Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

“9/11 Truth” Conspiracies Debunked, Part Four

12 June 2009

I received several replies to previous entries from “Terry Conspiracy” -who I suspect of being Alex Jones or some one who knows him, since he keeps trying to plug Jones’ website in his replies, even though I delete that part – and his replies consist of a mixture of personal insults directed at me, as well as repeats of previous 9/11 Truther misinformation.

Rather than allow him to dominate the reply section of my blog, much the same way as Colloidal Silver proponents tried to do when I wrote about that, I’m going to reply to some of his points here.

It is obvious to me that Terry has never taken the time to watch any of the videos I have linked to in previous entries. It is apparent that he is fully convinced of a conspiracy and will not entertain even the possibility that he is wrong.

 

    Thermite and Thermate 

 

Nano Thermite: the “scientific paper” which is mentioned by 9/11 conspiracists is actually a Open Access website, which bills itself as a scientific journal. The very fact that this “scientific paper” has not been quoted in any other science journal doesn’t bode well for its accuracy. The OA journal, mentioned in a previous blog, is never quoted by other science journals. In the scientific community, if your paper doesn’t get read, it has no value. If it doesn’t get quoted by other researchers, it is pointless to publish there in the first place. The big hue and cry over this paper is that it tells conspiracists what they want to hear. Never mind all the scientists and engineers who present findings to the contrary, this one paper is all they want to hear about. Thermite was used by the cleanup crews to remove the large metal pieces of the structures that could not be removed as a whole pice. The claim that thermite brought the towers down is not backed-up by survivors, who would have seen thermite burning, as well as the large amount of smoke.

Thermate residue: okay, thermite-theorists say that residue from thermite was found on-site, ergo thermite was used. It goes like this: if A, B, C, and D are all components of X, then X was definitely present. This may be true only if A,B,C and D could come from no other source. Let’s go through what the components of thermite would be and see if there could have been other sources from the WTC site.

Thermate ingrediants and their likely sources from WTC:

  1. iron: found in paint and electronic devices;
  2. sulphur: the third most common construction material in the WTC was gypsum-based drywall, which is 18.62% sulphur.
  3. aluminum: WTC facade, the 767s and vehicles;
  4. potassium: used in concrete;
  5. manganese: used in structural steel, paint, batteries and ceramics;
  6. flourine: used in Freon and 200,000 lbs of Freon cooled the WTC complex, which was the largest air-conditioning system in the USA;
  7. titanium: used in paper and paint, which were very common at the WTC. Both 767s used in the attacks were 2% titanium and WTC7 was clad in polished steel and titanium;

So, all seven items from this list were already common at the WTC site prior to the attacks.

About 2 billion pounds of dust covered Lower Manhatten after 9/11. Steven Jones, one of the authors of the “study” estimated that it would have taken 1000 pounds of thermate to bring down each tower, for a total of 3000 pounds of thermate. Since thermate is 2% sulphur. that means 60 pounds of sulphur would be used. Based on Jones’ estimates, the WTC dust would have consisted of 0.000003% sulphur. But, USGC tests showed that the dust consisted of 5.4% sulphur. Where did all that extra sulphur come from?

Okay, if you assume that thermate was used to bring down the towers, then a good way to make that conclusion would be to find the residue of thermate in the WTC dust. This residue is only caused by the use of thermate and there would be no other way to explain its presence. The two main byproducts of thermate use are:

  1. aluminum oxide (41%)
  2. barium nitrate (29%)

What shootsdown the idea that thermate was used to bring down the towers is that neither of these elements was found either by the USGS or by Steven Jones himself. Finding aluminum is not the same as finding aluminum oxide, which has three oxygen atoms.

So, while we can find all seven component elements of thermate at the WTC site, we can easily explain their presence. However, 9/11 Truthers cannot explain the absence of the residue of thermate use at the site. If they could not find aluminum oxide and barium nitrate at the WTC site, then no thermate use occurred. It would be impossible to use thermate to bringdown the WTC towers without leaving traces of these two elements.

Lack of aluminum oxide + lack of barium nitrate = no thermate used at WTC.

Attack on the Pentagon on 9/11

I know I’m wasting my time expecting Terry to watch a video, since he obviously never has. But, you can see the actual damage caused by the 757 as it made its way to the Pentagon, which included:

  1. knocking down a lamp post, which damaged a taxi cab;
  2. knocked down another lamp pole, which fell near some trees;
  3. a third lamp pole being struck caused the light fixture to enter starboard engine intake;
  4. a fourth lightpole was struck, which caused the engine to billow smoke;
  5. a fifth lampost was struck and knocked-down; and
  6. a generator and ground structure were struck and damaged right before the plane hit the building.

All of these are outlined, along with photographs in the following video

If the Pentagon were hit by a missle, as conspiracists like to claim, then how did a missle knockdown all those lamposts, the generator and the ground structure? A missle would have bypassed all of these and simply hit the building.

Despite what 9/11 Truthers claim, there was a lot of  wreckage found at the site of the attack, including airplane debris and personal items of the passengers. Pieces of the 75 fouund after the attack included portions of the fuselage, landing gear, doors, engine parts, and the cockpit.

As far as the damage to the building, as compared to the actual size of the jet, the body of a 757 measures 12 feet, four inches wide. Measurements of the hole indicate that it is about 18 feet wide. Considering how the plane entered the building at an angle, the proportions match-up pretty well. Damage from the wings impacting the Pentagon can be seen in the video linked above.

Despite claims that the building wall is 9 feet of reinforced concrete, the exterior wall is actually only 18 inches thick at the impact site.

Conclusion

You know, I could go on all day with this. But, I don’t have the inclination or time.

Conspiracy theorists believe what they want anmd will not accept any evidence to the contrary. I would like to respond to this statement from Terry Conspiracy

spyderblog, you should retract & apologize or lose all credibility in my eyes.

Terry, in my eyes, you don’t have any credibility of any kind. You refused to watch any of the videos whose links I have provided and I think you were simply looking for a new convert to your cause. You people cherry-pick isolated items and tout them as evidence, when they really aren’t evidence.

I will not retract and I have nothing to apologize for, to you or anyone else.

Believe what you want, but I think the 9/11 “Truth” movement is losing steam and will hopefully soon be relegated along with the conspiracy theories of reptile men and fake moon landings.

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“9/11 Truth” Conspiracies Debunked, Part Three

8 June 2009

One claim to supposedly prove the views of 9/11 Truthers is that remains of nanothermite were found in the soil around Ground Zero. They support this claim by stating that a scientific paper on the subject, “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe”, was published in the Open Chemical Physics Journal, which is an Open Access online journal published by Bentham Science Publishers. It claims to be a “peer-reviewed journal” whose aim is to “provide the most complete and reliable source of information on current developments in chemical physics”.

It is interesting to note that the chief editor of this publication, Professor Marie-Paule Pileni,  resigned following the publication of the article by Danish chemist Niels Harrit.

Among her reasons was that the paper was published without notifying her and that it deals on a topic unrelated to chemical physics or physical chemistry. Stating,

“I was in fact in doubt about them before, because I had on several occasions asked about information about the journal without having heard from them. It does not appear on the list of international journals, and that is a bad sign. Now I can see that it is because it is a bad journal”, says Marie-Paule Pileni and continues:

“There are no references to the Open Chemical Physics Journal in other articles. I have two colleagues who contributed to publishing an article which was not cited anyplace either. If no one reads it, it is a bad journal, and there is not use for it”, is the harsh verdict.

One thing that lends credibility to any scientific paper is when either it or the journal in which it appears is cited in other scientific journals and Open Chemical Physics Journal is never cited in other scientific journals. A journal’s reputation partly hinges on how often it is cited in other journals of the same venue.

Even on their webpage, listing their Endorsements, only one of the quotes provided even mentions Bentham by name. The rest only give their individual endorsements to Open Access Journals.

Now, what people seem to be misunderstanding about scientific journals is that they appear to believe that is something appears in a scientific journal, then it is an official endorsement by the scientific community that the conclusions of the published article. Actually, it is not.

What an article actually does is it puts the conclusions of the researcher out there for other members of the scientific community to read and attempt to either verify or disprove the conclusions presented in the article. If other researchers can replicate the experiments and come to the same conclusions, then the viewpoint of the original author can be considered accepted by the scientific community. If other researcher cannot replicate the results, then the paper and its conclusions are marginalized and eventually ignored.

That’s it. Just because something appears in a scientific journal does not mean that it it accepted as completely factual by scientists. It simply means that the article got through that particular journals peer-review panel. The fact that Open Chemical Physics Journal is never cited by other publications in the same field, does not appear on any list of scientific journals for chemistry and its own editor resigned after the article was published does not bode well for this journal.

If you want a better explanation of the Scientific Method and the role of peer review journals, watch this video by potholer54.

Okay, a few questions I have about the article, a complete copy of which I cannot find beyond the synopsis and I quote from it, specifically the portion detailing how the tested samples were collected

One sample was collected by a Manhattan resident about ten minutes after the collapse of the second WTC Tower, two the next day, and a fourth about a week later.

I’m no scientist, but this paper was published eight years after the 9/11 Attacks and its sample were collected over a period of a week by three different people. The samples were not collected by the authors of the paper, so there is not accountability for how the samples were collected and how they were stored between the time they were collected and when they were tested, which are topics that would come up in peer review.

There is no archive from the website itself for me to study and I’m not a chemist.

But, I think all the hoopla over this paper in the 9/11 Truth movement shows one reason why some real scientific journals oppose Open Source. People also oppose Wikipedia because it is Open Source where anyone can access it, so they doubt Wikipedia’s credibility.

So, let another group of chemists collect samples and test them. This is the replication phase of peer review. If another group of researchers can collect samples and achieve the same results, then we could have something to talk about.

This is one problem I have with the 9/11 Truth movement: it doesn’t matter if a real scientific journal details how the towers fell, showing documentation as how their conclusions were reached and it doesn’t matter if

    thousands

of engineers disagree with what the 9/11 Truth movement thinks. If just one group, consisting on a total of nine people tells them what they want to hear and those nine people write an article that appears in a self-proclaimed “scientific journal”, then they will go with the minority and discount what thousands of other experts say on the subject.

This shows the basic dishonesty of the 9/11 Truth movement. They only believe what they want to believe and will discount any opposing viewpoints. You could show them all the proof there is and they still won’t be convinced. You could build a time machine and take them back to the event itself and it wouldn’t change their minds.

I understand that there will always be people out there who won’t trust official explanations and sometimes that a healthy thing for a democracy. But, in the case of the 9/11 Truthers, it’s just sad and pathetic.

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“9/11 Truth” Conspiracies Debunked, Part Two

6 June 2009

In the comments section for the first entry on this topic, someid4 wrote this:

All I can say is, you obviously have not done your homework!

Please tell me, If 9/11 was pulled off by guys in caves, like the government wants us to believe….. then which one of the guys in the cave got NORAD to “stand down”?

What about the thermite?

I feel so bad for the people who fall for this “false-flag” government deception….9/11 happened to bring about the “patriot act”….”homeland security”….PERIOD.

I must say you “de-bunked” 9/11 about as good as Glen Beck “de-bunked” FEMA camps……oh thats right, he DIDNT!

Well, if you had taken the time to watch RKOwen4’s videos, you would have seen his evidence debunking these pet theories of the “9/11 Truthers”.

Realizing that not everyone has the time or inclination to look for a debunking of their favorite theory, I have decided to do the work for you.

“NORAD Stand Down Order” Debunked

Dick Cheney Never In Charge of NORAD

Norman Mineta – No Stand Down Order

NORAD “Stand Down” Disproven

Claims About Thermite Debunked

Thermate Chemical Signatures Disproven

Columns Cut not by Thermite

“Molten Metal” Explained

No Pools of Molten Steel

So, it looks like one of us hasn’t done his “homework”, but that person isn’t me.

It was you.

I understand that there are some people out there making their money by selling books, DVDs, tapes, CDs, magazines, etc expounding the 9/11 Truth movement’s diatribe.

If more people realizing that the 9/11 Truth movement is full of crap takes money out of their pockets, then that’s just too bad.

Class dismissed.

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“9/11 Truth” Conspiracies Debunked

6 June 2009

I’ll always be amazed at how some people can take an event, seen by hundreds, even thousands, and tell us that what we saw wasn’t what really happened. There’s always some “hidden truth” behind it that only a select few know about.

The 9/11 Truth Movement is one of these. People are out there, speaking in front of audiences, writing books, appearing on braodcast media, etc. and expounding their conspiracy theories about the “truth” behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Even worse, these people are making money for themselves and furthering dark agendas of their own, using the 9/11 Truth Movement as a money-making venture in order to finance other projects or simply to make themselves wealthy.

There are always other people out there who do their best to debunk these conspiracy theories, but they don’t get nearly the same sized audience and the 9/11 Truthers.

If you are tired of hearing the shrill whines of the 9/11 Truthers and would like to hear the other side of the issue, I suggest that you pay a visit to the YouTube channel of  RKOwens4 and have a look at his debunking of individual conspiracy theories put out there by the 9/11 Truth Movement.

So far, he has only 1,807 subscribers, but he has fifty-six videos for you to watch, weigh the evidence and make your own conclusions.

Of all the parts of the 9/11 Conspiracies, the events surrounding the attack on the Pentago often come up, especially the theory that it was a missle, and not a commercial jet liner, that struck the Pentagon that day. Numerous videos on the channel debunk these claims, citing evidence that is readily availble to anyone who wishes to see it.

One claim that is debunked in a very powerful video is the one where it is said by 9/11 truthers that the WTC Towers both collapsed at free-fall speeds. In other words, they supposedly fell at the exact same speed as an obejct would have fallen after having been dropped from the top of the towers. The speed at which the towers were to have fallen has been claimed to be nine seconds. SO, if an obeject fell from the same height as either tower, it would have taken nine seconds to reach the ground. This is claimed to be the same speed that both towers collapsed. However, as the video clearly shows, using film footage of the collapses, the North Tower took 22.02 seconds and the South Tower 15.28 seconds. You can see the video below. I must warn you that it is a very difficult video to watch, especially the scene showing firefighters in the lobby of the South Tower.

Many of us feel traumatized by the 9/11 Attacks, which were the worst terrorist attacks to ever occur on US soil. That fact makes it so much more deplorable that people would use such a horrific day to line their own pockets or futher some sort of agenda.

On RKOwens4‘s channel, you will see individual 9/11 conspiracies challenged and exposed one at a time, citing evidence that is readily available to anyone, so you can look at the evidence for yourself, if you care to do so.

Only by exposing the lies of the 9/11 Truth Movement can we take away any kind of credibility that too many people have given them.

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Thoughts on the Movie “Greasy Rider”

24 May 2009

I watched a movie on Hulu, called “Greasy Rider”, which chronicles the story of some people who designed a process where an ordinary car can be converted to run on vegetable oil, instead of gasoline or deisel. Actually, there are several such people mentioned, but the car in the movie was driven by people from GreaseCar.com.

During the film, people who have designed similar cars are also shown, along with celebrity interviews – Morgan Freeman, Yoko Ono,  Noam Chomsky, etc – where people gave their thoughts on American dependence on foreign oil and how it affects our domestic life, foreign policy, health and the environment.

Unlike most alternative fuel researchers, there is no national body of people who collaborate on how to convert more cars to run on vegetable oil. When I mention vegetable oil, I don’t mean growing vegetables for the express purpose of turning them into fuel oil. I’m talking about using vegetable oil that had been previously used by restaurants and then discarded. So, they are using a fuel source that no one would miss if it were gone. In fact, they were able to drive their car across the USA without having to pay any money for the fuel they were using. Companies, like McDonalds, Wendy’s, the mom-and-pop eateries around the country, and all other burger chains and restaurants across the US pay other companies to come and take their used vegetable oil away and discard it. Sometimes the oil is used to make other products, but often it is dumped in landfills. The simple beauty of using the vegetable oil is that we discard millions of gallons of the stuff everyday in the United States, when it turns-out that we could be running our cars on it. In fact, the first deisel engine used peanut oil as a fuel source.

Of course, for the same reason the Big Oil companies bought-up the electric rail system in Los Angeles and have ignored the very idea of an electric car is that the big profits for now come from the petroleum industry and there is no profit for them at the moment in having the American driver burn used vegetable oil instead of gasoline. Let’s face it, if you had a car like that, you could fill-up your tank everyday without even having to pay for the fuel you were using. Most restaurant owners and managers would be glad to not have to pay a company to come and take the stuff away when they could give it away. All you’d have to bring with you in a pump to syphon the oil out of their storage tank and a filter to remove the particles that are in the oil after use. One guy in the movie used an ordinary sock, for G-d’s sake. Naturally, there is a small conversion kit that you’d have to install in some of these designs, which isn’t very expensivve and you’ll be saving loads of money by not having to pay for gas.

I saw the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?” which spoke about how General Motors designed the fully-electric EV1, which gave good performance and the technology already exists to prolong battery life. It was only GM’s reluctance to introduce such a car onto the American market, due to low profitability for the petroleum industry, which doomed the EV1 to ultimate failure. It was a good car, as good as any on the market today, but right now the big money is in Oil and the industry doesn’t want to give-up just yet.

As was pointed-out in the film by one of the interviewees, as long as the veggie oil cars don’t pose too much of a threat to Big Oil, they”ll be tolerated, even laughed-at, by the Big Car and Big Oil industries. But, if they are perceived as posing a significant threat to their bank balances, they’ll get stomped-on like insects under the Big Boot of the Oil and Automotive industries.

This is what pisses me off to no end: we have the technology and resources to end our dependence, not only on foreign oil, but on oil entirely. Yet, because a small group of people and corporations depend upon our addiction to petroleum, such technology will be kept under wraps and also covertly suppressed.

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Levi Johnston Writing A Book?

26 April 2009

According to various news reports, Levi Johnston is currently involved in a child custody battle with the Palin family over his son, Tripp and has decided to fund it by writing a tell-all book about the Palins and his experiences with them.

Poor Levi, last year he wanted to get laid with the governor’s daughter, apparently thinking that condoms weren’t for him and he got her pregnant. This was rather inconvenient for both of them since Sarah Palin was in the race to become Vice-President on the McCain ticket for the Republicans and had gone on-record as opposing both pre-marital sex and sex education in public schools beyond abstinence-only education.

So, it’s not like Bristol could have had an abortion when she discovered that she was knocked-up. If her mom found-out it would have been hell-to-pay and, if the Press found-out,  Sarah’s hopes to become the first woman VP would have been blown to hell. Even though Palin lost anyway, some Republicans are still looking to her as a potential Presidential candidate for 2012. So, Bristol had the baby and the Palins publicly embraced Levi as the baby daddy for their soon-to-be born-out-of-wedlock grandson.

The hapless teenager soon found himself the target of al kinds of attacks, both from the political spectrum as well as the assorted assholes on the Internet who held him up as a target of mockery. It’s not like he deserved it. He just wanted a piece of ass,  not a place in the public spotlight, right?

Too bad that ass was the daughter of the 2008 Vice Presidential hopeful. But, Shit Happens.

Anyway, Levi was a trooper through the whole, sordid mess that remained of the 2008 campaign. He appeared publicly with the Palins and met John McCain. He even put some nice stuff about Bristol on his Myspace page, which is a sign of True Love, if you ask me:

“My girl is my life, for real. Bristol is what I live for, and now as everyone knows, I will be a father soon. Yea, I am young, but I still know what love and commitment mean, and love evry minute of my life.”

“I wont be run out of myspace just because of some fuckin newspaper people working for obama. What my future mother-in-law is doing has nothing to do with me or Bristol, but I want everyone who reads this to know, every time they attack us for being human, they show why America needs leaders like Sarah Palin.”

Just makes you want to puke, doesn’t it?

So, the kid is born and everybody seems pretty happy. At least until Bristol and Levi (still not married) decide to break-up just three months after their son was born.

So, I guess it wasn’t True Love, after all, huh?

Now, I have to admit that I felt sorry for Levi through this whole mess. Really, I did. Here was a strapping young man who just wanted a little taste of the Palin poontang and he gets thrown into the national spotlight as a result. Poor bastard. I never believed – and still don’t believe – that he ever wanted to marry Bristol or have a kid. My guess is that he just wanted a little Wham-Bam-Thank you ma’am and it was off to the next girl of the moment. Instead, he was forced to become a campaign follower for the bulk of the McCain/Palin run for the White House with everybody on the Left laughing at him and rolling their eyes.

But, my sympathy for this little frakker ends as of today.

He’s decided to write a book that most people will never read, unless you like stuff written by Alaskan redneck hockey players who just got out of high school. It’s not like he’s been surrounded by High Intelligencia the whole time. For G-d’s sake, he’s been hanging with Sarah Palin and her husband, whatever his name is!

Oh, and I got a big laugh when one of his braindead friends said publicly that he hopes that Levi gets a million dollars!

A million dollars??? Are you serious? A million dollars for a book dishing the dirt on one of the most pathetic Vice Presidential candidates of recent memory and her family?

Who the hell is going to care enough to buy this book? Who the hell would even want to read it for free?

Who would even care enough to read the book jacket?

Backing-up a bit, please tell me what publisher is going to shell-out any serious money for a book written about the Palins and authored by Levi Johnston?

Here’s what I think really happened:

  1. Levi and Bristol got horney and had sex. No condoms or any kind of birth control because they were both either uneducated in such matters or were just stupid.
  2. Bristol is discovered to be preggers and, for the reasons explained, carries the child to term.
  3. Since they can’t break-up without causing the McCain/Palin ticket to meltdown, they were forced to be together for the sake of the Republican Party and Sarah Palin’s political career, they actually got to know each other as people, beyond the sex stuff.
  4. Levi apparently realizes that he doesn’t really like the Palins, despite his public pronouncements to the contrary, and he probably doesn’t really like Bristol either. I mean, she might – might! – have been a good lay, but as a person she may leave a lot to be desired and who wants a girlfriend who gets knocked-up the first time? At least, I’m assuming it was her first time. Or maybe Bristol realizes that her Boyfriend Of The Now was an asshole, after all.
  5. Friction between the two sides reaches a boiling point, resulting in Bristol and Levi splitting-up, much to the relief of everyone involved.
  6. Since the Palins have money, there’s no need for Levi to even be around to financialy support his son and ex-girlfriend, so he’s shutout of the picture.
  7. Levi decides to make money off the whole deal, due to having been thrust into the public spotlight against his will and pointed toward a marriage that he never wanted in the first place. On his Myspace page before all this came-up, he stated that he didn’t want kids. Rather inconvenient for him when all this made the news.
  8. He’s not likely to get any money from the Palins, after having embarrassed them in front of the entire country for impreganting their virgin daughter and since no one would pay money to hear him speak in public or on Radio or television interviews, he decides to write a tell-all book and dish mountains of dirt on the Palins. My guess as to his real motivation (beyond money) is that he blames the Palins for most of his current problems and thinks a book will do the job of getting back at them for everything they’ve put him through since he was revealed as the father of Tripp.

So, how do I feel about “poor Levi”?

I think he’s an opportunistic piece of shit. That’s what I think.

Seriously, he could have Just Said No to having unprotected premarital sex with the governor’s daughter. Yeah, he was a teenage boy with raging hormones, but he should have been smart enough to realize the kind of shitstorm he would end-up in eventually, if things didn’t go as planned.

He – and, yes, his parents – allowed him to become the unofficial pet of the McCain/Palin campaign, despite everyone with a brain knowing what kind of crap he’d have to endure for the rest of his frakking life just by being seen in public with them. He could have just said that he wanted to keep his relationship with Bristol private and he should have done it. But, I will grant that it would have been difficult for Sarah “Abstinence Only” Palin to explain he views when her own daughter got knocked-up out-of-wedlock. But, that was Sarah’s problem, not Levi’s. Sarah Palin was a horrible choice for VP and I am sure that John McCain grew to regret that decision soon after he made it.

But, right now, Levi is throwing-away his big chance to go back to having a normal life. Seriously, he could just part ways with the Palins, go to college and be forgotten in a very short time. But, no. He’s got to take one last shot at the Palins. Stupid little shit. Yeah, take a jab at the Palins for all the good it will do you, moron.

Let’s look at the list of people hurt by all this, all for the sake of what was likely intended to be a one-night stand:

  1. Tripp will always be known to have been born out-of-wedlock to two people who were too stupid to control themselves and whose father decided to drag his mother’s family through the mud not five months after he was born.
  2. Bristol now has a baby and she just got out of high school. She’ll be able to go to college without too much difficulty. But, she’s an unwed mom at 18, which is something that her mom’s fellow Republicans hold-up as a sign of the declining morals of America. You can just imagine the kinds of things people will say about her behind her back for years to come. When she does eventually get married and has more kids, this history will be brought up again and old wounds reopened.
  3. Sarah Palin’s political career outside of Alaska is over. She’s not going to be President in 2012 or anytime thereafter. Her political aspirations are figments of her imagination and the imaginations of whatever followers she might still have in three years, which won’t be many. I think the Republican Party will forget her like the way the Democrats forgot about Mike Dukakis and that’s pretty bad. I don’t really know if Sarah Palin is going to get reelected the next time she runs for governor. With all the scandals and allegations of abuse of power that have made the news, I think her time in the governor’s mansion is limited.
  4. And, of course, Levi Johnston. He should just part company with the Palins and move on. He could go to college, join the military or however he wanted to make a name for himself in the world. The Palins are a sinking ship and he’d be much better off seperating himself from them as quickly as possible and keeping his mout shut for the rest of his life. Yeah, the past year has been hell for him. But, he could end all that right now by just going on with his life. He’s been publicly humiliated and his private life post-campaign hasn’t been very easy, I’m guessing. It’s hard when you’re young and you get thrown onto an international stage like a US Presidential campaign, only to become a target for derision from many sides. I won’t pretend to know what it’s been like. But, he could end it all right now by not writing a book and just fading off the scene.

So, that’s it for me. While I can understand how angry and embarassed Levi must be right now, he’s only making things worse for himself by announcing plans for this book. Besides, who can say what the Palins will say about him when/if the book does come out?

If he thinks he’s got the goods on the Palins, there’s no telling what the Palins will reveal to the world about Levi Johnston if a book does come out. Writing a book is a two-edged sword and this one will very likely cut both ways.

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Talking About Secession

20 April 2009

Hearing the governor of Texas talk about his State seceeding from the Union came as a bit of a shock for me in these modern times.

Even worse, to hear Glen Beck attempt to justify States seceeding by stating that the Constitution “is not a suicide pact” left me wondering how far the Right would go in their opposition to the Obama Administration.

Let’s be honest: this isn’t about taxes or the increasing power of the Federal Government. This is about the fact that the President of the United States is a black man and there are a lot of people who don’t like it. In fact, some of them don’t like it so much that they’re talking about their State withdrawing from the Union.

Okay, here’s a history lesson for you: the American Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865. It was started when eleven southern States withdrew from the Union after Abraham Lincoln was elected President. They didn’t like the fact that he opposed the expansion of slavery, so when they formed their own government – the Confederate States of America – they gave slavery special protections so that it could never be abolished by any State in the Confederacy.

Here are direct quotes from that document:

No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.”  (Article 1, Section 9, Subsection 4)

“The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States. (Article 4, Section 3, Subsection 3)

While many neoConfederates will tell you that the Civil War “was not about slavery”, I challenge anyone to find similar protections given to the institution of slavery in the Constitution of the United States.

While people can argue the point back and forth, the Truth is that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that secession was Constitutionaly  illegal in the 1868 case of Texas versus White. Here are some quotes from that decision:

“When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States.

Considered therefore as transactions under the Constitution, the ordinance of secession, adopted by the convention and ratified by a majority of the citizens of Texas, and all the acts of her legislature intended to give effect to that ordinance, were absolutely null. They were utterly without operation in law. The obligations of the State, as a member of the Union, and of every citizen of the State, as a citizen of the United States, remained perfect and unimpaired. It certainly follows that the State did not cease to be a State, nor her citizens to be citizens of the Union.”

For more background and understanding of Texas versus White, read the Wikipedia article on this case and the actual ruling itself sourced from Cornell University Law School Supreme Court collection.

Notice that when the Federal Government’s powers over the lives of the American People was increasing exponentially under the Administration of President George W. Bush, there was no talk of secession from the Left. Indeed, the Right was quick to condemn dissenting voices as treasonous. Ann Coulter has even described liberals as traitors in her book Treason.

I know that a lot of people – usually white people, almost never black people – like to romanticize the Confederacy as a “Lost Cause”. It’s easy to sympathize with the underdog and it makes us feel good sometimes. But, sometimes the underdog is wrong and the Confederacy was wrong. It took the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans on both sides to bring the war to its conclusion and it took decades to undo most of the damage that was done.

Let’s also disprove the myth of the “Solid South”, where everyone in the Confederacy was supposedly on the side of the Confederacy. If you can find a copy of it, I suggest you read a book titled “Lincoln’s Loyalists” by Richard Nelson Current which you can find on Amazon.com and it gives extensive details on the pro-Union population in much of the Confederacy and the men who donned the blue uniform to fight the Confederates.

Another book, only available for download from Amazon, is “Guerillas, Unionists& Violence On the Confederate Homefront” by W. Todd Groce.

If you take the time to read these books, rather than simply believe that everybody in the South loved the Confederacy, you will discover that there were strongly pro-Union areas in the Confederate States where men and women resisted the Confederate forces in ways ranging from draft resistance to public speaking and even taking up arms as Unionist guerillas, not to mention actually joining the Union Army.

While the current talk of secession is, hopefully, just empty air, I do feel that it is simply part of the trend I wrote about in previous blogs. The Right will do whatever they feel that they have to to hinder and embarass the Obama Administration over the remainder of his term. President Obama is three months into his term and already a State governor is talking about secession. Seems like Obama has more in common with Lincoln than he thought. Fortunately for Obama, Lincoln did all the hard work for him in stopping the last attempt at States’ secession, so it should be easier for him than it was for Lincoln.

I have to wonder if the Right realizes that by even mentioning and justifying the possibility of State secession, they are glorifying the worst case of treason against the United States that has ever happened. The Civil War killed more Americans than all the other wars this country has fought combined and entire sections of our country were devastated and anger over the war has lingered until the present day, though it is far less than it once was.

I wonder how the neoconservatives who try to justify secession can even look themselves in the mirror and still consider themselves to be patriotic.

Of course, these are the same people who wanted Sarah Palin to be our Vice President, even though her husband had been a member of the pro-secession Alaskan Independence Party.

I see a trend.

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Tea Party, Part 2

16 April 2009

These are just my own predictions for life in America after the Tea Party Tax Day Protests. Bear in-mind that these are assumptions, based upon my observations of past events and movements like this, so I could be wrong.

Or I could be absolutely right and I think I am.

For one thing, this is not about taxes and never has been. That’s just a cover. Everybody hates paying taxes and Americans are no exception, especially since we created an entire mythology around our own Revolution on “no taxation without representation”.

This whole thing is about the elections across the USA in 2010, 2012 and 2014. That’s it and nothing else. It’s not about creating a popular movement or reforming the tax code.

It’s about creating the next crop of Republican candidates for the next three elections to unseat the Democrats in the White House, Congress, State and local government bodies over the next six years.

The Republican realized after the last election that they had alienated their base of “small government, low taxes, pro-business and pro-family” and they are trying to build some kind of movement of people with that mindset in order to gather enough potential voters to take them into office over the next six years. Plus, the emerging leadership of the anti-tax movement will be looked-over as potential candidates to run in those elections. The ones with the best popular support wil be vetted for future runs for political office, the ones who don’t make the cut may be seen as poptential helpers along the way, but that is doubtful. Remember, there is an entire machine out there for the Republican Party to tap into. All they need are candidates and that’s where this current movement comes in.

In the near future, we’ll be seeing more from the pro-gun lobby, creating a stir about supposed infringements of their right to carry or own firearms. Second Amendment advocacy groups are going to be coming out of the woodwork in the next few months.

Creationism is going to be making the news again soon, as Evangelican Christians use this as a means to further thier own agenda. It won’t take much to stir-up a base of people afraid of their kids learning about Evolution. Certain groups of people don’t want their kids being told that Life got started here on Earth as a natural process, without the need for Divine Intervention or a Divine Plan. Never mind that Creationism, Creation Science and Intelligent Design are laughed-at by real scientists. Most people don’t really know that much about Science and it will be that ignorance – and in many cases, fear – which will be exploited for the purposes of political gain.

Let’s not forget about the Family Values Issue. With four states no legalizing same-sex marriage, anti-gay rights forces will be on the march to reverse those. Yes, they will be trying to have gay marriage made illegal again there and rallying the voters, along with serious cash to try to undo them. Likewise, there will be other movements to undo any legal recognition of civil unions in any of the States that recognize it and will be mobolizing against it in any States where the movement appears to be strongest. Any State that looks like it might even consider recognizing gay marriage or civil unions will be getting some serious attention in the next six years. Forces will be aligned with the anti-abortion movement which has always attracted a strong based of Conservative Christians.

The rise of the “Drill Here, Drill Now” movement during the last election, I anticipate some sort of backlash against the environmental movement and laws that have been passed to curtail the increase of greenhouse gases and pollution. Painting such movements and advocates as “charletans and panickmongers” will be seen in the future, especially in such media as FOX News, which remains one of the most-watched television networks in the USA and whose word is often taken at face value.

Over the next four years, the Right will be atempting to recreate what they accomplish during the Clinton Administration by trying to paint President Obama as a socialist, pro-gay, anti-gun, tax-and-spend Democrat. Any sort of attack on his personal life will be exploited to its fullest extent. As far as his personal life, he certainly has given much less for them to work with than did Clinton, but that will not stop certain groups from looking for such material or making it up out of thin air if it becomes neccessary to do so.

However, it is a point of history that the eight years of the Clinto Administration were far better for the US economy than were the eight years of the Bush Administration. Under Clinton, we had economic growth and budget supluses, while Bush resulted in the exact opposite.

Any positive economic news will be spun to either give credit for it to President Bush and/or attempt to downplay any role that the  Obama Administration policies had in enabling it to happen.

So, we have the potential rank-and-file lined-up to form a base for the Six Year Plan:

  • anti-tax;
  • anti-gay rights;
  • anti-science;
  • anti-environmentalist;
  • pro-gun; and
  • anti-abortion.

Along with a machine to denigrate the Obama Administration at every turn, these people are looking to take back the White House and Congress beginning in 2010.

The sad part of this is that I don’t think the Democrats will even see it coming until they are fighting for their political lives in 2012.

You don’t hear much about Ron Paul anymore. If he doesn’t come out more visibly in the next few months, I think he will become irrelevent. The luster has worn-off, for now, and it will take some sort of action on his behalf to get back into the limelight. I believe that Ron Paul will make an attempt to attach himself to the movement I am describing, but they will not be enthused about his assuming any kind of leadership position. He will be kept at arm’s length, though his supporters’ votes and money will be appreciated and solicited.

Let’s see what happens in the months ahead. Look for activity in the fight to prevent a national health care system in the USA. Michael Moore has gone quiet on this issue and the void will be filled by some one who opposes any step in that direction.

See if I am right.

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Tax Day Tea Parties Are Stupid!

15 April 2009

While many of us learned in school that the Boston Tea Party of 1773 was a protest against high taxation by the British against their American Colonies, the Truth is a bit different from what we have been told and it casts a different light on their current-day counterparts.

Originally, the so-called “Intolerable Acts”, which were really the Townsend Acts were an effort by the British Crown to try to recoup the financial losses incurred by the French and Indian War, known in Europe as the Seven Years War. Since wars are expensive in lives, property and money, the Crown had spent a great deal of each fighting the French and the American Colonists had contributed very little in the way of taxes toward that effort.

People living in the British Isles paid a much higher tax burden than the Colonists, even though the war had been fought in the North American theater, in large part, to protect the colonies from encrouchment by the French.

So, in an effort to get the Colonies to pay a bit more for their own protection and the administration of the court system which they had depended-on for their civil affairs, the Crown did not think it unfair to spread the tax burden over to the Colonists themselves.

So, taxes were placed upon imported goods, such as lead, tin, sugar and, of course, tea. While most of the other taxes were lifted after Colonial protests, the tax on tea was maintained in order to assert the Crown’s right to tax the Colonies.

The Colonists simply got around the tea tax by purchasing their tea from Dutch smugglers. The Dutch also had interests in the East Indies, though the quality of their tea was lower than the British imports.  Smuggled tea was cheaper and if you weren’t too finicky, cheap smuggled tea was better financially than the more expensive legal tea, imported by the British East India Company.

Tea smuggling cost the East India Company a lot of money in lost revenue, so they petitioned the Crown to allow them to bypass the middle-men and import tea directly to the Colonies. This made the tea even cheaper than the Dutch tea. This is akin to giving a large corporation a tax break. The British East India Company was a big money-loser for much of its later existence and was constantly lobbying the Crown for special help to keep them in business. They were the same people who started the Opium War with China to force them into accepting opium as trade.

Yeah, a real nice buch of guys. This is why they made such believable bad buys for the Pirates of the Carribean series.

However, while this deal was good news for the corporation,  it also put a lot of people out of work. Namely the middlemen in Britain, as well as the people who had been smuggling tea into the Colonies, such as Patrick Henry who was one of the leaders of the Sons of Liberty. A remarkable coincidence, don’t you think?

While people try to make this whole thing out to be “Taxation Without Representation”, the Sons of LIberty did not really want the Colonists to have representation in the Parliament, as they could be outvoted in that body. Instead, they wanted complete independence. Rather than lose the one tax that still remained as a propaganda tool, they began to exploit it as a symbol of British tyranny and unfair taxation.

How much was the tax? It was 3 pence per pound.

Yeah, like 3 cents for every pound of tea. Not 3 cents a cup, three cents a pound and you would have to drink gallons of tea everyday before you began to suffer financially from the tax. But, if you were drinking gallons of tea everyday by yourself, you’d have bigger problems than losing 3 cents for every pound of tea leaves that you bought.

Before independence, American Colonists were big tea-drinkers, even more so than the people in Britain. Given that nearly everyone drank tea, from New York offices to the frontier settlements, it would seem that a light tax on something the Colonists consumed so much of wouldn’t be objected-to. But, it was.

The Sons of Liberty used this one issue to push for independence, not letting the reality of the insignificant amount of the tax itself stand in their way. It was the one issue they had and they ran with it.

Not that I mind America being independent, of course. I have no use for monarchs, as a rule.

But, the modern myth that the tea tax was putting people out of house and home is just plain untrue.

The very idea that we suffer from Taxation Without Representation today is also catagoricaly untrue. Every State in the Union has representatives and senators in Congress, elected by the people of that State. The only people who don’t have a voting representative or senator are those citizens in the assorted territories, such as Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, etc and they don’t pay any Federal taxes.

In other words, if you’re paying taxes that your Congressional representatives and senators voted on, you are being represented, whether you agree with the taxes or not. There is no Taxation Without Representation going-on in the United States. If you feel that they aren’t listening to you, that does not meet the legal criteria of taxation without representation. It’s just politics.

The whole Tax Day Tea Party scheme is just an attempt by Republicans to try to con gullible people into thinking that President Obama is acting in the same way the British Crown did in 1773 by raising taxes. However, most people are going to see their taxes go down. Only the higfhest 5% of income-earners will see their taxes go up and it is some of those people and corporations who are actually calling for these tax protests. We aren’t all going to be paying higher taxes, just some of us, while the rest will see our taxes go down.

So, what are they protesting about? Paying less?

And what’s this bullshit about tea? In reality the tea tax wasn’t such a big deal, monetarily speaking. In theory, the tax was pretty light in the Colonies with people in the British Isles paying far higher taxes for their tea, which is why their wasn’t a lot of sympathy for Americans talking about how high their taxes were when the average man in London was being squeezed at every turn. In actual practise, Americans got around the tea by drinking smuggled tea or switching to coffee, which is where our modern coffee culture got startyed. By the way, as far as the British citizens were concerned, the Colonists were just a bunch of whiners who had enjoyed a relatively tax-free existence for decades while the people living in Britain had to foot the bill to protect them and administer their government bodies.

Since the Republicans lost the race for the White House, this whole Tea Party Tax Protest is just their latest effort to attempt to discredit Obama and try to make him irrelevent, the same thing they did with Bill Clinton. However, while Bill Clinton did create a lot of his own problems, he still did a good job as President and the country enjoyed a long period of economic growth, the longest period of economic growth  enjoyed in peacetime since World War Two, if I am not mistaken.

As for myself, I have some last minute paperwork to file and I’ll be enjoying a hot cup of tea while doing it, since I don’t drink coffee.

These protests can go on without me, since they are based upon untruths of both history and modern reality. I just hope the protesters leave some boxes of tea at the store for me to pickup later.

By the way,  Davison, Newman & Co., whose tea chests were destroyed in the 1773 tea party, still operates today. They are Britain’s oldest tea merchant.

One more thing, if you’re going to a Tea Party Tax Protest or if you’ve been to one, I’d like to inform you of something that you might not be aware of: while we see boxes of Lipton Tea at nearly every America supermarket, the company is actually owned by a British corporation, Unilever. It’s just a guess on my part that most of the tea being thrown into the streets, harbors, trash cans, etc around the USA today will be bags of Lipton. I am also certain that, while the tea itself may be wasted, the British tea merchants won’t mind all the money you’re sending their way this month.

Read this for more information.

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Why Not Legalize Same-Sex Marriage?

25 January 2009

Okay, I keep hearing about the fights that erupt in every State when local legislators or courts even talk about making it legal for people of the same gender to marry one another and have that marriage legally recognized by that State.

Opponents of same-sex marriage talk about “activist judges” who, somehow, reinterpet the Constitution to allow gay or lebians couples to marry one another. There is always a big hue and cry whenever the subject comes up, primarily for religious reasons.

Homosexuality is almost universally condemned in every religious faith in the world and anti-homosexual feelings have been expressed by people of various ethnic backgrounds and by people of either gender. It seems that, to find a positive comment being made about homosexuals or homosexuality, you pretty much have to talk only to homosexuals themselves. It is no wonder that the rights of gays and lesbians have een strongly curtailed in countries around the world.

Yet, certain countries have legalized same-sex marriage or civil unions, though these nations tend to be of European descent – Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden – and you won’t find something similar occurring in an African or Asian country, with the sole exception of Nepal. In the United States, only the States of Massachusetts and Connecticut give recognition to it.

Civil Unions are recognized in the nations of Andorra, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary,  Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Uruguay. In the USA, civil unions are recognized in California, Connecticut, Washington DC, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

So, what’s the big deal? In the USA, we often tout ourselves as the freedom-lovingest country in the world. But, when it comes to recognizing same-sex marriage or even its watered-down version of civil unions, we seem to hark back to our history as one of the most religiously devout countries in the world and giving gays and lesbians any rights at all is almost like asking some one to cut-off their own right arm. The Religious Right, of course, is leading the fight against gay marriage in America. This is expected, since atheists and agnostics have no religious grounds upon which to oppose gay marriage in the first place.

There are numerous statements made by same-sex marriage opponents that I have heard repeatedly over the years. I’m going to explore each of them in-turn and give my responses. I’d like anyone who is opposed to same-sex marriage to tell me if/how I may be mistaken.

CLAIM: “Allowing gay marriage would take away from the sanctity of heterosexual marriage.”

RESPONSE: How? Men and women have been marrying each other for thousands of years, with mixed results. How would heterosexual marriage be less important or less likely if we allowed gays to marry? Unless you were going to legalize gay marriage and ban straight marriage at the same time, this claim is irrelevent.

CLAIM:  “Most of the major religions consider homosexuality an aberrant behavior.”

RESPONSE:  So what? Religions around the world condemn all sorts of things, like: eating certain kinds of foods, making statues, not attending religious services on certain days and converting to another religion. Will we rewrite our laws in order to accommodate the religious precepts of all the major world religions? I should also point-out that the USA has no state religion and no religious test is allowed as a condition to hold either elective or appointed positions within the government, so there is no reason to care what a particular religion or group of religions likes or dislikes. 

CLAIM: “Allowing gay marriage would open the door to practitioners of all kinds of aberrant behavior to seek legitimacy.”

RESPONSE:  An interesting argument, perhaps with some justification. But, to claim that it would force the legalization of bestiality, pedophilia and incest is something of a stretch and ignores the fact that there is a compelling state interest to prohibit such behaviors.

CLAIM:  “Allowing gay marriage would cause thousands of confused young people to accept homosexual inclinations as normal, and they would begin to actively practice homosexuality.”

RESPONSE:  If you don’t have homosexual desires in the first place, you’re not going to act on them. Most people, male and female, who experience homosexual desires in their lifetime never act on them, and I don’t see how legalizing gay marriage would cause that to change.

CLAIM: “Homosexuality is not an immutable characteristic. Homosexuals can change to heterosexuals, with proper counseling, and thousands have. Legalizing gay marriage would dramatically curtail efforts to save people from being homosexual.”

RESPONSE:  Even with gay marriage prohibited by law, anti-gay ministries have had dismal results trying to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals. The actual numbers of people who have been changed is very low, with frequent relapses into homosexual behavior. I don’t see how the prospects for such programs could get any worse.

I await the response from the anti-gay lobby.

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