Culture of Truth: Patriotism Through Work

Feb 9, 2014 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows:  Meet the Press and This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Using show transcripts, he creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here.  Follow @Bobblespeak

              Click through to read the full transcript

              Click through to read the full transcript

Hi, I'm Culture of Truth,

The Olympics are on and if they they gave out medals for Kabuki theater, the Sunday talk shows would win gold, silver and bronze.

On ABC's This Week, Martha Raddatz is very serious and extremely concerned about terrorism.

Christine Brennan told her in fact security in Sochi was not that obtrusive, and in six days she has not seen a single gun, unlike American sporting events.

Brian Ross admitted an attempted hijacking turned out to be nothing, but asked “what if it had?” and warned “terrorists may have found a way to assemble a small bomb on board an aircraft using explosives packed into toothpaste tubes” and of “tiny detonators obtained from Islamist fighters in Syria.”

Raddatz asked Congressman Rogers “What should we be concerned about right now?” and of the so-called Black Widow suicide bombers “How big a threat is that now to those Games or outside those Games?” She warned of a quote “substantial potential for a terrorist attack outside the venue at the Olympics."

Three times she asked Rogers and her two other guests if “the United States is prepared to evacuate the athletes?” because “Clearly, that's important.”

Bringing on her next guest, she announced “We're thrilled to have Ray Kelly” and asked “Ray Kelly, I want to talk to you about letting our guard down,” “How do you make sure they don't take for granted that things are going well?”

Kelly agreed. warning the attacks at the Munich Olympics, didn't happen until nine days in Raddatz agreed, saying “And that's when the terrorists would strike.” She also asked Kelly if “what scares you now most is an attack outside of the venue?”

Pierre Thomas assured Raddatz that Sochi has 100,000 security personnel, and a security zone of 1,500 miles barbed wire, surveillance cameras, surveillance drones and gunboats in the black sea. Thomas said quote “the concern is Islamic fundamentalists trying to get into the Olympic venues.

Raddatz military experts share her fear that Russians won't share intelligence with the U.S. And we won't be able to evacuate every US athlete, because quote “We don't speak Russian”

In domestic politics, even Jon Karl asked Rep. Tom Cole on Republicans saying they won't pass immigration reform because they can't trust the President quote “can we acknowledge that that was a pretty lame excuse?”

Like Martha Raddatz, David Gregory is worried that Russia is not sharing enough information with America, because the US quote “would somehow try to make them look bad.”

With an opportunity to interview the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, he asked “Do you know everything you need to know to keep our athletes and others safe there?”

Perhaps forgetting the Cold War, Gregory said relations with Russia seem to be at a real low point, citing Edward Snowden and a flap over Ukraine. When the Ambassador cited other areas of cooperation, Gregory had a rejoinder. He cited Edward Snowden and the flap over Ukraine.

Other insightful questions include is Russia quote “a friend or a foe?” and “I've talked to friends and family. They say, "Well, so what's the deal with Russia?”

To wrap up, he asked the Ambassador another question about Snowden and how many gold medals America would win.

Most of the rest of the show was devoted to what Gregory called “the darker part of the world of the Clintons”

The whole conversation made little sense, with guests hinting that Bill Clinton will travel the country settling old scores before Hillary runs in 2016, a charge that "Hillary Clinton harbors a trait called a 'bias for action'” in foreign affairs that Republicans will attack her for, and that Rand Paul recently called the former President a sexual predator.

After all sustained criticism of Bill Clinton, one expert then said quote “If Bill Clinton can be the Bill Clinton that he was for Barack Obama in 2012, she's got it made.” And “she can take it to the bank,” to which Gregory bizarrely said “But how do you forget the Bill Clinton who thought there was something of a fraud about President Obama at the time?”

The young director of Heritage Action for America said Bill Clinton will be a liability because he used to be a centrist Democrat but he now supports Bill DeBlasio, who wants to regulate horses in central park.

But the strangest moment came when E.J. Dionne pointed out the CBO found Obamacare will give many people the freedom to leave the workforce to take of their children, an example of family values.

David Brooks, objected, saying, “Yeah, well, even if they do leave voluntarily, there are going to be a lot fewer people in the labor force. If you have two million people who have a stronger incentive to get out of the labor force, and then they try to get in, the marginal tax rates go up super high as they go up in the income scale.”

So you have fewer people working. I agree with E.J., we want people to be at home to help with the kids. We also want people in the labor force to be a growing country. And this is not good for them.”

So, Obamacare gives people freedom, and liberty, and choice, and allow parents to be with their children, but none of that is good, or good enough, because we need Americans to get into the labor force, whether they need the job or not, so America can be a growing country, for the good of the Fatherland.

And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.

Culture of Truth: Galactic Ridiculousness



Jan 26, 2014 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows:  Meet the Press and This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Using show transcripts, he creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here.  Follow @Bobblespeak

Hi, I'm Culture of Truth -

I can think I can say without fear of contradiction I am something of a connoisseur of Meet The Press, and must confess this was perhaps the most insipid episode I have ever seen, from the idiotic questions to the hosts' habit of grinning fatuously during the entire show, including when he seemingly happily announced Sochi is a hard target for terrorists.

Read today's Bobblespeak Translation

Read today's Bobblespeak Translation

Gregory has two obsessions – Edward Snowden and the 2016 Presidential election. He asked Ed Snowden's legal advisor about Ed Snowden. He asked Dick Durbin about Ed Snowden. He asked Rand Paul about Ed Snowden. He asked Michael Chertoff about Ed Snowden.


It was unclear why he asked Chertoff about Snowden, or talked to Chertoff at all.  Is Snowden a Russian spy or was he acting alone? Chertoff, a private citizen, has no idea. Is Russia cooperating enough, or at all, with the US regarding Olympic security? Chertoff has no clue, and seemed annoyed by Gregory's questions, as if the host had ambushed him at the salad bar of the NBC commissary and the former homeland security chief simply wished to return to his croutons and be left alone.


On This Week, Peter King said he is sure Russia is not cooperating enough, but said said the US cannot share its technology for jamming roadside bombs because the Russians could use it against America someday. Also American athletes are advised not to wear American clothes at the games, suggesting that the US has a special enemy in Russia, and the terrorists who hate Russia.


King also observed that this will be the “first mass transit Super Bowl” and “so many people will be coming by subway, for instance. And also the cold weather, it'll be easier for people to conceal things under their clothing.”


Also on that show, Jon Karl insisted that the upcoming State of the Union is Obama's make or break moment; three times asked Jay Carney is Obamacare will be worth it if Democrats lose the Senate, and brought up the poverty rate in 2009, then said Carney was blaming the poverty rate on George Bush. Also on This Week, Rick Santorum said President Obama was “vindictive” and in the same sentence, said “This is the president's economy.” and “he can't get anything done”


Cokie Roberts actually said Americans just fed up and quote “throw the bums out” while Jon Karl could not contain his excitement that we are on the verge of a Republican wave, like quote “1994 or 2010.”


Back on Meet The Press, Gregory led an insipid panel discussion about Hillary Clinton, in which the host and guests giggled uncontrollably, with Chuck Todd worrying the Clintons are too polarizing for America, a New York Times editor calling the Clintons a “dysfunctional dynastic family,” Republican Michael Powell calling the Clintons “an intergalactic force of nature”, and Mike Murphy speculated about Bill Clinton's sex life.


Powell them said America will want Chris Christie because he's “dirty”. Then the panel engaged in 5 minute love fest of Mitt Romney, which seemed to make even Chuck Todd uncomfortable.


But their weirdest moment came when Gregory chatted up Rand Paul, and asked if “Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky should complicate his return to the White House,” if Hillary Clinton is the nominee. Paul agreed, and said “in my state, you know, people tend to sort of frown upon that.”


He did not mention whether people in his state also frown upon racist newsletters, although he did say of Ron Paul, “my dad was extraordinary in Washington in being genuine, being really liked by people on both sides,” and as “very close to the Congressional Black Caucus”


So it's January 2014, and with national political challenges including unemployment, trade agreements, wars, refugee crises, political corruption, poisoned drinking water, climate change, polar vortexes, the most important thing to talk about is... Monica Lewsinsky.


And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.

Culture of Truth: Targets of Suspicion

Jan 19, 2014 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows:  Meet the Press and This Week with George Stephanopoulos. He creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here.  Follow @Bobblespeak

Hi I'm Culture of Truth,

David Gregory must be very jealous of ABC, because they got to interview Rudy Giuiliani last week, but don't worry, this week he got his turn to talk to Chris Christie's BFF.

Read the full translation

Read the full translation

But first, he opened the show with an all-star panel of Newt Gingrich, Harold Ford, Andrea Mitchell, and Nia Malika Henderson. Gingrich explained his position on NSA reforms saying, “Well, first of all, if we look at the IRS scandal, we have plenty of opportunity of abuse with paper. I mean, the power of the government is enormous. And that's why, as a conservative, I like smaller government.”


He also expressed fear that metadata can be abused, saying “None of them can migrate over to the criminal justice system. And then, you should make it a felony. This is why Snowden has to be tried.”


The funniest part came when Harold Ford expressing a fear that the pro-surveillance argument will be insufficiently represented in Congress, saying “I hope when Congress has this debate, that someone will play the devil's advocate and make it clear we kill more terrorists using drones.”


New Jersey Democratic Assemblyman John Wisniewski came on to discuss Bridgegate.


Gregory is worried whether investigating is unfair to Chris Christie, asking if quote “there's a rush to judgment here.” And saying “You've issued very broad subpoenas” and “Isn't this kind of stacked against him here?” and “are you seeking to criminalize the rough and tumble of New Jersey politics?”


Gregory then turned for objective analysis to Christie friend Rudy Giuliani, who announced the investigation has “no sense of credibility and it was clearly was a partisan witch hunt. And Clearly, this is a very, very well-orchestrated democratic kind of organizational effort to hurt Governor Christie. Who was the only Republican who was beating Hillary Clinton in any poll at any time.”


But he also said the actions by Christie aides were “beyond stupid” and "crazy.”


Of course cited Benghazi, and said he believed President Obama was innocent in the IRS scandal, just like Christie must be as well.


Giuliani ended the interview by saying the scandal helps Christie in running for President, saying “I can see this working out to Chris' favor” and “He's given a textbook case in how to handle it. Stand up, answer the questions, hold people accountable, make sure it doesn't happen again.”


On the NSA, Diane Feinstein said “I think a lot of the privacy people perhaps don't understand that we still occupy the role of the great Satan. New bombs are being devised. New terrorists are emerging, new groups. Actually, a new level of viciousness.”


Gregory quoted Ed Snowden saying "Dianne Feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions in committee hearings.”


Mike Rogers responded, “That's like having the janitor at a bank who figured out how to steal some money deciding matters of high finance.”


Rogers then strongly hinted Snowden has been a Russian spy all along, as proof stating, “some of the things he did were beyond his technical capabilities. Raises more questions. How he arranged travel before he left. How he was ready to go, he had a go bag, if you will.”


Gregory then spoke with the young founder of Reddit, who expressed opinion that “I think it is absolutely possible for the N.S.A. to do their job without the bulk collection of America's phone records.”


Gregory then engaged in lengthy comparison of Christie and Hillary Clinton, and Bridgegate and Benghazi, with Gregory arguing “Republicans are going to want a definitive accounting” of Benghazi, and Gingrich saying of Hillary Clinton, “she's a lot like Nixon in her capacity to survive forever.”



Meanwhile, on This Week, George Stephanopoulos got an interview with Valdimir Putin, who promised the Olympics games with have the tightest security in the history of the world, and guaranteed snow, even though, as George pointed out, Sochi has a sub-tropical climate.


Rep. Mike McCaul is in Sochi, and said of Snowden “I personally believe that he was cultivated by a foreign power to do what he did.”


On the panel, Peggy Noonan is disappointed that Obama repealed some, but not all, of Bush's surveillance programs. Mary Matalin said Obama is just like Dick Cheney, which David Remnick called absurd.


Tavis Smiley said he was disappointed in Obama, and predicted that someday Ed Snowden will be on a postage stamp.


But the most absurd moment came when Mary Matalin tried to defend to surveillance and attack Obama at the same time, saying such policies are necessary for our security, but “the nation has a problem trusting this government with personal data on account of the IRS tracking opponents of the president, health care roll-out incompetence or just in general, identity theft over Christmas.”


So the producers of the Sunday talk shows honestly believe the few Americans who even care about unfolding domestic scandals or surveillance controversies, are eager to hear from Newt Gingrich, Harold Ford, Rudy Giuliani, Peggy Noonan and Mary Matalin, who says the government must collect citizens information in bulk, but we can't trust Barack Obama because over Christmas, Target, a private corporation, had a massive security breach.


And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.

Culture of Truth: Manning Up



Jan 12, 2014 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows —  Meet the Press. He creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here. Follow @Bobblespeak


Hi, I'm Culture of Truth

The great dream of the national political media is to support a moderate Republican. As recently as this November, they thought they had found a new hero in the unrestrained Governor of New Jersey, Christopher James Christie. Unfortunately, with the recent revelation that his top aides conspired to use their power over a state agency to hurt the children of supporters of his Democratic opponent for Governor, they are torn from jumping into rehabilitation mode and covering a juicy scandal. This led to some pretty bizarre coverage.

On ABC's This Week, after a segment describing the unfolding scandal, host Martha Raddatz said “Now the former mayor of New York and a friend of Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani is here.”


When Raddatz said Giuliani would obviously have handled the Fort Lee traffic issue much better than Christie, Giuliani responded quote “How did President Obama not know about the IRS targeting right wing groups?” When Raddatz observed that's a ridiculous analogy, Giuliani replied “frankly, you know, he was in campaign-mode at the time, during campaign-mode you miss a lot of things. You're not paying as much attention. We see that with Benghazi.”

When she asked about the culture of the office, and asked “What does that say about Chris Christie that they could do something like that?” he responded “The people in the IRS thought President Obama wanted them to do this.”


Giuliani concluded by saying “The other thing that's very impressive to me was, I think when this first came up, I don't think he wouldn't have made a joke had he had any knowledge of it.” Jonathan Karl said Christie had a quote “pretty masterful performance at this press conference” but conceded that this is the first time he'd seen a scandal where there has been the use of state power to intentionally make people miserable.


PR expert Judy Smith also praised Christie's handling of the situation, and commented on quote “his reputation is based on that of a straight shooter” and observed that quote “he does have a reputation of integrity and honesty.”


Matthew Dowd spoke of Christie in near religious terms, saying Christie was “the pre-season favorite that could bridge the divide, that could work between the two opposing parts of the Republican Party, that could attract moderates” and “Chris Christie was the lighthouse that everybody could go to a safe harbor to. And now that's a question mark in people's minds.”


Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger said the revelation of reprehensible abuse of power in his office will help Christie, saying “whether IRS, whether it's Benghazi, whether it's you can keep your health insurance if you want it. But nobody has been fired over that. And what we're seeing is a big difference. So I think if he comes out of this untarnished personally, this actually may really set him up for 2016.”


On Meet The Press, David Gregory's first guest was Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal said quote “this is not Watergate. This is not even the I.R.S. targeting of last year. In fact if you think about it as a raw display of political power, it's not even this White House using the sequester and the shutdown to inconvenience millions of Americans, as they did, too, to make a political point.” His second guest, Stephanie Rawlings Blake, Mayor of Baltimore, said quote “I’m going to start by saying I'm loathe to criticize Governor Christie, who was so helpful to our President after Sandy, in the election. I'm loathe to criticize him”


Chuck Todd blamed the entire state, saying "Well, that's Jersey. That's the culture of Jersey. Jersey politics is run very-- there are a lot of fiefdoms. It's always been this way” and “Honestly, it's going to offend some people in New Jersey in politics. But there has been a past, a culture of this, of, you know, you rule with an iron fist -- is just the way he ran things, too. And it's what everybody does in Jersey. “


Strassel said Republicans are worried Christie may be as bad as Obama, “We're talking about the I.R.S. thing, the N.S.A. flap that's been going on, the Justice Department looking at journalists, people abusing their power and authority.”


Rick Santorum said “Chris Christie went up, manned up, and took it on and was decisive.”  It took early Christie defender Mark Halperin to observe that “I have been stunned in my calls this week to Republicans and conservatives” that quote “no one is taking him at his word.”


Further insight came from Republican chair Reince Priebus, who said Christie is just guilty of loving too much. “He admitted the mistakes happened. He admitted he trusted people that lied to him.”

He added “He stood there for 111 minutes, in open dialogue with the press. Now only if Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would give us 111 seconds of that would we find out some things we want to find out about Obamacare, Benghazi, the I.R.S.”


Gregory pointed out that Priebus said the President Obama had set a tone that allowed the IRS scandal to happen, and asked if that was true of Chris Christie as well.


Priebus replied “He admitted that he trusted people that lied to him” Gregory: “Did he set the tone? Because that's what you said the president did.” Priebus said “No, no, no. He trusted people that lied to him, and he fired those people. The president doubles down on Eric Holder. He doubles down on Hillary Clinton and Lois Lerner and Susan Rice.”


When Gregory again pointed out Priebus claimed Obama created a culture in his administration that encouraged the targeting of conservatives, and asked why isn't it true of Governor Christie setting the tone? Priebus responded quote “Because you can judge a person. You can judge a person's character.”


Asked about 2016, he immediately threw Christie under the bus.


But the strangest moment when Chris Matthews expressed his deep disappointment in Christie, saying “I've always liked Christie's style, because I'm an east coast guy, and I like the south Jersey, "None of your business," kind of thing. I do like that. But I do think that his reputation was that of a troubleshooter. He got the hurricane situation, Sandy, right on top of it. He was moving fast. He was there with his fleece, getting to work.” and In the case of the bridge closings, quote “where was the troubleshooter then?”


While on Fox Brit Hume said Christie being attacked because we live in a feminized atmosphere and Christie is quote “an old-fashioned masculine, muscular guy”


This scandal has revealed that in their never ending search for an assertive Republican male politician – pundits like Chris Matthews have equated blunt and obnoxious behavior with straight talk and honesty, and intolerance and impatience with effective governing and getting things done – assuming that because was pushy, and wore a fleece, Christie was prepared for the hurricane, and that because he is rude, he must have a reputation for integrity,” until he is caught, not for the first lying and he has to claim, as he has before, that his top advisors lied to him and he didn't know anything that was going on in own office.


And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.

Culture of Truth: Highly Serious People



Jan 6, 2014 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows:  Meet the Press and This Week with George Stephanopoulos. He creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here.  Follow @Bobblespeak


Hi, I'm Culture of Truth,

It's 2014 and David Gregory wants you to get off his lawn, although even his conservative guests seem think he's turning into an old fogey.

On unemployment benefits, he asked Jim Cramer, quote “is this bad for the economy, Jim Cramer, to extend this?” and if Rand Paul was correct that benefits hurt the people you are trying to help. To both questions Cramer said “No.”

               Click to read the full translation

               Click to read the full translation

Gregory also asked “The president also wants to raise the minimum wage. Is that a fight he should win, Jim?” Cramer said yes, while Chuck Todd and conservative Steve Schmidt both agreed that the Administration would quote “like to be talking about anything other than health care.”

When Gene Sperling tried to talk about the benefits of Obamacare, Gregory immediately interrupted him, accusing him of using “selling points” and saying “I’m not going to let you” before breaking away.


On Iraq, Gregory is worried that “Critics already questioning whether some of our battles there and – and the loss of life on the U.S. side – whether that was in vain” and asked “does the U.S. have any responsibility for what happens in Iraq, particularly if it’s part of a growing problem in the region?”

Even Steve Schmidt informed Gregory “We have no ability to go and affect an outcome in any of these countries in the middle of this civil war”

Gregory brought on experts from the Mayo and Cleveland Clinics, leading him to ask “Does Medicare have to covers less, do you have to give fewer benefits?”

One doctor said marijuana has medical benefits, which must have scared Gregory, who repeatedly said as a parent with young kids he worries about legalization, and noted that he was “talking to an FBI friend of mine who was saying, you know-- there still is a deterrent by making marijuana legal” and “I don’t know all the science behind it, but then it’s a lot more potent now. I mean, this-- I don’t know, it doesn’t seem like as a parent it’s something that should be just sort of…”

It again took Steven Schmidt to point out the war on marijuana has proved to be pointless, expensive, and racist, but Judy Woodruff jumped in to assure us Colorado has already gone to hell, saying quote the new law is quote “wreaking a little havoc,” and “the police are having to learn how to detect when drivers have been using marijuana,” and “the ski resorts in the state, which are a huge draw, are going to have to figure out what do they do about this,” and reminding viewers “Marijuana can be dangerous.”

Gregory is also worried Obama has sent too many gay Americans to the Olympics, asking Janet Napolitano, “politicizing the games in this way, is this-- is-- does this take away from the attention on the athletes that you said is so important? By making-- even if it’s a subtle statement, everybody gets it?”

On This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Rand Paul came on to say unemployment insurance makes people lazy, and that “I think it's wrong to borrow money from China or simply to print up money for it.”

He then urged more tax cuts, which apparently do not have to be paid for.

Stephanopoulos then giddily asked Paul “Is it true that you've actually had trouble signing up for ObamaCare and that you're not even sure your family is covered?”


Paul said that state did not believe his son existed and “I keep getting an error code every time I go in” and declared the ACA “an unfolding disaster.”


But the strangest moment came during the discussion of foreign affairs, when Brian Schweitzer asked quote “why are we still in Afghanistan?” Cokie Roberts replied “Because first of all, we went there and we promised we would stay there.” Roberts then said the U.S. has a moral obligation to improve the lives of the people of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.


When Bill Kristol tried to argue al-qeada is getting stronger in Iraq, Schweitzer, who has lived in Iraq and Libya, pointed out al-qeada was never there until after the invasion Kristol championed. Kristol haughtily insisted quote “My solution is to be serious about being engaged in the Middle East” and “being serious about our responsibilities as a world power. And yes, being willing to fight when we have to fight. Are you against that? Are you against that?”


So unemployment benefits have to be paid for, and they hurt the people we are trying to help, but this logic does not apply to tax cuts, Obamacare is a failure because Rand Paul can't figure out how to sign up for it, Colorado is in chaos because some snowboarders might smoke pot, and a true expert in the Middle East is being lectured to on foreign affairs and war by Bill Kristol, who supported sending other people to invade Iraq for what turned out to be no reason, in one of the greatest foreign policy and military blunders in the history of the nation.


And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.










Culture of Truth: Year in Review



Dec 29, 2013 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows —  Meet the Press. He creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here. Follow @Bobblespeak

Hi, I'm Culture of Truth

This week on Meet The Press David Gregory had on Darrell Issa to claim that he never really cared whether Al-Qaeda was behind Benghazi, but that the administration is still covering something up, while Andrea Mitchell said the debate was about pure terrorism, or the other kind. Franklin Graham said he was doing gays a favor by telling them how much God is going to punish them someday, Gregory and Elliot Abrams agreed Obama is weak and defensive because he didn't bomb Syria, and Gregory compared himself to Winston Churchill warning about a rearming Germany after World War One.



A very unscientific review of Meet The Press this year shows NBC correspondents Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell appeared the most times, with 12 and 11 shows. Politicians appearing most frequently this year were Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin and Mike Rogers – with 5 appearances each. Among pundits, with 4 episodes were Rich Lowry, Peggy Noonan, and Joe Scarborough. Coming in at 5 were E.J. Dionne, Kathleen Parker, Ana Navarro and Harold Ford Jr. Katty Kay and newcomer Bob Gibbs made strong showings with 6 each, while stalwart Mike Murphy edged them out with 7 episodes. Lapping the field, the pundit with most appearances was our man David Brooks, who with 11 eleven guests spots in 2013 is only one behind record holder Chuck Todd, who actually works for the network.


Going back to the beginning, we seen an early focus on debt reduction (Gregory's first guests in January of 2013 were Simpson and Bowles, ) cutting Medicare, and Benghazi.


Confronting White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough, he said “here's the reality about Medicare,” quote “These are facts that I think a lotta people don't know about. You paid in $122,000 in Medicare taxes. But you're drawing almost $400,000 in benefits received.” and quote “This is why Medicare is going broke. and quote “The retirement age should be raised.” unquote


On January 20, on guns, Gregory said quote “the president did not challenge any people in his liberal base. He talked about all these measures. He did not talk about video games. He didn’t talk about violence in Hollywood where he gets a great deal of his campaign funds. He didn’t do anything to make his own folks uncomfortable.”


Because that's what's important.


But the strangest moment of the year came when guest Wayne LaPierre came on to insist that the NRA supports background checks, but then said they don't work, and opposes them for private sales. He said they want the existing system on retailers to work, but said if there were background checks quote “You and me, our names are going to be in the system. There is going to be a list created; that list will be abused,” while at same time bemoaning privacy laws like HIPAA and lack of access to medical records and a failure to create of list of all the people in America deemed dangerous.


While attacking the concept behind background checks, he also wants people severely prosecuted for failing a check, and of course long prison sentences for gun possession for his favorite targets, drug dealers and gang members. Finally, in the interests of small government, he wants to make it easier for local police to take someone off the street and hold them, under civil confinement laws, for alleged mental problems, presumably as long as they don't start with him, and asserted that 90% of school administrators want armed guards in schools.


And for all that, Wayne LaPierre is the most ridiculous person on Sunday this year.

Culture of Truth: The Big Hard Stuff



Dec 15, 2013 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows —  This Week on ABC and Meet the Press — then creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here.

Hi, I'm Culture of Truth -

It was an interesting day on the Sunday talk shows. Beltway pundits value harmonious cocktail parties above all else, and it looks like they, like John Boehner, are finally tired of the tea party's destructive tendencies.



Senator Paul Ryan and Patty Murray went into a room, hammered out a compromise budget deal, and came out smiling, and in the Capitol city there was much rejoicing.

This of course pleased Cokie Roberts, but even Ana Navarro and Newt Gingrich praised the deal, although Newt is pleased because now we can focus on the 5 million people he says will show up in an emergency rooms only to find out they have no health insurance because of Obamacare. Bill Richardson said the “grownups in the Republican Party have basically prevailed” while Conservative writer Kathleen Parker said Boehner's critique of tea party members is quote “something he's needed to do for a very long time.”

On Meet The Press, Governor Scott Walker said he took federal insurance subsidies because “I wasn't going to let my citizens suffer”, and, addressing the tea party, said “austerity is not the answer.”

David Gregory spoke with General Michael Hayden, who insisted there have been absolutely no abuses or unlawfulness about any NSA surveillance techniques.

Gregory asked him “To be the United States of America, to protect democracy, do we have to be less safe in order to preserve our freedoms?” to which Hayden replied “Yes. Obviously.”

Bill Richardson called for Ed Snowden to be prosecuted and tried to switch the conversation to the FBI agent missing in Iran.

NPR's Steven Inskeep said of Gregory's proposal that the phone company keep phone records, “That's a fascinating idea” but questioned whether we can quote “trust a phone company with all of this data. This is a problem.”  Gregory then pointed out quote “But the phone companies always kept it”

Kathleen Parker likes Ed Snowden because his disclosures had “an unexpected effect which is to alienate the millennials from the President. And they're less enchanted with him now, primarily because of this surveillance issue” – then she praised George W. Bush for having the courage to do unpopular things like the sign the Patriot Act

Gregory took this opportunity to bash Obamacare and cite the President's quote “dismal” popularity. When Nancy Gibbs pointed out that Congress is even more unpopular, Gregory said that's bad for Obama too, because quote “he's swept up in this,” and quote “if you're out there and you don't think anything of Congress, you don't think Washington works, there's no good government” and ...“it's hard for Obama to assert a legacy that's very positive.”

The aforementioed Patty Murray and Paul Ryan took a bipartisan victory lap on the Meet The Press, where in David Gregory they may have met the one beltway insider who is doesn't like their budget deal.

Ryan defended the deal, saying “This results in net deficit reduction.” Gregory replied “But not much.”

Ryan took on the tea party, rejecting government shutdowns and saying “government has to function.”

Gregory challenged the two of them to make a deal right there, saying “So, surprise me. Meet in the middle on something really hard. Maybe it's Medicare, which you've worked hard on, or tax reform. Where could you two reach common ground on something that you would at least mark as a starting point. And “Is there something that would surprise me? Is there something on tax reform that you could agree with the Chairman on?”

David Gregory and Rand Paul are upset about the budget deal, according to David Gregory. He said “Now, let's talk about the big, hard stuff. Because, as your other colleague Rand Paul said, This doesn't solve the debt problem, over $17 trillion. This doesn't even deal with the debt ceiling. It certainly doesn't deal with our entitlements that are drivers of the debt. So, you haven't taken on the hard stuff here, Senator.”

So Cokie Roberts, Ana Navarro, Newt Gingrich, Kathleen Parker, Scott Walker, Paul Ryan and John Boehner have all had it with the Tea Party, but throwing the discredited group a lifeline is David Gregory, who is unhappy because the budget deal – with $85 billion is spending cuts – because it doesn't “solve” a 17 trillion dollar debt, doesn't deal with “the big hard stuff” and doesn't slash entitlements, which he claims are the drivers of the debt.

And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.

Culture of Truth: Ducking Civics Class



Dec 22, 2013 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows —  This Week on ABC and Meet the Press — then creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here.



Hi, I'm Culture of Truth,

The Sunday Talk shows covered all the issues to important Americans today – a letter Ed Snowden wrote the government of Brazil, if Christine Lagarde will run for President of France, and of course, Duck Dynasty.

On This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Mike Rogers declined to join the Ed Snowden Fan Club, declaring that “He has traded something of value for his own personal gain that jeopardizes the national security of the United States. We call that treason.”

Bill Kristol said he thought NSA surveillance is just fine, while his fellow conservative Greta Van Susteren responded, “I'm shaking my head because I think, Bill, you're dead wrong.” She got very upset, declaring “it's just that the Constitution is so plain on this. If you just read the plain language of the Fourth Amendment. There's just no way you can get around it.”

But also said she thought Smith v Maryland, a 30 year-old case, was wrongly decided, like Plessy v. Ferguson.


Matthew Dowd announced he is exceedingly disappointed in Obama on this issue. You may remember Matthew Dowd from the 2004 campaign to reelect George W. Bush, who at the time was wiretapping phone calls without a warrant.


George Stephanopoulos then fulfilled his obligation under the Beltway pundit code to play a clip of a reporter asking the President if this was the worst year of his Presidency and talk about it with his panel.


Matthew Dowd declared it was his worst and confidently predicted “He cannot recover from it. No president has ever recovered from it at this point in their presidency.”

And he worked for Bush so he ought to know.

David Gregory knows about the Beltway Pundit Code, so he opened up his show playing the clip, and asking EJ Dionne, , “was this the worst year of his presidency, 2013? E.J.?”

Ana Navarro then had a hilarious joke where she said Obama would do his press conference at the end of next year, “holding a bottle of whiskey on one hand and a box of Kleenex in the other.”


Switching to health care, David Gregory read from the Wall Street Journal that “the law is failing,” and confronted Tom Coburn with the tough question of whether Republicans will continue to bash Obama care even when the calendar changes.


On the budget, Gregory insisted “They didn’t take on the hard stuff,” while Coburn announced “We’re going to have 80 billion dollars a year in fraud in Obamacare”


Wrapping up, Gregory said “Senator Schumer and Coburn, happy holidays to you both.” and “Thank you for your time this morning,” to which Coburn loudly replied “Merry Christmas!” even though Schumer and Gregory are both Jewish.


Interviewing Christine Lagarde of the IMF, Gregory said “a lot of people are worried about what the Fed’s been doing, buying all of those debt to create a bubble, in effect.” and “even though our stock market is performing at record levels, “Unemployment is still high in the United States and “We don’t have those animal spirits that have been unleashed”


He then twice asked her if she would run for President of France.


On health care reform, David Brooks said “the American people do not like mandates any more. We’re a much more individualistic culture,” while Gregory got intellectual, observing “homage to David Brooks here – Edmund Burke, he believed in smaller government, because he didn’t have tremendous confidence in government’s ability to deliver something like this.”


E.J. Dionne observed “I think there is something crazy when people say where government can’t deliver health care. Ever heard of Medicare? Ever heard of Medicaid?”


On surveillance, Gregory read from a confusing passage from a letter Ed Snowden wrote to government of Brazil, causing Peter King to practically have a fit, citing attacks on the Twin Towers, and saying “If the NSA had had this metadata in 2001, that attack probably wouldn’t have happened,” and “Let’s not unilaterally surrender.”


Brooks weighed in, saying “I’m a pretty serious national security guy, but I think if Dwight Eisenhower were here, he’d be worried about the concentration of power in the intelligence community. I do think we got to ratchet it a little back, not all the way, but just a little bit.”


When Gregory suggested Congress address executive power, Ana Navarro replied “Surely you’ve been drinking this morning, David.”


Gregory is deeply concerned about the Duck Dynasty guy, noting “politicians, conservatives, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, others saying that the reason he was suspended was political correctness run amok, and an abridgement of his free speech. What is the real debate here?” un, and asking EJ Dionne “Is there a double standard, though, E.J.?”


Brooks said the Duck Dynasty guy was “un-Christian,” while Ana Navarro said while she loves Duck Dynasty and watches it constantly, there is no right appear on television and embarrass a network, to which Gregory agreed.


The show ended with Gregory declaring it one his best ever, saying “We mentioned Burke, the founding fathers, my wife, my sister-in-law – and the French health care system.”


Two which EJ Dionne cheekily replied “I’m smarter already.” and Robert Gibbs said dryly “It’s like a civics class.”


Because nothing says civics class like Bill Kristol on national security, Matthew Dowd on privacy, Tom Coburn on fictional fraud, David Gregory on economic animal spirits, Peter King on civil liberties, Edmund Burke on Obamacare, David Brooks on Christianity, Ted Cruz on political correctness, and Bobby Jindal on Duck Dynasty.


And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.

Culture of Truth: Whitewashing History



Dec 8, 2013 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows — in this case, This Week on ABC and Meet the Press — then creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here.

Hi I'm Culture of Truth,

This week the Sunday talk shows remembered Nelson Mandela, the man who helped America defeat apartheid.

On ABC's This Week, Bill Keller started off the segment by telling us that Mandela was more like Bill Clinton than Barack Obama, because they both enjoyed “the schmoozing, the deal making, the stage craft, the theater,” unquote while, “Obama is more cerebral and doesn't seem to enjoy going up and shaking hands and doing favors.”


George Bush's Ambassador to South Africa conceded that Mandela had been a harsh critics of Bush, but said “just as fierce as he was a critic of the war in Iraq, was as supportive of the war in Afghanistan” and “President Mandela actually was able to reach across the aisle” later and reconcile with Bush.


George Stephanopoulos observed “for a man who became known for the power of forgiveness and reconciliation, as a politician he also had something of a ruthless streak,” while Keller noted that Mandela was quote “the most disciplined politician I've ever seen.”


On the budget, Rob Portman came on to say that the most important thing is to cut spending and not raise taxes, and arguing against raising the minimum wage, said “I went to a burger place this past week, George. And there was a digital display to be able to buy a hamburger. And there was nobody behind the counter except the cashier. And you go into these fast food places now, often there's a drink dispenser, so you have one fewer person.”


On Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw praised Mandela's “user-friendly personality” which was like JFK and Ronald Reagan who also both had “special qualities” and “strong visions.”


Richard Stengel pointed out that Madela was “tempestuous” when he went to prison but came out “mature.” Stengel also said that Mandela was bitter, but knew that South Africa “could not survive” without the “white business center” and sought reconciliation.


Brokaw chimed in, saying “everyone here agrees that prison did help shape him and mature him” and pointed out that everyone thought Mandela was “militant” but then he came out of prison elegant and put everyone at ease and Brokaw hoped more world leaders could be like that. Brokaw also said that “the big issue going forward now” unquote – is will President Zuma and other leaders in Africa really get the lessons from Mandela's life, or will they be like Robert Mugabe.

Things got even stranger when the topic turned to the politics of apartheid.

Gregory pointed out that Ronald Reagan opposed sanctions, prompting Al Sharpton to argue the US at that time choose the wrong side and denigrated Africans, while Tom Brokaw admitted Reagan was not a fan of Mandela but pointed out we didn't know what would happen if Mandela were released. In any case, Brokaw observed, the Cold War was going on and later events moved at "warp speed."

Katty Kay said there was a real fear that Mozambique would become a proxy state of the USSR and that quote “all we knew about him before he went into prison” unquote was that he was quote “the leader of the violent struggle against the apartheid regime” unquote and quote “had joined the Communist Party at one point” unquote and that Mandela's real genius was that after spending time in prison he realized that all his old ideas were bad.


Gregory turned to Paul Gigot, who on Friday, wrote that “The bulk of his adult life, Nelson Mandela was a failed Marxist revolutionary and leftist icon” unquote but then Mandela chose reconciliation and became respectable, and, ignoring Reagan's veto of sanctions, and his calling sanctions “immoral” and “repugnant,” said that “everyone agreed apartheid was odious” and argued that by appointing a black American Ambassador, Ronald Reagan “may, in fact, have had significant influence in releasing him”.

So. Nelson Mandela was violent, militant, and Marxist, so he had to stay in prison, and Zimbabwe and Mozambique might have gone communist, so we had to support a violent racist government, but it all worked out, because Mandela came out of prison mature and dignified and respectable, and the real credit for getting Mandela out of prison goes to a Republican President who left office after 8 years with Mandela still in prison, and who put Mandela on the terrorist watch list, where he would remain until 2008.

And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.

Culture of Truth: Dysfunction by Majority



Nov 24, 2013 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows — in this case, This Week on ABC — then creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here.

Hi, I'm Culture of Truth,

If you ever wondered why people ridicule the Sunday talk shows as useless kabuki theaters of tired cliches and misinformation, you would need look no further than today's This Week with George Stephanopolous.


George had on John Kerry to talk about the deal with Iran, confronting him with the damning evidence that “Marco Rubio says it will not freeze the Iranian nuclear program, and makes a nuclear Iran more, not less likely.”

Kerry pointed out that back in 2003 when Republicans were in charge, Iran made an offer to the Bush administration when they only had 164 centrifuges, and the US rejected the offer and pursued sanctions and now they have 19,000 centrifuges. Kerry said “You cannot sit there and pretend that you're just going to get the thing you want,” which could describe the GOP approach to policy in general.


Saxby Chambliss came on to object to the Iran deal, saying “it's moving us away from the direction of prevention of them developing a weapon,” and “We've got all of the leverage in the negotiation. And we've let them out of the trap.”


Chabmliss is worried the deal might also ease Iranian suffering, which is the reason to have the sanctions in the first place. He said “Right now, the sanctions are working. They're doing exactly what they're designed to do. The economy of Iran is heading south. Unemployment is skyrocketing. And what we're going to do is we're going to allow the easing of sanctions, particularly on areas where the Iranian people are going to feel some benefit” and “And instead of easing them, now is the time to tighten those sanctions.”


Christiane Amanpour pointed out the sanctions have caused problems in Iran but if the point of sanctions is to get Iran to capitulate and give up their nuclear program, they haven't worked.


Noted foreign policy genius Bill Kristol called it a terrible deal, and “Our allies are very unhappy.” Kristol also said Israel might attack Iran in the next six months, and called the idea that Iran might get sanctions relief “really unbelievable”


Then there was an interview with Mark Zuckerberg, the 29 year-old CEO of Facebook, who with a straight face, said the administration blew it on violating privacy.


Predictably things really got stupid when discussion turned to approving Presidential nominees in Senate by majority vote.


George quoted Senator McCain who argued that we should not have majority rule because “it's going to change the way the Senate works.”


Donna Brazile said the Democrats had to act because the Senate was unable to function.

This drove Cokie Roberts right off the deep end. She yelled quote:

“The Senate can't function. The Senate's not functioning. I mean, and I thought it was quite remarkable for Harry Reid to say "the Senate is not functioning." He's the majority leader. Doesn't he have some responsibility for the Senate not functioning?”


Stephanoplous replied “Well, he doesn't have the votes.”


Roberts wasn't having it, saying “All it's going to do is make everybody madder and make it worse, rather than easier.”


After Roberts attacked the Democrats, Conservative Bill Kristol said the panel was “being too nice” unquote to the Democrats, that it's all the Democrats' fault because Harry Reid broke his word just because quote “Republicans were not confirming every appellate court judge as quickly as the administration liked.”


Conservative Matthew Dowd sagely observed “this is a symptom of the problem. The problem is obviously complete dysfunction in Washington, D.C. And there's a virus going around in Washington, D.C. and it's a virus of hypocrisy.”


The man who was the chief strategist of the Bush – Cheney 2004 campaign continued on his tirade against people disagreeing on stuff, saying quote “the Founding Fathers warned against day in and day out, including President Washington, about the power of political parties and the power of parties to tear apart the government and create this dysfunction.”


Dowd continued saying we need to get beyond vitriol, saying quote “We are at a point now where the political parties and people line up in these tribes and it's very difficult.” Cokie Roberts agreed, saying “the Senate's just reflecting what's going on in the country.”


Kristol objected, saying “The Republicans aren't responsible for gridlock in this situation.”


Cokie Roberts replied “Both sides are responsible for gridlock.”


Stephanopoulos then went on a rant about how unpopular and untrustworthy President Obama is, Matthew Dowd said this proves Obama will never be popular again, Cokie Roberts said Obama and the Republicans are equally unpopular, and Bill Kristol said not many people know this, but Republicans are actually secretly quite popular.

To top of the ridiculousness, Stephanopoulos asked Bill Kristol “Was John F. Kennedy basically a conservative or a liberal?” to which Kristol said JFK would be more comfortable with the Republican Party of today than with the Democratic Party, prompting laughter from the other members of the panel.

So we can't have a deal with Iran, but should increase sanctions because unemployment is skyrocketing and if we ease sanctions the Iranian people might feel some benefit, the man who won on Swift Boating says we need get past vitriol, Republicans refusal to confirm any Obama appointees proves Republicans are not responsible for gridlock, and pundits say the Senate Majority Leader is responsible for Senate dysfunction, and want him to do something about it, but are furious if the Senate resorts to Majority Rule.

And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.

Culture of Truth: The 80-Year Experiment



Nov 17, 2013 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows — in this case, Meet the Press and This Week on ABC — then creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here.

Hi I'm Culture of Truth,

This was the week for the media to completely freak out over Obamacare. On ABC's This Week, host Martha Raddatz and Jon Karl separately compared Obamacare to Hurricane Katrina, while Raddatz asked seven different questions based whether people no long trust the President – there are all quotes:

- “what do you see as far as Obama regaining the trust of the American people?”

- “David and Matthew, what do you see as far as Obama regaining the trust of the American people?

- “Jon, you first, whether he can regain the trust of the American people.”

- “Can President Obama regain the trust of the American people?”

- “We're talking about leadership here and trust”

- “Which brings you back to the issue of trust”

- “And that becomes an issue of trust”

To Senator Gillibrand, she asked: “Did you feel misled by Obama?” and “So, were you misled?”

Read the post

Read the post

Raddatz probably won't be taking over the host job full-time, with questions like this, : “What does this all say about President Obama's leadership these past few weeks? He fell on his sword, but he's missed that sword a couple of times.”

Of course she also asked Gillibrand if she was running for President in 2016.

On the panel, Howard Dean argued in favor of a public option, while Representative Kinzinger said the Obamacare rollout problems prove that the Democrats have been planning a single-payer system from the “very beginning.”

But Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal was the true voice of reason, saying Obamacare is “going to be the greatest political gift for Republicans in maybe decades” and “we have had a year of fumbles by the administration over Syria, with the IRS issues, the question of the NSA, what happened to Ed Snowden, wiretapping the chancellor of Germany.”

On Meet The Press, David Gregory says the entire country feels a crisis of confidence, and is concerned that Nancy Pelosi is not concerned, asking her “Why aren't you concerned at this point that this is in grave danger of not being done right?”

He also courageously went against the Beltway grain, observing “people will say this is like Katrina; I think it's more like Iraq.”

When Gregory asked Kelly Ayotte what the Republican plan is to insure 40 million Americans she said, “We would like to get to some bipartisan solutions. Let's allow a greater competition,” and “there are many ideas I think that Republicans are willing to work on a bipartisan basis on,” and “Let's get together and figure out what the best models are from the state law” and “let's get to the table on a bipartisan basis”

When Tom Brokaw pointed out the Republicans have no plan, Mike Murphy responded “That's totally right. But we've got the opportunity now

This week we learned something interesting – what David Gregory does during the rest of the week. He calls up conservative columnists and they chat about how awful Barack Obama is.

To Dan Henninger, with the Wall Street Journal, he said, “You know, Dan, you and I had an exchange this week and you made the point that this President has gone way too far in his quests to use government to do good. That it's become coercive. That the idea of the mandate is the centerpiece of Obamacare. Is that kind of what's the big test of all of this?”

Henninger of course, agreed, saying “the young people, the healthy people who of course are running around using iPhones and applications successfully to redesign their own lives, they're the ones who are going to fall off Obamacare and lose faith in it. And I think to some great extent, their faith in the government's ability to deliver an entitlement like this is also being put at risk.”

But it's not just young people who will turn away from government – oh no – at long last because of Obamacare, America's 80 year experiment with government will come to an end, and the last vestiges of the New Deal can finally be swept away.

Henninger: “the theory behind progressive or liberal politics, at least going back to F.D.R., was that they could come up with ideas to do good, like Social Security or Medicare and Medicaid. And that although it might be inefficient, that they could just make it work. The administrative state, the bureaucracies could make it work. That's been the theory.”

“We are seeing a test case now with Obamacare whether this grand entitlement can be made to work by the administrative bureaucracies. And, if it continues to have the sorts of problems it is, I think a lot of voters for whom government is on the bubble right now, make no mistake about it, are going to start pulling back support for this basic idea that liberals and progressives have pushed for the last 80 years.”

So, the health care reform law is Obama's Katrina, or Obama's Iraq, or possibly the worst crisis in decades, including 9/11, Iran-Contra, Watergate, and the series finale of “Lost.”

It also proves Obama should have bombed Syria, not let Edward Snowden take documents from the NSA, or wiretapped Angela Merkel back in 2002.

More than that, it will turn an entire smartphone-using generation away from government, because of a glitch-ridden website; and best of all, will demonstrate that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid were all mistakes, and, prove once and for all, after 80 years of experimenting with this theory that government can do good, this basic idea being tested, that government is just a bad idea.

And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.


Culture of Truth: Sunday Mythologies



Nov 10, 2013 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows — in this case, Meet the Press and This Week on ABC — then creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here.

Hi, I'm Culture of Truth,

This week, media darling Chris Christie was all over the Sunday talk shows. On ABC's This Week, we learned that Chris Christie is a teller of hard truths, like 'broken things should be fixed', he's a pragmatist and a get-it-done type of guy, and he's a hero for not screaming at the Romney aide who told him he wasn't going to be Vice President. From George Stephanopoulos, we learned that the Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei is trading insults with the French on Twitter.


Meet The Press also addressed the Iran nuclear talks. Although John Kerry did not make a deal in Geneva, David Gregory is very worried that Kerry and Obama are weak Democrats who are going to give away the store to Iran.

Gregory said of Iran, quote “They double play. They play for time while they keep producing. They try to win the confidence of the West. And they can play games. Is there fear around the table that they're doing that now?” unquote and quote “what's the rush? Why not increase that economic pressure so you get – not just a halt – but actually a dismantlement of the architecture”? unquote


Kerry pointed out the goal of the sanctions is to bring Iran to the negotiating table, but Gregory wasn't having it, asking quote “are you being skeptical enough about a man who has been called a wolf in sheep's clothing?” and quote “Are you being skeptical enough?” unquote. Kerry replied quote “I don't think we're stupid.”

Finally Gregory just called Obama and Kerry a bunch of America-hating cowards complicit in murder, saying quote: “There's a feeling that the U.S. has abandoned critical friends in that region in part because you're moving toward a deal with Iran which could provide them tremendous economic relief, when, at the same time, critics would say their major client, Syria, has gotten a pass to murder their own people as long as they don't use chemical weapons. So then, all of this is amounting to this reluctance to really exercise U.S. power.” unquote

Kerry reminded Gregory that it was Obama who wanted to use force in Syria, and Republicans who balked, quote “as you know better than anybody” unquote and also that Obama used military force in Libya and got bin Laden, and told him to drop the – quote – “mythology of politics” unquote

Bob Corker came on to worry quote “about an administration that seems really ready, always, to jump into the arms of folks and potentially deal away some of the leverage we have.” unquote

Gregory was then ready for his hard-hitting infomercial with Chris Christie, opening by saying quote “Lots of speculation this week, and a lot of excitement throughout the country with your reelection in terms of what it means,” unquote, and asking quote “can impact the Republican Party with this reelection?” and telling the ever-modest Governor quote “whether you like it or not, you've been thrust into a position where you're sort of the face of the established wing of the party,” and quote “Mitt Romney told me here last week that you could save the Republican Party. Does it need saving? And are you the guy to save it?” unquote

Christie called the President a liar, announced that he was a bold truth teller, and brushed off his poor economic record, saying that if his state was doing well, he wouldn't needed to have run for reelection, now would he?

Like those on ABC, the panel was in love with Chris Christie.

Mark Halperin said quote “Chris Christie is someone who is magical in the way politicians can be magical, like our last three presidents. People like having them on T.V.. He's a good talker. He won.”

Doris Goodwin compared Christie to Teddy Roosevelt, saying like Christie – quote – “He was a fighter. He was blunt. He had energy. He had a sense of knowing how to address complex issues and make them very simple, speak softly and carry a big stick, you know, special interests, square deal.” unquote

Gregory wanted to talk about Joe Scarborough's new book and discuss how the Republican party can win more elections, saying quote “I'm thrilled to be able to do the first preview on this, Joe, because the book is compelling,” unquote and quote “you had a big idea in this book. And it is a path to winning that's based on pragmatism over ideology.” unquote

But the silliest moment came when Gregory switched from Christie worship to bashing Obama. Scarborough announced Republicans can tell you he is not partisan but Obama  won't work with Republicans, while Gregory asked quote “What happens if the website does not, you know, get operational at some point?” unquote and the ridiculous Mark Halperin said quote:

“I try not to be hyperbolic, and try not to judge things after 30 days. I think the President's second term is in the balance here” unquote and quote “I think the credibility of his entire presidency's on the line, and the ability to work with Republicans. It seems to me the President's going to be dealing with the Republican House for the balance of his term. And if he cannot lower the temperature on health care, if he cannot find a way to work together with the other party in places on health care” unquote

So Chris Christie is a magical reincarnation of TR, because John Kerry did not make a deal with Iran, it proves he is too trusting, Obama use of Seal Teams, drones, bombs in Libya and threats to strike Syria, showhe is reluctant to exercise military power, and if, in the next few weeks, Republicans do not suddenly change their minds and love Obamacare and start to work with the President for the first time, it will wreck the President's credibility and his entire second term. And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.


Culture of Truth: We Mean Business (Halloween Edition)



Oct 27, 2013 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows — usually Meet The Press — then creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here.

Hi I'm Culture of Truth,

Further indicating the media has the attention span of a fruit fly, the Sunday shows immediately pivoted from the government shut down to panicking over problems with the Obamacare website.

Senator Barrasso told George Stephanopoulos – quote – “I'll tell you, as a doctor, I want to make sure that patients can actually get affordable, high-quality care” – unquote. No doubt this will be easily achieved by repealing Obamacare.

The media is desperate to see Kathleen Sebelius fired, and Barrasso obliged, telling George quote “you talk about Secretary Sebelius and her comments, she's already, as of “Saturday Night Live” last night, the laughing stock of America. So she's lost considerable credibility.” – unquote

The subject turned to surveillance, so George interviewed a man with great credibility in this area, Dick Cheney. Cheney is worried that rather than starting a war and not finding chemical weapons, President Obama may achieve the opposite, which he finds unacceptable.

He said there are those who are quote “very fearful that the whole Iranian exercise is going to go the same way as the Syrian exercise” unquote. With a straight-face, he said, under Obama quote “our friends no longer count on us, no longer trust us and our adversaries don't fear us.”

Stephanopoulos did not ask him if this might be because he let bin Laden escape, misled the whole world on weapons of mass destruction and bungled the invasion of Iraq.

Cheney also said Obama quote “believes we overreacted to the terrorism attacks on 9/11” – unquote –  and really who would think that, just because we invaded the wrong country. He also that because George Bush is a wimp, and did not launch attacks on Syria, Iran will probably get a nuclear weapon unless Obama starts another war.

He said quote “I thought it would be important if we took out the Syrian reactor, that it would send a very important signal to the Iranian program, that we'd drawn a red line. We'd said to North Korea, don't proliferate, after their first test. They clearly proliferated and we didn't do anything about it.” unquote

He continued, saying quote “if we had taken out the Syrian reactor the way the Israelis did, and the way they wanted us to do it, we would have sent a clear signal about proliferation.” Then Iran would know that we “mean business” and quote “we'd be much more effective today negotiating with the Iranians if we had taken out that Syrian reactor seven years ago.”

Sadly, now, Cheney says, I now have trouble seeing how we're going to achieve our objective, short of military force.

On Meet The Press, David Gregory spent the morning complaining about the Obamacare website. Also, no transcript of the show was available because it is not up on the Meet The Press website.

Gregory was ready with some hard-hitting questions. To Jon Kasich, he asked quote: “The president said there's no excuse for this terrible rollout of Obamacare through the website.  Are you as frustrated with how all of this has started? Governor Kasich?”

When Kasich answered by attacking the law, Gregory told what answer he needed from him, quote “I'm asking specifically about the damage done by a troubled rollout that you're seeing in your state.” unquote

Kasich decried DC polarization and said quote “The government almost shut down, now they're tapping somebody's phone, and now this thing.” unquote

To Governor Beshear, Gregory asked quote “How disappointed are you with this rollout?”

Beshear said I'm happy about Kentucky and quote “You know, this is working in Kentucky.” To which replied Gregory quote “What damage has been done?”

Beshear said quote “You know, the advice I would give the news media and the critics up here is to take a deep breath.”

Gregory then conducted a baffling interview with the CEO of Florida Blue, in which the CEO explained most people will get more and pay less, prompting Gregory to complain quote “maybe if you qualify for subsidies, you know, you'll pay less in the end.  There is still a disruptive aspect.” – unquote

Andrea Mitchell came on to panic about whether the President is being tricked by wily Persians. She declared Obama a disaster for foreign spying, repeated a Saudi accusation that President Obama is helping Assad "butcher his own people." then asked Gregory if Obama is quote “too eager for a nuclear deal.” and quote “Too easily charmed by Iran's new President, Rouhani?”

Now that Obama has been reelected, according to David Gregory, we must finally debate “What are the powers that a president should have to fight terrorism?”

Peter King doesn't think so, saying Rand Paul should stop worrying about being killed with drones at Starbucks, and Angela Merkel should shut up too, citing quote “Dresden and Hamburg and what happened in World War II” unquote

He also said what Obama did in Syria was quote “indefensible because it sent so many mixed signals and caused people to lose faith in our country” unquote

In the panel discussion, when Jennifer Granholm turned the discussion to Medicaid expansion, Gregory got upset, saying quote “Let's not just talk about the expansion of Medicaid though, because I think it's very easy to lose me and a lot of our viewers here. I want to keep it to this big question which is how did this get botched? And what are the consequences of it?” unquote

Alex Castellanos: said proves government cannot cope with complexities of an adaptive modern society, saying quote “What are the things that work in our society? Things that are natural, that are bottom up.” unquote

On teenage drinking, Rick Santorum believes it takes a village, saying quote “there was a day that parents actually went to other parents and said, "Hey, stop doing things that undermine the morals of my children." But I guess we don't do that anymore.” unquote

Gregory replied: “Well, we seem to lack community standards in a lot of ways.” unquote

So David Gregory is sure great damage has been the done by the glitches, and doesn't care if it's working in Kentucky, since the “big question” is not if its working, or will be fixed, but how it got botched; Obama is being seduced by Iranians into not bombing another country, which is a  betrayal of our great peace-loving friends Saudi Arabia; drones and surveillance are no big deal because of the firebombing of Dresden; and just in time for Halloween the ghoulish Dick Cheney has appeared to tell us that in addition a global war on terror, invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, we also should have attacked Syria, Iran, and probably North Korea too, to show the world we mean businesses.

And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.


Culture of Truth: Politics, Not Policy



Oct 20, 2013 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows — in this case, This Week on ABC — then creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here.

Hi, I'm Culture of Truth,

Less than a week after a faction of the Republican party  shut down the government and threatened to default on the debt to get their way, we learned from the Sunday talks shows that both sides are to blame, and now the President must lead, and in any case what really matters and the winners and losers of the week, and the race for President in 2016.


On ABC's This Week, Martha Raddatz asked Rep. Adam Kinzinger, “aren't you humiliated by this week. Aren't you ashamed? The country looks at congress, all of you, and they're disgusted. Are you ashamed this week?” and asked Nancy Pelosi “I know you can blame Republicans for this, but Americans look at what happened, most of them, with disgust. They blame all of congress. What responsibility do you bear to move Washington forward, to change the mood in Washington, to make the American people proud again?”

It's all about the tone. Raddatz said quote “President Obama even said this week that he wants the tone changed and yet you are saying things like the Republicans are throwing temper tantrums, they're reckless.”

When Pelosi pointed out the shutdown costs $25 billion, Raddatz complained “But you haven't told me what you will do or why something will be different.”

On Obamacare glitches, Raddatz is only concerned about the horse race, asking “Do you think the Republicans are going to use what happened as a weapon? Pelsoi responded “it doesn't matter.”

Jonathan Karl admitted the Republicans mishandled the shutdown, but complained about Obama, “Now the question is what does he do with it? He's still five years in almost, and does not have a bipartisan legislative accomplishment. Is he finally now going to be able to work with the Republicans on something? Big question.”

Karl then interviewed Ted Cruz, who blamed the President and Harry Reid for the shut down, and talked to Jeb Bush, who admitted the GOP screwed up, but said it's also the President's fault, saying “I'm not blaming Republicans.” and “We need to start solving problems and I think the president does not deserve credit in this either.”

ABC then noted the tea party is unpopular, so of course when to a diner in Ohio to interview a bunch of angry tea partiers. They think the shutdown was great, but are angry that memorials were closed. They think we need to be fiscally conservative, but are unconcerned the shutdown cost $24 billion.

Asked if the shutdown accomplished anything, one tea partier correctly pointed out “we're having this conversation. You're sitting here in Lulu's in Ohio. We're having this conversation. That's a plus.”

On Meet The Press, David Gregory asked Tom Coburn why Republicans would agree to give in on the debt ceiling and why they shouldn't keep quote “using the debt ceiling as some leverage,” a notion even Coburn thought was reckless. Gregory wanted to focus on Obamacare, while Coburn insisted the real issue is “$128 trillion worth of un-funded liabilities.”

Gregory has a solution to DC gridlock saying quote. “is term limits maybe the most viable way to end this dysfunction in Washington?” website glitches are catnip to the media, since it allows them to bash the President after the recent GOP debacle. Gregory is particularly obsessed, saying "This has been a disastrous start to ObamaCare,” citing its “disastrous launch,” and asking “Can ObamaCare survive in its current form if the systems are not improved for delivery of the care and the insured?

Andrea Mitchell said we've got 60 days, saying “they've got a very short window here, a couple of months. And if they don't get the seven million people, and including a large number of healthy people, this system will not work.” unquote. Chuck Todd's solution: “Fire somebody.”

Chuck Schumer said quote “the computer glitches are being used by a good number of people who never wanted Obamacare in the first place as an excuse to just sort of bash it”

Gregory responded with a statement that sums up Meet the Press as well as any. Quote: “Let me get beyond policy and get back to politics.”

In the Winners & Losers segment, Andrea Mitchell declared Mitch McConnell one of the winners of the week, while David Brooks said Ted Cuz quote “proves there's no ultimate answer to how dumb a person can be” and called the tea party quote “incredibly self-destructive.”

Maria Bartiromo said “I don't agree that anybody won here. I think the American people are so disgusted with the in ability to get anything done.” and said the President has to “win back the trust of the American people.”

Gregory asked of the President quote “When is he going to demonstrate that he can bring along converts to his side and actually get something meaningful accomplished?" He cited National Journal a headline saying quote "Obama Wins! Big Whoop. Can He Lead?" and asked “Isn't the crisis management that the president decries, isn't that a lasting part of his own legacy here? Doesn't he have to absorb a big part of the responsibility for that?

Andrea Mitchell agreed, saying quote “This is the test of whether the president is going to put something on the table” unquote and quote “Both sides are going to have to give.” unquote

David Brooks responded quote “that's the question he's never answered in all these years is, "How do I build a governing majority in this circumstance?"

ABC and Meet the Press spent most of the rest of their shows giggling about the 2016 Presidential race.

So the tea party shuts down the government, and comes within hours of default, finally uniting Republicans and Democrats in the scorn, but all of Congress is to blame, and Democrats must change the tone, the President must lead, and both sides are going to have give up something? Give up what? What is a good budget plan?

Who cares, there is a Presidential election in three yeas, and if it's Sunday, it's time to “get beyond policy and get back to politics.” And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.


Culture of Truth: Zombie Grand Bargain



Oct 13, 2013 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows — usually Meet The Press — then creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here.

Hi, I'm Culture of Truth

This Sunday on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Representative Raul Labrador, made clear what everyone knows – the Tea Party is using the tactic of shutting down the government and possibly defaulting on America's debts in order to extract concessions from the President. 

After Labrador complained that the President won't negotiate with Republicans over the debt ceiling, Representative Keith Ellison pleaded with Labrador, to re-open the government. In response, Labrador said quote “But listen to what Keith just said. He wants us to open the government, reopen the government. He says that he wants us to go ahead and vote on the debt ceiling. But he's unwilling to talk about what he's willing to negotiate on.” unquote

Ellison replied quote “We can talk about all these things after we reopen the government and pay America's debts.” unquote

In response Labrador said “So what you want is -- you want to get everything you want” and then you say that you will negotiate.


On the same show, Peggy Noonan insisted Obama give in, saying quote “Presidents have to negotiate on debt limits. They have to own it. We have all seen; we've worked in White Houses. We have seen presidents do this.” unquote

Although Labrador clearly sees re-opening the government and lifting the debt ceiling as major concessions to Democrats, on Meet The Press both sides are equally to blame.

According to Gregory, quote “the president also knew this day was coming.  He knew what the deadline was.  And he appears to have made a calculation, having just been reelected, that, "Hey, I'm going to preserve for future presidents, an ability not to negotiate over the debt ceiling."  Even though as Senator Portman pointed out previous presidents have negotiated on this.” unquote

He asked Leon Panetta quote “Does Obama also also bear responsibility for playing around with default by pushing it this far?” –unquote – and asked the panel quote “if is there a certain aspect of this where Obama said, "Look, not only am I going to protect a future president from having to deal with these kinds of demands, but I can also do some real damage to Republicans; if they appear to be intransigent and have a strategy to shutdown ObamaCare, which doesn't have support."

The "liberal" Harold Ford said quote “When we look back, we're going to wonder how on earth could the president and others not come to some agreement” and observed “Tea Party on one side, perhaps a liberal progressives and liberals on the other, that are stopping us from actually doing each side taking a small step in conceding a little bit.”

The good news is there was some bipartisanship on the show: Dick Durbin blamed Republicans for the shut down, while Rob Portman said quote “there's fault on both sides,” unquote, but said now is the perfect time to deal with the nation's debt.

David Gregory brought up the pundit's favorite chew toy, Simpson-Bowles, saying quote “Democrats want more revenue, Republicans want to deal with the entitlements, which are really cannibalizing the budget.” unquote

Durbin played right along, saying quote “David, this may be heresy, but I think Simpson-Bowles got it right.  Put everything on the table.  We know that come ten years from now, Medicare is not sustainable financially.  We've got to do something.  Why wait ten years to see that reality?”unquote

Portman responded quote “Dick's exactly right” unquote and quote “we have these historic levels of debt and deficit that are hurting the economy today.  It's like a wet blanket on the economy today.  That's why we're not getting the kind of robust recovery we all hope for.” unquote

It took Chuck Todd to remind everyone what the real problem is, in spite of the pundits enthusiasm for making a big deal on Medicare and Social Security, quote “Problem is, that does not sell with the Tea Party.  So the Tea Party caucus does not want this.  They do not believe a big entitlement deal really is something to tout, certainly not something to take home to voters.” unquote

So the tea party shuts down the government and threatens default over Obamacare, which is no longer an issue, so now we have to talk about the debt, which is allegedly causing slow economic growth, giving the pundit class the perfect chance to revive Simpson-Bowles and talk about  a deal to cut Social Security and Medicare, even thought the group that started all this, the Tea Party, would hate the idea and presumably keep the government closed, leaving us right back where we started. And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.


Culture of Truth: Chess!


Oct 6, 2013 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows — usually Meet The Press — then creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here.

Hi I'm Culture of Truth,

If it's Sunday, it's time for some dizzying political spin no rational person would believe. Meet The Press was hosted by Savannah Guthrie, suggesting that even David Gregory can't stomach any more. Guthrie can't understand why Obama won't give in to Republican demands for concessions in exchange for not crashing the world economy.

Read Bobblespeak

Read Bobblespeak

She asked Jack Lew: “on the one hand, you say it's terrible for the economy to even threaten default. And on the other hand, the president is saying, "I won't negotiate to stop that from happening." How do you square those two things?

Lew replied it's Congress' job pay the country's bills.

Guthrie objected, saying quote: “But realistically, why would they give up their leverage? You're essentially saying, "Agree to everything we want you to agree to, and then we can talk about that." That's the leverage they have.

and quote “let's do the bottom line here then. Is the president ready to watch this country go into default rather than negotiate with Republicans?” unquote

and quote “will he not come to the table at all even at the risk of default?” unquote


Senator Rand Paul came on to demonstrate is his distant relationship to reality:

On the shut down, He said quote “We've been trying to reopen government. And at every point, Harry Reid said no.  He doesn't want to open government.”

and quote “We've been trying to fund different parts of government all week. We've passed bill after bill after bill.”

Guthrie said  “that's a piecemeal approach, no?” Paul replied, quote “no it's not.”

Paul also claimed Republicans quote “really were never wanting to shut down government over this. They were wanting to fund government and then have a debate over ObamaCare.”– unquote

It's unreasonable for the President to want keep his signature piece of legislation intact, even as the GOP gives up nothing, says Paul:

quote “when you say the president wants 100% of ObamaCare or he will shut down the government, that's exactly what's happened. If he doesn't get 100% of his way, his way or the highway, then they won't do any spending bills that don't include everything that he wants. That's him unwilling to negotiate. That's him being unwilling to compromise.” unquote

Asked if the Republican party's image is being hurt, he responded quote “I think it's extremely bad for the president to shut down the government.”

He knows why the Dems are doing this, too:

“we're the ones trying to open government. The Democrats say, "Keep it closed," because they like it being closed. They think they can beat up on us politically.” – unquote –

On Republican threats not to raise the debt ceiling – also Obama's fault: “I think it's irresponsible of the president and his men to even talk about default.”

In any case, we have no money, says Paul: quote “we're out of money and we're destroying this country by this burden of debt"

The panel was of course, very balanced. NPR's Steve Inskeep said quote “I think when you try to decide who's to blame for this shutdown, you can say, "Well, the Republicans wanted it." I think that's unfair.”

And quote “the Republican who to me seems to have the best notion of what is on the Democrats' mind, believe it or not, is Grover Norquist” unquote

Conservative Rich Lowry said quote “Republicans want to fund the N.I.H.  But the Democrats oppose it”. While Mike Murphy called the Democrats' position a disaster.

Meanwhile on ABC, George Stephanopoulos had on the man of the hour, John Beohner.

Boehner started off spinning strong, saying quote “there are not the votes in the House to pass a clean CR,” unquote, which even George didn't believe for a minute.

Stephanopoulos then pointed out that Harry Reid claims Boehner agreed to pass a clean funding bill in July but he has since reneged. Boehner admitted it, saying quote “I and my members decided the threat of Obamacare and what was happening was so important that it was time for us to take a stand.”

Stephanopoulos then demonstrated Boehner lied when he said publicly he didn't want to tie Obamacare to funding and then went ahead and did it.

Boehner replied quote: “My goodness.” and quote “they're forcing the American people to buy a product that they do not want and cannot afford.”

Then the interview got weird.

Boehner agreed not raising the debt limit could cause a crisis and a recession, then said quote “we are not going to pass a clean debt limit increase” unquote

Of course it's all Obama's fault. Boehner said quote, “The votes are not in the House to pass a clean debt limit. And the president is risking default by not having a conversation with us.”

Boehner helpfully observed that quote “No family or business in America can survive a $700 billion budget deficit in one year.” unquote and asked “How can you raise the debt limit and do nothing about the underlying problem?”

So what does he want? Cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Is willing to negotiate and compromise to address this terrible debt by raising taxes?

No. Said Boehner, quote: “Very simple. We're not raising taxes.”

So what happens on October 17th? Whatever happens it will be Obama's fault:

“The president, his refusal to talk, is resulting in a possible default on our debt.”

So three ago the Democrats gave up on single payer and passed a law requiring people to buy insurance, a product no one wants, as part of an elaborate plan to to get Republicans to elect the tea party, then trick them into demanding huge spending cuts in 2011, to make them look bad by forcing a government shut down over that law in 2013, which is so unpopular the web site crashed, and if Obama doesn't let the tea party slash Medicare they won't pay America's debts and the resulting recession will be all his fault. And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.


Culture of Truth: Our Cross To Bear

Sept 29, 2013 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows — usually Meet The Press — then creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here.

Hi, I'm Culture of Truth,

This week, the most unpopular and ineffective person in the U.S. Senate, Ted Cruz, stayed up all night at his place of work reading children's stories to an empty room, to no effect. Outside the beltway, that's considered crazy. In Washington, it gets you an interview on Meet The Press.

Read the translation

Read the translation

Cruz informed David Gregory that by insisting on defunding the ACA, the House –quote – “responded to the millions of Americans who are hurting under ObamaCare” When Gregory cited polls suggesting the American people are – quote – “not necessarily with you,” Cruz rejected the entire concept of polling and insisted town halls prove ObamaCare is unpopular, and that Harry Reid told the American people, "Go jump in a lake."

He also said – quote – “If Harry Reed forces a government shutdown, that will be a mistake.” When Gregory pointed out that Reid quote “passed a bill to keep the government open,” Cruz repeated any shutdown must be Reid's fault, saying quote “if we have a shutdown, it will only be because, when the Senate comes back, Harry Reed says, "I refuse even to talk." – unquote –

Cruz continued down the rabbit hole, stating – quote – “even now what the House of Representatives has done is a step removed from de-funding. It's delaying it. Now that's the essence of a compromise,” unquote and quote “on the other side, what have the Democrats compromised on? Nothing. Zero.” unquote

Cruz also told Gregory the Senator he most admires most is Phil Gramm, who after writing laws deregulating large banks, spent 9 years as a Vice Chairman at Swiss bank UBS, which lost $30 billion in the financial crisis caused by deregulation, then compared himself to leaders who fought in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War II, the Cold War, and astronauts who landed on the moon.

Raul Labrador agrees with Ted Cruz, insisting John Boehner's actually trying to be responsible here, and Harry Reed will not negotiate with John Boehner. Labrador said Quote “So let's be really honest about this,” unquote, it's the Democrats who want a government shutdown to make Republicans look bad. As proof, he said quote: “If you look last night at Twitter, there wasn't a single Republican on Twitter who was saying, "Let's shut down the government." But every single Democrat was saying, "The Republicans want to shut down the government." unquote

In any case, it's perfectly appropriate for Republicans to try to repeal a three year old law by threatening to shut down the government, said Labrador, because Tip O'Neil shut down the government over the the Fairness Doctrine, quote “The Democrats spent the entire decade of the Bush administration trying to repeal the Bush Tax Cuts,” unquote, and Obamacare isn't a real law, because quote “Not a single Republican voted for that law, because you guys, the Democrats, decided to cram it down.” unquote

So Ted Cruz held a fake filibuster, and never had the votes to begin with, Obamacare is unpopular, but polls don't matter and when the Republicans require defunding a signature Democratic law in order to keep the government operating, that make a government shut down the Democrat's fault, because one side giving up a lot of what they want while the other sides gives up nothing, is the essence of compromise, and passing a law by the House, Senate, President and Supreme Court is cramming it, while defunding by threatening to withholding checks for senior citizens is pure democracy. And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.


Culture of Truth: Cops



Sept 15, 2013 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows — usually Meet The Press — then creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here.

Hi, I'm Culture of Truth,

If you think the Sunday Talk Shows were hard to watch while the administration was trying resolve a crisis,  wait until you seem them after an apparent peaceful resolution to one.

The day started off with the President dropping by ABC to gloat, a little, although George Stephanopoulos felt obliged to ask if the Syria result proves quote “you’re not willing to use force?” unquote and if this would embolden Iran to build a nuclear bomb.

Stephanopoulos asked Obama what he thought of his armchair critics, prompting the President to observe that folks in Washington grade on style, not substance, and stated quote “had we rolled out something that was very smooth and disciplined and linear they would have graded it well, even if it was a disastrous policy. We know that, ’cause that’s exactly how they graded the Iraq War” unquote.

On stalled legislation, the President politely noted that “the problem is” there is a faction of the Republican party that quote “that views “compromise” as a dirty word, and anything that is even remotely associated with me, they feel obliged to oppose.”

On the economy, the President stated that whole occupations are being replaced by robots, your view of which probably depends on whether you grew up with the Jetsons, the Terminator, or that cat riding a Roomba.

In the panel discussion, Republicans Matthew Dowd and Justin Amash applauded the President, with Dowd said the deal was the best outcome possible although he had to say the President “fumbled to the goal line.”

DC pundits were angriest, with Cokie Roberts observing that Obama, like JFK in the Cuban Missile Crisis, quote “stumbled to success”

Roberts is concerned that somehow America now looks weak, while George Stephanopolous worried aloud that if Assad remains is power that is quote “a defeat for the United States.” Paul Gigot is afraid a peaceful solution may prevent a war with Iran.

Meet The Press was a true train wreck, which may explain why NBC declined to post a transcript. David Gregory opened the show by asking Andrea Mitchell to tell him why the Syria deal is bad, and she obliged.

John McCain came on to claim the President is weak because the deal my not work, and complained he was promised bombing, darn it, and was angry he wasn't getting any.

Gregory asked him quote “is this deal a winner or loser?” McCain replied that it's a loser because it makes Russia look good.

Senator Roy Blunt said he opposed using force but said the deal makes America look weak, and that It will take a long time to recover from this disastrous peaceful resolution to an international problem, said he hopes the administration take a very different approach to Iran. Presumably he means starting an unpopular war without authorization.

In the panel discussion, incredibly, Tom Friedman was the voice of reason, questioning the value of bombing, and praising a deal that gets chemical weapons diplomatically, while Bob Woodward grudgingly admitted the President “got a good result by accident.”

Jeffrey Goldberg said it a victory for Assad and America, while Richard Wolffe thought it a good result  but said mismanagement is a pattern with Obama, observing he ran terrible Presidential campaigns while twice winning by the largest margins since Eisenhower.

The women on the panel were more upset. Robin Wright worried that the world now views America as weak and insisted America needs a grand design to completely remake

the middle east. Andrea Mitchell is concerned that we have empowered Vladimir Putin, and insisted that the world is looking to America for leadership.

Kathleen Parker said it is painful to watch Obama think out loud and we're all paying the price for his thoughtfulness. She also absurdly claimed that Obama elevated Assad and that Assad is making now demands on the United States.

Ana Navarro called Obama was a Commander in Confusion, said he was vacillating, and that the administration is bunch of Keystone Cops with no strategy or vision. She also claimed that Obama has taken force is off the table, and that he will have to go the UN to threaten force again, neither of which is true.

The show closed with a look back at the financial crisis, with Hank Paulson and Maria Bartiromo agreeing the problem now is we need to stop talking about how quote “evil” Wall Street is, and change the rules to allow them to lend and make money again.

Barney Frank asked “if the banks are in such big trouble they make profits by lending, then why are they paying themselves so much money?” This resulted in several seconds of stunned silence.

So, a potentially grave humanitarian crisis, violation of international law and  a region-wide war may, possibly, be somewhat partially resolved through a hard-fought negotiated diplomatic solution, and that is a bad precedent, a loser, because other countries may look good, or emboldens Iran. It makes America look weak because it is not dropping bombs, American must assume it's natural role in remaking the entire middle east; threatening force while achieving a peaceful result means the President thinks too much, is a Commander in Confusion, overseeing Keystone Cops, and above all, a result in which America does not crush another country with Tomahawk missiles but where everyone wins something, must be avoided when we go after Iran. And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.


Culture of Truth: Dancin' Dave's Amateur Hour



Sept 8, 2013 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows — usually Meet The Press — then creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here.

Hi I'm Culture of Truth,

In two days, the President will speak to the people to make his case that U.S. should use military force against the government of Syria.

If, in the midst of this debate, you felt a desperate need to hear from Greta van Susteren, Dan Senor, Donna Brazile, Katrina vanden Heuvel, David Axelrod, Jane Harman, Chuck Todd, Newt Gingrich, or Anthony Weiner, then today was your lucky day on the Sunday talk shows. To be sure, ABC's This Week and Meet The Press also both had on White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough, tasked with making the best case for action.  McDonough pointed out that U.S. troops have not been subject to gas since WWI, and hinted that Iran might use nuclear weapons without strikes against Syria. He also noted that the U.S. ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention in a bipartisan action, to which David Gregory responded: “is the United States just an equal partner on the international stage? Or are we the world's leader? “ unquote

Every week David Gregory quotes a right wing columnist as received wisdom. This week it was Charles Krauthammer, stating Obama's quote “stunning zigzag, following months of hesitation, ambivalence, contradiction and studied delay, left our regional allies shocked and our enemies gleeful." unquote.

He then turned to two Democrats, Sen. Tom Udall and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, and one Republican, Mike McCaul, who all oppose the President's plan, and one Republican, who supports bombing Syria, but hates the President.

Udall said quote “I'm very disappointed that the administration has given up, they have given up on the United Nations and on rallying the world,” unquote, and a few moments later said quote “We're rallying the international community in terms of humanitarian aid.”

Sanchez said quote “We have to really say, "Let's go to the U.N. council and let's get this resolution out of this,” then undercut her own point by arguing quote “Great Britain is also a permanent member of that security council. And they have said no force to be used,” unquote which is not quite true.

Mike McCaul suggested that if we bomb Syria quote “it could put these chemical weapons in the hands of Al Qaeda that could be turned against Americans. Those images I saw of the children in Damascus are horrific. Assad is a brutal dictator. But I don't want to see those images broadcasted and shown in the United States with American kids.” unquote.

McCaul expressed concern that quote “little wars start big wars,” but then later said quote “the international community can secure and destroy these chemical weapons. That should be our chief objective here.” unquote

The President's strongest supporter on David Gregory's panel, Peter King, complained that Obama should have bombed Syria much earlier, and said quote “I wish he was more of a commander in chief than a community organizer,” unquote.

King also implied falsely that Ronald Reagan would use force over the use of chemical weapons, stating quote: “whether it's Reagan, whether it's Clinton, when forceful action has to be taken by the commander in chief, it can be taken. President Obama should've taken it and he failed. When the moment came, he flinched.” unquote

Jane Harman is of course for attacking Syria, while Chuck Todd observed , quote “I think about 75% of the opposition to the Democratic party is rational in principle and maybe about 25% of it is politics.” unquote

The most best moments were provided by Newt Gingrich, who dredging up his rhetoric from the 1990s, stated the White House strategy is quote “inexplicable to a normal American”

He also hilariously said quote “I think the decisive point was that Friday night walk with Denis where the president said, "I'm going to go to Congress." Prior to that, he literally could've bombed, done a national speech, and said, "Here's why I did it. I'm commander of chief." And there would've almost no negative fallout.” unquote

Gingrich continued as only he can, saying quote: “I think Peggy Noonan actually captured a good part of this is in her column this week. This country has been engaged in the Middle East seriously since October of 1979. We are tired of being in a region where everybody wants to kill each other. It's very un-American.” unquote

He clarified that quote “my reference to un-American is the behavior of the people in the Middle East. I mean, it's very hard for us to understand people who three, four, and five generations kill each other in order to set up a blood feud” unquote

Gregory interrupted, saying,  quote “For deep religious beliefs, by the way. This is Crusades type stuff.” unquote. Gingrich replied quote “Well, very often.”

Gregory added: “This is not the history of America.” The show ended with a long interview with delusional Brooklynite Anthony Weiner.

Greta van Susteren, Donna Brazile, Katrina vanden Heuvel, David Axelrod, and the others are accomplished people, but they are not experts on Syria or the military. The invited Senators and Congresspersons presumably have seen classified information and do get to vote, but are not experts either. The host and guests were reduced to asking questions out loud no one had any answers for.

Inevitably, the air time was filled by bloviators like Newt Gingrich, who blamed liberals for Columbine, Virginia Tech and Susan Smith murdering her children, and who compared a Manhattan mosque to Nazis building next to the Holocaust museum and who said quote “I'm a little bit tired about respecting every religion on the planet. I'd like them to respect our religion,” unquote, commenting that Americans just can't understand the behavior of all those inherently violent people of the Middle East, who fight each other over deep religious beliefs, the Crusades type stuff that Westerners and America, with 16,000 homicides in 2010, just can't understand. And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.


Culture of Truth: Inside Baseball



Sept 1, 2013 - Political satirist Culture of Truth bases The Bobblespeak Translations on the Sunday Talk Shows — usually Meet The Press — then creates the 'most ridiculous moment' for Virtually Speaking Sundays. We create a separate podcast and post the copy here.

Hi I'm Culture of Truth,

As John Kerry might say, let me be clear: this week's Sunday talk shows were an example of why our trivia-obsessed media is increasingly useless. As the U.S. President announced his opinion that the country needs to use military force against another nation over a massacre caused by chemical weapons, the shows spent most of their time expressing shock that the President would seek Congressional authorization, and wasting time on completely irrelevant, inside-baseball gossip on the President's alleged abrupt shift in position, rather than discussing the evidence for chemical weapons, the effectiveness of missile strikes, the impact on Syrians and involvement in a possible region-wide war, and other minor issues like that.

The first question David Gregory asked John Kerry, after pointing out that on Friday Kerry had made the case that Assad had used chemical weapons, was quote: “That was Friday. Saturday morning, the President decides, in an abrupt change, to delay and seek congressional authority. You were making the case for a military strike. Why the abrupt change?” unquote


Kerry compared Assad to Adolf Hitler and said quote “why go to Congress? Because the United States of America is stronger when the Congress of the United States, representing the people, and the President of the United States, are acting together.” unquote

Gregory responded: “I think I'm still trying to understand the abrupt shift.” unquote

He then claimed quote “I know that you and others on the national security team, based on my own reporting, were opposed to the President seeking congressional authority” unquote -- and quote “Do you feel undermined? Do you think the United States has undermined its leverage in the world? Its credibility, having ramped up the specter of military action as being imminent and then saying, "Well, no, we're going to  Congress first?"” unquote

Kerry replied: “David, I completely disagree with the fundamental premise that you set out. I did not oppose going, nor did anybody else that I know of.”  unquote

Gregory wouldn't let it go, saying quote “the abrupt shift now, does it undermine U.S. credibility? Or will it be seen as careful deliberation?”  unquote

The panel was devoted to more inside baseball, with Gregory breathlessly gushing about how quote “President Obama shifted his stance on military strikes in Syria at the 11th hour. Our Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd is here to take us inside the President's thinking.”  unquote

And indeed, Todd described quote “an extraordinary series of events overseas and here at home that caused the President to shift gears.”

Gregory: “a change at the 11th hour, as you said”

Gregory then asked Bill Kristol: “Do you applaud the President for making this switch?”

Gregory continued saying: “Gwen Ifill, the inside Washington intrigue is about the whiplash. The President was ramping up for war and then said, "No, let's go to Congress first."  unquote

Ifill replied quote “everybody was told the same story of him walking on the South Lawn with his Chief of Staff and suddenly coming back and having a change of heart, or at least reaching his final decision.” unquote

Robert Gibbs added: “Well, I think this is a deliberative President.”

Gregory responded: “But is he deliberative or is he too cautious”

The decision to consult Congress caused Katty Kay to lose it, saying “The sequencing of the week's events looks indecisive at best and perhaps weak and muddled at worst.” unquote and quote “at the end of the week, the President changes course. And you can make the counter-argument that people in Israel and people in Iran are watching the deliberations this week and thinking, "America is going to vacillate and is not going to act until it goes to Congress." unquote

Gregory ended the panel with more Beltway gossip, saying “Look, it may just be in this town of Washington, but the inside administration intrigue, do you think the Secretary of State was hung out to dry? Do you think he was undermined when the President sent him out there only to have the President change his mind?” unquote. This caused the panel to burst into laughter.

Sure run-ups to war ARE hilarious, but the was a serious side as Gregory ended the show with Ann Curry, who just returned from a refugee camp and described the suffering children there.

Gregory asked her quote “Among the kids that you're talking to, do they have any sense that the United States is prepared or is willing or is able to help them?”

Curry replied quote:  “the children don't say this, but the adults talk about the need for a buffer zone or maybe a no-fly zone. The truth is the world has not responded to the needs of these children and the needs of these refugees to the degree in which they require the help.” unquote

Gregory thanked her, said “that is all for today” and ended the show.

No discussion of what this buffer zone would look like or how it would function, no talk of how a no-fly zone could be implemented or if it would work, no other discussion of how the U.S. or other countries could help the refugees. Just plenty of pointless speculating about how the President allegedly planned immediate military action and supposedly took a walk on the lawn and then possibly had an abrupt shift in his thinking, and if John Kerry was hung out to dry, and how going to Congress somehow undermines American power.

And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.