Thursday, December 26, 2013

Good WaPo editorial on "Keep Your Own Doctor"

  By wvmcl on Thursday, Dec 26, 2013

I’ve been critical of a lot of the Washington Post’s coverage of ACA implementation, but sometimes they get it right, and they did in the Dec 26 editorial titled “Health Care Economics 101.” 

The piece points out that, alongside all the hand wringing about keeping or not keeping your own doctor, the move to narrower networks is a simple matter of free market economics.  We hear a lot about “choice” in health care providers, but we tend to forget that our choices have price tags attached.  I may choose to drive a Cadillac, but if my budget won’t allow it, I’ll be driving a Chevy instead. 

As the editorial points out, negotiated rates with a network of providers is one of the few tools available to insurance companies for controlling costs, especially now that they are required to provide coverage for all comers.  In the past they were able to control their costs by excluding the most in need.  Now that this is no longer possible, negotiation of favorable rates becomes even more important if insurers are to offer affordably-priced plans. 

After the break, a list of points to keep in mind about the whole “choose your own doctor” thing, which I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot about in the weeks and month ahead. 

Some points:

1.  You can see any doctor you want, as long as you pay for it yourself. This point may seem obvious or flip, but I think it needs to be stated up front.  There is nothing in the ACA that forbids you from going to any provider who will take your money.  Just because you have insurance doesn’t mean you are required to use it.  The only question is what will be reimbursed and at what rate. 

An obvious corollary to this is that, if you are uninsured, you have complete freedom to "choose your own doctor," since you will have to pay the cost out-of-pocket in any case. 

2. He/she is not “your” doctor. To say “my doctor” is just a manner of speaking, the same way we say “my garage” or “my hairdresser.”  They don’t, of course, belong to us.  “My garage,” the place I take my car to be fixed, is a business from which I purchase services.  If it closes down or stops providing services I want to purchase, I will have to find an alternative.  The same is true of health care providers.  The old family doctor whom we saw for a lifetime was always something of a myth and certainly is today.

3.  The exchanges should eventually provide a range of options. It’s early days yet for the ACA exchanges.  As the reform matures, more options should be provided if consumers demand them and are willing to pay for them.  Plans with narrower networks will, generally speaking, be cheaper.  Plans that provide a wider range of providers will be more expensive. 

Many employer-based plans (such as my own) have a two-tier reimbursement system – a higher rate for in-network and a lower rate for out-of-network.  This type of plan lets you use any provider as long as you are willing to foot the extra cost to go out-of-network.  As the exchanges develop, these types of plans may become more widely available on the exchanges. Again, consumers will have to decide whether the extra choice is worth the extra expense. 

4.  You can get the care you need within the network. In almost all cases, I expect that the networks of reputable insurers will include the complete range of specialties and services you will need for virtually any medical condition.  Medical procedures are pretty well standardized these days.  Another myth that is floating around is the super specialist or institution that is the only one that can cure your particular ailment. This is the stuff of fiction (Breaking Bad, for instance) but is rarely the case in reality.  In those highly unusual cases in which a particular specialist or procedure is need for a rare condition, many plans have an option to go out-of-network with pre-approval from the plan.  That means you will have to negotiate with your insurer, but what else is new?

If the network you are using proves unsatisfactory, you will have the opportunity to change insurers at least once a year.  This is where good old free market economics should come into the picture, encouraging insurers to provide the products that people want to buy.

Some locations, particularly rural areas and some red states, may have a limited range of network options, at least at first.  I’m hopeful that this will improve as participation rates grow. However, part of this is simply the age old urban-rural gap.  If you live in a big city, you will have more health care options (along with traffic, pollution, crime, etc.).  Rural areas have a quieter life, but you may need to travel further for health care.  Another choice.   

      I’m presenting these points as a way of trying to organize my own thinking and that of others on this complex topic, which, as I say, I think we will be hearing a lot more about in the months to come.  Will appreciate any additional thoughts from readers. 

Originally posted to wvmcl on Thu Dec 26, 2013
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

560 Major world authors: A society under surveillance is no longer a democracy

Mon Dec 09, 2013

So says 560 of the world's leading writers in an Open Appeal they signed: "A Stand for Democracy in the Digital Age"

[Since this is an Open Letter, and there is no copyright at the site I've copied from, the Open Appeal is posted in full. If there's a problem, someone let me know.]

In recent months, the extent of mass surveillance has become common knowledge. With a few clicks of the mouse the state can access your mobile device, your e-mail, your social networking and Internet searches. It can follow your political leanings and activities and, in partnership with Internet corporations, it collects and stores your data, and thus can predict your consumption and behaviour.

The basic pillar of democracy is the inviolable integrity of the individual. Human integrity extends beyond the physical body. In their thoughts and in their personal environments and communications, all humans have the right to remain unobserved and unmolested.

This fundamental human right has been rendered null and void through abuse of technological developments by states and corporations for mass surveillance purposes.

A person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy. To maintain any validity, our democratic rights must apply in virtual as in real space.

* Surveillance violates the private sphere and compromises freedom of thought and opinion.

* Mass surveillance treats every citizen as a potential suspect. It overturns one of our historical triumphs, the presumption of innocence.

* Surveillance makes the individual transparent, while the state and the corporation operate in secret. As we have seen, this power is being systemically abused.

* Surveillance is theft. This data is not public property: it belongs to us. When it is used to predict our behaviour, we are robbed of something else: the principle of free will crucial to democratic liberty.

WE DEMAND THE RIGHT for all people to determine, as democratic citizens, to what extent their personal data may be legally collected, stored and processed, and by whom; to obtain information on where their data is stored and how it is being used; to obtain the deletion of their data if it has been illegally collected and stored.


WE CALL ON ALL CITIZENS to stand up and defend these rights.

At what I take to be the website for this we can read the background on this group's formation:
Public Intervention: 560 authors from 83 countries have signed an appeal against mass surveillance.
There is hardly any issue more pressing than systematic mass surveillance and the dangers it poses to democracy and civil liberties.

Under the name "Writers Against Mass Surveillance", a small group of authors has formulated an international appeal, signed by more than 500 renowned authors from around the world, including five Nobel Prize Laureates. It calls for an "International Bill of Digital Rights,“ demands that the United Nations passes a binding convention to protect civil rights in the digital age and calls upon all citizens to stand up and defend these rights.

It is noted in the Huffingtonpost  account that an attempt is going on right now to weaken a U.N. Digital Rights resolution, lead by the US, with our puppies the UK and Australia coming along on the effort.

The US and UK are probably the most surveilled societies on earth at this point. In all of human history. Who needs to turn family members into rats when you can get everyone to turn themselves in just by living. Orwell looks like a piker of the imagination in his fantasy of how far this kind of thing would go.

(More below the DailyKos fleur.)

So two points to make about this:

Yes, please, we have to stay centered in our humanity above all. And that means 'privacy' today is pretty much what the humans behind 'privacy' at the nation's founding meant.

Then, there was paper and talking if you wanted to say anything. It was resolved that there would be no interference with personally-generated papers and speech among people. The object was the person's freedom to express. The object of that being to let the best ideas and courses be heard, and develop, so we can properly self-govern. Democracy, in short.

The fact that we now communicate with the additional option of electrons does not change the requirements of a real democracy. Nor of the human need, and right, to feel space to express ourselves about serious matters.

The idea that 'it's out there and whoever can get it will' ignores that we can as easily write software to instantly obliterate traces as it is to track them; or laws to forbid looking at such traces. The idea ignores that takes a deliberate act of will and commitment of material resources to keep hold of data. That can simply be forbidden.

If a business wants to make money from my existence, and my doings, then first get me to agree in principal to my participation, Then lets talk about what fees and royalties I get.

If government suspects a crime, get a warrant based on probable cause and have at it. Stop pissing away vast resources to catch little to nothing, except the free soul of the people.

Someone looks through your window to see what you're typing, someone puts a line into your phone, someone follows you on the streets, looks at your purchases, sees who you talk to, monitors your activities in public.... in real life we call that 'someone' a Stalker.

Just because there's electrons involved doesn't stop it from being Stalking.

The other thing is an experiment I have in mind.

I think we'd all have our minds boggled if the Media were to promote this Open Appeal event with any intensity at all.

Soon after President Jimmy Carter told (Spiegel I think it was) that "The United States is not a functioning Democracy" I thought a test of whether or not the much-vaunted internet, ...

...which will change everything for the last 20 years, but hasn't changed the 1%s victorious roll-over of Democracy...

could be a base from which to hound the mass-reach Corporate Media with "We want to hear more about what the President has said, and what it means, and if it's true." Until they started talking about it as a top story for a long time.

Pres. Carter's statement, not so many years ago, would have been a 'newsflash' 'stop the presses' kind of moment. They walked right by it though, as if it never happened.

So low have we fallen.

What if we, on the internet, brow-beat our media outlets until they were forced to cover the story; forced to interview Noble Prize winning authors; .... Or can they be forced?

An interesting test of our prowess, no?

Originally posted to Jim P on Mon Dec 09, 2013

Monday, December 09, 2013

The ACA: An Emergency Room Workers Perspective

By ERdoc in PA on Thu Nov 28, 2013

One of the more hackneyed and deceptive statements throughout the Affordable Care Act debate was how we have “the best healthcare delivery system in the world”.  I’ve been an ER doc for about a decade, and I know from first-hand experience that it just ain't so.

But what really stuck in the collective craw of emergency physicians was the glib response to the lack of insurance coverage for millions.  More than one politician suggested that people could always go to the Emergency Room.  Uh huh.  News flash:  Emergency Rooms are for, you know, emergencies.  When folks visit the ER for conditions not deemed to be life threatening, well-intended providers often don’t fix the problems, or even dig deep to figure them out – there just isn’t time or resources to do it. And poorly-treated, less dangerous conditions can sometimes blossom into full-blown disasters. Without insurance, and therefore without access to non-emergency providers, these situations become very expensive, and… they can kill. The ACA, bringing many patients under the umbrella of coverage, will avert the severe outcome for many.

Consider the orange squiggle the front door to my Emergency Room on this Thanksgiving day.  Push through, and let me introduce you to a few patients (of course, all names and details are altered from actual cases, but I assure you, people just like these are extremely, painfully real).

It’s 10:35 AM on this Thursday morning, but the ER is full of activity.  Nurses and physicians scurry about, patients are wheeled into rooms on gurneys, overhead announcements blare.  A colorful plastic blow-up turkey sitting on the registration desk is one of the few signs that this is a holiday. 

Let’s visit Room 22:

Sitting in the exam room is John.  He is 48 years old, a married father of two girls.  He was the breadwinner until he lost his job at a call center, and is currently looking for work.  His wife Lauren works part time as a teacher’s assistant.  They have no health insurance currently, and are trying to get on the Medicaid rolls.  John is not thrilled to be in the ER, but went at Lauren’s urging– he has been having occasional shortness of breath and nausea, especially with exertion, and it’s getting her worried.  He feels fine right now, but with their extended family visiting for the holiday, she wanted to make sure he was alright.  He resisted for a week, but finally relented. 

John doesn’t have known medical problems, and his symptoms are fairly vague: no chest pain, no physical exam findings.  The provider team obtains blood tests, an EKG, a chest x-ray – and everything comes back normal.  Since he feels fine after a few more blood tests over the next four hours, the physician on duty says that he can go home…. with the strong recommendation that he get a cardiac evaluation as an outpatient.  It could be a coronary artery blockage, the doctor tells them.  In the modern U.S. healthcare system, there is no way a guy like John gets admitted to the hospital for evaluation.  And without coverage, John can’t get to a specialist or undergo expensive outpatient cardiac testing, so he and his wife wait, and hope for the best. Once he gets back in the workforce, they reassure themselves, they will get him to a doctor.

Two weeks later, John is helping clean up the house, and his shortness of breath comes on hard, only now it is accompanied by crushing chest pain.  Lauren calls 911, and an ambulance rushes John back to the ER.  He is diagnosed with a heart attack, and undergoes immediate (and expensive) cardiac catheterization to open up a clogged artery.  Turns out, the shortness of breath and nausea were subtle signs of coronary blockages, extremely common in the U.S. population – but when he visited the ER on Thanksgiving, the blockages had not yet caused a myocardial infarction (MI), the technical term for a heart attack, so his tests were normal. Although John’s heart sustained damage from the ensuing MI, he is luckier than thousands of Americans who share his story – in many such patients, the MI triggers cardiac arrest, a condition that is lethal in over 80% of victims.  And John wanted to do the right thing: with expanded coverage under ACA, John would have seen a specialist as recommended.  His coronary blockage would have been diagnosed, and medication would have been started to help prevent the ensuing attack. Taking these cases in aggregate, the ACA would very literally save lives.

OK, one more example – let us visit Room 31.

Emily is a 28 year old waitress.  Hard working and ambitious, she is saving up for graduate school.  She is currently uninsured, because for her the choice is either buy health insurance or save for her future education.  She is visiting the ER today with irritating abdominal pain that just won’t go away. In fact, this is her third ER visit in two months.  In two other ERs, Emily underwent blood and urine tests that came up empty. Given her age and mild symptoms (no fever or vomiting, for example), neither an ultrasound nor a CT scan was justified.  The recommendation to follow up in a clinic was of course useless to Emily.

Repeat visits to different ERs are a common and costly problem. With our fragmented healthcare system comes another nasty inefficiency: precious few ERs enjoy linked health care records.  Since the process of contacting medical records departments at other hospitals (usually closed on weekends and holidays, anyway) is time consuming, most ER providers don’t bother to do this for well-appearing patients – so they repeat the same battery of tests that were performed a week prior at another ER, if only they could have checked.

Today, Emily again receives blood and urine tests, all negative.  She is frustrated, but the providers don’t have any answers.  She asks for an x-ray or CT scan or something, anything, to figure it out.  My ER colleagues explain to her in sympathetic voices that it’s not medically indicated, but a primary care provider could maybe set her up for additional testing.  Emily shakes her head in frustration, signs her walking papers, and goes home.

Emily finally makes it to the free city health clinic, where an abdominal ultrasound is ordered.  However, it takes a month in the queue before she actually gets one performed since the free clinics are completely overwhelmed with such patients.  When completed, she receives bad news – she has abnormal growths in her abdomen, and a biopsy is recommended.  That takes an additional month of waiting, and Emily is eventually diagnosed with metastatic cervical cancer.  Her life is now in jeopardy.  With ACA coverage, Emily would have gladly visited a gynecologist regularly, and a Pap smear may have caught her condition much earlier, perhaps even before the cancer had spread.  A Pap smear costs pennies compared to the costs of treating metastatic cancer, and it represents an excellent example of the power of preventative care: cheap, effective, and often life-saving.  ERs don’t do Pap smears. 

As I join my wife’s family for Thanksgiving dinner this year, I will look upon a large assembly of educated and gainfully-employed cousins, aunts and uncles.  They are lucky, and they know it. How many similar dinners will be taking place where the gathered company is less fortunate?  How many uninsured people at American tables are silently weathering abdominal pains, chest discomfort, or headaches, worried about what these symptoms might mean but not sure what to do without the resources to seek appropriate care?

Despite its many flaws, the ACA will have a very real impact for many people, on this very day as we enjoy family and friends at the dinner table.  It sure won’t make our healthcare system “the best in the world”, or even close to it.  But if John and Emily can get the care they need, they and their families will have a better future, and will have many more Thanksgivings to celebrate in years to come.  DailyKos


Friday, December 06, 2013

Sunday Satire: Bumper Stickers

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Snowden Docs Reveal NSA Collecting Data on a 'Planetary Scale'

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
    The National Security Agency is tracking location information on hundreds of millions of cellphones around the world every day, amounting to roughly 5 billion daily records, the Washington Post reported Wednesday, revealing that the agency makes "most efforts at communications security effectively futile."

As this latest revelation made possible by leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden shows, the collection of vast volumes of location data stands out among the agency's other surveillance programs, the Post reports:

In scale, scope and potential impact on privacy, the efforts to collect and analyze location data may be unsurpassed among the NSA surveillance programs that have been disclosed since June. Analysts can find cellphones anywhere in the world, retrace their movements and expose hidden relationships among individuals using them.

According to the Post's reporting, the NSA scoops up the data — including "incidentally" picked up domestic cellphone data — in bulk "because its most powerful analytic tools — known collectively as CO-TRAVELER — allow it to look for unknown associates of known intelligence targets by tracking people whose movements intersect."

Further, these location grabbing surveillance tools "require the methodical collection and storage of location data on what amounts to a planetary scale," the Post continues, and calls "the NSA’s capabilities to track location... staggering," and "indicate that the agency is able to render most efforts at communications security effectively futile."

So much data is being collected that the agency can't keep up with processing and storing it all, the paper reports, citing a 2012 internal NSA briefing.

"It is staggering that a location-tracking program on this scale could be implemented without any public debate, particularly given the substantial number of Americans having their movements recorded by the government," stated Catherine Crump, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, following the Washington Post report.

"The paths that we travel every day can reveal an extraordinary amount about our political, professional, and intimate relationships. The dragnet surveillance of hundreds of millions of cell phones flouts our international obligation to respect the privacy of foreigners and Americans alike," Crump continued. "The government should be targeting its surveillance at those suspected of wrongdoing, not assembling massive associational databases that by their very nature record the movements of a huge number of innocent people

Originally published to Common Dreams on Wednesday,Dec. 4,2013

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

McDonald's To Workers:Sell Xmas Presents to Pay Bills

   We all know how cheap and stingy Wal-Mart is with their workers as we have all heard the story of their workers holding food drives to help out other workers.

  McDonald’s, everyones favorite fast-food joint, is not that much better as SemDem tells us.

A month ago McDonald's executives were raked over the coals for fighting tooth and nail to not raise their employees pay, despite record profits and outrageous executive salaries, for telling employees on their McResource Line that they were poor enough to apply for food stamps and possibly Medicaid.

I guess the first clue that you are not paying your employees enough is that your company even has a "resource line" for impoverished employees.  But to be fair, if I was  an overpaid, entitled executive making 8 million instead of 7 bucks,  I might be a little tone deaf too.

What I cannot understand is that after such an obvious PR fiasco, why on earth would executives decide to sign off on even MORE "helpful" advice to their poverty-stricken workers on that site? 

Yet that is exactly what they did, with helpful nuggets like:

"Sing away stress"

A clever way to stretch out food for your family...

"Breaking food into pieces often results in eating less and still feeling full"

...and quit your bitching...

"Quit Complaining
Stress hormone levels rise by 15% after 10 minutes of complaining" 

(We told you to get food stamps and sing!! What else do you want!?)

But this is my favorite. Did mommy splurge and buy her kid toys for Christmas?

" whatever it takes to dig out from your Holiday debt.  You may also want to consider returning some of your unopened purchases that may not seem as appealing as they did.  Selling some of your unwanted possessions on eBay or Craigslist could bring in some quick cash."

Monday, December 02, 2013

Debunking Right-Wing Bullsh*t: The Vatican Embassy Is Closing

  Once again the Republican arm of the “ super-stupid “ are passing out another made up myth concerning President Obama. Sadly, once again the “ super-stupid “ believe it.

  By T. Steelman December 1, 2013

The Vatican embassy is being closed – oh noes! You may have seen something on this in the past few days. If what you saw came from the right, you are not getting the whole story. Of course, as is their wont, they are being selective about their information. So, once again it’s time to play… Debunk That BS!

First off, there is no “Vatican embassy”

There is no U.S. embassy in Vatican City. There are no embassies in Vatican City at all, actually. There is just no room for them. The whole of Vatican City is only 0.2 square mile. All embassies to the Vatican lie in the surrounding city of Rome. Ergo, no “Vatican embassy.”

What is happening is that the U.S. embassy is being moved. That necessarily requires the closing of the old location. The new location will combine the U.S. embassy to the Vatican with the one to Italy (seen above). It’s also closer to the Holy See. But the closing of the former site is all the information that the myth-laden screeds from the right are giving. So naturally, this truncated version of the facts is drawing the ire of the right.

The right created a controversy which grew in their echo chamber

It started with Jeb Bush:

Jeb Bush tweet about Vatican embassy

Derp, Jeb. Retribution? Way to project. However, this president is not a “retribution” kind of guy. If he were, we’d have known by now. Besides, President Obama has dealt with the complaints of the Catholics when it came to the birth control mandate in the ACA. Forcing employees to follow the religious beliefs of an employer is blatantly unconstitutional. The Supreme Court should uphold the rights of employees: we hope.

Several former diplomats have joined their voices with Jeb and the loony right. These are men who should know that there is no “Vatican embassy.” Primary among them is James Nicholson, who took the opportunity to bash the Obama Administration:

“It’s another manifestation of the antipathy of this administration both to Catholics and to the Vatican — and to Christians in the Middle East. This is a key post for intermediation in so many sovereignties but particularly in the Middle East. This is anything but a good time to diminish the stature of this post. To diminish the stature of this post is to diminish its influence.”

How on earth does moving the embassy “diminish the stature of this post”? Nothing else is changing. Not the staff, not the Ambassador, not the U.S. presence. There will be no reduction in staff or presence — got that, Mr. Nicholson? Oh, and Jeb? Your brother is the one who initiated this move — his administration purchased the buildings. So kindly, STFU.

Here’s the lowdown

Why is the “Vatican embassy” moving? The main reason is to save money. The old location cost us $1.4 million every year to lease and operate. The other reason is security. The new location is easier and cheaper to protect. You’d think with the current right-wing obsession with embassy safety — fake as it is — might make them stop and listen. Ha! Not bloody likely.

Other myths surrounding this move include that the Ambassador’s residence is moving (it’s not) and that the U.S. is the only country that will have a combined location. We’re not. The UK, Netherlands and Israel all have co-located embassies to Italy and Vatican City.

Yet again, we see the right-wing taking a small piece of information from a much larger story and using it to bad-mouth President Obama. This phone interview with a state department official dispels all of the “Vatican Embassy” BS. But those who want to blame any and everything on this president don’t want the facts. They would much rather pile on the faux outrage.

The Vatican itself has said that they are aware of the move and the reasons for it. And, while they say the situation is “not ideal,” it is “not the end of the world.” Indeed. Unless one is an American right-winger.       AddictingInfo

  Creative Common License


Saturday, November 30, 2013

A New Scandal, But Only If It Were True

Jed Lewison on Sat Nov 30, 2013

The claim: According to House Government Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, in order to meet the October 1 deadline for launching, the Obama administration ignored security issues with the website, risking the disclosure of personally identifiable information from people applying for insurance—and even worse, they concealed a memo about this information from key technical staff.

The reality: The memo had nothing to do with the October 1 launch of It concerned a component of the website that is not planned to launch until April 2014 and would only be used by insurance companies to supply information about their plans to the health care exchanges. The reason key technical staff did not see the memo was that it was not relevant to them, had no bearing on the October 1 launch, and had nothing to do with personally identifiable information.

Stuff like this keeps on happening with Darrell Issa. He makes a sweeping allegation of malfeasance, and the claim proves to be incorrect. It happens often enough that the default position should be to assume that he's lying. Yet all too often, media outlets regurgitate his garbage.

It's easy to see why Issa would lie: It's great politics for him. But reporters shouldn't enable him, no matter how many clicks it buys them.

  Originally published to Jed Lewison for Daily Kos

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pope Francis Blasts ‘Unfettered Capitalism’ As ‘The New Tyranny ‘

  Not that I care for the Pope all that much, But, he is spot-on!

Author: Egberto Willies November 26, 2013

The church has been in an incestuous and rather evil relationship with the worship of wealth for a long time. Unfettered capitalism has become a religion in its own right. Preachers promoting the health and wealth doctrine and evangelical “Christian” leaders attracted to Ayn Rand — like Paul Ryan — have given up their duty to serve humanity over wealth.

But Pope Francis may yet turn out to be the loudest and most effective critic of unfettered capitalism. This week, Huffpo reports that he published a stinging rebuke in his 84-page apostolic exhortation. One must wonder why it is taking so long for people from the Christian faith, as a whole, to speak out.

Too many “Christian” leaders value capitalism more than the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Instead, many evangelical pastors are trying to validate capitalism and the pursuit of wealth as some God-given decree. Texas Pastor David Hope from the Word of Life Church is one of those. He wrote an essay in the Kingwood Observer that would give Pope Francis heartburn. The piece titled “Jesus is not a socialist” attempted to justify the severe inequities of unfettered capitalism as well as to promote it.

David Hope justifies a very unequal pie with the following:

Capitalism is like the kingdom of God. Everyone has an opportunity to make it to the top, but there won’t be equal outcomes. When government tries to manufacture equal outcomes, it brings everyone down. As people concentrate on the sizes of the pieces of the pie, the pie just keeps getting smaller. All the pieces get smaller and equal outcomes are still not achieved.

Hope’s over-simplified statement does not take into account that those with inherited or ill-gained capital have a built in advantage over those who don’t. Barring redistribution through taxes or some other method, it cannot be sustainable.

The pastor then makes a baldly false statement that goes against reality, as lived by most people in the world today:

Capitalism is the most compassionate system. Capitalism is the best way to reduce poverty. It gives every man a chance to succeed, and it promotes wealth into the hands of those who serve others and have a heart to give to those less fortunate.

It increases individual wealth, thus allowing individuals to give out of their increase. God has designed the needs of the poor to be met by Christians, not by the government. Government’s bureaucratic shuffling of wealth accomplishes nothing.

This type of thinking can be found throughout the evangelical realm in the U.S. It has taken too much long for other Christians to speak out against the destruction unfettered capitalism has wrought on the poor, the environment, and the world as a whole. The beloved pope has blasted the door wide open with his justifiable attack.

Pope Francis on capitalism: God demands that the wealthy share their wealth.

Pope Francis released his 84 page apostolic exhortation in which he states that unfettered capitalism is “a new tyranny.” He implies that God demands that the wealthy share their wealth. He makes an important connection for those who profess to abide by the commandments. He uses the ‘Thou shalt not kill’ commandment in an ingeniously practical manner. If you promote an economy that is causing people to die, you are killing. This means you violate that commandment.

The pope illustrated how unfettered capitalism has become more important than caring for humanity. He says, “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”

The pope is calling for a overhaul of the world’s economic and global finance systems. He acknowledges that the unequal distribution of wealth will lead to violence. He also makes a clear statement about how pure capitalism is causing many of the world’s problems, or making them worse.

“As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems,” he wrote.

Denying this was simple populism, he called for action “beyond a simple welfare mentality” and added: “I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor.”

The words of Pope Francis on the current economic system should not be taken for granted. There is a buzz in the air.  Americans are realizing that the instability around the world is not too far away. Its genesis has always had an economic component. It is now right at our front door banging. It won’t be long till it kicks the door wide open.

Originally posted to AddictingInfo on

Tuesday, November 26,2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Asshat Limbaugh Falls For "White Males Should Kill Themselves" Satire Piece

  By ProgLegs on Tue Nov 26, 2013

Conservative blogs have been abuzz the past few days over the latest round of bigotry against the oft-oppressed white male.  

The "news" outlets are reporting that Noel Ignatiev, a real professor at Massachusetts College of Art, suggested in his final lecture that white males needed to kill themselves:

"If you are a white male, you don’t deserve to live. You are a cancer, you’re a disease, white males have never contributed anything positive to the world! They only murder, exploit and oppress non-whites! At least a white woman can have sex with a black man and make a brown baby but what can a white male do? He’s good for nothing. Slavery, genocides against aboriginal peoples and massive land confiscation, the inquisition, the holocaust, white males are all to blame! You maintain your white male privilege only by oppressing, discriminating against and enslaving others!


Obviously, all whites need to be destroyed, but why not start with white males? They are behind most of history’s greatest atrocities. Besides, some of the brothers like to bang white women. Eventually white women can breed out, but my feeling is that if you are a white male, you should kill yourself now. If you are a thoughtful person, with a social consciousness who considers himself white, you will consider suicide. It’s the right thing to do."

Today Rush Limbaugh picked up the story and ran with it--it fits perfectly with his ongoing narrative that white male Christians are subjected to nonstop persecution.

The only problem?  The lecture is completely fictional--as one of Limbaugh's office flunkies pointed out as soon as El Rushbo's Gucci ostrich loafer-clad foot was firmly in his mouth.

I shit you not, Limbaugh actually led into his aborted segment with the following statement:

"I look at how easily people are made to follow and made to believe things and lied to and act like sheep..."

Rush then attempted to lead his sheep into believing a false story about a professor whose white man's guilt leads him to suggest mass suicide for his white male students:

Listen for yourself:


Just when the vein was bulging dangerously on his sweaty crimson forehead, one of Rush Limbaugh's staff told him off mike that the story was not real. 

Egg dripping from his wattles, Limbaugh tried--and failed--to save a little face:

"Now they tell me that this professor's story has been debunked.  Well, it just showed up in a major blog last night.  Ok, so the story is a satire.  It's a major blog.  Where did it show up?  (Rattles papers to cover sounds of nervous flatus) Ahhhhhh, I'll have to click on the link to find out, cause the print...Washington Times reported it.  Why does something like that work?  There are professors who teach that the problem with the planet is human beings.  There are environmentalist wackos who teach that the world would be much better if there were no human beings.  And the left is filled with these kinds of extremists."

The story that suckered Limbaugh comes from a satirical website called Diversity Chronicle which includes such pieces as "Breaking News:  George Zimmerman Eats 3 Egg Omelet".

Had Limbaugh actually done some research instead of getting all his information from headlines gleaned from easily outraged dimwit websites he would have found that the Ignatiev "lecture" included the following lines:

"Perhaps we are finally coming to an awareness in this country that the cancer known as the white race must be obliterated. Especially in the form of white males. Obama is president, and I think there is an excellent chance that we will never have a white male president again. I think we are witnessing the breaking of the back of the white male power structure. We will still have residual white males that must be dealt with, but I am confident that we’ve won. Eventually, I would like to put white males in concentration camps and work them to death just like they’ve done to everyone else. When they are all dead we can throw a party and dance around their corpses!"

But of course "facts" and "research" are not Rush Limbaugh's strong suit.

Decent folks who believe in tolerance and equality are no longer powerless against Rush Limbaugh's efforts to spread intolerance on the radio.  StopRush is making a major impact by convincing advertisers on this show to withdraw their ads--and with your help we can do even more.  Just a few emails, tweets, or Facebook messages a week to Limbaugh's advertisers can go a long way toward making hatred less profitable.  It is our collective voice that makes us strong. 

Want to do something hold Limbaugh accountable?  
Join StopRush!  We can use your help in the following ways:

JoinThe Flush Rush Facebook community
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Fact CheckLimbaugh Lie Debunking Site
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Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Next House Republicans Obamacare target: Medicaid expansion

Joan McCarter  

Remember how House Speaker John Boehner has reassured his conference that while full-on Obamacare repeal might not be on the agenda, House Republicans are just going to keep chipping away at it? He said they would use "targeted legislative strikes aimed at shattering the legislative coalition the president has used to force his law on the nation."

Consider this one of the possible strikes, aimed at the part of Obamacare that is going gangbusters right now, signing up hundreds of thousands across the nation: Medicaid.

A small group of stalwart House conservatives aren’t abandoning their efforts to gut Obamacare through government funding bills.

Should another continuing resolution be needed in January, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) said some conservative lawmakers want to include a provision to eliminate the Medicaid expansion funding that was added in the Affordable Care Act.

The funds would then be used to cover the $20 billion in cuts to defense spending that are set to go into effect in January as part of the sequester, he said. The Medicaid expansion costs about $21 billion for the rest of the fiscal year, said Huelskamp, who supports keeping the sequester cuts in place.

“We would like to take something out of Obamacare, and we looked at the Medicaid numbers and thought, ‘Geez, we can take some of that and put it to some of the sequester cuts,’” he said. “It helps us achieve two goals at once—one to pull something out of Obamacare… Two, it pushes back at some Republicans worried about the sequester.”

What they'd like to take out of Obamacare, clearly, is health coverage for poor people. Politico calls this effort a longshot, suggesting that there won't be the stomach in the Republican caucus in the House for another budget fight over Obamacare. That's underestimating Republican hatred for the law. It's also ignoring the fact that nothing that the hardcore tea bagger right wants to get out of Boehner is ever a longshot: they rule his world.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Nov 20, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Saturday Satire: Who Cares Edition

Jay Leno: "Toronto's city council has voted to drastically reduce Mayor Rob Ford's powers. They say this reduces him to a 'mere figurehead' – which still sounds better than 'crackhead.'"
"To make matters worse for Mayor Ford, his reality show was canceled after one airing. They are calling this guy the most embarrassing Ford since the Pinto."
"Thanksgiving is right around the corner. As you know, the traditional Thanksgiving began in 1621 when Native Americans sat down with a bunch of undocumented pilgrims. They had dinner and the pilgrims never left."
Jimmy Fallon: "Obama and other Democrats have even stopped using the term 'Obamacare,' when referring to the new healthcare law. Yeah, now they're calling it 'The Affordable Care Act.' Americans were like, 'Just let us know when you can call it 'fixed.'"
Conan O'Brien: "Members of the tea party gathered outside the White House to demand President Obama's impeachment. The president said he appreciated their views and he is setting up a new website where they can voice their opinion."
"Obama is wrestling with the healthcare rollout debacle. He urged Americans not to be put off by the Obamacare website and offered alternative ways to enroll, such as using the mail. Then the president got on his horse and rode off to spread the news to the next town."–Conan O'Brien

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A brief history of God in the United States of America

  By  ObamOcala on Wed Nov 20, 2013

This past week, conservatives found yet another reason to condemn President Barack Obama as "un-American." The Muslim Kenyan Socialist showed his true colors, they said, by omitting the words "under God" from a video reading of the Gettysburg Address.

Of course, the line of attack is silly. President Obama was reading from an original draft of the speech penned by Lincoln himself. Of the five existing contemporary written versions of the speech, three contain the phrase "under God." All three of those drafts were prepared after Nov. 19, 1863, the day Lincoln delivered the speech.

Newspaper transcriptions of the day - which, because of the vaguries of telegraph service, often varied in wording - do all seem to agree that Lincoln added the words "under God," extemporaneously it seems, when he gave the speech, which is why the phrase appears in subsequent drafts, but not in copies written beforehand.

Should Ken Burns, who prepared the video, have considered the possibility of controversy when he selected that particular passage to feature President Obama, given the skepticism on the far right of the president's religious beliefs? Perhaps. Then again, it's my opinion that Barack Obama could conclude every sentence of every speech with a reference to the Christian God, and it still wouldn't satisfy the religious right. Their motivation is less about religion than it is about portraying President Obama as "the other," and therefore hostile to the nation he leads.

But the controversy did get me thinking - what, exactly, is God's relationship to the United States, and our relationship to God? I knew in rough form how the church-state relationship has evolved in this country, but I didn't know some of the details. And I'm fascinated by what I've learned. I'll share my newfound (and prior) knowledge below the sacred symbol of the Orange Sect of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

One thing I knew about the founding fathers is that many of them were deists, but I confess I had only a vague notion of what that meant. I've since learned that deism grew out of The Age of Enlightenment, and that it's adherents, while they accepted the existence of a deity, were highly skeptical of organized religion, miracles and the notion that a god intervened directly in the lives of individuals.

The deist philosophy permeates both The Declaration of Indepence (in its brief references to God) and the Constitution (in its lack of same).

Consider the Declaration (emphasis added):

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...

It's hard to imagine a modern-day evangelical Christian putting "the Laws of Nature" ahead of God, or, for that matter, referring to God as "Nature's God." And in the second paragraph, the authors of the Declaration abandoned references to God altogether, preferring instead to speak of a "Creator." Those phrases are directly out of the deist playbook.

The Constitution, meanwhile, purposefully omits any mention of God whatsoever. Organized religion, however, is mentioned - prominently - in the Bill of Rights ... at the very top of the Bill of Rights, in fact. We all know the words:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...

It's no accident that the so-called "Establishment Clause" tops the list. Ironically, it was the concerns of Protestants, primarily Baptists, which led to its inclusion. Throughout the Colonial Period, the Church of England was the official church of Virginia, and members of other religions, especially Jews and Protestants, were frequently the targets of religious persecution.

To address the concerns of members of those religious groups, Thomas Jefferson - a member of the Virginia General Assembly - introduced the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, which would dis-establish the Church of England, in the assembly in 1779. It was finally passed in 1786, with help from James Madison. To further quell the concerns of members of minority religions - and to gain their support over anti-federalists competing with them for seats at the ratifying convention - Madison and fellow federalist James Gordon, Jr. promised to propose language prohibiting the establishment of an official federal religion as an amendment to the Constitution. And so the Establishment Clause came to pass.

Modern-day Fundamentalist Christian revisionists like David Barton now argue that the Establishment Clause was not intended to separate religion and government completely. To back up their claim, they point out that the phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear in the Constitution, and wasn't mentioned until a Supreme Court ruling in 1878 (some argue it didn't appear until rulings in the late 20th Century).

That's not true. The phrase was first coined by Thomas Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury (Conneciticut) Baptist association on Jan. 1, 1802 (emphasis added):

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State."

Madison also used the phrase on at least one occasion. It seems clear from their own writings what the framers of the First Amendment intended in regards to the entanglement of religion and politics.

The only other mention of organized religion in the Constitution comes in Article VI, paragraph 3, and further amplifies where the founders stood on the subject (emphasis added):

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

The United States' official position as a secular nation was further affirmed by another founding father, John Adams, during his presidency. Privateers in the service of the Barbary nations - Algiers, Morocco, Tripoli and Tunis - were taking American ships in the Meditteranean and holding their crews for ransom or selling them into slavery. At one point, it was feared (wrongly) that Benjamin Franklin had been captured by the Barbary pirates.

The fledgling United States didn't have a strong enough navy to project sufficient power into the Med to stop the privateers, so the federal government negotiated treaties with each of the four nations, promising annual payments in exchange for safe passage for American ships. Article 11 of the treaty with the Pasha of Tripoli contained these words:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion — as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims] — and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

The Treaty of Tripoli was unanimously ratified by the Senate on June 7, 1797, and signed by Adams.

By the early 1800s, deism was beginning to fade. The next appearance of God in our national life came during the War of 1812, when an attorney and amateur poet named Francis Scott Key witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry. He was inspired to put pen to paper and write a poem, the first stanza of which is well-known by anyone who has ever attended a sporting event, or watched one on TV:

O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,

O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Those words were, of course, later put to music and adopted as our national anthem. But the poem actually went on for three more stanzas, the last of which reads:

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!

Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.'

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Wow - who took God out of the national anthem? Oh, wait ...

Key not withstanding, it would be 50 years before a modified version of the phrase "In God is our trust" came to the fore in our national life. The United States Congress, eager to imply that God was on the side of the Union in the American Civil War, mandated in 1864 that some United States coins include the phrase "In God We Trust." But the appearance of the motto on our coinage was not uniform or continuous, and came and went on various coins throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In 1907, another pious Congress was pushing to add the phrase to the $20 coin. President Theodore Roosevelt (a Republican and Dutch Reformed Christian who sometimes attended church with his wife, an Episcopalian) vehemently opposed the move:

“My own feeling in the matter is due to my very firm conviction that to put such a motto on coins, or to use it in any kindred manner, not only does no good but does positive harm, and is in effect irreverence, which comes dangerously close to sacrilege…”

It was not until 1938 that "In God We Trust" began appearing on all U.S. coins.

As for that other famous expression of American religiosity, "One nation, under God," not only was it never stated as a founding principle, it hardly made an appearance at all until the mid 20th Century. In my admittedly limited research, I've found no mention of such a phrase before the turn of the last century, other than Lincoln's extemporaneous and gratuitous inclusion of it in the Gettysburg Address.

It certainly wasn't in the original Pledge of Allegiance, penned in 1892 by socialist (ah, the irony) minister Francis Bellamy. His version read, simply:

"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Revisions in 1923 (adding "to" before "the republic"), 1923 (changing "my Flag" to "the Flag of the United States") and 1924 (adding "of America" to "the Flag of the United States") still failed to make any room for God, and somehow the republic survived.

In fact, it wasn't until the 1950s that God achieved His current level of entrenchment in our national life. The Cold War was in full swing, and many attacked the Soviet Union not for being a totalitarian state, but for its institutionalized atheism. This was the era of "Godless Commies," and American politicians were eager to show their piety to differentiate themselves from their Soviet counterparts.

It was during this period that God was enshrined on our currency and in the pledge. The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization, had added "one nation, under God" to the pledge on their own, and instigated a grassroots effort to make the change official. Congress obliged in 1954. Then in 1956, Congress found another way to insinuate religion into our lives by dumping the nation's unofficial motto - E pluribus unum, or "Out of Many, One" - making "In God We Trust" our official motto, and mandating that the new phrase be placed on all U.S. currency (1957 marked the first time the phrase began appearing on our paper money for the first time).

So there you have it. Our nation is 237 years old, but only for the last 60 of those years has God been officially enshrined in our national life. And to avoid conflict with the Establishment Clause, our nation's god is of necessity a pretty weak and generic one.

In fact, those Christians who continue to offer up having "one nation, under God" in our pledge and "In God We Trust" on our currency as proof that we are a "Christian nation" don't have a leg to stand on. In a 2004 Pledge of Allegiance case, Elk Grove Unified School District vs. Newdow, a majority on the Supreme Court ruled that the inclusion of "one nation, under God" was permissible under the Establishment Clause because it has become an act of "ceremonial deism." Writing her own opinion but concurring with the majority, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote:

"Whatever the sectarian ends its authors may have had in mind, our continued repetition of the reference to 'one Nation under God' in an exclusively patriotic context has shaped the cultural significance of that phrase to conform to that context. Any religious freight the words may have been meant to carry originally has long since been lost."

And that about wraps it up for God - or at least for the fundamentalist Christian version of Him.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Speaking Republican

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

From Addicting Info    Author: Elisabeth Parker

When their words don’t mean what you think they mean — which is most of the time — this guide to speaking Republican comes in handy! — Photo collage by Elisabeth Parker for Addicting Info, with apologies to the “Complete Idiot’s Guide” series. Photo of boy with gun from the Huffington Post.

How can you fight back against conservatives and their backward policies when nothing they say ever makes any sense whatsoever? When their words never seem to mean what you think they mean — which is most of the time — this guide to speaking Republican comes in handy. After all, as the famous Chinese general, military strategist, and philosopher Sun Tzu famously wrote in his book, “The Art of War,” “So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.”

Here are just a few of the many rave reviews for our “Complete Idiot’s Guide To Speaking Republican.”

  • “This helpful guide to speaking Republican really comes in handy – I wish I’d read it back in 2008, because my whole term would’ve turned out differently.” – President Barack Obama.
  • “Dang! No wonder I can never understand a word they’re saying!” – James Carville, Democratic strategist.
  • “Great book — hugely helpful. Now, when did you last take a Wall Street bank to trial?” – Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
  • “I’ve forged a career and company based on the idea that anyone can learn to speak any language … but until I read this guide to speaking Republican, nothing they said ever made any sense to me.” – Eugene Stoltzfus, linguist and Rosetta Stone founder.

Read for yourself to discover what Republicans are really saying the next time you hear one of their bizarre phrases on Fox News.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Speaking Republican

- Numbers -

  • 9-11: Justification for torture and preemptive warfare abroad; and for domestic racial profiling and invasive security precautions at airports.
  • 420: Another step down the slippery slope of drug legalization from California, the land of fruits and nuts.

- A -

  • Abortion: Something far more immoral and tragic than the Death Penalty (see Death Penalty, Fetus, Pro-Life).
  • Affirmative Action: The soft bigotry of low expectations. Unfair hiring and college acceptance practices resulting from institutionalized discrimination against white men.
  • Activist Judges: Liberal or centrist state and federal judges whose decisions support civil rights, reproductive choice, consumer rights, and corporate accountability. The term does not apply to conservative judges whose decisions undermine civil rights, reproductive choice, consumer rights, and corporate accountability.
  • American: The awesomest and the best (see Real American).
  • Anchor Babies: Children whelped out by pregnant illegal immigrants who sneak across the border in droves to steal citizenship and free medical care for their brown demon-spawn, who will grow up and vote Democratic.
  • Anti-Business: Anything requiring accountability, transparency, fair wages, consumer rights, non-discrimination in hiring/promoting, and/or environmentally responsible business practices.
  • Ayn Rand: That’s “Ayn,” which rhymes with “mine.”

- B -

  • Bible: The infallible word of God, who said everything He wanted to say to a bunch of bearded misogynist warlords in flowing robes thousands of years ago, then sent His son Jesus Christ to take it all back, and hasn’t been heard from since. Which is why we need right-wing zealots to tell us what God really meant. For example, it’s still okay to hate gays, but we don’t get to stone women to death for being harlots … yet (see God, Jesus Christ).
  • Bible-Based: A belief system that makes selective use of biblical texts to deny climate change, evolution, marriage equality, and equality for women.
  • Big Government: All government functions that go beyond invading other countries and putting people of color in prison.
  • Bigotry: (See Affirmative Action).
  • Bipartisanship: Something Democrats are refusing to practice when Republicans try to shut down the Government or force legislation the American public does not want.
  • Black and Brown people: Second class citizens (see Gay People, God, Legal Immigrants, Native Americans, Real Americans, Women).
  • Business: Everything that’s good about the United States of America. Unlike “Big Government,” businesses are extremely efficient and cost-conscious due to decades of skimming billions off the top to enrich their top brass and shareholders (see Corporations).
  • Business-Friendly: Anything that does not require accountability, transparency, fair wages, consumer rights, non-discrimination in hiring/promoting, and/or environmentally responsible business practices (see Anti-Business).

- C -

  • China: A backward country with no minimum wage, safety and environmental regulations, civil rights, or workers’ rights … which the United States should start imitating as soon as possible. Not really Communist any more (see Business Friendly).
  • Choice: Freedom to choose amongst various crappy options you can’t afford.
  • Christian: An adherent to a religion named after Jesus Christ. Not to be confused with those who follow Jesus Christ’s teachings of love, tolerance, and caring for the less fortunate (see God, Jesus Christ).
  • Class Warfare: Working people asking for a living wage.
  • Climate Change: Global warming? What global warming?
  • Communism: A catch-all term for anything that promotes tolerance, fairness, transparency, or social justice. Has no relation to the actual theory and practice of communism.
  • Compassionate Conservatism: A term that makes a senselessly cruel and miserly philosophy seem palatable to people.
  • Confederate Flag: A symbol of Freedom … um … at least for some people. (see also, Freedom).
  • Corporations: They’re people, my friend (see Business, Free Markets).

- D -

  • Death Panels: Bureaucrats who will deny treatment to Sarah Palin’s grandparents and disabled child and send them out on an ice floe to die, when Obamacare takes effect (see Obamacare)
  • Death Penalty: Retroactive abortions performed after the 54th trimester, when a fetus turns 18.
  • Death Tax: A grave injustice committed against heirs to wealthy estates.
  • Deregulation: (See Business-Friendly, Free Markets, Privatize).
  • Discrimination: (See Affirmative Action).

- E -

  • Earned Benefits: (See Entitlements).
  • Edward Snowden: Communist traitor (see Communist, National Security, Traitor).
  • Efficient: The opposite of Big Government (see Business, Business-Friendly, Free Markets, Privatize).
  • Elitist: Reads above an 8th grade level.
  • Energy Exploration: Drilling for oil or mining coal in wildlife reserves and national parks.
  • Enhanced Interrogation: Because we all know how people provide useful and accurate information when tortured.
  • Entitlements: Stuff you aren’t entitled to, even though you pay for them with your taxes or financial contributions: Like earned benefits, food, housing, education, healthcare, and other ridiculous luxuries taken for granted in all the other modernized and wealthy — and some not-so-wealthy — nations (see Pensions).
  • Europe: (See Communism).
  • Ex-Gay: A reformed gay person with same-sex “urges” who prayed their gay away … because, of course, being gay is a perverse lifestyle choice (see Gay People).

- F -

  • Facts: Liberally-biased, doesn’t watch Fox News (see Fox News)
  • Family Values: In keeping with the values held by the authoritarian, dysfunctional families that warped conservatives’ minds to begin with. Not to be confused with values that actually support families.
  • Faith-Based Initiatives: Church-based charitable programs which would supposedly replace government-provided social programs … as long as recipients receive Jesus as their Savior, and as long as churchgoers keep on giving reliably.
  • Filibuster Reform: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s unconstitutional attempt to obstruct obstructionists from obstructing things.
  • Fetus: A cluster of cells cultishly worshipped by conservative Christians as representing the sanctity of life. Like cows in parts of India, fetuses must be treated with reverence and never harmed nor killed.
  • Fiscal Cliff: A non-existent precipice over which we’ll tumble if we don’t enact tax cuts for the wealthy and draconian austerity measures for the rest of us.
  • Founding Fathers: A bunch of guys who dressed like Tea Partiers, and loved Jesus and Freedom.
  • Fox News: Fair and balanced reporting (see Facts, Liberal Bias, Reality-Based Community).
  • Freedom: The freedom to carry guns, discriminate against homosexuals and people of color, pay workers slave wages, treat women like chattel, and to bully people who aren’t like you.
  • Free Enterprise: (See Business-Friendly)
  • Freedom to Pray: Freedom to force Christianity on others with U.S. taxpayers’ dollars.
  • Free Markets: Socialized risk, privatized profits. (see Business, Freedom)

- G -

  • Gay People: ‘Soulless and destructive,’ according to Virginia’s GOP Attorney General and 2013 Gubernatorial candidate. Second-class citizens. As opposed to Real Americans (see Black and Brown People, God, Legal Immigrants, Native AmericansWomen).
  • George Zimmerman: Law abiding citizen, victim of racist hate crime (see Trayvon Martin).
  • Gerrymander: Something only Democrats ever do (see Voter Fraud).
  • Global Warming: (See Climate Change)
  • God: A mean, misogynistic, intolerant, war-mongering old white guy with flowing robes and unkempt facial hair who commanded us to hate women, gays, people of color, non-Christians, the poor, and pretty much everyone else except for men, boys, and fetuses (see Jesus Christ)
  • Government: (see Big Government).
  • Government Spending: Always bad, except when applied to prisons, and the military.

- H -

- I -

  • Illegal Immigrants: Brown people who live and work here, but are expected to not exist except when some rich anglo needs someone to prune their hedges on the cheap. Even worse-off than second-class citizens like Black and Brown People, Gay People, God, Legal Immigrants, Native Americans, and Women (see Real Americans).
  • ILLERATE: How the folks at Westboro Baptist Church spell “illiterate.”
  • Immoral: The opposite of being a Real American (See Affirmative Action, Anti-Business).
  • Intelligent Design: Unintelligent design.
  • Islam: (See Terrorist).
  • Israel: A nation ardently supported by conservative evangelicals, because the Rapture won’t happen until the Jews retake Jerusalem. After that, of course, Jews who don’t accept Jesus as their Savior will die horrible deaths and go to Hell. But we don’t need to tell them that.

- J -

  • Jesus Christ: The son of God, who sacrificed himself in a brutal and drawn-out manner just to save the sorry, self-righteous, cheating, and hypocritical asses of jerks like Newt Gingrich and Mark Sanford (see Christians, God).
  • Job: Something people complaining about unemployment need to go out and get, whether or not any actually exist.
  • Job Creators: The 1% who stash money in off-shore tax havens instead of making investments that create jobs.
  • Job Killing: Holding businesses accountable, taxing wealthy people at the rate everyone else pays on their earnings.

- K -

  • K-Street: Where disgraced GOP politicians eventually go to make a living.
  • Keystone Pipeline: Energy independence and jobs. Well, okay, so we won’t actually be using any of that oil and there won’t really be any jobs either … unless temporary contract work for cleaning up oil spills counts as a job.

- L -

  • Lamestream Media: Anything that isn’t Fox News.
  • Legal Immigrants: Second-class citizens, especially if you’re Asian, Middle-Eastern, Latino, or African. (see Black and Brown People, Gay People, God, Native Americans, Real Americans, Women).
  • Less Government: (See Business-Friendly, Free Markets, Privatize)
  • Liberal: Evil.
  • Liberal Bias: Most facts have this.
  • Liberty: (See Freedom).
  • Limousine Liberals: Wealthy socialists who think that just because they enjoy giving their money away to worthless moochers, everyone else should, too (see Elitists).
  • Looters: A term borrowed from “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand, to anyone who believes people have a right to fair wages, public services, and a social safety net.
  • Low Information Voter: (See Fox News).

- M -

  • Mainstream Media: (See Lamestream Media).
  • Martin, Trayvon: (See Trayvon Martin).
  • Marxism: (See Communism).
  • Middle East (See Oil, Terrorists).
  • Military: Not really part of big government or government spending (see Big Government, Government Spending).
  • Mining: (See Healthy Forests).
  • Moderate: (See Liberal)
  • Moochers: (see Looters)
  • Moral: Cheating on spouses, embezzling cash, scamming supporters, abusing prescription drugs, and soliciting young boys for gay sex, as exemplified by the behavior of conservative leaders.
  • Muslim: People from countries that treat women as badly as American conservatives wish they could treat women (see Terrorists).

- N -

  • National Interests: (See Oil).
  • National Rifle Association (NRA): America’s foremost defender of Americans’ non-existent “Second Amendment Rights” to bear arms assault rifles (see Founding Fathers, Freedom).
  • National Security: Justification for all evils committed domestically or abroad.
  • National Security Administration: (See above).
  • Native Americans: Second-class citizens (see Black and Brown People, Gay People, God, Legal Immigrants, Real Americans, Women).
  • Nazis: Anyone who doesn’t agree with conservatives’ interpretation of the constitution.

- O -

  • Obama: Osama Bin Laden
  • Obamacare: The camel’s nose under the tent for single-payer, socialized medicine, which — to Republicans — is a BAD thing (See Communism, Death Panels).
  • Oil: Must be extracted and protected regardless of environmental, financial, and human costs.
  • Oil Drilling: (See Healthy Forests).
  • Organic: Foods Real Americans don’t eat (see Communism, Elitist, Gay People, Liberal
  • Osama Bin Laden: (See Obama)

- P -

  • Pass: Something Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and John Boehner (R-OH) won’t do to any legislation, unless it prevents people from voting or having abortions.
  • Pensions: Worker “entitlements” that they aren’t really entitled to — even though they paid for them — and which should be looted by corporations and Wall Street (see Entitlements).
  • Personal Responsibility: A facile justification for not helping anyone, because when bad things happen to people, it’s their own fault.
  • Poor: (See Looters).
  • Poverty: A condition that conveniently provides a cheap and docile labor force, and which can also be blamed on the sufferers themselves.
  • Privatize: Hand public resources over to profiteers, who will supposedly manage them more efficiently while charging us exorbitant rates for accessing them. (See Business, Freedom, Free Markets).
  • Pro Life: Pro-Fetus. Once you’re born, you’re on your own (see Abortion, Death Penalty, Fetus).
  • Pro-Business: Anti-union, anti-environment, anti-living wage, and pro-unelected government.

- Q -

  • Quorum Call: Not nearly as fun as a booty call.
  • Quotas: The soft bigotry of the low expectations we have for minorities and low-income folks.

- R -

  • Racism: (See Affirmative Action).
  • Rape: The only way God intended for unmarried women to have sex.
  • Rape Kit: “Cleans you out” so you won’t get pregnant or diseased after being raped, according to Texas Republican State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg.
  • Rape Victim: She asked for it (see Trayvon Martin).
  • Rapture: An event preceding the end-times when all believers are bodily taken from earth into heaven by God, before the ravages of Armageddon begin. Seriously, I’m not making this up.
  • Real American: White, native English-speaking, heterosexual, and not some goddam liberal hippie.
  • Reality-Based Community: A frame of mind inhabited by Godless Liberals (see Liberal Bias, Facts).
  • Reform: Rolling back reforms.
  • Right to Work: The right to work for low pay and no benefits, and to get fired or discriminated against for no particular reason.
  • Religious Freedom: The right to worship Jesus and force others to worship Jesus (see Christian, God, Jesus Christ).
  • RINO: Acronym for “Republican In Name Only” – meaning a moderate, non-Tea Party Republican.
  • Russia: (See Communism).

- S -

  • School Choice: Vouchers for bible-based schools or home-schooling. Or the freedom to choose between crumbling and underfunded schools, inferior for-profit charter schools, or private schools you can’t afford (see Choice).
  • Stars and Bars: (See Confederate Flag)
  • School Choice: Undermining public schools with vouchers for Bible-based education (See Bible-Based).
  • Second Amendment Rights: The total whack-job’s constitutional right to carry assault rifles and stockpile weapons in their underground, barbed wire-covered bunkers (See “National Rifle Association”).
  • Snowden, Edward: (See Edward Snowden)
  • Socialist: Anything to the left of Rush Limbaugh (see Communism)
  • Stand Your Ground: The right to shoot anyone on sight who seems like a threat (see George Zimmerman, Real American, Trayvon Martin).
  • States Rights: The right of Republican state governors to deny civil rights, unemployment insurance, and health coverage to their citizens (See Freedom).

- T -

  • Tea Party: Nutcases in pseudo-colonial clothing who think they’re a grassroots movement, but are actually funded by evil rich people like the Koch brothers (See Founding Fathers).
  • Terrorists: (See Muslim)
  • Tort Reform: Preventing people from seeking legal restitution and compensation for corporate abuses (but suing the US government is encouraged).
  • Traitor: Even worse than not being a real American (See Communism, Edward Snowden, Real American).
  • Trayvon Martin: He asked for it (see Rape Victim).

- U -

  • Un-American: Urban, non-white, multicultural, progressive, non-Christian, gay-friendly, educated, and/or tolerant.
  • Unfair: (See Anti-Business, Affirmative Action)

- V -

  • Very Poor: “Lucky Duckies” who get everything handed to them on a silver platter; People former presidential candidate Mitt Romney was “not concerned about.”
  • Victimization: Calling out conservatives when they — or organizations they support — victimize people.
  • Voter Fraud: Voting for Democrats.
  • Voter ID: People should be required to have an ID in order to vote, because if you’re lame enough to not have any photo ID, then you’ll probably vote Democratic.

- W -

  • War on Christmas: Publicly acknowledging the existence of other (non-Christian) winter holidays besides Christmas.
  • Welfare State: A horrible state of dependency that occurs when we have any social safety net provisions or public services whatsoever.
  • Welfare Queens: Tramps who keep having children out-of-wedlock so they can collect huge welfare checks to buy gas for their huge pink Cadillacs.
  • Whistle-Blower: Not a Real American (see Traitor).
  • Women: Second class citizens (see Black and Brown People, Gay People, God, Legal Immigrants, Native Americans, Real Americans).

- X -

  • Xenophobic: An apt description for many conservatives, although few of them would admit it.

- Y -

  • Yellow Journalism: Any news reporting that makes conservatives look bad. The opposite of Fox News‘ ‘fair and balanced’ reporting.