Monday, June 29, 2015
by Larry Simons
June 29, 2015
Co-founder and longtime bassist for the progressive rock band Yes, Chris Squire, died Saturday at his home in Phoenix, Arizona from acute erythroid leukemia at the age of 67.
Squire was the only member of Yes to play on all of the band's 21 studio albums from 1969 to 2014. Squire wrote or co-wrote many of Yes's biggest songs, including "Owner of A Lonely Heart", "The Calling", "We Can Fly", "Rhythm of Love", "It Can Happen", "Leave It" and "The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be".
Squire's diagnosis of acute erythroid leukemia was only a short 6 weeks ago. He will be replaced on tour by former Yes bassist Billy Sherwood.
Here is my tribute to Squire
"The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be" (Squire on lead vocals)
Saturday, June 27, 2015
If We Are Going to Start Banning Flags That Represent Racism And Slavery, Let's Start with the American Flag
The Confederate flag actually has no racist roots
by Larry Simons
June 27, 2015
In the wake of the massacre that took place in a Charleston, South Carolina church on June 17, in which nine black people were gunned down as a result of a lone gunman's mentally deranged act, the Confederate flag has now come under fire once again because the shooter, Dylan Roof, posted several pictures on a website of him holding a Confederate flag.
Retail stores like Wal-Mart and online companies like Amazon have announced that they will no longer sell items with Confederate flags on them. Other companies like Target and Sears have followed suit. Even Apple has announced it will no longer sell video games depicting the civil war because the Confederate flag is pictured in the games. How absurd.
The governor of South Carolina has announced the Confederate flag will be removed from their state house. Other politicians like President Obama, Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush have stood in support of the flags' removal. Obviously, it appears that an overwhelming majority of Americans are clueless about the history of the south and the Confederate flag. Most people erroneously believe that the Confederate battle flag is rooted in racism and slavery. How can this be [since the Confederacy only lasted a mere 4 years and slavery and racism preceded the Confederacy long before the Civil War began]?
The fact is that the Confederate flag represents the "southern cause". That is, ideals based on upholding the original Constitution of the founding fathers. It represents the Jeffersonian promise of states rights, small government and personal freedom, all of which Lincoln abhorred.
There were three national Confederate flags: The first national, second national and third national. These three flags have never been in the center of any controversy because none of these flags were ever used by hate groups. Only the Confederate battle flag has been in the center of debates because it has been used by hate groups. But one must ask themselves: If a symbol is used by a hate group long after that symbol originated, does that make the symbol itself one of racism? Of course not.
Using that same logic [that symbols are racist and hateful because they are used by hate groups/racist people] then we must conclude that the American flag is a symbol of racism and hate as well, since the American flag was the symbol of the United States government that sanctioned slavery from 1789 [when the Constitution was adopted] to 1865 [when the 13th amendment abolished slavery], Supreme Court decisions denying runaway slaves their freedom, the US Government's enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act [which US Marshals were ordered to return runaway slaves to their owners or face fines], imprisonment of Japanese-Americans immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands [maybe even millions] of Indians between 1789 and 1890, countless illegal wars throughout the last two centuries, the failed war on drugs, segregation in the 1960's...the list goes on and on.
Also, the US flag was the very flag that flew on the masts of all American slave ships and as the pictures below show, the same flag used at white supremacist/Neo-Nazi rallies and KKK rallies. Where are the cries to ban the sell of merchandise that depicts the US flag or to remove it from the grounds of government agencies? Where is the outrage and claims that the US flag is a symbol of racism and intolerance?
There is a far longer history of racism and intolerance under the US flag. After all, the Confederacy lasted only 4 years and was never created as a symbol of racism in the first place. As stated above, the Supreme Court of the United States, represented by the US flag, ruled that runaway slave Dred Scott was a non-person in 1857 and refused to grant Scott his independence, yet Americans still honored the American flag in the aftermath of that racist ruling. Why? Simple, because to rational, thinking people, the US flag is not a symbol of intolerance and it's use by bigoted groups does not make it a symbol of racism and hate. But, using the logic of deranged liberals, the banning of the American flag should be the next logical step.
The fact remains that the Confederate flag is a symbol of Southern heritage that includes all races. All races fought for the Confederacy and helped build the South. The Confederate army consisted of 1 million European-Americans, 300,000 to 1 million African-Americans, 70,000 Native-Americans, 60,000 Latin-Americans, 50,000 foreigners, 12,000 Jewish-Americans and 10,000 Asian-Americans.
For those who claim that the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism simply know nothing about Southern history. The flag represents a heritage of strict constitutionalism, states rights and the pride of once standing up to a centralized government of protectionist tariffs and the quest for the American system by a tyrant, as Jefferson himself said it was the duty of all Americans to "throw off the old [tyrannical] government and start a new one" in the Declaration of Independence. Nothing is more American than that. On the other hand, nothing is more un-American than what Lincoln did, commit treason per the Constitution [Article 3, Section 3] by levying war against the states.
Those who claim the Confederate flag is a symbol of slavery love ignoring that the United States government put its stamp of approval on slavery long before the Confederacy came into the picture. The Confederacy had slaves, yes, but so did the North. Slavery was legal in 1861, so Southerners were not violating any laws. In fact, they were abiding by them. But Lincoln and his armies violated the Constitution by invading states.
Another interesting fact: When Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 to "free slaves", it only applied in the areas where Lincoln knew slaves would not really be free [in the Confederacy], but did not apply in the four slave states not in rebellion [Maryland, Kentucky, Delaware and Missouri], Tennessee, parts of Louisiana under Union occupation and the counties of Virginia that would soon become the state of West Virginia, a state illegally created by Lincoln.
My point: Lincoln is revered as a great emancipator, yet he did not free any slaves in any states or areas under his control. This, of course, was another act of the federal government in which slavery was sanctioned and yet many still idolize Lincoln and the flag which represented the legislative body that kept slavery in tact. Southerners simply obeyed that sanctioning [of slavery] and yet they get labeled racists? It was not Southerners that made slavery law. It was not Southerners who had the power to end slavery and refused to. That was all the work of our own federal government, and yet the flag that represents that government has always been honored and respected.
Pictures of the shooter, Dylan Roof [above], surfaced on a website where apparently he posted a manifesto. Pictures show Roof holding Confederate flags, as if the flag itself caused Roof to commit 9 murders. In the photos, Roof is also wearing a Gold's Gym shirt. Where are the calls to ban Gold's Gym items, or to shut it down? Using the logic of brain dead liberals, Gold's Gym could have been Roof's meeting place to discuss his plan to assassinate people. Why isn't it being shut down? In another photo there is a Seagram's VO mirror above his bed. Where are the calls for the halting of sales of Seagram's VO products?
Yes, it's insane to blame Gold's Gym and it's insane to blame Seagram's whiskey, and it's equally insane to blame the Confederate flag. If Roof had any knowledge of Southern history, he would have known that African-Americans fought for the Confederacy. So, if he loved the Confederate flag, then he would have respected the lives of the ones he gunned down, for there is a real good chance that the victims' ancestors fought for the freedom that Roof enjoyed before his heinous act.
Roof's crime stemmed from two things: his profound mental health issues [that no liberal ever likes to discuss] and racism. Roof's racism does not emanate from the Confederate flag any more than his mental illness emanates from it, and if the Confederate flag did influence his racism, then he clearly is ignorant of Southern history.
As stated earlier, companies like Wal-Mart and Amazon has stopped the selling of Confederate merchandise because like every politically correct issue that erupts into controversy, companies acquiesce out of fear of vilification or that they may be labeled racists. It's pure insanity. Interestingly and hypocritically, Amazon stopped the sale of Confederate items, but they still sell items with swastikas [a symbol that actually is the representation of a political party that slaughtered millions of Jews].
Even if the Confederate flag was originated in racism and hate, why can't non-Southerners get past that and still respect the flag as they respect the American flag despite the mile-long list of US government atrocities? Adam Dick, writing for the Ron Paul Institute, puts it best when he said:
"Why is this so hard for so many people to understand? All sorts of Americans revere the American flag even though they don’t agree with everything the US government has done. An American Indian may cherish the American flag, not defining it as a representation of a government that slaughtered his ancestors and drove them from the land on which they lived. A liberal may cherish the American flag, not defining it as a representation of a government that does not guarantee single-payer health care, a $15 an hour minimum wage, and gay marriage. A conservative may cherish the American flag, not defining it as a representation of a government that imposes too much taxes, is soft on illegal immigration, and allows abortions. A libertarian may cherish the American flag, not defining it as a representation of a government that engages in endless offensive wars, mass surveillance, and the war on drugs."
He also writes, "The “racist” label can be affixed to the American flag just as it can to the Confederate battle flag. The histories of the governments associated with both flags provide plenty of ground for arguments supporting the label’s applicability. Yet, each flag is cherished both by people who abhor racism and by people who embrace racism. If the Confederate battle flag must be taken down because of the history of the government with which it is associated, then why not take down the American flag as well?"
If this madness continues, where will it end? Jimmy Carter's great-grandfather, Littleberry Walker Carter fought for the Confederacy. Do we now ban images of Jimmy Carter? Will talk shows and colleges now ban him from coming and speaking?
We are now finding out that President Obama's great-great-great-great grandfather, George Washington Overall, owned two slaves who were recorded in the 1850 census in Nelson County, Kentucky. Also, Obama’s great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, Mary Duvall, also owned slaves. Do we now demand that Obama resign because his family owned slaves?
You cannot just pick one thing [like the Confederate flag] and ban it because it may or may not have associations with racism and hatred. You have to go all out and ban everything that does as well. The fact that everyone is hopping on the hypocrisy bandwagon and zeroing in on the Confederate flag and completely ignoring issues that actually have merit [like Amazon still selling Nazi/swastika items and the fact that the US flag is associated with countless atrocities] is the ultimate red flag that there is a much more sinister motivation behind this by the left [and even some of the right].
I fear that sinister motivation is in the form of trying to indoctrinate the already dumbed-down American population that secession is treason, states rights does not exist and that slavery originated in the South. None of which could be further from the truth.
Friday, June 12, 2015
by Larry Simons
June 12, 2015
Former Los Angeles County district attorney and best-selling author Vincent Bugliosi, died of cancer last Saturday at the age of 80. Bugliosi successfully prosecuted 105 out of 106 felony jury trials without a single loss. His most notable case, the Tate-LaBianca murders saw a successful prosecution of Charles Manson.
In 1974, Bugliosi wrote of the Manson murders in the book Helter Skelter, which went on to become the #1 best selling true crime book of all time. He went on to write 11 more books in his lifetime, which included my personal favorites, "Outrage" about the O.J. Simpson murders, "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder" and "Divinity of Doubt", his final book.
I was a big fan of Bugliosi's work and his stance on religion. He was a staunch agnostic. Although I did not agree with his stance on the Kennedy assassination which was the basis for his book, "Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy", I was still a huge admirer of his work.
He leaves behind his wife of 59 years, Gail and his two children, Wendy and Vincent Jr.
Posted by Real Truth Online at 12:15 AM
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Pat "I'm Officially Insane" Robertson Tells A Grieving Mother the Death of Her 3-Year-Old Baby Could Be "A Good Thing"
Because the baby "could have grown up to be Hitler"
June 11, 2015
OK, I have officially had it with this walking sack of human excrement the world calls Pat Robertson. Just when I think this mentally retarded shitbag could not possibly utter another vile and unfathomable comment, holy shitballs, he does it again. It is really quite amazing how this deranged fossil can repeatedly outdo himself over and over again.
Recently, on the 700 Club, a viewer emailed the show to ask Robertson what she would tell her co-worker who had just recently lost her 3-year-old baby and was mourning its loss, as to why a good God would let her baby die.
The email stated:
"A co-worker confronted me in the break room and said she can't believe in a God who let her baby of 3 years old die---suffering a long battle in and out of hospitals---while he heals other children. She asked me, "Why did God allow my baby to die?" I told her that I don't know why her child died, but God sees the whole picture, we see only in part. What else can I say?"
Robertson's response? Are you sure you're ready?
"What you have to understand....in the Old Testament it was like, God's responsible for everything. He brings out the bad, he brings out the good. He's responsible for everything. More and more in the New Testament era we have come to realize that human beings have an agency, they have responsibility. And a lot of things happen because of what humans do. People die in hospitals because of medical malpractice. Somebody cuts the wrong thing and somebody dies. It happens all the time. A nurse gives a patient the wrong medicine. Well, are you going to blame that on God? That's not God, that's people who are making mistakes.
As far as God’s concerned, He knows the end from the beginning and He sees a little baby and that little baby could grow up to be Adolf Hitler, he could grow up to be Joseph Stalin, he could grow up to be some serial killer, or he could grow up to die of a hideous disease. God sees all of that, and for that life to be terminated while he’s a baby, he’s going to be with God forever in Heaven so it isn’t a bad thing. So, how could God do that? How could a good God let that happen? Well, the good God is gonna take that baby to heaven right now and that isn't a bad thing."
I would be utterly appalled at these words if it weren't for the fact that Robertson says shit like this so often, it starts to lose its shock value after 12, 13, 14 or 15 times. Don't misunderstand me at all, it's still appalling for a so-called "Christian" person to tell a grieving mother that the death of their baby is a "good thing", but for Robertson's standards, it's the norm.
Let's break down his insanity, shall we?
First, he starts by suggesting that God changes [from Old to New testaments] from being responsible for everything to being responsible for nothing [odd since the bible says God is unchanging]. He mentions this to suggest that maybe the woman's infant child died because of human error [by the nurse], not anything God did or failed to do. This, of course, is also bullshit since using Pat's logic that God is in the business of exterminating lives before they do evil, why didn't God just exterminate the nurse's life before her error cost the baby's life? Robertson's warped logic here falls in line with the plethora of insane comments he has made in the past, like abortion being the cause of Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 being caused by gays and lesbians.
What kind of logic [or lack thereof] suggests that God is not capable of possessing the wisdom to end the life of a nurse before their error causes the death of a baby, but rather end the baby's life instead because they might commit acts of evil as an adult? Is not God all-powerful? Does he not have the ultimate power to control human events? In Robertson's warped and frightening mind, obviously not.
One major flaw in Robertson's view of how God operates is when he suggests that the baby died in order to prevent it from becoming the next Hitler or Stalin, so others would not perish as a result of evil committed by the toddler in the future. Robertson fails to mention that God didn't kill the actual Hitler or actual Stalin when they were babies, and yet they grew up to slaughter millions of people.
Why didn't God kill the people responsible for 9/11 when they were babies? Oh, that's right Pat, I forgot. He allowed those perpetrators to live and become adults because God knew in the future he would need the attacks of 9/11 to happen in order to blame gays and lesbians for the attack, when [using Pat's logic] God could have just exterminated the gays and lesbians themselves when they were babies and spared the lives of innocent people who died inside the towers.
Why didn't God exterminate Charles Manson as a baby? Why not kill baby O.J. Simpson? Why didn't he exterminate the two teens who murdered the kids at Columbine in 1999? Why didn't God kill baby Ted Bundy? Baby Jeff Dahmer?
I could literally sit here all day and think of names of famous people who have committed acts of evil and violence, who God spared so that they could kill others. But this wouldn't matter to the likes of Pat "I died 25 years ago but don't know it yet" Robertson, because this mentally ill fucknut will still be wheeled out by his 700 Club staff for the sole purpose of spewing his venomous bile to his zombified followers.
And that is the most amazing thing of all, that this colossal brain damaged slug still has people who turn on their TV sets to seek his advice. Why? Imagine the state of mind it requires to actually want guidance from this cretin---to actually turn on the TV set and listen to this on purpose. I can't imagine it. I literally cannot imagine a scenario in which I would think any facet of my life would improve after listening to this man.
I will tell you the truth why this woman's baby died. Because everything happens by chance and there is no one controlling human events. It's the very same reason why you'll run into a mean and nasty person who is 95, but a very sweet, loving and kind person who never spoke a harsh word to anyone is tragically killed in an auto accident at age 18. It's a crap shoot, totally random.
It's why a person who curses God makes a million dollars and the one who has faith in him is poor. Randomness. Nothing more, nothing less. It has nothing to do with "God making the person poor to test their faith", etc. Absolutely nothing. Anyone who tells you that or believes it is fooling themselves.
It's the same reason why my grandfather died at age 36 from leukemia when he had great talent, was a great man, wonderful father and husband, who was liked by everyone and had 6 young children left without a father for the majority of their lives while others live to be 75 or 80 who accomplish nothing and have nothing to live for. Because no one is in control and everything is random. There is no rhyme or reason to anything. Robertson knows this and so do all Christians. They just fool themselves into believing the opposite.
Robertson should have just said, "I'm sorry for your loss. I don't have the answer." But no, not Robertson. To give a response like that, you have to have a conscience first.
Friday, April 24, 2015
Obamacare Advocate Claims Conservatives Will Have Difficulty Explaining the Increase In Obamacare Enrollees, Then Admits He Agrees with the Explanation They Would Give for the Increase
Then continues to lie his ass off about the economy since 2012
by Larry Simons
April 24, 2015
Matthew Yglesias, writing for the social networking site Vox, states in his April 13 article, "A chart that Obamacare's fiercest critics will have a hard time explaining", that the number of uninsured Americans, due to Obamacare, has plunged from just over 15% [since the Obamacare enrolling began last year] to 11.9% in the first quarter of 2015.
This is even assuming these numbers are true. They have lied to us about everything else concerning Obamacare [getting to keep health care plans and doctors/premiums being lower], why would Americans naturally assume they are telling the truth about this? Nevertheless, Yglesias says this:
"Every time one of these quarterly reports comes out, I hear from conservatives saying to me that of course a law that mandates the purchase of insurance and then subsidizes it will succeed in getting people health insurance. And I agree! But conservatives didn't always."
After blatantly showcasing in the title of his article that "Obamacare's critics will have a hard time explaining [the chart]", he then gives an example of what conservatives might say the explanation would be [why the Obamacare enrollments are increasing] and then admits he agrees with that answer.
Of course he agrees, it's true. If the government mandates people to sign up or face a penalty, then you cannot claim that the law is successful in that Americans are signing up because the law is good or that it works, but that it is compulsory.
If I force someone to do something against their will, should I then be credited with being a success? Not for a moment, but asshat Michael Yglesias wants you to believe that.
It would be like the Department of Motor Vehicles claiming they are a huge success in the turn out in their drivers license program when they tell everyone drivers licenses are required and no one can drive their cars without them.
As if that mammoth gaffe wasn't enough for one to stomach, Yglesias then goes on to lie his ass off about how well the economy has been doing since 2012.
After stating that conservatives predicted that Obamacare would destroy the economy and there would be nobody signing up for it, he says:
"Now in defense of conservatives, it's a mistake to attribute this all to the Affordable Care Act. A decline in the uninsured rate is, in part, a reflection of the growing strength of the economy and the accelerating pace of job creation".
There are so many things wrong with that sentence, I have no idea where to begin.
First, he admits the Affordable Care Act is not the direct cause of the increased numbers after previously stating it was. Then he says the decreased uninsured numbers are a reflection of the growing economy. How, when the law mandates it or its violators face a fine? This means in a good economy or a bad economy, Americans would still be forced to purchase health care or face a fine. How does the purchasing of health care by means of a compulsory law reflect a growing economy?
To top it off, he claims that Obamacare enrollees are increasing because of job creation. Once again, if the unemployment rate was 0% or 50%, the law is still compulsory, meaning Americans still have to purchase health care. The fact is, the unemployment rate is not decreasing, it's increasing, despite what you hear.
As Michael Snyder explains on his blog, The Economic Collapse, "Just prior to the last recession, approximately 63 percent of the working age population of the United States was employed. During the recession, this ratio fell to below 59 percent and it stayed there for several years. Just recently it has peeked back above 59 percent, but we are still very, very far from where we used to be, and now the next economic downturn is rapidly approaching".
The chart below represents the civilian employment-population ratio
Snyder also explains how Obama gets away with telling Americans that the unemployment rate keeps going down dramatically. He says, "Each month the government takes thousands upon thousands of long-term unemployed workers and decides that they have been unemployed for so long that they no longer qualify as 'part of the labor force'. As a result, the “labor force participation rate” has fallen substantially since the end of the last recession".
As the chart [of the Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate] above shows, right after the last recession [of 2008], the labor force participation rate was around 66%. Now it is just under 63%. This article shows that since Obama has taken office in January of 2009, over 12 million people have been added to the list of Americans that are not part of the labor force. The number of Americans not in the labor force when Obama took office was 80,529,000. As of February 2015, that number is now 92,898,000.
The article states, "The unemployment number has come down after the 2008 recession but an increase in the number of non-working Americans could mean that the unemployment data isn’t showing the real picture."
So, yes, Yglesias is correct that the "official" unemployment numbers have decreased [among Americans still a part of the labor force, including those who receive unemployment insurance], but what they continually lie about is the very component that constitutes the unemployment rate figures, which is the combined number of Americans the government tells us are unemployed and the number of Americans not in the labor force. This means the economy is not booming and the real unemployment numbers are increasing.
Liars like Matthew Yglesias will never tell you the cold hard facts, because they love party over country and support any piece of legislation anyone in their party endorses. Here are the real facts about our terrible economy:
1. 33% of Americans age 16 and over are not part of the labor force, the highest number since 1978.
2. Just prior to the last recession, the U.S. national debt was a bit above 9 trillion dollars. Since that time, it has nearly doubled.
3. More than a trillion dollars was added to the national debt in fiscal year 2014.
4. Back in 1975, our total debt level was sitting at about 2.5 trillion dollars. Just prior to the last recession, it was sitting at about 50 trillion dollars, and today we are rapidly closing in on 60 trillion dollars.
5. The rate of home ownership in the United States has fallen to a 20 year low.
6. Just prior to the last recession, the inactivity rate for men in their prime working years was about 9 percent. Today it is just about 12 percent.
7. In America today, most Americans do not make enough to support a middle class lifestyle on a single salary.
8. 39 % of American workers make less than $20,000 a year.
9. 52 % percent of American workers make less than $30,000 a year.
10. 63% percent of American workers make less than $40,000 a year.
11. 72% percent of American workers make less than $50,000 a year.
12. In 2008, the government spent nearly 30 billion dollars on food stamps, today they spend roughly 80 billion.
13. Since February 2008, the size of the U.S. population has grown by 16.8 million people, but the number of full-time jobs has actually decreased by 140,000.
14. When you add the number of “officially unemployed” Americans (8.7 million) to the number of Americans “not in the labor force” (92.9 million), you get a grand total of 101.6 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.
15. The quality of our jobs continues to decline. Right now, only 44 percent of U.S. adults are employed for 30 or more hours each week.
16. The real unemployment rate in the United States right now is above 23%.
17. McDonald’s has announced that it will be closing 700 “poor performing” restaurants in 2015. Why would McDonald’s be doing this if the economy was actually getting better?
18. Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.
19. The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 46 million today.
20. The number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
21. From 2009 through 2013, the U.S. government spent a whopping 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs.
But Matthew Yglesias says the economy is "growing". Unless he means by "growing" it's actually collapsing, he's dead wrong. I have said it before, but a major red flag in determining how good something is [in this case, the Affordable Care Act], is how much people have to resort to lying about it. A good law would require no one to lie in order to obfuscate the law's provisions and statutes. But everyone, including Obama himself have been caught red-handed lying about it. If the law is so good, why would one lie be necessary?
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
by Larry Simons
March 18, 2015
Mike Porcaro, bass player for the rock group Toto, who had been battling amyotropic lateral sclerosis [Lou Gehrig's disease] since 2007, died in his sleep this past Sunday [March 15] at the age of 59. His health began to decline when numbness in his fingers made it difficult to play, so he was forced to leave the band.
Porcaro officially joined the band in 1982 when he replaced David Hungate following the highly successful album Toto IV. Mike actually played cello on the song "Good for You" on that grammy-winning album. He was their official bass player for the albums Isolation, Fahrenheit, The Seventh One, Kingdom of Desire, Tambu, Minefields and Falling In Between.
His death marks the third Toto member to pass away, following the deaths of former lead singer Fergie Frederiksen, who died in 2014, and Mike's brother Jeff, the band's former drummer, who died in 1992. A third Porcaro brother, Steve, who is Toto's keyboardist, is the only surviving brother.
Mike co-wrote most of the songs on the Kingdom of Desire album, as well as other Toto greats like "Mr. Friendly" and "Caught In the Balance".
Members of the band reacted to Porcaro's death via Twitter/Facebook:
Guitarist and vocalist Steve Lukather:
"My brother Mike Porcaro is now now at peace. I will miss him more than I could ever put into words. My deepest love to the family. God Bless"
Pianist/vocalist David Paich:
"God bless our brother, Mike. Rest in peace Mikey..."
Former lead vocalist Bobby Kimball:
"The passed 2 days have been very sad for me. 2 days ago, I found out that my friend, Jimmy Greenspoon, the keyboardist for "Three Dog Night", had passed away. We were friends for so many years. We were writing some songs together, and I always thought he was such a fantastic keyboard player and song writer.That was some really bad news for me. However, today I found out that Mike Porcaro had passed away too, and that made me terribly sad. I had not visited Mile for about 3 years, because I didn't want to disturb him while he was experiencing such a malicious disease like ALS. The first person that I ever saw with this disease was my Daughter's Great-Grand-Mother, who had ALS for 23 years. I felt so sorry for Mike and his wonderful Family about this problem. Mike was one of the nicest people, and such a great Musician that I knew. I have a photo a friend of mine took while we were in Tokyo, Japan, just before Mike had to go home, and not travel around the world for so many months. Leland Sklar came and played the 2nd half of the "Falling In Between" Tour for Mike. Even though Leland is such a fantastic Musician and a wonderful person, a lot of the Fans were really posting that they were missing Mike onstage. It was very sad to know that Mike would be suffering for so many years. Just before he went home, this Photo was taken in Tokyo. I like to see this smile on Mike's face in this Photo.....Bobby"
Keyboardist and brother Steve Porcaro:
"Our brother Mike passed away peacefully in his sleep at 12:04 AM last night at home surrounded by his family. Rest in peace, my brother"
Sadly, Porcaro's death comes just nine days before the release of Toto's first album in 9 years, Toto XIV.
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Was there any doubt?
by Larry Simons
December 31, 2014
Despite the fact that I had not written this much in 2014 as compared to previous years would not have made any difference in my decision as MIT professor Jonathan Gruber as this year's Fraudie winner. He deserved it hands down.
One might think, "But why is he a fraud for inadvertently whistle-blowing the fact that the Affordable Care Act was passed by deceptive means? Doesn't this make him an unwitting hero?" The answer is "no". A big no. And here's why: Because Gruber, despite letting the cat out of the bag on numerous occasions [not knowing his words were captured on film], played a huge role in deceiving the American people. That alone makes him a colossal fraud. The fact that he subsequently spilled the beans to the American people, through no willful act of his own, makes him an arrogant and careless fraud.
Whistle-blowers sacrifice their careers and reputations to expose fraud. They do it willfully and announce it to the public on purpose. Gruber did none of the above. He arrogantly bragged in secret [or what he thought was secret] about it, took credit for it and had no remorse. In fact, he even apologized for saying it [a forced apology]. Whistle-blowers don't apologize.
In November, a serious of videos surfaced showing the MIT professor and prime Obamacare architect revealing that the Affordable Care Act needed a lack of transparency in order to be passed as law. This "lack of transparency" Gruber stated, was essential to deceive the "stupid American voter."
In a clip from October 2013, Gruber stated this:
"Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass. Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”
This was an odd revelation, since just eight months prior to these comments by Gruber, Obama made the claim that his administration was the most transparent administration in history.
After the October 2013 video surfaced, scores of more videos came crawling out of the woodwork showing Gruber making similar statements. After the first video went viral, Gruber made an appearance on national television, lied and stated that he "spoke off the cuff and inappropriately", as if to pass it off as an isolated gaffe. In reality, he said it on may other occasions in different video clips at different times and different settings.
Just nine days prior to his "stupid American voter" comment made in October 2013, Gruber stated, "the American people are too stupid to understand the difference" and this was why the law was passed.
Video #3 from November 2013 showed Gruber stated because of the "lack of economic understanding of the American voter", the administration was able to exploit Americans to hide the fact that Obamacare was a direct tax on the customer.
"I have been making this speech for twelve years and people would come up to me and say, ‘but wait a second you’re going to tax my heath insurance?’ And I’d say no, no, no! We’re going to tax subsidies on your health insurance. And they’d go ‘you’re going to tax my heath insurance?’ And you just can’t get through its politically impossible. So despite the fact we thought we might get this as part of the law it was going to be dead.”
“Until a second Massachusetts hero arose, John Kerry. John Kerry said no-no we’re not going to tax your heath insurance, we’re going to tax those evil insurance companies. We’re going to impose a tax that if they sell health insurance that’s too expensive we’re going to tax them. And conveniently the tax rate will happen to be the marginal tax rate on the income tax code. So basically it’s the same thing – we just tax insurance companies, they pass on higher prices, that offsets the tax break we get into being the same thing. It’s a very clever basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter."
Video #4 from June 2012 shows Gruber being interviewed by Frontline in which he states that Obama knew the Cadillac tax was going to be a big problem so they all agreed to lie about it. Gruber stated:
"Now, the problem is, it’s a political nightmare, … and people say, “No, you can’t tax my benefits.” So what we did a lot in that room was talk about, well, how could we make this work? And Obama was like, “Well, you know” — I mean, he is really a realistic guy. He is like, “Look, I can’t just do this.” He said: “It is just not going to happen politically. The bill will not pass. How do we manage to get there through phases and other things?” And we talked about it. And he was just very interested in that topic."
Video #5 from February 2011 showed Gruber at a meeting of the Vermont House Representatives Committee in which a letter was read by Democratic committee Chairman Mark Larson in which a concerned citizen expresses his concerns about Obamacare, as Gruber listens.
After the reading of the letter, Gruber relies, "Was this written by my adolescent children by any chance?"
Just so happens the letter was written by two-term Vermont State Senator John McClaughry who was an adviser to President Reagan in the 1980's and who knew a great deal about the health care system.
Then, on December 9, Gruber appeared in front of the House Oversight Committee and blatantly lied by telling everyone, "I did not draft Governor Romney's health plan, and I was not the architect of President Obama's health care plan".
watch him say this at the 1:05 mark in the following video
But in this video, we see Gruber admitting to a group of MIT students in 2012 that he did write the Affordable Care Act, openly showcasing his monumental lie to the House Oversight committee.
In the above video [at the 8:29 mark], Gruber states:
"You're hearing a lot of discussion now about the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act, which passed last March 23. This was the single most important piece of government legislation, perhaps, since World War II. Uh, certainly the most significant piece of domestic social policy legislation since Medicare was introduced in 1965. What does this bill do? Well, this bill tries to...and let me...full disclaimer, I'm going to describe objectively but I helped write it. I'll be objective, I'll try to be objective but just, full disclaimer, I was involved in writing the legislation, so there is some bias involved here."
As if things cannot get any worse, then we hear about the fact that Gruber openly admitted in 2009 that the ACA had no cost controls whatsoever and would not be affordable.
In a 2009 policy brief written by Gruber himself, in the section titled "Cost Control", Gruber said this:
"This is an important issue to understand and put in the context of the current debate. There are basically two types of cost control.
What I call win-win cost control sounds good and does good. But it doesn’t save any money.
• Invest in information technology, electronic medical records. Great idea; it won’t save any money, but it will improve the quality of our health care.
• Preventive care; great idea, it will improve our health, but there’s no evidence it will actually save us any money.
• Comparative effectiveness research and guidelines, study what works and what doesn’t. How can you be against studying what works? But it doesn’t matter just to study it. Unless you tell doctors they can’t do it, it’s not going to save any money to just know it doesn’t work. We know lots of things don’t work that people still get.
The real substance of cost control is all about a single thing: telling patients they can’t have something they want.
• It’s about telling patients, “That surgery doesn’t do any good, so if you want it you have to pay the full cost.” It’s basically about saying that we as a society are going to have a minimal insurance package that reimburses effective treatments but that makes people pay on their own for ineffective treatments.
• It doesn’t deny treatment. For instance, in England you can’t get an organ transplant if you are over a certain age. That may be good policy or not, but it will never happen in this country, not in our lifetime.
There’s no reason the American health care system can’t be, “You can have whatever you want, you just have to pay for it.” That’s what we do in other walks of life. We don’t say everyone has to have a large screen TV. If you want a large screen TV, you have to pay for it. Basically the notion would be to move to a level where everyone has a solid basic insurance level of coverage. Above that people pay on their own, without tax-subsidized dollars, to buy a higher level of coverage."
Later in the brief Gruber says this:
"But it’s not a short-run problem. Sure, we would like health care to be a little cheaper, or the cost to rise more slowly, but Americans aren’t ready to deal with the hard measures we’d have to take to get health care costs under control. That’s why I’ve been arguing strenuously that even though the bills that will come out of this process in the end won’t do a whole lot about cost control, they’re still a critical first step.
Because, to wax political economy here for a second, what’s the history of health care reform in the US? We have tried on average every 17.9 years for the last 50 years to have a major health reform, and every time it’s been killed because the people who would get hurt by cost controls have opposed it.
So what’s different this time? Why are we closer than we’ve ever been before? Because there are no cost controls in these proposals. Because this bill’s about coverage. Which is good! Why should we hold 48 million uninsured people hostage to the fact that we don’t yet know how to control costs in a politically acceptable way? Let’s get the people covered and then let’s do cost control.
Now you might say “That’s a leap of faith—just getting people covered makes the costs go up.” But look at what happened in Massachusetts. They pushed through a universal coverage bill. About six months later they realized, “Whoa, wait a second! We’d better get health care costs under control or we’re not going to be able to afford this program.” So they lobbied and the Massachusetts legislature passed one of the most important health care cost control pieces of legislation in the country, which set up a commission that recommended—we’re working on the legislation now—to move to a new physician reimbursement system to try to deal with some of the excesses that these powerful hospitals are charging for care. That happened because first we got to universal coverage. Now everyone is pulling in the same direction.
It’s the same in the US. We need to get the coverage question out of the way, get everyone pulling in the same direction, and then we’ll get to cost control. But if people hold out for a bill that controls health care costs we won’t have a bill. And then 48 million people, 50 million a year later, and so on, will still be uninsured. That really is a moral failure."
So much for the Affordable Care Act. Not only was it passed based on a lack of transparency, but now we find out it was never meant to be affordable to begin with.
Not only was the bill passed out of deception and lies but the bill itself has no cost control proposals in it anywhere, as admitted by the architect himself. You might say that Gruber also shares this award with the ACA law itself as being a fraud on its own. But since Gruber is the architect, regardless of what he tells our House Oversight committee, he gets full credit for fooling everyone who has accepted this law hook, line and sinker....namely Democrats, since no Republican voted for this law.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Bill Maher Takes Jonathan Gruber's "Stupid American Voters" Comment Completely Out of Context and Says It's Not Controversial
Maher: "How this is even controversial, I have no idea"
by Larry Simons
November 23, 2014
On Friday's telecast of Real Time with Bill Maher, the recent comments by MIT Professor and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber was the hot topic. At least 5 tapes have surfaced over the past two weeks that show Gruber saying it was "critical" to have a lack of transparency in getting the Obamacare law passed.
Gruber stated, "Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass. Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”
Maher began the segment by explaining to his guests that he even acknowledged what Gruber's message was in the video clip, that getting the Obamacare law passed using slight of hand was essential and that they had to claim it was not a tax [even though it was] or the bill would have never been passed.
Maher acknowledged this, and after acknowledging it, he says, "I agree, and I've heard nobody else in America say that. Everybody on the left and the right.."oh how could he call Americans stupid"? Then Maher proceeds to play a video montage of himself on several shows saying Americans are stupid.
The problem with Maher's reaction is that he completely took Gruber's comments out of context. Are Americans in general stupid? That is a big resounding yes. I agree. But, this was not Gruber's message. Gruber was not referring to stupid Americans in general, he was specifically referring to Americans being stupid on the Obamacare law itself.
Maher goes on a 5-minute rant on Gruber's comments, while completely misunderstanding them. The irony here is, during this entire segment, Maher preaches on the collective stupidity of Americans while being clueless that Gruber was speaking about fooling those Americans who are specifically clueless about the Affordable Care Act.
For Maher to acknowledge that he knew what Gruber's basic message was [that they had to deceive to get the law passed] and then later make the claim that Gruber was talking about all Americans when he called them stupid, shows that Maher is either purposely trying to divert and ignore Gruber's message [which would mean that Maher would have to admit he was duped into accepting Obamacare], or that Maher is, ironically, displaying his own stupidity on this specific story.
As I stated in my recent story, the only ones who were truly fooled on Obamacare are the very ones who support it, mainly Democrats, since it was only Democrats who voted for the bill. No Republican voted for the ACA. No libertarian would vote for it. Who would be left but Democrats?
Gruber's admission that the administration had to use deception and lies to get the law passed leaves Democrats with no choice but to ignore the very core of Gruber's comments, or to spin his words. To date, I have not seen one Democrat, not one, say that Gruber's admission is an outrage. If they ignore Gruber's comments all together, that is damning because it gives credence to the reactions from the Obamacare opposition. If they address the comments, they have to either claim that the end justifies the means or find some other way to spin it.
The way Maher chose to spin the comments was just to deny the comments were controversial in any way. Maher said, "Jonathan Gruber, you have met your soul mate. How this is even controversial, I have no idea.".
It's crystal clear why it's controversial: Because the Obama administration had to lie to get a bill signed into law when in February 2013 Obama claimed his administration was "the most transparent administration in history". And the natural response to this deception is: If the law was so good to begin with, why did it require any deception or removal of transparency at all?
Democrats ignore this question, because they would rather hold the view that Americans had to be duped into accepting a law that is really good for them [like the analogy that Maher gave of trying to get a dog to take a pill he really needs and is good for him, by slipping it into the dog's food because he won't take it on his own] than to admit that if the law was really that wonderful and it would be so beneficial to the American people, why it had to shrouded in deception and lies.
I agree with Maher in one aspect. Maher and Gruber could be soul mates, but not because they share a view that Americans are stupid, but that they are both rich elitists who support Obamacare because neither one of them needs it.
watch the clip---click here