Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The "We'll Fix It Later" Apologists for the HCR Bill

I asked this question, widely and often, when the folks who advise meekly accepting the piece-of-shit "Health Care Reform" measure currently percolating in the Congress, on the grounds that it is a "start," to which the Congress would return later to fix and repair and remedy its most egregiously shitty features:
It seems to me that it is impingent upon folks who counsel quietude in the face of this catastrophic clusterfuck because this is only the first step, and it will be revisited and improved, to provide relevant, contemporary examples of cases in which a truly shitty bill, being passed and signed, was later revisited and "improved--made more fair, more just--since the Bidness coup de etat in '80. One which SHOULD have been revisited and which at the time the Dims said they WOULD revisit, when they had the Congress back--but which wasn't, afaik--was the Bankruptcy Bill of '06, with which the Obamanable Sno-Job played all tricksy with his votes.

SO, quite simply, since the onset of the Raygun era, please name ONE major piece of social legislation which passed Congress under the caveat/promise that Congress would return to it, and "improve" it, but which just HAD to be passed in the shitty condition in which it was passed and signed, to which the Congress then later returned to "improve" it for the people?
Jno. Alter, on The Nation's Altercation blog reproduced the following elaboration on my theme, for which there does not seem to be an answer other than a simple "No, it has never happened." One "Charles Pierce" took up the cudgel in a recent Altercation:
My new favorite futile argument for passing the current POS is that, in our politics, simply by passing the aforementioned POS, we forever will have established, banners aloft, the notion that healthcare is a right or, at least, an affirmative obligation of the national government. As a result, we will be freer to move forward as the years go by. This is a fine argument, provided that you were cryogenically frozen in 1958.

Let me explain to everyone holding this particular view what is going to happen. The POS is going to pass. The Republicans are going to oppose it and run against it. The Democrats are going to look ridiculous for a year defending it, and the Democrats who most opposed it are going to look the most ridiculous, because it is going to be politically impossible for a Democrat to run against this bill. The prevailing media narrative will prevent it. Millions more American will have health insurance, but millions of Americans will be forced by law to fork over their money, during a grisly recession, to the greediest and least popular industry the country has seen since the railroads were running amok in the 1890's. These people will go broke a little more slowly, depending on how sick they get. The industry will jack up its rates until we all have to put in new attics. The subsidies will fail to keep up. And then the industry will lie about doing any of it, and the White House will send out a sternly worded letter. The industry will be stopped by the new "consumer protections" approximately as effectively as a butterfly stops a freight train.

By the end of 2009, these "reforms" will be thoroughly despised by a healthy portion of the electorate. The Republicans will then use the weaknesses of the reforms to assume control of the Congress, whereupon they will leave the mandates in place, gut the regulations, and laugh their way to the bank doing it. And that is what's going to happen.

Where does this optimism come from? Do the people pushing this argument honestly believe that, once this bill passes, there will be a general political consensus that we are all on the right track together and must continue to move forward to improve a system in which we all are now personally invested? Exactly what United States government have these people been watching for the past three decades, in which the notion of "government" as a political commonwealth has been spat upon and ignored? Fix it later? We can't bring ourselves to spend money to fix roads and bridges that are falling into rivers, let alone improve what has become the most contentious--and arguably, the most successfully lied about--issue of domestic policy of the past two decades.

This bill is going to suck a little until the rest of us aren't watching that closely, and then the people who hate the whole notion of reforming the "system" of health-care are going to work to make it suck a lot. Bob Cesca is a smart guy, but if he thinks we're going to add a public option before 2013, I wish he'd tell me where he buys his mushrooms. (So we "mobilize around" the idea. Who's even going to listen, let alone act on it? The White House? The Democrats? Please.) Ezra Klein has forgotten more about this debate than I'll ever know, but if he and Paul Starr believe this FANTASY, then they need to get out more.

How can anyone seriously look at the past 30 years of how we've governed ourselves and believe that anything will succeed simply because it has established a new entitlement? Hell, this president is already halfway to signing on to a SCHEME aimed at "adjusting" an enormously popular 70-year old entitlement program that's beloved by everyone except the bond merchants and financial-service grifters of whom this president is so unnaturally fond. If he's willing to do that, how firmly is he going to stand behind a brand new one, no matter how "historic" he can convince himself it is? I have no faith at all at this point.

The president is going to sign the POS because this is what he's wanted to do all along. Has there even been a rumor of his displeasure with what Joe Lieberman--his onetime mentor--pulled this week? I hadn't read any and, now, we read that the president thanked Weepin' JOE, while sending out his gunsels to attack Howard Dean on shows hosted by squinty former wingnut CONGRESSCRITTERS. It is impossible for any thinking human being now to believe anything except that this White House pretty much got the bill it wanted.

And, please, let us not hear any more about the Civil Rights Act of 1957, OK? There simply is not a consistent political continuum between that bill and, say, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. There is a general historical thread. The latter two laws came into being most directly because enough people were beaten bloody to sicken the nation, and because not a few people--including an incumbent president of the United States--were murdered in the streets in the interim.

And even if there were a parallel, which there isn't, this is such a radically different political culture as to render the comparison moot. Put the Voting Rights Act up to a vote today and it would get pecked to death by a thousand Beltway ducks and this president likely would spend several months finding a bipartisan compromise to render its toughest provisions impotent. Pass the POS. Don't pass the POS. But don't tell me we're all moving forward together through a historic moment. Y'all sound like idiots.
Yeah. What he said (though I said it shorter).

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Via Alternet

Corporate Accountability and WorkPlace: Only later did investors in $40 billion in securities discover that what Goldman had promoted as triple-A rated investments were closer to junk.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Michelle Bachmann: Feculent, Suppurating, Oozing, Running Sore

Michelle Bachmann, stalwart of the "teabagger/birther/anti-reform" movement of the Fucktard Right, opposes all manner of provisions to bestow federal largess upon average citizens. So it shouldn't come as any surprise to learn that the atrociously stupid, insipid, vacuous, venal, mendacious slag has been the recipient of over a quarter-million dollars of Federal assistance, should it. Cuz she has.

No, really! Via Truthdig:
Michelle Bachmann, welfare queen
By Yasha Levine

Michele Bachmann has become well known for her anti-government tea-bagger antics, protesting health care reform and every other government “handout” as socialism. What her followers probably don’t know is that Rep. Bachmann is, to use that anti-government slur, something of a welfare queen. That’s right, the anti-government insurrectionist has taken more than a quarter-million dollars in government handouts thanks to corrupt farming subsidies she has been collecting for at least a decade.

And she’s not the only one who has been padding her bank account with taxpayer money.

Bachmann, of Minnesota, has spent much of this year agitating against health care reform, whipping up the so-called tea-baggers with stories of death panels and rationed health care. She has called for a revolution against what she sees as Barack Obama’s attempted socialist takeover of America, saying presidential policy is “reaching down the throat and ripping the guts out of freedom.”

But data compiled from federal records by Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit watchdog that tracks the recipients of agricultural subsidies in the United States, shows that Bachmann has an inner Marxist that is perfectly at ease with profiting from taxpayer largesse. According to the organization’s records, Bachmann’s family farm received $251,973 in federal subsidies between 1995 and 2006. The farm had been managed by Bachmann’s recently deceased father-in-law and took in roughly $20,000 in 2006 and $28,000 in 2005, with the bulk of the subsidies going to dairy and corn. Both dairy and corn are heavily subsidized—or “socialized”—businesses in America (in 2005 alone, Washington spent $4.8 billion propping up corn prices) and are subject to strict government price controls. These subsidies are at the heart of America’s bizarre planned agricultural economy and as far away from Michele Bachmann’s free-market dream world as Cuba’s free medical system. If American farms such as hers were forced to compete in the global free market, they would collapse.

However, Bachmann doesn’t think other Americans should benefit from such protection and assistance. She voted against every foreclosure relief bill aimed at helping average homeowners (despite the fact that her district had the highest foreclosure rate in Minnesota), saying that bailing out homeowners would be “rewarding the irresponsible while punishing those who have been playing by the rules.” That’s right, the subsidy queen wants the rest of us to be responsible.
Who ELSE is on the Federqal AgPad? The whole Grasseley family, even unto a grandson; the Brownback clan, among the Pukes: both are deeply indebted to Fed ag subsidies for the family wealth, to the tune of millions of dollars over time. Not surprisinig, either, is the fact of Max Baucus' family's receipt of $250k in farm subsidies, or Blanch Lincoln's family's glad appropriation of more than $750k over the years.

I will be glad when these venal slags are all coated in hor tar and chicken feathers, and are ridden off to some poor-house, there to languish and repent their sins...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Eleven-Dimensional Chess Masters

Via Robert Parry's ConsortiumNews, a labor of love, if ever there were one. He's got some the widest and best contacts in bloggo-land. Parry recounts that Prz. Shamwow faced an incredible array of clusterfux from Day 1. He had choices among which advisors and what advice to adopt. Prob'ly he fucked up:
A year ago, as Barack Obama was assembling his administration, he was at a crossroads with two paths going off in very different directions: one would have led to a populist challenge to the Washington/New York political-economic establishments; the other called for collaboration and cajoling.

Faced with a dire financial crisis and two foreign wars – not to mention a host of long-festering problems like health care, the environment, debt and de-industrialization – Obama’s choice was not an easy one.

If he took the populist route and further panicked the financial markets, the nation and the world might have plunged into a new Depression with massive unemployment. (Possibly it would be as accurate to say, "He would have been punished by the financial mavens, whou would have vengefully plunged the world int ruin rather than concede even a sciontilla of their wealth and power"?--W)

There were also political dangers if he chose the populist path. The national news media rests almost entirely in the hands of corporate “centrists” and right-wing ideologues, who would have framed the issues in the most negative way, blaming the “radical” Obama for “wealth destroying.”

This media problem dates back a quarter century as American progressives have mostly turned a deaf ear to those calling for a major investment in media and other institutions inside the Washington Beltway, as a way to counter the dominance of the Right and the Establishment. (Jooc, who are the leftish cognates of Coors, Koch, Murdoch, Scaife, et al?--W)

So, if Obama had nationalized one or more of the major banks, the stock market would likely have dived – even more than it did in early 2009. And there would have been lots of commentary about the inexperienced and inept Obama making matters worse.

He would have confronted media denunciations as a “socialist” or worse. The CNBC “free-market” crowd, led by Larry Kudlow, would have used their influential forum to rally the business sector; Fox News would have cited nationalization as proof they were right about the “communist” Obama; Washington Post editorials would have chastised him. (Ummmmm. Which of those things DIDN'T happen, anyway?--W)

A new Depression might well have been pinned on Obama. (Yah think>--W)

Similarly, if Obama had ordered aggressive investigations into torture and other crimes committed by George W. Bush and his administration, there would have been howls about Obama’s vindictiveness; about how his promises of bipartisanship had been lies; about coddling terrorists. (Investigating/prosecuting the Busheviki was always a non-starter for the simple reason that had Prz. Shamwow undertaken it, he would have been signing the warrant for his own eventual persecution when the regimes changed again. That is nto to say it still mayn't--or probably won't--happen. But to have pursued the Busheviki would have guaranteed it--W)

Given the tiny size and marginal influence of the progressive media, any cheers for Obama’s courage and principles would have been drowned out by the condemnations that would have bellowed forth from CNN, Fox News, the Washington Post and other powerful media voices.

In other words, the populist route would have traversed some very dangerous territory. At least superficially, the collaborationist route looked less daunting. (Except that that terrain was gonna be--and ultimately was-- traversed, no matter what--W)

By continuing Bush’s policies of bailing out the banks, Obama might succeed in stabilizing the financial markets. He could reverse the collapse of the stock markets (which had wiped out trillions of dollars invested in middle-class retirements and union pension funds, as well as the paper wealth of many rich people and top executives).

By reaching out to Republicans and Democratic “centrists” on health reform – and by adding lots of tax cuts to his stimulus bill – Obama also could blunt right-wing attacks portraying him as a crazed radical. By “looking forward, not backward” on Bush’s crimes, he could show independent voters that he was serious about his campaign promises regarding bipartisanship.

By retaining Bush’s Defense Secretary Robert Gates (a Washington Establishment favorite) and by recruiting his primary opponent Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, he could win applause from the mainstream media for his “team of rivals” and maybe win over a few influential neoconservatives who would see these hawkish appointments as continuity for Bush’s war policies.
Such are the blandishments of the CorpoRat State and the Status Quo. We can see where this is leading, by now. It would have required a really strong leader/personality to have resisted. And Prez Shamwow--the negotiator, the compromiser--is not that person. So what follows is "traingulation" and the eventual, inevitable capitulation to the "special interests."

I admonish you to get thee thither and read the rest of the story, and if you have a little scratch, leave a smidgeon behind. Such devotion deserves it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fucking Tinhorn Banksters

The USer political economy, and increasingly that of the whole world, is dominated by a bunch of cheap, sleezy, cheapskate, cheating tinhorns playing "no -limit hold'em" with the House's money and nothing to lose.

We NEED to make 'em scared. Tar & Feathers, anyone? We don't have to kill 'em. Just put the fear of the fucking LORD in their mercenary souls so thjey NEVER EVER EVER forget that it is OUR lives these skeevy fuckers are gambling with....

How bad is it? My pal Edger, on Antemedius, brought together a couple of telling pieces of video from The Real News:
Part 1--

Part 2: "Let the pitchforks do their work!"

From the IMDb page for "American Casino":
...I don't think most people really understood that they were in a casino says award-winning financial reporter Mark Pittman. When you're in the Streets casino, you've got to play by their rules. This film finally explains how and why over $8 trillion of our money vanished into the American Casino. For chips, the casino used real people, like the ones we meet in Baltimore. These are not the heedless spendthrifts of Wall Street legend, but a high school teacher, a therapist, a minister of the church. They were sold on the American Dream as a safe investment. Too late, they discovered the truth. Cruelly, as African Americans, they and other minorities were the prime targets for the subprime loans that powered the casino. According to the Federal Reserve, African-Americans were four times more likely than whites to be sold subprime loans.

We meet the players. A banker explains that the complex securities he designed were fourth dimensional and sold to idiots. A senior Wall Street ratings agency executive describes being ordered to guess the worth of billion dollar securities. A mortgage loan salesman explains how borrowers incomes were inflated to justify a loan. A billionaire describes how he made a massive bet that people would lose their homes and has won $500 million, so far.

Finally, as the global financial system crumbles and outraged but impotent lawmakers fume at Wall Street titans, we see the casinos endgame: Riverside, California a foreclosure wasteland given over to colonies of rats and methamphetamine labs, where disease-bearing mosquitoes breed in their millions on the stagnant swimming pools of yesterdays dreams.

Filmed over twelve months in 2008, American Casino takes you inside a game that our grandchildren never wanted to play.
There is only one way Phil Gramm, or any of 'em, is EVER gonna pay any price at all, and that is if somebody kneecaps the motherfuckers...Baseball bat or bullet? Six of one, just so's it leaves 'em crippled, whining, and begging...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Limey "Anti-Terror" Cops

(Can YOU spot the little incipient terrorists?)
English anti-terror cops ask nursery school workers to watch 4 year olds for signs of "radicalization"

Posted: (BoingBoing) Fri, 11 Dec 2009 07:15:47 PST

England's West Midlands counter-terrorism unit is putting nursery schools on notice to check out their four-year-olds to make sure that they're not being "brainwashed" into "Islamic extremism."
Arun Kundnani, of the Institute of Race Relations, contacted the officer and said he was told that officers had visited nursery schools. Mr Kundnani added: "He did seem to think it was standard. He said it wasn't just him or his unit that was doing it. He said the indicators were they [children] might draw pictures of bombs and say things like 'all Christians are bad' or that they believe in an Islamic state. It seems that nursery teachers in the West Midlands area are being asked to look out for radicalisation. He also said that targeting young children was important because they would be left aware of what was inappropriate to say at school. He felt that it was necessary to cover nurseries as well as primary and secondary schools. He said it was a precaution and that he wasn't expecting to come back with a list."

Now, I'm no fan of parents instilling racial intolerance in their kids, but if "All Christians are bad" is the gold standard for telling whether a kid is being "radicalised," then I quake for all the Jewish kids I grew up with hearing things like "A shikker is a goy" (gentiles are drunks). I'm likewise pretty certain that there are many Christian kids being brought up on messages like "Jews are all cheap" and "Muslims are all terrorists."
Probably true. But presumably, no non-xian cops are monitoring Xian schools to prevent the same sorts of "indoctrination," right?--W)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ben Bernanke

"thePrez" (well, the Banksters and Geithner) wants to reappoint Ben Bernanke as head of the Fed.

Both Dean Baker and I think this is a terrible idea. I'll let him tell ya exactly why, but mainly what it comes down to is that it is a serious fuck-up to put the guys who could but didn't intervene to stop the last financial clusterfuck in charge of overseeing the guys they didn't oversee/regulate the last time, which negligence led to the collapse:
Yes, It's Bernanke's Fault
Tuesday 01 December 2009
by: Dean Baker | The Center for Economic and Policy Research

The Fed chairman Ben Bernanke could have acted to burst America's housing bubble – and yet he did nothing.

As the senate debates Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's reappointment, it is striking how the media views blaming Bernanke for the Great Recession as being out of bounds. Of course Bernake bears much of the blame for America's economic collapse.

He was either in, or next to, the driver's seat for the last seven years. Bernanke was a member of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve since the summer of 2002. He served a six-month stint as head of President Bush's council of economic advisors beginning in the summer of 2005 and then went back to chair the Fed in February 2006.

This crisis is not a weather disaster like Hurricane Katrina; it is a man-made disaster that was brought about by seriously misguided economic policy. And, after Alan Greenspan, Bernanke was better positioned than any other person in the country to prevent this disaster.

The basic argument is very simple. The US had an enormous housing bubble. This bubble drove the economy ever since the last recession in 2001. It propelled the economy directly through a building boom that sent housing construction to record levels. Indirectly, it led to a consumption boom as people spent money based on the $8 trillion in housing equity that was temporarily created by the bubble.

When the bubble collapsed it was inevitable that it would lead to the sort of disaster that we are now seeing. We lost close to $500bn in annual demand due to the collapse of housing construction. The building boom created an enormous glut of housing. There will be little need for new construction for several years in the future.

The disappearance of trillions of dollars of bubble-generated housing equity led to a plunge in consumption. Annual consumption has fallen by close to $500bn. If we add in a loss in demand of close to $200bn associated with the bursting of a bubble in commercial real estate, the collapse of the bubbles led to a fall in annual demand of close to $1.2tn. The Fed has nothing in its bag of tricks that allows it quickly replace $1.2tn in demand, which is why the country is now mired in double-digit unemployment.

In spite of the heroic efforts at obfuscation by many economists, there is not really much to dispute in the above story. Add in the fact that the bubble was both recognisable and preventable, and you have a very solid indictment of Bernanke.

The bubble was easy to recognise, Bernanke just failed to do it. Nationwide house prices had already experienced an unprecedented 30% increase by the summer of 2002. Since there was nothing in the fundamentals of the housing market to justify this run-up, and no remotely corresponding increase in rents, Bernanke should have already been aware of the housing bubble by the time he joined the Fed in 2002.

The Fed has a large arsenal with which to attack a housing bubble, but the first weapon is simply talk. If Greenspan and Bernanke had used their platform at the Fed to educate Congress, the financial industry, and the public at large about the existence of the housing bubble and the risks it posed, this likely would have been sufficient to pop it.

This is not about mumbling "irrational exuberance," it's a question of using the Fed's full research capacities to document the existence of a housing bubble (they actually did the opposite) and then disseminating this research as widely as possible. If this proved inadequate, the Fed also had substantial regulatory powers to curb the deceptive subprime loans that helped inflate the bubble in its later stages.

If talk and regulation failed, then the Fed could have used interest rate hikes. A policy of raising interest rates with the explicit target of bursting the bubble – for example, a commitment to raise rates until house prices fall, – would almost certainly accomplish its goal in fairly short order.

Bernanke and his sidekick, Greenspan, chose to take none of these measures. Instead they insisted everything was fine the whole time. Things were not fine and the country is paying the price. And yes, it is very much Bernanke's fault.
That pretty much covers things, donit?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Who Does Not Believe The Pukes "Threw" The Election?

Greg Sargent's Plum Line quotes "thePrez" recently at the "jobs "summit, and I am just astonished he's finally (almost) said it:
So, in the weeks and months that followed, we undertook a series of difficult steps to prevent that outcome. And we were forced to take those steps largely without the help of an opposition party which, unfortunately, after having presided over the decision-making that led to the crisis, decided to hand it over to others to solve.
And THAT is as close as I have heard anybody--much less Obama himself--come to alluding that the Pukes threw the election last year (though I admit he may be referring to Congressional Pukes' complete abdication, too).

But of course, that’s just what happened. The Pukes (and their Owners) noticed that even white people were starting to hate the Busheviks, and things were falling apart, and shit was gonna hit the fan, so it might as well hit it with a Dim--the first woman or the first Person of Color (PoC) would be nice. So they:
  • chose a ticket that managed to make half-African Obama look (at least temporarily, by comparison) smart, sane and safe;
  • apparently foreswore their penchant for electronic electoral larceny;
  • abandoned (apparently) the flank attacks by US Attys–-even though the ones in situ were proven partisans of the regime–-and
  • otherwise kept their distance,
  • took their “defeat” with signal good humor,
  • and set about to make sure that Obama and the Dims were utterly and completely implicated in their crimes and fiascoes by the end of the first year.
It was done so smoothly that almost nobody noticed it.

It seems that Obama was in fact one who did.

Which to me makes his desperate efforts to forge ‘bipartisanship’ all the more puzzling…

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pushy Fucking Christians

"Religious" fuckers who want to use public money to fund discriminatory activities? And what the fuck is a Christian Legal Society, anyway? Is the law different if one is a Christian? Via Americans United:
The U.S. Supreme Court today announced it will hear a dispute from California involving an evangelical Christian club at a public law school that wants recognition and funding as an official campus organization, even though it discriminates on religious grounds.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State urged the high court to use the case as a vehicle to make it clear that groups seeking public funding and official recognition on public college campuses must be open to all.

“This case is about fundamental fairness,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “If the student religious group wins, it will mean some students will be compelled to support clubs that won’t even admit them as members. That’s just not right.”

The dispute involves a branch of the Christian Legal Society at Hastings College of Law at the University of California in San Francisco. The group sought funding and official status from the school, even though it effectively bars gays and non-Christians from membership by requiring all officers and voting members to sign an evangelical Christian statement of faith.

Hastings College of Law bans discrimination against gays and lesbians, as well as religious discrimination, and officials there said they did not want to support a club that was not open to all.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Hastings.

Americans United filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the appeals court and says the Supreme Court should uphold the 9th Circuit decision.

“Public schools have every right – indeed, an obligation – to refuse to advance religious discrimination,” Lynn said. “Groups that wish to engage in discrimination should not expect public subsidies.”

The case is titled Christian Legal Society v. Martinez.
There is a certain additional irony that it is a "Christian LEGAL Society" that is seeking this egregiously unconstitutional subsidy.

In any other Murka, I'd say this'n'd be a slam-dunk dismissal. But given this Court, and the continuous, egregious grants of immunity from general civil standards accorded merely on the basis of "conscience," this does not look good.

I mean, in principle, I'll not object to their discriminatory hiring, etc, policies, while using public money to fund their organization if, when their church catches fire, a Muslim or a gay or an atheist fireperson can, without blame, excuse themselves from helping put the fucker out...


Friday, December 4, 2009

Creationist "Scientist" Michael Behe:

Who made the mistake of fucking with dauntless You-Tube creationism critc Aron Ra (the big dude in the wrestler's beard and the calm, scientific demeanor, whom I would gladly pay money to watch rip Behe's arm from it's sockwet and beat him to death with it...)

DOTOF™ to PZ Myers/Pharyngula.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Perhaps It Would Be Wrong

to leave messages instead of money in the Salvation Army's donation pots.

Perhaps not. Jesus' astonishingly heterosexual General recommends against it.

It'd be a real shame if wicked people tried to pressure the Salvation Army into treating everyone with dignity by doing something like this:
1. Download the graphic below.
2. Print it.
3. Cut it into check-sized pieces.
4. Deposit "checks" in Salvation Army kettles.

The "Salvation" Army

From Aravosis/AmericaBlog:
Salvation Army accused of checking immigration status of kids before giving them toys
by John Aravosis (DC) on 12/02/2009 08:09:00 AM

Let's not forget - the Salvation Army is a far-right evangelical Christian right church. They're rabidly anti-gay, and they work in Washington, and around the world, against the civil rights of gays and lesbians. So if you've got a dime to spare this Christmas, do not give it to the guys with the red buckets. Fund a real charity, not an evangelical activist. (This year, I've noticed the bell-ringers are often apparently 'handicapped' folks. Is this a ploy to evoke MORE sympathy? Jis' askin'--W)

To wit. A story is running around that the Salvation Army has been checking the immigration status of kids before giving them toys. The Salvation Army denies it, saying they're only checking for 'residency', to make sure the kids getting the toys live in the area (apparently because children in other areas don't deserve a visit from Santa). Then I noticed this little gem at the end of the article:
The Salvation Army also verifies the immigration status of anyone who comes to their shelter.
Merry Christmas to you too.