Friday, 11 April 2014

What kind of Governor sentences 6 poor people to die every day?

I've been going over some of the literature and legislation of various states with respect to the ACA better known as Obamacare over the last few weeks.  With the deadline/milestone just past I was curious to see what various states have been doing with Obamacare.  For those that don't know as part of the ACA states have been offered an expanded Medicaid system to cover low income citizens. This care is funded by the federal government and unlike Medicare part D which Bush implemented but was completely unfunded the Medicaid expansion is fully funded.

  What both surprised me and at the same time was totally unsurprising to me is that 21 states have refused the Medicaid expansion.  This expansion was to cover very low income workers that previously would not have fallen under Medicaid.  This include single adults under the age of 65 earning less then 133% of the poverty amount.
What that would mean is a woman struggling with 3 part time jobs could be covered by Medicaid and receive the health care and medicine she needed to stay alive.  Let me call this woman, I don't know, Charlene Dill.  Now what is sad is Charlene isn't some hypothetical woman.  She was a real woman that was working as hard as she could to support her 3 children who couldn't afford health care and feed and shelter her children.  She would have been eligible for Medicaid under the expanded program.  Instead she died on the floor in a strangers home while trying to sell them a vacuum cleaner. I shit you not,  one of her jobs was as a door to door salesperson. But because she couldn't afford her hear medication because she had to make the decision to take care of her kids over taking care of her health.

You might be asking yourself why she was not covered.  The reason is Governor Rick Scott of Florida refused the expansion because he's a hard core Republican and doesn't want the ACA to succeed.  His opposition to the ACA puts 750,000 low income Florida residents, like Charlene, in a healthcare dead zone. Of these 750,000 uninsured people we can expect that 1 person will needlessly die every 4 hours because they can't afford the healthcare they desperately need.  Bu Rick Scott doesn't care.  Those are poor people and he has to stand up for his principals as a GOP member and fight against this evil Affordable Care Act, that was actually the idea of a GOP think tank, simply because it is a Democratic President enacting it.

The sad thing is there are plenty of other republican Governors that have vetoed or outright rejected the offer to expand Medicaid, 19 to be exact.  7 republican Governors have actually put their citizens health before their political obedience.

 First off Gov Brian Sandoval Nevada who, over a year ago, became the first GOP governor to break ranks and cover almost 78,000 of his citizens who would have most likely continued to go uncovered.

Gov Jan Brewer Arizona cover who fought through a deadlock of the republican controlled legislature to get 350,000 of her citizens coverage they would otherwise not have had.

Gov Susana Martinez New Mexico who was also an early adopter in Jan 2013 assured that over 170,000 of her low income citizens would now be eligible under the expanded Medicaid that previously would not have been.

Gov Terry Branstad Iowa has made it possible for over 100,000 of his citizens to be covered under the Medicaid expansion program in his state but has instituted a premium for anyone with an income over 1/2 of the federal poverty level.  Just to let you know that is just $5,835 a year for a single person.  To the state legislators credit the provision will not cut those that do not pay the premium.

Gov Jack Dalrymple North Dakota.  Next Wednesday, the 16th of April, will mark the 1 year anniversary of Gov Dalrymple signing the legislation that will see almost 30,000 new low income residents become eligible for the expansion.

Gov Rick Snyder Michigan along with a republican controlled legislature passed the expansion with a 75-32 vote to cover an additional 400,000 Michigan citizens that were previously ineligible.

Gov John Kasich Ohio just signed the expansion to the program on Jan 1, 2014.  A special bipartisan legislative panel of 7 state legislators approved the expansion with a 5-2 vote.  Republican lawmakers are now upset with the panel's decision and are preparing to fight the expansion that will cover 275,000 Ohioans.  The republicans instead want to offer income tax cuts instead.  Note those income tax cuts will do nothing to help the low-income citizens and will mostly benefit the top 1% of income earners.

So hats off to these 7 republican governors that put their citizens health ahead of the stupid politics that have plagued America for far to long.  The GOP party leadership has openly said its number one priority is to oppose everything Obama tries to do.  Think about that.  Regardless of the value of any program that aids to the success of the nation the GOP leadership have vowed to oppose it simply because it is being put forth by a democrat President.  The GOP is so bold they don't even care that they've said this while on national television.  They bank on the fact that most of their supporters would rather see America fail then to allow the current President put American on the right track on any issue.  Then they could turn around and blame President Obama for the failures that the GOP brought about.

One thing to watch is how you will hear the GOP change the way they talk about the ACA from Obamacare to The Affordable Care Act.  They've lost the battle.  As more and more Americans actually start seeing the benefits of actually having healthcare coverage that works for them and that they can no longer be dropped because they've fallen ill and the program becomes even more popular the GOP will no longer use the term Obamacare because they won't want to associate it with Obama.  Mark my words you will also see a number of republicans trying to rewrite history and claim they were always in support of it.  Many of their supporters will blindly believe it because they to don't want to think that Obama could be responsible for setting America down a path where the Charlenes of America don't die because they have to choose between feeding their kids or buying the medication that will save their lives.

Rest in peace Charlene Dill.  Hopefully the people of your state will recognize that Rick Scott isn't a Governor of the people of Florida.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Reversing your Pin will NOT bring the police

Many urban myths are harmless.  Occasionally there are ones that do present a possible danger.  For years this urban myth of putting your pin in backwards as way of notifying the police you are in danger.  This is the current version going around Facebook.
This is a lie.  Why might you ask am I upset with this?  Well if you went to actually use this you could put yourself in a worse situation thinking the police are coming but they really aren't.  If someone tries to rob you the advice from the police is not to resist.  Your life isn't worth a few dollars.

Here is the official statement from the Australian Bankers Association.

Go read it yourself.

Here is a tip when you get these types of posts that equate to chain letters from decades ago.  IE if you get an Facebook post that says it is important to share it with everyone you now then just Google the topic.

click the link below and see what comes up.

One of the best sites with these things is because it not only tells you if something is a myth it often tells you if it is true or partly true along with as much history about the topic that they could find.

So read the ASA's statement.  Think about the ATM safety tips they list and I've provided below.  If you do find yourself were someone is threatening you with harm and wants your money assess the situation.  If they have a weapon or look like they can hurt you then give them the money and then immediately contact the police.

ATM Tips

  • Minimise your time at the ATM by having your card ready when you approach the machine; 
  • Take a look around as you approach the ATM and if there's anything suspicious, don't use the machine at that time (report any suspicions to the police); 
  • Once you've completed your ATM transaction, put your money away immediately and leave. It's best to count your money later; 
  • If you don't feel comfortable using a particular ATM, consider continuing on to another branch or using off-street ATMs in banking lobbies; 
  • Do remember that EFTPOS can be used to withdraw cash at many other places, like supermarkets and service stations. 
  • If you simply want to check your account balance or transfer funds between accounts, telephone or Internet banking can be used instead of an ATM. 

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

If you are conservative please know your candidates!

 Ted Cruz makes my skin crawl on so many levels. First is that his father actual raised him and still tells him that he an "anointed king" and is here to "bring the spoils of war to the priests".  His father actively spreads lies about Obama not being American.  Get this. A Cuban man who's son is born in Canada is OK to be president but a Black man born in Hawaii to an American woman and a man from Kenya is not in their eyes.  Hypocrisy at its finest.
  He's against the LGBT community having equal rights.  He actively promotes banning of homosexual marriages claiming that states are being forced to let gay people get married.  The truth is gay people had the right to get married in many states and it is bigots like him that have not only pushed for laws to ban gay marriages but they go a step further and add it to the state constitutions.
  He claims he wasn't for shutting down the government and he must have some idiot supporters that don't pay attention to what he actually does or says.  He's also made indications that he might try to do it again!
  He is one of the most condescending people I've ever seen.  At CPAC he actually accused McCain and Dole of not standing up for their principals.  Both men very decorated war heroes.  Bob Dole receiving 2 purple hearts and a bronze star with valor and McCain a prisoner of war during Vietnam that was offered freedom but refused because he would not leave unless every other American was released with him.  Tortured and put in solitary confinement for over 2 years and was lucky that he didn't die many times over.  His hair literally turned white  from the stress.
  Fucking smug little twerp has the audacity to put himself above McCain and Dole when it comes to principals.  He's got no idea what standing up for a righteous cause means.  All he will do is fuck over America thinking it makes him look tough.  This man disgusts me and if he doesn't disgust you then you should have a long hard think about your true morals and ideals.

Monday, 10 March 2014

End Corporate Welfare!

So every time you complain about some family getting a few hundred dollars in government assistance please don't be a hypocrite, complain a few hundred thousand times when some, very profitable, multi-national corporation gets hundreds of millions of dollars from that same government.  Me personally I'd rather help hundreds of thousands of families in need rather then just one corporation that is already profitable and we do this for tons of corporations.  But they control the mainstream media and have most Americans thinking it is low-income families that are the cause of all of America's problems.

Paul Ryan wants every American to have to pull themselves up by their own boot straps.  The public schools he went to he wants destroyed and privatized.  Look how that has worked for Universities where it is obvious that only the rich or ultra gifted may hope to attend such expensive schools.  He wants to destroy social security and funnel those funds towards lowering taxes for the rich.  A program he used to help pay for his tuition for Miami University.  He will vote for unfunded programs like Medicare part D when a republican puts them forward but fully funded programs like the Affordable Healthcare Act he'll appose because a democratic president puts it forward, even though "Obamacare" is a republican idea.

Like most GOP politicians, and sadly to many democratic ones too, he has no problem rewarding the rich with extra prizes while making it harder and harder for lower and middle class Americans to actually make it in America.  An attitude that if you inherit millions or, even better, billions, that you are some how better and more deserving then those born into poverty.  That for this privileged birth you should be given orders of magnitude more assistance from the government despite the fact that you don't actually need it.  The end goal for him is to help the rich get richer.  That the worth of government spending is how much money can you make with the money that the government can give you.  Sure everyone knows a rich person can take millions and makes some profit with it.  But a poor person that will just spend a few dollars you give to them on something useless like food is stupid.  They ignore all the losses that happen when the rich fail multiple times.

Trump has made a career out of filing for corporate bankruptcy.  He has already done it 4 times now, effectively, and sadly legally, stealing from others.  Yet so many in the GOP will support this type of man as ideal candidate for political office.  To many rich people, and those that desire to be rich, are happy to help the rich get richer off the dime of American's those in the middle and lower economic range.

Is it fair that we, the people, bail out banks that are "to big to fail" with trillions of our dollars because they gambled with our money in markets they wanted to fail?  Is it fair that we allow them to simply create off shore shell companies to avoid paying billions of dollars every year in taxes?  Is it fair that we subsidize ventures they engage in where they again make massive profits from knowing that they won't pay taxes on those profits?

So the next time you complain about having to subsidize little johnny's school lunch STFU and bitch about Citigroup, and countless other corporations, reaming you to the order of hundreds of billions of dollars a year!

The only way we'll get this system changed is to get the big money out of politics.  Stop the rich and multi-national corporations from legally bribing politicians into passing more and more laws that only benefit the rich while making every attempt to stop providing little Johnny with, probably, the one decent meal he might even get in a day.  Go to WolfPac and help regain control of your government in the manner the founding fathers provided for us.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

What do you think about the Keystone pipeline? Is the reality what you think it is?

If you listen to the GOP you'll get a different story on a different day about why the USA needs the Keystone pipeline expansion.
  1. They'll say that the USA needs it for energy independence.
  2. They'll say that the USA needs it to develop our resources.
  3. They'll say that the USA needs it for the jobs it will create.  
  4. Now they say we need it to make Russia weaker.
What is the reality.  The reality is their big donors in the Oil and Gas industry want it so they can make more money.  Plain and simple.
Let us look as some facts that are easily understood that show how much of a lie the GOP is pushing and how many Americans are swallowing it hook line and sinker.

So lets take point 1.  The pipeline doesn't help with energy independence.  The primary purpose of the pipeline is to get product from Canada to refineries in the gulf.  That refined product is then shipped around the world in a globally controlled market. Some of it will stay in the USA but the cost at the pump is the same regardless if the product came from a well half way around the world, from a well a thousand miles away or from a oil well 15 minutes from the refinery and your local petrol station.

On to point 2.  The fact is the pipeline will service mostly product from Canada.  Many people don't realize how much fossil fuel Canada has.  Mostly because up until recently it wasn't cost effective to extract and refine.  The oil isn't what you might think. It isn't like the oil Jed Clampett found while shooting at some food.  This stuff is dirty dirty dirty. The chemicals and processes they use to make it be able to flow through the pipelines makes it even worse.

Point 3.The jobs the pipeline will create are 2 kinds.  Short term construction jobs that go away and don't actually contribute in the grand picture.  The 2nd is the jobs created by the inevitable spills that will occur.  Some how I'd rather not have to employ people to clean up these environmental disasters.  First off our tax dollars goes into that clean up.  It isn't like Exxon flips the bill for the entire clean up.  Fuck the "clean up" is often a joke.  Many of them have the offending companies shrugging their shoulders how it could even be done leaving a natural disaster not only for you but your children when they are all grown up.

Point 4.  It won't make Russia weaker.  The global market for oil is controlled in ways you wouldn't even dream of.  Production is controlled to control prices.  No one in the gas and oil industry want to really compete.  They don't produce to capacity because that just drives down the price.  They keep the demand high so they can maximize their log term profits.  Russia will still drill, refine and sell the same amount of oil at the same price regardless of the situation with Keystone.

Lets move on to safety.  How many pipeline incidents do you think happen in the USA?  You might be able to think of a handful you've seen on the news if you are lucky.  But the reality is that there about 300 every year amounting to about 250 million dollars a year in property damage and around 20 deaths a year and almost 100 injuries directly attributed to the pipeline incidents.

Currently our refineries aren't laying dormant.  They are receiving enough product from existing pipelines and other transportation methods.

The fact is that this just reduces the cost for the oil and gas manufactures.  You might think this would drive down prices but this isn't a capitalistic market.  Free market principals do not apply here and any savings gained goes straight to the share holders, executives.  The consumer sees none of that.

You can be for or against the pipeline.  That is your choice.  But the GOP and their lies about why it should go ahead?  You should only swallow that if you like the taste of shit.

Sarah Palin will have you think environmentalist are complaining about nothing that "That earthworm can take one for the team" Note Sarah Palin doesn't care about the environment because she believes that the rapture is right around the corner.  Fuck why should she want an Earth where her children can raise their children when she thinks they'll all be brought up to heaven ahead of us heathens, that want to protect and preserve our environment, who will sit under judgement of Jesus for 1,000 years before getting our souls completely destroyed. That is going to happen any day now according to people like her.  How anyone could want a politician that actively promotes the idea that the world needs to come to an end is beyond me.  Up to that point she thinks she might as well get as rich and powerful as she can.

Friday, 20 December 2013

The History of Christmas

  Happy Holidays everyone and for those that feel offended about me not saying "Merry Christmas" read on and tell me at the end if you think of Christmas in the same way.  Nothing I am about to write about is under any doubt with biblical scholars including Christian biblical scholars.  It is simply the history of Christmas much of which you may find shocking.

  First many Christians believe Jesus was born on December 25th but this is most likely not true.  First there is no date specified anywhere in the bible's New Testament of Jesus's birth year forget its day.  The year can be deduced from 2 passages, but like many things in the bible are not consistent. The first is Luke 3:1-23 which reads

1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,
2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;

the bible goes on to say

21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,

Now this means he was born 15 years before Tiberius was in power or Augustus's 28th year of power.  This equates to 754 Anno Urbis Conditae which was the calendar in use at that time.  So 754= 1AD.  The problem is that Luke 1:1-26 puts Jesus's birth in the time of King Herod and King Herod died in 750 AUC or for you that are good at maths, 4BC. Even if you deal with the length of the pregnancy of Elisabeth and some change you are still 2+ years short of 1AD. There are many other scholars that put Jesus's birth as far back as 9 B.C.  One thing we do know, and have very good records of, is that the Romans where very good at having very detailed records of governmental actions and they show no evidence of the census Luke speaks of in Luke2:1-52

So there is some doubt to the year Jesus was born.  The day also has no evidence of even being in December.  Clement of Alexandria estimated the birth of Jesus to be in April or May 4-2B.C. (750-752 AUC).  Joseph Fitzmyer, professor emeritus at The Catholic University of America, estimates Jesus was born in September 11, 3 B.C.  It was also a common Jewish belief in those early years that great men, like Jesus, died on the day of their birth putting Jesus's birthday at March 25th.

So if December 25th isn't Jesus's Birthday then "what is going on with Christmas?" you might ask.  Well it is very clear that early Christianity co-opted the Festival of Saturnalia which was celebrated from Dec 17th to the 25th. This was a brutal holiday in the Roman Empire that concluded with the festival of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti or for you that don't speak latin it is the birthday of the unconquered sun.  Saturnalia included such practices as going from house to house singing, modern day caroling, they just did it nude back in those days, eating cookies that are in the shape of people, giving of gifts between people and a few others.  The Roman Empire, in those days, was a large group of "cults".  Before you get up in arms there are plenty of Christian cults too.  The "Christmas tree" is an adoption of the Asherah symbol.  In early years of Christianity Asherah was worshiped as also the consort of Yahweh.  Hey look ... "God" had a wife!.

Santa Claus has a very interesting history.  First let me point out that despite what Fox News will have you believe Saint Nicholas was not white. He was born it what is now Turkey.  So instead of looking like this
rather he probably looked like this 
Not very "white" but very indicative of the region he was born.  He was also part of the Council of Nicaea that was responsible for the creation of the New Testament in 325.  Centuries after his death his remains where brought to Italy where there used to be a belief that an ancient female deity would put gifts in stockings.  This seems to be a merger of a fable of Saint Nicholas placing gold coins in he stockings of 3 poor girls. The cult of Nicholas promoted the change of gift giving from Dec 6th, the day he died, to December 25.  Another part to incorporate pagans of the time into the Christian faith.  In the early 1800's Dr C. Moore published "Twas the night before Christmas".  Later in the 1800's Thomas Nast illustrated a more jolly Santa and assigned him a home in the North Pole.  In 1931 Coca-Cola finished the transformation of Saint Nicholas into the modern image we have of Santa.

The practice of forcing Jewish people to run, nearly naked, through the streets of Rome, a throw back to the early Saturnalia festival, was only stopped by Pope Clement IX in 1668.  A practice that lasted just over 2 centuries after Pope Paul II revived the practice in 1466.  This practice was again altered in the 1700s to force rabbis in Rome to walk through the streets while dressed in degrading costumes and having items thrown at them by on lookers.  A petition sent to Pope Gregory XVI to stop the practice received the reply of "It is not opportune to make any innovation"

It is because of the pagan origins of Christmas that the Puritans banned Christmas in Massachusetts for over 20 years in the mid 1600s. They didn't accept the holiday since the primary purpose of its creation was to appease pagans and fold them into the Christian faith.  Today this type of practice would be similar to "lying for Jesus" a practice where some Christians justify lying to others if it serves what they believe to be the greater good of Christianity.

Today's holiday's roots do run very deep but today's version is very recent.  Many Christians believe it has been a wonderful holiday for the last 2,000 years but the reality is for 90% of that time it was a very cruel holiday that used old pagan traditions to persecute the Jewish people.

Should you not celebrate Christmas because of this?  I wouldn't say that. I would say you should know were your holiday came from.  Know its good parts and its bad parts.  Celebrate your savior if you so wish but understand it is not his birthday.   Know that Saint Nicholas was  middle eastern and not anglo-saxon just like Jesus was not blond hair and blue eyed but also was of middle eastern descent.  Next time you hear someone say Jesus or Santa was white...point out that you don't like when they lie for Jesus and if they aren't lying then they should learn the truth about their religious figures and embrace their heritage. Hopefully their heads won't explode when you explain that they are middle eastern and not white.

Monday, 4 November 2013

If you consider your self religious then please learn about your religion and where it came from!

  Does the average Christian out there find it embarrassing that the average atheist knows more about the Christian religion then most Christians do?  Christians shouldn't feel alone though.  Atheist on average know more about all religions then any other group based on belief.  Mormons and evangelicals can feel good that they know slightly more about the bible and Christianity then the average atheist but not much.
  This quick rant was triggered by reading a bunch of ignorant Christians bitch about how they would not thank Allah because Allah is a false god or something similar.  Allah is the same God as Yahweh and Jehovah.  All three religions are Abrahamic religions.  They all have the same roots.  They all worship the same "God".  Sure there are differences in the religions but that doesn't change the fact that you worship the same "God".  Within Christianity there are over 40,000 different denominations and some very radical differences between them too.  There is a joke about how there are as many different denominations of Christianity as there are Christians.
  So please before you bag another religion actually learn about it and while you are at it learn about your own religion at the same time.  If you just want to believe as you do now without learning more then keep you mouth shut about other religions.  In fact take some advice from Saint Augustine.
"Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion."
In short if you don't know about a topic keep your mouth closed in discussions about that topic in relationship to your religious beliefs.  Because you just weaken your religious position in the eyes of others.  Why should I give any credit to your religious beliefs if you make stupid statements trying to defend your religion that are easily shown to be false?