The Unbreakable Bond Between Bullshit and Politics

27 04 2010

Here in the US, it has become popular to deride the government as a haven of overpaid, out of touch, ignoramuses who are, rather than doing the good, honest work for the interests of those who elected them, spend their days in DC taking whatever piece of… cattle excrement… which is currently popular with their buddies on the same side of the political aisle, polishing it up ’till it’s all bright and shiny, and attempting to pass it off to the voting public as something far better than the pile of crap it really is. This is the sentiment driving the teaparty-ers, and, for that matter, the left-wing activists as well. Actually, if we’re honest, haven’t we all felt that way about the government at least a little bit in the recent past? Many politicians promise to “clean up Washington” and many have been elected on that platform. So many of us would love to see a bullshit-free political sphere.

But is that actually possible? I think not. In fact, I’m willing to go so far as to say that we need a little bullshit in our politics for it to function properly – sort of like DC’s very own yin yang theory.
I mean, how would anything get done without a little bullshit – “No, really, I’d loved to support this bill, except it was written by someone who’s not from my party, so that makes it entirely unacceptable and generally evil.” As much as we hate DC politicking now, it would be exponentially worse without all of the meaningless platitudes, forced smiles, paper-thin bipartisan partnerships and all of the other bullshit they do to make it look like they really are trying to work together. Nobody would be even close to electable. Take away all the “charisma” – a synonym for being able to bullshit the masses with ease – and politicians, by and large, are very much like overgrown, spoiled children – like that girl, Veruca, in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

only older, greyer, and wealthier.
If, through some miracle, anyone was elected to any public office without the aid of bullshit, they’d have a hard time getting the public to buy into any legislation because they wouldn’t be able to hide the fact that nothing in life is free like they can now. We would plainly see all the good and bad and where the lobbyists had worked their magic and so on. Who would be able to stomach it? All of this is nothing more than the usual business. It’s gone on as long as this country has – deal-making isn’t a 21st century thing after all – but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a messy business indeed. I won’t even go into foreign policy sans bullshit. Diplomacy wouldn’t exist. Yes, without a little bullshit here and there, this country, and perhaps the world, would cease to exist as we know it. I therefore conclude that bullshit is an essential part of our political system.





“Great” Moments on Modern Politics – the Good, the Bad, and the WTF of Political Photos – Part 2 The Bad – Beach Bum Edition

16 04 2010

It about that time again – bathing suit buying time and as many of us contemplate that torturous dressing room experience, here’s a little slice of schadenfreude courtesy of those people we’ve elected to public office.

Richard Nixon

Because it’s so easy to laugh at Nixon.

Winner of the award for Best Forced Smile.

Barack Obama

He borrowed the secret service guy’s shades.

Tony Blair

Hiding in the foliage?

Vladimir Putin

It’s funnier when you consider how sexy he thinks he is.

Nicolas Sarkozy

The only photo in which he’s taller than his wife… sort of.

Ronald Reagan

To be fair, he had to be at least 70 when this was taken. What’s Putin’s excuse?

Bill and Hillary Clinton

This was a stroke of Presidential genius. Why? Well, I don’t believe that nobody knew someone was taking pictures. I don’t want somebody to be able to get that close without permission without being tackled by a half-dozen secret service guys. If both Clinton’s weren’t aware, at least the President must have known and I can see why he would think twice about telling his wife. What she doesn’t know won’t hurt him, right? Still, he knows he’s a little fluffy around the middle so he turns to a flattering angle and uses his wife as, essentially, a human shield for his less-than-fit physique. Honestly, what would the pundits prefer to discuss – his tummy or his wife’s butt. Well done, Mr. Clinton!

Dubya

And that’s the closest I ever want to come to finding a photo of Dubya in a swimsuit!





“Great” Moments in Modern Politics – the Good, the Bad, and the WTF of Political Photos – Part 2 The Bad – Silly Faces Edition

10 04 2010

Enough with the nice stuff. It’s time for a montage of our world leaders not looking their best. There’s a wealth of material out there, but I’ve tried to be fair. I’ve tried to avoid, very successfully I feel, to avoid those dreaded “-isms” (sexism, ageism, there are so many -isms). If you find some “-ism” or other that I’ve missed, let me know. I posted good pictures of these people earlier. Now it’s time for some good-natured mockery. I’ve tried to be an equal-opportunity insulter, but people like the Clintons and Dubya had so many more pictures that it’s hard to not look like you’re bashing on them.

***I’m Smiling Because My Handlers Told Me To***
Every politician, no matter how nice they may seem, has a fake smile that they employ when they have to deal with throngs of people whom they do not know and will most likely never see again. So who has the best one?

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Somewhere along the way, someone told Hillary Clinton that she should smile like a cartoon character.

Apparently, they also told her to smile like a chipmunk. This is bad, but in an almost cute way.

Joe Biden

And remember, he’s just a heartbeat away from running the country. Does anyone else feel slightly less safe?

David Miliband

No comment. It’s just that bad.

Dubya

The Odd-Man-Out and no doubt on many levels.

Yulia Tymoshenko

Is anyone else reminded of The Sound of Music?

Rahm Emanuel

“A clue, Sherlock!”

Nicolas Sarkozy

“Je me sens joli. Ah, plus joli.” (Translation – “I feel pretty. Oh, so pretty.”)

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton: The Sometimes-Embarrassing Mom of US Politics.

And, my favorite,….
Dmitri Medvedev

сыр! (Translation – “Cheese!”)

***Pouting Is Such Sweet Sorrow***
Anyone who’s pouting looks funny. Political figures pouting is just that much more amusing.

Dubya

Door 1 : Dubya 0

Hillary Rodham Clinton

You know when someone says or does something dumb and you look at them and think “Idiot!” That’s the look.

Barack Obama

“What did the Vice President say now?”

Sarah Palin

That’s advanced level pouting. Nicely done!

Barack Obama

Pouty POTUS.

Angela Merkel

“Er hat gesagt was?!” (Translation – “He said what?!”)

And the King of the Political Pout…
Bill Clinton

Awwww, poor baby!

***Politics FAIL***
This is what happens when the mask of political poise slips just as you’re thinking “Oh, damn!”

John McCain and Ted Kennedy

John McCain and the late Ted Kennedy listening to Joe Biden.

Dubya

One “Bush-ism” too many in that speech.

Bill Clinton

The international gesture of “Not my fault”.

David Miliband

LOL. Just LOL.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

“Ok, I’m gonna grab Bill’s butt now.”

Barack Obama and Joe Biden

Facepalm in 3… 2… 1…

Gordon Brown and Tony Blair

I don’t know who said what, but it looks like it was bad.

Angela Merkel

This was almost my pick, but my choice for this category is…

Hillary Rodham Clinton

because it’s so bad it’s almost endearing and nearly almost cute which is an accomplishment considering the subject. “Cute” and “endearing” aren’t words usually used to describe her.

Un-curb Your Enthusiasm
Running countries and so on is important work, but it can also be tiring.

Bill Clinton

Somebody tell him that looking like that isn’t helping her.

Gordon Brown

I’m not sure if Prime Minister Brown is bored or if that’s his usual expression.

Bill Clinton

Is she holding his hand to keep him from escaping?

Vladimir Putin

Mentally counting up all the places he’d rather be.

Bill Clinton

He simply can’t sit still and be quiet for long periods of time, can he?

Dubya

Nap time.

Bill Clinton

This man has made looking bored an art form, but my favorite bored politician picture is…

Diane Feinstein

Stop talking and let the poor thing go home!

You Can See The Wheels In There Turning
It’s entertaining to watch those with power trying to not look confused when they are… and failing.

David Miliband

Secretary Clinton seems to have no trouble enjoying her maple taffy at a G8 meeting in Quebec Canada, but Foreign Minister Miliband appears to be have been completely flummoxed by the snack food.

Dubya

“Uhhhhhhhhh….”

Hillary Rodham Clinton

“I didn’t just forget my speech. Nope. Not me.”

Joe Biden

Forget something, Joe?

Hillary Rodham Clinton

The (momentarily lost) Secretary of State.

David Miliband

“Huh? Did someone say ‘banana’?”

Dubya

Dubya’s attempt at diplomacy.

David Miliband

“Hmmmmmm……”

Bill Clinton

“Hillary, Sugar, what was I supposed to say again?”

Joe Biden

Mental Vacation.

And now to crown the King of Confusion
Dubya

Honestly, who else could it be?

What?!
Because sometimes even they’re caught by surprise.

John McCain

This type of shot makes me nervous. We’re sure he’s ok, right?

Hillary Rodham Clinton

“What?!”

Nancy Pelosi

I didn’t think her face could show that much expression.

Nicolas Sarkozy

“Ce n’etait pas moi!” (It wasn’t me!”)

Dubya

“Naw!”

Barack Obama

That face is great!

Dubya and John McCain

CPAC unveils the Rush Limbaugh swimsuit calendar.

I can’t decide which of these photo I prefer, but the subject of both is the same.

Joe Biden

In all honesty, is there a more amusing person in DC?

Laughing With You
See? No hard feelings.

Dubya

David Miliband

George H. W. Bush

Bill Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Gordon Brown

Angela Merkel and Silvio Berlusconi

Joe Biden

Isn’t it nice to see everyone getting along?

Posted for Still4Hill.





“Great” Moments in Modern Politics – The Secretary of State – Flirting for World Peace

26 03 2010

There are plenty of words that come to mind when I think of our current Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton – intelligent, successful, tough, wealthy, …headbands, …pantsuit, …Bubba, ect… Anyway, one that I never thought of was “flirt” – until she became Secretary of State. Now she’s cuddlier with her colleagues than she is with her husband. Sorry, Bill!

A look at all the Secretary’s men.

Joe Biden, the current Vice President, is the person within this administration who I most enjoy hearing about on the news. Why? Because when you hear “Vice President Joe Biden” come out of a news anchor’s mouth, there’s a 93% chance that what will follow it will be amusing to one degree or another and with so much unhappy news out there I like it when a story makes me smile. He meets regularly with the Secretary of State and, apparently, they get alone quite well. I read someplace that they’re actually close friends. Whether or not she’s flirting or being flirted with is up for debate, but every time there’s a photo of the two of them, they look like they’re having a good time.




David Miliband is the British foreign minister and much has been made of the “crush” between he and the Secretary of State ever since she gushed over him in the US edition of Vogue. The Secretary of State is obviously very committed to maintaining the “special relationship” between the UK and the US.




The other special relationship, between the US and Israel, has also received some extra attention, though once again I’m not sure if Secretary Clinton wasn’t simply the recipient of the flirtation in this instance. Shimon Peres, Israel’s president, gave her flowers and a few kisses when she visited Israel in March 2009.

She seems to have a good time with many of her male colleagues. I’m not sure if it’s her celebrity status or if the reports we’ve been hearing for years of her being aloof and frigid are all wrong, but they seem to really enjoy her company.


Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister


Javier Solana, Secretary General of the Council of the European Union and High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy


Wouldn’t you love to know what was so funny?

Most recently, and most overtly, Secretary Clinton and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi shared a laugh and a near-snuggle after a bilateral meeting at the State Department.

Makes one wonder what was in her glass. Also, when you think about it…

…after a few vodka tonics… he might sort of looks like…

Put the glass down, Madame Secretary! We don’t need a nuclear-armed sex scandal! Finish up your work and go home where – depending on the day of the week, state of the world, and appearance schedules – someone just might be waiting… maybe.

**** I like the last picture because, while is isn’t the best shot of either of them, it seems more genuine than many other shots taken of them. I also think it’s interesting that one of their more “candid” pictures was taken in a huge crowd of people. For those of you who disagree with my original picture choice, and since I was trying to be complimentary, here’s a better picture.****

And I just found these.





“Great” Moments in Modern Politics – The Delicate Dance of Politics Part 2: The Presidential Edition

13 03 2010

Whatever the president does, it will be scrutinized, analyzed, and hypothesized about to death. Such is life in a post-Watergate world – the presidency will never be looked at like it was before that ever again. That’s a fact. So, with all eyes on him, you’d think the president would be a fairly anxious to avoid unnecessarily embarrassing himself. Well, no, they embarrass themselves in countless ways from the benign to the scandalous. Since I’m still not very confident about talking serious issues even though nobody reads this thing anyway, I’ll stick to fluff for now – like dancing. There are many of us, myself among them, who do their utmost to avoid dancing in public, so some credit must be given for trying. Some obviously did better than others.

It’s a little early to judge our current president, but I found this picture of Barack and Michelle Obama at their inauguration and thought it would get the whole thing started.

So here we are – spanning nearly thirty years – the presidential dance-off.

Fourth Place – George H. W. Bush President from 1989-1993.

The first Bush couple to inhabit the White House were rather understated when it came to hitting the dance floor.


1989

Aside from this picture from one of the inaugural balls, I couldn’t find any more pictures – let alone video – of President Bush the elder dancing with anyone. I suppose it is best to know the limits of your talents when the press is around and sit back like the rest of us and enjoy the antics of those who have yet to figure that out.

Third Place – Bill Clinton President from 1993-2001.

President Clinton took office and the age of 46 making him the second youngest president ever elected and with that distinction came a certain amount of expectation that he and his wife would look good. Well, we all know they never rivaled the Kennedys, but their dancing wasn’t too bad even though it often looked contrived. Then again, if I were being investigated for everything under the sun, I doubt I’d be feeling very relaxed and spontaneous, either.


As the new president-elect in 1992.


At an inaugural ball in 1993

1993

Not dated

This photo was taken on St. Thomas in 1996 and its release sparked controversy, just like everything else having to do with the then-First Couple. Was the photo staged as an attempt to depict the Clintons as happily married or was this the work of journalists who had sunk to the level of skulking paparazzi? Who knows, but, no matter whether they knew about it or not, I’m sure that the current Secretary of State wishes it had never been taken.

At an inaugural ball in 1997

1997

We all know what happened next – scandal, impeachment, perpetual divorce rumors, a first lady became a senator, the senator ran for president and became Secretary of State – and, for reasons known really only to themselves, they’re still dancing with each other in the same old, un-spontaneous way nearly two decades after the world began watching.


Posted for stacyx

Second PlaceRonald Reagan, President from 1981-1989.

I found plenty of pictures of President Reagan dancing with his wife, Nancy. Reagan, having had a previous career as an actor, tended to do well with this element of presidential theater. It all seemed so unrehearsed – even Harry Benson’s famous photograph from 1985 which was, I believe, shot in a studio had a very natural, unscripted, and genuine feel to it.


1981
<a
1984

At one of the inaugural balls. 1985

1985

This was taken by Harry Benson in 1985.

1987

President Reagan also did the diplomatic dance in 1984 with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

And now it is my pleasure to present out presidential dancing king, the one and only …

DUBYA! George W. Bush – President from 2001-2009

Now I know how shocking it is that Dubya has come in at the top of any political list of mine, but let me explain. While he certain isn’t the best dancer, he is very comfortable being the bad dancer that he is and never passed up an opportunity to show off what one kind reporter described as “his unique moves.” Also, thanks to sites like YouTube, all of his dancing antics are preserved on the internet for our children and our children’s children to reference for history projects. For supplying the world with laugh-inducing clips for the ages, George W. Bush wins the award for “Best” Presidential Dancer.


At an inaugural ball in 2001.


At an inaugural event in 2001.


At an inaugural ball in 2005.


2006


2006


2007. Does this make anyone else think of Thriller?


2008


2008

I would love to say my next post will be more meaningful and thought-provoking … but I’m sure it won’t be.





Because Life is Funny and I’m in a Laughing Mood

9 03 2010

I love History of the World Part 1 and LOVE this clip.

Very few things can make me laugh about unemployment, but that’s one of them. Of course, if it’s just a generic laugh I’m looking for, there are plenty of sources. I’ll look up a few.

UPDATE
WARNING – Beware of falling F-bombs!

I think Eddie Izzard is hysterical and I wish he’d do more stand up. Anyway, Here are some of his clips that I think are great.


(Note that the person who posted this video cut it to exactly 4mins. 20secs. Nicely done!)

Robin Williams is another favorite. Here are some highlights.


Yeah! Jack Nicholson 2012!

Hope you’ve enjoyed these clips.





“Great” Moments in Modern Politics – EPIC FAIL!!!!

4 03 2010

I was trying to put together a serious post about Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. I might write one at some point, but today was not that day. Why? Because, in my search for photos for a post about Secretary Clinton I found this… (It’s also discussed HERE in case you’re interested.)

FAIL!

Diplomatic FAIL!

…and thought it was too funny to pass up. Apparently, this guy fully intended to get to the bottom of things! How does one say “Get your hand off my ass!” diplomatically?

Cheap jokes, I know! Sorry.

Now, I realize that these types of photos are usually not as they appear – camera angle, lighting, ect… – but this one is certainly one of the more convincing ones not to mention it’s nearly impossible to imagine anyone having the nerve to stand next to Secretary of State Clinton and cop a feel. On the off-chance this did happen, I’m sure it was accidental, but it’s still amusing. Also, I don’t find this the slightest bit sexist. I think it would be just as funny if the butt-pat recipient were a guy. If it were Bill Clinton, news anchors the world over would be laughing about it for months.

In case you’re wondering, the fellow in the picture’s name is Brian Cowen and he is the Prime Minister of Ireland. Here is what he looks like from the front.

Is it just me or does he look a bit like Peter Griffin?

Still, if there is an upside to this for Secretary Clinton, it’s that the US press could not have cared less about her in October, when this occurred, and she was therefore spared the chore of being the butt (no pun intended) of the late shows’ jokes. Sorry, David Letterman. Sorry, Jay Leno. Better luck next time! I’m sure former president Bill Clinton had a good laugh at it, though, if he saw the photo. He doesn’t strike me as much of the jealous type.





“Great” Moments in Modern Politics – The Delicate Dance of Politics Part 1: The Secretary of State

3 03 2010

International diplomacy is a tricky undertaking. Occasionally, this figurative dance becomes a literal one and then the whole world can join together in a collective chuckle at the expense of those in power. I now give you our recent Secretaries of State busting a move for greater international understanding.

Madeleine Albright – Secretary of State under Clinton from 1997-2001

I’m not sure where this took place, but it was dated 2000.

Secretary Albright in North Korea, 2000.

Ah, the late 90’s! The Cold War was over, the War on Terror had not yet begun, and EVERYBODY was doing the macarena… even the Secretary of State and a Botswanan diplomat at the UN.

Colin Powell – Secretary of State under George W. Bush from 2001-2005

All of this was from a 2008 event in London to benefit Africa. Post Secretary of State-hood yes, but he was still shaking it for a good cause.

Condoleeza Rice – Secretary of State under George W. Bush from 2005-2009

… managed to avoid the cameras when dancing and is most likely very pleased about that.

Hillary Rodham Clinton – Secretary of State under Barack Obama from 2009-present

South Africa, 2009. These singers are really good.

Kenya, 2009. Not exactly the most flattering position for her, but she looked to be enjoying herself. At least she gave it a try. I am, however, still of the opinion that those in politics should generally leave the dancing to others. Hillary Clinton in particular should just leave the music alone. She CANNOT sing at all – like not even a little bit. Remember her rendition of the national anthem she treated us all to during the primaries? Ugh. Rhythm in general is a mystery to this woman and I present as evidence these photos from her tenure as First Lady. The gentleman in the photos with her and also busting a move is Václav Havel, then President of the Czech Republic.

Sort of like watching family members “dance” at a wedding (post cocktails).

That’s as close as Madame Secretary needs to get to letting the music move her.





“Great” Moments in Modern Politics – Guffaw, Guffaw!

14 02 2010

Ok, I love to laugh at politicians. Conservative or liberal. Men or women. No matter the office they hold they’re an amusing bunch, in my opinion. I’ve decided that I should start posting some of their lighter moments for all to enjoy. I’ve chosen to start with this bit. It’s old but still funny as all get out. Apparently, soon after former president Bill Clinton went to North Korea and brought back two American journalists who had been imprisoned there – much to the irritation of John Bolton, former UN ambassador and perpetual two-toned ass-pain. This is a pre-satirized piece which contains a clip from CNN’s interview with the Secretary of State in Nairobi, Kenya. The interviewer, Fareed Zakaria, mentioned Bolton’s name to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and her reaction was golden.

I’m pleased to see I’m not the only one who laughs when he’s taken seriously.