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From the April 10, 2013, edition of “Viewpoint.”

John Fugelsang:

There’s been a lot of exaggerated, inflammatory rhetoric about gun control recently, and let me tell you something, exaggerated, inflammatory rhetoric is worse than Hitler.

One of the strangest memes to arise is that Hitler was really big on gun safety laws, and the first thing the Nazis did when they took power was outlaw firearms and snatch guns like liberals.

And if you don’t believe me on this, go on Twitter and search “Hitler and gun control” — see the response to Sen. Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin’s bipartisan gun safety plan from the American illiterati.

Or take a look at this recent poster that compares the Third Reich to Americans who want to save American lives by supporting popular and mild gun safety reforms in the wake of the Newtown massacre. Rush Limbaugh, by the way, uses this for porn.

Now as far as I’m concerned, anybody who compares people they disagree with to Hitler is a complete Nazi. But because you may have to deal with folks like this in your family or at your job, or maybe the next time you’re at the same outpatient clinic as Alex Jones, it’s worth looking into.

Because they did have gun registration and licensing in Germany — before Hitler took power.

After Germany was defeated in WWI, under the Treaty of Versailles they passed a law in 1919 that pretty much banned private ownership of firearms, and Germany’s center-left government did confiscate guns.

And if Adolf had been a more successful painter, it might have stayed that way. But in 1938 the Nazi government almost totally deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns. Permit lengths were extended from one year to three, and the legal age of purchase was lowered from 20 to 18. Nazi party members were exempt from any gun regulation, and they even dropped the limit of firearms one could own.

That’s right. Hitler was anti-gun control.

He did ban guns for some people: Germany’s Jews. Hitler defined citizenship in ethnic terms, so since Jews were no longer legally German, they couldn’t take advantage of his relaxed gun laws.

Does that sound, my friends, anything like background checks for criminals? Or a ban on high-capacity ammo clips while you’re duck hunting?

See right-wing media’s not going to tell you this. They want their followers to believe Hitler was a liberal because he belonged to the National Socialist Party. But the National Socialists were not liberal — they just really liked cabaret shows. And most historians agree they were Socialists in name only.

In ’33, when he took power, Hitler famously said, “We must close union offices, confiscate their money … reduce workers’ salaries, and take away their right to strike.” I know. Just like Bernie Sanders, right?

Hitler banned labor unions, took away collective bargaining rights — ‘cause sometimes, it’s a fine line between chancellor of Germany and governor of Wisconsin. He substantially increased the German economy’s military spending and believed in using force to dominate the world, invading countries that never attacked him. Nowadays, we call that “pre-emptive war.”

And in case you didn’t know, Hitler hated the gays so much he could have had his own show on modern AM radio.

Don’t take my word for it. Google all this stuff. The Nazi big lie theory continues to play out, especially among guys who draw Hitler mustaches on pictures of Barack Obama for their protest marches.

But remember: Somewhere in hell, Hitler is furious at these right-wing American guys for painting his ‘stache on a black dude. But don’t worry — he’ll tell them when he sees them.

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From the April 8, 2013, edition of “Viewpoint.”

John Fugelsang:
Margaret Thatcher has died and the media’s been filled with a lot of extreme comments. Now, many progressives said some genuinely mean, nasty things about Mrs. Thatcher today. I don’t think it’s necessary to do that when all one really needs to do is just list off a few of her policies.

You see, I wanted to find a way to appropriately honor Mrs. Thatcher’s policies today, so I called Nelson Mandela a terrorist.
Then I busted some unions, I took milk away from poor children, I supported the regimes of Saddam Hussein and Augusto Pinochet, I cut taxes for the rich and widened the poverty gap, I sold off England’s basic utilities so people could pay a whole lot more for electricity and water in the U.K., then I insulted working people by saying any man who travels by bus is a failure — all this whilst urinating on miners and setting up a disastrous economy that the people of the U.K. are paying for with austerity today.
Oh, and I supported apartheid and called Mandela a terrorist — I mentioned that, right?

Now you see, that’s kind of mean, but it’s the truth, and you’re not supposed to say hateful things about a world leader on the day they die. And I know this ‘cause I heard it from all my Republican friends who said hateful things about Hugo Chavez on the day he died.

But I happen to think it’s possible to mentally walk and chew gum at the same time. One can appreciate Mrs. Thatcher’s amazing drive and historic success in becoming the first female prime minister of the U.K., while also acknowledging her policies hurt millions and millions and millions of people.

But in the interest of fairness, I wanted to list some of Mrs. Thatcher’s positives:
As a young member of parliament, she did vote to decriminalize homosexuality, she fought for gun control — England has very few handgun murders now — she warned of the dangers of climate change, she refused to meet with Sarah Palin, and allowed Meryl Streep to finally get that third Oscar.

And as a kid of the 80s, I do have to credit Mrs. Thatcher with being the single greatest muse of U.K. protest rock. Mrs. Thatcher’s policies may have been bad for Great Britain, but my friends, this lady inspired more great rock songs than Pattie Boyd Harrison Clapton did.

Elvis Costello documented the ruinous effects of her policies in “Tramp the Dirt Down” and “Shipbuilding,” a song that memorialized an industry Mrs. Thatcher helped drive out of the U.K.

Roger Waters immortalized her on the last real Pink Floyd album, “The Final Cut,” asking “Maggie, what have we done?” in the song “The Post War Dream.”

Morrissey’s first solo album featured the song “Margaret on the Guillotine,” which one can safely guess was not a positive homage.

The English Beat gave us “Stand Down Margaret,” Billy Bragg pretty much has a whole career thanks to Mrs. Thatcher’s economic policies, and don’t forget Sinead O’Connor’s “Black Boys on Mopeds” from 1990.

There’s also the very real possibility that if it weren’t for Mrs. Thatcher’s inspiration, The Clash might have wound up just being the hardest rocking U.K. bubblegum pop band of the 80s.

So we thank Mrs. Thatcher for influencing so many great artists to write protest songs against Mrs. Thatcher.

And to her most ardent fans, all I can say is the belief that Margaret Thatcher’s policies were good for people is kind of like Heidi Montag’s body — it might feel good, but it ain’t necessarily real.

And if you were watching the worshipful coverage of Mrs. Thatcher on Fox News, you might still not know she was finally forced out of power by her own party after the riots caused by her instituting a poll tax. I’m here to help.

Mrs. Thatcher suffered tremendously over the final years of her life. We wish Mrs. Thatcher eternal peace; we wish her defenders temporary historical awareness.

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John Fugelsang “Some people, like Bob Harris, had other ideas.  A successful TV writer, who’s job writing for gave him the chance to review some of the most luxurious locations around the world.  Bob hit it big as a contestant on Jeopardy, winning over $350,000, but rather than sit at home, Bob decided to get active, investing in more than 5,600 business in 67 countries through micro loans…..”

Fugelsang “What drove you to try to meet the people who’s lives you’ve touched?

Harris “I wanted to know if it worked.”…….

Fugelsang “What was one of the crazier experiences you had, actually going out there to meet people?”

Harris “The most important experience I had, came down to 5 words that a guy told me in Lebanon.  He had his whole business destroyed in the war where Hezbollah and Israel recently went to war.  He’d lost everything, and I asked him if he was angry at Hezbollah, at Israel, at anyone?  And, he looked at me and he said, this was his absolute truth, and these are 5 words that, if there is anything that this book is about, this is what stuck with me.  He looked at me and said, ‘you love more, you win.'”

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Michael Tomasky, a special correspondent for Newsweek and the Daily Beast, joins Current TV’s John Fugelsang to discuss the ongoing gun control fight. Connecticut passed the most restrictive and comprehensive gun control legislation in the country on Thursday, prompting Fugelsang to ask whether a state-by-state approach is the best hope for stricter gun measures.

Tomasky says that unfortunately, such an approach won’t be effective, because “many, many guns that are used in crimes in New York, in Boston, in northeastern cities come from Virginia and Florida,” for example, and those states are opposed to gun control. “I’ve never in my life seen 90 percent of Americans support something that is just not going to happen,” Tomasky adds.

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John Fugelsang:

America’s broke and it’s the 10-year anniversary of the Iraq invasion. So if you’re mad about the former, thank the millions of Americans who opposed the latter. Because this anniversary is a fitting time to talk about the destructive budget battle that now divides our nation.

The Republican Party is outraged over the deficit — although George W. Bush never once balanced a budget in eight years, but of course those were freedom deficits.

Now after the credit-card-with-no-limit presidency of Mr. Bush, the credit card bill has arrived — in your mailbox. It’s called austerity. Last decade we had two wars off the books while cutting taxes for the wealthy and this decade, y’all get to pay for it.

Now there are ways to fix our deficit that don’t hurt the poor or the middle class. A carbon tax of $20 per ton could cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion. Treating capital gains as income could raise over $530 billion. A financial transaction tax could reduce the deficit by an estimated $350 billion. But apparently we don’t really hate deficits that much.

So here’s an even better idea: Let’s build a time machine, go back to 2003, and stop President Bush and his Republican and Democratic allies from invading and occupying Iraq. Because today we know from estimates by the Costs of War Project, the war will eventually wind up costing the U.S. taxpayers at least $2.2 trillion.

That’s in addition to the 190,000 people killed — the men and women in uniform, the contractors and civilians. Two trillion dollars America would have in the bank, if we hadn’t had a bloody unconstitutional dine-n-dash of a war.

Now please keep this in mind as some of the people who told you how necessary the Iraq War was — both in politics and media — are now telling you how necessary austerity is.

The people who were wrong about everything are now telling you we’ve got to repeal everything since the New Deal.

The same people who said Iraq definitely had WMDs are now telling us you’re going to have to definitely eat more Mickey D’s. The ones who promised we’d be greeted as liberators are now telling us you may have to be liberated from some of your earned entitlement benefits. The politicians who guaranteed democracy would flourish in the region now say surpluses will flourish if we voucher-ize Medicare.

The guys who said two wars in Iraq would bring down gas prices then, are telling you now that the Keystone Pipeline will bring down gas prices.

The folks who said Iraq would be a cakewalk are now saying, “Let ‘em eat cake.”

So let’s thank some of the people who opposed the Iraq invasion: people like Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Ron Paul, Arianna Huffington, Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd, Pat Buchanan — yeah, I said it — Michael Moore and the last two popes. They knew how un-Christian a concept pre-emptive war was: “Forgive us our trespasses as we trespass against those we think might trespass against us.”

Or go ahead and listen to the ones who were wrong: Limbaugh, George Will, Kristol, Krauthammer, McCain, Condoi Rice, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Coulter, Hannity, O’Reilly, Scarborough, Bush and way more Democrats than I should be able to name.

Unlimited funds then, austerity now. And they want your Medicare, and they want your Social Security. And they’re gonna get it, unless America wakes up in a way we didn’t wake up 10 years ago.

Because, my friends, going after Medicare to fix a budget crisis is like going after Iraq when you were attacked by 15 Saudis.

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John Fugelsang:

Tonight’s F Bomb is a very special Eastertime bundle of good news for right-wing Christian homophobes, those hopeless romantics whose faith hinges on the belief that Jesus eats at Chick-fil-A and hates the same people they do.

And this story begins in the great state of Washington in the town of Richland. Rob Ingersoll’s a guy who just got engaged to his partner of nine years and throughout their courtship, Rob has often sent his fiance flowers from Arlene’s Flowers, where the owner, Baronelle Stutzman, has happily handled all his romantic, gay floral needs.

Until now.

Because when Mr. Ingersoll asked Ms. Stutzman to do the flowers for his wedding, she said, “I am sorry, I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Now some of you might get angry at that and want to say mean things about Ms. Stutzman. After all, people opposed to same-sex marriages tend to be trapped in lame-sex marriages. But here’s the first bit of good news for all the right-wing Christian homophobes who’d love to stop discriminating if it weren’t for that meddling Messiah.

Jesus never once said a single negative thing about gay people. But some Christian homophobes have an argument they use against marriage equality from Matthew 19:4, where Jesus is written to have said: “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female?”

However, like most Bible passages used by the anti-gay Christians, it’s taken totally out of context. Because when you read the whole chapter of Matthew 19, the first thing you realize is Jesus is talking about divorce, not the gays.

See in the line before, the Pharisees — the conservative religious bosses — ask J.C. if it’s lawful for a guy to put away his wife for every cause. Might surprise you — early-first-century law in the Holy Land wasn’t exactly pro-women’s rights. Parts of the Bible are like the gospel according to Ike Turner.

In Deuteronomy it says a man can throw his wife out when he “no longer delights in her,” something Limbaugh’s apparently done three times.

So Christ reminds them marriage is supposed to be for life. Then they bring up divorce laws, and Jesus — like the long-haired, homeless rebel that he was — says if you kick out your wife for any reason other than adultery and you marry someone else, then you’ve committed adultery yourself.

What this is, is Jesus is standing up for women’s rights. So it’s really two bits of good news, right-wing Christians. Not only do you not have to hate gay people anymore, you don’t get to hate feminists, either.

So we wish Mr. Ingersoll and his partner a very long and a very happy marriage, and we wish his florist luck in finding a new name for her religion. Because, you see, according to the actual Bible verse the homophobes have been using, it’s pretty clear: If you’re a Christian who really just cares about “protecting marriage,” then it’s time to stop fighting gay weddings and start fighting straight divorce.

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John Fugelsang:

So for tonight’s F-bomb, we cover a little-covered report that affects all of us.

Because it’s from Stuart Bowen. He’s the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. And that’s more than just a sexy title — he’s the guy whose job it is to officially notify Congress about how much of our money was spent on the Iraq invasion and occupation and reconstruction.

Now, Bowen just reported that maybe, just maybe, the Iraq War wasn’t a great idea from a money perspective. I could quote you highlights from the report: how the reconstruction “grew to a size much larger than was ever anticipated” or how “not enough was accomplished for the size of the funds extended.”

Wow. Who knew?

And he’s just talking about the $60 billion of U.S. taxpayer money that went to Iraq reconstruction projects. I’d like to repeat that figure, since we’re all so busy arguing about the budget deficit in this country: $60 billion, or $15 million per day. Just to give you some scale, that’s more than Current TV pays me in a whole month.

And it’s relevant. Under the austerity politics of D.C., we have Democrats and mostly Republicans now telling us how we have to cut spending to rebuild America after 10 years of nonstop spending to rebuild Iraq after we blew it up. So let’s go back, through the mists of time, to 10 years ago this month.

Back when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his capo de tutti capi Paul Wolfowitz were telling us how invading Iraq would pay for itself. And then once we were there they said we couldn’t leave because then Iran would invade Iraq and create the new Islamo-fascist supergroup “Iranq.”

Meanwhile, the people who were against the invasion said it would kill a lot of soldiers, would kill even more Iraqis and would only succeed in making a few U.S. businessmen and international oil companies very, very rich.

So who was right?

Well, according to the report, the American taxpayer spent $40 million for a prison in the eastern Diyala province that now sits in ruins. It’s never gonna be finished. It’s never gonna be used. All that money wasted — sort of like the next Guns N’ Roses album.

Also, a $108 million wastewater treatment center in Fallujah is going to finish eight years late and only service 9,000 homes. If Iraq wants to finish the job we’ve started, they’ve got to pony up with another $87 million. And we can’t help them because we’re broke from spending too much money trying to help them after blowing up their country.

At the end of the day, my friends, the Iraq War cost you and me around $800 billion, or $7.6 billion a month. Factor in long-term cost of caring for our wounded veterans, it’s about a trillion dollars. Over 4,000 U.S. troops are dead, well over 30,000 are injured or maimed for life. Over 100,000 Iraqis are dead.

Now I don’t know if America will learn anything from this, but as long as we’re talking about cutting Medicare, cutting education, cutting salary for government employees; as long as we’re paying the tab after George Bush’s eight-year-long dine-n-dash; as long as Barack Obama is still being blamed for an economy that was partially wrecked by this war; as long as there are still men and women in our government who think they can have two wars off the books while cutting taxes for the wealthy and still get to call themselves conservative …

Here’s a very simple economic formula that works: People who supported the Iraq War don’t ever, ever, ever get to complain about deficits or spending.

In late 2002, a group of entertainers called Artists United to Win Without War put out an open letter to President Bush rejecting the doctrine that America had the right to launch first-strike attacks. A lot of people put their reputations on the line, like Mike Farrell, Lily Tomlin, Samuel L. Jackson — and look who’s right there, in between the late Bonnie Franklin and Janeane Garafalo? Which also happens to also be my dream three-way? — 100 million Americans — one third of us were against Iraq.

Yes, all this spending has led to a lot of suffering, and the austerity politicians of the GOP remind you we can alleviate some of that suffering if we can just come together, cut taxes for the rich even more, and take just a bit more money away from old, sick people.


Posted March 9, 2013 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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John Fugelsang:

When Hugo Chavez assumed the presidency of Venezuela, many progressives around the world were filled with hope. Maybe this guy could do something to help Latin American poverty. But the more the world’s progressives got to know him, the more his megalomaniacal nutty side kinda turned people off. Chavez disappointed a lot of his early fans, and they abandoned ship. I’m pretty sure even Noam Chomsky unfriended him on Facebook.

When you choose to be a fan of anybody, at some point they’re going to disappoint you. And it’s always different — John Edwards lost all his fans because he cheated on and abandoned a cancer-stricken wife. Newt Gingrich did pretty much the same thing — he gets to speak at CPAC.

This week a new expose accuses Mother Teresa of Calcutta of actually neglecting the sick who came to her for help, neglecting the nuns in her order and being very shady with the vast sums of money given her. Personally, I think she spent it all on wardrobe.

Now, Mother Teresa managed to win the Nobel Peace Prize, but she was far from perfect, and her sins have been well documented by the late Christopher Hitchens, once my hero, who deeply disappointed me when he supported the Iraq War.

This week we also learned some unfortunate realities about another Nobel Peace Prize winner, former Polish leader Lech Walesa. Turns out this progressive hero is also a massive homophobe. An insanely homophobic homophobe, which is ironic, considering Lech’s mustache just set off NORAD’s gaydar.

Now, does this negate Lech’s heroism of the 1980s? Or does it just prove that heroes are flawed characters too?

Lance Armstrong raised a lot of money for cancer research, but he did it by being the Milli Vanilli of competitive cycling. Dostoyevsky, Ezra Pound, Martin Luther — they all helped change the world and were incredible anti-Semites. Or as Mel Gibson calls them, “Bravehearts.”

Nobody is ever going to pass anyone’s purity test. Liberals support President Obama and they grapple with this every day. They want him to be pure, but they stick with the president because of the bigger picture.

Which brings us to Chris Christie and this month’s CPAC convention.

The tea party’s lost a ton of elections for the GOP and they’re calling the shots at CPAC and they’ve got a very narrow purity test. They’ve invited Allen West, Sarah Palin, Speaker Gingrich and paragon of virtue Donald Trump. But Gov. Christie? Not invited.

Christie is probably the most likable and electable Republican in America. Never mind he wants to ban abortion and gay marriage and killed a tunnel to Manhattan that could’ve helped working people in his state. Not good enough for the tea party — because he committed the sin of working with Obama.

Now, I give the Obama-Christie alliance a 10. And not just because they resemble that number when standing side by side.

It’s one thing for liberals to give up on Hugo Chavez when he clearly let them down. Conservatives are doing the same thing, but in the wrong direction. They’re giving up on Chris Christie — who hasn’t let them down — when they should be giving up on the tea party.

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John Fugelsang@JohnFugelsang

If Pope’s against birth control b/c God commands us ‘be fruitful and multiply’ then where does he get off being celibate?

Posted March 3, 2013 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day, Religion

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From the Feb. 25, 2013, edition of “Viewpoint.”

John Fugelsang:

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the most senior Catholic official in Britain, is abruptly resigning amidst allegations of “inappropriate acts.” Now, when I heard that news the first thing I thought was, “Oh my God, not again.” At this point, letting your son be an altar boy is like letting your daughter date Chris Brown for the second time.

But it turns out, Cardinal O’Brien’s actually accused of making unwanted sexual advances towards fully grown adult priests. One seminarian claims O’Brien offered to give him a full tour of the rectory back in 1980.

At this point, it seems almost kind of quaint to hear of a priest hitting on someone old enough to shave. But O’Brien has also called homosexuality immoral, he’s against gay adoption, and says marriage equality is “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of those involved.” As opposed to celibacy. Once again, a Catholic who says, “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” is revealed to really hate the sinner but kind of dig the sin.

So, now O’Brien is out and this means he won’t be able to vote for the new pope at the papal conclave, also known as “Vatican Idol.” You know who does get to vote for the new pope, my friends? Cardinal Roger Mahony, who, like Benedict when still an archbishop, shielded pedophiles and moved them to new parishes.

Do you follow the logic here? Hit on some guy 30 years ago, no pope vote. Protect child rape, cast your ballots.

Add this to reports of widespread corruption within the Vatican — a secret cabal of gay priests, or as some call them, priests; claims the Vatican bank is laundering money for the Italian mob; the pope’s butler leaking documents in the Vatileaks scandal, doing time in the Vatican jail (they have a jail, by the way), then somehow being pardoned and now he’s allowed to live in the Vatican with his wife upon his release? After that? This is like an episode of “Vatican Abbey,” and it helps that many of these men already dress like Maggie Smith.

Plus, Connecticut Monsignor Kevin Wallin is accused of operating a meth ring and owning an adult entertainment store he used to launder his money. Yes, it seems almost wholesome at this point, from breaking bread to “Breaking Bad.”

Yet, the Vatican still thinks the church is going to be saved by a new pope, maybe someone from Africa or South America, but still a fundamentalist right-wing clone.

No, my friends. If you want to restore the church as the world leader in fighting poverty, war and social injustice, the next pope has got to be a nun. We need Sister Mary Pissed Off of the Immaculate Ass-Whuppin’ to come into the Vatican and clean up a man-made mess.

Of course, that won’t happen. The Vatican is on a one-way mission to being a third world church, and who called it? The famous Catholic whose birthday we’re celebrating today, George Harrison. In “Vatican P2 Blues,” he wrote about the pope selection process:

Now how come no one really noticed

Puff of white smoke knocked me out

The truth is hiding, lurking, banking

Things they do at night

It’s quite suspicious to say the least.

Thanks, George — talking to you, Rome. A female pope is your chance to man up and move into the 21st century. I know you don’t want to let go of the all-male clown car the Vatican has become, but as ex-Catholic George once said, all things must pass.