Monday, November 17, 2014

The Keystone XL Pipeline Isn't What We Need

This post might not have a major impact to the West and East Coasts of the United States, but it does talk about the nightmare that the Republicans are trying to pass through congress and the ability to have the Keystone XL pipeline run from the Alberta Tar Pits down to the Louisiana Gulf. Now I am not above using fossil fuels to provide energy. But the pipeline has too many big promises that will not come true. It is become just another big lie that the GOP thinks they can push through.

The CEO of TransCANADA does say that the State Department report on the proposed pipeline will have about 50 permanent jobs. 50! Nothing like a major impact on the job market into the future. The state department does say that it will provide about 50,000 temporary jobs like waitresses and shopkeepers for about 2 years. Put in about 4,000 temporary construction workers into the mix. That is great for 2017 or 18 when you have 50,000 people moving away from the pipeline and the temporary camps that will be shutting up after the pipeline is done. Maybe we can find more part-time jobs for people since corporations can't seem to waste any penny of profit.

We understand here in North Dakota what cost an oil spill has on the economy and the environment. The economic impact is felt because the oil companies are fined a small amount, and the state government foots the bill if the oil company doesn't fulfill their requirement to clean the entire spill up. In fact, ask Alaskans or Floridians how easy it is to clean up oil spills and how short the time is that the oil is a minor hindrance to enjoying the environment. Here in the 2nd largest oil producing state in America, we have had oil companies flaunting their breaking of the rules. We have had radioactive socks that are supposed to be stored with Nuclear waste just thrown into dumpsters and stored en mass in abandoned buildings. We have had oil spills and leaks that the oil companies had to notice, but conveniently missed. Oil flow regulators have conveniently become broken and miss leaks on the pipelines. But I just know that wouldn't happen on the Keystone XL, would it? Oops, maybe I spoke too soon.

Alberta is known for it's gas and oil. Unfortunately, the canadian oil companies seem to know how to spill lots of crude like their American counterparts. The West Coast Native News has been compiling stats about oil spills in Alberta. And the thing is that spills are not uncommon. In October alone, Crude Oil and toxic produced water was spills in the amount of 600,000 Liters. 1 Liter is equal to .264 gallons. So what we have is approximately 158503 Gallons of toxic stuff being spilled in Alberta for 1 month. There are 42 gallons in a barrel of oil or 3774 barrels of crude or water mixed with crude that is spilled in Alberta in 1 month. Now let's ask this question. What makes us think that the companies that are spilling all of that sludge in Alberta will make the pipelines safer here in America? We know that the federal government regulation is a joke. We understand that the companies will not police itself. So the question still stands. Why do we think that the Keystone XL pipeline which is carrying oil through the heartland of the United States will not have the same problems?

Another thought came into my head. Remember when this was first proposed? Why was it that we needed to have this pipeline? Oh, I remember. It was for energy security and independence from the rest of the world. We needed this pipeline to produce crude so we can refine it and eliminate the importation of oil. Does anybody remember the arguments of the GOP back then? And why can't the GOP members of congress who have fought tooth and nail for this remember those arguments? And the reason I believe that this pipeline isn't being used for energy independence is also from the GOP. Remember when Iraq was hot and heavy with American casualties? The GOP was screaming that we needed energy independence and that government regulation had caused oil companies not to be building oil refineries for the past 20 years. And the reason that gas prices had risen so high is because of the lack of refining space. So where does this make sense outside GOP land? You have a lack of space to make the finished product, so you want to produce more raw materials. Where does the raw material go? To other countries so they can refine it and sell it back to us with a markup. That is what I call helping your donors, not solving the nations problems.

Finally, I will go back to a previous point. In all the reports of spills and leaks, there is nothing speaking about what damage the toxic substances do the environment or the wildlife. Why? I believe that it would cause major problems for the supporters of fossil fuels. It has been reported that it will take decades for the local wildlife and environment to revert back to the way it was for just a small spill. They are still finding that the oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico from the Gulfwater Horizon is affecting the wildlife. That it has caused medical problems with people and has killed the ability of people in certain industries to make a living.

This project has the potential to cause major problems for the country. Running pipeline through agricultural land can cause problems for our food. It can cause tainted food that gets into the distribution network and all of a sudden, we have a major catastrophe on our hands. And the reason that we are taking this chance? For money, nothing more, nothing less. Who says that elections don't mean anything. The people that elected the GOP into power knew what they wanted and are going to eventually get it. So if you voted for the GOP, I hope you get what you wanted. If you don't like what the GOP is doing and decided not to vote, stop your bitching. You voted with your non-action. Hope you like what you get.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

We Cannot Understand That The US Constitution Is Law Here In ND

On November 4th, the voters of North Dakota are ready to vote a constitutional amendment into their state constitution that contradicts the Supreme Court and their ruling in Roe v. Wade. Here is the Amendment that will pass here.

Constitutional Measure No. 1
(Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 4009, 2013 Session Laws, Ch. 519)
This constitutional measure would create and enact a new section to Article I of the North Dakota Constitution stating, “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”

It seems to me that when the Supreme Court goes with a ruling, that the states should say hey this is the law of the land. We should follow it and put our efforts towards other things. But of course, we can't.

So the law here in North Dakota, (which doesn't matter because of the Supreme Court finding that there is a fundamental right for a woman to have an abortion until such time that the fetus is viable), means that the fetus that has been grown into existence two days ago has the same rights as every human walking the state.  And of course, we have over 2,000 children in Foster Care each and every year here. But we cannot figure out how to get them into homes where they will stay with grown ups that love them and set a good example for them when they get out on their own. Let's not worry about those kids, let's worry about those embryos that may or may not get to grow into children and may or may not be raised by caring parents. Because if you listen to the news around here lately, you would think that the majority of parents are only out for their own self-gratification, not to watch out for their children.

I am tired of the culture wars that spring up all the time. I am tired of the divisiveness that come with fighting over moral issues. What works for one person does not work for another. Why do you think that the language of the Constitution is so vague? It is because the framers figured out that putting strict guidelines would only alienate people, not bring them together. And this Constitutional Measure will cause more divisiveness.  But I can also tell you that I will keep fighting to have the laws of the land followed and not changed by some people that have the might of their morals and virtue to change things. Especially if they are close-minded. Here is looking at you, the North Dakota State Government.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Terrorism Is A Part Of All Religions

Today is the day that the fear mongers in America get their biggest wish. And it isn't even an action that took place here in the United States. The event that I am talking about is the Canadian Soldier shot in Ottawa. The fact that a soldier was shot guarding the National War Memorial isn't the biggest news to them. It is that the person who shot the soldier is a Canadian citizen that recently converted to Islam. A home grown terrorist.

Given that we are in the final stretch of the 2014 elections, I can see the political ads already.

Candidate X is willing to allow terrorists to cross our borders because they will not allow the authorities to keep the terrorists out.

Candidate Y cut Spending on the border patrol and the terrorists are flooding across our borders ready to attack.

And you know the one thing that you aren't going to hear from any politician though? This is the act of a single person and does not represent what the religion of Islam teaches. To say the previous sentence is political suicide. It shouldn't be, but it is. Why is that? Because we Americans have demonized any religion that is not what we believe is mainstream Catholicism. Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and many more religions have been looked down upon from Catholics that populate the country. Why? Because we Americans are arrogant and we know exactly what is best for everybody else. Even if we have no clue what their circumstances are.

But this isn't an argument about religion or which religion is correct. This is an argument against what we are going to hear in the coming weeks. We are going to hear that we need to protect our borders even more than we do, that new restrictions on American's personal freedoms need to be enacted, and that the terrorists are infiltrated our country and will pop up in every state to start killing who they see as infidels.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

More Religious Hypocrisy From The Right

North Carolina in it's infinite wisdom has passed a law banning same-sex marriages again. That is not news. What is news is that there are criminal charges that can be used against the person performing the religious ceremony. Well, a lawsuit has been filed arguing that the state is infringing on religious freedoms of the clergyman who performs the ceremony.

Now you would think that this would be a simple case for everybody to figure out. A person who is performing a religious ceremony that is performed elsewhere in the state being arrested for that act is being denied their religious liberty. But, like everything that has to do with religion, we have to see it through the prism of the Catholic, God Fearing people that believe that they know what religion should look like.

Here are what some people that are against gay marriage have to say about this:

"I'm not sure if this is a religious freedom claim or a publicity stunt," said Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, which has been one of the loudest religious voices against gay marriage. "This isn't the institutionalization of one particular religious viewpoint, but an idea that virtually every civilization has defined as being between one man and one woman."

Well, this isn't about religion anymore here. It is culture. One man, one woman for marriage. It is our culture and heritage. It is the survival of the Human Race. Fuck religion because if we allowed different religions to practice what they believe, then we might have problems.

Moore, along with other religious conservatives, argued that when it comes to recent laws regulating same-sex marriage, religious liberty is a right that should be reserved for those who disagree with gay marriage.

"Religious liberty is something different," said Moore. "It's when there is an infringement that happens on people's right to dissent to same-sex marriages. We are concerned with people being forced to participate in those ceremonies, which we see with cases of florists, photographers and others across the country."

This is great. Because they don't believe in what you do, they don't get the religious liberty that you want? If the UCC says that according to their beliefs in the Bible that same-sex marriage is legal, they don't deserve religious liberty, but the people that follow your teachings that same-sex marriage is an affront to God deserve that religious liberty. That is a violation of 1st Amendment rights if I have ever heard one.  And that means that the North Carolina State Government has broken Federal Law yet again. This is becoming an every year sort of deal.

Tami Fitzgerald, director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, the group that led the charge to pass the state's ban on same-sex marriage, echoed Moore's sentiments, saying the beliefs of the clergy from the United Church of Christ are "errant."

"These individuals are simply revisionists that distort the teaching of Scripture to justify sexual revolution, not marital sanctity," Fitzgerald said in a statement.

Where are the laws in North Carolina that say that raping your wife and then forcing her to marry you is OK. That is in the scripture. Where are the laws in North Carolina that say that you cannot mix fabrics. That is in the scripture. And I don't want to hear about the civilization has advanced argument or that things have changed. Because according to the argument above, the UCC is distorting the teachings of Scripture, but yet almost each and every Catholic Church in America are willing to have parishoners in their churches that are divorced for reasons not mentioned in the Bible for the only reasons that you should be divorced. They have remarried people in their ranks. And their former spouse is still living and have not been put to death. So to you, Tami Fitzgerald, you have distorted the teaching of scripture. You and your church. But yet, there is no law out there that says you should be criminally charged with a crime.

And sexual revolution is the thought that there is one man, one woman. The base nature of any living organism isn't based on attraction to the different sex. It is the primal urge to have sex, the primal urge to find love and companionship, the primal urge to be safe. And the animal kingdom shows us that. The one man, one woman concept is based upon what humans think is the best for us. It might be the best for us, but it is not natural law.

For you religious liberty people, it just cannot be for those who believe in the traditional Catholic way. For religious liberty to be true, everybody who has a deeply religious belief has to be allowed to practice that as long as it does not interfere with the base laws of society. And marriage is not one of those base laws. Besides, the Catholic Church of America has violated their own teachings for the past century to try and gain more power. I am tired of hearing the religious people in this country say that we need to follow God's law. I would rather follow the mentally ill and try to remake the country in their way of thinking. Why? Because I know that they are insane. But to follow what God's law is would be trying to follow two contradictory paths at the very least. And if we follow the Catholic teachings, we violate the 1st Amendment and lay waste to everything that every conservative out there says they want to follow.

The pushing of religion out to every issue in the public square that is up for debate cheapens that arguments that religion and the teachings of religious scholars and books can make and help decide what might be good for the country. Sometimes, religion needs to be taken out of decisions, or at the very least the particular viewpoint of the Catholic religion. Because it is just another way to divide us. And we don't need that.

The quotes in the post are from this story:

The author of the post, in full disclosure is an Ordained Minister in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Oh, Tell Me What You Would Do

Yesterday, I was watching the Senate C-SPAN channel and listening to the Senators argue whether or not we should pass the resolution about loaning Ukraine money. There were people like Senator McCain, Reid, and others ready to pass the resolution and others were arguing that they didn't like the IMF role in distributing money and that it might take money out of the defense budget. And while I understand both arguments, it is the ones that oppose the resolution that I want clarification from.

The ones that are fighting this, are also the ones that are screaming in the media that we need to stop the Russian aggression in Chrimea and Ukraine. That Vladimir Putin is the current Joseph Stalin and is invading countries to rebuild the Soviet Union. That we need to intervene militarily to stop Russian incursions because after Ukraine will be the Russian speaking Baltic States and then he will continue to move west into neighboring states that declared their independence from the Soviets back in the 90's. While I don't believe that this is going to happen, let's say for arguments sake that you are correct. That everything happens above. What should we do?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Religious Freedom Legislation And The Problems Ahead

Arizona missed an opportunity to become the 1st state in the union to openly discriminate against everybody who isn't a Christian and didn't follow the Bible, thanks to Jan Brewer's veto of the bill. SB 1062 would have been the first shot in the dividing of the country by religious sects. And we will get there. I am almost positive that the "Moral and Virtuous" Christians out there will figure out a state legislature and governor to roll over and get this passed in their state. Believe me, Arizona might be the one in the news, but there are other states out there that are thinking the exact same way as the people who pushed SB 1062. Although there will be nothing within the next month that will get passed, later this year, the ball starts rolling again in the states.

The Arizona debacle has stopped other states in their tracks. In Kansas, the Senate decided not to consider the bill. Of course, the House there had passed the measure. And I am sure that the Governor there would have signed it into law. I am ashamed that South Dakota had this legislation even considered. It was tabled in the Senate Judiciary Committee. In Tennessee, the sponsor had withdrawn his support of the bill there. In Ohio, the bill put forth was withdrawn. In Georgia, they had one each for the Senate and the House. The Senate bill had been withdrawn. The House bill is proceeding but it won't get through the Senate even if it does pass the House. In Indiana, lawmakers abandoned a constitutional amendment that would have protected religious schools and charities from discrimination lawsuits. Utah tabled the resolution there.