Saturday, January 19, 2008

Are You Better Off than You Were 2,000 Years Ago?

Apparently, some of my readers think I’m kidding about running for president. But since none of the Democratic or Republican candidates have taken a stand against pandering to the religious wackjobs in the country, I am now officially tossing my hat into the ring, although I hope you'll consider voting for all my clothes.

Article VI of the Constitution says, in part:

... no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
I believe that discussing faith as if it were a qualification is a violation of that clause, if not technically then at least in spirit. As a candidate, and as your president, I promise always to obey that Constitutional prohibition. I'm the only candidate of either party who has made such a promise.

Like many of the other presidential aspirants, I plan to end the war in Iraq, capture every terrorist in the world, work diplomatically with other countries unless we absolutely have to bomb them, ensure that all our citizens have health care or can at least afford to watch doctor shows on TV, raise the quality of our public education without actually forcing the schools to teach anything, end the recession, stop inflation, cut taxes, bring family values and child labor back to the American workplace, and go forward. I’m particularly interested in going forward, as backward seems like the exact wrong direction to head. But I’m willing to teach the controversy, and will work with both the Democratic and Republican leaders if they can make a cogent case for going backward.

Here's the rest of my platform:
  1. I will not take an oath of office at my inauguration. The Constitution gives the president an option to “affirm,” rather than “swear,” and that’s what I’ll do. I will not place my hand on a Bible, nor will I say “So help me God,” neither of which actions are required — or even mentioned — in the Constitution. If my public relations staff insists that I place my hand on some book, I’ll use my Facts-on-File Encyclopedia of Mammals because it’s the fattest volume I own and it looks really important. Plus, unlike the bible, a lot of the stuff in it is true. And if my staff thinks I should say “So help me ... someone,” I’ll fill in the blank with “Rhonda.”

  2. I will immediately disband all faith-based agencies funded by the executive branch. I will, however, start a new program of president-to-church outreach. Here’s how it’ll work: I’ll stand in the middle of the Oval Office and stretch out my arms. Any churches I can reach get government funding. Any churches I can’t reach, are out.

  3. I will not appoint judges who label themselves “strict” constructionists. That’s a meaningless term, since no judge would refer to him- or herself as an “inaccurate” constructionist. Instead, I will seek out those judges who have consistently refused to contort the Bill of Rights to fit a social conservative agenda. It also wouldn’t be bad if the judge knew how to throw a decent joke or at least a “fuck you” into an opinion once in a while.

  4. I will work tirelessly to pass the Render Unto Caesar act. Under RUC, there will be no more tax breaks of any kind for religious institutions. There’s no reason why families and corporations, both rich and poor, should have to pay taxes but churches should get a free pass. Taxing churches does not infringe on the separation of church and state; giving churches tax-free real estate and allowing them to accumulate untold wealth does. Whether RUC is enacted or not, I will change the name “Internal Revenue Service” to “Caesar’s Palace.” Goodbye Uncle Sam; hello Uncle Julius.

  5. I will not have prayer breakfasts in the White House. I will not have prayer lunches in the White House. I will not have prayer dinners, or prayer brunches, or prayer cocktail hours, or prayer snack breaks, or prayer milk-‘n’-cookie times. In fact, I will not associate a supernatural entity and food at all while I’m in the White House, except possibly by saying, “I hope the executive chef is not going to serve those GODdamned French-cut canned stringbeans again.”

  6. I will begin negotiations with the Israelis and the Palestinians to cede control of Jerusalem to the Walt Disney Company. Disney will have to promise to give up its nuclear capability before taking over. It must also provide plans for a proposed new ride, “It’s a Small Superstitious World.” Mouse ears will not be mandatory on yarmulkes and hijabs, although visitors will be required to wave happily at anyone with a camera.

  7. I will not be photographed with any religious leader whatsoever. These include the Dalai Lama, the Pope, Tom Cruise, and Joe Lieberman. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have any problem doing a short video with a young woman in a nun’s outfit.

  8. I will remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. Not only that, but I’ll rewrite the entire thing. The new Pledge will say: “I pledge allegiance to this great country that doesn’t expect me to blindly pledge allegiance.” Reciting it will be optional. Also, I will remove “In God We Trust” from all currency. The new currency will bear the motto, “Warning: do not drive or operate heavy machinery after counting what’s left in your wallet.”

  9. I will not appoint anyone who isn’t a genuine scientist to a scientific advisory position. A “genuine scientist” will be defined as “anyone who can explain, so that even a layman can understand, why every high school student in the country has to dissect a frog.” I also will not appoint anyone who isn’t a real economist to an economic advisory position. A “real economist” will be defined as “anyone who has a couple of bucks to spare until I get to the bank.” And no one will be given a job in the Justice Department unless he or she actually believes in justice.

  10. I will keep an Executive Office dunce cap. That cap will be worn by anyone in the White House, including me, who says something that’s quoted with approval on the Fox News network. I will entertain bids from companies wishing to design and manufacture this dunce cap. Then, I’ll make those numbers public, so that citizens can decide for themselves whether it’s reasonable to pay Halliburton $87 million for a pointy hat.
I’m The Exterminator and I proofread this message.

34 comments:

Spanish Inquisitor said...

Having already passed my little intelligence quiz, with this announcement, you're getting perilously close to getting my vote.

Spanish Inquisitor said...

Oh. And you should watch more Bill Maher, if you're serious about running.

John Evo said...

Well, at least (since you've been shamelessly pimping yourself for President for a while now) you've finally come out with a platform. I kind of like some of it. I think my favorite was:

I will immediately disband all faith-based agencies funded by the executive branch. I will, however, start a new program of president-to-church outreach. Here’s how it’ll work: I’ll stand in the middle of the Oval Office and stretch out my arms. Any churches I can reach get government funding. Any churches I can’t reach, are out.

the chaplain said...

Exterminator said, I wouldn’t have any problem doing a short video with a young woman in a nun’s outfit.

LOL!

Lynet said...

Hey, you'd be a jolly president, all right! Much more entertaining than any of the other candidates.

I will begin negotiations with the Israelis and the Palestinians to cede control of Jerusalem to the Walt Disney Company.

That's brilliant! Unite the Jews and Palestinians against a common enemy, that's the way. I like it. It has a nice ring of "if you're squabbling, neither of you is going to get it", too.

Seriously, it's a real pity we can't do that.

Lifeguard said...

Justice William Douglas, who admitted his ambition was to be the oldest living Supreme Court Justice in history, when asked when he would retire said, "When the word "fuck" finds its way into a Supreme Court opinion."

Lo and behold, during his tenure, a fist amendment case came up where a man was arrested for entering a court room with a jacket that said "FUCK THE DRAFT."

Douglas didn't retire.

And that's the Worthless Fact of the Day.

Oh, and you have my vote!

Spanish Inquisitor said...

Lifey, that was a great story. Was it true? I really hope so, because I plan on using it.

Sarge said...

Damn, that was a good post, no error.

I've personally thought that anyone who seeks public office, from president on down to appointees and staffers should agree to something before they are allowed to become candidtes. They should agree that they will, every quarter, run a three block gauntlet of registered voters chosen as are jurors, and given a peice of broom handle approx. 18 inches long with which to take one swing at the politician aiming from his buttocks to his knees as he passes. You don't need to take a swing if you're so selected, you may withold but like jury duty, you've got to show up.

This way Mr. Politician would INDEED feel your pain and live with some of the consequenses which he hands off to others, even at second hand.

I have often thought that if there is conscription of persons for military service, why not also conscript to work as congressional staffers and such. Why just haul people away to eat shit and risk life and limb? Why not two years wearing a suit and assisting in actually running the country one is (allegedly) a citizen of? Lack of education is a factor? Well, maybe so, maybe no. Maybe because such places are the preserve of a certain few of a certain strata.

PhillyChief said...

I'm curious about how Jerusalem would look as a Disney theme park. Disney Holy Land? Disney presents The Holy Land? I don't know. Magic Castle on the Temple Mount? Lots of stage productions, costumed characters strolling around and children frolicking. You have to have concession stands I guess, and gift shops. Sounds like fun!

EnoNomi said...

Wow. Wonderful post.

Finally validation to what I've always suspected; Disneyland is a superpower.

I love the RUC act. The influx of cash will definately help.

Tell me, what is your stance on the millions of foreign "aid" we give out each year to places such as Israel?

I'm also interested in your opinion on immigration, Mr. Exterminator.

The Exterminator said...

SI & Lifey:
The "Fuck the Draft" case was Cohen v. California, decided in 1971 by a vote of 5-4. "Fuck" won. Each "side" was represented by both Democratic and Republican appointees. I don't know what this proves except that there are fuckers in both parties.

Evo:
You've been shamelessly pimping yourself for President for a while now.
I guess you noticed that the hat I threw into the ring was purple. Are you the one who stole my feather?

chappy:
LOL!
I'd like to remind all my contributors that the Federal Government imposes a strict limitation on the number of exclamation points I can accept.

Lynet:
Hey, you'd be a jolly president.
Yes, that's why I almost picked "Ho-ho-ho" as my campaign slogan. I dropped it, though, when I found out that the Green Giant was responsible for those French-cut canned stringbeans I hate.
(By the way, did you notice how I cleverly brought the conversation back to French-cut canned stringbeans? That's what we in the campaigning game call "staying on message.")

Sarge:
I have often thought that if there is conscription of persons for military service, why not also conscript to work as congressional staffers and such.
I'm hoping you'll agree to head up the Presidential Staff for Staffing Staffers.

Philly:
Disney Holy Land? ... Lots of stage productions, costumed characters strolling around and children frolicking.
And don't forget fireworks every night.

Eno:
Tell me, what is your stance on the millions of foreign "aid" we give out each year to places such as Israel?
Why single out Israel? We're doling out lots of cash all over the world. But I think we should make all foreign aid payments in pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. I'm the only candidate who's really for change.

I'm also interested in your opinion on immigration, Mr. Exterminator.
I'm pretty much in agreement with all the other candidates on this, Eno. Any group that's likely to vote for me should be allowed to enter and stay in our great country, since they're sincerely looking for a better way of life and I don't see why we can't lend them a helping hand. Any group that's likely to vote for anyone else should be sent back to their homeland immediately, since they're terrorists.

heather said...

Considering the impact your politics has on us in the 51st State, I'll take the "no annihilation without representation" viewpoint.
I'd definitely vote for you.

John Evo said...

Ex: Are you the one who stole my feather?

Evo: What do you think I've been tickling your ass with?

Sarge said...

You run for office, give me a call, I'm your huckleberry.

yinyang said...

I don't know about voting for your clothes. They seem suspicious. Although, that purple hat is just divine...

Is it possible for a hat to violate the separation of church and state?

Babs said...

Well, unlike Sarge, I can't promise to be your huckleberry. I don't think Mrs. Ex would like it if I took it upon myself to be your gooseberry. And seeing how you're older than I am, I can't be your elderberry. I am also very pale, so that leaves me out of being your blueberry or blackberry, and I absolutely refuse to be anyone's dingleberry.

But, you and your clothes still have my vote. Especially because of the so help me Rhonda thing.

The Exterminator said...

heather:
I'd definitely vote for you.
If you don't mind signing in with the name of some dead person, you might be able to fulfill that pledge in Florida.

Evo:
What do you think I've been tickling your ass with?
You know, I was kinda hoping it was Monica Lewinsky down there.

Sarge:
You can't be my huckleberry, 'cause he's running for the Republicans. Feel free to pick a different fruit, and then go see the man with the feather.

Yinny
Is it possible for a hat to violate the separation of church and state?
How about a bishop's mitre with an American flag on it? Just like the one that five Supreme Court Justices wear.

Babs
You can be my RAZZberry.

ordinary girl said...

But the most important question is which Rhonda?

Oh wait, that's not important at all.

Sarge said...

Sorry about the "huckleberry" thing, trying to get the 19th century vernacular going, reenactment season approaches anon.

I remember a Thomas Nast cartoon which showed crocodiles crawling out of the ocean and their heads were bishop's miters. Pretty apt, say I.

Not including our Good Host here, but have you noticed that among the people who seek and desire power how few should actually have it? I've seen that since the first time we had to elect 'class officers'.

Again from about a century age, Finley Peter Dunne discribed the possibilities of something as being like the menu of a dining car; a marvelous bill of fare, but actually very little available to eat. So it seemes to be with our political possibilities today.

Ext, have you been here in central PA on your nightly forays? If it's you roosting in my garage, would you kindly refrain from horking your pellets all over my truck? My wife says they're "ickey" and makes me go out and remove them. Somehow, I've always thought that a woman who tests ass a genius, has a degree, reads as widely as she could come up with something better than "ickey"...Oh, well, I'm off to my "Densa" meeting.

Lifeguard said...

SI:
I heard that story from my constitutional law professor, but I have never taken the trouble to verify it. Then, as now, it just struck me as an amusing anecdote, although now I'm curious enough to poke around and see if it's true. Ah, hearsay...

Sarge:
I love your idea about whipping politicians with broom handles, but I think I like your government conscription idea even better. It might actually open people's eyes a lot and encourage them to think seriously about how government works (or doesn't), and how seriously they should take their vote.

Ex:
If you promise to appoint SI and myself to lifetime appointments to the federal judiciary, we'll not only promise to be aggressive fighting theocracy, but we'll even do our best to keep you from getting flogged via sarge's proposal.

PhillyChief said...

A story I heard in college was Duchamp, who was fed up with the art world, attempted to make a statement about it by selling sardine cans full of his own excrement. The art world allegedly never "got it" and paid handsomely for the cans to possess a Duchamp.

I never bothered to verify that one either. ;)

C. L. Hanson said...

Hilarious!!!

I have nothing insightful to add -- I just want to say that "so help me Rhonda" made me laugh out loud. You totally have my vote!!! :D

JP said...

Love your wit.

I agree with your platform except for the always mentioned french cut string beans. Just throw some butter on em' and I may turn down a slice of pizza for them.

Well, not really, but you have my vote.

If you are looking for a running mate, may I suggest iggy? He could balance you out to obtain more votes.

The Exterminator said...

OG:
But the most important question is which Rhonda?
I think Sarge has a soft spot for Rhonda Gauntlet. But I actually meant "So help me Rhonda Country."

Sarge:
I don't usually point out commenters' typos, but your wife is gonna throttle you for calling her "a woman who tests ass."

Lifey:
You and SI are on top of my A-list for the next Supreme Court opening. That's not necessarily because of how you'd do on my special multiple-choice litmus test. I just think it would be a hoot to have at least one EX-Catholic up there.

Philly:
The way I heard it was: Duchamp sold sardine cans full of Justice Douglas's excrement, and those cans were labeled "fuck huckleberries." I have no idea who told me that story, but I'm guessing it was some evangelical Christian trying to prove a point about the bible.

C.L.:
Why is it that most of the people who say they'll vote for me don't live in the United States?

JP:
I don't see what iggy would add to the ticket except maybe a new hat.

Sarge said...

Yeah, I saw it, too. Luckily, I can always claim dyslexia instead of carelessness in typing.

That damn Omar Khayam and his "...moving finger having writ...: schtick.

Lifeguard said...

EX-Catholic... bravo!

I meant to tell you, I realized this weekend that I spend too much time on the atheosphere. Saturday morning my fiancee said to me "Oh, could you hang around the apartment while I go to the gym? The exterminator's coming this morning."

And for a second, I was like, "Huh?"

OzAtheist said...

Lifeguard,
you might need to get a life!
but I hear where you're coming from :-)

Exterminator - I particularly like the RUC bill, if I was able, I'd vote for you.

Lifeguard said...

Oh, I MIGHT need to get a life?

No.

I NEED TO GET A LIFE!

todd katz said...

I cant wait for atheists to get back into political power again! After all, we have such sterling examples of atheist governance with Mao,Stalin,Pol Pot,Khmer Rouge,Eastern Bloc dictators,Cuba, North Korea, Albania,etc. I will "vote" for you too, however atheists in power have never been too keen on voting. We wish you well, and I am sure all those others were just beginner's mistakes and hey, 200 million murdered, ya know, you do have to break a few eggs to make an omelette!

The Exterminator said...

todd,

Feel free to vote for me if you want to. But unlike the Democrats and Republicans, I don't pander to the ignorant, nor solicit their support.

Your comment is a good example of the kind of ahistorical nonsense spewed by Christians all the time. Actually, just for your information, none of the regimes you mention are examples of "atheist governance." Those rulers and/or countries (you've mixed your examples) required absolute, unquestioning loyalty, blind faith. In essence, they deified the ruler or the state or a specific political philosophy. They sought to control the minds of their citizens, just as religions seek to control the minds of their practitioners. And they resorted to violence to squelch any opposition.

Atheists don't believe in any gods. That includes the silly Abrahamic magician, but it also applies to all entities who require blind faith of their followers.

In that sense, and in their use of violence and thought-control, those regimes became religions. They may not have forced your god on their citizenry, but that doesn't make them atheistic.

Feel free to continue this conversation, and to disagree -- but not before you've given some thought to what I've said. Don't just post a knee-jerk reaction, because I won't respond.

Anonymous said...

Samuel Skinner
I'd have to say the "evil" communist government of Yugoslavia was better than the religious "cleansing" that followed. And the there were the Hungurian commies who fought and died so there country could be independant (they lost). Not all communists are evil and not all communist ideas are insane (gender equality, women voting, birth control,- eqalitrianism at its best/worst).

It is important to note the Exterminator isn't a communist so that doesn't apply to him. Now, if he was an anarchist, you could also say he was nuts, but I doubt he is.

To make the paradoy (or sincerity) more real, I recomend you write down all the issues in the race, list what you would do and why and list the evidence required to change your mind. Transparency and honesty- that's the key.

The Exterminator said...

Samuel:
Transparency and honesty- that's the key.

Maybe I could use tracing paper for "transparency" and then make sure to always write or speak the truth to cover "honesty." I don't think the kind of paper I use would matter to most voters, but they might find it a real change not to be told lies.

Anonymous said...

I was going to vote for Ralphie Boy, until I found this.

Maria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.