Monthly Archives: October 2013

Jim Hightower on Monsanto Spin

The Ignoble Prize for Agriculture

Monday, October 28, 2013   |   Jim Hightower
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A problem with trophies is that they tend to tarnish over time. But one that Monsanto recently received came already tarnished – by Monsanto itself.

This was the World Food Prize, intended to promote sustainable practices that help alleviate hunger in impoverished lands. But Monsanto is a predatory, profiteering proliferator of expensive, genetically-altered seeds designed for crops that require large amounts of pesticides and water – the exact opposite of sustainability!

Why in the world would it get such a prize? Because Monsanto is a major funder of the foundation that awards this trophy. It even contributed $5 million to restore the foundation’s august headquarters in Iowa. So, having given, Monsanto got.

The biotech seed manipulator had hoped the prize would help transform its corporate image from an abusive peddler of Frankenseeds to an altruistic crusader against global hunger. In particular, it wants the Catholic Church to bless its effort to hook poor, Third World farmers on its pricy, pesticide-dependent seeds. Monsanto hopes that a World Food Prize will buff its image and impress the Vatican.

But that might be a harder sell than the giant first imagined, for – hello – there’s a new guy in Rome, and he seems a bit wary of the worldly intentions of the Big, Rich & Powerful. In fact, Pope Francis could’ve had Monsanto in mind earlier this year when he declared: “The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.”

Ironically, the only one getting an image makeover was the foundation, which has rather grandly tried to label its award the “Nobel Prize for Agriculture.” But selling it to the profiteer, however, they turned the trophy into the “Ignoble Prize.”

“Address Of Pope Francis to the New Non-Resident Ambassadors to the Holy See:
 Kyrgyzstan, Antigua And Barbuda, 
Luxembourg And Botswana,”, May 16, 2013.

Mario Piperni on the Monkey Hearing

The Monkey Hearing’s Stained Blue Dress

OCTOBER 30, 2013 BY  

Quote_On-Republicans-ACA-Hearing  :

Congresswoman Eshoo’s comment at today’s congressional hearing pretty much sums up the circus-like mood Republicans find themselves in over their latest ObamaCare gotcha. Republicans have latched on to the misleading fact that some people will not be able to keep their existing health insurance policies which Republicans believe is proof positive that President Obama lied to the American people when he said, “If you like your insurance plan, you will keep it.

Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s tried to explain it to Republicans but they were in no mood to listen. They’ve latched on to what they believe is the equivalent of the stain on Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress and there is no way they’re about to let facts get in the way of their shiny new talking point.

Here’s how Marilyn Tavenner, CMS’s administrator, tried to explain it to the monkey crowd yesterday.


The monkeys weren’t interested in any of it. And why should they be when throwing their feces about is so much more fun. Yes, Marsha Blackburn…that definitely includes you.


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Mario Piperni on Slavery

Slavery…If We Must

OCTOBER 29, 2013 BY  

H.L. Mencken quote / politicians  :

Eighty or so years later, a Nevada Republican prooves how right Mencken was.

A Nevada assemblyman came under fire Monday after a YouTube video surfaced in which he told a Republican gathering he would vote to allow slavery if that is what his constituents wanted him to do.

“If that’s what they wanted, I’d have to hold my nose … they’d probably have to hold a gun to my head, but yeah,” Assemblyman Jim Wheeler told members of the Storey County Republican Party at a meeting in August.

Both Democratic and Republican politicians quickly condemned Wheeler for his comments to which Wheeler said, “There is absolutely no room in my life for any bigotry.” Also, as expected, Wheeler issued the standard “I was taken out of context” defense.

No news yet on when Wheeler points out that one of his best friends is black.


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Mario Piperni on the Repug Agenda

GOP’s 2014 – 2016 Agenda

OCTOBER 28, 2013 BY  

Republican Agenda 2014-2016  :

I have no doubt that the actual chalkboard at a GOP strategy session looks much like the one depicted above. It is clear enough to anyone that’s been following the right’s clown show that Republicans have no desire to govern for the next three years. It’s all about obstructing and dismantling and what they can’t get done at the federal level, they’ll try to implement at the state level. They’ve already accomplished much with voter suppression and anti-choice laws in red states…but here’s a bit of good news breaking out of Texas.

A federal judge in Texas on Monday blocked an important part of the state’s restrictive new abortion law, which would have required doctors performing the procedure to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

The decision, one day before the provision was to take effect, prevented a major disruption of the abortion clinics in Texas. It was a victory for abortion rights groups and clinics that said the measure served no medical purpose and could force as many as one-third of the state’s 36 abortion clinics to close.

Nice but you know that this is going to end up in the Supreme Court soon enough. The crazy people refuse to take no for an answer.


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The Lie of Equal Opportunity

America does not have equal opportunity, in one chart



Patrick Sharkey, a sociologist at NYU, has been studying trends and causes of social mobility, and finds that white children born into the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution are twice as likely to move up to the top 80 percent as black kids. Even worse, 78 percent of black kids born into the top three fifths of the income distribution fall below it as adults. Social mobility goes *backwards*. By comparison, only 43 percent of white kids fall back that much.

Mario Piperni on Obamacare

ObamaCare Is More Than a Website

OCTOBER 27, 2013 BY  

Obama quote on obamacare   :

The following is not for those on the right frantic with joy over the rocky rollout of I’m convinced that there’s not much you can say anymore to this gang of uncaring sociopaths that could have them ever understand that providing affordable health insurance for tens of millions of Americans is actually a good and decent thing. They just don’t get it…or don’t want to get it. Whichever it might be, to hell with them.

No, the following is for the hysterical politicos on the left who have bitched for weeks now about the technical glitches plaguing It’s best that they quiet down a bit and listen to what Zerlina Maxwell has to say.

If I see one more journalist symbolically log on to the Obamacare website, I’m going to scream. If you’re making faux calls into the call center, only to complain about the lack of hold music, as if that is what’s critically important here, you’re severely missing the point.

Obamacare is more than a website. More than half of the people I worked with on the Obama campaign in 2008 said health care reform was their reason for joining the campaign and working to elect a Democrat. Forty-seven million Americans, including me, were uninsured until now. When I finally was able to log into the site–after a few days and a few false starts–I was floored by the number of affordable options. When I scrolled through my list of choices–124 different plans to be exact–I realized that this is the reason Republicans hate the program so much: it will fundamentally change lives, including my own.

There are a few glaring omissions in the coverage of Obamacare’s shaky rollout. For the most part, those covering the problems are insured themselves and consequently greatly underestimate the patience of a chronically uninsured person who has been counting down the days until Obamacare began so they could have a little peace of mind that if they got sick they wouldn’t be staring down bankruptcy.

And while some young men may think they are invincible and don’t need health insurance, preventative care is not something that the majority of women can roll the dice with. Between recommended regular pap smears and appointments to access birth control, seeing a doctor is often a necessity. And, let’s be clear, thanks to Obamacare, young people can stay on their parents insurance until they are 26; By 27 young people, regardless of their gender, tend to be more responsible and much more risk averse.

The website problems are being fixed–the New York exchange that I am using to compare plans is working just fine as of this morning–and the Obama administration has promised to work on the glitches to ensure that Americans who will likely wait until the last minute to sign up will have a working website. Enrollment lasts until February 15th and the coverage begins January 1st. While the early website issues are frustrating, they by no means indicate that the program as a whole has failed.

And unless you are a journalist who has been chronically uninsured, your feigned frustration about website issues reeks of privilege. To me, a few website glitches are a lot less frustrating than having to use the same inhaler for over a year because I can’t afford to go the doctor. Perspective is everything.

The Affordable Care Act really is more than a website.


(h/t: Balloon Juice)

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Mario Piperni’s Illustrated Late-Night Humor

Late Night Political Humor

OCTOBER 25, 2013 BY  

Humor - Late Night  :

The best of late night political humor via Daniel Kurtzman’s Political Humor.

Happy Friday.


“With all the trouble with the Obamacare website, 12 percent of Americans actually think it’s going well. Then people waiting for healthcare said, ‘Can you share some of the drugs you’re on with the rest of us?’” –Jimmy Fallon

“Things got screwed up with the healthcare website. So you can wait for them to get the site fixed or you can enroll in medical school, graduate, and then just take care of yourself, which would probably be faster.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“You can also enroll over the phone. The call goes like this: ‘Hello and welcome to, the place where you can learn about signing up for affordable healthcare. Right now there are 8 million people ahead of you in line. Your estimated wait time is forever.’” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Only 12 percent of Americans think the rollout of Obamacare is going well, while 100 percent of Republicans think the rollout of Obamacare is going GREAT.” –Jimmy Fallon


Bill Day

“A new study reveals that the average fast-food chicken nugget is almost 60 percent fat. The study also says that the average fast-food customer is almost 60 percent chicken nuggets” –Conan O’Brien

“They’re still having a lot of trouble with Obamacare. First the website had all these glitches, and now people are getting a busy signal when they try to apply over the phone. So you can’t use the Internet and you can’t use the phone. And now fax machines are like, ‘Look who’s come crawling back to Mr. Fax Machine.’” –Jimmy Fallon

“There’s a lot of talk about how global warming will be a disaster for future generations. When you think about it, it’s hard to care. What have these future generations ever done for us?” –Jimmy Kimmel

“In San Francisco, Apple unveiled its new products. Apple said, ‘This iPad is the fastest and most vivid way to not be able to log on to the Obamacare website.’” –Jimmy Kimmel

Jon Stewart on Senator John McCain calling some of his Republican colleagues “wacko birds”: “You don’t get to complain!! McCain, you don’t get to complain. At all. Because if I remember correctly, no matter how cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs you think your wacko bird colleagues are, they don’t come anywhere close to your hatchling. [On screen: clip of of McCain introducing Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008].

Sarah Palin Fiction  -

“The shutdown cost the economy $24 billion, and caused China to lower our credit rating to A- – or as Chinese parents call it, an F.” –Stephen Colbert

“The Republican shutdown tactics and politics were so offensive, to even Independents and moderates, that this country looks like it is poised to turn bluer than a Smurf’s balls after dry humping a bottle of Windex.” –Jon Stewart

“People are saying that Republicans got nothing out of the deal. Not true. They got eight years of Hillary.” –David Letterman on the government shutdown

“In a speech today President Obama called for a new era of bipartisan cooperation. He said this because Obama likes to start off a speech with a joke.” –Conan O’Brien

“As of today, same-sex marriages are now legal in New Jersey. And today New Jersey governor Chris Christie announced he would no longer oppose gay marriage. He said, ‘How can I oppose anything that brings more cake into New Jersey?’” –Conan O’Brien

Chris Christie as Republican Savior -

“Chris Christie said if one of his children were gay, he would, quote, hug them and tell them I love them. Of course, he said the same thing about the Keebler Elves.” –Conan O’Brien

“Anthony Wiener is back in the news. He said an interesting thing. He said if the Internet didn’t exist he would probably be mayor of New York. Yeah, and I would be flying right now if gravity didn’t exist.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Before the Internet Anthony Wiener would have been a regular guy in a trench coat hiding behind a tree.” –Jimmy Kimmel


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Humor: The Borowitz Report

Congress Spends Several Hours Pretending to Understand Internet

Posted by

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In an impressive white-knuckle performance on live television today, members of Congress spent several hours in a hearing room pretending to understand the Internet.

Beginning this morning, members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee devoted four hours to grilling Web-site contractors about site architecture, Web traffic, software, and other I.T. concepts about which their ignorance is nearly complete.

“As members of this committee, we are supposed to have a deep understanding of the technology involved in the health-care Web site,” said Chairman Fred Upton (R-Michigan). “So it was absolutely imperative for us to fake that we do.”

For the duration of the hearings, the Web contractors offered detailed testimony about “end-to-end testing,” “enterprise identity management,” and other technical concepts to a group of elected officials who can barely use e-mail.

“I would say that, to a man, we did not understand ninety-nine per cent of that computer nonsense they were going on about,” Chairman Upton said. “To me it was a whole lot of blahbitty-blahbitty-blah. I hope it wasn’t too obvious.”

Rep. Upton said that “looking serious and nodding our heads a lot” contributed to the illusion that committee members had even scant comprehension of what was being discussed.

“At the end of the day, a lot of it came down to not asking the questions you really wanted to ask,” he said. “Like, ‘What exactly is a Web site?’”

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Photograph by Alex Wong/Getty.

Mario Piperni on the Repug Monkey Court

Republican’s ACA Monkey Court

OCTOBER 24, 2013 BY  

Republican Monkey Court :

I tuned in to C-span’s coverage of the congressional hearing on the Affordable Care Act website glitches just as Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey shouted, “I will not yield to this monkey court or whatever it is!” in response to a request to yield to Republican Joe Barton. How right he was.

The hearing, as expected, is nothing more than an extension of Republican’s three year battle to take down the Affordable Care Act.

Steve Benen:

The Republican majority is complaining about the functionality of a website that they’d just as soon destroy. They’re furious Americans are struggling to sign up for benefits that Republicans don’t want them to have. They’re demanding better performance of a system they’ve spent years deliberately trying to sabotage, and have no intention of trying to help fix.

The hearing will give the appearance of a committee that wants to see improvements, except those responsible for calling the hearing – the one who’ll complain the loudest – don’t want improvements at all. Their stated preference would be that the website that doesn’t work as it should to stay that way indefinitely.

And so what is, exactly, the point of the exercise? Part of this is simply an excuse to grandstand. Republicans took a beating when they shut down the government, and so they’ll take advantage of the opportunity today to release some frustration and go on the offensive by shouting at Obama administration officials for a few hours. I’m sure it’ll be quite cathartic.

The other part is to advance the GOP’s public-relations goals. A hearing like this produces media coverage that questions the administration’s competence, while possibly even discouraging consumers from signing up for coverage – which is the Republicans’ ultimate goal anyway.

To see the hearings’ theatrics as a sincere exercise related to substance and oversight is to overlook every relevant detail. If Republican policymakers want to talk about playing a constructive role in improving the system, making federal law more effective, and easing the process through which Americans get coverage, there’s ample room for that conversation.

But since they don’t want any of those things, today’s discussion is less of a hearing and more of a joke.

The monkey court is in session. BYOB – Bring Your Own Bananas.


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Jon Stewart Rocks—-taker–states