Barack Obama Leaves Trinity

So Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama are leaving
their church, the Trinity United Church of Christ. I ask: What is the point of
leaving now?

Someone should have told Barack Obama that this is not
something that he can just walk away from. You can not erase the past Obama
buddy, I’m sorry to break the news to you. You’re going to have to live with
it. As much as you and your followers don’t like the idea of having to deal
with the consequences of your own personal actions; I know… It’s a hard
concept to wrap your head around.

Thankfully I have little doubt that the vast majority of my
fellow Americans realize the very same things that I do; as such there is no
way that Barack Obama will win the presidency; no matter whom he disowns.
Seriously, who’s next Obama, your wife Michelle perhaps?

This is nothing more than yet another calculated move made
by Barack Obama for his own personal gain. First he didn’t want to disown his
mentor and pastor, Jeremiah Wright; he then hypocritically does exactly what he
said he would not and could not do, but only after Jeremiah Wright made him
look bad in public.

Only after coming to realize, or more than likely being
told, that disowning Jeremiah Wright was the best decision for his presidential
campaign did Barack Obama do so. Only when he realized that there was more to
gain on a personal level by disowning him than by keeping him around did Barack
Obama do so.

Only after the polls and his handlers told him that leaving
his church would be beneficial did Barack Obama so do. That is hypocritical and
cowardly. Stand up for what you truly believe in Barack; you can’t sit in a
“church” for over 20 years listening to hate spew forth from the alter and not
believe at least some of is, can you Mr. Obama?

Of course you can’t. It’s clear to everyone that actually
wants to open their eyes and look at the situation logically and without
political prejudice, such as me, that Barack Obama is nothing more than a
politician, an empty suit, trying to do whatever is best for Barack Obama.

That is all Barack Obama cares about. He doesn’t care about
the American people or our country. He wants to be the President, it is all
that he has on his mind, and it is all that he cares about. Whatever he has to
smash through and trample to reach his goal, well they are just sacrifices that
must be made for the great good, isn’t that right Mr. Obama?

He doesn’t care about the Democratic Party or its members.
He doesn’t care about its leaders or its oldest supporters. He cares about
winning this election, above all else. This is extremely obvious, Barack Obama
would not have thrown his mentor Jeremiah Wright under his political bus;
Barack Obama would not have removed himself from his “church”, or which he was
a member for over 20 years.

Those are not things that people easily walk away from.
Looking back on Barack Obama’s much lauded speech on race only confirms this.

The Facts Behind The Gas Tax Holiday

So this whole gas tax issue has been popular lately; since
John McCain and Hillary Clinton both stated that removing the tax on gasoline
and other fuels would be something that they would do, and something that they
believe would be good for Americans; while Barack Obama opposed the idea.

I’m not going to argue whether I believe John McCain, Barack
Obama, or Hillary Clinton is correct in their stance and their beliefs on the
issue. What I am going to address is what exactly all of these tax payer
dollars in fuel tax revenue are supposed to be going to:

You may have seen the word hypothecation used in reference
to the gas tax; what that means is that the revenues from the motor fuel tax
are supposed to go directly towards the infrastructure used by motor vehicles,
such as roads, bridges and highways; as well as to help with the infrastructure
for the fuels themselves.

Many people’s main argument against both John McCain’s and
Hillary Clinton’s idea to relieve the American people of this motor fuel tax
for the summer has been that this money is indeed going towards the repair and
upkeep of our roads, bridges and highways; and why would we not want better and
safer roads, bridges and highways.

Yet just last summer we had two different bridges collapse
right here in the United States; including the absolutely devastating Minneapolis
I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota; which sadly cost the lives of 13
innocent Americans and hurt at least 60 more. A horrible and unnecessary travesty,
that undoubtedly could have and should have been prevented.

Several independent research institutions have also pointed
out several other bridges in need of repair; as well as vast stretches of other
infrastructure that is in need of upkeep. So where is all of this tax money
going if not on this very necessary infrastructure maintenance?

In fiscal year 2005, nearly 36 Billion Dollars in revenue
from the Motor Fuel Tax was received by state and local governments across the
United States. An additional 18.4 cents per gallon in Federal Tax is also
currently charged; which is also the tax that the three Presidential candidates
and their supporters are debating over. That is a lot of money that is supposed
to be used to keep Americans safe.

The 18.4 cents per gallon Federal tax, if voided for the
summer as John McCain and Hillary Clinton wish to do, would “cost” the
government 10 Billion dollars. What “cost” actually means in this case is that
the American people would be able to keep 10 Billion of their hard earned
dollars over the summer, while the government would theoretically have 10
Billion less tax dollars to waste.

The argument of those against the tax holiday is, as I
stated above, that this summer tax holiday is going to “cost” the government 10
Billion dollars, which would otherwise be going towards the upkeep of our nation’s
infrastructure.

Yet from our recent history, as well as simply keeping our
eyes open as we drive on, ride on, and walk along our roads, we can see that
our infrastructure is in terrible shape. From this we must come to the
conclusion that the Billions of dollars in taxes that are supposed to be going
towards our nation’s infrastructure are actually being wasted. Which is not a surprise;
the government wastes the vast majority of our tax dollars.

The other argument against the gas tax holiday is that it is
not going to reduce prices at the pump at all. Those greedy oil companies are
simply going to add another 18.4 cents per gallon to their bottom and top lines!

That argument is simply ignorance. Why? Because the Motor
Fuel Tax is added onto the price of gas set by the oil companies, it has no
impact on the price that fuel companies charge for their fuel. It is an added
tax of 18.4 cents on every gallon of fuel sold in the United States.

That doesn’t mean that the price of your gasoline will not
continue to rise over the summer, as it does every summer. That is simply due
to the increased demand for the product during the summer months. The tax being
there or not being there is not at all relevant.

If the tax was there, then the price for gasoline over the
summer would be the oil company’s price plus an added 18.4 cents extra in tax.
If the tax was not there, then the price of the gasoline would be 18.4 cents
cheaper.

Hopefully that clears up the issue for everyone that was confused
about it, and for those unsure of whether your candidate’s stance is
intelligent or not: Simply look at the facts and come to your own conclusion.

Rethinking the war in Iraq: Why we have to stay in Iraq

Why we have to stay in Iraq

 

The people of Iraq are depending on us. The population of
Iraq is estimated at well over twenty-seven million; twenty-seven million of our
fellow human beings that have had their country and their lives turned upside
down by this war; twenty-seven million; twenty-seven million people that are only
going to be affected negatively by our withdrawal from their country in its
current state.

You don’t have to believe that us going into Iraq was a good
idea in the first place, I certainly don’t believe that it was. But that does not
change the fact that we are now in Iraq and that those twenty-seven million
Iraqi children, women, and men, both young and old and every age in between,
are in a much worse situation than we are.

We are certainly going to be affected as well: There is a
huge cost to us staying in Iraq for the long haul, a cost of many American
lives and a large amount of Americans tax dollars. But it is the Iraqi people that are
going to end up paying the greatest price, a far greater price than we could
possibly imagine, if we choose to abandon them and their country, leaving them
with the mess that we have started.

It doesn’t matter why we are in Iraq now, or why we went
there in the beginning. Yes, we all know that Barack Obama voted against going
to war with Iraq; we all know that Hillary Clinton voted to go to war with Iraq; and we
all know that it was the idea of the Republicans, George Bush, and Dick Chaney
in the first place, but none of the matters any longer. The reality of the
situation is that there are millions and millions of innocent Iraqi civilians,
people just like you and I, that are going to end up paying the real cost of
this war. Think of those people the next time you are discussing, listening to,
or reading something about the war in Iraq. Think of those people the next time you hear
a person or a politician say that we need to abandon Iraq.

Theological Thought

From Various Thoughts on Philosophy and Religion

===

We can’t say for sure that early religious beliefs were not accepting of dissenting views and new ideas. In fact there is clear evidence that various religious ideas have melded into one another and then became a very much new idea that was generally accepted by those people. Whether they were persuaded somehow to accept these new beliefs is up for debate, but I’m sure that they would have been influenced by those that were in power and leading their people. We can use things from earlier in this thread as an example; Such as the Romanization of the ancient Greek Gods, to the acceptance of many Pagan traditions even now in our modern Christianity. I do agree in saying that these things were done to somewhat pacify the people, to make them happy and give them what they want, thus causing less problems for the people in charge. So knowing these things, I do not think that we can say that all or even a majority of humankinds past religious thought was as closed minded as people like to think, and some of that is certainly warranted, there has been much bloodshed for religious beliefs alone and that is the only side that many people like to look at the discussion from.

I also agree that it is very much a possibility that the very first religious beliefs came about through the fear of the people of their surroundings. But even if that were the case, we would not be able to say that they were also not trying to understand what was going in those surroundings at the very same time. There’s no way that we can say that fear was the sole or even the main reason for the first religious beliefs to come about.

Of course you make a good point in saying that philosophical thought is a better tool for us to use in deducing the truth of our surroundings than ancient religious beliefs and religious thought in general. But I would say that it is generally safe for us to assume that these ancient religious beliefs far predate any philosophical thought. I find it hard to imagine that ancient people with their scavenger-hunter-gatherer ways had much of a chance to sit around and have discussions using a philosophical thought process, rather they would, quite possibly out of fear, discuss ways to make their very difficult life easier. Why this turned into worshiping river, forest and sun Gods, or what have you, I do not know for sure. But it does seem fairly obvious to me that these people were making use of what they had, much like any other animal they just wanted to lead their life and have as few hardships as possible.

You mention Socrates and make another very good point. At some point in time there will be no need for religion, when there is nothing left that we as humans do not know, then I see no reason for religion to exist outside of it’s cultural value. It’s stories and superstitions would no longer have a reason to be taken seriously (not that I believe they do now). But until that point in time comes that science can prove to all of humankind that religious beliefs are no longer necessary, then I feel that we as tolerant human beings must accept religion and make sure that it is only used for good in the world, rather than any past evils that it may have been the cause of.

I also believe that the very heart of religious thought is to know the unknown. I honestly do not believe that these general ideas came about as a means for the then leaders to control their populations. It isn’t clear exactly, but I believe that it is an easily arguable point that religious thought is nearly as ancient as humans themselves. I can envision a group of people, a family, living somewhere in the wilderness of Africa gathering food, scavenging the kills of other animals, and even hunting for their own kills. These people communicate their family’s/tribe’s past beliefs and superstitions to their newest generations, teaching them what they know of the ways of their surroundings. That is how I see religious thoughts arising in humans, not with agriculture and the leaders of civilizations but with a small group or family of people, passing down what they think that they know about the land, the assumptions that they have made and the beliefs that they now have, to their children. They were simply trying to explain things that they could not even begin to understand.

That is why I think that religious thought should be respected. I detest the thought that religion is all bad, and was something simply invented by the leaders of humankind to take advantage and hurt the average person. That is just such a ridiculous thing to believe, at least when it comes to truly ancient religious thought. These were people that didn’t have the luxury to sit around as Socrates did and have in depth discussions on such things. No, these were people that were simply trying to survive in the harshest of environments. And as such, we can not blame them for their beliefs that may seem silly to us now.

Continuing on: Those beliefs demand to be respected by all intelligent beings. Because at the very heart of such beliefs we must see the absolute brilliance of their thought process, the want and yearning to know what they do not know, to understand what they do not and can not understand. That is a beautiful thought process to have, and one that is most certainly not an innate human ability, as we can clearly see by the misuse of our brains in both modern and ancient times. It is the thought process of a brilliant person, or a brilliant group of people. The first group of people that decided that there was something to the rain falling down on them, there was something to- as you said, those orange and grey spheres in the sky that we can and then suddenly cannot see. These unknown people made the first and most brilliant observations in our history as human beings. An absolute breakthrough and something that should be respected and taught to every person throughout the world, no matter what they believe.

It’s not even about beliefs. It was an abhorrent task for humans to take to cloud and tear apart these first brilliant observations from seam to seam. I completely disagree with how religion has been misused throughout our history. This is the very sad reason that a great many intelligent people will not even make the attempt to understand what is at the true heart of religious thought. It isn’t Jesus Christ or the Pope, it isn’t Muhammad, and it isn’t the Torah. It’s a group of people, perhaps many groups of people, making the most noble of attempts to understand what was going on in the world around them. That is what should be respected and looked at when people discuss religion, yet it’s never even brought up.

That isn’t to say that I am either for or against modern mainstream religions though. I fully understand that they have done many good and bad deeds both past and present. For these reasons I understand why some people dislike one or the other, or even all of them. But I would argue that most of our popular religions have done more good for humans than they have done bad. And I believe that most religions should be respected for their intense amounts of cultural value. Many great things have come about through the means of modern religious beliefs.

One story, that I’ve just tried to google but wasn’t able to find anything. But I was told (or read) once that Michelangelo said something along the lines of “God put the image of David in the marble” – and all he did was bring it out and make it visible for all of us to see. That’s as close as I can recall to what was said, and of course I have no proof of that, but it seems like a reasonable thing for Michelangelo to say. As it goes along with the fact that a belief in God has been an inspiration for some of the greatest works, both artistic and not, of all time.