Archive for: March, 2012

Bill Maher Blames Democrats For Trayvon Martin Shooting

Mar 31 2012 Published by under Featured News

Bill Maher argued that the Trayvon Martin shooting is cautionary tale for Democrats about the consequences of lying down and giving the right whatever they want.

Here is the video:

Maher said,

Now we can go on and on about hoodies and the neighborhood watch guy who looks like Chaz Bono, but it’s not really a discussion until you save some blame for the liberal politicians who unconditionally surrendered in the fight for sensible gun laws. When are they going to stand their ground?

….

This is a cautionary tale about what happens when the Democrats lay down on an issue and let the right get whatever they want. You get insanity. Arming panicky untrained vigilantes like George Zimmerman and telling them that it’s okay to shoot whenever they’re afraid is like dumping all the Milk Bones on the floor and telling your dog, just eat when you’re hungry. Stand your ground, guns in bars, guns in church, guns in the classroom, where does it end? Why not guns in the delivery room? What if my fetus is armed and comes out firing? Also, I think we should have a use or lose it law. Where at least once every six months you have to shoot someone. After all, isn’t that want gun nuts really want, to shoot someone? Otherwise, what’s the point of collecting something that just sits on the shelf? I mean I collect rare Ming Dynasty opium pipes, but I use them

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Maher’s usage of the Trayvon Martin shooting as a cautionary tale dredged up an old canard that some progressives like to use to attack their own party. A minority loves to suggest that Democrats are weaklings who roll over and give the Republicans whatever they want. It makes those who engage in the behavior feel tough and like they are taking a stand. The problem is that in this case it is wrong.

The reason why Stand Your Ground passed in 2005 was that Republicans controlled both the legislature and the governor. Democrats couldn’t stop the bill in 2005. They tried, but they didn’t have the votes. The only person who the power to stop the bill after the Republican dominated legislature passed it was Jeb Bush, and he chose not to. (If any one person deserves blame for the passage of Stand Your Ground in Florida, it’s former Gov. Jeb Bush).

It wasn’t a matter of Democrats being weak, as much as it was voters giving the Republican Party virtually unlimited power to do what they wanted. It is not as if Democrats stood around with their hands in their pockets. They warned about the dangerous consequences of this legislation, but they were voted down and ignored.

It is also a faulty argument to blame the legislation more than the man. Stand Your Ground is the reason why George Zimmerman has not been arrested, but the law did not enable the commission of a crime. Zimmerman could have been armed with a knife or a bat. It would not have mattered what kind of weapon he had as long as his intent was the same.

Maher’s premise that Stand Your Ground laws create an environment where people like George Zimmerman feel like they have the right to kill is a sound one. One of the consequences of these types of laws is that they essentially give people the green light to shoot first, but where Maher has chosen to place his blame is a bit misguided.

Stand Your Ground laws might not only give some people the perception that they have a right to kill, but more importantly for the Trayvon Martin case, these laws can be easily misapplied in order to deny justice. Debating whether or not Stand Your Ground armed George Zimmerman is a distraction.

What Stand Your Ground has done is deny justice to a seventeen year old victim. The real cautionary tale here is that vaguely written laws designed to appease special interest groups do have life and death consequences. When poorly written laws are misapplied for the sake of cover, they not only deny justice, but they also allow a killer to walk free.

What happened to Trayvon Martin is a cautionary tale for all Americans about race, justice, political special interests, and the unintended consequences of uninformed voting.

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Conservatives and Management Beware: Keith Olbermann is Out There

Mar 31 2012 Published by under Featured News

From the perspective of someone who has ‘been there, done that’ I would respectfully like to add my 3-cents (adjusted for inflation) worth to the Jason Easley, Keith Olbermann Current TV ‘firing’ story.

I was a long-time TV and radio bindlestiff having wandered to assorted TV news and talk radio venues, small, medium and large.

Most of the truly controversial stuff was on talk radio, though I’d occasionally brush up against a TV story of corporate mischief that the upper management types didn’t exactly love. But trust me when I say I’ve walked in Olbermann’s shoes albeit on a much smaller scale. I was once sued for $4 million in a talk show libel case. I won with the best defense imaginable. What I said was true.

Let’s get one thing straight from the get-go. Olbermann is a grade-A a-hole. From his sports broadcasting days to MSNBC to Current-TV, he’s always been considered a supremely arrogant, know-it- all, d**k-head by management, colleagues and staffers alike.

But, there are two sides to every story, even this one.

Hatred of management is ingrained in Olbermann’s DNA partially because of the business makeup of the media. Management, by definition, has an entirely different agenda than talent. They’re a bottom line bunch that couldn’t remotely do what on-air people do. For management, it’s about the almighty dollar and NOTHING else. When I first got into the business of radio and TV, I was paid a pittance. It wasn’t until years later that I realized ratings and revenues had skyrocketed in some of my early venues. And I didn’t get squat while I’m sure management raked in some mighty fine sales commissions and bonuses. Management will ‘ef’ young (and older) talent whenever they get the chance. I once left a station for about a year-and-a-half. Circumstances were such that I returned. The guy I replaced lost virtually all my ratings and upon resuming my old show I was paid about 40% more than when I left. I figured that’s what I left on the table the first time around.

When management finally realizes they no longer have a naïve sucker on their hands, they will pay decent money. At Current, Olbermann was getting decent money; $10 million a year for five years.  He was even accorded a title, ‘Chief News Officer’ and an equity stake in the company. What Olbermann perceived he wasn’t getting was free reign and a professional organization. He hated the set and thought some of the extra duties he was asked to perform were inane and beneath him. He started missing work and arguing about assignments. His presence became intolerable to upper (middle & lower) management and he was canned, Friday, March 30th. Ironically, Comcast, the same company that fired Olbermann at MSNBC has a 10% stake in Current. Comcast had nothing to do with an earlier and largely forgotten firing of Olbermann in 2008 as a Special Events News Anchor.

Current TV has been around since 2005 and is available in 65 million American homes. It was founded by Al Gore and the man behind Hyatt Legal Services, Joel Hyatt.

Current has some of the smartest people and most compelling programming in the cable universe. Vanguard is an under-recognized enterprise reporting show that features stories from some of the most troubled and dangerous parts of the globe. Its young reporting and producing staff are talented and fearless. “50 Documentary’s to see before you die” is another superb effort. Current’s political commentary lineup of Cenk Uygur, Jennifer Granholm and newcomers, Bill Press and the redoubtable talk show host, Stephanie Miller gives the network a solid nucleus, ever the equal of bully O’Reilly and clueless Hannity from Fox. Now they’re bringing in Eliot Spitzer to replace Olbermann. Spitzer briefly hosted  a ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ show on CNN in mid-2011. I doubt we’ll see a ratings spike unless Eliot brings in Ashley Dupre to co-host.

Gore/Hyatt fired Olbermann after the MSNBC release for much the same reasons that Current let him go, less the rise of Rachel Maddow and the ‘political contributions’ flap. According to Current, he supposedly lacked “respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty.” End of statement…end of job.

Current TV has pathetic ratings numbers. According to the latest Adweek figures, their prime time viewership is 58,000 without  a great showing in the coveted young adult demographic. “TV by the numbers” shows Bill O’Reilly by contrast drawing as many as 3.5 million 8PM viewers. Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell pace the prime-time MSNBC lineup with roughly 1.1 million nightly viewers. Annual ad sales for Current TV are $25 million, extraordinarily low for a cable network with their reach. Most of their money comes from a carriage fee of 12 cents per month per subscriber. I think their very survival might be in serious question.

Not surprisingly, Olbermann has tweeted that he’s prepared to sue Current’s parent company, Hyatt, Gore and probably everybody at else at Current including the cleaning crew. I’ll sort of miss Olbermann, but I’ve always thought he wasted entirely too much time on his feuds with O’Reilly and Fox News. I couldn’t care less about anything Fox does. I guess there is a point that when they distort an issue beyond recognition, you have straighten things out, but bothering to mention the names of their commentators really shouldn’t enter into the equation very often. I do it mostly for comparison sakes and to show what a threat these people really are, but I think my prime goal is facts and information, not giving lying treasonous fools more media time.

There’s never a clean break when you hire and inevitably fire a Keith Olbermann. You’ll tire of his infantile, self-centered antics or he’ll tire of taking orders from people hired to give orders. Where does Olbermann go from here? A national radio talk show is a possibility. Some syndicator might take the chance or he might forge his own media way through Keith Olbermann Inc.

Conservatives and management beware – KO is out there somewhere!

 

 

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Funeral Director Has Proof Zimmerman Lied About Struggle With Martin

Mar 31 2012 Published by under Featured News

Richard Kurtz, a Miami funeral director who prepared Trayvon Martin’s body, said he found no “cuts, scratches, or bruises, only a gunshot wound to the chest.”

Kurtz told CBS News that there was no evidence of a scuffle or fight.

Just this week, video of George Zimmerman at the police station revealed that he contrary to the story his father and the police have told, he had no bloody nose, no grass stains on his jacket, and no apparent head injury. In fact, NY Daily News got the EMS documents that show Zimmerman had no serious injuries and in fact the second ambulance called to the scene for Zimmerman was canceled. The NY Daily News reported:

“We could see no physical signs like there had been a scuffle [or] there had been a fight,” Kurtz told CBS News.

“The hands — I didn’t see any knuckles, bruises or what have you, and that is something we would have covered up if it would have been there.”

Trayvon “looked perfectly normal to me when he came in and the story just does not make sense that he was in this type of scuffle or fight in anything that we could see,” Kurtz added.

These revelations should outrage an already outraged community. Just days ago, Mr. Zimmerman the elder was hiding on TV blaming President Obama for stirring up hated while Mr Zimmerman the elder lied about a dead boy in order to protect his son.

Let’s not mince words anymore, as the Zimmerman family has proven that they have no problem making wild accusations about Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman lied to the police when he claimed self-defense. Then his father went on local TV and disparaged the character of a dead boy and the President as he repeated his son’s lies.

Why was Mr Zimmerman the elder hiding from the public (shown only in shadowed profile on TV) as he took his lies public?

Maybe Mr. Zimmerman the elder couldn’t face America as he complained about how the mean black people have been spreading “hate” (aka: compassion for the victim’s family)? Oh, and where was Zimmerman’s compassion for the victim and his family?

I’m still waiting to hear any of them even mention the young boy whose life was snuffed out by a lying coward and covered up by a complicit police department.

This reminds me of Sarah Palin’s blood libel video. There’s something sociopathic here evidenced in the utter lack of compassion and empathy and way, way too much self-pity. This toxic mixture is topped off with an utter lack of shame about blatant lies.

Here’s a thought for the Zimmerman family. Maybe if their son hadn’t gunned down an innocent boy, people wouldn’t be thinking bad things about their son. Maybe if their son wasn’t guilty of lying about the circumstances surrounding that killing, they wouldn’t have interpreted the President’s call for compassion as “stirring hatred”.

Perhaps one day it will dawn on them that their son is walking free while another family buried their son. So maybe now isn’t the time to get outraged over anyone questioning their son’s intentions or the results of his choices, even in light of a constant stream of evidence that George Zimmerman was the aggressor, was on top of Trayvon Martin when he shot him, that there was no struggle, and that Zimmerman has a history of aggression and violence.

Mr. Zimmerman the elder went on TV to disparage a young dead boy whom his own son had killed and he is still saying the video in the police department isn’t telling the whole story. Do the EMS logs help Mr. Zimmerman with the whole story? A second ambulance was canceled because his son George did not require an ambulance. Is Zimmerman going to apologize to the Martin family now?

Back to that Stand Your Ground law; this law does not apply when the person killed has a right to be where they are, nor does it apply when the killer is the instigator of the encounter.

It might seem normal these days for people to lie and say horrible things about someone they’ve killed, but it’s really not. Ask yourself if you had taken the life of a 17 year old boy if you could live with lying about him and besmirching his character and causing such pain to his family after you already took their son from them, all to save yourself? Normal people actually can’t live with that kind of guilt and shame. It’s sociopathic if you can live with it, and a sure tell is doubling down on the character smears as the evidence begins to tell the ugly truth.

Here we have a case where witnesses described seeing Zimmerman on top of Trayvon, and Trayvon screaming for help before he was shot and killed. This corresponds with Trayvon’s girlfriend’s accounting, with the physical evidence and with the video from the police department. The only accounting that doesn’t match up with the evidence and the witnesses is George Zimmerman’s.

Meanwhile, the Martin family is being subjected to having their son’s name dragged through the mud by the Zimmermans and the Sanford Police Department. When you’re dealing with sociopathic behavior, you have to call it what it is. Failure to do so only enables those engaging in the behavior to inflict more harm.

George Zimmerman lied. His father lied. Their lies have caused excessive and unnecessary pain to the Martin family. If Zimmerman is finally arrested for this crime and charged, the fact that his actions post killing don’t suggest regret, sorrow or empathy should play a part in his sentencing if he’s found guilty.

But let us not be guilty in the meantime of falling for the siren call of a sociopath. This isn’t about President Obama. It’s not about Trayvon’s backpack. It’s not about anything except a man who shot and killed a 17 year old boy and lied about the circumstances surrounding that shooting. Mr. Zimmerman was assisted in his lies by his father and the police department. The whys of those lies are our business. The rule of law is part of how we maintain order in a civilized country; while in contrast, this case is an example of how we can destroy the social fabric, invoke chaos instead of order and invite the dominance of sociopathic behavior by ignoring the rule of law.

When is it enough? America wants to know just what it will take for the arrest of George Zimmerman, and we’d also like an apology for Trayvon Martin and his family. We can’t have even a semblance of justice if there is no trial, though I think we all know by now that Lady Justice isn’t blind.

Image: therefornow.org

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The Republican Definition of Courage is Harming Children, Seniors and the Poor

Mar 31 2012 Published by under Featured News

A courageous person displays mental or moral strength to withstand peril, fear, or difficulty in a precarious situation and it is normally attributed to one who opposes a more powerful adversary despite danger to themselves. Heroes exhibit courage in the face of danger and if their actions preserve lives they are rewarded with accolades and recognition as exceptional members of society. The opposite of courage is cowardice and, for most people, it is a label to avoid at all costs. This past week Republicans lauded Paul Ryan’s budget as courageous and they rewarded his effort with a nearly unanimous vote in the House that was split along party lines. Ten Republicans defected and no Democrats voted for the plan that portrays Republicans as rank cowards who targeted seniors, children, and the poor with Draconian cuts while rewarding the wealthy and their corporations with entitlements paid for with Medicare, food stamps, and demolition of safety nets.

Republicans consider themselves courageous for targeting the least fortunate among us, but they are closer to weaklings who depend on the rich and powerful to fight their battles from behind the scenes, and the media, lobbyists, and conservative pundits are complicit in inflicting pain and suffering on those least able to defend themselves. In fact, a brief perusal of Ryan’s budget further portrays Republicans as cowards who lack courage to withstand peril of opposing their corporate masters and it is not limited to Republicans in the House; nearly all Republicans are cowards and bullies.

There has been chapter and verse written on the vile nature of eliminating Medicare and replacing it with a privatization scam that leaves seniors who paid into the system their entire working lives with lower quality healthcare coverage and higher costs to enrich the insurance industry. Republicans have attempted to dismantle the program since its inception to shift the savings to the wealthy and the insurance industry, and they took one step closer by passing Ryan’s Heritage Foundation budget on Thursday. However, it is the assault on children that reveals the cowardice of Republicans.

America’s children are already in jeopardy of going hungry with over 20% living below the poverty line and half of the 46-million American’s relying of food stamps for survival are children. The courageous Ryan budget gets 62% of its cuts from safety nets for low-income families that struggle to feed, provide healthcare, and educate their children and as usual, the cowardly Republicans target programs that work. The food stamp program (SNAP) prevented 1.3 million children from falling into poverty, and proof that SNAP is successful is that as child poverty rates increased, child hunger declined. Ryan and his cowardly cohorts targeted children regardless that they don’t belong to advocacy groups, vote or donate to politicians and yet the oil industry, the wealthy, and corporations are rewarded with a 10% tax cut on top of their never-ending Bush-era cuts courageous Republicans fight to extend as a matter-of-course.

Ryan’s budget cuts intended to hurt the poor was not the end of Republican’s courageous action. In the GOP-controlled House on Monday, legislators on both sides of the aisle changed derivative rules in the Dodd-Frank financial reform act that places new limits on regulating derivatives. Americans for Financial Reform are suspicious that the two new bills would increase instability and risk in markets. They claim that exempting end users from margin requirements will encourage large corporations to make riskier trades using “derivative swaps” because they will no longer be required to have cash reserves if deals go bad. A former Goldman Sachs vice-president advocating for market reforms wrote that “This can cause a liquidity crisis at the very time that the company is most vulnerable, resulting in a death spiral,” and it is that lack of regulatory control that caused the market crash of 2007-2008; the world is still recovering. The critics also argue that banks will conduct larger, riskier swaps between their affiliates that, according to the two bills, “essentially removes them for all regulatory authority.” Previous attempts to roll back the landmark financial reform act failed to gain traction in the Senate, and Senate Democrats will surely closely examine the two new bills to protect the economy from facing another devastating setback.

The Republican cowards in the Senate blocked an attempt by Democrats to end tax breaks for the major oil companies on Thursday and it demonstrates their lack of courage in making cuts that save American taxpayer dollars. If Republicans were courageous, they would stand up to the oil industry and assure Americans who are increasingly concerned about rising gas prices they were looking out for the people. A CNN/ORC poll released Thursday found that 7 in 10 Americans blame oil companies for rising fuel prices and not the Obama Administration. The poll revealed that a majority of Americans say increasing gas prices have caused hardship for their families, and Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, portrayed eliminating the oil subsidies as a “tax hike that we all knew ahead of time didn’t have the votes to pass.” Majority Leader Harry Reid noticed Republican courage in protecting big oil and said, “If Republicans continue to stand up for oil companies making record profits, one thing will be obvious: Republicans care less about bringing down gas prices than about helping big oil companies that don’t need the help.”

It is not in Republicans’ makeup to help those who truly need it and they have reiterated that with every budget proposal and policy decision. Ryan in particular is of the Ayn Rand school of thought that the least fortunate deserve to be punished by Republicans and he said as much in a speech at the Heritage Foundation last October. Ryan said, “We’re coming close to a tipping point in America where we might have a net majority of takers versus makers in society and that could become very dangerous if it sets in as a permanent condition.” The makers versus takers remark is straight out of Ayn Rand ideology that Ryan subscribes to and defines Republican cowardice in hurting the poor who lack political clout and a voice to defend themselves.

Ryan is a courageous as long as he is causing harm to children, seniors, and the poor. His tax reform in the Path to Prosperity gives the rich and their corporations larger tax cuts while raising taxes on working Americans, and his cowardice in not increasing revenue will add to the deficit now and over the long haul. Republicans are brave as long as they are assaulting the weak where there is little risk, and weaklings in standing up to moneyed interests like the oil industry, the wealthy, and corporations who donate to their campaign chests. Republicans are twisted if courage means bullying hungry children into poverty and eliminating seniors’ healthcare, and they tremble at the notion of offending the rich and powerful. It is grievous that Republicans find courage and virtue in causing the least fortunate among us misery, but that is the price Americans pay for giving cowards and bullies a voice in government.

 

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Taking a Ride on Bryan Fischer's Secular Sharia Crazy Bus

Mar 31 2012 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

On Friday, Bryan Fischer, Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association (AFA), best known as a man who hates everything and everyone, caught a ride on the Crazy Bus. He has always been a poster-boy for Ten Commandment intolerance. By that, I mean that he opposes as a matter of principle, everything and anything that is not approved of by his highly selective, ahistorical (meaning unconcerned with or unrelated to history) understanding of “Judeo-Christian” beliefs.

Now, he’s on rocky ground anyway because “Judeo-Christian” is an ideological construct and so his arguments rest on a false premise, but for a Gentile like Fischer, who ignores two points of the Law of Moses for each one he supports, to go on about the need to write them into America law is just a wee bit hypocritical. But it’s far more convoluted and bizarre than you might imagine. Strap yourselves in.

On his AFA blog, Fischer claims “The Ten Commandments of the Judeo-Christian tradition supplied the foundation for the American political experiment.” The complete and absolute dissimilarity between the two ought to be his first clue that he’s dancing on thin ice but he prefers to turns his dancing into stomping when he tries to legitimize his stupidity by appealing to George Washington, a man who while he was president of the Constitutional Convention did not write the Constitution:

“As George Washington said, ‘Of all the disposition and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensible supports.’”

He can’t actually cite the Constitution itself, since the Constitution mentions neither God nor Bible, neither Jesus nor Ten Commandments. Factually, the Constitution has as its central prop English Common Law, which also has nothing to do with the Ten Commandments.

Yet Fischer rushes to put words in Washington’s mouth to justify his use of the quote:  “By ‘Religion,’ Washington meant Christianity, and by ‘morality’ he meant the Ten Commandments. In other words, according to the Father of our country, it is impossible to have political prosperity without building on the platform of the Christian religion and Christian morality.”

A head-scratcher if there ever was one. Stuff like this actually makes sense to fundamentalist Christians. It’s almost as nonsensical as this claim, which I just invented:

“George Washington said ‘Of all the foods which make up a healthy breakfast, fruits and vegetables are indispensible.’ By fruit and vegetables Washington meant apples and asparagus, therefore what he was saying is that you can’t have a healthy breakfast without apples and asparagus.”

Which brings us to the purpose of Fischer’s latest piece of insanity:

But this is the very thing secular fundamentalists despise. So they have, in effect, written their own moral code on tablets of stone, to replace the moral code on which the Founders established our political and cultural life.

Well, yes, we do despise your lies, Mr. Fischer. Absolutely! But to call the Constitution a moral code is a tad bit tendentious – that’s a term we’d use for the Ten Commandments and here you can see what Fischer is trying to do: If the Constitution is inspired by or based upon the Ten Commandments, it must also be a moral code. Mr. Fischer loves false equivalencies.

“These new commandments must be obeyed,” he complains, as though you could have such a thing as commandments which must not be obeyed, another head-scratcher, “and those who flout them will receive the most severe and unyielding punishments” – oh, like the curses that fall upon Israel for disregarding the Ten Commandments? The curses you say are going to fall on our heads if we disobey, like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes? That kind of punishment? No, turns out liberal punishments are less severe than divine wrath: “censure, excommunication, (say, from graduate counseling programs), and fines in the forms of legal fees to the secular imams at the ACLU.”

And hilarity ensued! You almost wonder if Fischer isn’t trying to lampoon himself. It’s not as though religious groups don’t routinely “excommunicate” gay people or others who don’t toe the religious line supported by Mr. Fischer! Nossir! And Fischer seems completely unaware that the ACLU often supports Christians.

But of course he is far from unaware. The trouble with inconvenient facts are that they are, well…inconvenient. They must therefore be ignored. That is why Fischer prefers that quote to this, from George Washington to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island, in 1790:

For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens.

Notice he did not say “should follow the Ten Commandments” or “be good Christians,” only that we should “demean” ourselves as “good citizens.” Oh those inconvenient facts!

One other observation before we continue: Fischer has an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Stanford University but you wonder how he graduated when he says things like this:

“The Constitution is based on the Ten Commandments, therefore we must legislate the Ten Commandments into law”.

Excuse me, but if the Constitution is based on the Ten Commandments, haven’t the Ten Commandments already been legislated into law by the Founding Fathers?

I’m beginning to wonder whose !##% he @#%@# to get his degree. I mean, I also have a BA in philosophy, which included classes in logic, and as my first professor told us, this would teach us to “recognize bullshit when we see it” and to not make similarly stupid statements ourselves.

And on the subjects of stupid statements and bullshit, we come to Fischer’s “Ten Commandments of secular Sharia”:

1. “Government, not Yahweh, is God.” Secular fundamentalists want us to look to government for everything we we were once taught to look for from God. Government is all knowing, all powerful, all wise, all caring. You know, all the things God used to be.

2. “You shall have no gods, period.” The goal of secular fundamentalists is the extermination of any and all mentions of God and Christ in the public arena. The only exceptions to the “no god” rule will be for Gaia and Allah. Gaia is to be worshiped, and any blasphemy against her, by plundering her for such things as the fuel on which the world runs, will be met with the severest punishment and condemnation.

3. “You shall not take the name of the homosexual agenda or Islam in vain.” If you do, we will land on you like a falling safe. Profanity, blasphemy, vulgarity, obscenity, pornography, all are fine. Criticize homosexual conduct, on the other hand, and we will cause the wrath of our god to descend upon you as a consuming fire. You will be silenced, marginalized and treated as a leper. We secularists have freedom of speech but you cretinous conservatives do not. If you have a problem with sexually deviant behavior, you are by definition a homophobic hatemonger and we don’t have to listen to you.

4. “Observe Halloween, Labor Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as holy days. Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving, on the other hand, must be wiped off school calendars as if they never existed.”

5. “Honor your father and mother – by which we mean liberal politicians, since they have turned government into your mommy and your daddy.” No husband, no problem: government will be the head of your home. No father, no problem: government will be your provider and raise your children for you.

6. “You shall not murder – unless it’s a defenseless baby in the womb.”

7. “You shall not commit adultery – unless it’s with another man’s wife. Fornication and sodomy without repercussions and penalty are okay too. And we’re working on polygamy and pedophilia.” Anyone who disagrees, and says anything remotely critical of such behaviors, will be subject to the wrath of the holy and righteous prophets of secular Sharia in the out-of-the-mainstream media, who will call down fire and brimstone on those who dare to challenge the sexual orthodoxy of leftist libertines.

8. “You shall not steal – unless it’s to plunder from the producers what they have earned to give to the non-producers what they have not earned.” Anyone who complains about this involuntary transfer of wealth will be judged by the secular mullahs as evil, greedy capitalists and silenced. Right after they have been ripped off.

9. “You shall not bear false witness – unless it is to tell blatant lies about the Constitution, American history, the economy, unemployment figures and drilling for oil.” As long as you are lying to advance the power and reach of government, or get a leftist politician reelected, it’s okay. Secularists have their own version of taqqiya, just like the Muslims do.

10. “You shall not covet anything – as long as it belongs to people who are poorer than you. If they have more money than you, they are evil oppressors who must be plundered of their ill-gotten wealth by our government overlords so it can be redistributed to the lazy, shiftless and irresponsible.”

Fischer wants to know “I miss anything?” and I think I can safely answer this for him: Yes, Mr. Fischer. You missed pretty much everything except the departure of the crazy bus.

The first commandment ought to be, ‘Thou shall not proceed from false premises” and you have broken that one and the punishment is self-evident:  Once you begin an argument with “The Constitution is based on the Ten Commandments, therefore…” you have consigned the rest of your argument to logical fallacy hell, from which it will never surface.

The extent to which your followers agree with you is a measure not of the truth of you statement but of their own catastrophic ignorance and bigotry.

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Better Pizza, Better Boycott: Papa John’s Drops Rush Limbaugh

Mar 30 2012 Published by under Featured News

Despite the fact that Rush Limbaugh and his P.R. offensive have declared the boycott over, Papa John’s has dropped Rush Limbaugh.

In response to the BoycottRush campaign, Papa John’s has announced that they are going to discontinue their advertising on Rush Limbaugh’s program.

Interestingly enough, this news came shortly after Limbaugh went on a P.R. offensive in order to declare the boycott finished. Rush even went as far as to compare the boycott against him to the shooting of Trayvon Martin. The problem for Rush is that while he was proclaiming victory, he lost three more advertisers. Kohler, and Legal Zoom have also bailed on Limbaugh’s show in the last few days.

Limbaugh’s standard defense has been to claim that his ratings are up since the boycott, but what he keeps forgetting is that Glenn Beck’s ratings went up while he was being boycotted to. This boycott isn’t about ratings. It’s about advertisers. Sure some advertisers may trickle back in, but pardon me if I express some skepticism at the timing of the Washington Post proclamation that the boycott is over.

Rush Limbaugh hired a P.R. firm/crisis management team and low and behold, a couple of weeks later The Washington Post is proclaiming the boycott dead. As much as Rush Limbaugh hopes beyond hope that it will, this boycott isn’t going to just up and go away one day. That isn’t how these things work. The boycotters will keep going. They will keep pressuring any advertiser who comes back to Rush Limbaugh’s program. Day after day after day, they will be there. Rush Limbaugh will never escape their watchful eye.

Unlike conservatives, progressives and liberals don’t cut and run when things get tough. They didn’t quit when Glenn Beck and Fox News pushed back on them, and they aren’t going to quit now. The truth is that Rush Limbaugh isn’t personally feeling the pain of this boycott. He has a contract, and he is still getting paid. What terrifies Rush Limbaugh in the darkness of night, what wakes him up in a cold sweat is the knowledge that the boycotters have found his weak spot.

This boycott is attacking the support beam that holds his empire together. Rush Limbaugh’s entire success is based on one thing, advertiser dollars. If those advertiser dollars dry up, the market for Rush Limbaugh goes bye-bye. Ratings don’t matter. It is all about the advertising.

Limbaugh can keep talking about his ratings, but as long as advertisers continue to leave, the boycott is successful, and Rush Limbaugh’s broadcast empire remains in jeopardy.

Image: Slice Harvester

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Right Wing Hypocrites Stay Silent When Obama Discusses Melissa Jenkins Murder

Mar 30 2012 Published by under Featured News

Those on the right who accused President Obama of spreading hate with his comments about Trayvon Martin were oddly silent when the president discussed murder victim Melissa Jenkins today.

Here is the video of President Obama discussing the Jenkins murder from C-SPAN:

The President said, “One last thing I want to do. I want to express my condolences to everybody who knew and loved Melissa Jenkins, because I know some of the elected officials are going on to that funeral. This is a woman by all accounts, who devoted her life to her community and helping to shape young minds. And I know that Vermont’s heart broken, so all we can do is live our lives that in a way that pays tribute to hers, by looking out to her students and her son, and Michelle and I want to express our thoughts and prayers to everyone who knew her. I know that’s a tough situation.”

Compare these expressions of sympathy to what President Obama said about Trayvon Martin,

Well, I’m the head of the executive branch, and the attorney general reports to me, so I’ve got to be careful about my statements to make sure that we’re not impairing any investigation that’s taking place right now.

But obviously, this is a tragedy. I can only imagine what these parents are going through. And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids. And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together – federal, state and local – to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.

So I’m glad that not only is the Justice Department looking into it, I understand now that the governor of the state of Florida has formed a task force to investigate what’s taking place. I think all of us have to do some soul-searching to figure out how does something like this happen. And that means that examine the laws and the context for what happened, as well as the specifics of the incident.

But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon. And I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves, and that we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.

The basic message of sympathy and condolences is the same. Yet the right was outraged about Obama’s remarks about Trayvon Martin, but they have said nothing about his remarks today in Vermont? President Obama’s remarks in Vermont obliterated the right’s claim that the president never talks about murder cases. Why aren’t they out there arguing that President Obama is spreading hate and trying to politically profit from the Jenkins case?

There is one key difference between Trayvon Martin and Melissa Jenkins. Obama’s remarks about Trayvon Martin presented the right with the perfect opportunity to remind their supporters that he is an African-American. On a deeper level their criticism and faux outrage is designed to give the impression that Obama gives preferential treatment to African-Americans. Their message is that white America should fear the black man in the White House, because he is prejudiced against you and won’t give you a fair deal.

The only thing more obvious than their political cynicism is their hypocrisy.

It isn’t President Obama who is trying to politically benefit from the Trayvon Martin case. His critics on the right, including George Zimmerman’s father, have made this shooting a racial and political issue. You better believe that if Melissa Jenkins had been an African-American, the right would have seized on the president’s prayers and sympathy as more evidence of Obama’s “racism.”

Why is it that the right only has a problem with Obama making any statements about a crime or an incident is when the victim isn’t white? Apparently, the Republican political Jim Crow laws give Obama permission to speak only in sympathy and support of white people.

The right’s reaction to the president’s remarks in both cases goes beyond separate and not equal. It is a shameful and ludicrous pander to the darkest parts of our collective character. It is a desperate political tactic carried out by even more desperate men in the twilight of their power. It is also a gambit that is destined to fail.

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Current Ridiculously Fires Keith Olbermann for 'Disrespect'

Mar 30 2012 Published by under Featured News

Current TV announced today that they have fired Keith Olbermann because he lacked the values of, “respect, openness, collegiality.”

Current TV head honchos Al Gore & Joel Hyatt announced the canning of KO via a memo,

We created Current to give voice to those Americans who refuse to rely on corporate-controlled media and are seeking an authentic progressive outlet. We are more committed to those goals today than ever before.

Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.

We are moving ahead by honoring Current’s values. Current has a fundamental obligation to deliver news programming with a progressive perspective that our viewers can count on being available daily — especially now, during the presidential election campaign. Current exists because our audience desires the kind of perspective, insight and commentary that is not easily found elsewhere in this time of big media consolidation.

There is something naively surreal about the Current TV statement. This is Keith Olbermann we are talking about. KO has a track record a mile long of being difficult to work with. What did they really expect? (I also have a sneaking suspicion that the folks and Current didn’t quite live up to their end of the bargain, and Olbermann likely has some valid reasons for disappointment). Keith Olbermann has had trouble with his bosses no matter where he has worked before. Olbermann is one of the best broadcasting talents out there, and many including myself thought that by making KO his own boss would provide the perfect creative environment for him.

The Olbermann/Current TV marriage was a surprise when it was announced, but the Countdown broadcast itself provided a unique outlet for stories that too often were ignored, such as Occupy Wall Street. The conflict between Olbermann and Current had been brewing since January. It all began with a very public battle over GOP primary coverage, and it ended with Olbermann being shown the door today.

Unlike when Keith Olbermann and MSNBC parted ways, Al Gore and Current TV made it clear that they were firing the Countdown host. The move to Current was always a questionable one for both sides. It was obvious from the very beginning that the channel did not have the budget for the kind of studio and setup that a name brand like Countdown needed. Olbermann did good shows there, but he never really seemed to get comfortable at Current. Even at its best, Countdown was never quite right in its new home.

MSNBC has moved on and done just fine with Ed Schultz providing the 8 PM emotion with a dash of bluster program. After MSNBC and now Current TV, Keith Olbermann probably should go be his own boss, and do his own thing.

Firing Keith Olbermann for disrespect is a lot like buying a lion, and then wondering why it is trying to eat you. What you see is what you get with Olbermann, and it would have been more believable if Gore and Hyatt would have said that Olbermann on Current wasn’t working.

The Olbermann/Current fiasco proves the old adage, “If you are going to stick your head out the car window, don’t be surprised if you swallow a bug.” Gore and Current knew what they were getting with KO, so the attempt to cover their own butts by proclaiming him a bad team player doesn’t wash.

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Scott Walker Tastes Defeat As Part Of Union Busting Bill Gets Struck Down

Mar 30 2012 Published by under Featured News

It’s almost as if the stars are out to get Governor Scott Walker. Just today the Government Accountability Board certified that there are indeed enough valid signatures to proceed with the recall of his highness, in the event that he is not implicated in the John Doe investigation prior to that recall. And in addition, today a court struck down part of his union busting bill saying there is “no rational basis” for it.

A judge said that, not me.

The judge ruled that two provisions in the union busting bill were no good: he ordered that the automatic dues withdrawal be reinstated as well as ruling that annual certification can’t be required.

Judge William Conley found, “The state provided no rational basis for requiring a majority of union members — not just those voting — to approve recertification.

Conley immediately enjoined the state from the vote requirement and set a deadline of May 12 to return to the automatic deduction of union dues for all members of public employees to give “already burdened” local and state governments time to adjust.”

The “already burdened” local and state government is the government tripping over themselves to adjust to another of Walker’s laws that was put on hold, his voter ID law. This is conservative “small government” in action. Millions spent in order to push an activist corporate agenda, most of which gets overturned and thrown out or mitigated in the end because it doesn’t hold up under our laws.

You might think that would give Americans pause, or at least conservatives. But then, when your emotions drive your decisions and ideology rules over real values, this is what you get. Scott Walker has delivered a real cluster mess of botched legislation, only serving to make government more expensive and less effective.

Mitt Romney has hopped on the Walker express, hoping a bit of Scott’s radical “conservatism” will rub off on him. Romney sure knows how to pick a winner.

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Romney/Palin 2012: Could Mitt Get Desperate Enough For This?

Mar 30 2012 Published by under Featured News

It’s just possible that Sarah Louise Heath born a stone’s throw from Randy Weaver’s infamous Ruby Ridge, Idaho, could be Mitt Romney’s 2012 running mate if Romney captures the Republican Presidential nomination. Probably not, but humor me here.

I apologize. I should have started with Sarah Louise Heath Palin. Let us proceed. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that at least the far right wing of the Republican Party will seriously push for Palin for VP. Let’s check her media & travel CV for the last couple of years.

For a few months, TLC Cable Network carried something called ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska’. It debuted in November of 2010 to a record first-episode viewing audience of 5 million. By the next week 2 million of those folks had taken a hike out of Sarah Palin’s Alaska. It left the air to never return, in January of 2011.

But Sarah didn’t miss a beat. She gets an estimated $100,000 a pop every time she sashays to the podium. A couple of years ago, a California judge ordered Cal-State University, Stanislaus to reveal the contents of a Palin contract for a speech to be delivered at the school. She cut Cal-State a break on the fee -  $75,000, but the contract demanded first-class air travel, ‘deluxe’ hotel accommodations, and a chauffer-driven SUV or black Town Car to carry her to and fro.

Last year she concentrated on something called a one-nation tour well covered at that time by my Politicus colleagues. As you’ll recall, Palin toured historic sites in a giant Willie Nelson-type tour bus about the size of a rolling football field. Emblazoned across the back were the words, Join the “Fundamental Restoration of America”.

Palin sojourned in such historic stops as Mount Vernon, Fort McHenry, Gettysburg, Independence Hall and the Statue of Liberty. Hopefully there wasn’t a quiz at the end of this ego trip because she doesn’t know shit about history or little else of consequence. Would that unalterable fact prevent consideration for VP? It didn’t in 2008, why would it four years later?

Palin is definitely keeping current. Wednesday, March 28th she contributed a piece to Fox Nation entitled “God, Guns, the Constitution – Still Clinging.” She wrote about a new book that’s she’s recommending, “Dispatches from Bitter America: a Gun Toting, Chicken Eating, Son of a Baptist’s Culture War Stories.” By a Todd Starnes. It was apparently too late to insert ‘minority killing’ Culture War Stories. It’s all about the Obama Administration’s war on religious liberty. I wonder what right-wing ‘Think Tank’ will buy many thousands of copies to make it look like a big seller.

So she’s still very much present. But why would I think she would be invited to join the Romney ticket? For one of the same reasons she was selected to join John McCain in 2008. She’s a woman. The GOP desperately needs a high-profile woman in 2012. The republican ‘War on Women’ is huge for Obama/Biden. Women will elect Obama. The clueless Romney gets little help from Ann, his adoring, but apparently equally clueless wife. When she does mention women, she talks about their concerns about the economy and the deficit. No meaningful women’s issues like reproductive rights and pay discrimination seem to escape her lips. The Romneys have no distaff game.

Of course, Sarah is also clueless and devoid of any positions remotely appealing to the population of women who read and think beyond soap operas and six screaming kids under ten. Not terribly helpful in gaining the women’s vote other than the gooberette Deep South or perennially pregnant, Fox News, bible groupies.  Sooooo – it’s up to the menfolk. That’s the target electorate for a Palin vice-presidency. Right-wing men primarily think of women as objects; cook, clean and cavort. Give ’em a gun and a gal and they’re good to go. Read a paper? Research an issue? Take the word of anybody other than Limbaugh, O’Reilly and Hannity?

About as likely as watching RuPaul’s Drag Race.

I got hell in the comment section once for kidding about the hemline of South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley when I went for a constituent visit. I give a shit about the governor’s hemline. But I’m telling you that’s what goobers fantasize about; hemlines and Palin as a sex object. That’s goobertown. They talk about guns, God and gays? It’s guns, God, gays and GALS! And that’s the only reason Palin might possibly be invited to board the Romney campaign bus. I know it sounds shallow and it is, but everybody avoids the obvious. Other than goober wet dreams, she has nothing to offer thinking human beings, but the male camo-crowd can be seduced to vote for a GOP ticket with Palin.

There was a discussion just the other night on MSNBC’s Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell about the male side of the political sex equation. It was decided that good looks and sex appeal matter in a presidential election and Jack Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were named as examples. So pay attention – the same thing applies to females.

On the negative side of the Palin political ledger, unless there is a brokered convention with a third-party run by the likes of Huntsman or Bloomberg, Sarah will never get in the near-term what she truly lives for, the chance to be president. A Ron Paul Libertarian Party move does her no good whatsoever. Those are votes mostly stolen from conservatives.

There’s also the matter of husband Todd and his dalliances at the Anchorage massage parlor. Anchorage cops immediately cleared Palin of having any involvement with a prostitution ring. That wasn’t the point. People in the building heard moans coming from the naughty masseuses office soon after Todd entered. I believe them. I’ve never seen a story buried as quickly as that one, but methinks that tabloid body could be exhumed by the judicious spreading around of a few hundred thou. The final and most likely deadly blow to Palin’s chances would be the fact that neither Karl Rove nor Roger Ailes like her anymore. Most of it stems from the fact that Palin elected to tell a talk show host she wasn’t running for president instead of breaking the story on the network that’s paying her $1 million a year through 2013.

But political dynamics can change in a finger-snap. Palin has already pledged to attend the GOP convention in Tampa and it’s not just to wear one of those silly hats.

 

 

 

 

 

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