A photo of the 61 female members of Congress including the photo-shopped images of four absentees was defended by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) who says that the altered image “more accurately portrayed reality than the unaltered actual photo.”
“Sometimes what you see isn't as true as what you should see,” Pelosi explained. “Since we now have the technology to seamlessly correct the official record it would be foolish for us not to use it.”
The Minority Leader brushed aside criticisms that altering official history in this manner recalls a practice used by the former Soviet Union. “Just because the Soviet Union was disliked by many on the American right-wing doesn't mean that everything they did was a bad idea,” she said. “There could be very good reasons for erasing or inserting certain persons in official photos. With everything being digital these days modifying the record is simplicity itself.”
In related news, Pelosi asserted that “one of the biggest problems we have in Congress is that many of those in the Republican Caucus don't believe in government. I'm not saying that they don't believe that government exists. They just lack confidence that government is willing and able to provide optimal solutions to society's problems. They persist in the delusion that leaving individuals free to make their own choices is better than letting government with its virtually inexhaustible power and expertise decide what's best for the whole.”
Professor Urges Constitution Be Abandoned
In an op ed piece for the New York Times, Georgetown Professor of Constitutional Law Louis Seidman asserts that “obedience to the Constitution blocks implementation of measures those in a position to know best want to enact.”
“The heralded 'checks and balances' inflicted on us by this archaic document stifle the beneficence of wise leaders like President Obama,” Seidman wrote. “Unconstrained by the outdated philosophy of the nation's founders, President Obama could easily bring a new era of social justice to America and the world.”
Seidman cited the imperfections of the men who wrote the Constitution as grounds for rejecting their work. “The so-called freedoms of speech and religion, the right to bear arms, and the idea of limited government are the values of dead white males,” the professor continued. “The women, minorities, and poor who were excluded from participating then should not today be bound to respect them.”
Calling the notion of individual freedom a “false consciousness,” the op ed argued for “the more robust freedom of 'total democracy' where society acting collectively can make and remake the rules under which they choose to live. Why should the majority be forced to tolerate the speech of a disruptive minority or be prevented from disarming enemies of the state? Modern times call for modern ideas to supplant reverence for the past.”
Retiring Frank Wants to Fill Senator Kerry's Seat
Former Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass) has offered his services to fill Democratic Senator John Kerry's seat now that Kerry has been nominated by President Obama to take over as Secretary of State.
The thrust of Frank's case is that his years in the House of Representatives have given him “the kind of experience required to handle the give and take between other members of the Senate. After filling my seat with distinction for 16 years in the House I think I have proven I can work with others to achieve satisfying outcomes.”
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) confirmed that he has held confidential talks with several potential candidates for the interim appointment, but declined to give any clues as to who he might select. “In light of Congressman Frank's decision to go public on this matter despite what I thought was a bilateral agreement to keep our get together under wraps, I will say that 'Bawney' may be the most amusing contender for the post.”
Whoever is inserted into Kerry's vacant seat won't remain there long. State law requires that a special election be held later this year to complete the remaining two years of his term.
Gore Sells TV Network to Al Jazeera
Former Vice-President Al Gore sold his Current TV network to Al Jazeera for a reported $100 million after rebuffing a bid from Glen Beck.
Money, as it turns out, was not the deciding factor. “We chose to go with Al Jazeera because of a compatibility of values and objectives,” Gore said. “We feared that Beck, as a purveyor of extremism, would have taken things in the wrong direction. It was clear to us that Al Jazeera was founded with the same goals we had for Current TV. Our decision was basically a 'no brainer.'”
That Al Jazeera has been a frequent advocate of what might be termed anti-American propaganda was no cause for pause in the negotiations. “There are a lot of legitimate criticisms that people can level at America,” Gore maintained. “America's materialistic society is despoiling the natural resources that belong to all. America's militarism is instigating wars around the globe. The voices of America's victims, especially those in the Muslim world, deserve to be heard. If Current TV provides another outlet for these voices so much the better.”
Financial experts are convinced that Gore got the best of his Arabian bidders. Given Current TV's daily viewership, Al Jazeera's $100 million investment amounts to around $500,000 per watcher. On top of this, Gore pressure to conclude the deal prior to January 1, 2013 enabled him to avoid President Obama's tax increase.
President Says Recent Tax Hike “Not Nearly Enough”
While admitting to being pleased and proud of the tax increases he was able to force Republicans to accept, President Obama lamented that “it is but a small positive step in the right direction.”
The President argued that “it should be self evident that the rich still fall far short of paying their fair share. There are many private citizens who live more lavishly than the President of their country. The inequity of this is stark and, quite frankly, shameful. Not even the wealthiest owner of the biggest business has as big a burden as the President of America has. The idea that such a person should have more than the nation's chief executive is appallingly unjust. I will not rest until this heinous inequity is remedied.”
An analysis of the “fiscal cliff” legislation pushed by Obama indicates that 77% of American taxpayers will see their taxes rise. Nevertheless, the President still touted it as benefiting the majority of the population. “Look, this 77% or whatever is only of those who pay taxes,” Obama pointed out. “Almost half the population doesn't pay these taxes. When you combine the 23% of taxpayers who won't see an increase with the 47% who don't pay taxes that's a clear majority benefiting from this legislation.”
“If we can continue to add more people to our disability rolls, enable more to permanently leave the workforce, and ease the barriers to achieving eligibility for welfare payments our nation's progress toward a fairer distribution of wealth and a broader access to lives free of toil will become politically irresistible,” Obama bragged. “While it may not be possible for everyone to enjoy this new freedom, I am confident that a substantial majority can.”
President Says “Right of Conscience” Not Valid for Military Personnel
Even though he signed the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), President Obama says he will not abide by its provision protecting military chaplains from being compelled to perform services which violate their moral or religious beliefs.
“I am the Commander-in-Chief,” Obama explained. “It is every soldier's duty to carry out my orders without hesitation or mental reservation. No religious dogma can be permitted to interfere with this duty.”
The genesis of the so-called “right of conscience” clause in the legislation was the desire to allow chaplains to be excused from performing gay marriages if their religious beliefs are opposed to the concept.
“The notion that those seeking same-sex marriage should just accept a minister from a denomination that accepts this practice is unacceptable,” the President declared. “For an army to function individual consciences must be suppressed. Isn't there a commandment 'thou shalt not kill' in the Christian Bible? We don't allow individual soldiers a 'right of conscience' privilege to refrain from obeying commands to kill enemies. How, then, can we allow individual chaplains a privilege to refrain from marrying soldiers of the same sex?”
ACLU Opposes Iowa Effort to Bar Non-citizen Voting
Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz's effort to combat illegal voting by requiring those listed on the State's licensed driver rolls as non-citizens to show proof of eligibility is being opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Schultz argues that existing laws mandating that only citizens may vote is all the statutory authority he needs. “It is my responsibility as Secretary of State to protect the integrity of the ballot,” he said. “If I have reasonable grounds—like the information on our driver license rolls—to believe that someone registered to vote is not eligible it is my duty to take action.”
For its part, the ACLU rejects Schultz's argument. “It is our contention that there is no specific legislative authority for this action,” complained ACLU spokesman Bertram Petty. “Nowhere under current law does it say the Secretary of State can request that a person listed as a non-citizen on one database be asked about his eligibility to be on another completely separate and different list.”
“Secondly, beyond the legal technicalities issue, there is the question of human rights,” Petty added. “We maintain that voting is a human right that cannot be withheld from anyone for any reason. Therefore, even if Schultz could conclusively prove that a registered voter is not a citizen, removing that person from the rolls would be a violation of that person's human rights.