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The Earth is Flat Award

A celebration of the inane, insipid and asinine...

web posted March 13, 2000

In case you didn't know, Bill Maher is a comedian who hosts a program on ABC entitled Politically Incorrect and sees four celebrities and Maher debate the issues of the day. A laid back version of the McLoughlin Group, if you will. Maher, who calls himself a libertarian but is an old-fashioned Hollywood liberal, prides himself on making controversial statements which delight the typically idiot crowd the show draws.

Maher's March 6 program [one day before Super Tuesday] featured MTV host Carson Daly, comedienne Rita Rudner, Catherine McCord and Monty Warner and during one segment began discussing George W. Bush's campaign. As Maher and some of his guests are given to do, the debate quickly turned personal and guns weren't aimed at Bush, but his mother. I've reproduced the transcript (you can find it on the web site at http://abc.go.com/pi/forum/xscripts/20000306.html):

Bill: Because he has the money to buy these ads -- which convince people of things that are completely untrue -- and because he has the name, and because half of them thought he was his father until about two weeks ago.
[ Laughter ]

Bill: And the other half loved his mother -- who, by the way, was always a bitch.

Monty: That's not true.

Rita: Oh, I think so.

Monty: That's harsh.

Bill: You think so?

Rita: Yes, I think so.

Bill: Barbara Bush? Are you kidding?

Monty: I worked for Barbara Bush, that is to say --

Rita: She is in a Little Rocking chair at home knitting a noose. I mean, she will kill anyone.

Catherine: Why is she a bitch?

Bill: Because you could just see right through that facade.

Catherine: No, no, but you're calling a woman a bitch on national television because she appears that way?

Carson: Change it to "ho".
[ Laughter ]

Rita: I was so appalled at Barbara Bush.

Bill: That's my impression.

Monty: Happened to the military?

Rita: When Geraldine Ferarro was running for Vice President, I mean, it was such an achievement, she was a wonderful woman, she was right there. When Barbara Bush stooped to saying "It rhymes with witch, that's what I call," I thought that was appalling. That's where she lost me. I don't care what kind of cookies she bakes.

For the record, the "rhymes with witch" comment wasn't made by Barbara Bush in regards to Geraldine Ferarro, it was made by Newt Gingrich's mother about Hillary Clinton. Apart from that rather obvious error, and the thoughts of what should happen to little Carson Daly in a darkened ally one night, the exchange between Rudner and Maher illustrates that when it really comes down to it, liberals only really ever rely on personal attacks these days, even if the person being attacked has nothing to do with the ideas being debated.

It's no different when Al Gore, Bill Clinton or anyone in the liberal press intimate that a person -- who is a conservative -- is a racist, misogynist, extremist, fascist, fundamentalist, fill in your own selections here, because they doesn't agree on the issues. Bitch, apparently, is now acceptable. Even "ho," street hand for "whore" if you didn't know, makes the grade during a televised debate.

Barbara Bush may well be a bitch. I don't know the woman but from all indications she appears to be exactly what she comes across as, a pleasant grandmotherly woman you would enjoy talking to, one taken to the hearts of many Americans. That's what may anger Maher and Rudner the most...because no one seems to actually love their patron saint Hillary Clinton. People either support her Senate run on ideological grounds or because she isn't Rudy Guliani. What does that make her?

Maybe Maher should get a couple of New Yorkers on to find out.

web posted February 21, 2000

Enter Stage Right is no fan of John McCain but even we are compelled to register our outrage when he was ambushed by news that a member of his family owned slaves over a century ago.

Some time ago, McCain made the comment that no one in his family -- which is originally from the southern United States -- had ever owned slaves. Well, the shrilly liberal Salon magazine took it upon themselves to find out if that was true and on February 15 presented McCain with information that William Alexander McCain, his great-great-grandfather had owned 52 slaves. Historical records show that McCain owned a plantation and later died during the Civil War as a soldier for the Mississippi cavalry.

"I didn't know that," McCain told the magazine. "I knew they had sharecroppers. I did not know that."

Nor did he have to since he didn't own the slaves.

It was a beautiful "coup" for the online magazine which has done little but bray on the behalf of the Clinton administration since its founding a few years ago. McCain and George W. Bush have both had troubles over the issue of the Confederate flag and Dubya even (unfortunately) spoke at Bob Jones University recently -- an institution that maintains a ban on interracial dating.

The issue of race has given Republicans problems for decades now and this was Salon's chance to stick it to the party -- and its two golden boys -- one more time. McCain, known for his temper, should have unleashed it at Salon's reporters. He is not a slave owner and is not responsible for the actions of a man in 1860. Asking questions about a man's past is within the rules, but trumpeting those of another human being and linking them to someone else is the worst in journalism, just what we've come to expect from Salon.

As a commodity, hypocrisy is a fairly plentiful one, especially when one considers the world of politics. As usual, Canada's government has a surplus ready to be used at any moment.

Take Joerg Haider's surprise and unannounced 48-hour visit to Canada last week. Howls of outrage were record while Haider avoided any official contact with government officials during a visit that seemed to make little sense. That outrage was also displayed by Lloyd Axworthy, Canada's foreign affairs minister, who through the media told Haider to keep his "repugnant" views to himself while in Canada on a private visit.

"We will look with great care at what he says and does to determine whether it exacerbates or enhances some of the statements that we have found so repugnant in the past," he said, one week after announcing that Canada would limit diplomatic relations with Austria after the country's conservative People's Party formed a coalition government that includes the Freedom Party.

The problem with Haider -- at least for Axworthy -- is that he is responsible for a sum total of zero deaths. Not one. Zip. Zilch. Is Haider a sympathizer or actual Nazi? Too early to tell but when it comes to hosting leaders with blood on their hands, Axworthy has no problems when the victims and perpetrators aren't white.

Last fall, Enter Stage Right told you about a Francophone summit in Canada which saw guests like Laurent Kabila, president of Congo, Hun Sen, president of Cambodia, and Gnassingbe Eyadema, president of Togo enjoying some red carpet treatment.

Kabila's regime, locked in a bloody civil war fueled by tribal rivalries, has reportedly ordered massacres of opponents, imprisonment of political foes and extra-judicial executions. Sen's government has squelched political protest and imprisoned scores of demonstrators, with five people being executed without trials in 1997, according to human rights groups. And Eyadema has been accused of arresting opponents in run-off elections last June, opponents whose handcuffed bodies turned up on beaches after being thrown from planes.

Canada maintains full diplomatic relations with both the Congo and Cambodia.

Eyadema and several other leaders attending the summit -- including those from Rwanda, Burundi, Burkina Faso -- were granted full diplomatic immunity during the summit to prevent possible arrest for human rights violations.

"There is a very clear distinction between people who are invited to attend an international meeting under the auspices of an international organization. UN rules are applied to what you can and can't do," replies Axworthy.

Haider's comments were at a minimum insulting and at worst indicative of his true beliefs, but the crimes of Kabila, Sen and Eyadema are much worse. It demonstrates several clear facts about the Liberal government of Canada. 1) If the victims and perpetrators aren't white, diplomatic and military action aren't to be used. 2) If you make remarks like those of Haider's, prepare to be treated worse than men who actually order people to be killed.

Hypocrisy isn't expensive, especially when measured in people's lives.

At the risk of becoming predictable, Fox's recent television special, "Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire," is simply the latest in a long string of notices that the apocalypse is truly near.

If you missed it, the program was a special on which a millionaire picked a bride from a group of women paraded before him in swimsuits and wedding gowns. The bizarre cross between a beauty pageant and quiz show drew huge numbers -- especially among women aged 18 to 34, of which a third of all with televisions on had watched all or part of the program. I guess that also explains the enduring popularity of the movie Pretty Woman which saw a prostitute picked up and eventually married to a wealthy man.

I'd say that the popularity of the show proves that all women want is money or they dream of being prostitutes themselves -- which is all the 50 contestants on the program really were when you think about it -- but I'll suspend judgement until the next special: one which will reportedly see a female millionaire choosing from a field of male contestants.

"At the end of those two hours, if you turned down the volume of your TV and you listened real carefully, you could hear Western civilization crumbling around you,'' said Robert Thompson, director of Syracuse University's Center for the Study of Popular Television.

Thompson may be overdoing it since ancient Rome also had its share of gaudy spectacles designed to keep everyone entertained.

Look what happened to it.

The Vinegar in Freedom Award

There is an old Serbian proverb that says vinegar in freedom tastes better than honey in slavery. This award is meant for events and people Enter Stage Right considers to be positive.

web posted March 6, 2000

If social security is the untouchable third rail of American politics, touch it and die, then publicly health care is the electrified fence of Canadian politics. But just like the push for social security reform has been gaining ground in America, so too have many Canadians started saying that which could not be previously spoken: maybe privately run health care isn't such a bad thing after all.

The latest sign of this is the Alberta government's recent introduction of Bill 11, an act which would allow privately run clinics to preform minor surgery that currently by law can only be performed by publicly funded hospitals.

Admittedly the grandly titled Health Care Protection Act is at best a small step forward. While patients will be able to pay for minor surgeries and stay in the clinics overnight, the act does not actually create private hospitals -- in fact, it specifically bans them. The Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons would decide what a minor surgery is and the clinics must be cost effective for taxpayers. The act, of course, does not define what "cost effective" actually is.

Still, it is a step forward. Alberta's government, led by ESR favourite Progressive Conservative Ralph Klein, has previously withdrawn similar legislation twice because of protests by the public. It's encouraging to note that despite that, he is continuing the battle for privatized health care.

While the light at the end of the tunnel is a long way off, Klein's bill is the first in a long series of legislation which will be needed to dismantle the socialist health care system which has caused waiting lines across the country, devoured money while delivering deteriorating services and sent thousands of doctors and health care professionals to the United States looking for a freer health care system and more compensation for their valuable skills.

It's not perfect, but it is a nice small step forward.

Have someone you want considered for the Earth is Flat Award or the Vinegar in Freedom Award? Email ESR with your candidates!

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