Daines, Tester, Zinke: We May as Well Go Home, The Economy is Fixed
Oops. Sorry, that headline is wrong.
Apparently, only 35 permanent jobs are created by the Keystone Pipeline. Not 35 million, or 3.5 million or 350,000 or 35,000, or 3,500 or even 350. Just 35.
The pipeline does creates anywhere from 4,000 to 13,000 temporary jobs, including a few hundred temporary Montana jobs, most of which will go to more experienced pipeline workers from Texas, Canada and Oklahoma.
Nevertheless, passage of the pipeline bill was considered a success by the Republican controlled Congress since it sticks a finger into the eye of President Obama. The President has vowed to veto the bill, bowing to pressure from environmentalists, for once.
The bigger issue here is how making meaningless political gestures is the whole goal of our Radical Republican Congress.
In the words of the Mighty Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, “The goal of my office is to see that (Barack Obama) is a one term president.”
Well done, Mitch, well done!
[Want another view? Check out what an actual Muslim thinks about Islam. Radical.]
We have an offensive problem. It’s called supersessionism. Supersessionism is the antique idea that God$ is a piece of property that can be owned.
Offense 1: Seventeen innocent people were murdered in Paris because someone supposedly offended a prophet who died 14 centuries ago.
Offense 2: That man happens to be the Muhammad, who, most Muslims believe, should never be shown as a human, let alone be insulted or mocked. Many of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are offended that their Prophet can be offended without apology.
Offense 3: Most Muslims do not understand their religion offends Christians. The entire basis of Islam is that Jesus did not die on the cross and anyone who says he did is a liar. If you’re a Christian, this offends you.
Offense 4: Christians believe their religion fulfills Judaism. Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, so Jews should admit that and convert. If you’re a Jew, this offends you.
Offense 5: Jews believe their religion is the only one God$ gave to man. They don’t understand why other people don’t accept this and convert. If you’re a people, this offends you.
Technically, supersessionism means my religion fulfills, or supersedes, yours. Your religion, therefore, must be a lie and a fake. Islam supersedes Christianity. Christianity supersedes Judaism. Judaism supersedes Baalism or whatever.
Like Russian dolls, where a big one hides a littler one, each successive “Abrahamic religion” swallows up the one before. Given that the three claim to represent a total of almost four of the world’s seven billion people, this can pose problems for everybody getting along, whether they’re in the mix or not.
This brings us to Offense Number 6: Nobody owns God$. Whatever God$ is, She can’t be owned by any people, any nation, any ideology, any prophet, any man, any woman. Like modesty, when you brag that you’ve got it, it’s gone.
I’ve spent my life as a student of philosophy and religion. I have learned there is no way I can prove religion is wrong, any religion.
Maybe Muhammad really is the messenger of God$, who really is an Arab. Maybe Jesus was the Christ. Maybe Moses had the only rules we need to live by. Then again, maybe not.
But I am a man of great faith. I have faith that the world will rotate on its axis to reveal a new dawn every 24 hours. I can’t prove it to you. But like philosopher David Hume, I wager it is going to happen again tomorrow, and only chumps would bet elsewise.
That’s all faith is, is a bet on stuff. So long as you are free to bet on your stuff and I’m free to bet on my stuff, we’re okay. The problem comes when someone decides something is “offensive” and therefore off-limits. Freedom of speech is the same way.
I’m not a good artist so no one has to worry about me drawing pictures of their prophet or god. Instead I write. So can I say Mohammad is not the prophet? Or that Jesus isn’t the Son of God$?
Freedom means the freedom to say No. No, I don’t have to do this, but I could.
That’s why it’s so depressing to see and hear people running away from Charlie Hebdo, like the editor of my local newspaper did, with his “I’m not Charlie” headline. He misses the point.
Freedom is measured not by the one walk I do take, but in how many walks I could choose.
Here is the 7th Offense: Nobody should have to die for being offensive.
Below are the Charlie Hebdo cartoon covers that got the heroic editors targeted for murder last January.
However, an updated and related cartoon first. First is the cartoon the US Pentagon recently dropped over the Daish capital of Raqqa, Syria recently, Daish being a derogatory term for the so-called Islamic State. [Pronounced kind of like dogshit, and kind of means that too.] The pen truly is more powerful than the sword.
A cartoon from a leaflet dropped by the US Pentagon over Syria. The sign with the arrow says ‘Daish Recruiting Office’ ‘Daish’ being a derogatory word for the so-called Islamic State. The same word is on the meat grinder.
The black sign reads ‘now serving 6001’, and the new ISIS recruit at the front of the line drops that ticket number when he sees his unheavenly fate.
And now, the Charlie Hebdo cartoons
The Prophet Muhammad says: “100 lashes if you don’t die laughing!” [This was the special issue edited by Muhammad himself.]
A triple offense: “It’s time to veil Charlie Hebdo.”
“Love is stronger than hate.” Yup, once again that is supposed to be Muhammad.
“Don’t make fun of us” (I think.)
Okay, the following translation is accurate and NSFW.
Muhammad is overwhelmed with Fundamentalists. “It’s hard to be loved by cunts.”
Think about this, all you guys who want all these cartoons to run “in every newspaper.” They wouldn’t; they were meant to be offensive. The c-word here is much loved by Europeans, who apply it non-genderwise. Bitchin’ huh?
Finally, my favorite:
If the Prophet returned. “But I’m the prophet, Abruti [the so-called Caliph leader of ISIS.]” “Shut yer yap, infidel!”
I was trained as a journalist. I am also a wiseass.
Usually there is no price to pay for this in our country. The price for free speech in America was paid, and is paid, by the sacrifice of many many people much braver than me, most of them in uniform.
But sometimes they are not in uniform. Like journalists. Like James Foley or Steven Sotloff. And today, by twelve journalists in France. They made their living writing and drawing for Charlie Hebdo, a sort of French Mad Magazine, with more politics. (Closer to the now-defunct and great Spy magazine.)
Today a couple of jackals wearing hoods broke into their office and murdered them. They were shouting about God. These cowards actually thought that murdering unarmed people was “avenging” their prophet.
Charlie Hebdo had made fun of these guys. And the Prophet Muhammad.
A lot of people want to blame Islam for these killings and all the others. That’s like blaming Christianity for the Ku Klux Klan.
Years ago, I lived and worked in Atlanta. I worked for and with many Muslim people. They were among the sweetest people I ever met. One of them, a programmer who barely knew me, even helped me move.
They were always happy to talk about their religion. They always wanted you to share their beliefs.
So did most of the Evangelical Christians I met. And down South, I met a lot more of them, believe me.
Both groups wanted to save my soul.
I don’t begrudge either of them wanting to “save” my soul. I just disagree about it needing saving. But I was happy to talk to them. So long as I could still end with a No.
Maybe more than any other freedom, freedom of religion means I have the freedom to say No. No, I will not worship your God. But you don’t have to worship mine either. In a free country, your God has to compete with everybody else’s idea of God.
That offends intolerant people, whatever their picture of God is. But intolerance is an emotion, not a creed.
Today, intolerance scored some blood. But if the history of the last five hundred years holds true, they will lose.
As President Obama pointed out, France is America’s oldest ally. We need to say I Am Charlie Hebdo. Je Suis Charlie!