, I am again confused as to how people come up with this idea. Illegal immigrants are fully aware that they are in the US illegally and they want as little contact with the federal and state governments as they can manage. Very few government provided benefits are available to illegal immigrants, for example illegals are ineligible for food stamps unless at least one member of the household is a US citizen but even if they can over come this barrier many wouldn't apply for fear of being discovered and deported. While illegal immigrants are able to get emergency medical care, no one should be asked to prove their immigration status before receiving medical treatment to save their lives, they aren't eligible for medicare or social security even though they may pay considerable amounts into both systems. In fact, far from costing our country money study after study have shown the net positive impact illegal immigrants have on our economy and some have even claimed ending illegal immigration would severely damage our economy.

So illegal immigrants aren't the reason so many Americans are out of work right now, they are paying taxes, and they aren't costing us tons of money by collecting government benefits, in fact they are actually helping our economy. Surely though they must be filling up our prisons? Well no. Studies have shown that illegal immigrants commit fewer crimes per capita than us natural born citizens. So if they aren't causing all of these problems that we are blaming them for why do so many people seem to hate illegal immigrants?

When you say the words "illegal immigrants" I would be willing to bet money that many, if not most people immediately have an image of a Latino person pop into their head. This is pure and simple racism. There are over 42 million Latinos in the US but there are only 11.2 million illegals here. Statistically this means that the vast majority of Latinos that you might come in contact with every day are not here illegally and yet I know too many people who assume every Latino they see is undocumented. They see a Latino working at a restaurant and automatically think they took that job from an "American". They see a Latino waiting in line for food stamps and automatically assume they are an illegal and taking advantage of the system. They see a Latino attending college and automatically assume that person shouldn't be there. This is nothing more than racism and we need to realize that we may have more of a race problem than we have an immigration problem.

In the 1930's Hitler accused the Jews of being responsible for Germany's economic problems. He said that Jews were taking jobs that should be going to "Germans". He said that the Jews were destroying German society. This was wrong then, and it is wrong when it happens in this country as well. My aunt and uncle may not want to talk to me now, but if anyone expects me to sit back and listen to their racist comments without speaking up they are sadly mistaken.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Demand, demand, demand, demand!

We have all heard the functioning of our economy summarized as "supply and demand". Well tonight at the Republican presidential debate they left half of our economy out. All discussion of our economy and its problems was limited to tax cuts and reducing government regulation. The candidates all seem to think that this will fix our economy and get everyone back to work. This of course shows that all of the Republican presidential candidates are either total morons or liars.

So lets say we cut taxes, especially on businesses and business owners, and reduce government regulation. Both of these actions would give businesses more money to spend and so of course they would immediately start buying new equipment and hiring new people. Umm... no.

You see as many times as the candidates want to say that the reason businesses aren't hiring is because they are worried about taxes and regulation this just isn't true. If the government was to reduce taxes and cut regulations the money saved by businesses could be used for expanding production with new equipment and employees, but it could also simply be saved or used to pay off debt the business had acquired. I would think that most businesses would look at the current economic climate, consumer confidence levels, and the low levels of demand across the vast majority of our economy, and decide that right now investing the money they saved back into their business would be too great of a risk. Instead it would make more sense to simply pay off some debt or hold onto that money until the economy starts improving and then use it to do a bit of hiring. Tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy and eliminating regulations are solutions to a supply problem. We don't have a supply problem right now, the store shelves are full and companies are reporting record profits. The candidates tonight though kept promoting ways to fix a supply problem when what we have is a demand problem.

So how do you fix a demand problem? Simple, you start off by raising taxes on the people with the most money and who don't do the most consumer spending, that would be the wealthy. Then you take that tax money and use it to fix our roads and bridges and electrical grid and dams and to improve public transportation. To do this you hire hundreds of thousands if not millions of people and pay them for their work.

How will this fix the demand problem? When all of those people have pay checks they can spend they will spend them, they will buy groceries and gasoline and clothes and cell phones and computers and cars and all sorts of other things. When they start buying the companies selling and making the things they are buying will have to hire new people to help keep up with the demand. When the people they hire start getting pay checks they will go out and spend money creating even more demand and more jobs. We can't fix our economy by concentrating on supply, we have to fix the demand side of things and as much as it will cause conservatives to scream and complain when they hear it, business can't fix demand, only government can do that. We saw this in the Great Depression and we are seeing it again right now.

What puzzles me is how so many people could believe the self righteous lies they were told tonight at the Republican debate? This is not complicated economic theory, it is plain and obvious and can be understood by anyone of average intelligence which can only mean that the people of this country are either too lazy to figure out the truth, or too greedy to want to know the truth, or too stupid to understand the truth. I'm hoping they just haven't had someone scream the truth in their face loudly enough yet. So if you hear some yelling coming from my direction you will know that I haven't given up hope yet.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day

Today is Labor Day, a day when people from all over the United States get together for cook outs or head to the beach for this last long weekend of the Summer. We now see it as the non-official end to Summer but it started off as something completely different.

In 1893 workers for the Pullman Company that made sleeping cars for railroads, went on strike to protest low wages and high rent (the workers all lived in Pullman, IL a company town where you lived in a house you rented from the company, bought goods in a store owned by the company, etc.). The strike turned violent and supporters of the strike from other railroad unions son started boycotting trains that contained Pullman cars along with vandalizing and burning some of the cars. The railroad industry in the US was brought to a standstill.

The government declared the strike illegal and sent in troops to quell it. Some of its organizers were thrown in jail, workers for Pullman were forced to sign statements saying they would never form a union again and the railroad unions were effectively destroyed until they were reborn during the Great Depression. The US Congress and then president Cleveland wanted to make some sort of move to reconcile with workers across the country who were aghast at their actions and so in 1894 they made the first Monday in September an official holiday to celebrate the workers of our country.

Today Labor day is nothing more than an excuse to go to the beach, but it should be much more. It should remind us that it isn't the CEOs and Executive VPs that make this country great, it is all of the hard work done by ordinary people who make this country great and who's work allows the CEOs and Executives to make the big salaries that they do. Make all the CEOs in this nation suddenly vanish and it might be a while before we notice, make all the trash collectors vanish suddenly and we will all take notice right away.

We need to use this holiday as a time to remember that wealth is created by the poor and the middle class and then makes its way up to the wealthy by a process of concentration, the wealthy never create wealth they only consolidate what others have created. We need to use this holiday to remind our government that all of this is true and if they want to turn the economy around they need to look at what they can do for the people at the bottom of our economy, help them and the wealth will trickle up, helping those at the top ONLY helps those at the top. We need to use this holiday to stand up and say it is the workers and laborers that made this country great, crush us and you destroy the nation. Lift us up and we can all fly.