Jim Crow Heathen

It is one thing for Administration to meet with groups of varying viewpoints, but it is quite another for a senior official to sit down with activists representing some of the most hate-filled, anti-religious groups in the nation

Council Nedd — Chairman of the religious advocacy group In God We Trust.

Reading between the lines, what Mr. Nedd really meant was: It’s OK for the administration to meet with religious groups, but meeting with a group representing atheists, agnostics, or secularists is not acceptable. Get it? Our’s does not count as a legitimate viewpoint. In fact, bigots like Nedd and his ilk are so frightened by the notion of non-believers even being acknowledged in this nation, that they need to brand them as “hateful” just to ensure that nobody mistakes what is normal and acceptable—i.e., religiosity—and what isn’t.

And this is how it is in the United States. The last group against whom discrimination is not only acceptable, but actively encouraged, are non-believers. Think I’m full of it? Well numerous polls have shown that most Americans consider atheism to be sufficient reason, by itself, to vote against a particular candidate. In other words, a professed non-believer will never be president of this nation. In fact, many Americans believe that atheists and agnostics should be barred from teaching in public schools, barred from attaining public office, and, if the criminally stupid shenanigans at our military academies are an indication, barred from serving in our military.

“So keep ya’h heads down non-believers. Know yer place and don’t git uppity. Don’t act like y’all have the same rights as the faithful, and nobody’ll have a reason to teach ya’ a lesson.”

iNews Friday – Hey, You Got Your HCR On My Peanut Butter edition, 2/26/2010

A sampling of this week’s output from the iNews 9000 Turbo wi-fi headline translator—

Headline: Schwarzenegger Says “Worst Is Over” for Recession
Translation: Reporter misheard “Wurst is over” as Governator finished lunch

Headline: FBI Investigates Webcam Spy Allegations Against School
Translation: CIA sends recruiting officer

Headline: Some US Students Learn Mandarin With China’s Help
Translation: China needs an educated workforce to work in its call centers

Headline: Don’t Expect Miracles From Health Confab
Translation: GOP hits Obama – no faith healing in plan

Headline: Michele Bachmann RSVPs Regrets to Constituents
Translation: Miss Bachmann regrets she’s unable to demonize today, madam

Headline: Obama’s health care plan likely to dominate the week
Translation: Palin dominates weak-minded
Translation (Turbo mode): GOP dominates Reid

Headline: Palin to guest on Leno
Translation: Cue card guy gets night off, Leno to write monolog on his hand

Headline: Gibbs- We Didn’t Include The Public Option Because It Doesn’t Have The Votes
: The Corporate Ayes Have It

Headline: Andrew Breitbart Promises Final Solution to Liberalism in 3 Weeks
Translation: FEC v. Citizens United Macht Frei”

Headline: Fearing Obama Agenda, States Push to Loosen Gun Laws
Translation: States urge sick to get health care at gunpoint
Translation (Turbo mode): New home sales rise after warning shots

Headline: Alexander urges Obama to start with ‘clean sheet of paper’ on health care
Translation: GOP health care plan is a blank sheet of paper

Steele unveils GOP ‘Government Lab’

Declaring “Republicans must walk the talk,” GOP chairman Michael Steele said today he is managing the party according to the same policies it advocates for the United States.

“I am running the party as a de facto Government Lab in order to demonstrate to the American people what Republican leadership will do for the nation,” said Steele.

The centerpiece of the demonstration is strict adherence to conservative budget principles. “I have radically increased the Republican Party’s expenses since becoming leader,” he said, “spending more on private jets, limos, consultants, high-class lodging, fine dining and catering than any of my predecessors.”

“Combining higher expenditures with drastic cuts in membership revenue is sound Republican fiscal policy, proven during the flawless governance of the Reagan, Bush and Bush presidencies,” Steele said.

“The American people need to be reminded that our policies are what brought America to where it is today — poised on the edge of the future. Once reminded, they’ll forget Nancy Pelosi’s socialist plan for more jobs, fair taxation and affordable health care,” he said.

“We’re going to create a permanent Republican majority if I have to amass the biggest long term debt in the history of U.S. political parties,” Steele said.

Cheney resting uncomfortably

Former vice president Dick Cheney is resting uncomfortably today, after being rushed to Guantanamo Bay Medical Center on Monday complaining of chest pains.

But the ex-second-in-commander-in-chief is never far from controversy and this time it has followed him to his hospital bed, with Cheney’s doctor defending against questions surrounding the treatment methods being used.

Cheney was home working on his memoirs when the chest pains started. “I was dictating into a tape recorder, but it wasn’t going well, the words weren’t coming,” explained Cheney, “so I told Dr. Yoo to torture me until I started talking.”

“He kept up the pressure until I had another three chapters,” he said.

Asked if he is still experiencing discomfort, Cheney replied, “Of course there’s discomfort, I love discomfort. But these were just twinges, I give myself worse taserings most mornings before breakfast.”

The revelation that Cheney’s personal physician, Dr. John Yoo, was present and actually caused the cardiac event was downplayed by Yoo himself.

“I’ve sent a paper — a long memo, really — to JAMA declaring cardiac torture is a valid treatment for a heart attack.” The paper is peer-reviewed, “I reviewed it myself,” said Yoo.

A copy of the memo obtained by reporters includes Yoo’s conclusion that traditional, non-torture cardiac intervention is allowable — so long as there is no “intention to inflict serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.”

Yoo also responded to critics who question how a treatment can come before the event it is supposed to have treated. “The idea that Mr. Cheney should be restricted to a linear timeline is quaint,” Yoo said.

Dispatches From South America – Land of Hope

As the Frogette and I travel back to the United States, I suppose I should try and find something profound to say about my time here in Ecuador. Interestingly the one thing that I feel most acutely is that Ecuador really seems to be a country full of hope.

Let me start by saying that my impressions of Ecuador are tempered by the fact that it’s difficult not to compare this country to the United States. Moreover, one cannot understand what Ecuador is like now without knowing something about Ecuador’s history. Not to go into too much detail, but like most South American countries, Ecuador has had it’s share of dictatorships, has suffered from a lot of official corruption, and still has its share of soul-crushing poverty.

That said, Ecuador’s current administration seems to have it’s head screwed on straight, where the United States has completely lost it’s way. Almost everywhere you look you see schools and roads being built; You hear about money being spent on infrastructure, and you hear about the government trying wholeheartedly to raise the standard of living for typical Ecuadorans. Though I have no doubt that there are interests that would prefer things they way they were—the way things have become in the United States—the current administration seems dedicated to fighting those interests. By contrast, the United States government hasn’t just surrendered to such interests, they are a fully invested partner in helping corporations financially rape the citizens.

In addition, Ecuadorans live in an incredibly rich and beautiful land. I was always impressed that, even in the poorest neighborhoods of Quito, it was possible to buy a great variety of the freshest fruits and vegetables. Compare this to the US where, in many less fortunate cities and towns, grocery stores don’t carry anything fresh. Fresh vegetables? Forget it. Pre-packaged meat, dairy and produce is all there is.

I know that I’m rambling…but I guess that my lasting impression is that, for Ecuador and Ecuadorans, the best days are ahead. And why? Because the government cares about its people. Whereas back home in the US, our best days are behind us because the government has abandoned the people.

Bayh unretires – Was “counting on my wife’s cut of the Anthem rate hike”

Senator Evan Bayh today reversed his week-old decision to retire from the U.S. Senate, citing economic reasons.

The two-term Indiana lawmaker told a Washington DC press conference he was forced to unretire after his wife learned Anthem Blue Cross of California is delaying a planned 39% hike in subscriber premiums. Susan Bayh is a board member of Indiana-based WellPoint, Anthem’s parent company.

“I was counting on my wife’s cut of the Anthem rate hike, that was going to be our retirement nest egg,” said Bayh.

Growing reflective, Bayh wondered aloud about the future of the American status quo. “I worked hard this past year making sure nothing happened with health care reform, for this?” he asked.

“It used to be in this country that a man born to wealth and power could use that position, and his cozy connections, to get even further ahead,” he said.

“Instead, I’m going to have to do like many Americans who have lost their retirement savings in the recession, and keep working. It makes you want to give up on the institution of Congress. Almost,” Bayh said.

In other news, the Obama administration announced nuclear power as the new centerpiece of its environment and energy efficiency policies. “America’s energy future won’t just be green, it will glow green thanks to new, totally safe-ish nuclear plants,” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

Rebranding the Iraqi war won’t make it any more popular

The Obama Administration has just announced that since it can find no exit strategy for the war in Iraq it’s doing the next best thing, rebranding.  Yup, like Comcast-Xfinity, Operation Iraqi Freedom will now be know as Operation New Dawn.  Operation New Dawn, doesn’t it just give you a warm fuzzy?  It’s apparently set to coincide with the drawdown of troops in Iraq (I’ll hold my breath).  Military families are up in arms about the Admistration’s attempt to end a war by simply changing it’s name.  Oh and did I mention that Operation New Dawn is how the Iraqis referred to the 2004 battle for Falluja?  I don’t think they’re going to be happy when they get this memo.

Dispatches From South America – Street Commerce

Though I suspect that it’s a wonderful system for selling goods—low overhead, more exposure than being stuck in a shop—the collection of odd things that we’ve seen being sold on the streets of Quito is pretty amazing. Here’s a sample:

Breakfast trays
Clothes pins
Auto parts (hub caps, mirros, etc…)
Packages of empanadas
Hats for dogs (modeled by a dog!)
Coat trees
Remotes for just about any device you can think of

…and the personal favorite:

TV antennas

More ‘Dispatches From South America’

The Weak In Privacy

Two alarming new developments in the privacy arena are exposing the Obama administration as no better than Bu$hCo when it comes to protecting the privacy of Americans.

First, the administration is preparing to argue in a case before the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals that Fourth Amendment prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures do not apply to telco logs of the locations of cell-phone users. If fact, the FBI and local law enforcement agencies have been abusing such records for years, obtaining them merely by asking providers without a warrant and sometimes without probable cause.

Second, federal law enforcement agencies are are pushing for the creation of private “backdoor” interfaces directly into the internal servers of major Internet service providers (ISPs). The stated reason for this new intrusion into private communications is to speed up the process for legally obtaining data when a warrant is presented to an ISP. However, privacy advocates have noted that 1) Federal agencies already abuse existing interfaces by frequently presenting ISPs with “informal” requests for the same information, and so there should be no expectation that a more functional interface would not also be abused, and 2) That a common, consolidated, legally required, interface—implemented by all major ISPs—would present an obvious target for criminal organizations and thus would constitute a terrible risk to the private communications of ordinary citizens.

To This We Have Been Reduced – Your Dead-end Disposable Job

The Detroit public schools have teamed up with that foremost purveyor of low-wage, low-esteem, dead-end employment, Walmart, to offer a for-credit course in ‘job readiness’ that includes entry-level service-sector employment.

Now… In a city where the unemployment rate is estimated to be an astonishing 50%, you might think that any job, even a job at Walmart is an attractive proposition. But two questions arise: First, is this the way we should be spending scarce public school dollars, on training for what is essentially ‘disposable’ employment? Second, why-the-f*ck does Walmart get to shift the training burden (such as it is) onto the public? Isn’t this just another government give-away to a company that already makes a big chunk of its enormous profits by squeezing its workers?

Or…perhaps this is just an acknowledgment of the new reality of employment in the US—disposable jobs, disposable workers, and the fact that education is no longer a guarantee of stability and success.

<< Previous  To This We Have Been Reduced