May 20, 2020

As Whoopi Goldberg Might Say, Unmasking is Lawful, just not "Lawful Lawful"

You’ve likely heard about the controversy over the unmasking of former Trump security advisor and three-star general Michael Flynn and are probably asking yourself, “mmbbf mmf mmbb?”

That's because you forgot to take your mask off when you got inside. It’s okay now, you’re perfectly safe inside your own home.

But, that’s not the kind of unmasking we’re talking about.

By law, the identity of Americans who are not the target of any investigation and who get caught up in the monitoring of foreign individuals have their names “masked” or hidden so as to preserve their fourth-amendment rights against such government intrusions.

However, those names can be “unmasked,” or revealed, if requested by administration officials such as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, a position you can’t even be considered for unless you have demonstrated an ability to commit to memory really long job titles.

Many Trump supporters are outraged that this was done as an end-run around the Constitution permitting the government to examine the private phone calls and other communications of General Flynn without obtaining a properly adjudicated warrant.

But rest assured, there’s really nothing to see here at all. You see, it’s “completely routine,” and “not an unusual practice.”

In fact, on average, about two dozen such requests are made every single day!  The Trump administration itself has made thousands of requests a year!

Before we go any further, we should probably point out that those last two points were intended to be comforting. We don’t know about you, but we sure are feeling comforted. But then we’ve been drinking gin all day.

In addition to being purely routine, there are of course many layers of protection in place assuring that when thousands of Americans’ inalienable Constitutional rights are being routinely violated, they are being routinely violated in a thoroughly lawful manner. (Just not, as Whoopi Goldberg might put it, “lawful lawful.”)

First of all, only “senior” administration officials have the authority to unmask someone, like the aforementioned Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Mike Neufeld. You can tell he how senior he is, as he reported directly to the Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis, who reported to the Under Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, who reported to the Deputy Secretary who then reported to the Secretary.

Basically, if the federal government were a bank, he was the supervisor overseeing ATM maintenance. 

Sorry, “Acting” supervisor.

Second, it’s not like you can just “unmask” someone whenever you want. In order to request an unmasking of a US citizen, this very senior member of the administration must first submit a form (which we have on good authority consists at least in part of essay questions) and turn it in to another member of that same administration for approval.

Consider it less “checks and balances,” and more “checks and checks!”

So, as you can see, there is no need to concern yourself that Americans are being routinely surveilled without a warrant or any judicial overview. The legal argument for unmasking is well-founded with decades of precedent behind it in the successful settlement of disputes among middle-school-aged children and their parents:

“But everyone is doing it.”

J.

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May 20, 2020 at 09:30 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 18, 2020

So, They Want to Force Us to Use Face Coverings...

We're sure it's just a coincidence. Yeah, let's go with coincidence.

Mask Trend

J.

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May 18, 2020 at 04:53 PM in Covid-19/Coronavirus | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 17, 2020

Shut Up, That's Why T-Shirt!

Shut up thats why

A special welcome to readers of Watts up With That, (a Planet Moron favorite) and a thanks to commenter Pat Frank for a shout out about our T-shirt.  Lots more at our Consensus Watch Cafe Press site. New content follows below, plus a very old Consensus Watch post (we'll have more in the future).

Now you have a chance to show your support for The Consensus with the Shut up, that’s why T-shirt, the perfect answer to anyone who dares to question the science behind global warming.

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May 17, 2020 at 01:01 PM in Global Warming with CONSENSUS WATCH | Permalink | Comments (0)

Democrat’s 3-Trillion Dollar Spending Bill FAQ

If you’re like most Planet Moron readers, you’re probably trying to figure out how to remove your home monitoring ankle bracelet.

Also, you’re wondering what’s up with this three-trillion-dollar spending bill the Democratic-controlled House just passed.

Fortunately for you, we’re here to help! 

With understanding the bill, not removing the ankle bracelet.

Planet Moron’s Three-Trillion Dollar Spending Bill FAQ

 

Q: I did not realize we had another $3 trillion dollars in spare money lying around

A: We don’t.

 

Q: Oh, then we’re just talking about the $3 trillion we already spent.

A: No, this is an additional $3 trillion.

 

Q: But didn’t you just say we don’t have $3 trillion of additional money available?

A: We didn’t have the first $3 trillion either, so what does it matter?

 

Q: That seems like an awful lot of money.

A: Actually, it’s not enough. What we really need to do is give ourselves trillions of more dollars.

 

Q: Who’s going to pay for this, our grandkids?

A: Absolutely not, that would be wholly unfair.

 

Q: Who, then?

A: Our great grandkids and our great great grandkids.

 

Q: But that’s not…

A:  And our great great great grandkids.

 

Q: Yes, but…

A: And our great great great great grandkids…

 

Q: Okay, I get the idea.  I mean, you might as well, I don’t know, just mint a couple trillion-dollar coins and make believe it’s real money.

A: Actually

 

Q: I don’t want to know.  So, what is this money for?

A: Purely emergency Covid-19 pandemic relief.

 

Q: We hear it includes things like $20 million for the national endowments for the arts and humanities.

A: Of course. The arts have really taken it on the chin. The supply chain disruptions in modelling clay alone would make your head spin.

 

Q: Are there any expenditures directly related to the pandemic?

A: Oh, there are plenty! A trillion dollars for state and local governments because we’re going to keep the economy shut down, billions for childcare through the end of the year because we’re going to keep the economy shut down, billions more for families because we’re going to keep the economy shut down…

 

Q: Wait, why don’t you just open the economy back up?

A: You want to kill your grandmother?

 

Q: I don’t want to kill my grandmother!

A: It kind of sounds like you do.

 

Q: I assure you I don’t. I’m just saying there are some states that are clearly finding some success in reopening their economies in a responsible manner despite the dire predictions and that we could all learn a lesson from that and perhaps replicate…

A: We’re listening to the scientists.

 

Q: Well, sure, but I’m talking about hard data, real-world results that…

A: The scientists say we’ll kill grandma if we reopen.

 

Q: But it doesn’t matter what they say if you have data that…

A: You must hate scientists.

 

Q: I do not hate scientists, in fact, there are some scientists who advocate opening up the economy

A: Are any of them named Anthony Fauci?

 

Q: Um, no.

A: All hail Lord Fauci.

 

Q: What?!

A: Was your grandmother a scientist?  That would help explain your antipathy towards her.

 

Q: Alright, enough about my grandmother. I understand the bill also includes cash payments to individuals?

A: Yes, there will be additional funds for people who are unemployed plus additional funds for essential workers in the form of “hazard pay.”

 

Q: So, you want to give money to people because they are unemployed, and also because they are employed.

A: Yes, also people where it doesn’t matter if they are employed or not.

 

Q: So, money specifically for people who are unemployed, people who are employed, and people in general?

A: Correct.

 

Q: And who pays for all this again?

A: What did your grandmother ever do to you?

J.

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May 17, 2020 at 12:57 PM in Covid-19/Coronavirus, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 15, 2020

Are You Going To Believe Them, Or Your Own Lying Eyes?

If you are confused with some of the media accounts regarding the Covid-19 virus, it could simply be because you are still relying on “old science.”

This is a common error.

Much in the way old math has been replaced by “New Math,” old science has been replaced by “New Science.”

The difference is important. Old science was grounded on the fundamental principle that conclusions must remain subject to scrutiny and therefore need to change in accordance with new data and observations whereas New Science is grounded in the fundamental principle of because I said so.

Let’s take a look at this in practice.

If you were to examine the recent data coming out of Georgia and Florida using old science, you might inadvertently conclude that it may indeed be possible to begin reopening our economy and yet still see infection rates maintain their decline and “flatten the curve.”

However, using New Science, we’re staying closed for three more months because I said so.

See how much less burdensome that is?  You barely have to think at all!  Here are your complimentary drugs and alcohol.

Those of you unfamiliar with New Science might mistakenly believe it sounds an awful lot like religion. Nothing could be further from the truth.  People who adhere to New Science believe you should accept without question the things a ruling elite tells you despite there being little to no observable evidence in support of, and possibly even contrary to, those pronouncements.

In stark contrast, people who adhere to religion are Republicans.

And that’s why smart people know they should stick to science. Science helps everything make sense. There's no reason to be confused anymore. For example, still trying to understand why engaging in anonymous sex hookups on Tinder is okay but shaking hands isn’t?

Because I said so.

J.

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May 15, 2020 at 12:20 PM in Covid-19/Coronavirus, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 07, 2014

Consensus Watch – 05/07/2014

An ongoing series dedicated to vigorously monitoring emerging threats to The Consensus that global warming is real, caused by humans, and must be addressed at all costs. Because without consensus, scientific conclusions would remain vulnerable to new data.

 Yesterday was a good day for The Consensus. The White House launched a new strategy for furthering its global warming agenda. Gone are the days of trying to foment hysteria by reciting dry data about the ways the planet will be affected by climate change.  From now on, they are going to try to foment hysteria by reciting the ways in which you will be personally affected by climate change.

We can only speak for ourselves, but we appreciate this more individualized approach to scaremongering. It sends the message, “We care.”

As part of this effort, they created a splashy new web site that seems to take into account the effect federal “Common Core” educational standards are going to have on the population’s reading comprehension skills.

For example, they conveniently sum up each section with a “key message,” just in case you have difficulty, as many of us do, deciphering simple, short, declarative sentences:

Key Message: Stressed Infrastructure

Infrastructure will be increasingly compromised by climate-related hazards, including sea level rise, coastal flooding, and intense precipitation events.

Frankly, we are concerned that they are unnecessarily complicating the message. More in the spirit of this document might be:

Key Message: Global warming bad.

Global warming bad bad bad.

Incidentally, we are heartened to note that it looks like the people proofreading the site have already gone through Common Core:

Qualitify

Among the other claims are:

Key Message: Climate Risks to People

Heat waves, coastal flooding, and river flooding will pose a growing challenge to the region’s environmental, social, and economic systems. This will increase the vulnerability of the region’s residents, especially its most disadvantaged populations.

This point can’t be stressed enough: It is our most disadvantaged populations that will find themselves at a disadvantage. It’s just one of the many disadvantages of being disadvantaged.

Well, unless, you are a member of a “native community,” in which case you are probably okay given your “deep cultural history of adapting to change.”

Key Message: Native Communities

The cumulative effects of climate change in Alaska strongly affect Native communities, which are highly vulnerable to these rapid changes but have a deep cultural history of adapting to change.

 Which, it should be emphasized, is not at all patronizing stereotyping. It would only be patronizing stereotyping if you said it.

Regardless, the web site is more than just shout outs to Democratic constituency groups. It also contains supporting data.

Take this chart, for example.  Look at those projections! Wow!  Even the lower of the two data sets suggests that temperatures are set to soar! It makes us want to go out and personally dismantle a coal plant with our bare hands.

Temperature Chart -  201405

Okay, sure, if you look really, really closely at the actual observational data as charted by the green line, the last 15+ years have experienced absolutely no warming whatsoever. 

Temperature Chart Closeup - 201405

But that is probably all part of an effort to improve temperature projection qualitify.

No doubt, while this is all good news for The Consensus, challenges remain. Efforts to try to convince people that they are facing imminent peril from increasing global temperatures, rising sea levels, disappearing polar sea ice and more frequent extreme weather events, will continue to be complicated by the fact that none of these things are true.

But that’s not what’s important. What’s important is, it’s the Koch brothers’ fault.

Key Message: Koch brothers are bad.

Koch brothers are bad bad bad.

J.

 

Shut up thats why Now you have a chance to show your support for The Consensus with the Shut up, that’s why T-shirt, the perfect answer to anyone who dares to question the science behind global warming.

In addition to the T-shirt we also have a fashionable beach tote and a set of stackable mugs, so you’ll have the opportunity to show the world that you’re smart enough to know when not to ask too many questions.

Consensus Watch T-shirt And while you're at it, make sure the world knows you won't allow yourself to be bullied by facts with our extensive line of CONSENSUS WATCH MERCHANDISE!

 PLUS: Our "We're all going to die! (Some before others)" organic T-shirt, sleevless shirt, and mug.We're all going to die MUG  

We also have the classic Consensus Watch coffee mug, bag, and beer stein (along with assorted T-shirts, sweatshirts, and other garments): "Consensus Watch Because without consensus, scientific conclusions would remain vulnerable to new data" plus a complete line of "Stop raping the planet! You may, however, touch it inappropriately," items (shirts, coasters, stickers, buttons)

All proceeds raised from the sale of Consensus Watch merchandise go towards ensuring that we never run out of gin.

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May 7, 2014 at 03:25 PM in Global Warming with CONSENSUS WATCH | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

April 22, 2014

Addressing First World Problems Since 1970

Do you know what today is?

If you are like most Planet Moron readers, you’re probably thinking, “Tuesday, why? Did I miss a parole hearing? That’s not until Thursday.”

Also, “Wait, it’s Earth Day, isn’t it?”

Exactly.  And to better help readers reacquaint themselves with this decades-long tradition, we’ve prepared a little Q&A:

Q: What is Earth Day all about?

A: Its primary purpose is to raise awareness about environmental concerns that threaten our well being.

Q: You mean, the one-third of the world’s population that cooks and keeps warm burning twigs and dung, 4.3 million of which died in 2012 from the deadly fumes and resultant air pollution?

A: What? No. Threatens us. Not someone else. 

Q: What threatens us?

A: Way too many lights on at night.

Q: That’s a threat?

A: Absolutely. It’s called light pollution. That is why we should all pitch in to help and keep lights off at night for the next week.

Q: You know who’s a big proponent of keeping the lights off at night?

A: Al Gore?

Q: Close. Kim Jong Un.

North-korea-lights-space-01_76991_990x742

A: An Earth Day champion if there ever was one!

Q: Now, what about those millions of people dying every year from air pollution?

A: Hey, they can pitch in too. They can put out their smoldering piles of twigs and dung at night.

Q: Won’t they go cold and hungry?

A: Sure, but think of the brilliant night sky view they'll have! 

J.

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April 22, 2014 at 04:36 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

April 17, 2014

And Here We Thought Billionaires Spending Their Money Trying to Influence Public Policy Was “Un-American"

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pledged millions of dollars to promote gun safety in an attempt to “outmuscle” the NRA, which in contrast spends millions of dollars to promote gun safety.

That ought to show them!

Of course, Mayor Bloomberg takes a slightly different approach. While the NRA seeks to educate the public in the proper use, care, and storage of firearms including practical safety tips and rules that promote responsibility and safe practices, Mr. Bloomberg believes it is more productive to scare the living hell out of you.

Of course we are being unfair. At the end of the video in which he scares the living hell out of you, he suggests you “start the conversation about responsible gun ownership in your home and community.”

Sure, the NRA conducts the Eddie Eagle gun safety program in elementary schools all across the country, and conducts hundreds of hands-on courses for adults every year but, yeah, sure, conversations are good too.

So, you click on the “ACT NOW” button at the very end of the video and are informed that,

Never Happen

"No, it shouldn’t!"

Accidental Shootings

"Well then, let’s do that!"

First Step

"Me?  Great, Let’s get going, then.”

Help Stop the Violence

"I want to help stop the violence? How?"

Join the Movement

"Yeah!  I’ll join the movement!  Wait, the movement for what?"

It doesn’t matter. Join the damn movement.

“That’s it?”

That’s it.

“Where’s the rest?”

Well, you can click “get the facts” here, which will provide more information.

“What kind of information?”

That we need to start a conversation.

Or do you want to just wait around while fewer and fewer children every year are having their lives stolen from accidental shootings?

"Fine, fine, I'll go to the video on YouTube and start a conversation. "

You can't.

"Why not?"

Comments Closed

So, let’s contrast and compare. First, the NRA’s list of things you can do to promote responsible gun ownership:

  1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
  2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

And now let’s review Michael Bloomberg’s list:

  1. Start a conversation.
  2. Act now
  3. Join the movement.

It’s not even close. If the NRA wants to be taken seriously about gun safety, it’s going to have to spend more time starting conversations and joining movements and less time on instructing people in the safe handling of firearms.

It’s for the children, you know.

J.

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April 17, 2014 at 05:54 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

April 15, 2014

He Hearts IRS

Virginia state Delegate and Democratic Congressional primary candidate Patrick Hope believes that in order to tackle the federal budget deficit, we need to raise taxes, but in doing so we should spare people who make less than $250,000 from this additional burden.

In other news, Virginia state Delegate and Democratic Congressional primary candidate Patrick Hope makes less than $250,000.

If you are like most Planet Moron readers, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “That reminds me, isn’t today April 15th?  All this talk about taxes rings a bell for some reason, like I should be doing something…”

Also, “Well, most people make less than $250,000.”

Yes, but Patrick Hope makes $231,197 a year.

However we’re not suggesting that this is anything other than a coincidence.  The difference between some fat cat making $250,000 a year, and a regular working man like Patrick Hope bringing home $231,197 a year is significant.  It’s like the difference between riding around in a Mercedes, and riding around in a slightly less expensive Mercedes. It’s the difference between being able to afford a 12-day Mediterranean cruise and a 10-day Mediterranean cruise.

Hey, those hot shot SOBs who make a little bit more than Delegate Hope can afford to skip Barcelona, okay, and slum it in Athens and Cyprus like the rest of us common folks who have to work for a living. As health care lobbyists.

Hope believes he’s hit on a winning formula, pointing out that raising taxes on people who make more money than he does,

Solves our revenue problem very simply, by bringing in more revenue.”

Well, more, more revenue.

Tax Revenues Hit Record in First 5 Months of FY14; 5-Month Deficit Still $377B

That’s how you can tell you have a revenue problem. When you bring in more revenue than you ever have before in the history of the country and are still running huge deficits.

It’s simple!

J.

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April 15, 2014 at 05:52 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

March 10, 2014

Innocence of the Law is no Excuse

As if parents with school-age children don’t have enough to worry about already, what with whether or not their children are eating enough vegetables from the red-orange subgroups, or ensuring that they participate in as little physical activity as possible, now we have a scourge Planet Moron has been following for some time:

Imaginary weapons.

Some might dismiss the threat posed by imaginary weapons, however they’re not taking fully into account the many pretend deaths that could result if schools didn’t act quickly and decisively to neutralize the non-existent threat.

Take for example, the boy caught red-handed with an imaginary bow and arrow.

Look, you could put out a make-believe eye with that thing.

If only the trouble ended there.  The problem with letting little things, like not having a bow and arrow, pass without the proper disciplinary action, is that things can quickly escalate into children believing that they can get away with not having even deadlier weapons.

And that’s how we end up with the boy with the finger gun.

First of all, as any young boy will tell you, finger guns have a nearly inexhaustible supply of pretend ammo, limited only by the ability to say “bang,” quite possibly putting the finger gun in violation of magazine ammo limits.

And second, finger guns are the gateway weapon to other harmless non-firearms, such as the miniature gun-shaped key chain charm.

Don’t let its diminutive size fool you. It may be small, but it’s just as not deadly as the finger gun.

Perhaps it’s the times we live in, but it doesn’t stop there, either.  Yes, now we have:

The make-believe bomb.

Keep in mind that the only difference between a make-believe bomb and the real thing, is that a make-believe bomb doesn’t actually exist. And that is simply a difference without a distinction. Other than the distinction that it’s not real.

And so, when it comes to education, we here at Planet Moron fully support zero tolerance for anyone found in possession of things they are not actually in possession of, and that the punishment meted out should be as severe as if they had actually done something wrong.

Except when it comes to teachers who are sex offenders and sadists.

Hey, a little compassion and common sense here, people.

J.

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March 10, 2014 at 02:31 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)