December 12, 2013
We Have Them Right Where They Want Us
This week, fiscally conservative budget cutter Congressman Paul Ryan managed to reach an historic agreement with his liberal Senate colleague, Patty Murray, in which spending will be cut, the deficit will be reduced, and taxes held steady.
How did he accomplish this monumental feat?
By agreeing to a deal in which spending will be raised, the deficit enlarged, and taxes increased.
William Shatner’s got nothing on this guy.
Interestingly, Congressman Ryan, who as we mentioned before, is a fiscally conservative budget cutter, points out that his budget deal actually reduces spending AND the deficit. Well, not now. Next year and the year after discretionary spending increases by over $60 billion. But just you wait, once 2022 rolls around, we’ll be rolling in spending cuts.
The fiscally conservative budget cutter also asserts that his plan does not raise taxes, only “user fees,” which unlike taxes, is spelled completely differently.
Some might point out that increasing user fees on, for example, airline passengers, so as to offset increased defense and domestic spending that has nothing whatsoever to do with airlines could possibly be considered a hidden tax.
In the words of fiscally conservative budget cutter John Boehner, those people are “ridiculous.”
There is the question of why a deal had to be done at all. Had the sequester cuts simply been left in place, discretionary spending would have gone down in 2014 and 2015 rather than going up under Congressman Ryan’s budget cutting-ish plan.
But that would have meant the Pentagon would have had to get by on $500 billion dollars next year as opposed to $520 billion.
What if we once again find ourselves in a position where we have to bomb a country that hasn’t attacked us? What then? Are you going to be the one to tell those brave young men and women in uniform, “I’m sorry, but you won’t be required to place yourself in mortal danger not defending the United States?" Well, are you?
We didn’t think so.
Now all we can do is hope they can successfully sneak it through Congress in 36 hours before anyone can think about it.
After all, taking into account your supporters' opinions can be so… messy.
November 11, 2013
Standing up For Principal, er, Principle
Powerful business interests want to turn the tide against Tea Party-like upstarts within the Republican Party and return the GOP back to its traditional roots:
Doling out special favors to powerful business interests.
The problem is that radical Tea Party Republicans are spending far too much time trying to ward off fiscal catastrophe when that time could be better spent enriching powerful business interests at the expense of everyone else.
For example, according to CNBC:
“Call it the wrath of establishment Republicans and corporate America, always considered the best of friends. Since the Republican takeover of the House in 2010, they've watched the GOP insurgents slow a transportation bill and reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, block a treaty governing the high seas and stand in the way of comprehensive immigration legislation.”
This is surely a dystopian future these radical fiscal conservatives paint, one in which lucrative transportation bills for which we have no money receive additional scrutiny. One in which private businesses have to finance their own imports and exports at market rates without the benefit of your money. One in which Congress refuses to surrender United States sovereignty to unnamed foreign courts. And one in which businesses are denied immediate access to abundant sources of dirt-cheap labor.
Let’s face it. We owe it to our children to ensure that they never have to live in a world in which the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is not fully funded. Or do you want to be the one who has to look into your young child’s eyes and tell her that it was you who allowed it to happen. That it was you who stood by and did nothing while others saw to it that the marketing and promotion of potatoes was left only to the people who grew and sold potatoes.
Just tell her you’re a monster now and get it over with.
To ensure a future in which government exists to reward the powerful, old-line establishment Republicans and their business allies are planning to support candidates that are not radical extremist Tea Partiers.
Such as South Dakota where an open Senate primary is allowing challengers from the right to go up against Mike Rounds, a well-known former governor who has refused to sign a no-new-taxes pledge.
No new taxes pledge? What if a private business needs a sweetheart deal? Where is the money supposed to come from? Aside from China, we mean. It is absolutely essential that we elect moderate Republicans to ensure not only that business interests have a friend in Washington, but to make sure that taxes can still be raised, just not raised as much as those dastardly Democrats would! Not significantly less, but less.
Okay, sometimes less, and sometimes more, such as when old-school conservative governor Bob McDonnell signed into law the largest tax increase in Virginia history, but it was for a traditionally conservative reason:
Powerful business interests supported it.
And that’s why the Republican Party has to, as former representative Steve LaTourette, put it so eloquently, “beat the snot” out Tea Party Republicans.
Steve LaTourette believes strongly that Republicans should be a lot more like Steve LaTourette, and so has started a new PAC dedicated to seeing to it that that happens.
Hey, that ought to fire up the base! Finally, someone willing to forgo principle, so he can stand up for principal.
As LaTourette pointed out:
“40, 42 House members have effectively denied the Republican Party the power of the majority."
You know another way to deny the Republican Party the power of the majority?
Lose the majority.
October 29, 2013
If You Like Your Health Care Plan, You’re Wrong
There has been a growing controversy this week as millions of people are discovering that they are losing the health insurance they like as Obamacare regulations take hold. Many are confused, since President Obama had promised on repeated occasions that, if “you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period.”
In fact, he specifically said, “Let me repeat this. Nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.”
Sure, at first glance, it appears as if The President was being less than completely truthful about Obamacare, but fortunately, the problem isn’t with the law. As White House advisor Valerie Jarrett explains, the problem is that insurance companies are following the law.
FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans.
Those SOBs will stop at nothing to comply with the law, even if it mean you can’t keep your existing health plan. What's their excuse, "I was just following orders?" Let's see, where have we heard that before? Oh yeah.
Okay, sure, so the Administration knew that you would lose the plan that you liked, and even wrote the regulations to make sure of it, but did you ever consider the possibility that when the The President said you would get to keep to your health care plan, he might not have been talking about you specifically? Maybe he was talking to someone else in the room, perhaps Valerie Jarrett.
What, if you were sitting next to a couple at dinner and the woman said, I love you, would you immediately assume she meant you as well? (Note: She doesn’t. BTDT.)
And besides, the issue isn’t really whether or not you like your plan, it’s whether or not you’re too stupid to want a better, more expensive plan. For example, let’s say there has never been any history of mental illness in your family and you show no signs whatsoever in yourself, so you decided you don’t want to have to pay for mental health benefits.
Well, that just proves your crazy, and probably should be required to pay for mental health benefits.
Think of it as the Catch-22 of Obamacare.
And then there’s the pediatric dental care that 55-year-old single men have been living without for far too long.
We’re fortunate that President Obama is around to tell us what we need.
So, to review, President Obama did not lie when he said if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. After all, Vulcans can’t lie. They can, however exaggerate.
So, he exaggerated.
October 23, 2013
Obamacare User Guide
There has been an unfortunate amount of confusion regarding how to apply for insurance under Obamacare, most likely due to the lack of information available during the government shutdown. In this vacuum, many people simply went looking to sign up using the web site.
What is this, 2005?
Nobody uses the Internet anymore. Sure, Obamacare has a web site but that was mostly just for older citizens who are simply more comfortable with things they are familiar with, no matter how obviously dated, like CDs, or Miley Cyrus keeping her clothes on.
As it turns out, Obamacare is much more cutting edge, with new and exciting ways to sign up. To help you with what may be unfamiliar technology, we’ve prepared a short user’s guide.
The Obamacare User Guide
Putting The “no” in “Innovation!”
No doubt, most of you are unfamiliar with this exciting new development. At only a fraction of the thickness of an iPad, and lighter than a Galaxy S4, Obamacare’s paper applications are a stunning site to behold.
And when it comes to flexible displays, the future is here! Paper can be flexed into all manner of shapes, and even made into small flying craft, “paper airplanes,” if you will. Try that with a laptop! Paper is like the carbon nanotubes of the new century, with nearly limitless applications!
And paper is totally backwards compatible with any type of writing instrument, from pens, to pencils, to Sharpies to crayons. It’s obsolescence proof!
You’ll find using paper technology to apply for Obamacare is as easy as 1-2-3!
Then it’s on to page 2!
And some appendices.
And just like that, it’s a week later and you’re almost ready to send in your application. Which brings us to a related innovation.
Rather than go through the laborious process of first finding out where your cursor is on your monitor, then looking for the “Send” button, then moving your cursor all the way over to the Send button and then having to apply downward pressure in order to “click” on it like you have to do using the Internet, all Obamacare’s paper application requires is the quick and easy application of a stamp! For those of you younger than 27, please refer to our stamp FAQ below for any questions you may have.
Stamp Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What’s a stamp?
A: It’s a sticky piece of paper you apply to an envelope.
Q: What’s an envelope?
A: It’s a paper folder with a sticky flap you put your paper application in.
Q: What’s paper?
A: Please see section above.
Q: Is it also sticky?
A: Not usually, no.
Q: Because it seems like everything having to do with paper is sticky.
A: The paper application is not sticky.
Q: I hate sticky things. Ever spill a latte on an Xbox game pad? Now that’s sticky.
A: It’s not sticky.
Q: Boy, I could use a latte right now.
A: Remember, you’re trying to apply for health care.
Q: Oh,yeah. So, can I get unlimited stamping?
A: No, not really.
Q: Can I roll over my unused stamps to the next month?
A: As a matter of fact, you can.
After Sending in your paper application using a stamp, you can now sit back and relax, and know that you’re covered. In 6 to 8 weeks. Maybe.
Toll-Free Phone Number
Phones aren’t just for texting, updating your facebook status or sending instagrams, you can talk on it, too!
It’s true! And Obamacare makes use of this technology by permitting you to call a toll-free phone number. Please consult our Toll-Free Phone Number Faq if you have any questions.
Toll-Free Phone Number FAQ
Q: What’s a toll?
A: Its’ when you have to pay for a phone call.
Q: You have to pay for phone calls?
A: Well, in a sense…
Q: Because I have unlimited calling.
A: Well, then, you don’t have to worry about it.
Q: Then why bring it up?
A: It’s mainly for people who use land lines.
Q: What’s a land line?
A: It’s a phone that is wired to the wall.
Q: Oh, like those pens at banks.
A: Well, not re…
Q: So people won’t steal them, got it.
A: No, that’s not…
Q: I guess it would make sense that people who are too poor to be able to afford unlimited calling probably live in bad neighborhoods and would want to wire their phones to the wall.
A: No, you’re missing the point…
Q: So, what if I don’t need the toll-free number, what should I do?
A: Use a stamp.
Q: What’s a stamp?
And there you have it. As the President said, Obamacare is “not just a web site.”
It’s also stacks of paper and call centers!
That all rely on the web site.
October 21, 2013
Our National Nightmare - Week… Wait, What? It’s Over?
The federal shutdown came to an abrupt end last Thursday when the government reopened, thus freeing the American people to once again drink in the intoxicating elixir of liberty, in part by pulling into the parking lots on the side of the George Washington Parkway.
Now we know what it must have felt like when Thomas Jefferson finally seized Iwo Jima from the Nazis and put an end to the Hundred Years War.
If you are like most Americans, you’re probably thinking, “Thomas Jefferson wasn’t at Iwo Jima, he dropped the Atomic bomb on Godzilla in order to destroy the Death Star. “
Also, “Wait a second, the shutdown is over? We have some questions.”
Of course you do.
Q: So, what does it mean to have the shutdown ended?
A: Hundreds of thousands of government workers are now back on the job, doing the non-essential work of the people.
Q: Surely there’s more to it than that.
A: Of course there is. With the government fully back up and running, school children will once again be able to say the pledge of allegiance.
Q: Are there any downsides?
A: Well, the barricade industry is probably heading for a prolonged slump.
Q: Any others?
A: Not really. Wait, oh yeah, utter fiscal catastrophe. Otherwise, we’re good.
Q: So, what did the GOP gain by shutting down the government and threatening national bankruptcy? A postponement of Obamacare?
Q: Cuts in spending?
Q: Entitlement reform?
Q: What, then?
A: Republican Paul Ryan and Democrat Patty Murray agreed to have breakfast.
Q: Are there any lessons can we learn from this sorry episode?
A: As the old saying goes, never take a hostage unless you are prepared to release him totally unharmed.
Q: So, we’re going to see this whole thing all over again next year?
A: Yes, the issues at hand are simply too grave not to be willing to stand up for your principles, and then sit right back down again. Do you know what that’s called?
October 16, 2013
Our National Nightmare – White House Garden Edition
Among the very many tragedies that have resulted from the government shutdown, perhaps even worse than Congressman having to wash their own gym towels, is the fate of Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden which has descended into a kind of futuristic dystopian nightmare where feral squirrels devour organic heirloom tomatoes, weeds overtake the once meticulous vegetable beds, and worms gorge themselves on the President’s sweet potatoes (which it should be pointed out, are technically tubers and not vegetables, but hey, the guy can call down drone strikes so let’s just keep that to ourselves).
The garden was originally meant to set an example to average Americans of what could be accomplished with just a little determination, a can-do attitude, and a full-time professional staff of gardners.
Really, why you fat slobs don’t just get up off the couch for once and hire a nationally acclaimed organic farmer to tend to your kitchen garden we’ll never know.
If you are like most Planet Moron Readers, you’re probably asking yourself, “Is pepperoni a vegetable? Because if it is, I’m golden.”
Also, “I’ve seen the pictures, my 80-year-old grandmother takes care of a bigger garden than that by herself. Why doesn’t the First Lady and her daughters go get their hands dirty for once when the cameras aren’t running?”
Hey, you know what? You’ve got some anger issues out there. You really need to watch your tone. Michelle Obama is the First Lady! She has never done much of anything of note other than marrying well, pointing out that moving around is probably a good idea, and alerting the populace to epiphanies such as, “Water is so basic.” She has never herself stood for office or been elected by the people to in any way represent them, or chosen by them to be a spokesperson for their interests and as such is deserving of our… wait a second, where were we going with this?
Regardless, we hope the shutdown ends soon so Michelle Obama can write sequel to her book, “American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America.” Working title:
“American Rot: The Story of Watching the White House Garden go to Seed From The Comfort of My Bedroom Window.”
In other shutdown news, the Park Service finally figured out that using one of its two barriers to block the exit on the George Washington Parkway scenic overlooks kind of defeated the whole purpose of keeping people out and has now placed both at the entrance.
Just another way the Park Service is managing to cost taxpayers more money when they are closed than when they are open.
October 14, 2013
Our National Nightmare – Week 3
Q: Are areas served by the National Park Service still being Barricaded?
A: Partly. We took some pictures this morning of the two barren parking lots scenic overlooks along the George Washington Parkway. The first one was still closed.
But people had broken through the barricades of the second one and can be seen “recreating” in clear violation of the law
Q: Let’s start calling that a “Liberty Lot!”
A: More like a Lawbreaker Lot, if you ask us.
Q: We heard there was a protest this weekend among vets angry over the closure of war memorials.
A: Yes, hundreds of vets turned out.
Q: Well, that’s something.
A: Unfortunately, they were racists.
Q: What? How can you make a blanket statement like that?
A: There was a guy there with a confederate flag.
Q: Wait a second. The Occupy Wall Street movement that got such good press had scores of self-professed anti-Semites holding up signs. What would you call those?
Q: And one guy among hundreds with a Confederate flag?
Q: Okay, so how are the negotiations over the shutdown going?
A: Not well, Republicans refused to accept a demand by Democrats to roll back parts of the sequester.
Q: They want to negotiate over the shutdown? That’s how this started and Republicans were accused of committing economic treason.
A: That’s right.
Q: What’s it called when Democrats do it?
Q: So, where does this leave us?
A: It’s an embarrassment. Here we have duly elected representatives with different viewpoints representing the interests of a diverse electorate.
Q: Wait, that’s not a good thing?
A: Don’t you understand, the French are laughing at us!
Q: Who cares about that?
A: People who spend a lot of time in France.
October 09, 2013
Let Freedom Ring! However, You’re Going To Need a Permit For The Bell. – Government Shutdown Edition
“Let Freedom Ring! However, You’re Going To Need a Permit For The Bell,” is a periodic series in which we explore the new and exciting ways in which the notions of freedom and liberty are being interpreted in our modern and progressive world.
OUT: A chance to see the nation’s natural majesty.
IN: A chance to see the nation ruled by His Majesty.
Members of a tour bus group that included many foreign visitors and senior citizens found themselves caught inside Yellowstone National Park when the shutdown began. Clearly, these were innocent parties, and so the Park Service ensured that armed guards locked them inside their hotel, prevented them from taking pictures, and made sure to surround Old Faithful whenever it was about to erupt.
This might seem extreme, but at least they eventually forced the group to make the two-and-a-half hour drive out of the park without being allowed to stop for a bathroom break.
Some have described these as “Gestapo tactics.” Come on, this is America! They were just kept captive inside a large building against their will, denied the ability to take photos, had their activities curtailed by armed guards, and weren’t allowed to go to the bathroom when they wanted.
But Gestapo tactics? That’s ridiculous.
The Gestapo would have let you go to the bathroom.
OUT: Our most precious resource.
Unlike in, say, Washington DC where, and this is a total coincidence, their bosses work, the National Park Service has closed a number of roads that run through park land, including the Foothills Parkway in Tennessee which is used by a local school district to bus children. Naturally they did this without warning and while school was in session. Why, you ask?
It’s for the children.
You see, the only other roads are impassable by busses and are otherwise considered dangerous “white knuckle” drives even by car. Now you know what they’re talking about when they say that having a large activist government is important to the safety of your children.
Because otherwise, they’re going to kill them.
Visiting Gettysburg National Military Park
OUT: Viewing Pickett’s charge.
IN: Charging the Pickets.
Due to the government shutdown and the strain that has put on the National Park Service, scores of rangers have been deployed to set up barricades to keep people out of the Gettysburg National Military Park. However, there is one thing you do not want to get in-between: A history buff, and a Civil War park. And so American citizens are knocking down barricades and entering the park, helping themselves to the park by avoiding the very same Park Rangers they used to seek out for that help.
If you are like most Planet Moron readers, you probably vaguely recall that the Battle of Gettysburg was fought mostly outside, and not in a virtual reality world created by an alien race in order to preserve a record of their civilization (which you are pretty sure now was an episode form Star Trek) and wonder if preventing people from wandering around in an open field is the best use of resources.
That is why you are not a professional White House reporter who knows better than to ask such impertinent questions.
Going Out For a Jog
OUT: A healthy endeavor.
We know that promoting physical fitness is an essential task of the federal government. That is why, while most federal web sites are down, such as the one for the USDA, the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” site is still going strong. Sure, the USDA shutdown limits access to resources vital to farmers and others, but we’ve got school salad bars to promote for God’s sake.
So, why then was a runner who had parked in a remote and un-barricaded parking lot in the Valley Forge National Historical Park greeted upon his return by two very un-furloughed Park Rangers who were waiting to give him a ticket?
You know, you ask a lot of questions. Have you been audited lately?
October 07, 2013
Our National Nightmare: Week 2
Driving south on the George Washington Parkway Friday night we noticed the Park Service had already replaced the barricades on the scenic overlook/vacant parking lot that someone (not us, we swear) had taken down.
As the government shutdown enters its second week, scenes such as that were repeated all over the country, as guards removed vets who were attempting to look at the Vietnam Memorial, which consists of a wall of granite set into a hill outside in the open mall that runs from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol Building that was otherwise open.
Likewise, barricades were placed around the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. These were pushed aside by the vets who had actually taken Iwo Jima in the first place despite, if we remember our history correctly, Japanese positions heavily fortified with orange cones and withering displays of yellow police tape.
Additionally, the feds also closed large parts of the ocean, tried to block people from seeing Mt. Rushmore, and physically pushed an alternative rock singer who was already peacefully leaving the Jefferson Memorial as asked with the explanation that “it’s quicker this way.”
He was just following orders. With relish.
And of course, the National Park Service continues to live up to its sacred and solemn duty to close down valid businesses operating legally on leased federal lands, throwing scores of people out of work.
They still want you to, “see America first,” they just want you to do it at a discreet distance.
As you can see, you cannot possibly expect the federal government to have the resources to benignly ignore these completely open areas during a shutdown. Only when the government is fully up and running and everyone is on the job do they have the time and personnel to do nothing. Really, they have no choice during these lean times to vigilantly barricade and enforce arbitrary restrictions on open areas.
Here at Planet Moron we believe it’s time we all do our part in helping the National Park Service, the Capitol Police, and everyone else charged with ensuring we are unnecessarily inconvenienced. To that end, we offer these suggestions:
When passing federal properties, be they monuments, buildings, scenic vistas, or obscure plaques be sure to avert your eyes. There’s just not any money available for you to look at these things.
When driving through federal lands that have not yet been barricaded try not to breathe. That’s government air, and they can’t guarantee it.
Consider not listening to the radio or watching TV. Those airwaves belong to the government, broadcasters are only permitted to use them under license.
You might also want to consider not using your cellphone. Sure, your carrier paid for use of those airwaves, but, they belong to the government, and the government is closed.
Suggest to the airlines that they might want to change their flight paths so as not to inadvertently fly over federal land. Why? Because closed.
Some readers might be annoyed to learn that a bill we had mentioned last week that would ensure furloughed federal employees would get paid for not working passed the House unanimously.
But, hey, at least elderly people are being thrown out of their own homes.
October 04, 2013
Our National Nightmare Day 4
In order to achieve fame and notoriety of any kind you have to do something truly extraordinary, something that clearly sets you apart from others and makes people say, “Wow, I can’t believe it.”
For example, successfully signing up for health care on one of the Obamacare exchanges run by the federal government.
Although the government shutdown has nothing to do with the exchanges (they are funded separately), it appeared that no one had been able to accomplish the task, no one, that is, until now.
Indeed, we must now consider adding to the pantheon of heroic pioneers of the unknown, Robert Peary, Edmund Hillary, and Neil Armstrong, the name:
Yes, Chad Henderson purchased insurance on Obamacare and celebrated it on Twitter. His feat was of such note, his courage of such splendor, his valor of such regard, that the White House felt compelled to bring it to the attention of the media, which of course went into a wild frenzy over our new hero.
So, who is Chad Henderson?
Just a young lad trying to get a fair shake on health insurance.
"I've read a few articles about how young people are very critical to the law's success. I really just wanted to do my part to help out with the entire process."
What a nice young man!
"I had to wait like everybody else.”
An everyday man of the people, even.
“After creating an account and getting logged in, it was pretty smooth sailing."
And what about his $175 monthly premium?
"It was a little more than I was expecting.”
Ah, you precocious little rascal, you.
And we probably should have checked first, but do you get paid to engage in progressive political advocacy? Because if you do, then Chad is still just like you and me.
Oh, and we should also probably mention that he didn’t actually purchase any insurance. He really just “enrolled in the marketplace,” just not enrolled enrolled if you know what we mean. But look, he totally got online and created an awesome account and looked at various options for like, who knows how long, and is SO going to buy that $175 monthly plan once he gets done with all his media engagements.
But partisan supporters of the President aren’t the only Obamacare success stories. There’s also Brendan Mahoney, the perfect example of the kind of person Obamacare was designed to help. The downtrodden, the forgotten, the little people struggling to get by, the third-year law students who were already paying for health insurance but can now get on Medicaid and have their health insurance paid by taxpayers instead.
Turning productive citizens taking responsibility for themselves into wards of the state dependent on others.
It’s a new dawn in America!
In other news, the National Park Service continues to struggle through the shutdown given the critical tasks it must still perform such as closing down areas they have no authority to and hassling citizens for no obvious reason.
We did note this morning that some revolutionaries had torn down the barriers on the second scenic overlook on the George Washington Parkway.
Godspeed 21st-century minutemen, Godspeed.