Smirking Chimp

Donald Trump just awarded Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Here are his 9 most appalling comments about women

If the planet manages to survive the stupidity of its dominant species, future generations will look back in astonishment on the fact that American businesses paid tens of millions of dollars each year to a swinish, cigar-smoking hatemonger who spewed stupidity, misogyny, racism, and fear to a coast-to-coast radio audience of troglodytes who prided themselves on being Dittoheads, unable to think for themselves, and perfectly content to let Rush "think" for them.

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Top Ten Reasons Trump Wins the GOP Nomination

New York real-estate mogul and media personality, Donald Trump, is the odds-on favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination. Here are the top ten reasons why Trump will prevail.

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Donald Trump Is Joe McCarthy's Doppelgänger, While the GOP Remains In a Dissociative State

If you're one of the few who's still not convinced that playing American football causes severe and irreversible brain damage, just listen to this: "I'm for common sense." Those are the words of former New England Patriots offensive tackle Matt Light, who, in Politico's words, "likes what Trump has to say."

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Loathsome Limbaugh's 9 Most Appalling Comments on Women

If the planet manages to survive the stupidity of its dominant species, future generations will look back in astonishment on the fact that American businesses paid tens of millions of dollars each year to a swinish, cigar-smoking hatemonger who spewed stupidity, misogyny, racism, and fear to a coast-to-coast radio audience of troglodytes who prided themselves on being Dittoheads, unable to think for themselves, and perfectly content to let Rush "think" for them.

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Isn't It Time We Talk About the Skyrocketing Suicide Epidemic?

As I waited for the body of a man who jumped in front of my train to be cleared from the tracks — less than a week before another train I was riding struck a suicide victim — it occurred to me that (a) I should check whether suicide rates are increasing due to the bad economy (they are, especially among men in their 50s), and that (b) talking about suicide is long overdue.

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Pope Francis: 2013 Politician of the Year

With the exception of Senator Elizabeth Warren, American politicians had a terrible year. President Obama's approval ratings plummeted along with those of Congress. Indeed, the most popular "politician" in the United States was a non-American, the new head of the Catholic Church, 77-year-old Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now known as Pope Francis.

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Is America Turning into Texas?

On April 17 there was a horrific explosion at the West Chemical and Fertilizer plant in West, Texas, that killed 15 people, injured more than 200, destroyed or damaged 150 homes and caused at least $100 million in losses. Five days later, Texas Governor Rick Perry was in Illinois trying to lure business to Texas, praising his state's limited regulations. Is Texas America's future?

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Why American CEOs Get Paid Way More Than CEOs Anywhere Else (Hint: It's Not Performance Based)

Top corporate executives have always been well-paid for obvious reasons. Running a major corporation is a demanding job; you would expect to pay a high salary to get and retain talented hardworking people.

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The Christian Right Is Panicking Because They Know They Are Losing

Christians will be “forced underground.” 
– Pastor Jim Garlow

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6 Ways the US Supreme Court Has Trashed and Rewritten Our Constitution

O tenderest of mercies! The right to speak one’s mind freely, the right to question and challenge—upon which all other rights are hinged!

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All the Dysfunction, Craziness and Bigotry of the Conservative Movement Will Be on Display This Week at CPAC

As conservatives of all stripes gather for the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at Washington, D.C.’s Gaylord Resort and National Convention Center, it can be said without equivocation that the run up to the gathering has been just about as dysfunctional as the Republican Party itself.

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Even Republicans Want Progressive Economic Policies

Business Insider magazine recently polled a group of registered voters, asking them for their preferences on three different Congressional plans that have been floated to help the nation avoid damage from the looming sequester.

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Time to Take Notice: How Renewable Energy Is Becoming Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels

Something interesting is happening in Australia.

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Being American Is Bad for Your Health

"Americans are sicker and die younger than people in other wealthy nations."

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Is Anarchism an Idea Whose Time Has Come?

It seems that everywhere, these days, people are talking about anarchism. Now Dmitry Orlov joins the discussion with a 3-part series, “In Praise of Anarchy.” Utilizing primarily the work of the 19th century Russian anarchist, Peter Kropotkin, Orlov argues that anarchy, rather than hierarchy, is the dominant pattern in nature, that hierarchical organizations ultimately end in collapse, and that the impending collapse of the capitalist industrial system presents an opportunity for the emergence of anarchism.

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NBC Invents War-o-tainment

If you've watched the Olympics on NBC you've probably seen ads promoting a war-o-tainment reality show cohosted by retired U.S. General Wesley Clark, co-starring Todd Palin, and with no apparent role for reality.

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Who Protects Info You Give To Offshored Call Centers?

 Companies are always looking for ways to reduce the number of people they employ, and for ways to reduce the pay and benefits for the ones they keep. One way they have been doing this is to send jobs out of the country to places where the people don't have the protections of democracy. Then they come back here and threaten the rest of us with losing our jobs, too, if we don't give in. We have to find ways to restore the protections of democracy.

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How the Super Rich and Corporations Are Sabotaging the Arab Revolutions

With revolutions sweeping the Arab world and bubbling-up across Europe, aging tyrants or discredited governments are doing their best to cling to power. It's hard to over-exaggerate the importance of these events: the global political and economic status-quo is in deep crisis. If pro-democracy or anti-austerity movements emerge victorious, they'll have an immediate problem to solve -- how to pay for their vision of a better world. The experiences thus far in Egypt and Greece are proof enough that money matters. The wealthy nations holding the purse strings are still able to influence the unfolding of events from afar, subjecting humiliating conditions on those countries undergoing profound social change.

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What Is ALEC? Dragging the Secretive Conservative Organization Out of the Shadows

As puzzle master Will Shortz might say, what is a four-letter acronym for a virtually unknown, but politically powerful conservative organization? If you guessed ALEC, you won't be receiving an NPR lapel pin, but rest assured, you are in very elite company.

Most people are unaware of the existence or reach of this shadowy organization. The members of ALEC would rather you remain ignorant of their purposes. In fact, these folks are so uncomfortable with anyone knowing about them that a University of Wisconsin history professor is being hammered by the Republican Party of that state for suggesting in an entry on his blog that in order to better understand the actions in various states with new Republican governors whose radical legislative proposals are remarkably similar, it might be worthwhile paying attention to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Hardly a day goes by without a conservative governor proposing some draconian anti-labor, anti-middle class law aimed at -- dare I say it -- destroying democracy in this country. And, while the Washington DC-based ALEC may not be responsible for all of the mayhem going on in such states as Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey, Indiana, Florida and Michigan (with more states certain to follow), it has historically played an extraordinary role in shaping pro-corporate legislation in a number of states.

Interestingly, as of May 2010, Wisconsin's long-serving Republican Sen. Scott L. Fitzgerald, now the state's Senate Majority Leader, the man who has led the charge in the Wisconsin state senate against the state's workers on behalf of Governor Scott Walker, was listed as an ALEC State Chairman. This year, ALEC lists Assembly Rep. Robin J. Vos as its Wisconsin State Chairman. Vos is the co-chair of the Wisconsin budget-writing Joint Finance Committee.

A little ALEC history is in order: In 1973, the organization was established by the late Paul Weyrich (who co-founded the Heritage Foundation and is widely considered to be one of the Godfathers of the New Right), former Illinois Republican Congressman Henry Hyde, and conservative activist Lou Barnett. According to Source Watch, a project of the Wisconsin-based Center for Media and Democracy, ALEC is a "semi-secretive" organization that "has been highly influential, has operated quietly in the United States for decades, and received remarkably little scrutiny from journalists, media or members of the public during that time."

ALEC denies that it is a lobbying group and it is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)3 charitable organization that has tax exempt status.

Although thousands of state and local lawmakers pay a "nominal membership fee to attend ALEC's retreats and receive model legislation," the bulk of the organization's financial support - over 80 percent of its income - comes from corporations. ALEC provides state legislators with model legislation in support of limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty.

In a report titled "ALEC: Ghostwriting the Law for Corporate America" and issued last May, the American Association for Justice described ALEC as "the ultimate smoke filled back room." In 2009 alone, according to the report, "826 bills were introduced in the states in 2009 and 115 were enacted into law."

This year, it is unclear whether the number of ALEC-inspired bills will exceed 2009's numbers, but it is clear that the scope of this year's frontal attack on working people appears to be the broadest in ALEC's nearly forty-year history.

"Behind the scenes at ALEC," the report pointed out, "the nuts and bolts of lobbying and crafting legislation is done by l[the] large corporate defense firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon." This "law firm with strong ties to the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries, ... has long used ALEC's ability to get a wide swath of state laws enacted to further the interests of its corporate clients."

Over the years, the report noted, "the organization has promoted the interests of:

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Is Fascism Lurking in America?

Fascism is one of those words that sounds like it belongs in the past, conjuring, as it does, jackboots marching in the streets, charismatic demagogues like Italy's Mussolini or Spain's Franco, and armed crackdowns on dissent and freedom of expression.

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Why Billionaire Matty Moroun Is One of the Worst Corporate Citizens Ever

Michigan's economic future is at stake right now, in the state Senate. If you think times are bad, imagine what they'd be without the billions in trade that move across the Detroit River every year.

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Treated Like a Terrorist by the DMV

I am not a terrorist.

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Overcoming American Gluttony

An economic expert recently claimed that if every American driver pledged to save one gallon of gas per week, the prices at the pump would plunge. Tom Kloza, analyst for the New Jersey-based Oil Price Information Service, said that a 1-percent dip in demand could shave as much as 50 cents a gallon off the price of gas. As the narrator in Bang the Drum Slowly would say, this hands me a laugh.

What country does this expert live in? More to the point, what planet is he from? Kloza ... that sounds vaguely foreign, maybe al-Qaeda, to me. Surely this guy's a terrorist to suggest Americans sacrifice one gallon per week! Either that or he's an extraterrestrial.

Though I agree with Mr. Kloza that this would be a good idea, I'd go much further: Americans should be required to drive vehicles that get no less than 30 miles per gallon and tax breaks should be given, on an upwardly prorated scale to all drivers who get at least 40 miles per gallon. Those who get more than 50 mpg should be exempt from sales tax on gas. Americans should not be allowed to pump more than 10 gallons into their tanks per trip to the station. Americans should this, Americans should that.

But Mr. Kloza ... can I call you Tom? ... Tom, you've been reading too many Brokaw books, listening to too many Hallmark homilies from Monsignor Tim Russert. This is not the America of the Greatest Generation. This is not even the America of the Second Greatest Generation. We're in with the Also-Ran Generation or, at best, the Honorable Mention Generation. Americans feel entitled -- yes, there's that word we love to toss derisively at Welfare moms -- to be gluttons.

We feel we're entitled to expand any where or any way we can. We just passed 300 million in population and are cruising in on an average weight of 300 pounds. We have 300 nuclear warheads aimed at 300 different places around the globe and we have a Global Warming Denier in control ready to stir up another hornet's nest in Iran. We have 300 excuses never to change our behavior. Number one is that we are Americans.

America had a rare opportunity on Sept. 12, 2001, a chance to show the world that we could lead, could move the planet away from terrorism and fundamentalist hate mongering.

Had there been a leader in the White House instead of a misleader, we could have turned one of the most tragic moments in our nation's history into a powerful ally for world change. But America never changed after 9/11. America is still the same glutton it always was, only more obnoxiously so now, given what we know about global warming and finite supplies of fossil fuels.

So, thanks for handing us a laugh, Mr. Kloza. God knows we could use one.

According to figures from our Department of Energy, each person in the U.S. consumes as much energy as 2.1 Germans, 12.1 Columbians, 28.9 citizens of India, 127 Haitians and 395 Ethiopians. As a nation, we lead the world in carbon dioxide emissions, nearly twice the amount of second-place China (which has one billion people). We lead the world, by far, in water and oil consumption. We have the largest houses in the world. Each year, the average American generates 189 pounds of food waste, 183 pounds of plastic trash, 570 pounds of paper trash, 86 pounds of glass trash, and so on.

In short, Americans make the biggest environmental footprint on the planet. If one views the earth's resources as one common stash, we're the guys hogging all the supplies.

If the kneejerk "Me First" crowd interpret the above statistics as blatant America-bashing -- rather than as grounds to change behavior -- then they've proven my point. Once again.

Why Impeaching Bush Is Good for Our Species

In congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's recently filed Articles Of Impeachment Against President George W. Bush, a significant portion of Article 1 accurately describes his lying to justify a war that has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

Okay, so nobody's perfect. But could Bush be the "best" our species has to offer at this moment? What I mean to say here is that he may well represent the vanguard of our species' future evolutionary development. This is a disturbing proposition. However, please rest assured that I will address the moral question it raises below (i.e., whether the evolutionary path that we apparently have chosen is the optimal path).

We're the only animal that is aware of its own intelligence, so we vainly call ourselves homo sapiens (Latin for "wise man" or, as we Americans would say, "wise guy"). Admittedly, we've done pretty well since the wheel. But should we ever stop congratulating ourselves and remove our blinders, the equally characteristic, though less laudable, devious side of our nature would be revealed.

Relax! We humans come by this Dark Side naturally. Being the only primate species with concealed ovulation, we are literally conceived in deception. And our apprenticeship in artifice begins with our first breath.

Consider how much time we spend deceiving or being deceived.

I don't just mean out-and-out lying. I mean deceptions by exaggeration and omission, by facial expression and body language; deceptions that are meant to either spare feelings or exploit them. Think, "Great dress, honey. I love the chartreuse and the sparkly stuff."

Ask yourself this: If our species is not predisposed by evolution to be both deceptive and gullible in equal proportions, how is it that we are so completely susceptible to propaganda, photo-op rhetoric, televangelists and backseat affirmations of love?

Very "wise guys" make up these lies and we believe them because it's easier than trying to figure out why we shouldn't (i.e., because we lack critical-reasoning skills). So, given our species' proclivity for deception, a more fitting Latin nickname might be homo sapiens fallaxcis ("wise guy who lies").

Although we often practice deception, most of us approach deception skills in much the same fashion as we do muscle tone -- developing just enough to allow us to get by.

However, George W. Bush belongs to that peculiar breed of homo sapiens fallaxcis that has, with notable exceptions, developed its evolutionary predisposition for deception to Charles Atlas proportions. To stand out amongst this breed -- charitably referred to as "politicians" -- one needs the advantages of both nature and nurture, of genetics and environment.

Anyone who knows the history of George W. Bush's meteoric rise to the Oval Office will appreciate the role that nature and nurture has played. He was blessed with the genome of a successful political family. Hence, the Y-chromosome certainly wasn't the only piece of genetic information that Papa "Read My Lips" Bush passed on to him. You can also be certain that Papa Bush and his privileged buddies nurtured the current president through many of life's trials and setbacks.

In the law-of-the-jungle, survival-of-the-fittest world of national politics, George "We Will Be Honest With the American People" Bush has proven himself to be the Alpha Male in a pack of presidential prevaricators. He is, indeed, a World-Class Deceiver.

Recall the recent competition. Richard "I Am Not a Crook" Nixon was forced to resign because of a few falsehoods and a few real hoods. Then, in a sworn deposition during the Iran-Contra Affair, Ronald "My Heart and My Best Intentions Tell Me It's True, but the Facts and Evidence Tell Me It's Not" Reagan deceived no one but himself.

Finally, recall that William "I Did Not Have Sexual Relations With That Woman" Clinton endured an impeachment trial because of one little slip-of-the-tongue.

But we shouldn't judge George W. Bush's lies by contemporary presidential standards. After all, their evolutionary predisposition for deception was not augmented by the genes of a dad who was an ex-president, and a granddad who was an ex-senator. Like most of us, their dads and granddads were regular "wise guys" who were only middling fibbers.

But George W. Bush took full advantage of his evolutionary and familial endowments. He began lying to the American people with impunity from the day he announced his candidacy for president. And he hasn't stopped since.

Considering both the ease with which President Bush bamboozled most Americans into supporting an unjust-and-illegal war against Iraq, and their subsequent lack of outrage at this affront to their sapient selves, one has to wonder if our species has not arrived at one of those telling evolutionary moments?

Ten thousand generations hence, might not they use the Bush Y-chromosome as their genetic marker to signal a crucial turning point in the evolution of homo sapiens fallaxcis, the fateful point where our generation foolishly chose to protect that which makes us fallaxcis at the expense of that which makes us sapiens, and we branched off into the genus homo fallaxcis? Ecce homo fallaxcis! Behold deceitful man!

However, if we follow congresswoman McKinney's lead, and impeach this World Class Deceiver for his lies and their dire consequences, we might send a signal to future generations that we consciously sought a different, far wiser evolutionary path.

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