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Congress votes to let banks steal again?

Letter to the Editor

In 2008 the banks almost collapsed the American economy when they took our money and gambled it away at the Wall Street casino trading derivatives. As part of the recovery Congress passed laws to prevent the banks from doing the same thing again. Now Citibank slipped a law into the budget package that allows banks to do it again.

Banks can now gamble with our deposits, our savings, our pensions, and if they lose the taxpayer is stuck with the bill. And this time they just legalized the stealing. America, as a nation, is on the verge of committing suicide. And we have to do this so members of Congress can be home for Christmas. Where is the outrage?

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ISIS was created out of torture

Letter to the Editor

For those of you who think torture is OK we may end up having to fight another war in Iraq because of it. The terrorists organization ISIS started in an American operated prison in Iraq where they were all tortured together by Americans under the Bush administration. Torture is not who we are and it’s not what we do.  Torture is pure evil and it’s a crime against not just those who are tortured but against humanity itself. We, as a nation, are now paying a very heavy prices for our sins. People need to go to jail for this.

Everyone exploiting a great man – Bill Cosby

Letter to the Editor

What a shame! What an injustice! Bill Cosby is a great man and opportunists and the news media are exploiting him all in the name of making a buck. Reminds me of how they did the same thing to Michael Jackson. Now his shows are being cancelled so the news industry can make a buck off it.

Democrats should not have supported NSA Spying

Letter to the Editor

Democrats like Nancy Pelosi made a serious mistake in supporting Obama on the NSA spying. The government spying on Americans without a warrant is criminal. It was criminal when Bush did it and it is criminal when Obama does it. The Dems failed to appreciate how serious Americans feel about the constitution and the Rule of Law. I therefore call on Pelosi to step down as the House minority leader and let someone take over who is going to put Americans ahead of covering up for Obama’s failures.

NASA should be funding modern American Technology

Letter to the Editor

On Tuesday private rocket company Orbital Science’s rocket, which was suppose to carry supplies to the International Space Station, blew up 6 seconds after lift off. They were using a refurbished Soviet era engine made by the Russians 40 years ago. In contrast companies like SpaceX are using their own American made rocket engines using the latest 21st century technology that makes us independent of the Russians.

I think that if NASA is going to contract out space missions they should be investing in new American made technology rather that recycled Russian rockets. That would be better use of the US taxpayer’s money.

Not all religions deserve respect

Letter to the Editor

As we see yet another Muslim terrorist attacking the Parliament of Canada I have to ask, when is enough enough? How long to we coddle Islam because it’s a religion when these people don’t get it that murdering people is wrong. I’m an Atheist and even I know that’s not what God wants you to do. This isn’t just “a few bad apples”. All my life we have been involved in some religious war where religious people are killing each other in the name of God, and I have had it! It’s not a religion. These are crazy people who what to murder people and it’s not ok. Why should the rest of us have to live in fear and go to wars in the Middle East because of religious freedom? Why is their freedom more important than mine?

Supreme Court helps Republicans Cheat

Letter to the Editor

The Supreme Court has again intervened in behalf of Republicans in Texas to use voter ID laws to prevent 600,000 blacks, latinos, students, and the elderly from voting. This is the last move in a string of decisions the court has made to fix elections for Republicans that started in 2000 when they appointed Bush president and continued on through declaring corporations are people. I don’t know how we can call America a democracy when the courts are helping Republicans cheat.

California Plastic Bag Ban is Wrong

Letter to the Editor

As a citizen of California I want to apologize to the rest of the nation for California’s misguided ban on single use plastic bags. Although passed with good intentions this ban is actually more harmful than good. If anything should have been banned – it’s paper – not plastic.

The paper process is actually many times as polluting as plastic. Plastic gets a bad rap because it is usually manufactured out of oil industry by products. But plastic can be made out of anything including extracting carbon dioxide out of the air. Plastic waste can either be recycled, used as fuel, or stored underground to permanently sequester carbon from the environment.

Also, the amount of plastic in the bag is orders of magnitude less plastic that any plastic in the product in the bag, A plastic bottle has 100 times as much plastic as the bag. A ban on bottled water, for example, would be 100 times as effective as a plastic bag ban if plastic were actually a problem.

I am for saving the environment. Earth is our space ship and we have to protect it so we can continue to live here long term. But we have to put science first and our plastic bag ban is not based on science. So I’m concerned that California’s bad judgement not be replicated in other states.

Tired of Lame Congress

Letter to the Editor

Here we are at the start of yet another Iraq war which will include Syria and Congress, who is supposed to authorize wars, isn’t even going to vote on it. So we are going to just blindly blunder into yet another war. However the Republican House is already planning yet another vote to shut down the government. So we do have time and money for political stunts. Really?

I suppose it’s our fault. After all, we are the ones who elected them. And isn’t that just a little bit pathetic?

How are we going to pay for war?

Letter to the Editor

I find it interesting that when it comes to going to war no one asks the question, “How are we going to pay for it?” or even mentions the national debt. Seems to me that we should at least discuss it.

Arming ISIS Rebels is the wrong solution

Letter to the Editor

Although I agree with President Obama that something needs to be done about ISIS terrorists cutting peoples heads off, I don’t agree that arming the “good rebels” is the solution. Quite frankly, there are no good rebels. Today’s good rebels are tomorrow’s bad rebels.

Today the Sunni Muslims are chopping off the heads of Shia Muslims. Tomorrow the Shia will be chopping off the heads of the Sunnis. When Reagan was president Osama bin Laden was his best buddy and we supported the Mujahideen freedom fighters who turned into the Taliban and Al Qaeda. All these people seem to want to do when they are free is kill each other, rape each other’s women, put women in black bags, and throw acid in the faces of little girls trying to go to school.

So I’m wondering if we are wrong spreading democracy to those who aren’t ready for it. It seems to me that the brutal dictator form of government is the best solution for them. They actually are far more civilized under a dictator than a democracy. I find myself longing for the days when Saddam Hussein was in charge. Iraq was far better off then than it is now. I think we should support Assad if we are going to take a side

Overthrowing Saddam was a mistake

Letter to the Editor

No one is a fan of Saddam Hussein by it seems that America’s policy of overthrowing brutal dictators in the middle east in favor of democracy is a mistake. Muslims in the middle east, it turns out, are actually better off under brutal dictators because when they are given freedom the violence and slaughtering actually increases. Although it was noble of us perhaps to try to spread freedom we should also have taken into account if the people we are freeing are ready for freedom. If freedom means you can chop off the head of someone because they are a different religion then they aren’t ready to join the free world. Violence in Iraq was far lower under Saddam.

God is making things worse for Middle East

Letter to the Editor

If something isn’t working then try something else. Believing in God is not working in the Middle East. I’m 58 years old and my entire life all I see is Muslins slaughtering Jews, Jews slaughtering Muslims, Muslims slaughtering Christians, Christians slaughtering Muslims, and Muslims slaughtering Muslims. In spite of the “Thou shall not kill” commandment the slaughtering goes on and on and on.

The way I see it none of these religions actually believe in the God they identify with anyway because if they did they would at least respect “Thou shall not kill”. Their behaviour is fueling Atheism because if they don’t really believe it – why should anyone else?

I think it’s time to admit that the whole God thing doesn’t work and that it’s time to turn to Reality. Those of us in the Reality Based Community understand that killing is wrong. Scientists don’t kill other scientists because they disagree if Quantum Loop Gravity better explains black hole entropy than String Theory. Realists work to make the world a better place for all people and war interferes with our ability to discover the nature of the universe. God isn’t working. It’s time to embrace Reality. Reality changed my life, it can change your life too!

Ferguson Cops too dumb to serve

Letter to the Editor

I’m watching the Ferguson Missouri police on TV with my mouth open as they are arresting journalists. What are these people thinking? I have never seen a police department so disconnected with their community and with common sense. Can’t think of a way to get worse press coverage than to arrest and assault reporters. They should at least be fired for being stupid.

Israel does NOT have the right to exist

Letter to the Editor

Israel keeps stating over and over again that it has a “right to exist as a Jewish state”. Israel certainly does not. Any country that has a system where one religion has more rights that another religion is fundamentally wrong. There is absolutely nothing about being Jewish that gives a person a superior right over those who are not Jewish.

In any modern system of government all people have the same rights regardless of what they believe or don’t believe in. By accepting Jews have a right to a Jewish state is no different that any other religion claiming a right to a state. We can’t start dividing up the world based on crazy religions who think God gave them land. As we can see from the way they behave that this doesn’t work and that war and oppression is the result. And America should stop supporting Israel until they start treating everyone fairly and equally. Until then the oppressed will always rise up against the oppressor. The war will never end.

Solar Electric with NO MONEY DOWN!

This is going to be interesting, and I’m going to post updates on the progress. Just ordered a new solar system for my house from Solar City. And it’s not going to cost me anything out of pocket. They come out and put it in and then they become my electricity provider. I still get a small PG&E bill for the meter and gas I use, but the rest is billed from Solar City.

Yes – technically I could have saved even more if I built my own or bought one outright. And probably could have done that. But Solar City is one of Elon Musk’s companies (as in Tesla motors and SpaceX) and I like what he’s doing to improve the world so I decided not just to do what’s easy but I feel good about giving them my business.

Plan is to get 15 panels. I really only need 12 but I just wanted to generate a little extra power just for the hell of it. What’s amazing is that with an electric bill that’s only $75/month they still could actually save me a few bucks. But I’m doing it mostly because I like the idea of not burning carbon to make my power. And I get to save money doing it.

Technically because I had them add 3 extra panels my saving is less. I would have saved $12/month but not I’m saving only $1. That’s OK because that’s what I want. Money isn’t the biggest factor. But in the future my savings will increase because PG&E rates will go up faster than Solar City. The contract says they can only go up 3%/year max.

But – I want to get some personal experience with solar. That way I can talk about it from experience. There isn’t anything cleaner than solar power. Although I think the immediate threat from global warming is exaggerated, one can not deny that it has some effect. And I know that it will be bad in the long run to pump all the carbon into the environment. So reducing one’s carbon footprint and saving money doing it is a good thing. Most of the time being green costs more. This costs less.

Realistically I’ve been thinking about the big picture. In some ways PG&E is getting screwed because 1/2 of their costs is maintaining the power lines, not making the power. So since the solar power is effectively “stored” in the PG&E grid they are getting short changed from that aspect.

However, solar makes electricity on those hot summer days when PG&E needs it the most. PG&E has to have the ability to generate enough power in real time to meet peak demand. So if they can’t do that they have to ask some of their big power users to shut down so they can power our home air conditioners. But since I will be generating excess power not only will I not be a drag on the system, but I’ll be powering my neighbor’s air conditioner as well. The PG&E can sell their power to other customers and not have to shut them down. It also reduces their line posses on high demand days, and it makes it so they need to build fewer power plants to have the capacity to cover hot days. So PG&E gets some benefits too.

Also, as Solar City expands to more and more sites eventually they might become the nation’s biggest power provider. And that will get them some political clout to go up against big coal and oil. So I’m also stopping some strip mining and fracking, and I’m not funding Muslim terrorists as much. Although an electric car would make a bigger difference there.

There’s another interesting aspect to this as well. I might actually make some money at this. They have a referral program that pays me $250 if I get someone else signed up. And I get an extra $100 on a second level signup. And I’ve made a lot of money in the past with affiliate programs. So it’s going to be interesting to see how that works out as well.

 

God’s chosen people should be better behaved

Letter to the Editor

The Jews are supposed to be “God’s chosen people” and Israel is supposed to be the Jewish homeland. But when I see Israelis burning innocent children alive I have to ask the question, really? That’s what God wants? The way I see it God’s chosen people wouldn’t set children on fire. It makes Atheists laugh at you.

I was raised Jewish and I have higher expectations of behavior of Jews than I do Muslims. Israel should be setting a better example. Burning children alive is always wrong.

Have we no compassion for children?

Letter to the Editor

We have a flood of children who are running for their lives from Central America traveling thousands of miles in hope that Americans will take them in and save their lives. So what are we going to do? We’re going to send them back to die. Really?!? What kind of nation have we become? We’re just a country of fat stupid people. Makes me want to vomit on the flag.

Corporations now have Religion?

Letter to the Editor

First the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people. Now they are ruling that corporations have religion. And that the religious values  of corporations trumps the religious values of employees. That’s what they ruled in giving Hobby Lobby the religious right to deny birth control coverage to its 13,000 employees. It used to be that people owned corporations. But ow it looks like corporations own people because the religious rights of corporations come first.

 

We need Islam free energy source

Letter to the Editor

Although the debate rages on between the right wing and reality about reducing carbon emissions, maybe we can find agreement on a different reason why we should work to give up oil. We need an Islam free source of energy. Every time I fill up my gas tank I’m funding the expansion of Muslim control of the world. We are now about to get involved in yet another middle east war where we don’t even know who the enemy is. Why don’t we take the trillion dollars we would have spent helping Muslims slaughter each other and put it into solar and battery research? I just think it’s time we stop having to do business with violent crazy people

 

No War till we figure out what side we’re on

Letter to the Editor

A few months ago we were against the Syrian government supported in part by our other enemy Iran. Senators like John McCain called for us to arm the rebels to overthrow the evil dictator. Luckily Obama didn’t arm the rebels because those same rebels have now invaded Iraq and are now our enemy. Now Syria and Iran are fighting the rebels and they are our friends. But our other friends in Saudi Arabia are the ones funding the rebels the way they funded Osama bin Laden.

Now people are talking about getting back into Iraq to fight for what? Our position is, “Why can’t everyone just get along so we can buy your oil?” Muslims have been killing Muslims for the last 1400 years and we are feeding it buy buying their oil. Every time we fill our gas tank we’re funding Islam. Isn’t it time we quit doing that?

Why don’t we take the trillion dollars the next war would have cost us and invest it in new technologies. If we develop solar power, create better batteries for energy storage, and invest in NASA for space based energy solutions then we won’t have to get involved in Muslim wars so we can drive our cars. And we can solve the man made part of global warming. Then we won’t need the oil and they can go about killing each other without Americans having to get in the middle.

Iraq Again?

Letter to the Editor

There are a lot of people wanting us to go back into Iraq yet a 3rd time. “We need to take control or the price of oil and gasoline will go up.” So I’m thinking that after spending trillions of dollars on war why don’t we spend that money on solar power and battery technology instead. Why don’t we use that money to invent a battery that can go 1000 mile on a charge instead of just 250 miles. If we did that we could even power our car with coal and be cleaner. than gasoline.

But the best part about solar is that we don’t have to go to war in the middle east and give all than money to Muslims. We could just sit back and watch them kill each other like we do in Syria. Solar not only is cleaner – but it reduces war and terrorism.

Troops need free medical insurance too

Letter to the Editor

It’s pretty clear that there are serious problem with the Veterans Administration who are supposed to be taking care of our troops who sacrificed for our freedom. So when I hear that these brave people aren’t getting medical treatment – I think we can all agree that is just plain wrong.

So – I think that in addition or possibly instead of the VA I think that our troops should get free private health care insurance to go to any hospital they want, and the insurance should be at least as good as the policy that members of Congress get. If there are issues of waiting times at VA hospitals then they should be able to go to regular hospitals and get treatment the same way that civilians do. And I don’t want to hear anything about affording it because when you vote to go to war you are already committing to cover the troops. If we send people to fight and die then the least we can do is to take care of them when they come home.

Supreme Court gives God Welfare

Letter to the Editor

The United States Supreme Court today decided to ignore the Constitution and give God some religious welfare allowing Christian prayers at public meetings. The way I see it God needs all the political welfare he can get right now because more and more people are realizing the the invisible cloud being simply doesn’t exist. Science is now the new Bible and Reality is the new God. The time has come for the religious would to upgrade.

Thousands of years ago religion 1.0 relied on the authority of elders. When written language was invented religion 2.0 became the authority of scripture. Now we have religion 3.0 which is the authority of evidence. Back before the word Reality was invented the word God was understood to mean everything that exists in the universe. But now our understanding of the universe has greatly expanded and Reality is the new name for what the ancients called God. Now it’s science that reveals the Truth and like all religions we are still trying to understand our creator just as we always have.

So the Supreme Court is trying to hold onto the old version of God and keep him alive through belief. What they don’t understand is that Reality doesn’t change just because you want to believe something different. So even if everyone in the world believed in some guy with white hair living in the clouds created the universe in 6 days, it doesn’t make it real. So my message to the Supreme Court is – keep your day job and stick with law and get out of promoting your religion.

Don’t blame Snowden for Obama’s bad choices

Letter to the Editor

Today in his news conference with German Chancellor Merkel President Obama said it has “pained” him to see how Edward Snowden’s leaking of NSA documents has hurt the United States’ relationship with Germany. Are you kidding me? Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is that is was Obama’s illegal NSA spying on Merkel that has hurt the United States’ relationship with Germany. Snowden is a law abiding patriot who upheld the Constitution by heroically exposing Obama’s illegal behavior. German isn’t upset with Snowden. Germany is upset with Obama’s spying, as they should be. Just imagine how we would feel if German spies tapped our president’s phone. Obama needs to take responsibility for his own behavior and stop blaming Snowden for exposing something he shouldn’t have been doing in the first place.

I’m tired of Racism

Letter to the Editor

I’m getting tired of this whole racist thing. It all just plain stupid. The Reality is that every person on the planet, whether you are white, black, brown, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American, we are the descendents of Africans. We all come from black people. We are all blood relatives. It’s a fact, so get used to it.

The idea of classifying people by the frequencies of light reflected but the surface of their skin is juvenile. It’s time to grow up. We are one race, the human race. It’s time to give up the whole racial identity thing because we really aren’t that different. So the idea that white people are superior, or that black people are inferior, both are just plain stupid. This Tea Party culture that overt racism and sexism is now socially acceptable is just plain dead wrong. It’s been 150 years since the Civil War. It’s time to get over racism.

Movies like Noah make people talk about Reality

Letter to the Editor

I personally like the fact that movies like Noah are in theaters because it raises the question, was the story of Noah real? If we went back in a time machine would we see the great flood? Would we see an Ark filled with two of every animal? Is this really True or are these just stories?

For us in the Reality based community we welcome these discussions because what is and isn’t real is important to us. We believe Reality should be part of the religious discussion. So any time Reality is being discussed we think it’s a good thing. We want people talking about the Bible in the context of Reality. What is real? Did the stuff in the Bible really happen? We Realists believe that the word Reality is a sacred word and every time anyone says the word Reality the world gets a little smarter.

NSA chose to leave computers vulnerable

Letter to the Editor

The National Security Agency (NSA) who Snowden has revealed has been spying on us, knowingly choose you leave an important Internet security flaw in place and exploit it rather than to protect the public and expose it. The recent “HeartBleed” security flaw that is currently being reported in the news was known to the NSA for the last 2 years. Rather than reporting it and fixing it they chose to exploit it in order to get access to all our passwords.

The big question is, was the NSA the only ones that knew about this security bug? We may never know until it’s too late. By choosing to leave the security flaw in place they created a 2 year window of opportunity for America’s enemies to also exploit this bug and break into top secret sites crutial to national defense and nuclear weapons systems. It also left everyone in the world exposed to criminal activity. The NSA doesn’t make America more safe. It makes us less safe. The NSA is a threat to America, a threat to the world, and a threat to civilization itself.

The Rich get their own roads to drive on

Letter to the Editor

There is a new disturbing trend in America, turning more and more roads into toll roads and converting lanes to toll lanes. Many states see it as an easy way to bring in more money often bypassing normal requirements to raise taxes. But what this ends up doing is creating fast lanes for the rich and slow lanes for the poor. And I think this is fundamentally wrong.

Here in America the Rich already pay a far lower tax rate than the people who work by the sweat of their brow for a living. Most recently in Northern California they want to convert a lot of Hwy 101 to make rich people lanes. Poor people pay more gas taxes that fund roads than the Rich do because they usually have to drive farther to work every day. I can understand them having lanes for car pools because they take cars off the road and reduce pollution. But I think giving the Rich their own lanes reminds of George Orwell’s book Animal Farm. “All animals are equal. but some animals are more equal than others.”

One Dollar One Vote

Letter to the Editor

America used to be a Democracy based on the idea of One Person One Vote. now we are al Oligarchy based on the idea of One Dollar One Vote. Now it’s all about what the billionaires want – people no longer matter.