Friday Reads: Decline of the American Empire Edition

heckle and jeckleGood Morning!!

I don’t know why Catholic Bishops have been given some kind of veto power over US women’s health in national law just because they’ve got some weird ideas on birth control, but evidently they do.  I’d just like to say I really object to this and I think the entire bunch of them should be shipped over to the Vatican and out of our damned country.  If we can drone a few Taliban, why can’t we drone a few other religious whackos intent on ruining the American way of life?

The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops on Thursday rejected the latest White House proposal on health insurance coverage of contraceptives, saying it did not offer enough safeguards for religious hospitals, colleges and charities that objected to providing such coverage for their employees.

The bishops said they would continue fighting the federal mandate in court.

The administration said the proposal, issued last Friday, would guarantee free employee coverage of birth control “while respecting religious concerns” of organizations that objected to paying or providing for it.

The bishops said the proposal seemed to address part of their concern about the definition of religious employers who could be exempted from the requirement to offer contraceptive coverage at no charge to employees. But they said it did not go far enough and failed to answer many questions, like who would pay for birth control coverage provided to employees of certain nonprofit religious organizations.

“The administration’s proposal maintains its inaccurate distinction among religious ministries,” said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “It appears to offer second-class status to our first-class institutions in Catholic health care, Catholic education and Catholic charities. The Department of Health and Human Services offers what it calls an ‘accommodation,’ rather than accepting the fact that these ministries are integral to our church and worthy of the same exemption as our Catholic churches.”

What about women’s rights to be free from random jerks who hide behind their religious beanies?  Again, they have the Vatican City as their little Popedom, ship them back to their little theocracy and out of our secular democracy/republic.

Karl Rove is locking horns with whacko congressman Steven King from Iowa who is the leader in the Iowa Senate race for the replacement for Senator Tom Harkin. Good Luck Karl!  Can’t put that Rovenstein Right Wingmonster back in the grave now, can you?

In an interview with Iowa’s KMEG-TV, King denied ever hearing about anyone getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest, saying: “Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way, and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter.” King is one of Akin’s very few remaining defenders as Republican politicians try to distance themselves from the controversy. Just a few weeks ago, King claimed that it’s perfectly legal to rape and kidnap a young girl and then transport her across state lines to force her to get an abortion to “eradicate the evidence of his crime.”

Be sure to watch that you tube if you really can’t believe he said that.  King is milking those tea party, john bircher cows for all they are worth.  Poor Poor Pitiful King!!!

But on Thursday the Iowa Republican sent a plea to supporters charging veteran GOP strategist Karl Rove was marshalling forces against him in a preemptive effort to push him out of the race.

“Karl Rove and his army have launched a crusade against me,” he wrote in an email published online by the Des Moines Register.

King’s email brings to the fore intra-party GOP bickering. On one end, the GOP establishment represented in this instance by Rove. On the other, the tea party, represented here by King.

The congressman is known as a staunch conservative and was identified as a target of the Conservative Victory Project – a name at which some conservatives scoff – in a recent New York Times interview with the group’s leader, Steven Law. The project is an offshoot of Rove’s super PAC American Crossroads, which backed various Republican bids for federal office in the 2012 election.

American women really need to get verbal about the way we’re treated.  Here’s another headline that makes you really shake your head and think about moving to a civilized country.  South Florida is going to be home to “Breastaurants” Tilted Kilt and Twin Peaks .

Next month, the Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery will open in Hallandale Beach with Tilted Kilt Girls sporting mini-kilts, midriff-baring white tops, and stockings.

And a group of Weston restaurateurs have signed an agreement to open 10 Twin Peaks in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade. The main attraction at the mountain sports lodge-themed restaurants are the “Lumber Jills,” serving in khaki shorts and red plaid tops. They bare their midriffs, too.

Owners of the specialty themed restaurants say their servers are entertainers. Breastaurants don’t hire their employees, they audition and cast them, said Joe Sloboda, a restaurateur behind the upcoming Twin Peaks South Florida franchise.

The Tilted Kilt will be interviewing propsective hires this weekend. But the restaurants have more to offer than attractive, skimpily clad servers, the owners say.

The Tilted Kilt pays homage to the old public houses of England, Scotland, Ireland and America, said Mark Hanby, Tilted Kilt’s vice president of development. Customers can even expect “humorous and slightly bawdy limericks,” he said.

“Initially, customers are drawn in for the girls,” Hanby said. “But what keeps them coming back is the great food, the selection of drinks and the unbeatable atmosphere.” he said.

Yesterday in the latest installment of  A day in the life of our Dysfunctional Government saw two legislative hearings filled with things that make you wonder how much long we will be able to keep our republic.  The first was Leon Panetta testifying about Benghazi.  The second one was the confirmation hearing of John Brennan.  Both were just amazing displays of in-the-beltway insanity.

Panetta  inkled a few things that will undoubtedly twist the knickers of the Birchers.  Actually, it already has but a refuse to link to the Weekly th_reading_newspaperStandard or William Kristol.  John McCain also proved he has seriously lost it.  Since when do CIA stations get surrounded by military installments and get to dial some army version of 911?

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday gave a forceful defense of the Pentagon’s response to the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, arguing the government “spared no effort to save American lives.”

Panetta, who testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee along with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, said a surveillance drone was directed to reposition over the consulate within 17 minutes of the attack.

But Panetta also acknowledged the limits to American military force and the intelligence that supports it. In his opening remarks, he pointed out that there were no “specific indications of an imminent attack” on Sept. 11.

“Without adequate warning, there was not enough time given the speed of the attack for armed military assets to respond,” Panetta told the committee.

Dempsey added that the attacks in Benghazi needed to be viewed in the broader context of threats faced that day.

“Although today we are focused on Benghazi, we must not forget that it was 9/11 everywhere,” Dempsey said in prepared remarks. “On that day, we were postured to respond to a wide array of general threats around the globe.”

The attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were actually two short attacks — one on the consulate and the other on an annex — that took place six hours apart, Panetta said. “This was not a prolonged assault which could have been brought to an end by a U.S. military response,” he added.

On the day of attacks, Panetta said he alerted Marine platoons and special operations forces and participated in coordinating the evacuation of all remaining U.S. government personnel from Benghazi within 12 hours of the initial attack.

Panetta and Dempsey asserted that steps had been taken to work on security for U.S. facilities and on enhancing American intelligence capabilities.

“The United States military is not, and should not, be a global 911 service, capable of arriving on the scene within minutes to every possible contingency around the world,” Panetta said, adding that responses depend on actionable intelligence.

 Brennan’s hearing was a little more interesting. It included intense protests by Code Pink.

In recent days, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has expressed his suspicion about the Obama administration’s policy of legally justifying drone strikes on Americans who are deemed to have joined Al Qaeda. During the Senate confirmation hearings for Central Intelligence Agency director nominee, John Brennan, Wyden asked repeatedly if President Barack Obama’s administration would allow Americans targeted for a drone strike to surrender prior to killing them.

“Do you believe that the president should provide an individual American with the opportunity to surrender before killing them?” Wyden asked.

Brennan began to defer to the administration when Wyden pressed him to respond with just his initial impression of the concept of a surrender.

Brennan said, in the case of Al Qaeda operatives targeted for killings, that the administration’s policy is clear: “Any American that joins Al Qaeda will know full well that they have joined an organization that is at war with the United States.”

“Any American who did that should know well that they, in fact, are part of an enemy against us, and that the United States will do everything possible to destroy that enemy to save American lives,” Brennan responded.

Senator Di Fi had difficult time keeping the circus in check.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called Thursday’s hearing to recess barely a few minutes after it had started, as protesters one-by-one interrupted CIA Director-nominee John Brennan during his opening statement.

“The next time, we’re going to clear the chamber and bring people back in one by one,” Feinstein said after a third protester interrupted Brennan. “This witness is entitled to be heard, ladies and gentlemen, so please give him that opportunity.”

After a fourth protester stood up, Feinstein made good on her promise.

The demonstrators appeared to be members of the activist group Code Pink. One held a sign reading, “Brennan = Drone Killing.” Another yelled out that she was protesting on behalf of mothers in countries including Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia.

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So much of the idea that the left, progressives, and liberals don’t hold the Obama administration’s feet to the fire.

Here’s some pretty good indications of what Banana Republicans have done to the USA along with their enablers, The Democratic Party.  American is far from #1 and keeps falling into the ranks of developing nations in many indicators.

“The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013,”  by the World Economic Forum, is t he latest annual ranking of 144 countries, on a wide range of factors related to global economic competitiveness .

On each of their many rankings, #1 represents the best nation, and #144 represents the worst nation.

Gross Domestic Product is the only factor where the U.S. ranks as #1, which we do both on “GDP” and on “GDP as a Share of World GDP.”

Health Care has the U.S. ranking #34 on “Life Expectancy,” and #41 on “Infant Mortality.”

Education in the U.S. is also mediocre. On “Quality of Primary Education,” we are #38. On “Primary Education Enrollment Rate,” we are #58. On “Quality of the Educational System,” we are #28. On “Quality of Math and Science Education,” we are #47. On “Quality of Scientific Research Institutions,” we are #6. On “PCT [Patent Cooperation Treaty] Patent Applications [per-capita],” we are #12. On “Firm-Level Technology Absorption” (which is an indicator of business-acceptance of inventions), we are #14.

Trust is likewise only moderately high in the U.S. We rank #10 on “Willingness to Delegate Authority,” #42 on “Cooperation in Labor-Management Relations,” and #18 in “Degree of Customer Orientation” of firms.

Corruption is apparently a rather pervasive problem in the U.S.

On “Diversion of Public Funds [due to corruption],” the U.S. ranks #34. On “Public Trust in Politicians,” we are #54. On “Irregular Payments and Bribes,” we are #42. On “Judicial Independence,” we are #38. On “Favoritism in Decisions of Government Officials” (otherwise known as governmental cronyism), we are #59.

On “Organized Crime,” we are #87. On “Ethical Behavior of Firms,” we are #29. On “Reliability of Police Services,” we are #30. On “Transparency of Governmental Policymaking,” we are #56. On “Efficiency of Legal Framework in Challenging Regulations,” we are #37. On “Efficiency of Legal Framework in Settling Disputes,” we are #35. On “Burden of Government Regulation,” we are #76. On “Wastefulness of Government Spending,” we are also #76. On “Property Rights” protection (the basic law-and-order measure), we are #42.

Go and check out the list of other things.  We’ve really been on a downward spiral since 2000.

So, there’s a few things to put a little heat into that breakfast.  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?