Daily Archives: September 23, 2011

Mario Piperni’s Illustrated Late Night Humor

Via Political Humor

“The Solyndra executives are scheduled to testify before Congress, and they’re expected to take the 5th. Why not take the 5th? They’ve already taken $535 million.” –Jay Leno

“A new survey shows that 1 in 5 Americans believe that God steers the economy. Mystery solved: God is Chinese.” –Conan O’Brien

“Congress’ approval rating has dropped to 12 percent. The other 88 percent are withholding judgment until Congress actually does something.” –Jay Leno

“Gays can now openly serve in the military, which is good news, unless you’re gay and you don’t want to join the military and they reinstate the draft.” –Jay Leno

“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is now over. Gay people can enlist, fight overseas, and then not be able to get married when they get back home.” –Jay Leno

“That’s how ridiculous this policy was. The apology for the affront is, ‘Alright, you can go to Afghanistan and fight for your country.’” –Jon Stewart, on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

“World leaders are here for the U.N. General Assembly. Today Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went up to Central Park and arrested hikers. The Italian Prime Minister is also here. So good luck getting a hooker.” –David Letterman

“President Obama is speaking to the General Assembly tomorrow and he’s expected to urge the delegates to fight global warming, reduce poverty, and find out what the heck is happening at Netflix.” –Craig Ferguson

“Some critics say Obama should be focusing on jobs instead of addressing the UN. But I think it’s important for Obama to talk to the other countries – because they’re the ones that have all of our jobs.” –Craig Ferguson

“All the world leaders at the United Nations agree on one thing: Superman has got to do more.” –David Letterman

“Rick Perry said, ‘I only took $5,000 from Merck. Are you saying I can be bought for $5,000? I’m offended.’ This is how degraded our politics are. How dare you call me a cheap whore. I will have you know I’m a high-priced whore.” –Bill Maher

“The Tea Party is forming its own debt super committee that will meet this week at a Florida Denny’s. You do not want to be the waiter that adds the tax to their check.” –Conan O’Brien

“President Obama has proposed a new tax increase called the ‘Buffett rule.’ At first, Newt Gingrich was for it because he thought it was the ‘buffet rule.’” –Conan O’Brien

David Letterman’s “Top Ten Highlights Of Barack Obama’s Deficit Plan”
10. Pay everything off with a giant bake sale on the White House lawn
9. New 10,000 percent tax on waffles — no way people are giving up their waffles!
8. Congressional Super Committee now reports to even more powerful Super Duper Committee
7. Medicare no longer covers butt X-rays
6. From now on, quarters are worth 26 cents
5. Change the definition of the word ‘deficit’
4. Seniors must wait until they’re 112 before they can collect Social Security
3. Open more post offices — those places are money machines!
2. Congressmen must pay hookers in cash
1. Jets giving three and a half in Cincy — it’s like found money

“Are you watching these debates? Yes, the politicians are bad, but the people who egg them on. There are these crowds cheering for executions, cheering for letting people without health insurance die. In today’s Republican party, there’s a term for people who hate charity and love killing: Christian. … These are Christians? They prefer to be called a faith-based lynch mob.” –Bill Maher

“Protecting young girls from cervical cancer? Rick Perry left himself vulnerable to charges of having a tiny speck of humanity, which is very bad for a Republican candidate. So he announced a new policy for Texas. For every child who gets the HPV vaccine, he will execute two Mexicans.” –Bill Maher

“After the debate where the HPV issue came up, Michele Bachmann said  she had a discussion with a woman who came to her and said that her daughter had taken the vaccine and had become mentally retarded. And Michele Bachmann said, ‘Mom?’” –Bill Maher

“An article in the paper says today that Rick Perry is just ‘George Bush 2.0.’ To which Bush said ’2.0? I wish I did that well in school. Those are my dream grades.” –Jay Leno

“I’ve been watching the Republican debates. I watched these eight clowns on the stage and at the end I wanted to raise my hand and say, ‘I don’t believe in evolution.” –Bill Maher

“Trying to get today’s Republican to accept basic facts is like trying to get your dog to take a pill. You have to feed them the truth wrapped in a piece of baloney, hold their snout shut, and stroke their throats. And even then, just when you think they’ve swallowed it, they spit it out on the linoleum.” –Bill Maher

LUV Newsletter and Class War

Class War Indeed!

by ANDREW LEVINE

It is hardly news that American politicians use political words with little regard for their meaning or that their laxness (and ignorance) exceeds the norm even for our political culture. Lately, Republicans have been especially culpable; witness the drivel, continuing to this day, identifying Barack Obama’s milquetoast health insurance reforms with, of all things, socialism. But the latest Republican talking point – that it is “class war” to propose that millionaires and billionaires pay as large a share of their incomes in taxes as those who work for them — marks a new low.

Though liberals seem to have forgotten, there is a venerable – and well-corroborated – tradition in social thought that holds history to be a history of class struggles. But even for those of us who cannot see how human history can be rendered intelligible in any other way, it is only in exceptional moments that class struggles rise to the level of class warfare.

More often, class struggles are dulled by more or less fragile truces – as, for example, the one that reigned throughout the entire capitalist world from the end of the Second World War until well into the 1970s. Workers and their allies agreed, implicitly, not to challenge capitalism directly, and therefore not to put capitalists’ powers and privileges in question. In exchange, they got rising standards of living and the protections of welfare state institutions, along with increasing access to educational and other cultural institutions.

But capitalism is a dynamic system that tends to upend the conditions under which it operates; and so, in time, the postwar settlement became increasingly unstable. Sensing the feasibility of changes beneficial to their interests, capitalists took aim on the labor movement and the welfare state.

To this end, some of their more thoughtful representatives dug up long discredited justifications for advancing their interests; hence the resurgence of libertarian political theory and the unlikely – and unholy – alliance between libertarians and the theocrats who are always among us. The Tea Party, the offspring of this alliance, causes our ruling classes cultural embarrassment. But the unseemliness of enlisting the services of those whom they regard as social inferiors and the fact that the ambient culture has become degraded thanks to the intelligentsia they conjured into being is just collateral damage for malefactors bent on feathering their own nests.

Does any of this count as class war? The term is surely apt for some of Margaret Thatcher’s and Ronald Reagan’s frontal assaults on the postwar “social contract” between capital and labor. But as circumstances forced even their villainy to subside, it has become arguable whether the continuing class struggle rises to the level of full-fledged class warfare. If so, it has been a war of attrition with few, if any, major advances attempted as the capitalist offensive has unfolded – until recently.

Even so, the consequences have been devastating for everyone not at the top of the economic pecking order. Progress towards equality has been put on hold, and living standards have declined relative to the growth of productive capacities. Profits rise and the rich get richer while wages remain stagnant and investment is deferred or sent abroad. To be sure, the victims have resisted, sometimes heroically, and new social institutions have formed. But, for the past thirty years or more, mainstream progressive politics has been almost entirely defensive, and seldom successful. Even last winter’s monumental struggles in Wisconsin and other states, launched in response to the overreaching of Republican governors and state legislators, aimed at nothing more than a restoration of the status quo ante.

There is, of course, always the potential for more; that one thing will lead to another and that, before long, the long trek forward will resume. But without political leadership it is hard to see how. The one sure thing is that the Democratic Party is worse than useless for providing that leadership. With electoral defeat in 2012 staring them in the face, Obama Democrats seem finally to be turning a new leaf. If they stop capitulating for a while, it may even do some good. But don’t count on a real and lasting change of course. Obama fooled the Democratic base once; shame on those who are fooled again.

How ironic then that Republicans and their media flacks now take it upon themselves to castigate him for waging “class war.” Would that it were so! And would that we had liberals who did not regard that description as a reproach!

The Republicans’ hypocrisy is staggering, as is almost everything that emanates from their quarters these days. After all, this is the first time since the beginning of the Thatcher-Reagan era that capitalists have gone so boldly on the offensive. And why not — they smell blood. Obama’s relentless and unrequited efforts to accommodate Tea Party obstinacy inspires them. They may come to regret the Frankenstein they concocted if it veers too far out of control. But because they pay the piper, the pillars of our capitalism seem to think they can continue to call the tune.

Obama, of course, is on their side too; it’s just that, fearing that his base will desert him, he has decided finally, for strategic electoral reasons, to fight back – a little. Good for him! But class war? Only in the demented imaginations of ruling class flunkies. And in our dreams!

Now that Obama has taken a small step back from unmitigated awfulness, I must say that I feel a little sorry for him. It’s not just that his strategy of appeasement at home and aggression abroad is in shambles. The poor man had to stand before the world’s leaders at the General Assembly of the United Nations and reveal how utterly his administration and, worse still, the American Congress, fears the Israel lobby; how the American government is willing to go manifestly against American interests to do its (and the Israeli right’s) bidding. And, in the same speech, he had to mouth on about American support for human rights and the rule of law on a day when it seemed certain that retrograde penal authorities in Georgia would go forward with the judicial murder of Troy Davis – not just in defiance of internationally accepted levels of political morality but even contrary to the judgment of many death penalty advocates in the United States who have the decency to want the state to kill only those who are incontestably guilty.

To represent the United States before the world on these matters is to bring shame upon oneself. Obama surely deserves to be shamed, but no one – not even a hurler of drones and promoter of smog, not even a defender of war criminals and predatory banksters and a continuator and enabler of their malfeasances – should have to humiliate himself to that extent.

LUV Newsletter

ANOTHER IRANIAN NUCLEAR POWER PLANT?

“Russia to build another nuclear power plant in Iran,” heads a piece in Russian news this morning.

Iran recently went online with a nuclear power plant, producing electricity rather than nuclear weapons, as our government has insisted, with several prominent officials screaming for war with Iran.

The American public have been whipped into a frenzy over this, with headlines calling for war because of phantom nuclear weapons programs, similar to the Iraq “weapons of mass destruction” lies.

Even the CIA has reported that Iran’s nuclear weapons program was abandoned in 2003.  The Ayatollah, highest authority in this Islamic Republic, has denounced nuclear weapons and forbids them.  But American officials continue to charge that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.

Don’t expect to see this story of a second nuclear power plant in corporate media, it goes against primary propaganda.

Andrew Sullivan Unleashed

The Anger Builds

I have become used to hearing gay people and our lives either ignored or stigmatized or demonized in Republican debates. It is a function of a political party becoming a religion. And so my skin is pretty thick at this point, and my outrage button eroded by two decades of learning to ignore this stuff and focus on the positive arguments we have to make. It’s not that I didn’t react at the time:

10.18 pm. Santorum claims bizarrely that repealing DADT means permission for sexual activity for gays in the military. This is a lie. The same rules of sexual misconduct apply to gays and straights alike. And a gay servicemember is booed by this foul crowd. Santorum keeps saying “sex is not an issue.” But that’s the current policy! This has nothing to do with sex, as Santorum surely knows. And again, the crowd reveals itself as hateful – even when it comes to those serving their country in uniform. This is one core reason why I cannot be a Republican. So many are bigots – and no one – no one – stands up against them. They’re a bunch of bullies congratulating themselves on rooting out the queers.

But as I went to bed last night, the scattered boos for an American soldier in the field at any debate began to sink in. And Santorum’s despicable lie in response – that repealing DADT somehow means license of gay sexual misconduct in the armed services – was intended to reduce that soldier, his life and work, to Santorum’s obsession: the intrinsic evil of gay sex. Again, this is usual. Gays are used to being reduced to sexual acts rather than being seen as full human beings, like straight people, with sexuality sure, but a whole lot of other things as well.

But somehow the fact that these indignities were heaped on a man risking his life to serve this country, a man ballsy enough to make that video, a man in the uniform of the United States … well, it tells me a couple of things. It tells me that these Republicans don’t actually deep down care for the troops, if that means gay troops. Their constant posturing military patriotism has its limits.

The shocking silence on the stage – the fact that no one challenged this outrage – also tells me that this kind of slur is not regarded as a big deal. When it came to it, even Santorum couldn’t sanction firing all those servicemembers who are now proudly out. But that’s because he was forced to focus not on his own Thomist abstractions, but on an actual person. Throughout Republican debates, gays are discussed as if we are never in the audience, never actually part of the society, never fully part of families, never worthy of even a scintilla of respect. When you boo a servicemember solely because he’s gay, you are saying he is beneath contempt, that nothing he does or has done can counterweigh the vileness of his sexual orientation.

And then I think of all those gay servicemembers who have died for this country, or been wounded in battle, or been on tours year after year … and the fury builds. Even GOProud, the two gay guys who love Ann Coulter, issued this statement:

“Tonight, Rick Santorum disrespected our brave men and women in uniform, and he owes Stephen Hill, the gay soldier who asked him the question about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, an immediate apology. That brave gay soldier is doing something Rick Santorum has never done – put his life on the line to defend our freedoms and our way of life.  It is telling that Rick Santorum is so blinded by his anti-gay bigotry that he couldn’t even bring himself to thank that gay soldier for his service.

Stephen Hill is serving our country in Iraq, fighting a war Senator Santorum says he supports.  How can Senator Santorum claim to support this war if he doesn’t support the brave men and women who are fighting it?”

He can’t. Apologize, Santorum.

Bernie Sanders on Social Security

Republicans hate Social Security because it has been an extraordinary success and has done exactly what it was designed to do. It is the most successful government program in our nation’s history and is enormously popular.

When Social Security was developed, 50 percent of seniors lived in poverty. Today, that number is 10 percent — still too high, but a testament to the success of Social Security.

Republicans have spent years demonizing Social Security and spreading lies about its sustainability. They want to scare Americans and build support for making drastic cuts to the program or privatizing it entirely. Their long-term goal is to end Social Security as we know it, and convert it into a private account system which will enable Wall Street to make hundreds of billions in profits.

The truth is that, today, according to the Social Security Administration, Social Security has a $2.7 trillion surplus and can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 25 years.

Further, because it is funded by the payroll tax and not the U.S. Treasury, Social Security has not contributed one nickel to our deficit.

Now — in a prolonged recession that has decimated the poor and middle class and pushed more Americans into poverty than at any point in modern history -- we need to strengthen Social Security. That’s why I, along with nine co-sponsors, have introduced the “Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act.” This legislation would lift the Social Security Payroll tax cap on all income over $250,000 a year, would require millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share into the Social Security Trust Fund, and would extend the program for the next 75 years.

Join me now as a citizen co-sponsor of the Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act.

For 76 years, through good times and bad, Social Security has paid out every benefit owed to every eligible American. The most effective way to strengthen Social Security for the next 76 years is to scrap the payroll tax cap for those earning $250,000 a year or more.

Right now, someone who earns $106,800 pays the same amount of money into Social Security as billionaires like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. That is because today, all income above $106,800 is exempt from the Social Security tax. As a result, 94% of Americans pay Social Security tax on all of their income, but the wealthiest 6% do not.

That makes no sense.

The “Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act” will ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security without cutting benefits, raising the retirement age or raising taxes on the middle class.

Join me and Democracy for America in fighting to strengthen Social Security — Sign on as a citizen co-sponsor of the Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act.

Social Security is keeping tens of millions of seniors out of poverty today. I can think of no more important issue facing our country today than making sure that Social Security remains strong for generations to come.

Thank you.

-Bernie

Senator Bernie Sanders
U.S. Senator from Vermont

Mario Piperni

Politico ran a story a couple of days ago entitled, “Bill Clinton scorches GOP field on climate change“.  Basically, Clinton took global warming deniers to task for leading the charge in questioning the science behind global warming.  He also targeted the current crop of nominees in the GOP primary.  All of them are deniers with the exception of Huntsman and possibly Romney.  The flip-flop man is not quite sure where he stands on the issue.

Anyway, here is the takeaway line from Clinton’s speech.

“I mean, it makes us — we [the US] look like a joke, right? You can’t win the nomination of one of the major parties in the country if you admit that the scientists are right? That disqualifies you from doing it?”

Well Fox wasn’t too happy with anyone criticizing their beloved Republican candidates so Fox Nation ran the Politico story with a minor modification to the headline.

Too funny and dumb.  It’s stuff like this that makes ardent Fox viewers the biggest group of ignorant, misinformed cretins in America.

The Borowitz Report

Canada to Build Twenty-foot Fence if Perry Elected

Could Be Electrified, Border Officials Warn

OTTAWA (The Borowitz Report) – Canada warned today that if Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) is elected President of the United States in 2012, it would take the “regrettably necessary step” of constructing a 20-foot fence along its entire border with the U.S.

“This is a step that we don’t take lightly,” said Canadian Border Security Minister Ian McLarrity.  “However, we must protect ourselves from the prospect of millions of Americans pouring over the border.”

Mr. McLarrity said that Canadian border officials were alarmed by the volume of panicky comments regarding Americans’ migratory plans in the event of a Perry win posted on websites ranging from National Public Radio to Huffington Post.

“We are taking this threat very seriously,” he said.  “We will electrify the fence if necessary.”

Perhaps taking the lead from Canada, Mexican officials said today that in the event of a Perry victory it would install tollbooths in its secret underground tunnels, which would require travelers to provide documentary evidence that they are members of a drug cartel in order to gain entry to Mexico.

At a campaign stop in Florida today, Gov. Perry addressed the prospect of an electrified fence being erected on the United States’ northern border.

“My position on electrocution is a matter of public record,” he said.  “I’m for it.”

LUV Newsletter on NPR’s Arab Spring

Caught up in the U.S. doublespeak on the Middle East, NPR vacillates on supporting dictators vs. the Arab Spring:

Steve Inskeep interviewed King Abdullah of Jordan this morning on NPR’s Morning Edition. Hostile toward those seen as enemies of Israel, Inskeep dramatically changed his tone when speaking with this last major supporter of Israel in the Arab world.

When the subject came up about the Arab Spring and overthrow of other dictators in the region, Inskeep showed his concern for this particular dictator, asking, “Given the realities in other countries, how do you keep a lid on it, how do you avoid an explosion?”