Church sign confirms: Jeezus is an @$$hole.

 

 

[CONTENT NOTE: vulgarity & blasphemy—2 great tastes that taste great together!]

houses&shopsThe town where my mother lives is a Maryland historic site, a tiny storybook village of mostly clapboard homes dating to the 1830s and housing adorable shops, charming inns and a handful of surprisingly good restaurants. Most of the structures look to be in good repair, but looks can be deceiving: poor insulation, termite damage, antique electrical wiring and problems with ancient pipes are compounded by the local historic commission’s refusal to allow modern materials to be used for exterior restoration. Wood windows and doors shrink and swell with the seasons, and leaky roofs are a year-round worry.

IMG_0356

Look at these fucking icicles.

Since our last report barely two weeks ago on the town’s infamous church sign, the sky gods have been dumping nearly unprecedented amounts of snow, sleet and freezing rain here—over 10 inches of snow in February alone. Like New York City, the temperatures have been plunging into the single digits, and bouncing back just long enough to melt a fraction of the apparently permanent piles of hard-packed snow and dirty ice, only to refreeze it. Many sidewalks and street crossings are treacherous, and residents have been experiencing an alarming number of freezing and bursting pipes. As I write, there is presently a winter storm warning in effect for snow, sleet and freezing rain from 10 AM today until 4 AM tomorrow. 1-3 more inches of snow are expected, along with ice accumulations of a quarter to a third of an inch. Travel is expected to be “very hazardous or impossible.” From the dining room window I can see the snow falling already.

And what, pray tell, is our favorite church sign’s inspirational message today?

jesuslovesyousnowmuchJESUS LOVES YOU
SNOW MUCH!

What. The everloving. Fuck.

Loyal Readers™ will recall my recently pointing out that this Jeezus is undeniably an unrepentant asshole. If these Christian types are to be believed, his positions on social issues are grotesque (virulently misogynist, racist, homophobic, anti-democratic and otherwise downright inhumane), and his economic policies are all about screwing over poor and working people in order to further enrichen the obscenely rich. If all of that weren’t bad enough—and it is—he keeps on telling epic doucheweasels like Dubya, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Scott Walker to run for office. He is not even an American citizen, and has no business interfering in our electoral politics. Unbelievable.

But this snow thing? Well this should put an end to all doubts that he is anything other than a sadistic monster who enjoys creating misery for us and then making fucking jokes about it. Talk about punching down! If this keeps up, it will become exceedingly more difficult to complete our mission of extracting $82 billion worth of amusement we are owed from the Religion-Industrial-Complex every year by mocking that church sign.

Meanwhile, here’s a sign of my own:

palacefuckyouFUCK YOU, JEEZUS.

Your days are numbered. The goddess Ostara arrives to kick your ass in less than three weeks.

BREAKING: Kansas government officials enter Palace Abattoir en mass.

[TRIGGER WARNING: vicious misogyny, senseless deaths of pregnant people, and extreme hostility to bodily autonomy, consent and agency.]

Oh dear, Kansas. What is to be done with you? You, along with your BFFs Oklahoma and Mississippi, lead the nation in having enacted since 2011 fourteen separate abortion restrictions each. These “pro-life” policies have a body count—and it is rapidly increasing. You see, states with more abortion restrictions also have skyrocketing maternal death rates:

Globally, only a few countries have seen a rise in the rate of maternal deaths in recent years. Those include Afghanistan, El Salvador, South Sudan and the United States of America.

Afghanistan, y’all. South Sudan.

While at one [time] the US had all but eliminated deaths associated with childbirth, things have changed in recent years, with maternal death rates climbing from 14.5 per 100,000 to 17.8 per 100,000 between 2007 and 2011. As of 2014, the number of women who die during pregnancy and childbirth in the US has risen to 28 deaths per 100,000.

According to my ladymath, that means the number of pregnancy- and birth-related deaths here has nearly doubled in the last four years.

For purposes of comparison, the maternal death rate in nearly all wealthy, developed nations is a single digit number. As of 2014, the US maternal death rate is 7 times higher than that of Austria, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden, all nation’s which have a maternal mortality rate of just 4 deaths per 100,000.

The US maternal death rate is now 14 times higher than Israel’s—a country with very liberal access to abortion and a government that subsidies it. And here’s the real kicker: states with more abortion restrictions not only have higher maternal death rates, they also have higher infant and child death rates.

“Pro-life,” everyone.

Anyway, apparently no longer content to share its embarrassing status with Mississippi and Oklahoma, Kansas is now enacting a law that will for all practical purposes prohibit all abortions after 14 weeks, by completely outlawing the safest and most effective surgical technique for abortions performed after that. The procedure is called dilatation and evacuation, or D&E for short. But not in Kansas, it isn’t. There, it is imaginatively called “dismemberment abortion,” defined in the statute by the use of “clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments” to remove the contents of a uterus. (Read more about D&E here.)

Perhaps it’s worth remembering why abortions are delayed. Under the Roe framework, the procedure is generally legal up to the time of fetal viability, or about 24 weeks. The number one reason given for seeking abortions after 16 weeks is “did not recognize the pregnancy” (71%), followed by “difficulty making arrangements for abortion” (48%). That difficulty is by design: onerous and deceitful in-person counseling requirements, waiting periods, expensive and medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds, draconian restrictions on public funding, and waves of clinic closings over vast swaths of the country have left many abortion seekers scrambling to gather funds, arrange for childcare, escape controlling families or abusive partners, and risking employment and social ostracism (or worse) in order to travel hundreds of miles to the nearest facility—sometimes twice. It’s also worth noting that poor women are disproportionally overrepresented among abortion-seekers, as are Blacks and Hispanics. That disproportionate impact is also by design: overwhelmingly lily-white lawmakers know that should the need arise, they and their partners can always jet up to Canada for a quick, safe procedure. (And don’t think for one second they would have any qualms about that.)

A D&E can be performed safely on an outpatient basis well into the second trimester, but medication abortions are generally only available up to about 9 weeks. This is not because medication abortions after this point are dangerous per se; although they may be more painful and have a higher risk of adverse events, they are relatively safe up to 24 weeks. The problem is that later medication abortions are inpatient procedures, requiring administration of precise doses at strict intervals over the course of multiple days. As you might imagine, this compounds that “difficulty making arrangements.” And that’s to say nothing of the added cost.

Based on model legislation drafted by the National Right to Life [sic] Committee, under this law a physician who performs a D&E is guilty of a class A misdemeanor; a second or subsequent conviction is a felony. The law also provides for civil damages against the physician. Either the person who has the D&E, a husband, or a parent if the patient is under 18 can sue the physician for:

(1) money damages for all injuries, psychological and physical, occasioned by the dismemberment abortion;
(2) statutory damages equal to three times the cost of the dismemberment abortion;
(3) injunctive relief; and
(4) reasonable attorney fees

Now at this point you would be forgiven for thinking these lawmakers are sadistic motherfuckers who need to to slither back into whatever cave or medieval era from whence they came, but no! In their wisdom and mercy, they provided an exception for medical emergencies! This means the D&E procedure is permitted in cases of imminent death or “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.” You can ask Savita Halappanavar about how this policy works in practice OH WAIT NO YOU CAN’T BECAUSE SHE’S DEAD. Her doctors feared her impending death just wasn’t quite imminent enough to lawfully end her pregnancy. Oops.

There’s also another little caveat:

No condition shall be deemed a medical emergency if based on a claim or diagnosis that the woman will engage in conduct which would result in her death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.

Translation: anyone who would commit suicide or maim themselves with a coat hanger rather than remain pregnant is, sadly, shit out of luck.

In an exclusive interview with the Palace, longtime activist and abortion doula-in-training Niki M said it sounded as though they were using an “argument from ew” to ban a perfectly safe procedure. When we inquired about possible alternatives to get around a D&E ban, Niki replied, “There’s inducing birth, but what sort of shitweasel would force someone to endure labor to expel a fetus? Oh wait. Nevermind.”

Loyal Readers™ will be unsurprised to learn that Kansas state senators will immediately be joining similar-minded colleagues in the Palace Abattoir, which houses our groundbreaking, life-saving involuntary organ extraction program for donors who feel so very strongly about forced organ donation by other people. Because of the specific provisions of SB95, we will be performing these extractions without regard to the safest and most effective surgical techniques, without regard to less painful and less risky alternatives or increased cost, and of course without the use of “clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments.” Coat hangers will be the preferred surgical implement, although we fully expect our extraction teams to get creative. Perhaps knitting needles?

abattoir2Extraction team in one of our state-of-the-art surgical suites.

angels&cowboysrose

???

SB95 has a companion bill pending in the lower house; with a 97-28 Republican majority it is expected to pass easily. The Governor, Sam Brownback (R-etrograde), is quite eager to sign it. So I’m just tossing all Kansas Republicans into the Abattoir, with the notable exception of Senator Vicki Schmidt, the only Republican to vote against SB95. However, because I am feeling unusually beneficent at the moment for some reason (???), I hereby magnanimously agree to release from Palace custody any Kansas Republican house member who votes against the bill.

Laura Gilkey, coordinator of Sarasota, Florida-based nonprofit The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project, said:

“Today’s mothers are twice as likely to die of pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes than their mothers were. There is no reason, given our vast resources, knowledge and technology, why we should be going backwards in this area.”

I beg to differ. There are indeed reasons. And a whole bunch of them are now locked up in the Palace Abattoir.

Recent reading.

library4The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden ‘black site’. Ackerman, S., The Guardian (Feb. 2015). (“‘The real danger in allowing practices like Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib is the fact that they always creep into other aspects,’ Siska said. ‘They creep into domestic law enforcement, either with weaponry like with the militarization of police, or interrogation practices. That’s how we ended up with a black site in Chicago.'”) [Gosh, who could have predicted this? -Ed.]

Dear Patricia Arquette: Blacks and gays owe white women nothing. Telusma, B., The Grio (Feb. 2015).

Room for Improvement: Clean up cities. Give the homeless a place to live. And save money too? The shockingly simple, surprisingly cost-effective solution that won over a bunch of conservatives in Utah. Carrier, S., Mother Jones (Feb. 2015). (“You actually need housing to achieve sobriety and stability, not the other way around…giving people supportive housing cost the system about half as much as leaving the homeless to live on the street.”)

The school to prison pipeline, explained. Nelson, L. and Lind, D., Vox (Feb. 2015).

Ax-wielding hair designer burns down Michigan adult store to please God. Kaufman, S., Raw Story (Feb. 2015). [Ugh, this god is THE WORST. -Ed.]

Gazi Kodzo. (youtube channel). [Brilliant, hilarious and scathing. -Ed.]

Abused, isolated and offered for a $25,000 arranged marriage: The extraordinary upbringing and daring escape of a victim of America’s homeschooling fundamentalists. Gould, M., The Daily Mail (Feb. 2015). [WHAT. THE. FUCK. -Ed.]

U.S. Geological Survey: Fracking waste is the primary cause of the dramatic rise in earthquakes. Hayden, J., Daily Kos (Feb. 2015).

8 Things Some A$$#ole Says in Every Debate About Sexism. McKinney, L., Cracked (Feb. 2015). [D00d nails it. -Ed.]

Ending the Neoliberal Neopatriarchy. Campbell, B., iai news (Feb. 2015). (“Global capitalism works with patriarchal principles, institutions, cultures and psyches. So, our liberation from this tragedy is inconceivable − it is, literally, unthinkable − without feminism.”) [h/t Vanina] [Meet the new patriarchy. Same as the old patriarchy. -Ed.]

Feminist writers are so besieged by online abuse that some have begun to retire. Goldberg, M., Washington Post (Feb. 2015). [Huh. -Ed.]

Why are women leaving the tech industry in droves? Lien, T., The Los Angeles Times (Feb. 2015). [Huh. -Ed.]

Thaddeus Murphy arrested for January Colorado Springs NAACP bombing. King, S., Daily Kos (Feb. 2015). (“Murphy claims he wasn’t trying to harm the NAACP office, but a local tax office connected to it.”) [Or maybe it was the abortion clinic. Or the sex toy store. Po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to. -Ed.]

How our microbes make us who we are. Knight, R., TED Talks via youtube (Feb. 2015). [VIDEO] [h/t SJ] [Amazing. -Ed.]

What The Atlantic Left Out About ISIS According To Their Own Expert. Jenkins, J., Think Progress (Feb. 2015).

30 Signs Of Emotional Abuse In A Relationship. Davenport, B., Live Bold & Bloom (Nov. 2014).

Letter to My Rapist, Jailed for Raping Women Who Are More Respectable Than I Am: I’m writing to you to tell you that we’re both human. Burns, T., AlterNet (Feb. 2015).

__________

For the Quote collection:

No institution in modern civilization is so tyrannical and so unjust to woman as is the Christian Church. It demands everything from her and gives her nothing in return. -Josephine K. Henry (1897)

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PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

The end is near!

Loyal Readers™, I am very sorry to have to break this to you, but the cephalopocalypse is finally upon us. Watch a terrifying preview of what is clearly the imminent land invasion by our intellectual and military superior, the octopus:

But Iris, you’re probably thinking, that’s just a fookin’ crab. ?

Don’t you see?! That’s what they want us to think! The truth is, they are just getting warmed up with crabs. Next up: rats, then dogs, then human infants, then farm animals, then…well, I think you get the picture. Eventually we all go the way of that crab—overwhelmed by powerful tentacles, and unceremoniously dragged down into a watery grave.

!!!

Suddenly I am very, VERY sorry that I have consumed so many of them. (So, so many!) Perhaps I can curry some personal favor by sucking up to their overlord, PZ Myers.

pzmyersenthronedPZ Myers, Cephalopod Overlord. Obviously.

Which reminds me: don’t forget to stop by the Palace for the birthday bash we throw for PZ every year on March 9. That is, if we have not all been dragged out of our beds and into the sea by then.

We will NOT be serving calamari.

Recent reads.

library4FOIA Documents Reveal Massive DEA Program to Record American’s Whereabouts With License Plate Readers. Stein, B., ACLU (Jan. 2015).

DHS intelligence report warns of domestic right-wing terror threat. Perez, E. and Bruer, W., CNN (Feb. 2015). [h/t SJ] (“Some federal and local law enforcement groups view the domestic terror threat from sovereign citizen groups as equal to — and in some cases greater than — the threat from foreign Islamic terror groups”) [No shit. -Ed.]

Editor of major newspaper says he planted stories for CIA. Lopez, R., Digital Journal (Jan. 2015). [Quelle surprise. -Ed.]

The U.S. Media and the 13-Year-Old Yemeni Boy Burned to Death Last Month by a U.S. Drone. Greenwald, G., The Intercept (Feb. 2015). (“Most Americans, by design, will have no idea that their government just burned a 13-year-old boy to death and then claimed he was a Terrorist.”)

Obama administration to allow sales of armed drones to allies. Ryan, M., The Washington Post (Feb. 2015). [Finally! Now other countries can enjoy burning 13-year-olds to death too! -Ed.]

1 In 3 College Men In Survey Say They Would Rape A Woman If They Could Get Away With It. Culp-Ressler, T., Think Progress (Jan. 2015). [ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME. -Ed.]

How Israeli High-Tech Firms Are Turning the U.S.-Mexico Border into a New Kind of Hell. Miller, T. and Schivone, G., TomDispatch via AlterNet (Jan. 2015).

The Great SIM Heist: How Spies Stole the Keys to the Encryption Castle. Scahill, J. and Begley, J., The Intercept (Feb. 2015). (“The hack…gave the surveillance agencies the potential to secretly monitor a large portion of the world’s cellular communications, including both voice and data.”)

To the Parent of the Unvaccinated Child Who Exposed My Family to Measles. Jacks, T., Mother Jones (Feb. 2015). (“When your child gets sick, others are endangered—including my daughter with cancer.”) [To the parent of that unvaccinated child from Perry Street Palace: FUCK YOU. -Ed.]

What Not To Wear After 50. Combs, C., Better After 50 (Feb. 2015). (“Resting bitch face. Hahahahaha. Just kidding. Wear that one all you want.”)

I’m Brianna Wu, And I’m Risking My Life Standing Up To Gamergate. Wu, B., Bustle (Feb. 2015).

Natural Deception: Conned By the World Congress of Families. Parke, C., Political Research Associates (Jan. 2015). (“the organization is leading a global legislative and public relations campaign against LGBTQ and reproductive rights.”) [They seem nice. -Ed.]

Jeb ‘Put Me Through Hell’. Kruse, M., Politico Magazine (Jan. 2015). (“Michael Schiavo knows as well as anyone what Jeb Bush can do with executive power. He thinks you ought to know too.”)

Here Are 25 Jokes That Only Nerds Will Understand. If You Laugh Then Yep, You’re A Nerd! Boredom Therapy (Jul. 2014).

The Anti-Vaccine Movement Should Be Ridiculed, Because Shame Works. Novak, M., Gizmodo (Feb. 2015). [Hear, hear! He must be reading my blog! This d00d disagrees, though, and says “People who are told their deeply held beliefs are stupid tend to withdraw from the conversation.” Um, perhaps someone can ‘splain to me why getting these assholes to shut the fuck up would be a bad thing? I mean, there is a reason unvaccinated children with measles are found in clusters, and that reason is anti-vaxxers spreading their deeply held beliefs deadly bad ideas to others. -Ed.]

FBI monitored and critiqued African American writers for decades. Flood, A., The Guardian (Feb. 2015).

Policing Our Girls. Hutchinson, S., blackfemlens (Feb. 2015).

Gay People Posting Photos Of Gay People On Facebook Is Persecuting Christians Says Perkins. Badash, D., The New Civil Rights Movement (Jan. 2015). [To all mah gay peeps: go forth and persecute. -Ed.]

Something Really, Really Terrible Is About to Happen to Our Coral. Philpott, T., Mother Jones (Jan. 2015). [I hate people. Have I mentioned that I hate people? Well, I hate people. -Ed.]

How secular family values stack up. Zuckerman, P., The Los Angeles Times (Feb. 2015). (“Far from being dysfunctional, nihilistic and rudderless without the security and rectitude of religion, secular households provide a sound and solid foundation for children”) [h/t SJ]

Why science is so hard to believe. Achenbach, J., Washington Post (Feb. 2015).

10 Senate Ds Think Drillers Should Be Able to Inject Whatever the Frack They Want into Your Water. Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees, Daily Kos (Jan. 2015). [In case you’re wondering who these motherfrackers are: Michael Bennet (D-CO), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Mark Warner (D-VA). -Ed.]

Obama, Biden & Pelosi Lobbying Hard for TPP. Publius, G., Hullabaloo (Feb. 2015).

Source Code Similarities: Experts Unmask ‘Regin’ Trojan as NSA Tool. Rosenbach, M., Spiegel Online InternationaI (Jan. 2015).

Oklahoma Lawmakers Vote Overwhelmingly To Ban Advanced Placement U.S. History. Legum, J., ThinkProgress (Feb. 2015). [Christ. Doesn’t Oklahoma have enough problems already with all the earthquakes from fracking? -Ed.]

No good deed goes unpunished. Vermont Political Observer (Jan. 2015). (“What I did not anticipate was the vitriolic verbal assault from those who don’t know the difference between the Classics and illegal immigrants from South America.”) [D000000000d. Have you never been on the Internet? -Ed.]

Indisputable proof that prosecutors and politicians are penalized when they hold police accountable. King, S., Daily Kos (Jan. 2015).

Is the US the only country where more men are raped than women? Filipovic, J., The Guardian (Feb. 2015). [American exceptionalism, y’all. -Ed.]

5 Bizarre Realities of Being a Man Who Was Raped by a Woman. Anonymous, via Mannen, A., Cracked (Jan. 2015).

Pipeline explodes in West Virginia. Gardner, F., Daily Kos (Jan. 2013). (“This is the fourth major pipeline incident that’s occurred this month.”)

Hobby Lobby 2: Inside Republicans’ Plan to Kill America’s Most Effective Anti-Teen-Pregnancy Program. Baumann, N., Mother Jones (Feb. 2015). (“An innovative program has reduced the abortion rate and saved a state millions. Here’s why it’s doomed.”) [SPOILER ALERT! Because conservatives. -Ed.]

Black teens who commit a few crimes go to jail as often as white teens who commit dozens. Ehrenfreund, M., The Washington Post (Jan. 2015).

Here’s What It’s Like For A Woman To Send a Job Rejection To A Man. Creighton, J., Medium (Feb. 2015).

Liberal Racism: 25 Things I Learned After I Wrote About ISIS and White Racism at the Daily Kos. DeVega, C., Daily Kos (Feb. 2015).

Women Being Inexpertly Groped In Western Art History. Ortberg, M., The Toast (Feb. 2015). [NSFW] [Hahaha. -Ed.]

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PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

BREAKING: King weasel infests Palace inbox, craps all over the place.

Oh. No. He. Didn’t.

whitehousemastheadFrom: President Barack Obama <info@mail.whitehouse.gov>
To: Iris Vander Pluym
Subject: Writing the rules for 21st century trade
Date: February 18, 2015

My top priority as President is making sure more hardworking Americans have a chance to get ahead. That’s why we have to make sure the United States — and not countries like China — is the one writing this century’s rules for the world’s economy.

Trade has an important role to play in supporting good-paying, middle-class jobs in the United States. Unfortunately, past trade deals haven’t always lived up to the hype. That’s why I’ve made it clear that I won’t sign any agreement that doesn’t put American workers first.

But we also should recognize that 95 percent of our potential customers live outside our borders. Exports support more than 11 million jobs — and exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages. Failing to seize new opportunities would be devastating not just for our businesses, but for our workers too.

That’s why my Administration is currently negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership — so we can benefit from trade that is not just free, but also fair.

Watch this video my team put together, and then share it with anyone who needs to know exactly what’s at stake.

We have the chance to open up more markets to goods and services backed by three proud words: Made in America. For the sake of our businesses, and American workers, it’s an opportunity we need to take.

But beyond greater access to the world’s fastest-growing region, the agreement will establish enforceable commitments to protect labor, environmental, and other crucial standards that Americans hold dear.

Right now, China wants to write the rules for commerce in Asia. If it succeeds, our competitors would be free to ignore basic environmental and labor standards, giving them an unfair advantage over American workers.

We can’t let that happen. We should write the rules, and level the playing field for our middle class. The first step is for Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority.

Watch the video, and then pass it along.

After years of shipping jobs overseas, our manufacturing sector is creating jobs at a pace not seen since the 1990s. Rather than outsourcing, more companies are insourcing and bringing jobs back home. Today, more than half of manufacturing executives have said they’re looking at bringing jobs back from China.

Let’s give them one more reason to get it done, by giving me the tools I need to grow our economy, boost exports for our businesses, and give more hardworking middle-class families a chance to get ahead.

Thanks,

President Barack Obama

The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW • Washington, DC 20500 • 202-456-1111

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I have taken the liberty of highlighting only the most bald-faced, blatant lies. That bolded statement in red, however, is particularly weaselly: the problem the TPP addresses is not other countries being “free to ignore basic environmental and labor standards, giving them an unfair advantage over American workers.” The problem the TPP addresses is that, so far at least, U.S. corporations have not been entirely free to ignore basic environmental and labor standards themselves—though not for lack of trying. Also, the interests on whose behalf the TPP is being negotiated are literally the last people in the world to give a flying fuck about improving the fortunes of U.S. workers. Please.

For more on the depth of the Democratic president’s depravity here, please go (re-)read my post from November 2013. Among other things, I noted that upon ratification of the TPP (and its transatlantic doppelganger the TTIP), corporate control of governments around the world—including ours—will be complete. Since then, more information has leaked out of the TPP negotiations (see e.g. this Wikileaks press release and linked documents therein) but very few people have seen a draft of the whole thing. My BFF Congressman Alan Grayson is one of them, and he says flat out: “This agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.”

Here is how it works. The TPP has a binding “proactive requirement” that participating countries conform their laws and regulations to the desires and whims of Big Business. In practice, this means gutting already weak environmental protections, labor laws, banking regulations, public safety rules, you name it: it eviscerates virtually any law or provision that can be construed as compromising profits in any way. Draconian, right? But it’s the enforcement mechanism that is the real coup for America’s Owners: investor-state dispute settlement. Corporations can sue noncompliant governments to recover the “loss” of anticipated future profits—and not in a court of law, either, but before a secret(!) panel of three corporate lawyers(!). There are no appeals from these rulings. If a government loses, taxpayers are on the hook to pay the lucky winning corporation.

We are not talking about chump change here, either, nor are we talking about some imagined dystopian future. This is already in force in some countries, via NAFTA and other terrible trade agreements:

During its financial crisis, and in response to public anger over rocketing charges, Argentina imposed a freeze on people’s energy and water bills… It was sued by the international utility companies whose vast bills had prompted the government to act. For this and other such crimes, it has been forced to pay out over a billion dollars in compensation. In El Salvador, local communities managed at great cost (three campaigners were murdered) to persuade the government to refuse permission for a vast gold mine which threatened to contaminate their water supplies. A victory for democracy? Not for long, perhaps. The Canadian company which sought to dig the mine is now suing El Salvador for $315m – for the loss of its anticipated future profits.

In Canada, the courts revoked two patents owned by the American drugs firm Eli Lilly, on the grounds that the company had not produced enough evidence that they had the beneficial effects it claimed. Eli Lilly is now suing the Canadian government for $500m, and demanding that Canada’s patent laws are changed.

The TPP is “NAFTA on steroids.”

It’s not enough to stop this fast tracking bullshit the president wants, the TPP deal itself has to go down in flames. What are the chances of killing it? Well, just ponder for a moment what it means that it’s Barack Obama and Republicans who want the TPP deal fast-tracked—signed, sealed and delivered to America’s Owners a.s.a.p.

obamarepublicanLoyal Readers™ can attest that I am not particularly prone to hyperbolic hyperventilation. But that sound you just heard? Shhh. Listen carefully—it’s barely a whisper. Hear it? That is the sound of the last few tattered threads of democracy whizzing right past your head.

This webcomic provides excellent infotainment on the subject, and I really cannot recommend it highly enough. Well, except for one thing. The d00d serving the poison Kool-Aid is a piss-poor rendering of Barack Obama.

economixcomixThere is no scenario I can envision in which my fellow citizens and I are not forced to drink it.

Church sign off to a rip-roaring start in 2015.

Loyal Readers™ will no doubt recall the Palace’s ongoing mission to extract $82 billion worth of benefits from the Religion-Industrial-Complex on behalf of U.S. taxpayers, on account of our $82 billion yearly taxpayer subsidies to same. One of the ways we accomplish this is amusing ourselves by regularly mocking a particular church sign in the small town where my mother lives. Since our last report we may have missed out on one or two iterations, although I can tell you that over the holidays the sign only showed listings of times and dates for church services. But this weekend, we were served up a doozy:

churchsign022015GOD IS RICH,
BECAUSE HE SAVES!

Christ. Where to even begin.

At the outset it’s critical to note that this particular god d00d has a long-running scam whereby he “saves” people from himself. That’s right: he so despises his very own creations—humans—that he unleashes the most sadistic and unconscionable punishments imaginable on them (and on generations of their innocent descendants), just for doing exactly the things he knows in advance with 100% certainty they will do. I’m sorry but that is just not the behavior of any deity dignified enough to worship; that is the behavior of a spoiled toddler throwing a temper tantrum because he doesn’t get his way and then smashing all of his own toys. Now to be fair, I pretty much despise people too. But see, the difference is that I don’t go around torturing and murdering them with wild abandon, insisting they obey my every command, demanding they sacrifice their children to me, or prohibiting them from eating shrimp. Shrimp are fucking delicious, people.

shrimpcocktailJumbo shrimp cocktail
Even people I despise should feel free to enjoy this appetizer.

Worse, all of those hideous punishments were still not enough to satisfy this evil fucker. Can you believe it? Plagues, stonings, drownings, you name it, yet people still told him to fuck right off, and clearly for good reason. So he decided he had to come up with the most cruel and sadistic penalty ever devised: hell. For the “sin” of disobeying this capricious monster obsessed with sexual behavior that is nobody else’s business, violent conquests and wanton slaughter (and shrimp), you get to burn in a lake of fire—forever. Meanwhile, the only alternative to this unfortunate fate is spending eternity with the sick puppy himself, along with a whole bunch of shitty people who think he’s the bee’s knees. Oh, and the ticket to get into this perpetual shitshow? You have to actually believe that the creator of the entire universe sent his own son (who is also himself) to Earth to sacrifice himself to himself so that he could, finally, forgive humans for being exactly as disappointing to himself as he made them. WHAT. No wonder atheists take such great comfort in knowing that death is merely oblivion.

There’s a funny saying that goes: if you don’t sin, then Jeezus died in vain. Hahaha. Seriously though, I cannot swallow this whole story for numerous reasons, one of which is the same reason that the joke doesn’t really work: according his own autobiography, Jeezus did not die. He did not die for my sins, or for anyone else’s either. He had a really rough weekend, after which he strolled around for a while punking a bunch of people, and then flew up into the sky to become king (co-king?) of the entire universe forever and ever. That is the opposite of dying.

Anyway, back to this church sign. This god is rich? Really? Why would the omnipotent ruler of the universe need money, much less a fuckton of it? Maybe it’s a new ploy he’s trying to get everybody finally paying attention and worshiping him. After all, the American Dream Nightmare™ is based upon the principle that if anyone just works hard enough (bootstraps!) they too will become rich; and therefore, if they are indeed rich, they must be Super Special Bootstrappin’ Snowflakes who deserve to be rich, admired, sucked up to and emulated. It doesn’t matter that the bootstrap myth is utterly and demonstrably false—I mean, my fellow citizens are world renowned for believing in all manner of ridiculous nonsense, so the whole “I’m rich! do what I say!” thing is probably worth a shot.

And truth be told, a lot of rich people are ginormous assholes too, so saying “the Christian god is rich” sounds about right. See for yourself:

Donald Trump is rich
because his daddy created a real estate empire

The Koch Brothers are rich
because their daddy created an oil refining empire

The Walton family is rich
because their daddies created a retail empire

Dr. Oz is rich
because he sells snake oil and bad medical advice

Wall Street traders are rich
because they are more reckless and manipulative than incarcerated psychopaths

All of which is to say that if this god is rich, that’s probably one more excellent reason to stay far, far away from him.

With gods like these…

The Republican governor of Wisconsin, some douchebiscuit named Scott Walker, is all up in mah feedz for evading the subject of evolution during an interview with BBC Radio. When asked, “Are you comfortable with the idea of evolution, do you believe in it, do you accept it?” Walker replied, “For me, I’m going to punt on that one.”

Scott Walker is running for president of the US of A, and is presently leading in Iowa polling by likely Republican voters this year’s bumper crop of GOP clowns. To give you some idea of just how irredeemably fucked-up some of those Iowa Republican voters actually are, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-idiculous) won the Ames straw poll among Iowa Republicans mere months before the 2012 Iowa caucuses. Of course, disbelieving evolution climate change science generally reality is a standard talking point among Republican hopefuls, because in a general election they need the support of the rabid right to win. And they do: they desperately need every single vote they can get—else why all the need for redistricting and constructing endless obstacles to prevent black and brown people from getting to the polls?

Governor Walker definitely hits all the standard right-wing notes. He infamously fucked the public sector unions in Wisconsin, and is fiercely anti-abortion including in cases of rape and incest. (Which reminds me, we could use a fresh organ donor in the Abattoir.)  He’s a big fan of abstinence-only sex education, and supports the right of pharmacists to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions on religious grounds. Naturally he’s against gay marriage, and even opposed a law allowing gay couples benefits such as hospital visitation rights. What a douche, amirite?

Anyway, the best take I’ve seen on this evolution-denying news—if one can even call it news—is a release from Annie Laurie Gaylor of the Freedom From Religion foundation (FFRF) [h/t Don Ardell]. In it she scoffs*:

This, said in country that commemorates the greatest scientist of all times [Charles Darwin], a product of their nation, on its ten-pound note? It wouldn’t be so bad if Walker was an anomaly. But as we religiously point out at FFRF, the United States is already so embarrassingly dummy-downed. Polls and surveys consistently reveal that from 42 to over 50% of adult U.S. citizens embrace creationism, and reject evolution.

In case you forgot for a moment the appalling state of ignorance in which your fellow citizens dwell, consider this a helpful reminder. (You’re welcome.)

And this is where things get darker:

Matt Rothschild reported in The Progressive, about Walker’s remarks in 2009 to the Madison Christian Businessmen’s Committee. Walker told them that by the age of 13, he realized: “I’m going to trust in you Christ to tell me where to go. And to the best of my ability I’m going to obey where you lead me.”

In painstaking detail, Walker listed that God dictated to him what jobs to take, who to marry (gee, how romantic), when to run for governor. Walker concluded that it’s all about “trust and obey.” Walker urged everyone “to turn your life over 100 percent to what Christ tells you what to do.”

Listen, pretty much everything I’ve heard about this Christ-god is just godawful. For one thing he is not even an American citizen, and therefore he has no business meddling in U.S. elections. Second of all, if these Walker-Bachmann-Dubya types are to be believed, Christ’s positions on the issues are terrible: virulently misogynist, racist, homophobic, anti-democratic and otherwise downright inhumane. Further, his economic policies are all about screwing over poor and working people, solely in order to further enrichen the rich. He even hates public transportation! Most damning of all, however, is Christ’s propensity to tell these motherfuckers like Scott Walker to run for office. In short: this god is an unrepentant asshole.

Also, if I still believed everything I did at age 13 and kept every commitment I made then, I’d still be smoking cigarettes, sneaking liquor from my parents’ stash and replacing it with water and fooling around with my next door neighbor Chris Reed. Jeezus.

Gaylor was quoted in that Progressive article:

“It is frightening that the highest executive in our state suffers from the delusion that God dictates his every move.”

Well, I would say it’s an open question whether Walker is deluded or just lying, a True Believer™ or a typical, run-of-the mill shitweasel like Obama. Either way, he’d fit right in with our most recent run of presidents.

__________
*On a brighter note, we are ecstatic to see a more mocking tone emanating from our godless friends at FFRF, a welcome improvement that appears to coincide with the arrival at the organization of one Andrew Seidel.

IRIS Andrew Seidel.

And Annie Laurie Gaylor, of course. Go Team Godless.

Happy Darwin Day 2015.

entangledbankAn entangled bank.
Tempisque River, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Today is International Darwin Day, celebrated on the birthday of Charles Darwin in 1809.

The mission of International Darwin Day is to inspire people throughout the globe to reflect and act on the principles of intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking, and hunger for truth as embodied in Charles Darwin.

The Palace will be celebrating Darwin Day by, among other things, studiously working on its tactical plans for mooning the pope when he comes to NYC in September.

darwinfishMeanwhile, please enjoy the oft-quoted last paragraph of Charles Darwin’s world-changing, paradigm-shifting, mind-blowing masterwork, On the Origin of Species:

It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

There is indeed grandeur in this view of life, much greater than can be found in ancient myths, greater even than Darwin could have dreamed of in his time. He had no knowledge of DNA, for example, or the myriad ways the concept of selection would be expounded upon in the years to come. You can read On the Origin of Species online for free here.

So celebrate International Darwin Day today—and annoy a creationist near you!

Darwinwatercolor1830sPortrait of Charles Darwin
(watercolor,
late 1830s)

Questions for the rubes.

I linked earlier to a thorough and thoughtful piece about “American Sniper,” A Tale of Two Snipers: Killing in war through different moral lenses (alternative title: “Why Iris Won’t Be Seeing the New Bradley Cooper/Clint Eastwood War Propaganda Extravaganza”). My friend Steve Jonas has a more succinct post up at Buzzflash, “American Sniper” Takes a Shot at History and Turns It Into Deadly Jingoism. He methodically takes apart the reflexive and simplistic views of right-wing supporters of endless war and more “boots on the ground” in the Middle East, and ends the piece by directing some pointed questions at them. Of course his point is that they have no good answers—but it’s worth noting that they do have answers nonetheless.

Where is the money going to come from?

That’s easy: from us rubes. Where it always comes from. It’s not like we need that money for education, transportation infrastructure, anti-poverty programs, veterans health care, clean energy investment, a living wage or anything like that.

How are you going to convince the majority of U.S. people that it is in the U.S. national interest to go to war on the ground in the Middle East once again?

Simple, really. Just keep us all in perpetual fear of OMG! terrorism! at the hands of the Scary Monsters™ we ourselves created and continue to spawn, like ISIS. Or, you know, keep us distracted and focused on more important stuff, like deflated footballs or Bruce Jenner’s gender.

And how many more Kyles and their murderers at home, how many more tragedies do you want to create?

Tragedies among us rubes are not really a big consideration for those fine folks with the power, desire and financial incentive to keep us in a state of permanent war, what with their remote fortresses and gated enclaves and 24/7 private security. And in any event—as we see with the sniper film—such tragedies are readily spun into even more pro-war propaganda! WIN-WIN.

Have a nice day.

palacehappyface