Daily Archives: June 21, 2004

Where Are All The Right-Wing Trolls I’m Supposed To Have?

I mean it. I think after all the blatantly nasty attacks and lefty invective and name-calling and stuff I’ve done, I’m entitled to one. I understand they infect most every left-winger in Blogistan. Phaedrus has had at least one, David Neiwert gets them delivered in rail cars, and I want one of my very own. I deserve it. I’ve worked for it.

So get off the stick, you lazy, good-for-nothing, jobless freepers, and get your heads out of your asses! You missed me.

SC Secession?

According to the AJC, 12,000 fundamentalist Christian theocrats are moving to South Carolina with the apparent intention of forcing it to secede from the Union if it doesn’t quit being so damn librul.

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Cory Burnell may be fighting a cause as lost as the Civil War.

But the 28-year-old Tyler, Texas, math teacher and businessman is serious about moving to South Carolina with 12,000 other Christians.

Though he has never been there, he plans to reshape the South Carolina General Assembly to make the state a Christian domain. And if the federal government does not stop imposing what he considers its liberal will, he wants South Carolina to secede.

“We’re not talking about a takeover,” Burnell said. “We’re talking about reinforcements.”

Uh-huh. You know, most of the radcon crackpots want to return the country to the Robber Baron era at the end of the 19th century before the income tax was instituted, but fundamentalist Christian theocrat-crackpots want to shove us back even further than that–they want to re-play the Civil War. What’s next? Replacing cars with covered wagons? Petitioning Queen Elizabeth to reverse the American Revolution?

Is there no bottom to this silliness?

Conservative Christians Pull Bush Strings

Two years ago, ultra-conservative Christian fanatics forced Junior–not that he wouldn’t have done it anyway–to cut off the US share of financing intended to support the UN’s family planning/population control efforts. Charging that providing birth control information was virtually the same as advocating abortion (a standard anti-abortion tactic), they intimidated the Admin into withholding $34Mil in funds for the UN agency responsible for those efforts. Now, under intense election-year pressure from the same radical conservative Christian groups, the BA is threatening every govt or agency that works with them.

Pressed by opponents of abortion, the administration withdrew its support from a major international conference on health issues this month and has privately warned other groups, like Unicef, that address health issues that their financing could be jeopardized if they insist on working with the agency, the United Nations Population Fund.The administration also has indicated that it hopes to persuade the United Nations’ Latin American caucus to back away from a common position on population and development that was adopted in Santiago, Chile, in March on the grounds that the document’s discussion of reproductive rights could be interpreted as promoting abortion.

The actions are part of an administration effort to ensure that international agencies and private groups do not promote abortions overseas. In its first days in office, the Bush administration reintroduced the Reagan-era that critics call the “global gag rule,” which denies money to groups that even discuss abortion as an option, except in cases that threaten life or involve rape or incest.

The administration’s position has frustrated some United Nations officials and family planning advocates, who have complained that advances in education and awareness on reproductive issues are being undermined by the United States, where abortion is legal. Those critics, most of whom spoke anonymously because the United States government is the leading contributor to their agencies, charged that the administration was pandering to conservative supporters, and said that doing so placed the United States in alliance with tradition-bound Islamic countries and the Holy See.

Radical conservative religious groups are, in effect, holding US participation in efforts to slow global population growth hostage to their private beliefs, beliefs not shared by a good deal of the world’s population. Not that that bothers them any. But for once the Democrats aren’t standing mute on the sidelines waiting for the whole thing to blow over.

In a letter to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell on Friday, four Democratic members of Congress demanded a legal explanation for withholding money from the fund and for the “threatened defunding of the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.”Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a New York Democrat at the fore of efforts to restore support to the fund, said the administration was jeopardizing programs in women’s and family health that should not be considered contentious.

“When will the president’s right wing be satisfied – when they close down the U.N.?” she asked, adding that the tough White House stance contrasts with its appeals to the United Nations for help in the Iraq war

Not to put too fine a point on it, Carolyn: Yes, that’s exactly what they want, and No, they still won’t be satisfied. These groups are almost all closet theocrats and the truth is they won’t be satisfied until the US is a theocracy run by fundamentalist ministers instead of secular politicians. While their feral opposition to abortion is genuine, it’s also a stalking-horse, a way in through the backdoor for religious control of politics first, and later of the govt itself, openly and literally turning the US into a ‘Christian nation’.

Whether Junior wins or loses, keeping them at bay will be our next great challenge.

Selective Accounting

The NYT reports that an independent accounting firm has come up with new rules for measuring public employee health care costs.

WASHINGTON, June 20 — New accounting standards will require state and local governments to acknowledge the full cost of health benefits promised to retirees, putting immense pressure on public employers to reduce their liabilities by scaling back benefits or shifting more of the cost to retirees, government officials and accountants say.Supporters say the rules will help state and local officials, investors and taxpayers understand the magnitude of these commitments to current and future retirees.

I have to admit, I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, it’s important–even critical–that accounting practices be put in place that count all the costs and don’t allow the kind of hide-the-sausage tricks that have led to $$Billions$$ being stolen from investors and the public treasury.

On the other hand, I note that while the IRS and the SEC have been extremely slow to develop rules that would disallow corporations from hiding behind these accounting scams, they have been quick to support efforts to call traditional Democratic constituencies to account (pardon the pun but it’s one of the fringe benefits/dangers–Select One–of reading this blog). Now we have a set of rules that endangers the retirement programs of public employees.

Most public employers finance retiree health benefits on a pay-as-you-go basis, as bills come due. Experts on employee benefits said the new standards would encourage state and local officials to set aside money in trust funds for the purpose of providing health benefits to retirees.The cost of such contributions would be a new, immediate expense for state and local governments, many of which are already struggling with severe financial problems.

Labor unions and health plan administrators said the standards could jeopardize health benefits for millions of retired public employees. Moreover, they said, the standards will cause a fiscal shock to state and local government agencies and could harm their bond ratings.

“We are concerned that a lot of our retirees will end up losing their health benefits,” said Frederick H. Nesbitt, executive director of the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems.

And they very well might–the radcons will have no compunctions about using this information to attack not just public employee benefits but the whole notion of public employees period, citing retirement and health benefit costs to justify turning yet more govt agencies over to the not-so-tender mercies of private companies who will eliminate those benefits as ‘unacceptable costs’ and then go right ahead and charge 10X what those benefits cost for their ‘services’ because, after all, this is America and they’re entitled to make a profit.

I’m not saying they cooked this up for just that reason–I think the GASB is doing what it thinks is right, and probably is right. But I am saying this is a potential bonanza for privatizers and that they won’t hesitate to exploit it for their own purposes.

Seems like in BushCo America you can’t even Do the Right Thing without being afraid of how the radcons will twist it to get what they want.