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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

HUMOR VS. HITMEN: PART TWO (END)

In Bureaucracy, History, Humor, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 23, 2018 at 12:03 am

In March, 2013, the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its Right-wing allies declared war on comedian Jim Carrey.

The reason: His music parody video: “Cold Dead Hand,” which mocked gun fanatics and the late Charlton Heston, former president of the NRA.

Click here: Jim Carrey’s Pro-Gun Control Stance Angers Conservatives

Among its lyrics:

Charlton Heston movies are no longer in demand
And his immortal soul may lay forever in the sand.
The angels wouldn’t take him up to heaven like he’d planned.
’Cause they couldn’t pry that gun from his cold, dead hand.

The phrase, “cold dead hand,” originated with Heston himself.

Charlton Heston in his prime

On May 20, 2000, the actor and then-president of the NRA addressed the organization at its 129th convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He warned that then-Vice President and Democratic Presidential candidade Al Gore “is going to smear you as the enemy,” and concluded:

“So, as we set out this year to defeat the divisive forces that would take freedom away, I want to say those fighting words for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed, and especially for you, Mr. Gore: ‘From my cold, dead hands!’”

Carrey’s stance on gun control couldn’t have been more opposite.

In in February, 2013, he outraged Right-wingers by tweeting: “Any1 who would run out to buy an assault rifle after the Newton massacre has very little left in their body or soul worth protecting.”

 Jim Carrey

Fox Nation referred to the tweet as “nasty.”  

Red Alert Politics writer Erin Brown dismissed it as “a careless remark …rooted in the shallow, parroted talking points so commonly espoused by liberal elites.”

But that was nothing compared to the rage that has greeted “Cold Dead Hand.” Reason TV’s Remy offered a parody rebuttal to Carrey’s song. Its lyrics included:

It takes a talking ass
to oppose a vaccination
when your PhD is in
making funny faces.

None of which bothered Carrey. In fact, he exulted in Right-wing outrage, tweeting: “Cold Dead Hand’ is abt u heartless motherf%ckers unwilling 2 bend 4 the safety of our kids. Sorry if you’re offended…”

Among its lyrics:

It takes a cold, dead hand to decide to pull the trigger.
Takes a cold, dead heart and as near as I can figger.
With your cold, dead aim you’re tryin’ to prove your dick is bigger …..

Many psychologists have long theorized that a fascination with firearms can compensate for inadequate sexual performance.

But it’s one thing for an unknown psychologist to write this in an obscure medical journal—and another for a famous comedian to splash it across the Internet.

Carrey is especially ruthless in attacking those who—like the NRA—make a lucrative living off gun sales:

Imagine if the Lord were here…
And on the ones
Who sell the guns
He’d sic the vultures and coyotes
Only the devil’s true devotees
Could profiteer
From pain and fear.

Many Rightists attacked Carrey for parodying a man—Heston—who died in 2008 and could not defend himself. But Heston had appeared several times on “Saturday Night Live” to spoof his granite-hard image.

In his video, Carrey dares to attack not simply the masculinity of the Rightist NRA crowd, but even its courage:

You don’t want to get caught
With your trousers down
When the psycho killer
Comes around
So you make your home
Like a Thunderdome
And you’re always packin’
Everywhere you roam.

Perhaps that’s what most outraged the Right—the accusation that its members live in fear and do their best to generate needless fear in others. 

Fear that can supposedly be abated by turning America into a society where everyone packs a weapon and every moment holds a potential High Noon.

Carrey was not shy in responding to his Rightist critics. On March 29, 2013, he issued this statement:

“Since I released my “Cold Dead Hand” video on Funny or Die this week, I have watched Fux News rant, rave, bare its fangs and viciously slander me because of my stand against large magazines and assault rifles.

“I would take them to task legally if I felt they were worth my time or that anyone with a brain in their head could actually fall for such irresponsible buffoonery. That would gain them far too much attention which is all they really care about.

“I’ll just say this: in my opinion Fux News is a last resort for kinda-sorta-almost-journalists whose options have been severely limited by their extreme and intolerant views; a media colostomy bag that has begun to burst at the seams and should be emptied before it becomes a public health issue.”

The NRA has spent decades bribing and intimidating its way through Congress. Those members who subscribe to its “guns for everyone” agenda get legalized bribes (i.e., “campaign contributions”).

Those who refuse to do so face the threat—if not the reality—of being ousted. 

Bullies are conspicuously vulnerable to ridicule. Their only “defense” is to smash anyone who dares to mock their folly, brutality or pretense to omnipotence.  

Or, as Ernest Hemingway once put it: “Fascism is a lie told by bullies.”

HUMOR VS. HITMEN: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In Bureaucracy, History, Humor, Law Enforcement, Social commentary on February 22, 2018 at 12:05 am

Bullies do not like to be mocked.

Anyone who doubts this need only examine the Right’s reaction to actor Jim Carrey’s March, 2013 “Cold Dead Hand”  music video.

In this, Carrey—–a strong advocate of gun control—mocked the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its right-wing allies.

These included rural America and (for the video’s purposes) the late actor Charlton Heston, who served as the NRA’s five-term president (1998-2003).

Jim Carrey as Charlton Heston

The video featured Carrey and alt-rock band Eels as “Lonesome Earl And The Clutterbusters,” a country band on a TV set modeled after the 1960s variety show, “Hee Haw.” Carrey also portrayed Heston as a dim-witted, teeth-clenching champion of the NRA.

“I find the gun problem frustrating,” Carrey said in a press release, “and ‘Cold Dead Hand’ is my fun little way of expressing that frustration.”

Carrey’s frustration triggered NRA outrage.

Click here: Jim Carrey’s Pro-Gun Control Stance Angers Conservatives

Fox News personality Greg Gutfeld ranted: “He is probably the most pathetic tool on the face of the earth and I hope his career is dead and I hope he ends up sleeping in a car.

“This video made me want to go out and buy a gun. He thinks this is biting satire going after rural America and a dead man… He’s a dirty, stinking coward… He’s such a pathetic, sad, little freak. He’s a gibbering mess. He’s a modern bigot.”

Columnist Larry Elder spared no venom in attacking Carrey: “Let’s be charitable—call Carrey ignorant, not stupid.”

Click here: Jim Carrey: Not ‘Dumb & Dumber,’ Just Ignorant

Much of his March 29 column centered on defending Heston, who died at 84 in 2008.

A lyric in Carrey’s song says “Charlton Heston’s movies are no longer in demand.” This prompted Elder to defend the continuing popularity of Heston’s 1956 movie, “The Ten Commandments,” where he played Moses.

Elder felt compelled to defend Heston’s off-screen persona as well, citing his 64-year marriage to his college sweetheart, Lydia.

On the other hand, writes Elder, Carrey, “followed the well-worn Hollywood path: Get famous; get rich; dump the first wife/mother of your kid(s), who stood by you during the tough times; and act out your social life in the tabs to the embarrassment of your kid(s).”

Clearly, Carrey’s video struck a nerve with Right-wing gun fanatics. But why?

Start with Gutfield’s accusation that Carry was “going after rural America.”

Rural America—home of the most superstitious, ignorant and knee-jerk Fascistic elements in American society—boastfully refers to itself as “The Heartland.”

In short: a prime NRA and Rightist constituency.

It was rural America to which Senator Barack Obama referred—accurately—during his 2008 Presidential campaign:

“They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Second, there’s Elder’s outrage that Carrey should dare to say that Heston’s movies “are no longer in demand.”

Among these movies: “Major Dundee,” “El Cid,” “Khartoum,” “The War Lord.” And even the hammiest film for which he is best-known: “The Ten Commandments.”

In a film career spanning 62 years, Heston vividly portrayed such historical characters as:

  • Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar in “El Cid’:
  • Mark Anthony in “Julius Caesar”;
  • John the Baptist in “The Greatest Story Ever Told”;
  • Andrew Jackson in “The President’s Lady” and “The Buccaneer”;
  • Michaelangelo in “The Agony and the Ecstasy”;
  • General Charles Gordon in “Khartoun.”

And he played fictitious characters, too:

  • Civil War officers (“Major Dundee”);
  • Norman knights (“The War Lord”);
  • Ranchers (“Three Violent People”;
  • Explorers (“The Naked Jungle”).
  • Judah Ben-Hur (“Ben-Hur”); and
  • Astronauts (“Planet of the Apes”)’

Heston was a widely respected actor who won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1959 for “Ben Hur” and servecd as the president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1965 to 1971.

But it was not Heston’s film career that Carrey focused on—but his role as president of the NRA.

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Charlton Heston at the NRA convention

Ironically, Heston had identified himself with liberal causes long before he became the face and voice of the gun lobby.

In 1961, he campaigned for Senator John F. Kennedy for President.  In 1963, he took part in Martin Luther King’s March on Washington.

In 1968, after the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, he joined actors Kirk Douglas, James Stewart and Gregory Peck in issuing a statement supporting President Lyndon Johnson’s Gun Control Act of 1968.

But over the coming decades, Heston became increasingly conservative:

  • Reportedly voting for Richard Nixon in 1972;
  • Supporting gun rights; and
  • Campaigning for Republican Presidential candidates Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

When asked why he changed political alliances, Heston replied: “I didn’t change. The Democratic party changed.”

MORE SONGS IN THE KEY OF TREASON

In Bureaucracy, History, Humor, Law Enforcement, Military, Politics, Social commentary on February 9, 2018 at 12:28 am

President Donald Trump has accused Democrats of treason. Their crime? Not applauding him during his State of the Union message.

But Article Three of the United States Constitution defines treason as:

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”

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United States Constitution

In short, actions such as colluding with a foreign power hostile to the United States (such as Russia) to subvert America’s democratic election process.

Example #1: The infamous June, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower starring Donald Trump’s son, Donald, Jr.; Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and Trump’s then-campaign manager, Paul Manafort. Its purpose: To obtain from Russian Intelligence agents “dirt” on Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. 

Example #2: On May 9, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey for investigating Russia’s subversion of the 2016 Presidential race.

The next day, he met with Russian Foreign Minister  Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office. During that meeting, Trump shared highly classified Israeli Intelligence about an Islamic State plot to turn laptops into bombs.

TRAITORS ON THE RIGHT
(To be sung to the tune of “Strangers in the Night”)

Traitors on the Right
Exchanging glances
Plotting in the night.
What were the chances
They’d love the KGB
And strangle liberty?

Treason for the Right
Was so inviting.
Treason for the Right
Was so exciting.
Something in their hearts
Said, “We’re the G.O.P.”

Traitors on the Right—such evil people.
They were traitors on the Right
Up to the moment when the KGB stepped in
To start their reign of sin.

Bribes from Russia paved their way
To usher in a tyrant’s day.

And….

Ever since that year
They’ve been in power
Filling us with fear.
In love with Commies–
It offers such delight
For traitors on the Right.

* * * * *

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY VLAD
(To be sung to the tune, “With a Little Help From My Friends”)

What would you think if I ripped off some kids?
Would you walk out and not vote for me?
Lend me your ears and I’ll feed you a line
And I’ll try not to laugh cynically.

Oh, I get by with a little help from my Vlad.
Mm, I can lie with a little help from my Vlad.
Mm, you’re gonna fry with a little help from my Vlad.

What do I do when the bank calls me in?
(Does it worry you to be in debt?)
How do I feel when I need rubles fast?
(Do you worry Vlad might say “Nyet”?)

Related image

No, I get by with a little help from my Vlad.
Mm, I can lie with a little help from my Vlad.
Mm, you’re gonna fry with a little help from my Vlad.

(Do you need anybody?)
I just need someone named me.
(Could it be anybody?)
As long as it’s me–me–me–me!

(Would you believe in a love at first sight?)
Yes; it happens with a mirror all the time.
(What do you see when you turn out the light?)
It stays on so that my face can shine.

Oh, I get by with a little help from my Vlad.
Mm, I can lie with a little help from my Vlad.
Mm, you’re gonna die with a little help from my Vlad.

(Do you need anybody?)
I need a Gestapo that kills.
(Could it be anybody?)
As long as it kills I get thrills.

Oh, I get by with a little help from my Vlad.
With a little help from my Vlad.

* * * * *

COLLUSION
(To be sung to the tune of “Pollution”)

If you visit Washington D.C.
You will find it very pretty.
But two things will really make you jump:
One is the Russians and the other is Trump!

Collusion, collusion!
Red Donald’s passing out secrets with glee.
Pick up a rug
And out fall his pals KGB!

See the FBI busting Trump’s friends
As he worries where it all ends.
He says, “Mike Flynn was really quite a guy.
Till he sold me out to the FBI.”

Collusion, collusion!
There are traitors at work day and night.
Just watch them lie
As they sell us out left and right.

Robert Mueller cannot be bought
That’s why traitors are getting caught.
Fox News keeps churning out lie on lie—
While America waits for traitors to die.

Collusion, collusion!
It’s a “Sell Out America” sale.
But you can cheer
When Donald’s ass lands in jail!  

* * * * *

THE TRUMPY SKUNKY
(To be sung to the tune of “The Hokey Pokey”)
 
Trump lets the Russians in.
He kicks the press corps out.
He slips Vlad secret stuff
And he gives a “Treason!” shout.
He does the Trumpy Skunky
As he sells the U.S. out.
That’s what he’s all about.
 
Trump loves the KGB.
He hates the FBI.
He dares not tell the truth
‘Cause his whole life’s just a lie.
He does the Trumpy Skunky
As he sells the U.S. out.
That’s what he’s all about.

WARNING: ANGER THE PC AYATOLLAHS AT YOUR OWN RISK

In History, Humor, Politics, Social commentary, Uncategorized on January 1, 2018 at 12:10 am

On June 8, 2010, newspapers around the world headlined the latest triumph of Politically Correct language.

The Israeli government had apologized for circulating a video parodying the lyrics of Michael Jackson’s hit, “We Are the World.” Its purpose: To mock terrorists from the Gaza flotilla smuggling arms into Gaza.

In early June, 2010, six Hamas ships set out in defiance of the Israel’s blockade of Gaza. One of those ships, the Mavi Marmara, suffered nine casualties during a subsequent Israeli raid on the flotilla.

In the video, Israelis dressed up as terrorists offer their own take on the incident through song.

Among its lyrics:

We’ll make the world
Abandon reason.
We’ll make them all believe that the Hamas
Is Momma Theresa.
We are peaceful travelers
We’re waving our own knives.
The truth will never find its way to your TV.

Click here: The Flotilla Choir Presents We Con The World – YouTube

The Israeli Government Press Office distributed footage of the music video to foreign journalists on June 4, but then sent an apology to reporters just hours later, insisting it had been an accident.

“The contents of the video in no way represent the official policy of either the Government Press Office or of the State of Israel,” Israel’s Government Press Office later told CNN.

But the retraction did not stop “We Con the World” from becoming an Internet hit, getting over three million views in less than a week

By issuing such an apology the Israeli government forfeited a vital weapon in its ongoing struggle for not simply sovereignty but survival: Ridicule.

Every great tyrant has feared the laughter of his enemies. For that reason, the Roman Emperor Augustus banished the satirical poet, Ovid, from Rome and the KGB worked overtime to suppress anti-Communist jokes.

It’s clear that Israeli bureaucrats—like American ones—have caught the Political Correctness disease, where even the most criminally depraved are off-limits as targets for satire.

During most of the eight-year Presidency of Bill Clinton, the State Department applied the “rogue state” moniker to nations like Iran, Iraq and North Korea.

In a 1994 lecture, Madeleine Albright, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, defined a rogue state as one that actively tried to undermine the international system.

But in 2000, the State Department declared that it would no longer refer to such nations as “rogues.” Instead, they would now be referred to as “states of concern.”

“Rogue,” said a State Department spokesman, was “inflammatory,” and might hamper the efforts of the United States to reach agreements with its sworn enemies.

In short, it’s become Politically Incorrect to refer to even our sworn enemies as enemies.

As Steven Emerson, president of the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) puts it: “If you can’t name your enemy, how can you defeat him?”

During World War 11, GIs—and their commanders—routinely referred to German soldiers as “Krauts.”  Japanese soldiers were universally referred to as “Japs.”

Throughout the Vietnam war, North Vietnamese troops were called “gooks,” “dinks” and “Charlie.”  During the 1991 Gulf War, American soldiers called Iraqi soldiers “ragheads.”

Admittedly, that’s not the sort of language to use in polite company.

But there is nothing polite about war, and it’s unrealistic to expect those whose lives could be snuffed out at any moment to be Politically Correct in talking about deadly enemies.

The United States has been at war with Islamic nations since September 11, 2001. But terms such as “jihadist,” “jihadi” and “mujahedeen” are now officially forbidden by the Pentagon.

So is “Islamofascism,” a term often used to describe Islamic aggression against other countries—especially non-Muslim ones.

Similarly, the American government now seeks to impose the same Political Correctness restrictions on how to refer to daily invasions of its sovereign borders.

“Illegal alien” is taboo—although totally accurate. An “alien” is defined as “a foreigner, especially one who is not a naturalized citizen of the country where they are living.”

And a foreigner who violates another country’s immigration laws is in that country illegally.

“Undocumented immigrant” is the new fashionable term to be used by all federal agents charged with enforcing Anmerica’s immigration laws.

Liberals feel that this sounds nicer, and won’t offend our “little brown brothers” south of the Rio Grande.

“Undocumented immigrant” makes it seem as though the mass violations of America’s national border are no big deal. You might even think the illegal alien simply lost his legal papers while sneaking across the border.

More than 500 years ago, Niccolo Machiavelli, the father of modern political science, laid out the guidelines for effective propaganda.  In his notorious book, The Prince, he wrote:

…Men in general judge more by the eyes than by the hands, for every one can see, but very few have to feel.  Everyone sees what you appear to be, few feel what you are….

Apparently, many people in government are now convinced: If you don’t admit there is a problem, the problem doesn’t exist.

“SPRINGTIME FOR TRUMPLAND”

In Bureaucracy, Entertainment, History, Humor, Politics, Social commentary, Uncategorized on July 25, 2016 at 12:05 am

Donald Trump has attached nicknames to his many political opponents.

“Little Marco” – Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

“Goofy” – Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren

“Lyin’ Ted” – Texas U.S. Senator Rafael Eduardo “Ted” Cruz

“Crooked Hillary” – Hillary Clinton, former First Lady, U.S. Senator from New York and Secretary of State, now the all-but-confirmed Democratic nominee for President.

Donald Trump

And now he’s picked out another catchy nickname–this time for Virginia U.S. Senator Tim Kane, chosen by Hillary Clinton to be her Vice Presidential running mate: “Corrupt Kane.”

Nicknames and ridicule can be powerful weapons. 

David Brooks, a conservative columnist for the New York Times, assessed Trump’s ability to effectively use both.

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David Brooks and Mark Shields

He did so on the May 27 edition of the PBS Newshour.  Said Brooks:

“Trump, for all his moral flaws, is a marketing genius. And you look at what he does. He just picks a word and he attaches it to a person. Little Marco [Rubio], Lyin’ Ted [Cruz], Crooked Hillary [Clinton]. 

“And that’s a word. And that’s how marketing works. It’s a simple, blunt message, but it gets under. It sticks, and it diminishes.

“And so it has been super effective for him because he knows how to do that. And she [Hillary Clinton[ just comes on with, ‘Oh, he’s divisive.’

Hillary Clinton official Secretary of State portrait crop.jpg

Hillary Clinton

“These are words that are not exciting people. And her campaign style has gotten, if anything…a little more stagnant and more flat.”

But Democrats can fight back with catchy nicknames of their own: Such as: “Deadbeat Donald,” “Nazi Boy,” “Devious Donald” or “Der Fuehrer.”

So far, only one opponent has managed to verbally stand up to Trump: Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren.

A May 12 story on CNN–“Elizabeth Warren Gives Trump a Dose of His Own Medicine on Twitter”–notes:

“In the past week, the Massachusetts Democrat has refined an aggressive anti-Trump message through a series of so-called tweetstorms.”  

Elizabeth Warren--Official 113th Congressional Portrait--.jpg

Elizabeth Warren

On the May 27 edition of the PBS Newshour, syndicated columnist Mark Shields noted Warren’s ability to rattle Trump:

“Elizabeth Warren gets under Donald Trump’s skin. And I think she’s been the most effective adversary. I think she’s done more to unite the Democratic party than either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.”

David Brooks added: “And so the tactics…is either you do what Elizabeth Warren has done, like bull-bore negativity, that kind of [get] under the skin, or try to ridicule him and use humor. Humor is not Hillary Clinton’s strongest point.”

Yet that need not remain the situation.

The Democratic convention could use ridicule to strike a deadly blow against the Presidential ambitions of Donald Trump.

Everyone expects this convention—like all political conventions—to be filled with boring, self-serving speeches. And its purpose—to nominate Hillary Clinton for President—is a foregone conclusion.  

But the message of this convention–the necessity for defeating Trump–need not be forgotten. And it won’t be–if convention planners are willing to do something truly daring and memorable. 

In 1988, Mel Brooks did exactly this with his now-classic comedy, “The Producers.” 

Brooks used this as a vehicle for lampooning the criminality of the Third Reich–and especially that of its Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler.  Especially memorable: Its production number, “Springtime for Hitler.” 

    

The press has had a field day with Melania Trump’s plagiarizing of Michelle Obama’s speech before the 2008 Democratic convention. 

Facebook and Twitter have been filled with ridicule–such as a “Rocky and Bullwinkle” cartoon image of villainess Natasha Fatale saying: “I write.  But Moose and Squirrel say I copy.”  

So it’s easy to imagine how a staged musical number like “Springtime for Trumpland”–complete with Nazi uniforms–would rage through the Internet. Not to mention make a great TV commercial. 

SPRINGTIME FOR TRUMPLAND  

America was having trouble
What a sad, sad story
Needed a new Leader
To restore its former glory.

Where oh where was he?
Who could that man be?
We looked around
And then we found
The man for you and me.
And now it’s….

Springtime for Trumpland and bigotry–
Trumpland is happy and gay.
Our Leader’s put on a Nazi face–
Look out, here comes the Whiter race.

Springtime for Trump goons and bigotry–
Winter for Reason and Light.
Springtime for Trump goons and infamy–
Come on, Trumpsters, let’s go pick a fight.

I love Trump
My name is Dave
I’ll hunt you down
And dig your grave.

Don’t be stupid
Be a smarty.
Come and join
The RepublicaNazi party.

Springtime for Trump goons and infamy—
Killing is thrilling again.
A-bombs are saving us from toil
Soon we’ll have all the world’s black oil.

Springtime for Trumpland and infamy—
Prisons are filling once more.

Springtime for Trumpland and infamy—
Means that soon things will be swell.
You pray they will be swell
You know we’ll be going to HELL

The question remains: Is a political party noted for its cowardly Political Correctness willing to take the plunge?

Most likely, the answer is: No.

HERMAN CAIN’S NEXT (PRESIDENTIAL) FLING

In History, Humor, Politics on June 10, 2014 at 2:17 am

Herman Cain may run for President again.

Yes, on May 31, he told the annual Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans that he might once again take up the Presidential quest in 2016.

The kicker: if God calls upon him to do so.

“I do not know what the future holds,” said the onetime CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, “but I know who holds the future. And I trust in God.”

The last time Cain ran for President–in 2011–his campaign ended in scandal.  Multiple women came forward to accuse him of making aggressive and unwanted sexual advances.

Herman Cain

Cain’s longtime wife, Gloria, chose to stand by him.  But millions of female voters chose other candidates to vote for.

Cain dropped out of the race in December, 2011, before any actual votes were cast.

Unwilling to face the truth about himself, he still blames liberals for his dropping out of the 2012 Presidential race.

“The liberals thought that they had shut me up,” he told his cheering supporters at the Republican Leadership Conference. “I’m back!”

Perhaps Cain hopes that, in another two years, Americans will have forgotten the real reason he was forced to at least momentarily give up his Presidential ambitions: The “BJs for jobs” program he once offered Sharon Bialek.

Sharon Bialek

Bialek was an employee of the National Restaurant Association (NRA) where Cain served as CEO in 1997.

In mid-July, 1997, she asked Cain for help in finding a new job or getting her old one back.  She had been let go from her job with the educational foundation of the NRA.

Cain offered to help her and she traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet him.

As Bialek later recounted their meeting: “I met Mr. Cain in the lobby of the bar at the Capitol Hilton at around 6:30 p.m.  We had drinks at the hotel.”

Cain then took her to an Italian restaurant for dinner.

“While we were driving back to the hotel, he said that he would show me where the National Restaurant Association offices were.  He parked the car down the block.

“I thought that we were going to go into the offices so that he could show me around….

“But instead of going into the offices, he suddenly reached over and put his hand on my leg under my skirt and reached for my genitals.  He also grabbed my head and brought it toward his crotch.

“I was very, very surprised and very shocked.  I said, ‘What are you doing?  You know I have a boyfriend.  This isn’t what I came here for.’

“Mr. Cain said, ‘You want a job, right?’

“I asked him to stop and he did.  I asked him to take me back to my hotel, which he did, right away.”

Of course, Bialek never got her job back–or help from Cain in finding another one.

Bialek was the fourth woman to come forward to accuse Cain of making improper sexual advances toward her. And it was her testimony that sealed his fate as a Presidential candidate.

But that didn’t mean Cain lacked Right-wing supporters–such as Rush Limbaugh.

Rush Limbaugh

On October 31, 2011, Limbaugh blamed “the Left’s racist hit job” for Cain’s faltering campaign: “The racial stereotypes that these people are using to go after Herman Cain, what is the one thing that it tells us?

“It tells us who the real racists are, yeah, but it tells us that Herman Cain is somebody.  Something’s going on out there. Herman Cain obviously is making some people nervous for this kind of thing to happen.”

And on November 7, Limbaugh offered another “defense” for Cain’s behavior: Calling Bialek a “babe” and “the blonde bombshell,” he joked about Cain’s attempt to extort sexual favors via her need for a job.

“Ha-ha-ha-ha,” laughed Limbaugh. “That’s it.  Cain decided to provide her with his idea of a ‘stimulus package.'”

But Limbaugh wasn’t through: “Get this now. I have been wrong in pronouncing the fourth Cain accuser’s name as “Be-allek.” Gloria Allred [Bialek’s attorney] says that her name is pronounced ‘Bye-a-lick,’ as in ‘Buy a Lick.'”

To drive home his point, he made crude slumping noises over the microphone.

Actually, the name is pronounced “By-a-Lek.”

But even the venom of America’s most toxic Right-wing broadcaster couldn’t save Cain.   On December 3, 2011, he dropped out of the race.

Another Rightist who had only praise for Cain was the notoroious adulterer, Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House of Representatives.

Newt Gingrich

As soon as Cain dropped out, Gingrich saluted him: “I am proud to know Herman Cain and consider him a friend and I know he will continue to be a powerful voice for years to  come.”

Gingrich, then a Presidential candidate himself, had two reasons for not criticizing his former rival.

  1. Gingrich–who had loudly touted himself a champion of “Family Values”–had enjoyed more than his share of extramrital perks; and
  2. He hoped to inherit Cain’s supporters, not alienate them.

When considering Cain as a candidate in 2016, voters would do well to recall the line: “Birds of a feather flock together.”

WHEN THE KGB COMES CALLING

In Bureaucracy, History, Humor, Law Enforcement, Social commentary on April 24, 2013 at 12:00 am

A day after bombs ravaged the Boston Marathon, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his country’s assistance in investigating this latest Islamic outrage.

Putin said in a condolences note published on the Kremlin’s website that the international community should unite to fight terrorism.

Vladimir Putin

Putin said Russia “would be ready to provide assistance” to U.S. authorities with the probe into the bombings at the Boston marathon.

Fortunately, the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and Boston police were able, within a week, to identify and kill/arrest the two brothers responsible for killing three people and injuring about 180 more.

But suppose President Obama had taken Putin up on his offer?

Officially, the KGB (“Committee for State Security”) no longer exists.  It was abolished by then-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev following the agency’s unsuccessful coup against him in August, 1991.

But its legacy lives on in the renamed FSB (Federal Security Service).

The KGB was formed in 1954, the year after the death of Joseph Stalin, Russia’s 20th century version of Ivan the Terrible.  (Previously, the state secret police had been known, first, as the Cheka–“Extraordinary Commission”– and then as the NKVD.)

Regardless of its name, the agency relentlessly pursued its twin goals: Brutally repressing political oppression at home and spying on its enemies abroad.

Through the reins of Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhniev, Yuri Andropov, Constitin Chernenko and Mikhail Gorbachev, the KGB acted as “the sword and shield of Russia.”  Among its tens of thousands of members was Vladimir Putin.

Even the worst abuses of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI pale in comparison to those of the KGB, which ran its own prisons, routinely tortured and murdered men and women, and conducted espionage abroad.

The agency remained impervious to control except by its Kremlin masters–who were the ones directing its worst atrocities.

So it’s intriguing to imagine how the KGB would have reacted to the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

Perhaps the best way to do this is to see the KGB–oops, FSB–through the eyes of its former victims: The ussians themselves.

Unable to protest the abuses of the all-powerful police, Russians–in secret, and only among their most-trusted friends and family members–struck back with humor of the blackest sort

  • Q. Why do the KGB operate in groups of three? A. One who can read, one who can write and one to keep an eye on the two intellectuals.
  • A KGB officer tells the next-of-kin that her father committed suicide.  Woman: How did he die?  KGB: Skull fracture.  Woman:  How did it happen?  KGB: He wouldn’t drink the poison.
  • A Russian teacher asks her class, “Who wrote ‘The Communist Manifesto’?”  A boy says, “I don’t know, but it wasn’t me.”  The teacher thinks he’s being flippant, so she sends him home.  The boy tells his father, who complains to a friend who’s a KGB agent.  “Don’t worry,” says the KGB man, “I’ll find out who really wrote it.”  The KGB agent drives to the home of the teacher’s apartment.  The teacher asks, “Why have you woken me up?”  The KGB officer says: “It wasn’t the boy.  His father has confessed.” 
  • A man owns a parrot–until one day it disappears.  The owner rushes to the nearest KGB office.  “Why come to us?  It’s none of our affair,” says the KGB official.  “I just wanted you to know,” says the man, “that if it turns up, I don’t happen to share its opinions.”
  • A KGB agent spots an old man reading a book and asks what it’s about. “I’m learning Hebrew,” says the man, “because it’s the language of Heaven.  When I die, I want to talk to God.”  The KGB man says, “But suppose when you die you go to Hell?”  The old man says: “I already know Russian.”
  • The Egyptian government announces that an unidentified mummy has been found, and asks the world’s best archaeologists to help solve the mystery.  In response, the Soviet Union sends its top archaeologist–accompanied by two KGB guards to ensure he doesn’t defect.  The three men enter the tomb and, three days later, emerge.  “It’s Ramses III,” says the archaeologist.  “How did you figure it out?” asks a reporter.  And one of the KGB guards says, “The bastard finally confessed.”
  • A man knocks at the door of his neighbor’s apartment, yelling: “Quick, get up, get dressed!”  From inside he can hear screams of fear.  “Don’t worry,” he says, “it’s nothing serious.  I’m not from the KGB.  I just wanted to tell you your flat is on fire.”
  • A Russian boy asks his father, “Will there still be a KGB when we achieve Full Communism?”  And his father replies: “No, by then people will have learned how to arrest themselves.”
  • A delegation comes to the Kremlin to visit Leonid Brezhniev.  When they leave, Brezhniev can’t find his  cigarette case.  He telephones the head of the KGB and says, “Find out of one of the delegates took my case.”  Later, Brezhniev finds it under a table.  He calls the KGB director and says, “I found my case.  You can let the delegates go.”  “It’s too late for that,” says the KGB director, adding: “Half the delegates admitted they took your case, and the other half died under questioning.”

BOTH “CHI-COMS” AND REPUBLICANS HATE OBAMA

In History, Humor on January 25, 2013 at 12:05 am

Psssst!  The Republicans and Chinese Communists have something in common.

They both much preferred the foreign policy of George W. Bush to that of Barack Obama.

It’s one of the many fascinating revelations offered in Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Uses of American Power.

Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power

The author is David E. Sanger, the chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times.

Early in 2011, Sanger had lunch at the Central Party School outside Beijing.  This is where the party’s leadership debates questions that are thought too controversial to air in public.

A retired general in the People’s Liberation Army sat down next to Sanger and, in a relaxed moment of candor, said:

“I sat through many meetings of the People’s Liberation Army in the 80s and 90s where we tried to imagine what your military forces would look like in 10 to 20 years.

“But frankly, we never thought that you would spend trillions of dollars and so much time tied down in Afghanistan and the Middle East. We never imagined that as a choice you would make.”

And, writes Sanger: “Not so secretly, the Chinese were delighted by the Bush-era wars.  The longer the United States was bogged down trying to build democracies in foreign lands, the less capable it was of competing in China’s backyard.

“But now that America was emerging from a lost decade in the Middle East, the Chinese began to ask: How should China respond?  With cooperation, confrontation, or something in-between?”

And the Chinese were equally thrilled that the United States had squandered so much of its treasury during the eight-year Bush Presidency.

In the decade following 9/11, the Pentagon went on an unprecedented spending binge.  The defense budget grew by 67%, to levels 50% higher than it had been per average year during the Cold War.

According to Sanger: “An estimate [the New York Times] put together for the tenth anniversary of the [9/11] attacks suggested that the United States had spent at least $3.3 trillion.”

These monies had gone on

  • securing the country;
  • invading and trying to rebuild Afghanistan and Iraq; and
  • caring for wounded American soldiers.

“Put another way,” writes Sanger, “for every dollar al-Qaeda spent destroying the World Trade Center and attacking the Pentagon, America had spent $6.6 million in response.

“The annual Pentagon budget of $700 billion was equivalent to the combined spending of the next twenty largest military powers….

“The world had come to expect that America would underwrite global security, regardless of the cost.  Obama was determined to change that mind-set.”

In short, America became financially and militarily vulnerable during the Presidency of George W. Bush.

And this flatly contradicts the standard Republican line: Obama is a weak President–and is betraying us to the (pick one or both) Muslims/Communists.

It also speaks volumes that the two most important members of the George W. Bush administration declined to attend the Republican National Convention held August 27-30.

That, of course, meant former President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

And why was that?  Perhaps it’s because polls show that a majority of Americans continued

  • To blame Bush for lying the country into a needless, bloody and expensive war with Iraq.
  • To blame him for presiding over the 2008 Wall Street meltdown.
  • To see Dick Cheney as the Dr. Strangelovian manipulator of George W. Bush.

Even former President George H.W. Bush said he wouldn’t attend the convention.

It’s possible that Bush, Sr., didin’t want to serve as a reminder that his son left the White House with the lowest popularity rating of any modern President.

And that was just fine with those planning to attend the convention–especially its nominee-to-be.

They wanted to do with George W. Bush what Nikita Khrushchev and his fellow Communists did with the embarrassing Joseph Stalin: Bury him far from public view.

Romney wanted to use the convention the way Adolf Hitler used the Nuremberg rallies–to attack his enemies and glorify himself.

He didin’t want the viewing audience to be reminded that the United States sharply declined in wealth and prestige during the eight-year reign of George W. Bush and a Republican Congress.

Romney and his fellow conventioneers also didn’t want to remind the country of something else: That Obama had spent most of his own Presidency trying to undo the harm his predecessor did, in both foreign and domestic policy.

Thus the Republican party found itself torn.

On one hand, its leaders wanted to claim that Barack Obama was the worst President in the history of the Republic.

On the other hand, they knew that most Americans continued to view the last Republican President in just that way.

RUNNING THE COUNTRY LIKE A BUSINESS

In Business, Humor, Politics, Social commentary on January 18, 2013 at 12:08 am

Republicans–and right-wingers generally–love to say that the United States Government should be run like a business.

But what does that really mean?

If we ran the United States like a business,” Johnny Carson once joked, “we’d burn down the country and collect the insurance.”

And of course the joke got a lot of laughs.

Yes, it’s true: A lot of Americans just don’t trust businessmen–especially Big Businessmen.

And especially Big Businessmen who’ve made their fortunes the old-fashioned way–by raiding and despoiling other companies.

But consider this for a moment:

When was the last time we had a President who could honestly say, like Mitt Romney–

“I understand, for instance, how to read a balance sheet”?

And that’s a truly valuable qualification for public office.

Mitt Romney doesn’t get weepy over people and their messy, sob-sister problems.  Consider:

ROMNEY:  Corporations are people, my friend.

ROMNEY:  I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.

ROMNEY:  I’m not concerned about the very poor.

ROMNEY:  Don’t try and stop the foreclosure process.  Let it run its course and hit the bottom.

You have to be cold-bloodedly unemotional if you want to win the game.

Like Meyer Lansky–”The Mob’s Accountant.”   He understood that perfectly.

And he knew how to read a balance sheet.

It was Lansky who famously said of the Mafia: “We’re bigger than U.S. Steel.”

And think of all the money this made for his business partners–like Charles “Lucky” Luciano and Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel.

Or take stockbroker Bernard Madoff.

Think of where his clients would now be if he hadn’t been able to read a balance sheet.

And you can be sure that Ivan Boesky knew how to read a balance sheet.

As a successful stock trader, he became the inspiration for an entire generation of corporate CEOs: “I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself.”

It was Boesky who inspired the producers of the 1987 movie, “Wall Street,” to create a fictional character based on him: Gordon Gecko, played by Michael Douglas.

So imagine what a successful corporate businessman–like Mitt Romney–could have done as President.

Or, better still, let veteran political analyst Chris Matthews imagine it for you, as he did on May 24, 2012:

Mitt Romney has one pitch, and since it’s his only one, he makes it again and again, is that he is a man of business, someone who spent his life in business, doing it, thinking about it, experiencing it. 

And this is why he, Mitt Romney, is a better man than the president to direct the business of the country.

But the question, and an important one, is whether Romney would take his business training and use it for the country or take the office of the presidency and use it to help his fellow business people. 

  • Will he serve the people or the CEOs? 
  • The 99 percent or the 1 percent? 

It’s a basic, useful question to ask.

  • What if he plays the business game in ways that favors the wealthy like himself? 
  • What if he cuts taxes for the wealthy? 
  • What if he eliminates environmental and safety regulations? 
  • What if he pulls down the financial regulations put in places the crash of ’08 and `09? 
  • And what if he sides with the wheeler-dealers and opens the door for the hell to break loose like it did under Bush?
  • And what if he can’t see what was done wrong before, but wants instead to do it all over again? 

This is the danger.

We elect presidents to look out for the people. 

Business, especially the people like Mitt Romney, already have a voice in our national government.  They’re called lobbyists. 

They push for lower taxes for the rich, lower taxes on corporations.  They work with friends in Congress, to pull back on regulation, to make live easier for them, to make more money.

  • …Would we like someone who thinks only about the interest of big business, doing away taxes, we pay–deciding what taxes we pay, what working conditions we have to endure, what protections we get for food safety, airline safety, the safety of our investments from Wall Street sharpies? 
  • Is that what we want looking for us–the people whose primary concern is the bottom line of those Mitt Romney calls “the successful”?
  • Government of, by and for the economic elite–is that what we want? 

Because if you listen, you can hear that this is precisely what the man from Bain is now out there selling.

* * * * *

So go ahead: Imagine what a Mitt Romney Presidency would have been like.

And then be grateful that you don’t have to live out that reality.

THE 2012 PRESIDENTIAL RACE AS A GAME

In Humor, Social commentary, Uncategorized on November 26, 2012 at 12:05 am

Oligarchy: a government in which a small group exercises control, especially for corrupt and selfish purposes.

Let’s play:
“Buy Me a President.”
Step 1: 
Start off with at least
42 old, greedy billionaire oligarchs 
who want special favors–
such as eliminating taxes on themselves
and their corporations.
Billionaire oligarchs like:
Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas Sands | $10,000,000 to Restore Our Future from Shel and his wife Miriam | #8 on Forbes 400, $24,900,000,000 Net Worth. (Updated: July 23, 2012)
Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas Sands | $10,000,000 to Restore Our Future from Shel and his wife Miriam | #8 on Forbes 400, $24,900,000,000 Net Worth.
John Catsimatidis, United Refining Company | $100,000 to Restore Our Future (through United Refining) | #212 on Forbes 400, $2,000,000,000 Net Worth
John Catsimatidis, United Refining Company | $100,000 to Restore Our Future (through United Refining) | #212 on Forbes 400, $2,000,000,000 Net Worth.
Paul Singer, Elliott Management | $1 Million to Restore Our Future | #416 on Forbes, $1,000,000,000 Net Worth
Paul Singer, Elliott Management | $1 Million to Restore Our Future | #416 on Forbes, $1,000,000,000 Net Worth.
Harold Hamm, Continental Resources | $985,000 to Restore Our Future | #36 on Forbes 400, $11,000,000,000 Net Worth
Harold Hamm, Continental Resources | $985,000 to Restore Our Future | #36 on Forbes 400, $11,000,000,000 Net Worth.
Wilbur Ross, WL Ross & Company | $100,000 to Restore Our Future | #200 on Forbes 400, $2,200,000,000 Net Worth
Wilbur Ross, WL Ross & Company | $100,000 to Restore Our Future | #200 on Forbes 400, $2,200,000,000 Net Worth.
Step 2: 
Have another member of America’s privileged 1%–
Mitt Romney–
make them an offer
they don’t want to refuse: 
You bankroll my race for President
and, when I’m elected: 
–your personal taxes will disappear
–your corporate taxes will disappear
–your employees will become your slaves
–you can pollute as much as you want
–you can produce all the shoddy goods you want
–the rich will once again
be treated with awe and reverence.
“Because, under my Presidency:
–the IRS will be abolished
(except for the poor and middle class)
–the Department of Labor will be abolished
–the EPA will be abolished
–the FDA and all consumer-protection agencies
will be abolished
–it will be a felony
to criticize or oppose the rich.”
Step 3:
The rich oligarchs throw in
huge bags of money
to bankroll their man’s
quest for the Presidency.
Step 4:
The oligarchs wait for Election Day!
Step 5
On Election Day….
Whoops!
Sometimes money can’t
buy you
love
or
Seal Of The President Of The United States Of America.svg
even
the
Presidency.
Game over.  For now.
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