Jonathon “The Impaler” Sharkey
As the U.S. news outlets focus upon Tea Party-backed candidate Michele Bachmann entering the fray to become the Republican Party Presidential Nominee on Monday, June 27th, most of her fellow Republican challengers are quivering with fear, and not just because she might have accidentally compared herself to John Wayne Gacy. As Bachmann overtakes her rivals in states like Iowa, one of her Republican challengers is not afraid of her: professional wrestler Jonathon “The Impaler” Sharkey.
Sharkey hopes to give Bachmann, Mitt Romney, and the other Republican front runners a run for their money. While the 47 year old might be a recent entrant into the G.O.P. Presidential mix, he has been wrestling since 1988. Getting his start with Larry Sharpe’s WWA promotion in a boxer vs. wrestler match, he faced former Can-Am Wrestling Champion “Diamond” Jim Brady. Since then, he has worked for a number of local promotions throughout the U.S., including with The Rock‘s father, Rocky Johnson. While he currently wrestles as a Vampire, his greatest influences could not be more different than his wrestling persona.: “Ric Flair and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. I used to train with Ricky at his old gym in North Carolina.”
While wrestling is his passion, he has always been interested in politics. Like most Republicans, he says his favorite President is Ronald Reagan. “Ronnie was the best President in modern history.” In fact, Reagan was the first President he ever voted for. There are myriad reasons as to why Sharkey wants to become President. “I am tired of seeing Americans, especially veterans and the elderly, sold out by the political establishment,” Sharkey told SLAM! Wrestling via an email interview. “Congress and those in power are getting yearly cost of living increases, but not disabled veterans and those on SSI and Social Security.”
Sharkey’s political zeal has sometimes got the better of him, such as when the Secret Service paid him a visit for allegedly making a veiled threat against then-President George W. Bush. But Sharkey is no fan of the current U.S. President, either. “Obama is even worse than Bush, and I never thought anyone could be worse than Bush. He has no idea how to run a country, nor should he be running a country,” Sharkey exclaimed.
Unlike some other candidates who dodge political history questions or answer them incorrectly, Sharkey is ready for any so-called “gotcha” journalism. The Impaler will not be “got.” Born and raised in New Jersey, he mentions with pride that it was “the 3rd State to ratify the Constitution. My Jersey ancestors fought to make this country great, but, their deaths are in vain, given the actions of the last 20-plus years of the politicians in DC.”
He is not one to shy away from controversy, either. If he becomes President of the U.S., he also hopes to become its High Executioner. “As President, I will execute via Impalement those who commit acts of terrorism against America and/or Americans, as well as those convicted of rape, murder, animal abuse … child abuse and/or child molestation, abusing or taking advantage of the elderly, DWI/DUI on the third conviction or upon causing bodily injury or death,” and other offences.
Sharkey took the time to answer questions on various policy issues for SLAM! Wrestling. While some of his responses place himself in the very conservative right wing of the Republican Party, such as opposing abortion and wanting evolution to be banned from being taught in public schools, he is very much to the left of candidates like Michele Bachmann (and possible future candidates like Sarah Palin). He is a libertarian when it comes to many other issues.
For example, when asked about President Obama’s health care reforms, he is against them, but does not wish to go back to the health care system the way it was before the reforms. For those who can not afford health care, Sharkey proposes a unique solution where not only the poor would have free health care, but free dental care, as well. “As President, I will legalize marijuana and prostitution,” he said, though he stresses that he himself does not smoke pot, or pays for sex. Sharkey would authorize the states to run both, “and the money made from these two businesses would be used for health, prescription, and dental insurance for those who can’t afford it.”
When questioned about using the U.S. military to invade other countries, he seems to channel Ron Paul when he said, “I would bring all of our troops home from hostile places and war zones.”
Indeed, the man who would personally execute criminals by impaling reveals himself to be more moderate than Bachmann and Palin in yet another way. Just days after New York State allowed same-sex marriages to be performed, he told SLAM! Wrestling, if elected President, he “will perform same-sex marriage at least twice a month at The White House. I believe everyone who is in love should have the right to marry their heart’s desire.”
While this might not endear him to some social conservatives within his party, his religious beliefs won’t win him followers from that same camp either. That camp won’t even accept a Mormon leader, such as Mitt Romney, so it should be no surprise if they were to be biased against Sharkey, an avowed “Luciferian [who] also follows the Goddess Hecate.” Describing his religion further, he says, “Lucifer was right rebelling against God. For had he not, man would never had the thought to do so. The best example of following Lucifer’s act of rebellion is our Founding Fathers. If you think about it, they rebelled against King George and the British Government. Had they not, we would not be the nation we are today.”
Sharkey continues by saying that “I also believe in the ways of the Goddess Hecate. And like her, I will unleash my vengeance upon my enemies. I believe in protecting Mother Earth. I will be a very environmentally caring President. Al Gore will love me for that!”
Someone who won’t love him would be Mitt Romney. Sharkey declared, “The Republican Party is doing stupid things that will allow Obama to win. And Mitt is one of those stupid things.” Sharkey primarily dislikes Romney for his inability to defend himself against critics within his own party. “In 2008, he spoke about being a Mormon….now he is staying away from it. Why? Did he forget about the 1st Amendment?” Sharkey asks rhetorically. “I am not ashamed of my beliefs. Why should he be?”
Not all current Republican leaders annoy him, however. When asked who his dream running mate would be, The Impaler replied, “If I get the nomination, I have to go with a Jersey Girl… Former NJ Governor Christie Todd Whitman.”
As there is still a long way to go before the Presidential Nomination is decided for the Republican Party, Sharkey is keeping himself busy with filmmaking, much like his hero, Ronald Reagan did before running for public office. “I am finishing post-production on The True Impaler: REDEMPTION! And the short film I did last summer — The Comeback Fighter — is now available on DVD. I also did a movie called — A Cat’s Life. It will be for sale on DVD in July,” Sharkey said. In addition to some films being made in Romania, he is also working on a pro wrestling film entitled PowerSlam, which will film in 2012, before the Presidential Elections, one assumes.
While some may describe Jonathon Sharkey as a fringe candidate, his opinions reveal him to be far more mainstream than some of the other front-runners in the G.O.P. Perhaps a future Republican Presidential Debate could include him next time. As one of America’s top political comedians, Bill Maher, host of HBO’s Real Time pointed out about the first Republican debate this year, it was all about showing how many children one had. Sharkey has three children (a fourth sadly passed away), which places him higher in the (baby) rankings than Newt Gingrich.
The pro wrestler in Sharkey makes him unafraid to take on both the establishment G.O.P and the Tea Party. When pressed on his opinion of Michelle Bachmann, The Impaler concluded, “She’s too flakey for me!”
Jonathon “The Impaler” Sharkey in the Internet Movie Database
Ranjan Chhibber is a former WWE TV Writer with a Ph.D. in Film History who has taught at various universities in both the U.S. and Canada, and is the founder of SLAM! Wrestling’s “Minority Mat Report.” He can be reached through his publicist, Ms. Jaclyn Allmon, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article source: http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Wrestling/2011/06/28/18348811.html
Our Nobel prize-winning former vice president has a must-read 7000-word essay in Rolling Stone, “Climate of Denial: Can science and the truth withstand the merchants of poison?”
Gore discusses climate science and the link to recent record-smashing extreme weather events, of course. And he makes clear the stakes are too high to become disillusioned by our flawed political system, “What hangs in the balance is the future of civilization as we know it.”
What I will focus on here are his blistering critique of Obama, his even tougher take on the media, and the “five basic ways” individuals can make a difference. Let’s start with the president:
President Obama has thus far failed to use the bully pulpit to make the case for bold action on climate change. After successfully passing his green stimulus package, he did nothing to defend it when Congress decimated its funding. After the House passed cap and trade, he did little to make passage in the Senate a priority. Senate advocates — including one Republican — felt abandoned when the president made concessions to oil and coal companies without asking for anything in return. He has also called for a massive expansion of oil drilling in the United States….
During the final years of the Bush-Cheney administration, the rest of the world was waiting for a new president who would aggressively tackle the climate crisis — and when it became clear that there would be no real change from the Bush era, the agenda at Copenhagen changed from “How do we complete this historic breakthrough?” to “How can we paper over this embarrassing disappointment?”
… Yet without presidential leadership that focuses intensely on making the public aware of the reality we face, nothing will change. The real power of any president, as Richard Neustadt wrote, is “the power to persuade.” Yet President Obama has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis. He has simply not made the case for action. He has not defended the science against the ongoing, withering and dishonest attacks. Nor has he provided a presidential venue for the scientific community — including our own National Academy — to bring the reality of the science before the public.
No argument here (see The failed presidency of Barack Obama, Part 2). Gore continues:
Here is the core of it: we are destroying the climate balance that is essential to the survival of our civilization. This is not a distant or abstract threat; it is happening now. The United States is the only nation that can rally a global effort to save our future. And the president is the only person who can rally the United States…
The truth is this: What we are doing is functionally insane. If we do not change this pattern, we will condemn our children and all future generations to struggle with ecological curses for several millennia to come.
Predictably, the media has jumped on Gore’s criticism of Obama.
ABC News Politics has run the AP story with its headline, “Gore Faults Obama on Global Warming.” The lede: “Former Vice President Al Gore is going where few environmentalists — and fellow Democrats — have gone before: criticizing President Barack Obama’s record on global warming.”
Memo to ABC News and the AP: Obama has been widely criticized by environmentalists.
But what is particularly absurd about this story is that it never mentions that Gore launches an even more blistering and detailed attack on the media! In fact, that’s how Gore’s essay begins — by comparing the mainstream media today to the referees of professional wrestling (!!):
The first time I remember hearing the question “is it real?” was when I went as a young boy to see a traveling show put on by “professional wrestlers” one summer evening in the gym of the Forks River Elementary School in Elmwood, Tennessee.
The evidence that it was real was palpable: “They’re really hurting each other! That’s real blood! Look a’there! They can’t fake that!” On the other hand, there was clearly a script (or in today’s language, a “narrative”), with good guys to cheer and bad guys to boo.
But the most unusual and in some ways most interesting character in these dramas was the referee: Whenever the bad guy committed a gross and obvious violation of the “rules” — such as they were — like using a metal folding chair to smack the good guy in the head, the referee always seemed to be preoccupied with one of the cornermen, or looking the other way. Yet whenever the good guy — after absorbing more abuse and unfairness than any reasonable person could tolerate — committed the slightest infraction, the referee was all over him. The answer to the question “Is it real?” seemed connected to the question of whether the referee was somehow confused about his role: Was he too an entertainer?
That is pretty much the role now being played by most of the news media in refereeing the current wrestling match over whether global warming is “real,” and whether it has any connection to the constant dumping of 90 million tons of heat-trapping emissions into the Earth’s thin shell of atmosphere every 24 hours.
Admittedly, the contest over global warming is a challenge for the referee because it’s a tag-team match, a real free-for-all. In one corner of the ring are Science and Reason. In the other corner: Poisonous Polluters and Right-wing Ideologues.
The referee — in this analogy, the news media — seems confused about whether he is in the news business or the entertainment business. Is he responsible for ensuring a fair match? Or is he part of the show, selling tickets and building the audience? The referee certainly seems distracted: by Donald Trump, Charlie Sheen, the latest reality show — the list of serial obsessions is too long to enumerate here.
Funny how the AP missed that part right up front in the piece. But that’s not even the half of it. Gore continues:
But whatever the cause, the referee appears not to notice that the Polluters and Ideologues are trampling all over the “rules” of democratic discourse. They are financing pseudoscientists whose job is to manufacture doubt about what is true and what is false; buying elected officials wholesale with bribes that the politicians themselves have made “legal” and can now be made in secret; spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year on misleading advertisements in the mass media; hiring four anti-climate lobbyists for every member of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. (Question: Would Michael Jordan have been a star if he was covered by four defensive players every step he took on the basketball court?)
This script, of course, is not entirely new: A half-century ago, when Science and Reason established the linkage between cigarettes and lung diseases, the tobacco industry hired actors, dressed them up as doctors, and paid them to look into television cameras and tell people that the linkage revealed in the Surgeon General’s Report was not real at all. The show went on for decades, with more Americans killed each year by cigarettes than all of the U.S. soldiers killed in all of World War II.
This time, the scientific consensus is even stronger. It has been endorsed by every National Academy of science of every major country on the planet, every major professional scientific society related to the study of global warming and 98 percent of climate scientists throughout the world. In the latest and most authoritative study by 3,000 of the very best scientific experts in the world, the evidence was judged “unequivocal.”
But wait! The good guys transgressed the rules of decorum, as evidenced in their private e-mails that were stolen and put on the Internet. The referee is all over it: Penalty! Go to your corner! And in their 3,000-page report, the scientists made some mistakes! Another penalty!
And if more of the audience is left confused about whether the climate crisis is real? Well, the show must go on. After all, it’s entertainment. There are tickets to be sold, eyeballs to glue to the screen.
It will be fascinating to see if the entire media simply chooses to ignore this devastating critique and focus just on Gore’s comments on Obama, which will, ironically enough, make Gore’s point that the media is interested only in the drama, not the substance.
I would add that the media doesn’t just mis-report the climate story, it under-reports the story of the century — see Silence of the Lambs: Media herd’s coverage of climate change “fell off the map” in 2010.
And Gore continues his evisceration of the media later in the piece:
Continuing on our current course would be suicidal for global civilization. But the key question is: How do we drive home that fact in a democratic society when questions of truth have been converted into questions of power? When the distinction between what is true and what is false is being attacked relentlessly, and when the referee in the contest between truth and falsehood has become an entertainer selling tickets to a phony wrestling match?
He then has a long discussion of how the media played into Bush’s hands in the run-up to the Iraq war, and then goes back to climate:
These vulnerabilities, rooted in our human nature, are being manipulated by the tag-team of Polluters and Ideologues who are trying to deceive us. And the referee — the news media — is once again distracted. As with the invasion of Iraq, some are hyperactive cheerleaders for the deception, while others are intimidated into complicity, timidity and silence by the astonishing vitriol heaped upon those who dare to present the best evidence in a professional manner. Just as TV networks who beat the drums of war prior to the Iraq invasion were rewarded with higher ratings, networks now seem reluctant to present the truth about the link between carbon pollution and global warming out of fear that conservative viewers will change the channel — and fear that they will receive a torrent of flame e-mails from deniers.
And this entire critique of the media occurs before Gore even mentions Obama. From my perspective, as I’ve said many times, the anti-science crowd and their disinformation campaign and associated think tanks, pundits, and right-wing media deserve about 60% of the blame for our inaction. The media, perhaps 30%. The “Think Small” centrists and lukewarmers who also helped shrink the political space in the debate deserve 5%.
So ‘only’ 5% of blame goes to Obama and his team (along with Senate Democrats, scientists, environmentalists, and progressives).
But of course, from a historical perspective — and, I suspect from the perspective of most progressives — there are two huge differences between Obama versus the disinformers, media, and centrist/lukewarmers. Obama is the President of the United States, a person who can single-handedly determine the agenda and the national debate. Second, those other people don’t know any better.
So it is perfectly reasonable to focus on Obama — but the media deserves far more blame, a point Gore is clearly making by opening the piece with his critique of the media and offering a far lengthier critique of them than Obama.
Finally, as always, Gore does offer positive suggestions:
All things are not equally true. It is time to face reality. We ignored reality in the marketplace and nearly destroyed the world economic system. We are likewise ignoring reality in the environment, and the consequences could be several orders of magnitude worse. Determining what is real can be a challenge in our culture, but in order to make wise choices in the presence of such grave risks, we must use common sense and the rule of reason in coming to an agreement on what is true.
So how can we make it happen? How can we as individuals make a difference? In five basic ways:
First, become a committed advocate for solving the crisis. You can start with something simple: Speak up whenever the subject of climate arises. When a friend or acquaintance expresses doubt that the crisis is real, or that it’s some sort of hoax, don’t let the opportunity pass to put down your personal marker. The civil rights revolution may have been driven by activists who put their lives on the line, but it was partly won by average Americans who began to challenge racist comments in everyday conversations.
Second, deepen your commitment by making consumer choices that reduce energy use and reduce your impact on the environment. The demand by individuals for change in the marketplace has already led many businesses to take truly significant steps to reduce their global-warming pollution. Some of the corporate changes are more symbolic than real — “green-washing,” as it’s called — but a surprising amount of real progress is taking place. Walmart, to pick one example, is moving aggressively to cut its carbon footprint by 20 million metric tons, in part by pressuring its suppliers to cut down on wasteful packaging and use lower-carbon transportation alternatives. Reward those companies that are providing leadership.
Third, join an organization committed to action on this issue. The Alliance for Climate Protection (climateprotect.org), which I chair, has grassroots action plans for the summer and fall that spell out lots of ways to fight effectively for the policy changes we need. We can also enable you to host a slide show in your community on solutions to the climate crisis — presented by one of the 4,000 volunteers we have trained. Invite your friends and neighbors to come and then enlist them to join the cause.
Fourth, contact your local newspapers and television stations when they put out claptrap on climate — and let them know you’re fed up with their stubborn and cowardly resistance to reporting the facts of this issue. One of the main reasons they are so wimpy and irresponsible about global warming is that they’re frightened of the reaction they get from the deniers when they report the science objectively. So let them know that deniers are not the only ones in town with game. Stay on them! Don’t let up! It’s true that some media outlets are getting instructions from their owners on this issue, and that others are influenced by big advertisers, but many of them are surprisingly responsive to a genuine outpouring of opinion from their viewers and readers. It is way past time for the ref to do his job.
Finally, and above all, don’t give up on the political system. Even though it is rigged by special interests, it is not so far gone that candidates and elected officials don’t have to pay attention to persistent, engaged and committed individuals. President Franklin Roosevelt once told civil rights leaders who were pressing him for change that he agreed with them about the need for greater equality for black Americans. Then, as the story goes, he added with a wry smile, “Now go out and make me do it.”
On that final point, Gore urges the people become single-issue voters, which I could not agree more with:
To make our elected leaders take action to solve the climate crisis, we must forcefully communicate the following message: “I care a lot about global warming; I am paying very careful attention to the way you vote and what you say about it; if you are on the wrong side, I am not only going to vote against you, I will work hard to defeat you — regardless of party. If you are on the right side, I will work hard to elect you.”
Why do you think President Obama and Congress changed their game on “don’t ask, don’t tell?” It happened because enough Americans delivered exactly that tough message to candidates who wanted their votes. When enough people care passionately enough to drive that message home on the climate crisis, politicians will look at their hole cards, and enough of them will change their game to make all the difference we need.
This is not naive; trust me on this. It may take more individual voters to beat the Polluters and Ideologues now than it once did — when special-interest money was less dominant. But when enough people speak this way to candidates, and convince them that they are dead serious about it, change will happen — both in Congress and in the White House. As the great abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass once observed, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will.”
What is now at risk in the climate debate is nothing less than our ability to communicate with one another according to a protocol that binds all participants to seek reason and evaluate facts honestly. The ability to perceive reality is a prerequisite for self-governance. Wishful thinking and denial lead to dead ends. When it works, the democratic process helps clear the way toward reality, by exposing false argumentation to the best available evidence. That is why the Constitution affords such unique protection to freedom of the press and of speech.
The climate crisis, in reality, is a struggle for the soul of America. It is about whether or not we are still capable — given the ill health of our democracy and the current dominance of wealth over reason — of perceiving important and complex realities clearly enough to promote and protect the sustainable well-being of the many. What hangs in the balance is the future of civilization as we know it.
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Article source: http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/06/22/250926/al-gore-slams-obama-media-merchants-of-poison-pro-wrestling-referees/