Thursday, May 26, 2011

United States Fails to Nab Top Honors in International Competition. Disappointed Republicans Blame President Obama

I have some very strong feelings, the most important of which at the moment is campaign finance reform because its tentacles reach into every other issue. I fear we're getting closer to a plutocracy than we want to, and I believe that deep down the people want to do something about that ~ Warren Beatty (b. 3/30/1937) an American actor, producer, screenwriter and director who has received four Golden Globe and fourteen Academy Award nominations, winning one for Best Director in 1982.

On 4/12/2011 the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) announced the "winners" in an international economic competition. Shocked Republican politicians could not believe that the United States had not only not won top honors, but actually came in fourth behind Chile, Mexico and Turkey!

According to the OECD's report, titled "Society at a Glance 2011: OECD Social Indicators", income inequality is greater in those three countries. Disappointed Republicans vowed to work harder to ensure that next time we come in first place.

"This is really embarrassing", a dismayed Paul Ryan was reported to have said. "The most powerful nation in the world was bested by Chile", an incredulous Ryan continued. "Ayn Rand must be rolling over in her grave". The crestfallen Ryan further remarked that, "this is another reason why we need to adopt my budget. The USA can and should be number one!".

Other Republican suggestions for propelling the US into the number one position included abolishing the minimum wage and the passage of a national right to work law. When asked what he thought about the minimum wage Kentucky Senator Randal Paul said, "I think the question you have to ask is - does the minimum wage, in the long run, have negative social effects? Do we want a higher standard of living for the working poor and middle class at the expense of higher profits for the employers?". Mr. Paul was adamant that the answer to that question is "no".

South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint said, "I whole heartedly agree with my colleague, the honorable Mr. Paul. The lower classes have had a free ride for far too long. Their wages are out of step with what workers in other countries receive. This is why I've introduced a bill designed to neuter the unions and thus cut wages. Lower wages for workers means more profit for the owners".

"We pretend to revere the Founders for the benefit of the rabble", Texas Representative Kevin Brady revealed in a moment of unusual Republican honesty. "Is inherited wealth incompatible with Democracy as Jefferson claimed? I would say yes. But we're a Republic, not a Democracy", Brady explained.

"This is why my party - with the help of a few conservative Democrats - introduced the Bipartisan Bill to Permanently Repeal Federal Estate Tax on March 30th of this year".

Speaker of the House John Boehner blamed President Obama for America's failure to win the OECD prize, remarking, "You can thank the Republicans lying about pursuing a jobs agenda for our coming in 4th. If we had actually done something about jobs like we promised we may have come in 5th place".

Postscript: Congress was recently evacuated due to what was first believed to be a gas leak. It was later discovered that the gas that was leaking was actually an aerosolized version of a truth serum drug. It is unknown at this time how the gas was released into the ventilation system. The Capitol Police are investigating.

These quotations were obtained by staff researcher Janeane Garner of the Progressive Ideology Foundation (PIF) in on-the-street interviews with the members of Congress following the evacuation. Representatives of the Congresspersons quoted have since disavowed the quotations. PIF is a US-based Progressive think tank which is also known as "Liberal Headquarters".

A power to dispose of estates for ever is manifestly absurd. The earth and the fullness of it belongs to every generation, and the preceding one can have no right to bind it up from posterity. Such extension of property is quite unnatural ~ Thomas Jefferson (4/13/1743 to 7/4/1826) 3rd President of the United States (3/4/1801 to 3/4/1809), founding father, and principal author of the Declaration of Independence.

[The estate tax] is a tenet of Marxism ~ Christine O'Donnell (b. 8/27/1969) perennial candidate who lost the November 2010 U.S. Senate election in Delaware to Democrat Chris Coons - by a margin of 57% to 40%; as quoted in a 10/13/2010 debate with her opponent.

Contra O'Reilly Comment: 5/25/2011.

SWTD #81, PIF #6.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Throwing A Liberal Pundit Under the Bus to Bash The Gipper

Washington couldn't tell a lie, Nixon couldn't tell the truth, and Reagan couldn't tell the difference ~ Mort Sahl (b. 5/11/1927) a Canadian-born American comedian and actor who occasionally wrote jokes for speeches delivered by President John F. Kennedy.

I'm a diehard Liberal who loves to worship partisan Liberal pundits who reaffirm what I already believe. Which is why I like Rachel Maddow, despite the fact that she's a partisan stooge, liar, and dumbass to boot. But I'm willing to overlook all that because she hates Ronald Reagan as much as I do. On the 5/12/2011 TRMS, Rachel impugned the Gipper's reputation with disgusting innuendo suggesting that (in the late 40's and early 50's) Ronald Reagan was a red baiter sympathetic to McCarthyism.

How do we know this? Because Rachel Maddow said Reagan testified as a "friendly witness" before The House Un-American Activities Committee (HCUA) on 10/23/1947. In her set up to her uncalled for Gipper bash, Rachel Maddow said...

RM: ...you may remember the House on American Activities Committee. Part of that was Senator Joe McCarthy red baiting the living heck out of the entertainment industry, dragging in writers and actors and anyone he thought might have a whiff of communism on them. Remember those hearings? All the people who turned in their friends who then got blacklisted as communists and some of them got sent to prison. A bunch of them never worked again.

The problem with this statement is that Joseph McCarthy had nothing to do with HUAC, which was a House committee. McCarthy had his own Commie witch hunt committee in the Senate: The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI). That committee was looking into imaginary Commie infiltration in Washington, not Hollywood. It also didn't begin this task until 1950, two years after the House began ruining the careers of Hollywood types for no good reason - other than to scare the public into voting Republican.

Needless to say, the Maddow haters pounced. David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun described Maddow's words as "ignorant snark". According to Zuarwik, MSNBC is the "most biased and propagandist television news outlet in America", so it's no surprise that he gleefully tore into Maddow, declaring that she was "guilty and then some" of re-writing history, and that she's a dummy because this was something she should have learned in sixth grade civics. Willis Hart of the blog "Contra O'Reilly" suggested that Rachel Maddow and Michele Bachmann both need to stay after school (and then he added an "LOL").

Willis Hart is probably going to be muy surprised (if he reads this), but I'm going to concede that Rachel Maddow was historically inaccurate in her description of the relationship between HUAC and Joe McCarthy. I am, however, inclined to believe that she misspoke, and that what she said isn't what she meant. I certainly do not believe that she is an ignoramus on par with Michelle Bachmann (who believes the "Founding fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery"), which is why I defended her on Willis' blog.

Later, in preparation for my own post on the topic, I re-read the quote and realized my previous interpretation of it was wrong. Which is a little embarrassing, considering how I posted numerous times explaining that when Rachel said McCarthy was a "part of that" she meant that he and HUAC were both a part of the Congressional communist witch hunts that were in vogue at the time. But then she goes on to suggest that it was McCarthy who was dragging in the Hollywood types.

This is why I've decided I'm going to throw Rachel Maddow under the bush and blame her for this. If she hadn't misspoke then I wouldn't have been placed in the position where I felt I needed to defend her. I usually watch the program every night, although I don't recall if I missed any programs since her "gaffe" (and therefore missed her issue a clarification or correction). A Google search and careful examination of The Maddow Blog did not result in my finding any clarifications or corrections. But, according to The Maddow Blog, "We read our mail", so I shot them at email at the address provided (see below).

I'll also blame the haters on the Right and in the Middle (like Willis Hart and David Zurawik) who were so quick to take out the knives and have at Ms. Maddow. Although, of the two, I think Willis was the worst offender. Because in addition to pointing out that Rachel misspoke (which isn't at all how he worded it) he also claimed that when Rachel said Reagan testified as a "friendly witness" before HUAC, she was implying that Reagan was down with McCarthyism - and he turned in his colleagues and gave up names to save his own skin. Willis insists there is ZERO evidence that Reagan did anything of the sort.

The truth of the matter is that Reagan did names names and he did use the HUAC hearings to slime SAG (and other Hollywood) union members who wanted better pay and benefits. It is also a FACT that Reagan testified at those hearings as a "friendly witness". As I pointed out on the Mr. Hart's blog, I believe Reagan was a crap president who deserves to be pissed on (metaphorically speaking). But I'm going to hold off revealing the details until my next post because I want that information to take center stage - instead of being revealed secondary to this unflattering account of the "Rachel Maddow gaffe".

"Reagan... is the devil in the minds of most progressives and the ends ALWAYS justify the means", says the Hartster. No Willis, Reagan isn't "the Devil", but he is the absolute worst POTUS ever. Of that there is no doubt in my mind. Aside from getting the relationship between McCarthy and HUAC wrong, the rest of Rachel Maddow's story was absolutely correct. Ronald Reagan didn't fight Communism in Hollywood, he implied certain elements within SAG (and other unions) were pinko Commies because they advocated striking for higher pay and benefits, an act I find utterly despicable.

My Message to TRMS

Subject: 5/12/2011 TRMS Huckabee/Reagan Story
email sent to: Rachel@msnbc.com on 5/22/2011 at 3:36pm CT

Hello. The purpose of this email is to inquire about a story TRMS covered on 5/12/2011. First, I'd like to let you know that I am contacting you because, as a loyal fan and regular viewer of the Rachel Maddow program - the integrity of the show is something I feel is very important.

The story I'm inquiring about is the Mike Huckabee cartoons that re-write Ronald Reagan's history of "fighting Communism" in Hollywood. While Rachel was entirely correct that Reagan did appear as a friendly witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee, I believe she mischaracterized Senator Joseph McCarthy's relationship with that committee.

On the program Rachel said (quoting from the transcript), "Part of that was Senator Joe McCarthy red baiting the living heck out of the entertainment industry, dragging in writers and actors and anyone he thought might have a whiff of communism on them". Senator McCarthy couldn't have dragged anyone into those hearings, because he was a Senator and not a member of that House committee.

Senator McCarthy, as chairman of the The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, red baited the living heck out of Washington (not Hollywood). He accused federal employees of being communist infiltrators or of being sympathetic to communism. As far as I know he didn't have anything to do with the Hollywood red baiting.

Can you tell me if Rachel will be issuing either a clarification or a correction to counter the criticisms of David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun (there are probably others, but his is the article that was brought to my attention)? Mr. Zurawik questioned Rachel's integrity (and her intelligence) in a 5/13/2011 article titled, "Rachel Maddow: American history as ignorant snark". It is my feeling that these allegations need to be answered.

If a clarification or correction has already been made I haven't been able to find it (I've looked).

Thank you, a loyal (and concerned) fan.

See also: Not Even a Hedgehog: The stupidity of Ronald Reagan by Christopher Hitchens, 6/7/2004.

SWTD #80

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Welcome to My Shrine to Keith Olbermann

Are we so heartless that we let the rich live and the poor die and everybody in between become wracked with fear - fear not of disease but of Deductibles? ... What, on the eternal list of priorities, precedes health? What more obvious role could government have than the defense of the life of each citizen? ...Government's essential role [should be to] facilitate it, reduce its cost, broaden its availability, improve my health and yours... ~ Keith Olbermann in an program-length special comment, "Health Care Reform: Saving American Lives", Countdown 10/7/2009.

Even if you aren't a huge Keith Olbermann like I am, you may have heard that Keith abruptly parted ways with MSNBC on 1/21/2011, ending his highly rated news-commentary program for unspecified reasons. From what I've heard differences of opinion with management were to blame.

When Keith and MSNBC agreed on 2/16/2007 that Countdown would continue to air through the 2012 presidential election - MSNBC president Phil Griffin proclaimed, "Countdown is our signature program" and that, "Keith Olbermann is at the core of MSNBC's current success". With this statement Phil Griffin appeared to acknowledge the fact that MSNBC would be nothing without Olbermann. Before Countdown MSNBC had settled on the idea that they should try to be another CNN. It wasn't until after Keith's program proved so successful that MSNBC decided they should become a Left-leaning alternative to Fox.

Given the fact that the success and growth of MSNBC can be directly attributed to Keith Olbermann, I think Mr. Griffin exhibited extremely poor judgment and total lack of appreciation for everything Keith has done for the network. According to Nielsen, Countdown was the network's top-rated program (with 1.1 million viewers). But, instead of doing whatever it took to keep his star happy, Mr. Griffin was apparently looking for an excuse to jettison Keith. Things came to a head after Keith was suspended for making campaign contributions to several Democrats. Phil Griffin told Keith's manager that they were "at war".

Personally I didn't have a problem with Olbermann's donations. Mr. Olbermann isn't, nor does he pretend to be, a non-partial facts-sans-opinion political reporter. Countdown was a political-commentary/opinion program. Phil Griffin realized that the success of Countdown was due to Keith's decidedly Left-leaning opinions, which is why MSNBC added Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz to their lineup. It is also why they replaced Keith with Lawrence O'Donnell - a self-described "practical European socialist" who reportedly said, "I am a socialist. I live to the extreme left, the extreme left of you mere liberals".

One of the rumors regarding Keith's departure was that the "Comcast honchos did not like Keith's defiance and the way he played in the sandbox" (TMZ 1/22/2011). Comcast purchased a controlling share (51%) in NBC/Universal (MSNBC's parent company) on 1/28/2011. An LA Time Business article from 1/21/2011 says, "conspiracy theorists [are] speculating that Olbermann jumped before he was pushed by his new bosses".

The Comcast/NBC-Universal merger needed approval from the FCC due to the huge media monopoly the union created. The lone FCC dissenter, Democrat Michael Copps said he thought the deal was "damaging and potentially dangerous" because it "opens the door to the cable-ization of the open Internet [and creates] the potential for walled gardens, toll booths, content prioritization, [and] access fees to reach end users". His conclusion was that, "a stake in the heart of independent content production is now very real".

Given the fact that the MSNBC lineup is still very much Left-leaning, I'm going to conclude that Keith did not leave MSNBC because the Comcast bigwigs wanted him gone. That said, I oppose monopolies and am very disappointed that the FCC approved this merger. I believe this merger threatens Net Neutrality and that Mr. Copps' fears will prove to be accurate.

Some of the haters have stated that the reason they dislike Olbermann was because he has a "big ego". According to what I've read so does Phil Griffin, which is why they clashed. It's my opinion that Phil Griffin (for this reason) was a poor choice to lead MSNBC. Whether or not Keith has a "big ego" - I frankly do not care. The only thing that mattered to me was that I found his program highly enjoyable. When I watched Countdown I was convinced that Keith is a very principled, moral and humble person.

I based this conclusion on a number of observations, the primary one being his strong advocating for government intervention in making sure all Americans have access to quality health care. Keith shared with his viewers his dismay that the only reason he was able to pay for his father's health care needs was because of his good fortune. He made it clear he is truly concerned that so many Americans go bankrupt or die for purely financial reasons, and how wrong it is that health care insurance is a for-profit industry (when, in every other industrialized nation health care insurance is not-for profit). This is why Keith used his MSNBC platform to raise money for free health clinics.

Keith Olbermann is a man with deeply held convictions regarding right and wrong. Like myself, he has sided with the political party that best represents his worldview. The Republican Party opposed (and continues to oppose) the social safety net programs championed by (a majority of) the Democratic Party. The Republican Party hates Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and any flavor of health care insurance reform (as illustrated by the Paul Ryan budget).

Because these things require that the wealthy elites whom they represent pay slightly more in taxes. European socialism, which has worked so well for our friends across the Atlantic (citizens of those countries don't go bankrupt due to medical bills) is somehow "evil". I categorically reject the notion that a higher standard of living for everybody is "evil". Over the years (of watching Countdown) Keith has made it clear to me that we are on the same team. This is the team that opposes oligarchy and is working to build a "we" society, not a "me" society.

This brings me to the reason why I composed this post and put up my webpage dedicated to all things Keith. The "Moderate Independent" blogger Willis Hart is one of the Olbermann haters I mentioned earlier. It appears as though one of the primary objectives of this blogger is to relentlessly bash Keith Olbermann. According to this individual, "Countdown with Keith Olbermann is the most biased news program in television history". Biased in favor of a government that acts in the interest of a majority of it citizens and not just the wealthy elites, I say. Which, in my mind, is a good thing.

I did a Google site search and counted a total of 32 anti-Olbermann posts on his blog. The first was on 02/14/2008 and the latest (but undoubtedly not the last) was posted on 05/15/2011. Also, after examining the 32 posts Google returned, I counted a total of 26 unique insults Mr. Hart hurled at Mr. Olbermann (see list below). Is it just me, or does anyone else find the shear volume of disparaging posts and insults more than a little odd? Especially given that many of the posts reference events on specific episodes? Clearly Hart is (or was before it stopped airing on MSNBC) a regular viewer. There are a number of Fox News pundits which I do not like - which is why I don't watch them (not very often, in any case). So why is William obsessed with Keith Olbermann?

He watches, and criticizes Fox pundits like Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, but to nowhere near the extent he criticizes Mr. Olbermann. In fact, early on (back when I did not realize the exact extent to which he loathed Mr. Olbermann) I made some comments defending Keith. That resulted in a post critical of both Keith AND myself (8/27/2010). William accused me of not being a free thinker, and asserted that I was a part of "the problem" due to the fact that I only listened to Olbermann - because he reaffirms what I already believe.

To these accusations I say, baloney! While it is true that like Olbermann because I agree with him (or he agrees with me), I also watch and listen to other commentators who invite guests on their programs who disagree with them. People like Thom Hartmann (who Willis has also bashed). I believe discussion, debate and independent investigation are all valuable methods of arriving at the truth. And I also agree that it is a "big part of our problem these days" that some people only listen to political commentators they agree with - and never consider alternate points of view. Especially given the fact that a lot of these pundits are lying to them (Fox Nooze scumbags).

By the way, the "shrine" to Keith is partially tongue-in-cheek. I don't actually "worship" him. Also, the reference to my "man-crush" comes from a comment made by a rabid Liberal-hating Conservative that frequents Hart's blog (a particularly fulsome individual who calls himself "Rusty S"). He accused me of having a "man-crush" on Keith Olbermann (which I do not). I simply admire Keith (for the previously mentioned reasons) and look forward to his return on Al Gore's Current TV on Monday June 20th 7pm Central time.

After Keith was "fired" I'm sure many on the Right rejoiced. On 1/21/2011 Rusty commented, "Looks like Olbermann Leaned Foward and fell out of the building. Comcast takes over NBC, next day Keithie is gone" (and then he added, "Is fat Ed next?"). Well, now "Keithie" is BACK, so in your face! Not only that, but I heard MSNBC paid him his full salary of 7 million dollars for each of the two years remaining on his contract. If MSNBC had a legitimate reason to "fire" Keith, would they have paid him 14 million to NOT do his show?

Regarding his move to Current TV Mr. Olbermann has said, "I wanted to go to a place where journalistic integrity and analytical honesty would never be compromised by corporate synergy. A place where no one would ever proclaim the ultimate dishonesty: that balancing a lie for every truth was somehow fair. I found that place in Current TV. And even though they told me I'd be in charge, and they gave me a title and an equity stake... I have still been delightfully startled at the free hand I've been given to assemble the finest staff ... in television news".

So, mark your calendars for an event you most surely will not want to miss. You can tape Lawrence O'Donnell's program. The new program will still be called "Countdown with Keith Olbermann". According to Keith the show will "retain it's edge and the pointedness of it's commentary". This sounds like a program that Willis will "love to hate" even more (I suspect he'll be riveted to his set every weeknight at 8pm Eastern time). In the meantime, please enjoy my shrine to Keith Olbermann. Please feel free to share your thoughts regarding this post and my shrine. To return to the shrine in the future please click on the picture of Keith Olbermann on my sidebar.

    Insults hurled at Keith Olbermann by Willis Hart
  1. Blankety-blank (10/22/2009)
  2. Blowhard (10/02/2009)
  3. Bush derangement syndrome, sufferer of (01/16/2009)
  4. Coward, Flat-out (06/14/2010)
  5. Cowardly (08/17/2010)
  6. Creep, Total (5/31/2009)
  7. Creepy (10/22/2009)
  8. Dishonest (08/17/2010)
  9. Douche-Bag (9/26/2014)
  10. Full of shit (09/13/2010)
  11. Guttersnipe (10/18/2010)
  12. Ideologue (05/31/2009)
  13. Mean-spirited (01/16/2009, 08/17/2010)
  14. Nasty (08/17/2010)
  15. Numb-nuts (04/17/2009)
  16. Paranoid (10/22/2009)
  17. Partisan Hack (4/17/2009)
  18. Partisan, Over the top (12/28/2010)
  19. Partisan Stooge (4/19/2009, 09/26/2010)
  20. Sanctimonious (12/28/2010)
  21. Self-righteous (12/28/2010)
  22. Shameless (11/15/2010)
  23. SOB (11/5/2009)
  24. Son of a bitch (5/31/2009, 6/13/2009)
  25. Stooge (3/06/2009)
  26. Thin-skinned, Increasingly (11/15/2010)
  27. Thin-skinned lunatic (10/22/2009)

See Also
[1] Keith Olbermann's Special Comment: The Republican Response (a work of satire) by TribeApologist, The Daily Kos 10/8/2009
[2] Health care reform: Saving American lives - An extended special comment by Keith Olbermann, Transcript from the 10/07/2009 airing of "Coundown".
[3] Books authored by Keith Olbermann on Amazon.

Video: Senator Al Franken opposed the NBC/Comcast Merger; warns that the merger will lead to higher bills for consumers.

SWTD #79, wDel #4, KO #1.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Bald Wig-Wearing Frog Receives a Caller

One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared' ~ Dan Quayle (b. 2/4/1947) 44th Vice President of the United States (1/20/1989 to 1/20/1993); a comment made on 12/6/1989, as confirmed by Snopes.

Even though the bald wig-wearing frog had not expected to awaken the next morning, he did. The frog's eyes opened to the sound of a loud thumping at his door. Unable to rise, he laid there until whoever was knocking gave up and went away. Most likely someone come to make fun of him and his wig. He would not have answered the door even if he could have.

That evening the frog thought, "this is it, tomorrow will not come, thank goodness. My miserable life will be over at last". What lays beyond this life the bald wig-wearing frog did not know, but he was convinced it had to be better than his current existence. "Wake up!", he heard someone shout. He bolted upright. Surprised, the wig-wearing frog thought, "I must be dead, because there is no way I could possibly have had the strength to do that".

The room was dark. And empty. There was no one there that could have yelled at him. But he was sure he had heard someone scream. "Open up, it's your uncle Kermit!", the voice on the other side of the door shouted. I must be hallucinating, the bald wig-wearing frog thought. I do have an uncle Kermit, but he went to Hollywood more than 30 years ago and hasn't been seen in these parts since. But the pounding continued, and it appeared as though this time whoever it was wasn't going to give up.

The wig-wearing frog weakly rose from his bed and shuffled in the direction of the front entrance. The knocking was still in progress when he got there - so he opened the door a crack. Standing in front of him, visible due to the brightly shining moon, was an amphibian wearing a green felt collar around his neck. Was this his uncle Kermit? There was no way he could be sure, seeing as he had never actually met him. "You must be my nephew Larry", croaked the strange amphibian standing before him. "Yes, my name is Larry", answered the wig-wearing frog. "Are you my uncle Kermit?" Larry the frog asked suspiciously.

"Trust me, Kid. I AM your uncle Kermit", the strange amphibian said, pushing the door open. "In any case, what happened to you? I've never seen a frog in such an emaciated state!". "I'm sorry, but you have the wrong frog", Larry said. "I have an uncle Kermit but he went to Hollywood decades ago. Frogs don't live decades, so there is no possibility that you could be him". Larry attempted to shut the door but the false Kermit prevented him from doing so. "You have a point", Kermit admitted. "Listen, Larry. I can prove to you that I'm your uncle Kermit".

After proving they were indeed related Larry invited his uncle in. "I heard you were wearing a ridiculous-looking wig, and there it is", Kermit remarked, starring at Larry's head. "I also heard that you haven't been seen around the pond in weeks. Your friends are very worried about you Larry". "I don't see how that could possibly be the case, since I do not have any friends", Larry replied. "Well, the frogs I talked to said they were friends of yours, although they did have quite a few very derogatory things to say about you. I can see why you'd disown them if they were your friends. Something I don't understand, however, is why you look the way you do. There didn't appear to be any kind of fly shortage down at the pond. So why are do you look so undernourished?".

"I was very sick for quite some time", Larry lied. "I couldn't eat anything that I wouldn't immediately throw up. I only started feeling better this morning". "I'm glad to hear that you're feeling better", Kermit commented, looking concerned. "Shall we go down to the pond and get you something to eat?". "I guess so", Larry answered. And so they did. Luckily there were no other frogs in the vicinity, even though he could hear them croaking in the distance. Larry did not feel like enduring any ridicule at the moment. After choking down some much needed sustenance he felt much better. "So, what brings you back to the pond after all these years", Larry queried his uncle.

"I've decided to retire from acting and get into politics", Kermit responded. "I'm going to run for pond president". "I didn't even know the pond had a president", said Larry. "Indeed it does Larry. Not only that, but you're going to be my Vice President". "Huh? Isn't being elected to public office something like winning a popularity contest?", a bewildered Larry retorted. "Since you've talked to them, you already know that my former friends do not like me".

"I'm the one that needs to win the popularity contest Larry. I need you to be my Joe Biden". "Who's he?", Larry asked. "He's the Vice President in the human world", Kermit explained. "The news media covers him with stories suggesting he is a high-functioning doofus". "So that's why you believe I'm the right frog for the position?", Larry replied, clearly insulted.

"Indeed. But there is no need to be insulted nephew. This is the way it works in politics. When two people (or frogs) run for president and vice president one of them is treated by the media as if he were functionally retarded, which may or may not be true. In Joe Biden's case it is not. He is actually a very intelligent man. In any case, the purpose of this is to put the public at ease. Most of them, being morons themselves, won't vote for a politician they believe is smarter then they are. If you are then they call you an elitist. When you give a speech they may refer to you as professorial, or say they are being lectured to. If there is one thing the voter can't tolerate it's an effete elitist snob".

"I don't know", said Larry. "To be honest with you, all the frogs around here view me and my wig as some kind of joke. I doubt they'd vote for me to be their leader". "Larry, I'm the one who would be the leader. The VP does little more than provide occasional comic relief. Besides, I doubt ALL the frogs think you're a joke. I suspect most of them have never even heard of you". "I'll have to think about it", Larry said finally. "In the meantime you are welcome to stay with me. It's been quite lonely living all by myself".

SWTD #78

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Bald Frog And The Ugly Smelly Wig, Redux

I start to think there really is no cure for depression, that happiness is an ongoing battle, and I wonder if it isn't one I'll have to fight for as long as I live. I wonder if it's worth it ~ Elizabeth Wurtzel (b. 7/31/1967) an American writer and journalist, known for her best-selling memoir Prozac Nation which chronicles her battle with depression while a college undergraduate and how she was eventually rescued by Prozac after a history of therapy and multiple suicide attempts.

One day the random question feature of Blogger told me, "the children are waiting!". Then Blogger asked me to "please tell them the story about the bald frog with the wig". I decided to take Blogger up on it's suggestion, composing a narrative that I posted to my other blog (Pensive Perquinn's Pre-posthumous Ponderings) on 7/27/2010. I don't think anyone ever read it, so I've decided to re-post it here and see if it gets any comments this time around...

The bald frog did not know that all frogs were bald, and so, to cover his embarrassment, he wore a wig. The other frogs laughed at the wig-wearing frog, causing him even greater embarrassment than being bald did. Even so, he decided to continue wearing the wig, because his head was cold, and he didn't have a hat. Frogs have no money, so a trip to the hat store was out of the question. The wig-wearing frog cried himself to sleep every night, cursing his baldness and lack of a hat. Why me? he often wondered, sometimes thinking that he should just end it all.

One day, after a particularly nasty group of young punk frogs surrounded him and jeered him relentlessly, he decided to do just that. He considered leaving a note for anyone who might find his lifeless body to read, but realized that, most likely nobody would be interested in "why", but that they would, if they cared in the least, probably be glad that the world was minus one loser. The next thing to consider was how to do it. That is, how would he put an end to his miserable existence? The wig wearing frog considered hopping onto the nearest freeway and allowing a fast moving vehicle to squish him flat, but decided that was far to horrific to even think about.

Guts squirted everywhere, and vile flies landing, and pooping on his pancaked road kill corpse was a vision that haunted him for several days. He couldn't come up with another method to off himself; he couldn't even think seriously about it. Because so much of his time was taken up with thoughts about how awful being road kill would be, or how awful the moment just prior to becoming road kill might be. Avoiding other frogs and their taunts regarding his wig was also time consuming.

A visit to the location where the most delicious flying insects were meant the possibility of an encounter with another frog. And so he just lay in bed and did nothing all day. Not going out meant not encountering any other frogs who might make fun of his bald head or wig. The wig-wearing frog was more miserable than he had ever been in his life. He didn't have the nerve to seek the sweet relief he craved, although he was completely convinced that there was no other answer. Every day he grew continually weaker, due to a lack of food and exercise to keep his muscles from wasting away. He wasn't even sure he wanted to eat any more of those insects, realizing now that eating them whole meant that he was also eating their feces.

This was an idea that entered his head when he first imagined the nasty bugs defecating on his flattened carcass, and decided then and there he would never consume another. After that decision it did not take long before the wig-wearing frog was so weak from hunger that he could no longer rise from his bed. The end is near now, the wig-wearing frog reflected one evening. He had, a long time ago, had some "friends" over for a visit, but that ended when the so-called friends criticized his (then) newly found wig. It was a casual get-together during which he had expected them all to be impressed with his now covered head. Instead they laughed, at first thinking he was pranking them. When they realized he was not, they laughed and called him names.

Looking back now, that was when the trouble began. If he could go back and do it all over, he would never have picked the wig out of the muck where he found it. But, as much as he hated the wig, he hated his bald head more. The wig-wearing frog drifted off, dreaming of the life that might have been if only he had found a stylish hat instead of the ugly smelly wig.

SWTD #77. See also PPP #5.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Frenemies with Benefits: 9/11 Villans George W bush & Osama bin Laden

We will take them out; we will kill bin Laden; we will crush al-Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority. Tonight I can report to the American people and to the world, that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda, and a terrorist who is responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children ~ Barack Obama (dob 8/4/1961) making a campaign promise on 10/7/2008, and announcing (on 5/2/2011, as president) that the promise had been fulfilled.

Definition, Frenemy: a portmanteau of "friend" and "enemy" that can refer to either an enemy disguised as a friend or to a partner who is simultaneously a competitor and rival. The term is used to describe personal, geopolitical, and commercial relationships both among individuals and groups or institutions (Source: Wikipedia).

The following is an excerpt from the Thom Hartmann Radio Program, 5/2/2011, which I edited for brevity and clarity. The discussion concerns the operation (code named Neptune's Spear) carried out by Navy SEALs on 5/2/2011 which lead to the death of Osama bin Laden. (Information within brackets are notations added by me).

Thom Hartmann: ...this is a very significant moment [referring to the OBL kill]. But why now? Why not before? Gareth Porter is with us. Gareth Porter is an investigative journalist and historian specializing in US national security policy. You can read his writings over at ipsnews.net and elsewhere. Gareth, welcome to the program.

Gareth Porter: Thanks very much Thom.

TH: I was at at dinner party a couple of weeks ago with a progressive member of Congress and a couple of local DC pundits, and I made the comment that in 2001 the Taliban made an offer to George bush. The Taliban offered to turn over Osama bin Laden and George bush turned them down. Everyone in the room, without exception, looked at me like I'd just said that the moon landing didn't actually happen.

GP: I think that is a fair comment on what happened in 2001.

TH: Actually, my understanding is that the Taliban didn't actually offer to turn bin Laden over to bush. They said to bush that they'd turn him over to a third country where he could get a fair trial [if the US was able to produce evidence that OBL was guilty of planning the 9/11 attacks].

GP: Actually, they went beyond that. That was their position as of the first week of October 2001; three weeks after 9/11. But after the US began the bombing of Afghanistan on October 7th, the Taliban very quickly adopted a new position - which was taken to a secret meeting in Islamabad by the then Taliban foreign minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil. The new offer was to turn over, without any preconditions, and you can forget about the evidence...

They said they would turn bin Laden over to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which is a Saudi-based international organization of Islamic countries. It is a moderate Islamic organization. I believe it is a fair presumption that bin Laden being tried by an OIC international panel of jurors would certainly result in a guilty verdict for the 9/11 attacks.

Had George bush seized upon this proposal - the process [his trial by an Islamic organization] would have arguably reduced the appeal of bin Laden and al-Qaeda enormously throughout the Islamic world. Having Osama tried by Islamic jurists and by an Islamic international organization would have been an enormous advantage [in that the Islamic world would have accepted the verdict as legitimate].

TH: Why did the bush administration not want that to happen?

GP: That's a very interesting question, Thom. I have been writing a chapter for a book I'm working on precisely on this topic of why bush did not catch bin Laden. There are a couple of answers to that question. The first one is that the neoconservative inner core of the bush administration's national security team (Cheney and Rumsfeld) were determined to avoid getting involved in Afghanistan. They, of course, had their hearts set on Iraq and a major US military operation there. They never took bin Laden and Al-Qaeda seriously. Cheney and Rumsfeld dismissed the idea that Al-Qaeda could threaten the United States because they weren't state sponsored but independent actors. So they convinced bush not to do anything that could possibly prejudice the plans for an attack and occupation of Iraq.

TH: Which we know now he had been talking about in 1999 to his biographer Mickey Herskowitz, and was the subject, according to Paul O'Neill, of the very first cabinet meeting that they had in January 2001. [see YouTube video below].

GP: Exactly. The bush administration never had a plan to actually capture bin Laden. Even after 9/11.

TH: Right. Even at Tora Bora where he was arguably right there in front of him [Rumsfeld let bin Laden escape in 2001, says Senate report].

GP: You have to understand that what was being done there was strictly improvisation. There was no planning ahead of time. There would have to have been very detailed planning immediately following 9/11 for any possibility of an effective operation to capture bin Laden in Afghanistan.

TH: Gareth, here's my theory on this... if Lex Luthor didn't exist in the Superman comic books, and all Superman did was run around and stop gas stations from being robbed, they would be the most boring comic books on earth. The "good" of a good character in fiction is defined by how "evil" the evil character is. So for George bush to turn himself from a ne'er-do-well who was appointed by the Supreme Court - into Superman - he needed to have a Lex Luthor. And he took the opportunity to turn Osama bin laden into Lex Luthor so he could be Superman.

GP: I think there's something to that, but let's stop and recall a very important distinction here. When he had the opportunity to really do something about al-Qaeda and bin Laden in 2001 he was not interested at all. And remember that even in early 2002, after bin Laden had escaped to Pakistan, it was George W bush who reasurred the American people that bin Laden wasn't really important. He only invented bin Laden as a factor in his policy after the Iraq war began to go badly.

TH: Ah ha. So that's when it got convenient from him.

GP: Yea.

TH: Gareth Porter. Gareth, thanks so much for being with us. Great talking with you.

GP: Thank you Thom.

[End Thom Hartmann/Gareth Porter 5/2/2011 discussion]

My conclusion, based on this conversation (and everything else I have read), is that GWB didn't take the threat posed by OBL and Al-Qaeda seriously until it suited him. Richard Clarke (chief counter-terrorism adviser on the U.S. National Security Council) told bush that, since the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole (10/12/2000), he had been working on an "aggressive plan to take the fight to al Qaeda".

bush didn't want to hear it, so he demoted Richard Clarke and re-assigned the counter-terrorism issue to a task force headed by Dick Cheney. Dick Cheney's task force didn't meet until 9/4/2001. This was 234 days after the bush administration assumed power, but only 7 days before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In the next segment Thom Hartmann concludes that GWB, "just wanted to transfer billions of dollars to his buddies in the defense industry", and points out that Halliburton was on the verge of bankruptcy before 9/11, and now, in the last quarter, this former US-based company (which is now located in Dubai) posted a 5 billion dollar profit. In bush's mind "the best way to revitalize the economy is war", and the best way to judge how the "economy" is doing is to examine how the wealthy elites are faring.

Clearly OBL and GWB exploited each other for their own advantage. Osama provided George with the excuse he and PNAC needed to launch their unending "war on terror" and "revitalize the economy". 9/11 also allowed bush to brand himself a "war president" and paint the Democrats as "weak on national defense", thus securing his second term - because you can't change a horse midstream when we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here.

In return bush handed Osama the bona fides he craved as a Wahhabi leader. Pre-9/11 Osama lead an obscure Islamic movement that was going nowhere. When bush declared war on "terror" and declared it was a "crusade", he elevated Osama to the level of super-villain (or hero fighting back against the "Great Satan", depending on your point of view) and revitalized Al-Qaeda. Outraged Muslims whose family members were killed ceased being innocent civilians and joined the "insurgency" to fight the American invaders. Osama's plan was to bog down the United States in a war of attrition and bleed America to the point of bankruptcy. George bush delivered in spades.

This is why call George bush and Osama bin Laden "Frenemies with benefits". Osama is now dead, "justice" having been served. But what about George bush? Why is he still a free man? We know where he is, so I think Seal Team 6 could take him out quite easily. Whether or not I'm kidding (about assassinating bush) I do believe he belongs behind bars - along with the other war criminals in his administration. I think that would be appropriate for a group of war profiteers that are responsible for the deaths of over a million people.

Video: When did bush decide to invade Iraq? A 2004 60 Minutes report says (according to then Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill) bush spoke of invading Iraq during his FIRST cabinet meeting! (2:01)

SWTD #76

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Republican Cons and Carnival Barkers

We're not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers ~ Barack Obama (b. 8/4/1961) the 44th president of the United States (1/20/2009 to present) referring to those who question if he was born in the United States; in a press conference announcing the release of his long form Hawaiian birth certificate on 4/27/2011.

The first Republican presidential debate was held Wednesday 5/4/2011. I find this a little confusing, considering the fact that no Republican has OFFICIALLY declared that they are actually running. The Fox Nooz-hosted debate featured Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Herman Cain, and Gary Johnson. Except for Tim Pawlenty all of these "candidates" will drop out before the primaries. Hell, the majority of them will probably drop out before even officially declaring they are running. Ron Paul has announced that he'll be opening a campaign office soon, so I'm guessing he will declare, engage in a few more debates, and then drop out (as usual).

Absent from the debate were a number of individuals whom the media has been speculating about for awhile. It is my contention that these supposed potential candidates did not show up because they have absolutely no intention of running for president. They haven't said they aren't running though. In fact, they have made every effort to make it appear as though they MIGHT run.

The reason these fakers are working hard to maintain the illusion that they might run is because there is a significant amount of cash to be made collecting "campaign donations" from gullible right-wing voters. Of all the possibilities there are three I believe will definitely NOT run. Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump will POSITIVELY not run. I'm convinced that two others, Mike Huckabee and Michelle Bachmann will PROBABLY not run.

This is the second time Newt Gingrich has pretended there is a possibility he might run for president. Newt "I might run for president" Gingrich is a Conservative con man who was the first Republican who stumbled upon this money-making scam. As far as the 2012 election is concerned Newt says he is currently in an "exploratory phase". Newt wants to avoid pesky laws the federal election commission imposes on people who form exploratory committees. FEC rules state that, "If someone is testing the waters [by forming an exploratory committee] and decides not to run, testing the waters activity is not disclosed to the FEC".

A 2/28/2011 story from Politico revels that Newt Gingrich raised 14.5 million dollars in 2010 via his fundraising organization "American Solutions". A large chunk of the money people donated to American Solutions was then bequeathed to "The Gingrich Group" in return for "administrative services". The Gingrich Group is a consulting firm headed by... (wait for it) Newt Gingrich! What a nifty way to get around federal laws that prohibit potential candidates from simply pocketing donations - which is what the less-savvy flimflammer Christine O'Donnell did.

Newt's phony presidential bids were covered by Rachel Maddow on 3/3/2011 with a story she called "He's Faking It". It turns out that pretending to run for president is only one of many Newt Gingrich scams formulated to separate Right-wing fools from their money. Newt also gives out "awards" in exchange for the modest fee of $5,000. Newt Gingrich wasn't a serious 2008 presidential contender and he will not be a serious 2012 contender either.

Sarah Palin, taking a cue from Mr. Gingrich, does what she can to maintain the mirage that a presidential run may be in her future. As long as there is a possibility she might run, interest in her books, speaking engagements, Fox News gig and reality program remains artificially high. If Palin were not MAYBE running for president would interest in the half-term governor who quit be as high? Would she be raking in quite as much dough? I think not. Pretending to run for president, while not actual work, pays very handsomely. Sarah Palin will not run for 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Some people believe Donald Trump might possibly maybe run for president. A recent public poll says Trump came in second behind Mitt Romney. The 4/4/2011 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that "21% of respondents said Romney was their pick for the GOP nomination, while 17% broke for both Trump and Huckabee. Newt Gingrich came in fourth at 11%, followed by Sarah Palin with 10%, Tim Pawlenty at 6%, and Michele Bachmann who received 5%". Does this mean that "Donald Trump should be taken very seriously by both the right and the left"? I say N-O.

A 4/6/2011 Talking Points Memo commentary alleges that Trump, "in an appeal to birthers, [is] questioning President Obama's citizenship". TMP's conclusion is that the "play to the party's edge may be paying off". Now that President Obama has released his long form birth certificate, Trump has switched gears and is suggesting that Obama's grades weren't good enough for him to get into Harvard.

Clearly Trump is attempting to appeal to the racist birther faction of the Republican party. The media loved discussing the issue (before Obama released his long form BC), because it was controversial and attracted eyes to their news programs. This is all about the free publicity - and electing a Republican (who isn't Trump) that will adopt Paul Ryan's "Path to Poverty" budget and significantly cut The Donald's taxes.

Whether or not this is a con (or self-delusion), it certainly illustrates the fact that The Donald has zero integrity. Donald should be ashamed of himself, although I seriously doubt he is capable of that emotion (he actually congratulated himself for bringing attention to the issue!). Donald Trump will not run for 2012 Republican presidential nomination. He'll drop out before May 16th when NBC announces whether or not Trump's Apprentice TV program will be returning for another season.

After reviewing the evidence I think the reason none of these fakers are ashamed of the humongous lies they're telling is because they're sociopaths. Ayn Rand Objectivists are PROUD of the fact that they don't give a crap about their fellow human beings. They call it "rational self interest". Republicans have, beginning with Reagan, moved steadily in that direction. Proof positive of this is their "Path to Poverty" 10 year plan which completely dismantles the social safety net; not to reduce the national debt, but to further cut taxes on the country's most wealthy citizens.

This is why Newt Gingrich trades in his wife every so often for a newer model; and treated each soon-to-be ex-wife extremely shabbily when he requested his divorces. Sarah Palin quit her governorship to make money because she doesn't understand the concept of public service and didn't give a damn that she'd made a commitment. Donald Trump is famous for his ego and (like Newt), dumping wives.

Now, I'm not saying that ALL conservative politicians are narcissistic lying pond scum, or that corruption and immorality can be found exclusively on the right side of the political spectrum, but a Democrat has never pretended he may run for president as a money-making scam. Also consider the fact that Mike Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, thinks asking health insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions is the same as asking property insurance companies to sell someone insurance AFTER their house burns down. This is a supposed man of God, and he places profit over human lives!

This is typical of Republican indifference to the suffering of people who aren't them or their friends or family members. They believe are better than the average person (who Ayn Rand called parasites and lice), which is why it bothers them not in the least to lie about running for president in order to extract money from any sucker who will believe them.

Further Reading
[1] Trump is Not a True Conservative Transcript from the Glenn Beck Radio Program, 4/19/2011.
[2] Top Ten Reasons Why Sarah Palin is Running For President by Tony Lee, Human Events 4/13/2011.
[3] So, What Is A Presidential Exploratory Committee, Exactly? by Jason Linkins, The Huffington Post 3/23/2011.

SWTD #75

Friday, May 06, 2011

Natural Born Birthers

It is an established maxim, that birth is a criterion of allegiance. Birth, however, derives its force sometimes from place, and sometimes from parentage; but, in general place is the most certain criterion; it is what applies in the United States ~ James Madison (4/16/1751 to 6/28/1836) the 4th President of the United States (4/4/1809 to 4/4/1817), Founding Father, and principal author of the United States Constitution, in a speech before the House of Representatives in May 1789.

For the last two years the White House has had an illegal resident.

An individual who is constitutionally ineligible to be president.

The Kenyan (or British) Muslim faker must be stopped.

Are we really going to be fooled by a long form Hawaiian birth certificate that has been photoshopped?

Jerome Corsi is one of the few who knows the truth.

Barack Obama is incapable of producing any proof.

Even if he was born in Honolulu both of his parents were US citizens not.

So he isn't natural born, although on this Article Two doesn't elaborate a lot.

Regardless Birthers will interpret it the way they want.

Opposing out of control spending isn't racist.

That claim is totally baseless.

Just ask friend of "the blacks" Trump.

To get into Harvard Obama's grades gave him no bump.

Now he certainly isn't dumber than W.

But if he benefited from affirmative action that should trouble you.

The Congressional Black Caucus, Ben Jealous and their ilk are the true bigots according to MLK.

The content of your character is all that should matter today.

Do the Tea Party Birthers think we should buy this nonsense?

Personally I can't wait until we are able to refer to them in the past tense.

Republican operatives like Franklin Graham and Denish D'Souza put forth ugly theories to discriminate.

Those who aren't blind know the GOP panders to voters who hate.

SWTD #74