Friday, September 20, 2013

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) on Thursday held up steak, vodka and caviar during her House floor speech in an effort to shame Republicans who want to slash $40 billion from the food stamp budget, while they continue to go on "lavish" trips financed by taxpayers and other groups.

Earlier this month, House Republicans introduced a bill that caved to conservative members and doubled the amount of cuts the party was proposing to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

"In my district, California 14, we have about 4,000 families who are on food stamps, but some of my colleagues have thousands and thousands more," Speier explained on Thursday. "Yet, they somehow feel like crusaders, like heroes when they vote to cut food stamps. Some of these same members travel to foreign countries under the guise of official business."

"They dine at lavish restaurants, eating steak, vodka and even caviar," she added, showing food props to members of the House. "They receive money to do this. That’s right, they don’t pay out of pocket for these meals."

"Let me give you a few examples: One member was given $127.41 a day for food on his trip to Argentina. He probably had a fair amount of steak," the California Democrat continued. "Another member was given $3,588 for food and lodging during a six-day trip to Russia. He probably drank a fair amount of vodka and probably even had some caviar. That particular member has 21,000 food stamp recipients in his district. One of those people who is on food stamps could live a year on what this congressman spent on food and lodging for six days."

Speier was most likely referring to Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who traveled to Russia with an official U.S. Congressional delegation in September.

According to the Des Moines Register, King could have eaten for 881 days on food stamps for the $3,588 he spent during six-day trip to Russia.

Speier noted that Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich was taking the "SNAP Challenge" by trying to live on the $4.50 a day allotted to food stamp recipients.

"I wonder how many of my Republican colleagues would want to cut food stamps if they had taken the SNAP Challenge," she wondered. "After all, that means no more steak, no more caviar or vodka. Based on these members eating habits, I wonder if they could survive."

The above is from Crooks & Liars and used with gratitude!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Senate bill would avoid shutdown of helium supply

Who knew?  We've got a crisis! In a couple of weeks the federal helium reserve will be shut down because of some crazy law enacted decades ago which would cause a world-wide shortage and be a very bad thing 'cause helium is used for important stuff like MRIs and blowing up balloons. 

So, the Senate passed a bill which will not allow this to happen.

Ironic, isn't it?   What organization on the face of the planet is best equipped to know about and express huge amounts of HOT AIR than the United States Congress?

Read all about it here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Meanwhile at the Pentagon, Fundamentalist Christians Protest a Non-Existent War

by Mickey Weinstein
“No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.”  – Winston Churchill
Last week, a coterie of proud, prejudiced, Christian fundamentalists met with officials of the Department of Defense, specifically the U.S. Air Force, at the Pentagon.

The undignified and truly ignoble goal of this meeting? The sowing of confusion within the ranks of our military leadership and the subversion of the United States Constitution.

This gang of lying zealots came to huff and puff over a “war on Christians” supposedly taking place within the U.S. military. SPOILER ALERT: absolutely NO such war exists, period!

Cheered on by the conjured voices protesting this phony “war,” this gang of fundamentalist Christian religious predators came loaded for bear with two petitions carrying a total of 220,000 signatures. The true purpose of these inveterate religious extremists was to lobby the top brass to officially give free rein to the Christian fundamentalist vultures within our United States armed forces to coercively preach and proselytize to their otherwise helpless subordinates within the American military.

Oh, and did I mention that they also want to offset the historic gains of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) by granting homophobes the full right – enshrined and protected by law – to bully and dehumanize these very same defenseless subordinates or fellow servicemembers for their gender identity and/or sexual orientation?

Section 529 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014 will do precisely that. Oh, but don’t take my word for it. According to Bishop James Magness, Bishop Suffragan of the Federal Ministries of the Episcopal Church in Washington D.C.:
“…this proposal will in effect trounce the actual religious liberties of those who rightly should have access to freedom from an established religion in the public square. Those military members present at a military ceremony are often required by duty to be present and therefore may not have the ability to get up and leave. These military members will have to listen to the chaplains offend them — and they will have no recourse.”
The real kicker, my friends, is that this campaign of fundamentalist Christian extremism, fueled by hatred and fear, is being carried out under the flagrantly false flag of “religious liberty.”

What these fraudulent whiners are bellowing about is the loss of their prior existing fundamentalist Christian privilege in the face of withering Constitutional civil rights activism that has demanded the end of these hideous and illicit offenses within the ranks of our military. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), the organization of which I’m Founder and President, has spearheaded this campaign, hence the sour grapes. It is precisely this that led Decision magazine, a publication of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, to decry me in their July/August 2013 cover story as not only “perhaps the nation’s most fervent anti-witnessing activist,” but no, get this: they also ran a full sidebar feature on me entitled “ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS MEN IN AMERICA”. This was all featured under the dramatic heading, “THE WAR ON GOD’S WORD.”

In a brazenly bizarre and transparent homage to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the vanguard of this push to legalize fundamentalist Christian proselytizing predation and tyranny have assembled under the perverse umbrella of the “Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition” (RMRF). Indeed, most of the so-called “offenses” against their inverted and distorted conception of “religious freedom” consist of those all-too-frequent episodes whereby we’ve managed to successfully beat back their cowardly attempts to destroy and dangerously delimit our actual liberties (not to be confused with “license to kill”-style “liberties” tailor-made for “Modern-day Torquemadas”).

Helming this delegation of so-called “Christian leaders” was Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (ret.), Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council (FRC). Mister “No Mosques in America” Boykin exemplifies precisely the type of “religious liberty” RMRF stands for. After all, this is a quintessential and unapologetic racist, a man who’s been virtually canonized by his vast fundamentalist/dominionist constituency for his blood-soaked incitements to “holy war” against all Muslims everywhere, the likes of which haven’t been witnessed since the equally blood-drenched medieval Crusades. Dark Ages thy pathetic avatar be Boykin the Bigot.

Tailing Lt. Gen. Boykin was another renowned bigot, Col. Ron Crews (ret.), the head of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty (CARL). Crews is an overgrown poster-child of the “homophobia industry “and a “prize Chicken Little” from among the retired chaplaincy. Following the landmark repeals of DADT and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Henny Penny Crews raised a deafening din of “the Sky is falling” squawking to the effect that there would be a vast exodus of servicemembers from the various branches as a result of the Obama administration turning the U.S. military into a “social experiment” (read: “Big Gay Boot Camp”).

Of course absolutely no such “exodus” occurred, with chaplains instead giving a “common, positive verdict about repeal.”

Conservative radio host Sandy Rios also attended the meeting. Rios, a frequent Fox News contributor and member of the hate-engorged American Family Association (AFA), recently linked LGBT love to the monstrous Ariel Castro’s decade-long spree of torment afflicted upon three helpless young women in Ohio held in torturous captivity. Rios also ludicrously compared the teaching of respect for sex and gender minorities to the espousal of using crack-cocaine, and fingered gay-inclusive school curricula for a decline in student performance. When she’s not espousing her base, evil, and vile hatred of gays, she’s advocating anti-Muslim extremism of the most pernicious kind.

True heroes of “liberty” and constitutional “rights,” indeed. Recall, however, that the Southern Poverty Law Center has characterized the FRC and AFA as not only domestic hate groups, but the “chief purveyors of lies about LGBT people” that result in trauma, hate crimes, and a tragic epidemic of teen suicides. Click here to read the hideous declamations of these organizations in their own words.

Yet now these well-funded exemplars of monstrous duplicity are disingenuously posing as champions of religious pluralism, tolerance, and civil liberties? Unlimited and galling hypocrisy at best – enormous national security threat at worst.

The enemies of our (remaining) constitutional protections and civil liberties thrive on lies, misinformation, and outright disinformation to advance their anti-democratic and fundamentalist Christian, religious extremist agendas. Such has certainly been our experience here at MRFF. By salting the “information battlefield” with false innuendoes, red herrings, and blatant untruths designed to appeal to diehard and disgusting prejudices, these professional religious bigots have managed to hoodwink all-too-many Americans into believing that President Obama’s Defense Department is waging some tooth-and-nail battle against all good Christians, especially those who faithfully serve in our U.S. military.

Søren Kierkegaard once opined, “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true. The other is to refuse to believe what is true.”

Is there REALLY any persecution of Christians in the U.S. military? Such cartoonish and cretinesque fantasy couldn’t be farther from the truth.

However, the fact that some docile and supine Americans are buying into this universally false fairy tale should be of significant alarm to those of us who don’t want to see the adoption of a militarist Christian dominionist gospel as our nation’s official state religion.

If and when that day ever comes, it will be the last day of freedom for our American democratic republic.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is up against well-funded extremist religious organizations. Your donations allow us to continue our fight in the courts and in the media to fight for separation of church and state in the U.S. military. Please make a fully tax-deductible donation today at

Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, Esq. is founder and president of the five-time Nobel Peace Prize-nominated  Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and an honor graduate of the Air Force Academy. He served as a White House counsel in the Reagan Administration and as the Committee Management Officer of the “Iran-Contra” Investigation. He is also the former General Counsel to H. Ross Perot and Perot Systems Corporation. Mikey is an honor graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a former J.A.G. in the U.S. Air Force. His two sons, daughter-in-law, son-in law, and brother-in-law are also graduates of USAFA. In December 2012, Mikey was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in U.S. Defense by Defense News. He is the author of  “With God On Our Side” (2006, St. Martin’s Press) and  “No Snowflake in an Avalanche” (2012, Vireo).

This article was published at here.

GOP Voter Fraud in Florida!

We get all kinds of wackos in Florida.  The majority are old, well-to-do, from the north, cranky, bored, Republican, and a little bit crazy.

These are the folks who elected our latest governor, one Rick Scott, a Texan I've been told, who somehow, unfortunately, made his way to the Sunshine state and with the help of a $300 million payoff by his old health care company (which committed the largest Medicare fraud in history) bought the guv's office in Tallahassee.

Everyone knows that it is natural for Republican politicians to lie.  That's why they're Republicans.  But we hope, on occasion, they would at least pretend to care about the people they were elected to serve, and that they might actually believe in the freedom and democracy about which they prattle world without end.  

In the state of Florida, inundated with wackos (including Teapot Crackpots), common sense and commonwealth are two concepts our governor and his Republican cohorts in the state legislature don't understand or don't care about.  Consider their views on voting, which is essential to a democracy: Only certain people should vote - well-to-do, white Republicans; it's not right that minorities, poor people and the aged should also show up at the polls - at least not every time. 

So, to combat this problem of undesirable people voting in Florida, the guv and his tribe got together and decided to lie to their constituents.  They discovered "voter fraud"!  There are people, they said, who are voting who have no right to be voting.  Some of them are not even citizens, they said.  Some of them are black or brown or poor or old.  Many of them vote for Democratic candidates.  Therefore, we have to fix this "voter fraud" problem.

"We'll purge the voter rolls and we'll disqualify all those we would like to believe might be ineligible to vote!"  That's what the guv and his gang said.

So in the last election cycle a voter purge was ordered.  Lots of people were cut from the rolls of eligible voters.  Unfortunately, the huge majority of them were not ineligible and legitimate voters were turned away from the polls.

This was all President Obama's fault, of course.  Isn't everything President Obama's fault in the wacky world of the GOP?  The DHS has a program called SAVE (System Alien Verification for Entitlements Program).  The Department of Homeland Security disallowed Florida officials from using that database and that's why the guv and his goofies got everything all wrong.

Well, not really.  The database has some errors; it is not correct so it wouldn't have mattered if Florida had been able to access it.  In fact, Florida should not use it!  A coalition of civil-rights groups noted that "the SAVE database used to cross-reference names on Florida's lists of registered voters ... cannot verify U. S.-born citizens or those born overseas to U.S. citizens."  There's no appeal process (which was promised).  And 80% of the people who end up with their names in the SAVE database are minorities.

Nevertheless, another purge of Florida's voting rolls has been ordered and is underway.  The same problems persist meaning that the people the guv's cronies say are ineligible may not be ineligible at all!  And following the guv's guidelines may well mean that once again, many folks who are righteous registered voters will be expunged from the list - especially if they are of one of the "minorities."

But this year some county election supervisors are not kissing the guv's ring.  They're saying they have the right to remove people from the voter rolls and the guv better come up with better and more reliable information before they're going to do so.

This year, also, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was asked by Florida's Secretary of State to investigate voter fraud.  Part of the fantasy perpetrated by our Republican leaders is that there are hordes of unregistered, ineligible voters rushing to the polls to elect Democrats to public office.  Other states run by God's Own Pissants (GOP) claim the same thing.

But there's a huge problem!  Voter fraud is, for all extents and purposes, non-existent!  In Florida the powers-that-be went after a group known as the Florida New Majority, "an established progressive organization known for advocating the spread of democratic participation across the country.  The organization was vital in registering scores of minorities last year--something which Republicans generally don't like."

The investigation didn't turn up any fraud in the suspected places or in the work of the Florida New Majority, "but it did stumble across a little fraud from the Strategic Allied Consultants--a GOP contractor that made the news last last year for falsifying registration forms.  Earlier this year, two former employees of SAC admitted to law enforcement officials that they did indeed commit voter fraud."  Two women confessed to submitting fake voter registration forms.  They had been told they wouldn't get paid unless they made their "quota," and it was suggested in no uncertain terms they were not to register Democrats.

So, it's not the supposed "fox" out there who's dangerous, it's the "hens"in the chicken coop up in Tallahassee.  What little fraud there is, is committed by Republicans.

Not that it matters much.  The U.S. Supremes, in their infinite wisdom and due to the mental cloister in which the majority live, decided there is no more racism in our country and therefore we didn't need all the protections provided our minorities by the Voting Rights Act.  Florida saw that as an opportunity, and acting upon the usual Republican premise that freedom is whatever the Republicans say it is and democracy is a good thing only if Republicans are in power, now requires a voter to show a state drivers license in order to vote in national/federal elections.

That's also fraudulent for the only possible purpose such a requirement can serve, in light of the lack of voter fraud, is to keep minority voters, the poor and the aged at home on election day. 

 Welcome to the world - GOP style.

Note:  Some of the information contained in this article came from here.

Larry Summers:  Goldman Sacked
By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine
Monday, 16 September 2013

Joseph Stiglitz couldn't believe his ears.  Here they were in the White House, with President Bill Clinton asking the chiefs of the US Treasury for guidance on the life and death of America's economy, when the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers turns to his boss, Secretary Robert Rubin, and says, "What would Goldman think of that?"


Then, at another meeting, Summers said it again:  What would Goldman think?

A shocked Stiglitz, then Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, told me he’d turned to Summers, and asked if Summers thought it appropriate to decide US economic policy based on “what Goldman thought.”  As opposed to say, the facts, or say, the needs of the American public, you know, all that stuff that we heard in Cabinet meetings on The West Wing.

Summers looked at Stiglitz like Stiglitz was some kind of naive fool who'd read too many civics books.

R.I.P. Larry Summers
On Sunday afternoon, facing a revolt by his own party’s senators, Obama dumped Larry as likely replacement for Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.
Until news came that Summers’ torch had been snuffed, I was going to write another column about Larry, the Typhoid Mary of Economics.  (My first, in The Guardian, 15 years ago, warned that “Summers is, in fact, a colony of aliens sent to Earth to turn humans into a cheap source of protein.”)

But the fact that Obama even tried to shove Summers down the planet’s throat tells us more about Obama than Summers—and whom Obama works for.  Hint:  You aren’t one of them.

All these Cabinet discussions back in the 1990s requiring the blessing of Goldman Sachs revolved around the Rubin-Summers idea of ending regulation of the US banking system.  To free the US economy, Summers argued, all you'd have to do is allow commercial banks to bet government-guaranteed savings on new "derivatives products," let banks sell high-risk sub-prime mortgage securities and cut their reserves against losses.

What could possibly go wrong? 
Stiglitz, who would go on to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, tried to tell them exactly what would go wrong.  But when he tried, he was replaced and exiled.
Summers did more than ask Rubin to channel the spirit of Goldman: Summers secretly called and met with Goldman's new CEO at the time, Jon Corzine, to plan out the planet’s financial deregulation. I’m not guessing:  I have the confidential memo to Summers reminding him to call Corzine.

[For the complete story of that memo and a copy of it, read The Confidential Memo at the Heart of the Global Financial Crisis.]

Summers, as Treasury official, can call any banker he damn well pleases.  But not secretly.  And absolutely not to scheme over details of policies that could make a bank billions.  And Goldman did make billions on those plans.

Example:  Goldman and clients pocketed $4 billion on the collapse of “synthetic collateralized debt obligations”—flim-flam feathers sold to suckers and dimwits i.e. the bankers at RBS.  (See Did Fabrice Tourre Really Create The Global Financial Crisis?)

Goldman also cashed in big on the implosion of Greece’s debt via secret derivatives trades permitted by Summers’ decriminalization of such cross-border financial gaming.

The collapse of the euro-zone and the US mortgage market caused by Bankers Gone Wild was made possible only by Treasury Secretary Summers lobbying for the Commodities Futures Modernization Act which banned regulators from controlling the 100,000% increase in derivatives assets, especially super-risky "naked" credit-default swaps.

The CMFA was the financial equivalent of a fire department banning smoke alarms.

Summers took over the Treasury's reins from Rubin who’d left to become director of a strange new financial behemoth:  The combine of Citibank with and an investment bank, Travelers. The new bank beast went bankrupt and required $50 billion in bail-out funds.  (Goldman did not require any bail-out funds–but took $10 billion anyway.)

Other banks-turned-casinos followed Citi into insolvency.  Most got bail-outs ... and got Larry Summers–or, at least, Larry's lips for "consulting" or for gold-plated speaking gigs.

Derivatives trader D.E. Shaw paid Summers $5 million for a couple of years of "part-time" work.  This added to payments from Citigroup, Goldman and other finance houses, raising the net worth of this once penurious professor to more than $31 million.

Foreclosure fills the Golden Sacks
When Summers left Treasury in 2000, The New York Times reports that a grateful Rubin got Summers the post of President of Harvard University—from which Summers was fired. He gambled away over half a billion dollars of the university’s endowment on those crazy derivatives he’d legalized.  (Given Summers’ almost pathological inability to understand finance, it was most odd that, while President of the university, he suggested that humans with vaginas aren’t very good with numbers.)

In 2009, Summers, Daddy of the Deregulation Disaster, returned to the Cabinet in triumph. Barack Obama crowned him “Economics Tsar,” allowing Summers to run the Treasury without having to be questioned by Congress in a formal confirmation hearing.

As Economics Tsar in Obama's first term, did Summers redeem himself?

Not a chance.

In 2008, both Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican John McCain called for using the $300 billion remaining in the "bail-out' fund for a foreclosure-blocking program identical to the one Franklin Roosevelt had used to pull the US out of the Great Depression.  But Tsar Larry would have none of it, although banks had been given $400 billion from the same fund.

Indeed, on the advice of Summers and his wee assistant, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Obama spent only $7 billon of the $300 billion available to save US homeowners.

What would Goldman think? 
As noted, Goldman and clients pocketed billions as a result of Obama’s abandonment of 3.9 million families whose homes were repossessed during his first term.  While American homeowners were drowning, Tsar Summers torpedoed their lifeboat:  a plan to prevent foreclosures by forcing banks to write-off the overcharges in predatory sub-prime mortgages.  Notably, Summers’ action (and Obama's inaction) saved Citibank billions.

Loan Shark Larry
The deregulation disaster machinery is not done with mangling Americans.  While not-for-profit credit unions, lenders of last resort for working people and the poor in the US, have been under legal and political attack, a new kind of banking operation has bubbled out of the minds of the grifters looking for a way to make loan-sharking legit.

One new outfit, for example, called “Lending Club,” has figured out a way to collect fees for arranging loans charging as much as 29%.  Lending Club claims it cannot and should not be regulated by the Federal Reserve or other banking police.  The recent addition to its Board of Directors:  Larry Summers.

If you want to know why Obama would choose such a grifter and gamer to head the Fed, you have to ask, Who picked Obama?  Ten years ago, Barry Obama was a nothing, a State Senator from the South Side of Chicago.

But then, he got lucky.  A local bank, Superior, was shut down by regulators for mortgage shenanigans ripping off Black folk.  The bank’s Chairwoman, Penny Pritzker was so angry at regulators, she decided to eliminate them:  and that required a new President.

The billionaires connected Obama to Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan, but most importantly to Robert Rubin, former Treasury Secretary, but most important, former CEO of Goldman Sachs and mentor of Larry Summers.  Without Rubin’s blessing and overwhelming fundraising power, Obama would still be arguing over zoning on Halsted Street.

Rubin picked Obama and Obama picks whom Rubin picks for him.

Because, in the end, Obama knows he must choose a Fed chief based on the answer to one question:  What would Goldman think?
Special thanks to expert Lori Wallach of Public Citizen without whom our investigation could not have begun.

For the complete story of the investigation of Larry Summers, the "End Game" memo and the finance crisis, see Palast's highly acclaimed book Vultures' Picnic.
Get a
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Greg Palast is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers, Billionaires & Ballot BanditsThe Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse.
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Colbert & Miss America & the Idiots

Monday, September 16, 2013

Archbishop John Niendstedt, Satan, sex, and crappy holy water

Why anyone would give a damn what a Roman Catholic cleric thinks about "objective truth," sin, morality or ethics is beyond me.  While I know some Roman Catholics who are very nice people because they do not let their religion define how they are going to behave and treat others, the fact is the Roman Church has a history of abusing sanity, common sense, rational thought, morality, while at the same time promoting insanity, irrational nonsense, immorality and pedophilia.

The Roman Catholic Church has no moral credibility and wouldn't know "objective truth" if hit in the altar by a truthful object!  Remember Galileo?

It matters little that the current pope, Francis be his name, seems a nice, kind person who thinks that Catholics everywhere should help the poor and needy.  The institution remains rotten to the core.  The faithful are assaulted every day in various way - via sermons about sin and about sex - engaging in sex, denying sex, or prohibiting sex.  The Roman church has a sex complex and is schizophrenic when it comes to dealing with sexual attitudes, actions, and mores.  Nowhere is that more evident in the prohibition on married priests even as they praise the "family," or by the fact that while the Vatican claims homosexuality is wrong, perverted and sinful, 25 to 50 percent of Roman Catholic clergy are gay!  And only God knows how many pedophiles are still active in parishes around the world!

This diatribe was instigated by my reading that the Catholic Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, John C. Niendstedt, believes satan invented homosexuality and birth control.

Satan?  There's a bad deity named satan who is more powerful than the Roman Catholic god?  How interesting is that?  Satan must be having a field day working the Catholic church these days what with all those gay priests, the pedophiles, and the 90% of Catholics who use contraceptive devices in direct disobedience of the "holy" fathers.  The Roman Catholic god can do nothing about all this evil? 

The Huffington Post reports that Niendstedt, speaking at a conference of the conservative Napa Institute, said this;

“Today, many evil forces have set their sights on the dissolution of marriage and the debasing of family life.  Sodomy, abortion, contraception, pornography, the redefinition of marriage, and the denial of objective truth are just some of the forces threatening the stability of our civilization. The source of these machinations is none other than the Father of Lies. Satan knows all too well the value that the family contributes to the fabric of a good solid society, as well as the future of God’s work on earth.”

This is so stupid and so nonsensical and so ridiculous that it is difficult to believe anyone would take this cleric seriously.  If what he said is true, Satan must be laughing uproariously while the poor, impotent, incompetent Roman Catholic god is tearing his hair out in deified frustration.

Satan, indeed!

The poor archbishop must have been drinking too much crappy holy water!  (See previous post).

Read all about it here.

Holy Water is full of crap!

[Image from here.]

Researchers have discovered that while Holy Water may be "holy" it is also filled with crap.  Evidently the magical "Holy Spirit" has fallen down on the job which involves, through exorcism, keeping holy water pure for the faithful.

In parts of Europe, 86% of holy water contains fecal matter.  Holy water is generally used to wet congregant's lips and for baptisms.

E. Coli goes to church.  The devil sure is sneaky!

The irony is so rich.

Perhaps Roman Catholic and other churches where holy water receptacles are ubiquitous could set up a holy filtration system to keep out the evil crap.

And while they're working on that they might consider a filtration system for the pulpit.

There's more here.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Words of Wisdom from Bob Poris

The following consists of two brief essays by my friend, Bob Poris, who is one of those truly wise older men!  He's been around a long time and he's seen it all.  A veteran of WWII [he was wounded and partially disabled], he loves his country and works hard to understand the situation we are in and to suggest possible ways to turn things around for the betterment of all. 

Today’s paper contains some nasty comments about Obama’s lack of foreign policy knowledge, etc and somehow making Russia the"mover and shaker".

I would have thought those who write such stuff would have been happy that the agreement with Russia relative to Syria's chemical weapons moves Russia into the role of trying to help solve the problem of poison gas, which must be a danger to them in Chechnya and other areas with Muslim populations. I guess the same critics do not know of that danger to the Russians. I believe Obama does, because he has advisors that he listens to.  

So far since Obama was elected, two wars have been essentially stopped; neither of which were started or screwed up by him.  Bin Laden is dead, after getting a free pass from the previous administration for years as no longer important. Drones were increased and hundreds of Jihadists have met their maker.  Syria, North Korea and Iran remain dangerous but have not threatened us any more than they did before Obama became president.

That brings us to the Russians: they existed before Obama and were always a problem at the UN and elsewhere, particularly since Putin took over. If we remember, Bush looked into Putin’s soul through his eyes and declared him trustworthy.  

I guess the critics forget anything that went on before Obama. I wonder why they hadn’t changed the status of all our enemies and problems when they had total control of all three branches of government for eight years. They inherited a solid economy, a huge surplus and peace. They left a terrible world when they were through and the same people are still screwing up because they lost two elections to a better man; one who works to solve problems not create new ones. 

I have no clue as to how the Syrian situation will actually work out, but at least it has some chance of improving as of this morning’s news.

Obama deserves a lot of credit.  He has managed to reduce the national debt, save us from another Great Depression, stabilize a bad employment situation, end two wars and initiate a plan to provide health insurance for all Americans.  And he did this without any input or assistance from the Republicans.  In fact, the Republicans have fought every one of his initiatives.  Today they remain intent upon repealing Obamacare, without providing any other options!  If the law is flawed, it can be fixed more easily than getting rid of it.

I hope the critics would try to see some good over the past few years and try to make things better. No administration is perfect but all must try to do good. That is why they are in office.  Ninety-nine percent of the population is in trouble. They are the ones who could use some help.

* * * * 

Because of our recalcitrant Congress the Sequester is still with us and still doing the sort of damage the Republicans designed it to do if Congress could not solve the economic problem.  Both Houses of Congress agreed on draconian cutbacks across the board, rather than selected cuts if needed. This was a huge failure by our elected officials and the damaging punishment became law. It is hurting our military, our remaining war efforts, our economy, poor people, and those myriads of programs that help some people live!

Here in Marion county [Florida], we have school-aged children living in cars and shelters with their parents, because the latter lost their jobs and homes through no fault of their own. Our unemployment is still hovering around 7% and much of it is long term with no real hope in sight. Our charities struggle to obtain sufficient donations to feed people in need but consistently are unable to meet their goals. Our politicians refuse to increase taxes and our governor refuses federal assistance which would be a huge help in many areas of need.

We rarely see pictures of suffering people who come in all colors, religions, ethnicities, educational levels, previous employment history, etc. Unless we know some personally, they are not visible, even though our relatively upscale community does have foreclosures too. Out of sight, out of mind still applies.

It is sad that Congress can rally to try to defund Obama's healthcare plan forty times, but still cannot find solutions to help the needy or create jobs by addressing needed repairs to bridges, roads and other areas of infrastructure.  Perhaps we should take away the politician's cafeteria, barbershop, gym, and free parking.  Would the savings feed a few people or not?  It would be worth a try.

Some of our representatives tell us we are a Christian nation, but somehow fail to tell us what that means to the people suffering due to their lack of action.

The middle-class is disappearing.  I do not know what will be the fate of the next generation, but it doesn't look good unless we find better ways to address real problems. Ignoring them will not make them go away.